Last night R & I were watching '24' and were talking about how Jack Bauer has been tortured, stabbed, shot, beaten, etc and still gets up to run around NYC to save us all from a nuclear threat.  

I then wondered out loud what was in his bag.  He always has it with him, but I've never seen him take anything out of it.  

R began naming things that Jack Bauer would carry in his bag:

*wisps ( for fresh breath & clean teeth)
*power bar (for when he's hungry)
*apple (again, for when he gets hungry)
*smoke bomb (to smoke out the terrorists)
*Red Bull & Monster drinks (to help keep him up all day & night)
*a gun & knives (to defend himself)
*and toilet paper (because when he has to go, he might not have access to a toilet!)

If Jack Bauer was a real person, she might not be too far off the mark!

Now here's something to make you chuckle:


A little more garden work today

I was up and out in the yard by 7:30 this morning digging in the dirt.  It was not easy, especially sense I'm so out of shape, plus there were a bunch of river rocks in this part, and of course all those dang little rocks.

It doesn't look like I did much, but it took me nearly 2 hours just to turn the soil and pick out the river rocks.  

I wanted to add the border to get a better feel of how it would look, so I just went with what I had ~ the bricks that were there before.

They're not exactly even or straight, but it doesn't really bother me.  Under the last four bricks is the concrete slab, which goes as far as the spigot.  So I just dug down to it and laid the bricks on top.  I'm hoping the 5" or 6" of soil will be okay.  If I need more I can pull it from the end with the big rock.

When I got done (it actually got hot in the sun!) I did a Google search on desert flowers.  Turns out the ones I really like are all wild flowers!  Here are ones I like best, and according to the Phoenix Botanical garden are pretty easy to grow and care for:

click for larger view

These all have a good variety of color and height, so I thought they might look nice together.  

And OMG! the blanket flower is so awesome!  I really, really want to plant some of those.

From what I've read, I might've missed the optimal planting time.  I believe most of them should've been planted the beginning of the month.  

Oh, well.

Tomorrow I'll be back at it again....


On hold. For now.

I never got back to working on the backyard.  I had some design work to do for Allied Gate, and since that pays, it took precedent over playing in the dirt!

I'm going to try to get out there this weekend and get rest of the grass, weeds and rocks out of the bed then figure out what I'm going to use for the border and how I'm going to lay it out.
I'm still stuck on that one.  I have an idea, but it involves digging up more bricks that are on the North side of the house and replacing them with the crappy rocks from the backyard.  

It could potentially take me several days weeks to accomplish.

I've got some brainstorming to do....


Backyard makeover - Day 2

This morning was perfect for working on the yard;  it was a cool 65 degrees and the ground was still wet, making weed pulling easier.

Speaking of weeds, a funny thing happened on the way to school this morning.

First, I'm gonna backtrack a little.  Last week, Sean wanted the girls to pull the weeds in the front yard, so he had them out there and was telling them how to do it so they get the weed by the root and not just break the stems.

This morning, on the way to school, I was telling D that I was planning to do some more work on the yard, which included pulling all the tall weeds.  So she proceeds to tell me I have to be sure to do it right by grabbing the stem down close to the ground and pulling at an angle.  I laughed so hard.  I had to remind her that we had a vegetable garden every year when I was a kid and I am all to familiar with how to get out of pulling weeds.

I keep reminding them they have no idea how easy they have it.

So, anyway, this was the target spot today:

The first thing that had to go was that hideous cactus plant.  It was in the front when we moved in and I asked Sean to get rid of it because it's so ugly it's embarrassing.  

This was his idea of getting rid of it.

He wanted me to keep it.  I said too late!

I had taken it out of the pot; a bunch of pieces broke off that I tossed in the alley, then I hefted the main part of the cactus with a huge ball of dirt over the wall.  In my attempt to save myself from touching it too much and dragging it across the yard through the back gate, I ended up with some burrs in my right thumb and smashing my left hand between the dirt ball and the wall.

Now I have a scrape and a big bruise on the back of my hand that runs across it up to the first knuckle of my ring finger.  It really hurts like a son of a gun.

