Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Start of another year!

Yesterday was my birthday! Thanks to all my family I had a great celebration and a great year. I look back on the year and very grateful for my children. Cody and his family moved back to Chandler, Gretchen seems settled in her new job at Phoenix Children's Hospital and Chelsea and Stephen sent last child Tatum off to Kindergarten. So, my babysitting duty has been drastically reduced to just picking up Chandler, Cooper and Tatum after school several days a week.

I have kept busy with pilate classes twice a week and a drawing class at Chandler-Gilbert Community College that I find very satisfying.  I have tried to renew my interest in cooking but have found that has been a slow process of regaining those cooking skills I once had and loved to use.

I am thankful for Alvin. He is such a great provider and works way too many hours but he is doing what he loves. We were able to take some fun trips this past year and do so many fun things together. We spent a week in Seattle at the ceramics convention, a week in fun New York and three weeks in Newport Beach. We also purchased season tickets to the Arizona Diamondbacks game and that we really enjoyed. The girls and I drove to Long Beach for a weekend to explore flee markets.

We were all proud of Alvin's birthday planning for me this year. He just gets better in all that he does every year. He came home with flowers.

And, my gift.

Let me explain! He gave me a baseball mitt and ball and tickets to Diamondback games for next season. When those fly balls came our way last seaon I would always said I needed a glove.

The little ceramic birds represent the birds I just lost in my backyard cage. We are thinging the neighbor cat must have been responsible.

We had dinner at one of our favorite places House of Tricks. It is a fun, romantic and beautiful. And, if that wasn't enough we went to CGCC for a student Jazz concert. A great night - thanks Alvin for the memories.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Drawing Class

As some of you know I have been taking a drawing class at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. I have taken other classes at the college throughout the years but always computer classes and never an art class. So, last spring I took Drawing I from Mary Lou Stewart. The first day of class I felt so out of place and maybe because I was the oldest class member. The first assignment was to draw a pear. Mine looked like a hamster. I can look back and laugh about it now. I finished the class and by the end of the semester I had made some progress so I decided to sign up again.

This semester I am taking Drawing II from Mary Lou Stewart again.  I really like her. I started out the first day questioning myself about why I was doing this again. We were asked to draw a fruit that first day and I strayed away from the pear. I drew an apple!

The class is half over. We have had ten assignments and just last week turned sketchbooks in for grading. This is one of my "landscape assignment" along with my instructors comment. Our work is done with graphite pencils so you won't see any color. I have come a long way!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Break Baking

Chandler, Cooper, Tatum and I tried our hand at making "cake pops" one afternoon - actually two afternoons. The first day was a disaster. The pops kept sliding down the stick and the icing was too hard. So, before we began the second day I called the "cake pop" queen - my niece Jenny Scremin. I have so much more respect for her Easter bunny cake pops she brings to our Easter picnic each year. She gave us some nifty pointers and none of which we were doing by the way. So, the 2nd day was more successful and we decided we would not want to make them again. Jenny you are still the queen when it comes to making the cake pops.

A few days later Carter and Cash were visiting and we made cupcakes. I did not even discuss the cake pop option with them. Sorry boys!

I like cooking with my grandkids. I hope they will remember cooking with their "Nana."

Do I talk funny?

When I was in the 8th grade I had a science teacher, Bud Wood, that owned a cabin next to Lake Como in Hamilton, Montana. Every summer he and his family would take students for a four week stay to this beautiful place. I guess it might of been a little bit educational but that part I don't really remember. It was a cabin sitting right next to the lake and we would swim and water ski. We traveled to various places that were nearby that would be of interest. I do remember going to Glacier National Park and crossed over to Canada to this beautiful little town.

We would drive into town on occasion and sit at the drugstore soda fountain and order ice cream. We met the kids from town and some I remember even came to the lake. It was a very fun thing to do. The month I went I went with Yvonne Jones, Betty Pickering, and Judy Crawford. All this fun cost $1,000.00. I think that was probably a lot of money back in the late 50's. I am not really sure. The cabin was rustic but very modern too. We had a tolit and running water but had to take a bath in the kitchen in a round tub filled with hot water from a bucket. (that wasn't so good I remember) We had a piano to play but had to pump the pedals to make the sound. The reason I bring this up is it reminded me of what was said by some Montana kids when we were all together one day. One of us asked if we Arizona girls were different to them. They all said one of us talked funny and pointed their fingers at me. So, that was the start of my being aware that I "talked diferent than the rest."

My family came from Texas in 1917 and they were true born and bred Texans. A few Hamilton brothers settled in Chandler, Arizona in 1917 . My grandfather returned from WWI and went to Texas and married his sweetheart and moved to Arizona. They returned to Texas in 1921 so my dad could be born on Texas soil. So, I am blamming my mannerism of speach on being a Texan too I guess. I have always known I had this issue with my words because throughout the years it has come up many times. I just got to the point where I avoided the words that I knew I said  incorrectly like kleenex, wash, and mirror.

