I've lived next to a junk yard for about 15 years straight. The first one was an official junk yard. The second one is less official, but much more of a nuisance. I could not see the first junk yard, just knew that it was there. However, the second one. . . that is a whole other story.
People really seem to like dumping their trash by the side of the road in my neighborhood. It seems like every week a new couch arrives. Two weeks ago a rather nice looking chair showed up. I was going to snag it and reupholster it, but, it rained before I could get to it. . . once something has been rained on I deem it too gross too work on.
Up until two days ago, the most shocking thing I'd seen was a dead horse. Which, don't get me wrong, that was definitely shocking. . . but it was rather small, and though I don't understand why someone would think it was alright to drop off a dead horse along the side of the road, I can almost see what they might have been thinking. It is really hard to dig a hole in the ground out here, which would make burying the horse hard. Also, we are 4" short on rain this year, which is a lot when you only get 6" of rain annually. My point being, you wouldn't want to burn the poor thing because you might burn the whole city down.
The newest item added on the side of the road is an entire boat. Yes, a boat. I bet you didn't even think that people in Phoenix owned boats. However, Phoenix, has more boats per capita than any other state (don't believe me? This article says something about it. . . http://phoenix.about.com/library/blboats.htm), this, along with the idea that everything ends in excess should have prepared me for finding a boat abandoned on the side of the road, but, as with the horse, I still found it shocking.
I decided to do a sample project for my intro class. I wasn't going to do one, but then I saw the image of the girl in the boots from peopleofwalmart.com and knew that I just had to make a board. . . I love that even the baby has boots on.
I recently purchased some icebreakers mints. I absolutely love icebreakers mints, I pretty much chain-smoke icebreakers mints. Anyhow, that is not the point. I was very disappointed to see that icebreakers had changed the tin up. The tin has two openings, one that you can reach you hand into, and one smaller opening. The smaller opening says "not to share" and the larger opening says "to share." Or at least that is what it used to say! Now they have switched it around to better suit our non-sharing, food hogging society. The little spout now says "to share", and the larger opening "not to share." I know that this is kind of silly, but I still found it interesting. If you look closely you can see the the smaller perforation is on the "not to share" side. . .
Today we had Thanksgiving dinner with some of our neighbors that we met about a month ago when I decided to ask them if they wanted to drop off the truck load of dirt that they had, into our front yard. I have found myself so surprised and delighted with the kindness of (almost complete) strangers lately and have been so blessed by their generosity and love of God.
After about an hour or so of mingling around with other people who had been invited to this family's house, we gathered in the living room and Art read the following combination of speeches by Abraham Lincoln.
"It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!(On March 30, 1863 President Lincoln, in his Proclamation for a Day of Prayer and Fasting)
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."(Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863)
I was struck by how true the ring of this was. If we were too proud then to acknowledge that God has made us, than what does that make us today?
We ate dinner outside in 80˚ weather, which didn't make it feel too much like Thanksgiving. So in the spirit of feeling non-traditional I decided to heap a spoonful of hot chili sauce onto my turkey and ham, as was our neighbors tradition. IT WAS DELICIOUS! I will take chili sauce over gravy any day!
After dinner we gathered inside and sang worship hymns - the guitar, hand drum and lap harp were the instruments played. It reminded me a lot of house church back in the day (though, I was actually sitting still for this).
This is my favorite bread recipe and it's super easy to make. Harvest Loaf Bread Preheat oven to 350˚F
1 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter 2 eggs 3/4 cup pumpkin 1 3/4 cup flour 1 t. cinnamon 1/2 t. nutmeg 1/4 t. cloves 1/4 t. ginger 1 t. baking soda 1/2 t. Salt 3/4 cup chocolate chips (edit, mini chocolate chips, thanks mom!) 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I like to use pecans, I think the recipe calls for walnuts though)
Cream butter, slowly add sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Shift flour, soda, add spices (I like to combine all the dry ingredients into a Tupperware container and just shake them up a bit). Stir into butter mixture, alternating with pumpkin. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. You can sprinkle some nuts on the top too. . . this just makes it look prettier. Bake for 1 hour.
