Anyone Hiring?

I found out last night, at 5:00, that my wages are being cut by more than half. I’m bummed. I love my job 99% of the time, but I can’t afford to stay at that rate. I just can’t. By the same token I understand that they can’t afford to keep me at the wage I was making.

I’d appreciate your prayers and if you live close to me and know of any good positions of the Office Manager/ Executive Assistant persuasion, please let me know.

I’ve agreed to stay on until I find something else, and to train whoever they get to replace me.

Needless to say, I’m not having a happy day. 😦

I believe that God has a plan for me in all of this, I truly do. But I’d really like to know what His plan is NOW rather than later. God, if you’re listening…I could use some good news about now. Thanks!

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Kung Fu Panda and Joe Satriani

We had the boys this weekend, which is always lots of fun. I love having them at our house and look forward to their arrival every other weekend. The oldest is really into Call of Duty 4 (or as the cool kids call it – COD4) and I think he would play it constantly from the time he gets in the door until the moment we take him home if we’d let him. We don’t, and I think he’s okay with that, but still…if given the chance, I don’t think it would go offline all weekend. 🙂kung_fu_panda

Saturday’s mail brought a package from Amazon.com. I pre-ordered Kung Fu Panda for my hubby for his birthday (which was Tuesday – Happy Birthday Honey!). Now my hubby is not  a big fan of going to the movies, but we’d seen the trailers to Kung Fu Panda and thought it looked funny, so we went. It was so funny, in fact, that we went twice! There is something about the slow motion animation that is so hilarious that we had tears running down our faces both times we saw it in the theater. This one is a definite “got to own it” movie. So guess what we did Saturday night…yep, watched Kung Fu Panda with the boys. We all got a good laugh out of it.  I couldn’t help but  think that the dudes would have probably laughed a lot harder at this movie three years ago (especially oldest, who is now 15 and cooler than the other side of your pillow) than they did now, but I think they enjoyed it a lot.

Last night we dropped the boys off a couple of hours earlier than usual because my wonderful sister-in-law bought us tickets to see Joe Satriani at the Dodge Theater in Phoenix. Before the show my husband treated me to a fabulous dinner of prime rib at Kinkaids.

l-westLeslie West and Mountain opened the show. They weren’t bad, but not great either. During the second (I think) song Leslie tripped over one of his cords and crashed into the floor, tweaking his knee and who knows what else. This guy is no spring chicken anymore so there was a lot of concern for him. He got up, limped back to his mike, cussed some, and continued his portion of the show. His bass player (sorry, can’t recall his name) was pretty entertaining. He’d get his 2 ft. braids (which protrude from his mohawk) swinging around his head like a helicopter and I was pretty sure he was going to take flight at any moment.  The highlight of Leslie’s show was when he played Mississippi Queen, which was the only song that I recognized of his.

Then came Joe Satriani…Wow! That. Dude. Can. Play! He’s just so amazing. He did mostly songs from his satch1new album. But he also did a few of his old standby’s as well. I especially love his song “Always With Me, Always With You” as that is the song my daughter and her hubby chose for their processional music for their wedding in August 2007. He did one song, “Ghosts” that I thought was pretty interesting. I liked the mystery and emotion that it evoked. “Andalusia”is a beautiful song that is technically brilliant…but of course all of Satch’s music is technically brilliant. He switched guitars throughout the show, but I think my favorite was a gorgeous silver guitar that he played quite a bit.  Several of Joe’s guitarsare custom made by Ibanez. Stu Hamm, Joe’s bass player, did an incredible solo on the bass…Wow!! What a show!

The only down side to the entire evening is that I had this in front of me all night, blocking my view!!

dudes-head1

He could have just scrunched down in his seat, couldn’t he? Oh well, the music was still amazing and I had a great time with my hubby. Many thanks to my sister-in-law for the concert. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me!

I’m Counting My Blessings, Part 2

Our church has a ministry to the homeless in Phoenix. This is something my husband decided he would like to get involved with and something that I’ve always wanted to do.