Then I set to work on pulling the weeds and digging out the border bricks.  Which wasn't too bad until I got to the area of the border with the big rocks.  Which were on top of the bricks.  There were 3 or 4 of them that were not only stuck into the ground, but had grass roots all wound around them holding them tight into the dirt.  

And to put the cherry on this little adventure cake, as I was digging out the stuck bricks, I ran into an ant hill.

Some of you may not know, but when I get bit by anything, I have an allergic reaction and the bite swells up twice the size it would on a normal person.  As I was trying to dig out the bricks, I was also trying to avoid the ants.  

Like the plague.

But I didn't avoid them well enough.  I got bit FOUR times on my right ankle and TWO times on my left.  I was so sure I was away from the little suckers, but I guess not far enough.  Now I have two itchy, swollen lumpy ankles.

I worked only an hour today (I was afraid if I kept going, I'd chop off a toe with the shovel or something!) and it looks even better than it did yesterday.

Now the hard part is next.  I have to dig out all that grass and give the soil a  good toss.  All while trying to avoid those blasted ants.  It looks pretty good though, not all sandy or hard clay which is typical of Arizona soil.  

Here is the whole length along the wall now:

That rock is staying there as a corner stone because it is heavy and I am not going to try to move it anywhere else!

This is going to be the tougher area.  The soil looks okay, but there are all those blasted stones I hate so much in the dirt.  I dug a bit to see what might be under the soil and hit either I good size piece of concrete or a slab.  I'm hoping it's just a piece and I can pull it. 

I'll find out tomorrow when I start digging.


What am I getting myself into???

Our back yard is a mess.  It was a mess when we moved in and now with all the weeds that have sprouted, it's an even bigger mess.

But I have a plan.  I'm going to put it out there in cyber space, for all to see, that I'm going to clean it up.   I will post pictures of my step by step progress so you can see how it will all turn out, and I figure if everyone knows about it, I will have to continue with it, and not quit part way through.  

How embarrassing would that be??

Plus, we have a pretty nice pool that I plan on using a shit load this summer.  

Let's face it, a pool is so much more enjoyable when the yard looks nice.

I'm hoping this bit of amateur psychology I'm using on myself works.

I think the previous tenants attempted a couple of flower beds along the back wall.  But they were not cared for and, well, they suck.  As a border they stacked a hodgepodge of bricks, river rock, concrete and re-bar.

Yeah.  Re-bar.  Not quite sure what they were thinking there.

There is also a 'vegetable garden' in the middle of the yard.  I hate it.  With a passion.  First, it's bordered with railroad ties.  Tacky, predictable, over done, cliche.  Second, it's in the middle of the yard!  Yes, that's where the sun is most of the day.  But, still THE MIDDLE OF THE YARD??!!  Sean wants to leave it, clean it up and grow veggies.  It will probably never happen.

Unless I do it.

And, believe me, I know  how much work goes into a veggie garden and although I love the fresh food, I hate the work.

So, we (and by we, I mean me) will see how it goes.

I first plan on attacking those flower beds along the back wall.  That's what I did this morning.  I pulled weeds, dug up rock and brick, moved railroad ties (not easy by yourself!) and did some general clean up on the one by the tree.  It was a bit of a dumping area for things that should have gone all the way to the alley.  

Like the old board gate they pulled down when they put up a new one.  I saved part of it because Sean wants to use it to put on the north wall by the pool for privacy, since our neighbors window is RIGHT THERE.

I think it will look white trash, but he insists it wont.

We'll see. 

In my quest for the better back yard, I disturbed a few critters.  This little guy was one of them.  

I think he needed to warm up because I was able to pet him & he barely moved.  So I left him on his rock and moved it into the sun.  He scurried off an hour later.

After I worked hard for 2-1/2 hours (and, yes, Mom. I got dirty.  Very dirty.  Even my hands were dirt crusted!!) it began to look so much better.  

I pulled out everything, saved what was good and I can reuse, and tossed the rest in the alley.  

