Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2/27/2009 I’ll Walk the Journey By Your Side

An Open Letter to My FRIEND

I met you when you were five years old. I was six. We played in the yard and on your swing. That’s all we had as we were only together on occasional weekends when I went to my grandparents cottage at the beach. Besides, we weren't allowed out of your yard.

A couple of years later, we were probably seven and eight and we went out on your parents boat. No bathing suits but It didn’t matter, we stripped down to panties and thought it was such a special day to go swimming like that. I can remember the fishing poles coming out and your dad baiting hook after hook because we had somehow gotten into a school of perch and we were pulling them in one after the other. Or maybe it wasn’t a school but two dumb fish that didn’t have sense enough to swim away.

We played with your dog Honey, and then Candy, when she came along. If I’m not mistaken there was even a monkey in the household for a short time at some point.

Do you remember when we were ten and eleven and we would go to the pavilion in the evening, parents in tow of course, and we found a place on the “wall” around the open air dance floor and we couldn’t wait for the right songs to play on the jukebox so that we could line dance with the teenagers?

Do you remember the summer we were thirteen and fourteen? Your dad was taking us waterskiing and just as we were loading the skis and whatever else we had the fire whistle went off. Your dad went to see what was going on a the firehouse across the street. There was a drowning in the river and with him being a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the boat was ready to go, we were called into service. Young teenagers holding the ropes to the bar of grappling hooks. Wanting to be the ones who found the drowned man but scared to death that we would, in fact, be the ones.

Fast forward to the next summer and now we’re fifteen and sixteen. We were now the teenagers at the beach. Do you remember the night we took white sheets from home and had Alan drive us out to the “haunted house” a couple of miles outside the beach and leave us. He went back to get the others and when they arrived and made their way to the scary second story we came out of the rooms on either side of the staircase, covered in white sheets, Do you remember the screams of those twenty or so kids, boys and girls alike? Do you remember how hard we laughed? I’ll never ever forget that.

Same summer…..we wanted to go roller skating at the roller rink and before it was over we had 72 kids going with us.

We spent our days on the beach tanning with our many friends or on the river water skiing. Oh those were the days.

The next summer we were sixteen and seventeen and our dads were commuting and we’re living at the beach practically all summer. this is the summer we discover Boonesfarm Wine and weed. Our weekend nights were spent in a cornfield at a keg party or on that old back road known simply as “Old Faithful”. Oh what a summer that was! I wish we had a dollar for every lie we told our parents that summer!

We graduate, we get jobs and our own cars and our horizons broaden. It isn’t long before you’re twenty and I’m twenty-one. We took our first flight together as we jetted off for a fabulous week in Hawaii. We’re not satisfied with the cottage anymore, we head to the ocean for our weekends now. That’s where the real party-ing is taking place and we have to be there.

You get married and I was your Maid of Honor. When it fell apart I was there for you. When you had your son just a month later after your separation, I was there for you then too. I spent my weekends at your place because of all places for you to live, you were back at the cottage. It was like we came home.

Through the years, we’ve never lost touch. Through failed romances, marriages, remarriages, your son growing up, through my husband going to Desert Storm, through other problems better left unsaid here, you were there for me and I was there for you. Always.

We’ve been through this journey we call life together, standing up for each other, telling each other when we were wrong, encouraging each other when one was down, standing by each other’s side the whole way. I’ve had your back, you’ve had mine.

I’m going to be by your side as we travel this next phase in our lives. This isn’t something I would have ever wished for you. Since you called me the other day and gave me this “news”, you have been on my mind. Rarely are you not in my thoughts. I pray for you ten times a day at least. I want this to go away. I’m not as strong as you are right now. I cry and I feel bad that I cry because you are so upbeat and positive that you will win this battle. You HAVE to win this battle! I want to have that same attitude but I’m not there yet. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this and I’m just not there yet. I feel terrible that I’m not but its going to take me a little bit of time to get there. But I will. I will be there for you when and if you need me. But you know that already, don’t you?

