The Story of the Jackhammer

There’s a shortage of good stories out there in the news.  Are uplifting experiences at a record low these days?   Let’s replace negativity with love!  I heard a wonderful story that deserves to be told.  It's a story about good-hearted people that really care for others.  Sixty Minutes should tell the story.They won't but I will.
Eight years ago my daughter moved to a middle class neighborhood in southern California.  She gave birth to her firstborn.  Her navy officer husband abandoned her while overseas leaving her as a single mom with no family close by, no friendships.  She had not yet found a church family.  God answered our prayers; He provided the best neighbors.
Diversity in the Hood The wonderful neighbors surrounded my daughter with offers to help with the new baby and dropped by with food and baby gifts.  They listened and hugged her in her pain.
You might think the neighborhood rooted from a faith-based group. Anything but!  The neighbors were as diversified as their h…

Small Towns and Mountain Roads

Sometimes you just have to get away from it all and get into the mountains.  That's what we did recently.  We got in the car and drove into the mountains with no particular destination in mind. We needed to break up our routine and look at different scenery.   We traveled along the Mogollon Rim, a mountain range in Northern Arizona. 

I Like Small Towns
We parked our car in Pine, a very small town consisting of one main street,  and ate at our favorite mom and pop little diner.  They cook everything from scratch and I yearned for a slice of homemade fruit pie. Unfortunately, they were out of fruit pies.  I'm not keen on cream pie, so we decided on a little breakfast with our coffee while we enjoyed the cooler weather and local clientele.  

On the way back to our car we noticed the townspeople setting up what looked like an exhibit in the park.  We noticed crafts, booths with food, picnic tables, kettle corn, and interesting presentations.  I felt right at home with these friendly …

Come to the Table

I hadn’t thought much about the privilege of being invited to someone’s table.

I found a plastic bin under my bed.  When I snapped the top open, I discovered hundreds of loose photographs that needed to be organized.

A special old photo of sitting at a table with my sister caught my eye.  She took me house hunting with her during one of my visits to Chicago.  We spotted a local housing development that featured beautiful new homes and we inspected the layout of a model home and relaxed in the furniture!  The dated photo reveals archaic d├ęcor with mauve and gold accessories and paisley drapes.  Funny how we drooled over that style several decades ago!  

I stared at the photo of us posing at the table.  My sister had a way of expressing her affection for me as she raised her glass and toasted:  "I am excited you're here with me.  I look forward to our upcoming days together shopping, cooking, planning family dinners and casually hanging out together."

Our glasses may hav…

Babysitting Grandchildren

“Grandchildren don’t make a woman feel old It’s being married to a grandfather that bothers her.”
Grandma Jan

Our San Diego family needed a babysitter.  Our daughter and her husband are finally at a place in their lives where they can break away from routine and get away alone for a few days at a time.  It blessed us to have little three-year old Amy for a few days here with us in Arizona.   
Everything Changes When a Three Year Old Visits.
The uncanny triple digit heat wave nixed our outdoor plans.  Amy loves animals and we live close to Out of Africa, a wildlife park and zoo.   We couldn’t take Amy with her fair complexion.   We did, however, visit the indoor swimming pool.  Watching Amy running gleefully under the pop up sprays and loving the water slide put a big smile on my face.   

Interesting to hear Papa’s version of Cinderella.  Did you know that Cinderella called her dog “Bruno?”  Me either.

Bye, bye, Bruno and I am missing her already!

“No cowgirl was ever faster on the draw  than a…

Father's Dog

“A man is incomplete Until he is married. After that, he’s finished.”                                                                       Zsa Zsa Gabor

I knew that when I married my husband, pets of various kinds would come to live with us.  The man loves animals.  Especially dogs.

I’ve always had a dog as a kid.

Like so many newly married couples, we got a practice dog before kids.  The kids and the dogs followed over a lifetime.

I like big dogs.  I miss Frankie, our yellow lab, who died just as we retired, but I love the freedom of being able to go anywhere for days without having to make arrangements for Frankie.  I like the bonus, too, of not having to vacuum dog hair from my area rugs.

I stood my ground for three years refusing to house another pet, even a goldfish.  And then I caved to my husband's pleas.

“You can have a dog if you promise to be its master, feed him and be the one to walk him.”  Check.

“You can have a dog if you rebuild the old chicken coup and make it a …

When Self Pity Joined Us for Dinner

Graphics and quotes tickle me on the inside when they instruct us to let go of all bad feelings we harbor and carry on like they're not there.   I like the Polish proverb that says: "Not my circus, not my monkeys!"

I never find it easy to shrug off those negative feelings whether it is my own drama or another's regardless of those cute memes and their powerful messages.  Honestly, I struggle.

When I felt like a target. I looked forward to a friend's  invitation for my husband and I to join her for dinner in a fancy part of town.  I dressed for the dinner date carefully choosing the best outfit in my closet with just the right shoes.  Tom and I can't afford to dine in this kind of exquisite fashion and I imagined a wonderful experience.

Except, it wasn't!

Oh, the ambiance and wait staff impressed us.  I resisted the temptation to photograph my fancy dinner plate less they think I'm a classy chick who never gets a chance to go out like this.

Our friend …

Thick Crust or Thin?

You can take a girl out of Chicago but you can’t take Chicago out of her especially when it comes to deep dish pizza.

The aircraft slowed its speed over Lake Michigan and gently landed at O’Hare in Chicago just as the sun began to go down.  I turned to the friendly passenger on my left as we peered out the plane’s little window together and I thanked her for the pleasant conversation we enjoyed over the 3.5 hour flight from Phoenx.  In turn, she asked where I thought I might dine out during my week’s stay in Chicago.  I asked her for suggestions.

“Do not leave Chicago and fly back to Phoenix without Lou Malnoti’s deep dish Chicago pizza!”

I had never heard of this place.

My younger brother picked me up at the airport.  It was dinner time and I felt hungry.  He suggested we go back to his house in the Chicago suburbs and order pizza with the family.  When he asked me if I like deep dish or thin crust, I told him that I drool for deep dish!  I almost fell off my chair when the pizza a…