A couple of weeks ago my hubby spoke to the man who coordinates this ministry and got all the essential information. He gave the man his email address and the next day the man’s wife emailed my hubby the time/date/directions to their home.

We got up Saturday morning, thinking that we had plenty of time to get showered and dressed and over to the meeting place. Hubby decided to check the email once more for the directions and time. UH OH! We were running WAY late. We needed to be at their house at 8:45 to leave by 9:00. We thought it was 9:30 that we were supposed to leave. We decided we just couldn’t make it.

A minute later my hubby said to me, “You know, if we don’t shower right now we could probably get over there in time.” So off I went to get dressed, pulling my hair back into a pony tail. He was ready and waiting when I got downstairs and we sped off to meet the others.

We carpooled downtown to the area where we were going to hand out bags of snacks, a variety of sodas and bottled water. As we drove up the street toward the shelter, before we even got parked, a young man, obviously hurting, started tapping on the window of the car in front of us, which had our pastor and the organizer of the event in it. He shuffled back and forth on his feet, talked to them and then they pulled away and he ran back to the car we were in. Mike, the guy driving, rolled down the window an inch or so and the guy asked for a quarter. Mike told him we couldn’t give him money, but that we had snacks and water for him. Never stopping his shaky movement, the man asked if we could just buy him some crack. Again Mike told him no, but offered him the items that we brought with us. He declined and then told us he was going to steal our tires! The pain in this man’s eyes was hard to handle. He was suffering, no doubt. I said a silent  prayer for him as we pulled alongside the curb and parked.

When we got out of the vehicle and unloaded the coolers and boxes the folks started coming around. I’ve never seen people so grateful! They stood in line, no pushing or shoving. They were very excited about the sodas! They were thankful for the snacks. Some of them asked us to pray for them and some blessed us as they walked away. The pain in this place was incredible, yet these people were flashing toothless grins that lit up my whole day.

One lady especially touched me. As she took her soda, a water and a bag of snacks she was grinning from ear to ear and she told me, “God had just blessed me so much today!! I’m so excited!” She reached into her pocked and pulled out a broken choker with a cross pendant. “My friend gave this to me today! And then,  when I was cleaning the bathrooms, I found this!” She showed me a shiny silver coin that had John 3:16 on it. “She had tears in her eyes as she said, “And NOW you have come here to share these things with us! This day is so full of blessings!” I hugged her and she hugged me back, tightly. She thought we were the blessings, but I was the one that was blessed by her.

Many others filed in, some taking snacks and sodas to their friends who were in wheel chairs and too weak to come over. They offered to let us walk back with them to see that they were being selfish and taking more than their share!

John, the organizer, was asked by a man if he had any t-shirts or clothes, which he did. He had a couple of t-shirts and one pair of jeans. He gave them to the man and another guy walked over and asked for a t-shirt. John told him that he’d given away all that he’d brought with him and the other guy handed him one of the two shirts John had given him. “Here man, I don’t need two shirts anyway. I can only wear one at a time.” he said.

One couple that were at the halfway house spoke to my husband and Mike. They had lost everything. She had a serious heart condition and he is a convicted felon. He’s looked for jobs, but of course is having a hard time finding anything as a lot of companies won’t hire you if you have a felony record. She told us that she would evenutally have to have a heart transplant, but for now she was just taking her medicaiton and waiting. They stood there talking to Mike and my hubby for quite a while.

I watched these hurting people as we handed them the items we brought and I thought about my dad. This could be him. If it were not for the love and care of family members (mostly my uncle), my dad could be, and probably would be, one of these homeless people.

As we drove away I thought about how much I take for granted. Things like my family and friends, my home, my job, my mental and physical health and never having to worry about whether I will eat today all became so vivid in my mind and I suddenly felt more gratitude than I have in a long time! As we drove back to get our car I sat in the back seat praying for the ones that we had served, and thanking God for the blessing of being allowed to give something to these folks.