You amaze me my friend, You talk about this, the Big C as you called it, like its a wart or something. You voice has not so much as wavered when we’ve talked. Are you in fact being strong for me? Do you know me so well that you know that I have to dwell on this for a bit, that I have to turn this over and over in my mind and then let reality sink in and accept what is? Well, I don’t want to accept this! I don’t want this to be! I don’t want to talk about biopsies, and lung scans, and chemo and radiation and an operation, I don’t want these words associated with YOU! But they are. And I hate it already,

Very soon now I will pull up my big girl panties and accept that this is reality, For you. And for me. Yes, both of us because I will be at your side this entire journey. Not physically of course, you’re in Georgia and who knows what state I’ll be in after April. I will be there any hour of the day that you need me. I am but a phone call away. I promise to laugh with you, I promise to cry with you, I promise to be strong when you need me to be and I promise to just sit on the phone and listen to your silence when you need that too. I will be there for you. Always. We will face this demon together.

Our amazing friendship now spans fifty continuous years. FIFTY YEARS! Not many our age can say that my friend. I’m looking forward to at least thirty more!

I am so glad you are my forever friend. I love you girlfriend.

Friday, January 22, 2010

1/22/2010 The Aftermath

We’re hoping the worst of the storms are over. I had reason to go outside of the park today and took my camera with me.

The wind is still with us as you can see. Not blowing nearly as hard as it was but the palm trees are standing straight OUT!


You can see in the picture below how much sand is on the road, and how much water we still have on the roadways, the next day.



We still have lots of clouds rolling through although for the most part the sun is out.



The drainage ditches are full.


Water has settled in between the rows of newly plowed cotton fields.


This stop sign wasn’t knocked over by a car….look at how it is twisted at the bottom. The wind did this and this isn’t the only one I saw like this.


There is still lots of standing water on the streets.



When I got back I took a walk around the park. Here’s our horseshoes pits. A mesquite tree was uprooted.


The water just doesn’t have anywhere to go.


I don’t think we’ll be playing mini golf anytime soon.




This is a picture from last year when we were using this area for the Frisbee Toss during the Winter Olympics.


This is what it looks like today!


Take note of the blue rock. It says, “The Shore at Quail Run”. This is our lake….when the retention pond fills.


Needless to say, these storms have been on the news ALOT! Much like a blizzard on the east coast is. News people at every flooded intersection reporting.

Hopefully sunny skies are in our future.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

1/21/2010 …….and Dust was Everywhere!

We had been hearing about the “rain event” for several days but I don’t think any of us were expecting what we got.

Can you say torrential downpour? Can you sat WIND in all caps??

It started with the wind. I wasn’t out and about but my friends Don and LaVon were and I’ve captured some pictures from her blog, with permission of course, to show you what it was like here.

This is picture from I-10.


Look closely and you can see the outline of a mountain through the flying sand.


Here is a picture from downtown Casa Grande, see the tan color at the horizon? That’s blowing sand!


Heading back towards their place they passed this tree. This is what a sandstorm looks like. Oh the joy of living in the desert.

Sandstorm4 …….and it just gets worse.


This will give you an idea of how hard the wind was blowing. That dark section is thicker cloud of dust.


When we looked out the windows at our place we could see shingles from our neighbors houses flying by. Some lost quite a few. We were lucky and ours stayed in place. We did have some window leaks though.

And then the rain came….

It just poured! That in itself wouldn’t be bad but the ground here is not conducive to absorbing all this water in such a short amount of time. We had heard that the rain and wind were worse than they usually get during their monsoon season in the summertime.

There were several tractor trailers blown over on Interstate 10 and accident after accident because of flooded roads and zero visibility because of the dust storm.

One good thing, the rain cleaned the air!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1/20/2009 Hands That Help

I had a new experience today. I volunteered with a group of approximately 20 – 22 women here in the RV park at the weekly meeting of Helping Hands.


Every week this wonderful group of ladies gather together in the Oasis and get right to work pulling out sewing machines, yards of material, patterns, pincushions, scissors, needles, thread and cotton for stuffing.

Teddy bears are made for children in the local shelter for abused women and their children. These teddy bears are “comfort bears” for these kids who had to leave everything behind.


Caps for chemo patients are sewn for those who can’t afford or don’t want a wig. All the caps are lined with white cotton…..


……and then paired with a pretty outer material.


My job today was to help the cut the material for the caps and personal item bags to be sewn. I liked doing this job, all except for that one jab with a straight pin.


The personal items bags are filled with shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand cream and whatever else and given to the women at the local shelter because sometimes they have to leave their homes and don’t even have time to gather things like this.


Wool slippers are made for ladies in the local nursing home to help keep their feet warm.