The other day I was helping Tatum with her homework and I said the letter "w". That just started it all and Chandler, Cooper and Tatum had the best time telling me how funny I talk. I can take it though - I am proud to have a little bit of Texas in me! But, to be told by a five year old is not so good!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Diamondbacks Baseball

Most of you know that I am a big Diamondback fan. This year Alvin purchased season tickets for me to enjoy and that "we" did.
Our seats were behind the Diamondback dugout and I really liked the view.
With tickets you got a few extra options. We could trade in unused tickets for more seats for a game you could attend so we did that so everybody got a chance to go.

You could trade your tickets in "one time" for better seats. We did and were 2 rows behind dugout instead of 24 rows.

You could watch fireworks every Friday night game, see a concert, watch the "reunion game", and laugh with Baxter being up close and personal.

And there were things we didn't even do that were offered. We really did enjoy going to the games and it was expecially nice the summer months when Alvin didn't have a big teaching load. There was one week we went to five games. We never tired - always ready to go. Usually a 10 game homestand and then they would be gone maybe 10 games so the break in between made it workable.

They had 81 home games. Seven we missed because we hadn't bought tickets yet and basically 74 games we had the opportunity to attend. We went to 44. When school was going on we missed all Tuesday and Thursday games and we never went on Sunday. We missed 10 games when we were on vacation. We had hoped to sell unused tickets on Stub Hub but we only sold 6 sets so not so successful. On many games Sub Hub had 800 to 900 DB tickets on sale. The last month we gave the seats we couldn't attend or sell to friends.

Even though I am that "DIEHDFN" we have decided to not purchase again next year. Mainly the expense and being gone for the full month in the summer was the deciding factor. Thanks Alvin for buying the tickets! I will miss them that is for sure but I always have the TV. I will miss Mark Grace too but I guess he deserves what happened to him.

Arizona Science Center

Chandler, Cooper, and Tatum were my responsibility for three days this week since their mother was out of town and it was fall break for Chandler Schools. We decided to go to the Arizona Science Center one of those days. Now, I am not particularily a museum type of person so I really wasn't overly excited to do this. But, me being the good "Nana" that I am went with high expectations that it would be fun. And, IT WAS!

When we paid, the person said I could buy a "grandparent pass" for $40.00 to get ourselves and four grandchildren in free for a year. I declined because I really didn't plan on going back any time soon (expecially in a years time). We first visited the Lego exhibit. I had been warned that the previous exhibit there years ago wasn't much fun because they only had the large lego blocks for building. This time they had containers filled with the legos our kids like to use. We probably spent close to an hour with the legos.

Then we headed upstairs to the "Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs" display. I guess the exhibit had just opened the day before. It was a nice display and the kids liked it but to me all dinosaur exhibits look the same. They don't change much from exhibit to exhibit. They did enjoy digging for bones and Tatum liked the interaction with the talking dinosuars.

We all really enjoyed two other permanent exhibits at the science center. They were the "All About Me" and the "W.O.N.D.E.R. Center."

The, All About Me, you learn about how your body works and functions from the inside out. They especially enjoyed the walk through enormous working stomach complete with the sights, sounds and smells of the digestive process. In other words, you would go down this short slide and of course you would hear farting sounds. A big hit for sure!

The W.O.N.D.E.R. Center,  was an exploration of the human brain. It was wonderful and you wandered from place to place with all these interactive things to do. Unfortunately no pictures. Cooper played basketball with and without glasses trying to change his mind set, Chandler and Cooper wore helments and stared at a small rolling ball for a mind over matter excercise. There was an excercise that taught you how to breath to keep your blood pressure down when stressed. Cooper answered 18 questions to see if he was an impulsive type or a low key mind type. Tatum sat on the front row of a 15 minute presentation on liquid nitrogen and was enthralled.

The last thing we did was the water with balls. They got wet which was fine.

OK - I wish I had purchased that grandparent pass now. I would skip the dinousours and head straight to the body and brain exhibit. Those two things can keep you busy with fun and informational things for many hours.

We were right in the area of "Pizzeria Bianco" which I never been too because so popular there is always an enormous wait time so we checked out the wait time for 2:00 PM and it was 10 minutes. Hurray I finally got to eat there. I worried about the kids because they defnitely have their own taste buds for pizza plus no pepperoni available but they consumed three or more slices each and totally loved it.
So, would you believe I think the day was a success.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Gretchen and Stephen

Stephen's birthday is September 6 and Gretchen's birthday is September 8. We celebrated at Rustler's Roost which is a cowboy type place. The last time we were there was probably 20 years ago. I remembered there was a slide you went down to get to your table but we didn't do that because our table was on the top floor which had a marvelous view. After we ordered we went down the slide and again after we ate. Downstairs where you end up after going down the slide is a dance floor with a very good western band playing. Alvin was in hog heaven so we had to dance. I think the grandkids were a little embrassed to see us out their swinging around. I kept loosing my shoes - wasn't planning to dance!

It was a really fun place to go. The kids had a great time on the slide and the bull outside was a good attraction too. Food was just "OK".

BTW - The bear was a school project that you take him where ever you go and than write about it.