Wednesday, March 30

it's a small world

and no, I am not referring to the Disney ride,
which I love, by the way.
the ride
Land or World. 
Doesn't matter which.

But that isn't what this post is about.
(and I do apologize, if at the mere mention of that attraction,
you are now humming that tune and will not be able to stop...)

It's a small SWIM world.
When Hannah headed off to Sectionals in Florida,
she was reunited with her old swim team, the Aquabears.
She also saw some kids she swam with in that particular LSC
(CT Swimming).  Pretty cool, and just goes to show you the world gets
a little smaller when you travel across the country to swim in meets
and actually KNOW other kids!

Well, today Connor and Bill are headed to Far Westerns in California,
where Connor will see some of his old team mates from BCH in Nevada.
I guess in this world of swimming you just never know where you will meet up someday!

Here are my handsome guys, heading out.
I'll try to  miss them!!!
And like I wrote on Connors Facebook -
He better swim fast or he is grounded.

Just kidding of course.

Monday, March 28

recap of the hike

Bill and I hiked our mountain this weekend.  The weather could not have been more perfect.
Sun shining, but not too hot, with a cool breeze blowing.  It was fantastic.
I decided to up the intensity of the hike by strapping on my camera and two lenses,
in addition to the required large bottle of water.
Every time I head out to hike I think that THAT will be the hike I will take without
the camera......I have yet to go on THAT hike.....

Anyhoo.  Here are a few pictures and to start it off, and keep the area in perspective,
that is Bill hiking in that first picture.  He is dwarfed by all that is around him.

The temps are climbing fast.  Going to hit upper 90's by the end of the week.
So it is a must that we take advantage of hiking here while we can.
Soon will come the time when we will have to DRIVE north to go hiking
during the upcoming months!

happy monday!

Saturday, March 26

my first thought was.....

how the hell do you get an F in art?
really.  how hard is ART?

I got Hannah's report card in the mail yesterday and about flipped out.

Now let me see.
The first couple days into this class this last semester,
Hannah immediately hated it.  Didn't like the teacher.  Said she only liked
the creative kids.
So what do I do?  Go out and buy Hannah all the required supplies for the class
the $35 set of colored pencils.  And as I paid for the outrageously priced "special"
colored effing pencils, I wanted to puke.........
But all in the hopes of making my not-super-creative kid (but one hell of a fast swimmer, dammit)
LOOK more creative in the eyes of her teacher, I got the stupid pencils.

Three days later I was signing a permission slip for Hannah to apply for a
T.A. position during art period.................

Which she did NOT get.

But she gave the class her all -
which apparently was nothing hence the

Until I asked her about it.
The report card reads
"many missing assignments".
Which honestly, I ride her like a pony,
about those, on days she is absent.
She says there are no missing assignments.

Thanks goodness Miss Smarty Pants kept all the
papers in her binder.

She'll be taking care of this Monday morning,

before I head down there.

Which is probably

Friday, March 25

random thoughts on a Friday

Almost 5 days have gone by without blogging.
And I am really stretching to make time to take photos.
I can't really look back and say "holy shit!  I've been busy."
Because I am not actually sure I'd call it busy.  I don't know - just life I guess.

Life is Good, so that is a check mark in the right direction.
At least it hasn't been that life was sucking.....

Being as nothing eventful has occurred, I guess I'll just jot down some
random thoughts.

Hannah got back from Florida on Monday.  I was happy to see her, of course.
But at the same time, I had let her go off on her own to take this next step in her swimming
"career" or however you'd like to label it.  I did not make a big deal on her return.
Didn't get out the party horns, the balloons, throw confetti at her down at baggage claim.
I just hugged her and welcomed her home - and stepped back to look at my amazing
daughter who is growing up.  I looked at a 13 year old girl who has the ability to
manage her life in a positive way - at times all on her own.  She juggles school and swimming
with ease.  She is able to have fun with school friends, swim friends, facebook friends, laugh,
giggle, be girly, control drama and at the snap of a finger become focused on the task at hand.
Whether it is algebra or an upcoming swim meet.  I love knowing that Bill and I hand her
the necessary tools to be personally successful - and she uses them.  That alone
has to be a powerful self esteem builder.  A teen knowing they can succeed.
Having opportunities to prove to yourself that you can succeed.  I love that.