I went there to bless the homeless people of our community and instead I was amazingly blessed by them!! I can’t wait to go back!

I’m Melting!!! (Well, not anymore, but I was!)

Friday I get a call from my husband informing me that it was 88 degrees in our house and rising rapidly. Our A/C was out. This is not good news in Arizona in August. It was 108 degrees outside and it was FRIDAY!!

Thankfully we were able to get someone to the house to check out the A/C. Bad news. He said it would cost at least $1200 to fix it, but it would probably break again within a year so we should really consider getting a new one. They’re only $5000+!!!!!!!!!

We decided to get a second opinion on Monday (today) and then talk to the bank about financing.

Yesterday, after both of us being hot and crabby for three days, my husband said to me, “Call someone and get them here today!” So I did. I got online and found Redco Construction. It was 1:30 PM when I called them and the very nice girl on the other end of the line said that someone would be out between 2:30 and 3:30. He was there by 2:30!

This guy was so nice and the company is a small mom and pop business (http://www.redcoelectric.com/). He climbed up on the roof and checked things out and prepared his estimate – $560 to fix the same things that the guy who came on Friday said would cost over $1200! He said that at some point we should consider getting a new, more energy efficient A/C someday but emphasized that it was not necessary at this point in time. This one could absolutely be repaired.

I felt bad for the repairman, it was at least 108 while he was up on the roof working, but within an hour of signing off on the estimate our house was cooling down from a stifling 90+ degrees to a comfortable 78 degrees by the time we went to bed.

Hubby was happy. Kitties were happy. Dog was happy. Fishes were happy.

Ahhhh…what a great night’s rest!

A Trip into the Past

My hubby has a hard and fast rule, from which he rarely wavers, about traveling over holidays – that rule is that he doesn’t travel…period. This especially applies to New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, as these are the holidays that most lend themselves to people drinking and then getting into their cars and wantonly endangering the lives of themselves and everyone else that is unfortunate enough to be on the same road. He calls these holidays “Amateur Night” and vowed long ago that he wasn’t going to be out on the road with all the crazies, even when he was one of them.

Needless to say, I have pretty much quit asking if we can go somewhere fun on a three-day weekend. There are plenty of other weekends in the year where we can go and do, so it’s just not a huge deal to me anymore. This year he surprised me.

Last Sunday we were going to go to a movie. My hubby isn’t crazy about going to movies, either, but he knows I love going, so he planned for us to go see something that we both thought looked fun and entertaining, “ You Don’t Mess With the Zohan”. The bummer for us was that the movie isn’t being released until June 6th. I sighed and began to plan a day of laundry and paying bills. It was okay, I wasn’t planning anything anyway.

Nevertheless, Hubby was determined to give me a fun day on this holiday weekend! He decided that we would go visit the Heard Museum in Phoenix. I’ve lived here for 2 ½ years, but had never yet been to this wonderful place, and he hadn’t been there since he was a kid on a school field trip; probably about 25-30 years ago. I LOVE museums, and had expressed a desire to visit the Heard, so he thought this would make for a fun day for us both. He was right!!

We arrived about 11:00 AM and had lunch at the lovely little restaurant, The Acadia Farms Cafe that is part of the museum. We feasted on seafood enchiladas and salad while sitting outdoors under a tree. The weather was beautiful! It was sunny, a very slight breeze was blowing and the temperature was about 80.

There is a shop that sells Native American items, many of which are very costly. I told my hubby that I thought it would be really cool to have one of the large baskets that we saw in the shop, I have just the place to put one that size…that is I thought it would be cool until he pointed out that the price of that particular basket was $17,000!! NO, I’m not exaggerating! $17,000! But, in all fairness, it is an amazing piece of work.