The boulder I left because I didn't feel like moving it.

So, what was good to reuse, I stacked in neat orderly piles so I know what and how much I had.  

This is why I did the clean-up and not Sean.  I'm much more organized.  

Plus I have the time.

These are what I have so far for reusable products.  I'm not sure what I want to use to border the new bed, I don't think there is enough of one item.  I'll know more of what I have when I attack the other flower bed tomorrow, but I don't think there is as much there.  I really want something unique, not your typical 'bricks stacked as a low wall' type border.  So I will think about this for a bit.  I still have a lot of clean up to do before I get to that point.  

One of the things in that area, too, are those pain-in-the-ass rocks that are put on yards to cut down on maintenance.  All they do is create problems.  The tree in that corner drops it's leaves in the fall and raking them off those rocks is a bitch.  So it was never done.  I want to shovel the rocks all up and get rid of them, but that might be a bigger project than I can handle.  I do know in some spots they are pretty thick, but they really need to go. 

So far, I think, I'm off to a pretty good start.  The yard already looks better, so I'll be back at it tomorrow to tackle the other flower bed.  

And the weeds.  

If you have any ideas for a flower bed border, let me know in the comments, I love to get ideas for others.

Now I'm off to remove a splinter.

And take a nap.


A week of snot and other stuff

If you've been wondering where the heck I've been, wonder no more.  

If you could give a crap, then move along.  

I just spent the better part of the week with the worst (and only) sinus infection I've ever had.  I felt like I was getting punched in the face on a daily basis.  I was expecting to see bruises on my face every morning.  

That's how much a sinus infection can hurt.

I have a very heightened sense of smell; I'm always smelling things no one else around me can.  I knew I had a pretty bad infection when, not only the entire right side of my face hurt like hell, but I couldn't smell anything!  I put Vicks Vapo-rub on under my nose and around my right eye where most of the infection was, and I couldn't smell it.  

At all!

And for someone who can smell everything, suddenly smelling nothing is beyond weird.  
So I spent all my days sleeping.  Which is another thing that bothers me.  I never sleep past 6am and now, here I was in bed some days until 8 or 9am!!  Knowing I needed the rest and couldn't really accomplish much (if anything) made it a little easier to take. 

Thank goodness the girls are older & can fend for themselves, too.  Because after I got up so late in the morning, I showered, checked my email & maybe did a quick design for work, then went back to bed for a 4 hour nap!

I guess one advantage, though, was I couldn't eat much.  I pretty much drank water, OJ and tea all day and would have a bowl or two of chicken soup.  Anything else I couldn't taste and it would just make me queasy.

And talk about the mucus I expelled!!  Holy crap!!  How can one small nostril hold so much??!!  It seemed like it would never end. 

Eventually it did.  A little.

I'm feeling better.  In fact yesterday I was up by 7am, did the dishes, washed all the blankets & linens on my bed, swept the house and made a web page for Levi.  And my sense of smell is returning.  

Except I think the only things I can smell are whatever stink! 

Litter box full?  Yup.  I can smell it.

Trash need emptying?  Yup.  Can smell that too.

Rotting veggies in the bottom of the fridge bin need tossing?  Hell, yeah.  I can definitely smell that!

I sat out by the pool yesterday, and I know all the orange trees are blooming.
But could I smell it???  


However, I could smell it when the dog took a dump.

I felt so lucky.

Don't know what today holds.  The sinuses on my right side still hurt quite a bit, but the mucus has stopped flowing so much!  I feel bad, the girls had the week off for Spring Break, and thanks to me & my infected sinuses, they didn't get to do anything.  Maybe today we'll manage at least a walk around the neighborhood. 

Maybe we can get some pictures of the orange blossoms I can't smell!



I shouldn't have watched that Ghost Adventures marathon.  Last night I dreamt a spirit entered my body while I was asleep.



You never realize how many times a day you lower your head until you have a sinus infection.


When Harry met Sally. Ahh, sorry. I mean when Jackie met Sean. Or Sean met Jackie. Anyway, here's the story

It all began in a far away land many years ago....