So she is off from swimming for two weeks.  She knows she will now not have another
break from swimming until this time next year.  High school swimming will start for her in
August when most club swimmers will see another short break.  She is a smart girl and has
taken advantage of the situation.  Without me having to tell her, she knows that now is the
time to socialize with her school friends, after school, while she actually has the opportunity.
Now if she would only find the time to squeeze in cleaning her room, unpacking her suitcase,
(it's been 4 days......), FINDING HER DAMN RETAINER SO SHE CAN WEAR IT,....
well......all would be good, now, wouldn't it??

And Connor, still on the upswing here.  Loving school.  Seriously.  He is so obsessed with
constantly checking his grades online.  Focused on keeping himself where he wants to be
academically.  It's nice to see - even when the grades don't change and he keeps calling
me to "come see" the computer...over.....and over......and over.......
Swimming?  For him it continues.  No break because he qualified to swim a Far Western meet
in California.  And having Hannah coming off of going to Florida, we had to say yes to him
going to this meet, even with just three events.  He too worked hard.  Speaking of obsessed,
same for swimming.  Has to look at the time standards all the time to calculate how far off
he is from certain cuts.  This too drives me batty - but I must not complain.
I am not prepared to tell my kids what kind of kids Bill and I were at their ages......
So I silently THANK THE GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN that they are NOT following
in our footsteps......."Let us pray...."

Garrin my Garrin.  I love this kid.  Not much to say other than he makes every day
a better day for all of us.  Truly he does.  He loves us all unconditionally.
He holds no grudges toward Hannah or Connor.  He stands up for himself to them,
but also loves to be part of what they do.  He makes not passing judgement, an easy choice.
Whether I feel he lacks in some areas, he certainly excels in others, but
he has a way of making me feel and know that in the end, all kids are equal.
All kids read, all kids add and subtract, all kids have friends.
It's all good and I love watching him live his life in Garrin-fashion.
With a big giant smile on his face and his eyes squinted into little half-moons!

As for Bill and I - we are back on track baby. In a big way.
 Marriage, once taken for granted, is now a pleasure to put effort in to.  At one time
it was all so effortless but along came the derailment that was a huge slap in the face.
A smack of reality.  No more taking for granted.  So while it's taken a while.......
no really........A LONG has gotten back where it needs to be.
The biggest part of that being working on ourselves first.  Again, another thing you take
for granted.  Your own well being.  We both worked and continue to work on that.
I call it the trickle down effect.  If YOU are not good, you can not be a good partner, and
in turn can not be a good parent. Nobody is happy at that point.  So you must start at the top.

So working on me meant quite a few things.
Returning to me.  Who I was.  What I stood for.
The inside part.
Then I started on the outside part.
Who I'd become.....not so good.  Overweight.  Unhealthy.  Uncaring.
How could I claim to care for everyone else, when I really wasn't proving my ability
to do so, by not taking care of myself?
So my crusade to get healthy is going well.  I have been on a fucking diet,
ok I am a little bitter about having to be on a diet,
but I got my fat ass to this point by OBVIOUSLY NOT being on a diet....
and have been making a valiant effort to work out.  Let's just try to forget
about my sidelining knee injury when I was convincing myself I was going to be a runner.
But I'm back at the gym and taking advantage of the beautiful weather here
where I live - to get healthy.  I am down 15 pounds.  Go me!  But I wouldn't be me
if I didn't throw in a little sarcasm in there and say - I have a lot more damn weight to go
before I am where I should be.
Now SHOULD and WANNA?  Those may be two different numbers,
but as I get closer to that point - I'll have to negotiate that in some private conversation
with myself.  But for now - all is good.

And while I do not know the internal conversations Bill has with himself,
on his own personal journey - I do see a change.  His fat ass doesn't make his rear bike
tire go flat anymore............just kidding!!  (He'd want me to kid...........I hope).
Feeling better and more positive about himself certainly transfers itself into his work.
Which is important.  Because that is how we all survive around here.......
wink wink
But he is more confident in what he is doing and more sure of where he wants to take his
business.  And for that I am happy.
Which in turn makes US happy.
Which in turn makes our kids happy.
Trickle down, remember..?