After lunch we went to tour the museum. We saw authentic, handmade jewelry, pottery, baskets, katsina dolls (I really loved these!), textiles, paintings and more. We saw clothing and artifacts that were up to thousands of years old. Papoose boards, buckskin dresses adorned with elk teeth, moccasins, pottery and primitive weapons were among the many items we saw. The exhibits were divided by the various tribes that inhabited this area: Navajo, Hopi, Apache and others. There is also a room that contains artifacts and artwork from other native peoples in parts of the world such as Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand and South America.

To me, one of the most interesting exhibits was about the Indian boarding schools. It was sad, however, to see how our government tried to “civilize” the Indians by sending them away from their homes and families to educate them to be more “white”. Some of them had to be dragged away, screaming and crying, to be taken to the boarding schools. In every single photograph of the young Native Americans there was only rarely a smile. Most stared rather blankly at the camera and many looked very uncomfortable. We also saw the Indian that used to adorn the Indian School gymnasium here in Phoenix. My husband recognized it immediately as he once got to play basketball in that gym. Apparently they cut out the center of the floor and it was donated to the Heard Museum when they re-purposed the building. There were a lot of stellar athletes to come out of the Indian School system, including Jim Thorpe. During the summer of 1912, before his last year at Carlisle, Thorpe was chosen to represent America at the Stockholm Olympics in the decathlon and the pentathlon.

This was an educational, interesting and fun trip. The best part was that I got to experience this wonderful place with my sweetheart, who being a Phoenix Native, had some insights that I would not have gotten had I gone alone! It would take many weeks to take in all that there is to see at the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix; I’m certain this will not be my last trip!

Baseball and Fireworks

Last night my hubby and I went to a baseball game. This is part of his plan to spoil me rotten until I go back to work on Monday. I think I’ll keep him!

We drove to Chase Field to watch the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks (my team) play the opening game of their three game series last night. We did not purchase tickets ahead of time, but there were plenty for sale at the ticket window.

The game was FABULOUS!! The Diamondbacks scored 9 runs during the game. The Padres did not fare quite as well. I do have to say that the Padres were here after losing to the Colorado Rockies in 22 innings on Thursday, so they were probably beat! But a win is a win, and we’ll take it thank-you-very-much!

I was excited to see Greg Maddux, a future hall of famer, pitching for the Padres. I love watching athletes that are still giving it their all at the end of a great career. I don’t know how many more years Maddux will play, but I’m glad I got to watch him pitch.

At the end of the game the Diamondbacks and Chase Field sponsored a colorful fireworks show. I LOVE fireworks almost as much as I love baseball, so it was quite a night for me! I took a few photos (okay, I took 498 altogether), and thanks to the miracle of digital photo editing I think these pictures are worth sharing!

 

 

I love my camera! I love my photo editing software! I love fireworks! I love baseball!

Most of all I love my hubby, who gave me all of this!

Downtown Phoenix

While she was here, my aunt and I took a short day trip to downtown Phoenix. First we went to an outdoor market where my aunt found some nice things to take back for her sister-in-law and a couple other people back home in Colorado. After the market we visited the Phoenix Science Museum, where we took in the Titanic Exhibit. That was pretty amazing! To see how well some of the artifacts have survived after all those years under water was very interesting. Of course some items showed some wear and tear, but other things, like wool socks, were in almost new shape!

After the museum we walked downtown to Saint Mary’s Basilica and the Arizona Center. Both are very interesting in their own way. We sat and prayed for a short time in the sanctuary at Saint Mary’s before walking over to the Arizona Center, where my aunt picked up some souvenirs for her grandchildren and her daughter and son-in-law. While she had fun shopping, my joy was in taking pictures to share with everyone. Below are a few of my favorite shots of the day.

Saint Mary’s Basilica

Arizona Center

Saint Mary’s Basilica

Saint Mary’s Basilica

Saint Mary’s Basilica

Saint Mary’s Basilica

Lion Fountains

Park at the Arizona Center

Red Geranium

Rossum House

I love downtown Phoenix! There is so much to see and do in this city. I think I will have a lot to explore while I live here!