Okay.  Maybe not quite that way.  But it was a long time ago and in a place far from here.  And it's my story, so I can start it any way I want!

So there!!

Anyway, back to the fairy tale.  I know you're all dying to know how I met my Handsome Prince.  

The year, 1990.  I was living back in Massachusetts with my Dad, in a two bit town where everyone knows everyone, and I was dying to get out.  I had spent about the last for years going to bars with friends every Friday through Sunday and getting drunk.  I did some soul searching and realized I can't go on like this every weekend for the rest of my life.  It was getting me nowhere.  Fast.  So I stopped going out every weekend, and became a homebody, spending more time with either Dad or over at Mom's.  

At the time, we had no idea Dad was battling cancer, so I'm very thankful I came to my senses when I did and was able to spend that time with him.  We would have dinner together and occasionally rent a movie or two.  When I wasn't dining with Dad, I'd go to Mom's and have dinner with her.  

This was also when Mom was working at the local ER, where she met a man and they began dating.  

A much younger man.  

A man around my age.

I had no problem at all with my Mother dating a guy who was about my age.  I just had one rule about it; he could not, in any way, be good looking!  It just wouldn't be right if I was single and my Mom was dating a handsome younger man.  IT COULD NOT HAPPEN.

One night she was supposed to go out with her man, Richard, and was debating whether or not to bring ma along to meet him.  He knew she had kids, but to her, having him meet one of them was a whole other thing.  I, on the other hand didn't care.  Either I go out with her and Richard, or I went home.  No big deal.

So she decides he has to meet me sometime, better now than never, and we head over to his place to pick him up and make the introductions. 

The entire drive over I kept repeating in my head "Please don't be cute.  Please don't be cute.  Please don't be cute."  

Because that just wouldn't be right if he was cute.

We get to his place, Mom knocks on the door, and the door behinds us opens and I hear, "Hello, Diann."

I turn to look, thinking it might be Richard (all the while still repeating in my head "Please don't be cute.  Please don't be cute."), and I see this gorgeous, tan hunk in snug white jeans and tee-shirt! 

The chant in my head suddenly changed to "SHIT!!  SHIT!! SHIT!!"  He was sooo cute!!  This can not be the guy my MOTHER is dating!!"

Then I hear through the cussing in my head Mom say "Sean, I'd like you to meet my daughter Jackie.  Jackie, this is Richard's friend Sean."

I'm pretty sure I was holding my breath.  And I'm pretty sure I let out a very loud sigh when I heard that he was not Richard.  THANK YOU LORD!!!

That night we all went out to a comedy bar (it sucked) then somewhere else where I think we might've had dinner and a few drinks.  I really don't remember.  I was just so thrilled to be with a guy who #1 WAS NOT FROM OUR STINKIN' CRAPPY LITTLE TOWN and #2 was so very HOT!! 

At the end of the night we all went our separate ways and I wondered if I'd ever see this cute guy again.

Lucky for me I did.  He would stop by the store I was working at and we'd go to lunch together.  Almost every day.

Not only was he good looking, but he was from somewhere else!  Growing up in such a small town where everyone knows your whole family, it was awesome to tell people, "Nope.  You don't know him."  He had lived in half the states in the US.  Hell, he lived several years in the French Quarter of New Orleans. How cool was that?!  I knew very few of the girls in town could claim their guy had been all over the States, AND lived in the French Quarter of New Orleans!  Here I was, weird little Jackie, with the hottest new thing in town. I'm pretty sure my head was 2 sizes larger ~ despite (or because) of my weirdness, he chose me!!

I was just so thrilled by him.  He rode a "Pee Wee Herman" bike because had his license revoked (I can't remember why.), and actually listened to me when I said I hate soda and never drink it.

But what really cinched the deal, was that first night we went out, I had told him that the perfect date was simply a picnic lunch with champagne on a red checkered cloth in the park.

And guess what??!!