Will I spend an afternoon doing this again? You Bet! I enjoyed the conversations, knowing that I was helping and this is just the best group of ladies to spend an afternoon with. Yep, Helping Hands will be filling my Wednesday afternoons!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1/19/2009 The “OTHER” One

I have a stat keeper on my blog that you’ve heard me mention before. It tells me where our readers are from as far as city and state and country go. It tells me what time of day readers are reading, how they got to the blog whether it be through a site where the blog is listed, such as Hitchitch or whether the blog is bookmarked or put in someone's Favorite Places and therefore a direct hit. It tells me all kinds of things.

One of my favorite stats to look at is the section that tells me what keywords were put into a search engine such as Google or Bing that brings them to this blog. I’ve gotten some pretty strange info from this section. If someone is having a problem with a groundhog they may google “how to kill a groundhog” Yep, they get directed to this blog because a couple of years ago when the groundhog saw his shadow I wrote something like, KILL THE GROUNDHOG! There’s a lot of people out there that want to kill groundhogs!

I do have a reason for telling you all of this. I’ve taken notice recently that I see keywords like How tall is Snookie in this section. I mean, I see this A LOT! I’m wondering, why do people want to know how tall I am? It’s no secret, I’ll tell ya, Five foot two. Then I took notice of Snookie at Jersey Shore and I’m thinking to myself, “I don't ever recall blogging that I was frequent weekend guest at beach house in Wildwood, NJ (known as part of the Jersey Shore) back in the mid-seventies. I even emailed Dianne, a forever friend of mine and asked her if she had any idea why readers were interested in how tall I am and how did they find out that I had some pretty wild weekends in Wildwood. I just didn’t get it.

Then I figured it out, I was watching TV a couple of weeks ago and they kept showing this clip over and over and over again. It was a young woman, a VERY VERTICALLY CHALLENGED (4 ft. 11 in.) young woman getting punched in the face at a bar at the JERSEY SHORE. Ahhhh…..MTV’s reality show,,, JERSEY SHORE. I don’t watch MTV anymore and I wasn’t aware of this show. It seems as though there is one really foul mouthed young lady female nicknamed Snooki on the show. Sheesh, she doesn’t even spell it right!

So, it turns out it wasn’t all about me after all. No one really cared how tall I am!

We’ve got rain in the desert! Short spurts of rain have settled the dust here in the desert. The weatherman was calling for a week of rain a few days ago but that just hasn’t happened, however, all information is pointing to a rain event tomorrow through Friday morning. We’re supposed to get up to 2 inches of rain and that is a lot for ground that is so hard that it can’t absorb it. There will be flooded streets tomorrow!

We are still having nice weather here overall. Its shorts most days for me and that makes me a happy camper. Its by no means a pool day everyday right now.

I was in the mall last week and bathing suits and summer clothes are out in full force. I can understand it here in this area, starting next month we should be laying out at the pool on a regular basis again. Are those of you with snow on the ground looking at bathing suits in the stores?

I want to share a website that a friend of mine shared with me. If you would like to see your childhood home or even the one you live in now go to VPIKE. I found that I had to click on the “man” to get it to start. I looked at my childhood home, where my parents still live, and the picture was taken when no one was home because the car wasn’t in the driveway. Have fun with it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

1/16/2009 I Love a Street Fair!

I just love a good street fair! Today I attended the one in Casa Grande with friends Donna and Bill. Bob had no interest in going so he stayed home and continued plotting our adventure for this summer.

I love the sights, sounds and smells of a street fair.

Booth after booth lining the streets beckoning to me to come check out what’s for sale and begging me to reach into my pocket for that hard cold cash. Yeah, like that’s going to happen!

The sound of pan flutes being played by those who really know how to make those instruments sing. The sound of the local bands playing on the bandstand. The sound of people greeting each other as they pass friends within the boundaries of the street fair. I know this particular sound well as I believe half of Quail Run was in Casa Grande for this event today.

Ahhh, the smells of a street fair. The aroma of Kettle corn and hot dogs perfume the air and make tummies rumble and mouths water.

We stopped by one vendor who had denim jackets and shirts for sale and stood near a husband and wife who were also looking through the merchandise. The lady found a jacket she wanted to try on and wanted her husband to hold the jacket she was wearing and her purse while she tried the denim on. Now hubby had no problem holding her jacket but wanted no part in holding the purse. He just wasn’t having that. After some kidding from us he finally relented but even that was after his lovely wife wrapped the purse in the jacket so it couldn’t be seen.


