Thursday Thoughts

Tech-less Thursdays
You might recall that as part of my Lenten fasting, I am refraining from most technology each Thursday. Here’s what I used as my criteria for what I’m not using: If I was going to a cabin in the woods with no television, no wifi, no internet, but with a kitchen, I would bring along books, recipes, and my crocheting (along with my project patterns). So, I am allowing myself to use my iPad as my book (since all of my reading these days is done via ebooks), and for my existing crochet patterns and recipes that are on Pinterest. I don’t use my iPad for anything else, such as email, Facebook (except to post my blog in the morning), or Pinterest (except to access existing recipes or crochet patterns). I’ve tried to limit my use of my cell phone, but frankly haven’t been great about that. So here’s what I’ve discovered: the things I miss most are being able to walk over to my computer to check activity on my blog or to look at Facebook (during Lent, I turn off my computer once I’ve posted my blog in the morning), and television. Oh, television. I would have told you a month ago that not watching television one day a week would be a piece of cake. It really isn’t. I guess I just enjoy sitting in the evenings and watching TV with Bill. Instead, I go into the bedroom and crochet or read, and listen to the sound of faint music because Bill watches American Idol. All-in-all, I have discovered that it has been harder than I suspected it would.

Spring Gardening
Not surprisingly, the gardening schedule is different here in AZ than it is in Denver, and most other parts of the country. While non-Arizonans dutifully plant their vegetable seeds and small plants in the spring and harvest in the summer and fall, that schedule doesn’t work in the desert. Remember, in July, when the green tomatoes on my plants in Denver are just beginning to turn red, it is 110 degrees during the day at our AZ home, and only getting down to the upper 80s or low 90s at night. Only the hardiest plants, i.e. cacti and succulents, can survive the brutal heat. So much of the vegetable planting is done in late fall and early winter, and harvesting is completed by May. For the most part, I am unable to garden very much here, as we only visit for a short time in the fall and tomatoes don’t have time to grow, sprout fruit, and ripen in the time we are here in the winter. But I do plant some things. This year I planted herbs in pots (parsley, thyme, and basil). When we first purchased our house here in 2010, Jen and I put in a little teeny tiny rosemary plant that we got at the grocery store in a 2-in pot. We put that in the ground as we knew it was able to withstand the weather conditions. Here is what it looks like today…..

Rosemary 2016

And here is a photo of my beautiful romaine lettuce in a pot, after several cuttings, I might add……


…and All I Got Was This Crappy T-Shirt
Bill had pretty significant dental surgery on Friday. It required general anesthesia. Everything went fine, and except for the fact that he can’t chew on the right side of his mouth for four months (whaaaaat?), he is recovering nicely. We had seriously not been home for 15 minutes when our doorbell rang. “Who’s that?” Bill asks, as he always asks when the doorbell rings as though I am psychic or have x-ray vision and can see through the door. I’ll give him a break this time because he was only an hour out of general anesthesia. Anyway, it was someone delivering flowers. It being way past Valentine’s Day and way before my birthday, I couldn’t imagine why Bill was sending me flowers. Well, the flowers weren’t for me at all. They were for Bill from his dentist and his oral surgeon. Get well soon, the card said. A very nice thought, though I’m fully aware that a $50 expenditure on flowers is only a pittance of the thousands of dollars they will receive from the dental work. Still……

Bill's flowers

This Wine Tastes Like Cardboard
Bill and I have, well, let’s call it simple taste in wine. Quite frankly, we’re cheapskates. But the other day I was at our big, nice liquor store and decided to get a bottle of wine to share that evening with Bec, who was coming for dinner. I was going all out and gave myself permission to spend upwards to $15 on a bottle of wine. CRAZY! Anyway, I went to the area where they have their nicest wines and began perusing the bottom shelf where the prices are more affordable. I ended up buying a bottle of an Argentine Malbec that was only $9.99. I was willing to pay more, but they description amused me……

wine description

Inky and concentrated with robust flavors of black fruit, cigar box, and chocolate. Cigar box? Really? The dinner never happened and so the wine has yet to be opened. Until then, I will just sniff Bill’s cigar boxes.


