Ostrich Festival

We went to the 22nd Annual Ostrich Festival at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Arizona a few weeks ago. I’ve been having trouble downloading photos off my phone onto the computer until today. It’s one of those simple, annoying solutions — I have to reboot my phone while it’s attached to the computer.

Hubby and I went with YD and her BF and the Granddaughter to the festival. It’s funny, because we kind of thought an Ostrich Festival would have ostriches as far as the eye could see. I think there were six of them — several in a viewing pen and several that they raced. Oh, well. Beyond that, there was the usual great festival fare including food, carnival games and rides. It was fun, we spent way too much money and everyone was exhausted.

Here’s an Ostrich fact sheet, in case you were wondering …

There was a neat little petting zoo and it was definitely spring — lots of cute babies …

An alpaca, which is where some beautiful, soft yarn comes from …

These guys just needed some honk if you’re horny bumper stickers …

We did see an Ostrich Chariot Race …

This may be why they were running …

And no, none of us had an Ostrich Burger. Stuck with my favorite taco fry bread. And for dessert, chocolate and whipped cream covered funnel cake …

Evening carnival rides make everyone a kid again …

Legend of the Stick Lizard

I have to share another bit from Clay Thompson’s Arizona 101 column. I love this …

“A stick lizard, as many an old-time Arizonan can tell you, scurries along the hot desert floor with a stick held crossways in its mouth.

The stick serves two purposes. When a lizard comes to a burning stretch of sand, it uses the stick to sort of pole vault over the hot part, thus preventing burns to its little lizard feet.

The stick also is used for self-preservation. If the lizard is attacked, the crossways stick prevents the predator from swallowing the lizard.

This stick-lizard business is old-timer, tall-tale hooey of course, but it amuses the tourists.”

Taken from the Arizona Republic. Thanks again, Clay Thompson!

New Baby Road Trip

The sweet momma I had the baby shower for last month delivered the little buckaroo last week. We were eager to meet him, so YD and I took a day trip into the mountains yesterday to do just that and take the momma and grandma out to lunch.

It was a pretty drive …

saguaros on a hill

scrub brush and cactus

tree shadows

Here’s a sign you’ll never see in Phoenix …

and finally, here is the new baby with his knitted horsie blanket …

Look at that thick head of hair. He is tiny and adorable and perfect! What a fun day!!!

Mexican Speed Bump

Now doesn’t that sound like a cocktail you might have with chips and salsa? In fact, it is a government-backed invention in Mexico created to slow traffic. I read about this Smart Speed Bump in the Arizona Republic recently and it seems like a good idea.

Smart Speed BumpDecano Industries in Toluca, Mexico, has created a speed bump that measures the force of impact from a vehicle, falling flat if it is moving at or below the speed limit. If the vehicle is going too fast, the speed bump remains raised.

Apparently, it is rugged, requires no electricity, costs about $1,500 for a single lane and will last approximately 10 years with an annual maintenance cost of only $50.

When we moved to Phoenix, we noticed that drivers really fly on these streets. It finally dawned on me why this is … there aren’t many potholes to speak of which allows for much higher speeds. The nice weather and lack of snow and plows and salt leave the streets in pretty good shape year-round. The mountain town we came from had potholes the size of a car — or at least it felt like it when you hit one.

So far, photo radar has been the answer to slowing down speeders here. Maybe, once Mexico has completed their patent and started manufacturing the Smart Speed Bump, we’ll have a test run in Phoenix.

Prelude to the Holidays

I’ve always considered “the Holidays” to be the stretch of fall and winter encompassing Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. As a child growing up in areas with four seasons, Labor Day signaled the end of summer, school started with the purchase of new winter clothes, and we were off on a hard ride through fall eagerly anticipating costumes and trick or treating.

Living in Phoenix,  the one thing I really miss about the four seasons is fall. I miss the trees turning colors and the cooler temperatures. Although we’ll be back up to 99 degrees on Friday (10/16), we’ve been fortunate to have some beautiful fall weather for this area already with temps in the low 80s.

Still, other than walking into a craft store stacked to the rafters with fall colors in flowers, leaves and ribbons, it can be tough to get that fall feeling here. There is a wonderful traveling arts and crafts show, the Briar Patch Marketplace, that moves from school to school in the Valley on the weekends. They have over 100 exhibitors with all kinds of great products, many hand-made, for purchase. Here is the video clip from their website taken during a Christmas show in late November. Check out the ladies shopping in shorts and sandals — that’s Phoenix!

We did a family girls’ day out last Sunday and five of us attended the Briar Patch. Myself, both of my daughters, granddaughter and step-granddaughter went and had the best time. We looked at every little thing. We read every hand-painted sign — some of our favorites …

  • Who needs Halloween. I’m a witch all year.
  • Kiss me good night every night.
  • We’ve been through a lot together and most of it was your fault.
  • Family … started with two people falling in love.