A few weeks after we met he surprised me by taking me to a local outdoor amphitheater to hear the Boston Pops.  To have a picnic lunch.  On the grass.  With champagne.  On a red checkered cloth!

I was in love!

We then got a place together, a year or so later packed up everything we owned, plus a puppy, drove across the US to AZ, then I got pregnant, we got married, had 2 more girls and the rest as they say is history....


While I'm away, the kids will play

Last weekend I worked the home show.  Saturday, this is what the girls did:

Photos and video edit by R

It happened 17 years ago

17 years ago tomorrow, Sean & I got married.  That's right.  We've been together 20 years & married 17.

I'm not going to lie to you & say these were the best 17 years of my life and Sean is the greatest thing since cheese cake.  Because, let's face it.  We're human.  And life & humans are not perfect.

I've loved him to death.

I've hated him to death.

And I'm sure those feelings are mutual.

We've had our ups and we've had our downs and through it all we raised 3 beautiful girls and managed not to put each other in the hospital!

We had a simple ceremony on top of South Mountain in Phoenix.  All my family were back east in Massachusetts, New York & Florida, so only Sean's mom (Novella), her boyfriend Phil and Sean's sister, Shannon (with her 2 children) attended.

Novella, made my dress, bouquet and head wrap.  And a co-worker of Sean's was kind enough to take pictures.

It was my perfect wedding.  Simple and a little different.  I only wished my family could've been there.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.  I will tell you how we met.  

All I can say is it was not your typical meeting!



I could really go for some Chinese take-out & a beer.


My other husband. The rest of the story

Some of you may have read my Tweet the other day about an elderly woman at the home show who thought I was Levi's wife.  Which in of itself is funny.  But there was a bit more to the story.

So I thought I'd share.

As Levi was helping the elderly couple, I was with some other customers.  When I finished up with them, I went over to the table where Levi was looking at designs with them.  Mrs. then asked me if I was the bride to this operation.  Not really getting what she meant, I told her that I do all the design work for the catalog & website.

We then proceeded to talk of other things while Levi was telling Mr. that he fabricated all the display pieces.

I then left Mrs. & went to help out another customer.  As the elderly couple were leaving, I heard Mrs. say something about Levi's wife.  So after my customer left, I asked him about it.

What Mrs. said was; "You and your wife are going to have some really talented children!"

I nearly pissed my pants I was laughing so hard.

And to top it all off, Levi said he didn't have the heart to correct her!!

I'm quite flattered, though, that she thought I was young enough to be married to him.  {He's 28, I'm 42 31}

But then, she could've thought  he was old enough to be married to me!!  Which is highly doubtful.  Levi looks like he's 19.

Or maybe she thought I was an older woman with a much younger guy.

Either way, it was a good laugh for the day.

Besides, I do have some talented kids.

I just have them with my "other' husband!


A totally blond moment

This morning {after I worked on a design for Allied Gate!  Yeah!  Work!!} I ran to Wal-Mart for toilet paper, hair color, KY, whipped cream a few things.  When I got to the check out I opened my wallet to get my debit card.  


I kinda freaked wondering where the hell could it be?  I had it at my desk earlier this morning when I paid my phone bill, and I was pretty sure I put it back in my wallet.

So, I call Roo {who was home from school because she is a big baby had a fever} to check my desk to see if it was there. 




Good thing the toothless guy in line behind me wasn't in a hurry.  I honestly think he was just really, really, really happy someone was talking to him.

Even if it was just to say she was sorry for being such an air headed bimbo.

But Wal-Mart still takes a check & thank goodness I had some of those with me.  I get home & double check my desk for my card.  Because I can never believe my kids have looked for something very hard.  

Even if they truly did.  

They can never look for it the way I would look for it.  

I blame my mother for that bit of irrational thinking.

I double check my wallet & purse again, pulling everything out.  Still no card.  By now I'm just totally confused as to where that damn thing could be!  I step back to think, put my hand in my pockets of my hoodie and GUESS WHAT?

Yup.  There was my debit card.

In my pocket.


I don't even remember putting it there!

It's my kids fault I'm so blond senile.