Words of Wisdom

I came across this list of advice to remember on Pinterest, so unfortunately I am unable to give credit. It was pinned from a website called These words of wisdom originate from someone’s high school yearbook, so many are directly apropos to high school kids. Still, I think ALL of them are important to remember as we go through life. I’m guessing the list was constructed by a teacher or a bunch of teachers, and are in no particular order. I absolutely LOVE this list and I think all of you will agree…..

  1. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs is not one of them.
  2. Never cancel dinner plans by text message.
  3. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
  4. If a street performer makes you stop walking, you owe him a buck.
  5. Always use “we” when referring to your home team or your government.
  6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
  7. Don’t underestimate free throws in a game of HORSE.
  8. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  9. Don’t dumb it down.
  10. You only get one chance to notice a new haircut.
  11. If you’re staying more than one night, unpack.
  12. Never park in front of a bar.
  13. Expect the seat in front of you to recline. Prepare accordingly.
  14. Keep a picture of your first fish, first car, and first girl/boyfriend.
  15. Hold your heroes to a high standard.
  16. A suntan is earned, not bought.
  17. Never lie to your doctor.
  18. All guns are loaded.
  19. Don’t mention sunburns. Believe me, they know.
  20. The best way to show thanks is to wear it. Even if it’s only once.
  21. Take a vacation of your cell phone, internet, and TV once a year.
  22. Don’t fill up on bread, no matter how good.
  23. A handshake beats an autograph.
  24. Don’t linger in the doorway. In or out.
  25. If you choose to go in drag, don’t sell yourself short.
  26. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.
  27. Never get your hair cut the day of a special event.
  28. Be mindful of what comes between you and the earth. Always buy good shoes, tires, and sheets.
  29. Never eat lunch at your desk if you can avoid it.
  30. When you’re with new friends, don’t just talk about old friends.
  31. Eat lunch with the new kids.
  32. When traveling, keep your wits about you.
  33. It’s never too late for an apology.
  34. Don’t pose with booze.
  35. If you have the right of way, TAKE IT.
  36. You don’t get to choose your own nickname.
  37. When you marry someone, remember you marry their entire family.
  38. Never push someone off a dock.
  39. Under no circumstances should you ask a woman if she is pregnant.
  40. It’s not enough to be proud of your ancestry; live up to it.
  41. Don’t make a scene.
  42. When giving a thank you speech, short and sweet is best.
  43. Know when to ignore the camera.
  44. Never gloat.
  45. Invest in great luggage.
  46. Make time for your mom on your birthday. It’s her special day too.
  47. When opening presents, no one likes a good guesser.
  48. Sympathy is a crutch; never fake a limp.
  49. Give credit. Take blame.
  50. Suck it up every now and again.
  51. Never be the last one in the pool.
  52. Don’t stare.
  53. Address everyone that carries a firearm professionally.
  54. Stand up to bullies. You’ll only have to do it once.
  55. If you’ve made your point, stop talking.
  56. Admit it when you’re wrong.
  57. If you offer to help, don’t quit until the job is done.
  58. Look people in the eye when you thank them.
  59. Thank the bus driver.
  60. Never answer the phone at the dinner table.
  61. Forgive yourself for your mistakes.
  62. Know at least one good joke.
  63. Don’t boo. Even the ref is somebody’s son or daughter.
  64. Know how to cook one good meal.
  65. Learn to drive a stick shift.
  66. Be cool to younger kids. Reputations are built over a lifetime.
  67. It’s okay to go to the movies by yourself.
  68. Dance with your mother/father.
  69. Don’t lose your cool. Especially at work.
  70. Always thank the host.
  71. If you don’t understand, ask before it’s too late.
  72. Know the size of your boyfriend/girlfriend’s clothes.
  73. There is nothing wrong with a plain t-shirt.
  74. Be a good listener. Don’t just take your turn to talk.
  75. Keep your word.
  76. In college, always sit in the front. You’ll stand out immediately. Come grade time, it might come in handy.
  77. Carry your mother’s bags. She carried you for nine months.
  78. Be patient with airport security. They are just doing their job.
  79. Don’t be the talker in a movie.
  80. The opposite sex likes people who shower.
  81. You are what you do, not what you say.
  82. Learn to change a tire.
  83. Be kind. Everyone has a hard fight ahead of them.
  84. An hour with grandparents is time well spent. Ask for advice when you need it.
  85. Don’t litter.
  86. If you have a sister, get to know her friends. Your opinion is important.
  87. You won’t always be the strongest or the fastest. But you can be the toughest.
  88. Never call someone before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  89. Buy the orange properties in Monopoly.
  90. Make the little things count.
  91. Always wear a bra at work.
  92. There is a fine line between looking sultry and slutty. Find it.
  93. You’re never too old to need your mom.
  94. Ladies, if you make the decision to wear heels on the first date, commit to keeping them on and keeping your trap shut about how much your feet hurt.
  95. Know the words to your national anthem.
  96. Your dance moves might not be the best, but I promise making a fool of yourself is more fun than sitting on the bench alone.
  97. Smile at strangers.
  98. Make goals.
  99. Being old is not dictated by your bedtime.
  100. If you have to fight, punch first and punch hard.