So this is the short story long about what has been in my head the past few days,
although at this point in time I am thinking I should have delivered the Readers Digest
Condensed Version, perhaps.

Oh Well
I am hoping maybe some of these random words resonate.
I don't believe for one minute that I am the only one in this world who has lived
by taking things for granted.  I knew I needed to change that.  Maybe you do too.
Happy Friday all!

Monday, March 21

besides being....

.....a little bit more tan
......and a little bit more tired,
I think Hannah came home from Sectionals
a little bit taller
and a little bit more beautiful.

It was an amazing experience for her,
but it sure is good to have her home....
until she jets off on the next great venture!

Sunday, March 20

Happy Sunday

Yup.  It's the close of the weekend.
Bill comes home tonight.
Hannah comes home tomorrow.

I am also thinking Happy Sun.Day because the clouds are rollin' in
here in the Valley of the Sun.....
I took a minute to become one with the sun
(even though I wasn't getting a tan......)
this morning, as I sat drinking coffee
'cause the damn bird woke me up early
in the living room.
The light was reflecting off my table and I thought it looked amazing.
Looking forward to having everyone back together by tomorrow night!!!

Saturday, March 19

I had a....

slight verbal altercation with Garrin's soccer coach this morning.
Seriously.  He had it comin'.

Couple things.
Don't tell the kids to arrive at the soccer field on game day - 1/2 hour before the game
if you don't plan on getting your ass there until 5 minutes before the game.
On the day you DO get there "on time", don't talk and text on your cell phone and ignore
the kids that actually did show up to play, until 5 minutes before the game.  You could
have just stayed home, come late, and NOT pissed me off watching you.
Don't ask Garrin "Is your Dad here."  Be a man, and come over to me yourself,
and ask me.  He is five and I don't bite.  Unless you already knew that by that time, you'd ticked me
off big time.  Don't say "defense", "offense", "pass the ball to your teammate", assuming
that 5 year olds already know what those things mean, since you havent' even broached
those subjects or concepts at practice.  They have no idea what you are talking about. 
Oh and speaking of practice, nice job
sending your equally unorganized assistant coach to fill in for you, and asking US if we
brought our you could borrow them, because apparently it's not on your list
And good job with the one liner email saying "I won't be at practice but the assistant will be and we
will be on the opposite field of whatever one we were on last week."  Which pretty
much left all the parents, picking up chairs and gear to move all around the fields,
once someone from the league showed up to let us know we are usually on the wrong field
and pointed us in the direction of the correct one.  And I won't even talk about the snack
schedule, or shall I say LACK OF.  Perfect for you going on what you said was the word of
my husband, who was not present to defend himself, that WE were on for snacks this week.
Which was a lie.  I was already getting up out of my chair to head toward you to
"discuss" the LACK OF COMMUNICATION about the snacks, when you muttered -
"Well your husband didn't have very nice things to say about me.........."
Really?  Because I am pretty confident that he was only stating facts.
Don't dog my husband when he is not there.
You brought out the bitch in me, buddy.
Truth hurts - hence your apology to me later......

We paid good money.
We have no problem entrusting our kids into the hand of a coach.
One who cares and commits.
One who volunteers his time for ALL kids present.
One who would have the best support system of parents who
care, if he actually got off his goddamn cell phone
and communicated with us.
I know I would help out what ever way needed,
and am pretty sure everyone else would too.

Friday, March 18

the things you'll find

So, as I was getting stuff ready for Hannah while she was packing up to leave,
I got together her AND Connor's point and shoot cameras.
Because I am expecting her to take over 400 pictures, hence needing both..........
or so that must have been what I was thinking at the a dumb ass.

I got both batteries all charged up and I popped out the cards in both
to see if there were photos to download.  Which there were.
Here is a sampling of what my kids take pictures of.

For some reason, all kids are obsessed with taking pictures of themselves.
Making stupid faces.  Sometimes with their tongues hanging out.....
Should I complain?  No.  Because they have their clothes ON, which is a blessing these days.

See ..... Connor does the same thing.  Only with who the hell knows what in his mouth.  And he looks
kinda "bloated" in that left shot.  What was I feeding that kid back then, or was it that he was actually eating.....?