Halfway through, we stopped and shared a couple of the delicious, enormous cinnamon rolls they sell. Just, yum! I gave the kids a small allowance to spend and they worked it, each getting 3 items for $10 — an animal jewelry box with a necklace inside, Avon body paint soap and a peanut brittle cookie. They are pretty good little shoppers! Having promised myself (and hubby) that I would not bring home one more decoration for the house, since we are currently organizing and getting rid of stuff, I was able to wander through and just enjoy the atmosphere. My two granddaughters out front, giggling and inspecting everything; my two daughters walking behind, talking non-stop. It was absolutely perfect.

peanut brittleI did spend $5.00 on a package of peanut brittle for hubby made by Fresh From Rowie’s in Glendale. This is one of his favorite treats that I’ve never even attempted to make. A woman who worked with him years ago is the grand master peanut brittle maker with an old family recipe. She makes it on the soft side so it melts in your mouth more than breaking your teeth. Hubby occasionally sees her during the holidays and I am always so glad because she gives him peanut brittle and cures his craving.

So we spent a lovely few hours at the craft fair, then had lunch at In-N-Out Burger. It was definitely not a low-fat day. But what a marvelous time and shopping at the craft fair sure helped kick me into the fall spirit.

A few years back, we spent a week on Cape Cod during September. The colors were just beginning to turn. I got a package of New England post cards to bring home. Here is one of my favorites …

new england fall foliage photo by james randklev

new england fall foliage photo by james randklev

Sunset and MORE PAINTING!

Walked out into our front yard facing West yesterday evening and had to run for my camera. This sunset was just so beautiful I wanted to share it.

an october sunset in phoenix

an october sunset in phoenix

The good news is we are DONE PAINTING THE WALLS! We still have to do some touch up work. Our trim — door frames and base boards — is white so we have to even up some lines and fix some color smudges. But we are done with the major painting. Finished the last two rooms today, the laundry room and guest bathroom. I am dying to go get a new shower curtain that will look fabulous with the Spice Cake paint.

We’ve been doing our “Yay, the painting is done” happy dance around the house. It feels good!

Jury Duty

juror badgeI received my summons for jury duty in Maricopa County Superior Court last month, to appear at 8:00 a.m. yesterday, Monday morning. As instructed, I called last Friday after 4:30 to check the status of my group and was told to call back again on Monday at 11:00 to see if they needed us in the afternoon.

Since I really didn’t want to drive downtown and spend the afternoon there, I had done the Wishful Thinking Insurance Exercise that morning of being prepared to go — showered, hair done, makeup applied. On my planet, this means I wouldn’t get asked to appear. Because, you know, if I didn’t get ready, they’d have required my presence for sure. Apparently, the Wishful Thinking Insurance Exercise fairies took yesterday off and I was told to appear at the courthouse at 1:00 p.m.

They actually make it pretty easy. Very clear instructions on how to get to the parking garage and where to catch the shuttle for the 5-block ride to the courthouse. There was a lot of standing in lines; first, for the shuttle; then, to go through security at the courthouse; then, to present your summons and register your presence in the jury assembly room. I was in the security line next to a woman who we shall call Chatty Cathy. At one point she asked me if I ever watched Andy Griffith. I looked at her and she said, “You know, the Andy Griffith Show.” She said that Aunt Bea went to jury duty and everyone couldn’t agree on the verdict so she baked brownies or something to try and steer the jury her way. Whatever!

The jury assembly room kind of reminded me of the MVD. A big room with lots of chairs and people waiting around to get called. The woman who was working the microphone was great. She had a good sense of humor, did a pretty good job of pronouncing names and scolded a few times when people weren’t responding “Here” loud enough as she called their names. She would say, “Okay, we have another bailiff here. When I call your name, say ‘Here’ and come up and get your number. Then stand on the white tile and follow your bailiff to whichever courtroom.” They had TVs up all over the place and started the movie “Fever Pitch,” starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore.

I took a paperback to pass the time. Hubby and I thought it was funny that I was reading “Abuse of Power” by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg. It’s a dirty cop story but a DA plays a prominent role. We thought if I made it all the way to the jury selection process, I should accidentally drop my book on the floor and when they saw the title they would just think Oh no, pass!

They sent about 8 groups through with various bailiffs. I think one group had about 46.5 people in it. I say .5 because I don’t think Chatty Cathy was all there. A little before 3:00, they started reading names again, this time to come up and get your proof of attendance paperwork and be released to go. It was so gorgeous outside, I decided to walk the 5 blocks back to the parking garage and, apparently, a number of other jurors thought the same thing. I heard a man behind me say that he had been in the jury selection process for a trial they estimated would last 3 weeks. They finished at about juror #25 and his number was in the thirties. He sounded relieved. scales of justice

So my very first time at jury duty was a big non-event. Since I didn’t even make it to the jury selection process, I don’t make the whopping $12.00 payment, just mileage reimbursement based on our zip code. Civic duty attempted!