Just a little ways down the street we heard the sweet, sweet sounds of a pan flute. Now I could listen to this all day. I stood for several minutes and watched in awe as this musician played his magical instrument.


You can buy all kinds of things at a street fair. We saw everything from metal work to funky homemade craft projects to pillows that guarantee a great night’s sleep to flowers made of wood to vintage clothing to incense to ,.,..well, you name it.

Here are some of this fair’s offerings.

We watched art being created right before our eyes. Of course this artist had many of his painting for sale and there were quite a few blank spaces on the walls of his booth so I’m assuming business was brisk.


Have a hankering for a southwest themed switch plate? Do you just have to have a kokopelli adorn yours? No problem in finding one here!


The next booth we stopped at attracted a lot of lookers. It was all about an optical illusion. It looked the ball was moving up and down the turning wire cage but it was in fact staying in the same place.


I don’t know the PURPOSE of the things sold in this other booth but they caught my eye. I do recall seeing ZEE GLASS on the sign.


This glass globe is quite sizable the there doesn’t appear to be any kind of opening in this one or the others displayed so I really don’t know what you DO with them.


The glass artist didn’t make just pieces like above, he also made THESE!


As I mentioned earlier, we ran into a lot of friends at the street fair and it was especially nice to run into Dona and Darrell. We worked with them last year in the Activity Department. This year they are in a different RV park but still in the area.


I don’t have a clue how these flowers are made as they are wooden roses. Yes, you read that right. Wood!


They come in all colors and even have a rose scent added to them.


I mentioned metal work earlier too and there was lots of that at the street fair. Here are some examples of this craft that caught my eye.






We saw something today that we hadn’t seen before and I have to admit I was really intrigued by it. So much so that I reached into my pocket for that cold hard cash, I just had to have some of this! Take note of the colorful beads in the vase.


This is the strangest thing. There was a bowl with a sign that read TOUCH ME so, of course, I did. It was such a strange sensation. It was wet, but yet it wasn’t, it was very soft and squishy and cool to the touch, These beads come in several colors and you GROW them! They can be used to hold cut flowers in place, as the top of the planter so that you don’t see the dirt, put into a container surrounding a candle, placed in a vase with silk flowers, layered by colors into a brandy snifter, the ideas for use is endless.


I bought this small packet of tiny beads and will grow them in a few days.

There was one booth that attracted lots of attention. Before we could actually “see” what it was we heard things like, “Are they real?” “They must be drugged to lay there like that” “How does he make them stay?” When we got closer to see we understood these comments.



In the picture above the first dog is NOT real. All the others are. They slept. They moved but not much which gave people the idea they were drugged. With all the noise it did seem strange that these dogs slept through all this. Just a few doors down a live band was playing, loudly. As you can see, the vendor was selling dog hats. Oh, don’t even get me started on this one! I didn’t see any bought while we were in the vicinity. I’m not surprised.

Art comes in all forms. Some people use clay, some use metal, some paint, some use yarn or material. Today we met a lady, Edna Harris, who uses, are you ready for this,,,,candy wrappers in her art.


In fact, she calls her work Candy Wrapper Creations. If you’d like to see more of her work go HERE.

I am the first to admit that I’m not talented in drawing or painting, creating masterpieces in metal or even have the imagination to create something like this out of everyday items……


…….so when I had the chance to help Edna Harris in creating a piece of art, well I just jumped on the opportunity! I mean really, how often does one get to help an artist with their creative endeavors?

So what did I do? What could I possibly do to be a part of the next artistic creation? I ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. In fact, I ate TWO of them!


Never let it be said that Snookie Quinn doesn’t support the arts!

Did you ever think about HORSE HAIR being used in the making of a candle holder or a vase or piece of pottery? I hadn’t and this was all new to me.

The process is called Horsehair Raku. When the pottery piece is baking in the kiln, it is pulled mid-way through and horsehair is applied to it. When it is returned to the kiln for baking the horsehair is burned off leaving lines of black carbon. It leaves a very attractive and distinctive pattern.



There were some very colorful paintings for sale.



As much fun as a street fair is….some just can’t hang. This little fella just couldn’t hold his eyes open any longer.


So there was our day at the street fair. Lots of sights, sounds and smells. It’s what its all about.