Ok....ok.....I joined in the fun a little.
But only for a minute.  My clothes are on, and my tongue is IN my mouth.....

Here is Garrin's foot.  I'm not sure why - and Connor whizzing by on his bike....kind of a cool shot actually.  Not sure why the focus on his shirt though.

I don't even know what to say about the left shot........but Garrin here, I know, is practicing his karate...that he really doesn't know how to do other than from Spongebob.

Yup - Jewish Geriatric Services....we'd donated some books and magazines before we moved.  Hannah felt it important to capture that one apparently.  Oh and great.  My dusty laptop screen....with our triptik when we moved....

Garrin's hand on the pavement...makes me wonder if that was shot before this one on the right....
Great idea, kids, pissing off Garrin, then take a picture of him while he is crying.....nice.

I guess you are not too young to copy your older siblings and take stupid face pictures.  And I guess a stupid face is all it took for me to even see some resemblence between Hannah and Garrin.

Poor Lucy.  Gotta get that camera way up close, hopefully with out a flash...The dead cat?  Excellent!  I put up the "better" - less graphic photos of the dead-ness......and blood........

Much to my delight,
I was surprised by this last photo.
Actually and awesome photo.
I love it.

And regardless of the subject choice in their photography,
I love THEM.

Thursday, March 17

Dear Ryan Lochte

or Peter Vanderkaay,

If you happen across my daughter Hannah,  she'll be swimming the mile tonight,
and she looks a little like this.....
kind of....
could you tell her to either give me a call,
or text me later,
to let me know how she did?

Thanks so much -
her mom

PS - You guys rock!  AND maybe a little photo with Hannah too,
would be nice!

Wednesday, March 16

they're off!

presenting (part of) the Swim Neptune
2011 – Speedo Champions Series – Southern Zone – South Sectional Championship

I think there are 10 kids total competing from Swim Neptune,
accompanied by their coach - Coach Mike in the back.
I know he will take good care of Hannah...and the rest of these kids.

Good luck to Hannah!
All my love and wishes for some really smokin', stinkin' F.A.S.T. swims!!!!!

Tuesday, March 15

I am not just CUTTING the apron strings...

I am pretty much shearing them right off and throwing them away.
or so I feel.

I'd put off blogging about this "special event" for some time now,
figuring as the day approached my feelings would completely do a 180.

180 isn't quite the mark I've hit, not even close.

Hannah is heading off to Fort Lauderdale, Florida tomorrow,
returning Monday.  She is heading there with about 10 kids from her
swim team, and a couple of coaches to swim in the Florida Sectionals meet.
Did I say she is going WITHOUT us?

Her coach said this meet was a terrific meet for the kids to swim.
The sectional qualifying times are a little more "relaxed" than typical Seattle sectional
qualifying times.  So he is able to take more kids.  He likes giving them any opportunity
to swim some of these bigger, more competitive meets.  Give them the experience.
Second good reason? - it's in Florida.......on the beach.
And third? - it's on the beach.
Did I mention it was on the beach?

Hannah is doubly excited (is that proper grammar?) because the Aquabears
are also going to this meet.  So she gets to see her old coach - not old in the sense of age
because then I'd be pretty much calling myself old........AND some of her friends from that
team.  I've not seen her this happy or this excited about something.

So she has worked extremely hard for this.  Any questions or hesitation I had about
this team and this coach.....let's just say.  I have nothing to be worried about.
She is in good hands for years to come.  Her progress so far has been outstanding.
Thus getting her to this meet.

So the decision to send your kid off on their first huge meet alone,
basically becomes a financial one.  We sent her off once before to swim Eastern Zones,
but knew upon doing so that that meet was more for fun.  Her coach did not attend,
and there was no pressure to perform.  We chalk it up to $800 worth of making some
great, long-lasting friend connections.  This meet will well exceed that amount, especially
when we were considering either having Bill or me go with her - that figure doubled.

We had a long talk with Hannah and discussed all the facts.  She understands that now that
she is in a position to qualify for these big travel meets, she will have to plan to travel alone
with the team.  This will ensure her the ability to go to many.  Bill and I will sacrifice whatever
we have to, to make this happen for her whenever the opportunity presents itself.
And she is good with this.  Thank God.