Now Where Did I Put That Again?

William PerryIt’s taken me 61 years to realize that when God was giving out organizational skills, I was apparently not only standing in the back of the line, but I was behind someone really big, like maybe William “Refrigerator” Perry. Oh, I know….God sees all things. I’m just trying to make a point.

When it comes to organization, I have none.

My lack of skills in this area became abundantly clear to me recently when my daughter-in-law was making arrangements for her four children because both she and our son Dave were going to be out of town at the same time. Apparently they didn’t feel leaving cans of Campbell’s soup and cracking the windows was enough; the children actually needed supervision. Helicopter parents.

Dave and Jll will be the first to admit they are lucky to have a plethora of family and friends to help out when they are in this kind of situation. Three grandmothers, one grandfather, an aunt, an uncle, and many friends all willingly pitch in to provide support. It does, indeed, take a village.

Jll asked me many weeks ago if Bill and I could help them out, and we happily agreed. She always spreads out the duties so that none of us feel overwhelmed. In addition, she always sends out an organizational chart that looks like this…..

jlls list

Seriously. It’s color-coordinated. We can all figure out our duties at a glance just by knowing what color we are. Next time I’m going to ask to be pink instead of green. Green isn’t in my color wheel.

That’s organized.

Bill's ipadBill is also very organized. Tool cabinets, boxes for paint supplies, shelves on which he places anything that relates to our cars. Even his IPad is organized. While my IPad has apps in the order in which I acquired them, haphazardly placed wherever they landed, Bill has created little folders with titles such as “News” and “Travel” and “Sports” and “Shopping.” He can access information almost instantly. Should I create little folders, I would never remember what I’ve put into which folder. Is Amazon in my book folder or my shopping folder? Should I look at my home folder or my cooking folder to find Pinterest?

Believe me, I am not poking fun at either of them, not in the least little bit. I wish I had a 10th of that organizational ability.

Every once in a while, I get an urge to organize. For example, recently, while still in Arizona, I got tired of digging around for the plastic containersright lid to my plastic food containers. The containers themselves were stuffed inside a cabinet. I practically had to carefully open the cupboard, toss the container in and quickly shut the door before it came tumbling out. Not quite that bad, but almost.

So I did what I always do when I get that rare itch to organize. I made a trip to The Container Store. But before I did that, I spent one entire morning taking out all of my containers and all of my lids and seeing what matched. Surprisingly, I only ended up with a couple of stray lids and/or containers. It appears I’m not careless, only disorganized.

I explained to Bill what I wanted to do, and he went with me to The Container Store. Together, we found a big plastic bin to hold the containers and a small, plastic bin to hold the lids. I then did something I learned on (where else?) Pinterest: I numbered everything. So each container has a number and the lid has a matching number.

The first time Jen opened that cupboard, she said (with a little too much surprise, I thought), “Kris, this looks great!”

The pride I felt from her praise, unfortunately didn’t result in me moving on to organize my closet. You know how I said when you have a house, something always goes wrong, and when you have two houses, mishaps happen to the second power? Well, the same holds true for closets. When you have two houses, you also have two messy closets.

Maybe I need to make a trip to The Container Store.