I'll be the first to admit that I have a really hard time being hospitable. It's bad, I know. I just don't like having people in my house. It probably has something to do with the fact that I have two very obnoxious dogs who do not know how to behave themselves when people come over (or when people are not over). It probably also has to do with the fact that we never had a table big enough to seat guests (or the ocassional new sibling) while I was growing up. I'm working on it though.
It's not really hospitality, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving I am making a bunch of harvest loaf bread to give to neighbors and the few other people I know around this little town.
Three down, 3 to go. Technically I bought enough butter to make 12 loaves. . . ain't it a shame when you can't do simple math in your head (or just forget that one stick of butter is half a cup, not a fourth.)
My mom decided that she wanted Kyle and I to see the U2 concert for her birthday. . . so we gave in an went. There was a moment of panic when we thought that we might not have seats because section 19 didn't seem to be available on the seat map. . . and that is where our seats were. Turns out we did have seats, but the sound booth was blocking the stage a little bit! Oh well! It was still a great show! Thanks mom!
One of my favorite parts was trying to keep on eye on where Bono was. . . he was all over the place. The best part was when he pulled three sister up on stage. . . then danced with them. . . then let them stay on the stage while the next song was performed. . . and then laid across all of their laps. That's just Bono for you.
Here are some pictures from the Gregory wedding. Didn't she have lovely flowers? Speaking of flowers, here's a cutie. . . "our hearts will go on and on!" PS. I would just like to point out that my dress was the only one to have a fitting. . . everyone else's fit. . . for the most part.
Kyle and I drove up to Flagstaff this weekend (and by we, I mean, he drove and I road). The weather was gorgeous! The aspens were turning and spraying their yellow leaves everywhere. We started out by going for a hike on the Humpreys Summit trail. . . we didn't make it terribly far, but did have a lovely picnic along the way. After that we went down to the historic downtown and did some Christmas shopping and ate some fancy desert. The we went to Lowell Observatory and saw Jupiter and his four moons. It was pretty cool. They were having a business sponsored night, so we didn't have to pay to get in, which was very nice.
I've made myself a list of projects that take up an entire day. I do one project every Saturday. Last Saturday we cleaned up the front yard - after which all the leaves on our tree decided to drop for fall (I think we have the only tree that looses its leaves in the entire neighborhood). One of the projects I really was looking forward to was finishing the garden in the back. I had little hope for this one getting done because it needed a whole lot of dirt to happen and I don't like spending money on dirt. Does anyone? Anyway, last night Kyle and I were walking back from the dog park and this guy was shoveling around some dirt in his pick-up. I decided to ask him if the dirt was coming or going and was informed that he was taking it to the dump the next morning. Short story even shorter - this morning I got a nice pile of free dirt in my back yard!! Score! We enjoyed some nice weather in the double digits for a week or two, but the past two days have decided to go triple again. . . I decided to work outside anyway. This is me in my rock grinding gear. . . I found out rather quickly that a bathing suit top is not the best thing to wear when little bits of rock are flying at you, so I had to put a long sleeve shirt on. It actually didn't seem too hot. . . Here are some pictures of how far all the Lowes giftcards I got for my birthday got me before the thermometer decided to get stuck on 115... The rest are pictures of what I accomplished today. We ended up having just the perfect amount of dirt! It was dark outside when I finished, so I apologize if the photo quality is kinda shady. Please note the awesome trellis I built out of wire. . .it reminds me of Jacob's Ladder. . . the one you make with the string game...Hopefully in a few years the bougainvillea will have matured quite nicely and will hide all the wires. I have deep grape, fushia and white planted.
We've found that we are not very good at calling everyone and giving you updates on our lives. We do want you all to be up to date on the very exciting things that are happening in Arizona and in our lives - with that we dedicate this blog to you. ta dah.