Ryan Lochte is supposed to be swimming at this meet.  And who knows what other
Olympic swimmers may be there.  The only thing I asked of Hannah is to make sure
she at least get a picture or two of her with one of them.

I've gone from being completely 100 percent excited for her, to a little nervous and scared,
though I won't tell her that.  She will be expected to perform at this meet.  She has trained for this.
She's going to be great.  I have a feeling.  But I still have a lump in my throat....
This is a huge step for Hannah.
And for us.

Monday, March 14

here already?

So it is March 14th.  It's already been 85 or a tad higher in temperature the last 5 days or so,
and it's shaping up to look like spring is here.  Now granted, those would be summer temperatures,
some places......and seeing as this is my first spring in Arizona -(word is way hotter here than Vegas),
not sure what the average is supposed to be.  But coming off of a VERY full weekend at a swim meet,
and straight on into Spring Break, the boys decided today would be a good day to go in our pool.
(because Connor didn't get enough POOL all weekend.............)

It.was.cold......I assume.   
yet again, another reason why I think my kids are nuts.
oh, I guess this is why I don't go nuts....

Friday, March 11

my 365

the photos being posted now on my 365 are from parts of Arizona that
are from places we don't see everyday.

i loved "finding" these shots and really love playing around with them on photoshop.

my newest love is "give it texture" from
which I've blogged about before.
i combine that action with free textures from this amazing site called

try them both out.
it's fun.

Wednesday, March 9

a milestone

yesterday was monumental for me.
i realized that i am at peace with something that
i was struggling with.
i found myself in a place that had brought me a lot of negativity,
but no longer am feeling that way.
a place i felt resentment.
a place i felt uneasiness.
it is gone.
and now this place can be somewhere that will bring me happiness.

i love free therapy, i tell you.
because that is what got me though this.
working on myself.
not someone else working on me.
but me working on me.
and it has paid off big time.

sometimes you need to just take time for YOU.

Monday, March 7

Sometimes I forget

we live in the southwest.  Desert?  Yes.  But we are NOT in Vegas, baby.
Parts of this area can be Western Country, for sure.
The road I drive to the pool a hundred times a day, should have been a sure fire sign.
There is horse ranch after horse ranch after horse ranch - all down this road.
It's pretty cool.

So the birthday party Garrin went to this weekend was at a place called
It was not the playground at the Golden Arches by any means.

Bill gets full photo credit on the following.

There is so much to do at this place.  Not only do they host birthday parties,
but they have a petting zoo, offer trail rides, some at sunset even!!
Garrin refused to get up on the horse for a ride,
but Bill and I are totally going back for one of those trail rides for sure.
The one and only time I rode a horse, I was probably about 8.

by the way - the photoshop technique I used was of all things -
Pioneer Woman's action - called Old West
How appropriate!

Sunday, March 6

It took me a whole day

to recover from yesterday's soccer game.  A whole day because it was just a nightmare.
But an understandable one.  Whoever takes on the task of coaching 5 year olds, needs a medal....
the first day.......I'm serious.

The one person more excited than us, about Garrin playing soccer, was Connor.  He was there to observe.
Check out the mad skills of his little brother, whom he has been "coaching" a little along the way.
He was also there checking out the real coach.
After doing that for about 5 minutes, he pretty much got up to go kick a ball around by himself.  He couldn't take another minute.

It was pure chaos.
Point made here:

This next shot is terrific but so not what it seems.  I zoomed in on these few kids,
but in reality there were 16 of them running the field in a pack.

Here you go.  Who the heck, besides the three kids right on top of the ball,
even knows where it is?
And really - who is actually paying attention?

Half time, which means snack time, couldn't come soon enough.

Let me just pan out a bit, so you can see my boy.............

sitting off to the side with a pretty girl.  That's how it's done!!!

So back into the game, and as a good friend pointed out to me regarding my last
blog post about Garrin and his little prissy poses......
It's NOT a bad thing to have your arms flying about in 'airplane mode'.
Professional players even do that......apparently.

At this point in time - today - right here right now -
it has to be about having FUN.
Not technique, Not coaching skills...

...but fun.
And Garrin, by far, is the happiest one doing it!