Sunday, September 21, 2008


This has been a busy weekend to say the least!! Kerri decided to have a belated birthday party for Cameron with our family and a few close family friends. Cameron's favorite food is red chili meat. When I was a kid, that is what I always asked Mary to make for my birthday to invite friends over, so I totally understand this. So Friday morning, I put three roasts in the oven to cook slowly during the day.

I left school a little early to check on the roasts and to pick up my Aunt Teresa who was coming up for the events. She took the Agua Prieta/Douglas Shuttle and they dropped her at the Denny's on I10 and Baseline--you have got to see this to believe it!! I got to the Denny's just as the shuttle was pulling in. The driver was helping her out of the van that was completely full. Just about everyone on the shuttle spoke only Spanish. But that was fine with Teresa. She gets her novenas out and says them during the trip and she also finds a way to communicate with people in her own unique way!! The driver took her bag from the top of the van and we headed back to Gilbert to "string" the roasts. I had put three more on to cook before I left to pick her up.

Saturday morning I had two more roasts that I had cooked over night. I made those into green chili as that is Patrick's favorite and just to have a little variety........ Once again I thought about our wonderful Mary who taught me how to make all of this food!!

Saturday was the ASU/Georgia game. We were meeting all of the cousins in the parking lot around 2:00. My cousin, Teresa, and her husband, Don, were here for the game. Their daughter Allyson, her husband, Jason, and their darling baby were also here. Teresa and Don lived many years in Atlanta and most of their kids have gone to Georgia. So here we are tailgating in the 100 degree weather with Georgia fans no less!!!
One of the cousins, Mike, and his friends cooked a prime rib and all of the fixings. It was so hot I think that they could have cooked it without the grill!! Three years ago when ASU played USC during the day, I said I would not do this again.

And here I was again......... As always, we had a great t
ime. Now if we could have just seen a better game.......I don't know about those Sun Devils this year!!

brought everyone over for red and green chili meat and beans. Cameron had a great time. I asked him what his favorite part was and he said, "I don't know. I liked it all." The kids played Rock Band on the Wii in Shenanigans and we were even serenaded by P.T. (That, too, is another post.) They went swimming and had an all around great time.

sa was able to meet her newest great, great niece which was the main reason she came up from Douglas!!

It is now around 7:30 and I am thinking that it is time to try to get some rest for the week ahead!

Thanks to everyone who was here today to make this a great weekend. Happy Belated Birthday, Cameron!!! We never really have to have a reason to get together and celebrate, but I am glad we were able to celebrate your birthday today!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Goodbye Kareem, Our Loyal Canine Friend!

As I write this post, Kerri and Judy have taken Kareem to the vet. Kareem has been Kerri's dog since she was 19 years old. She just turned 34.

I still remember the day that she brought him home--a bundle of white fur. I was not thrilled to have this chow puppy. She didn't ask if she could get him, she just brought him home. Kerri had dealt with a lot during that time. She lost a former boyfriend to suicide and had a couple of other traumatic things happen to her, so I didn't say much.

It didn't take long for me to fall in love with Kareem. He was so protective and any time I was alone for the night in the house, I never worried. I could have left all of the doors unlocked because Kareem would have protected me without a doubt. Kareem was definitely our protector.

Chows have a reputation that at times they can be mean. Kareem was never mean. He just was loyal--maybe to a fault. There were a couple of times when he bit someone over the years and spent time in doggie "jail." It was always when I think he was trying to protect us.

The last few years as he has gotten elderly, he started to exhibit signs just like a person does as they age. His eyes grew cataracts, he didn't always hear the doorbell or when someone came in, and he sometimes just stood and looked at the wall and stared. The doctor said that he had "doggie dementia." Sometimes he would go outside and then look in through the back doors and see us. He would wag his was almost like "hey, I know you guys in there!"

The past few weeks have been tough on Kareem. He tried to bite Patrick one time when he was surprised by him. Last Friday when Kerri tried to get him downstairs, he tried to bite her. I believe it was just a reaction from not being able to see or hear well. That is when Kerri made the final decision to call the vet. I know how difficult that phone call is to make.

Yesterday, as he was walking across the living room, he staggered and then had a hard time getting his balance.

So today Kerri got the leash and he was so excited. She took him in my car as it would be too hard for him to have gotten in her truck. She took a picture of him with his head out of the window as they drove to the vet's office. Kareem loved the wind on his face in the car!! Judy met her there and I stayed home with Cameron.

Dogs become family members and are so important in our lives. Kareem has been a part of our lives for the past 15 years. We will miss him, but know that he lived a great life and gave us unconditional love. I will miss him and I am not sure that I will ever feel as safe as I did knowing Kareem was there to protect me no matter what. He was our protector and brought joy to our lives in so many ways.

I found this wonderful poem and think it says it all... so to Kerri and Kareem with much love.........

If it should be....
If it should be that I grow frail and weak,

and pain should keep me from my sleep,

then you must do what must be done,

for we know this last battle can't be won.
You will be sad, I understand,

but don't let grief then stay your hand,

for this day, more than the rest,

your love and friendship must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years,

what is to come can hold no fears.

Would you want me to suffer?
when the time comes, please let me go.
Take me where my needs they'll tend,

only stay with me until the end,

and hold me firm and speak to me,

until my eyes no longer see.
It is a kindness that you do to me,
although my tail it's last has waved,

from pain and suffering I have been saved.

Do not grieve,
it should be you,
who must decide this thing to do.
We've been so close, we two these years,

Don't let your heart hold any tears.

Author unknown

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Labor Day Spent in the Chiricahuas

This past Labor Day weekend, we went
to our cabin in the Chiricahuas. Our family, along with two families who have been very close friends for many years, went together to buy the cabin in 1960. I was in 6th grade that year. The cabin is in South Fork of Cave Creek Canyon which is on the eastern slope of the Chircahua Mountains. It is about 60 miles from Douglas. In order to get there, you must go into New Mexico and then back into Arizona. It takes about an hour to get there from Douglas.

After we got the cabin, we went up almost every Sunday after church and spent the day. So many of my wonderful memories have to do with this cabin. It is in what I consider probably the most beautiful place on earth. There is only one other cabin in South Fork and a picnic area about a mile up. You can't get television, radio, or telephone access there so you are truly isolated from the world.

It is truly a cabin. We have no running water. You have to go down to the spring in the creek to get water. We have a kitchen with a sink and a stove and you have to boil the water on the stove to get water to do the dishes and to wash up. There is an outhouse and a small shed for a generator to make electricity.

I have been to some wonderful cabins of friends over the years. They are called cabins, but they really are homes in the forests and are beautiful places to visit. Our cabin is truly a cabin in the woods.

There is a creek that runs behind it that is absolutely awesome! The water is so clear and very cold. As a child, I remember spending hours in the creek or up the mountain exploring caves or anything else we could find.

During the years that we spent the summers in Douglas when my kids were young, we spent a lot of time at the cabin. They have always loved going there. And now we are able to share this experience with Cameron.

We have a guest book that is amazing. One of my favorite entries in it is from my 13th birthday party that was held there in January. I was able to invite friends and we spent the night. It was freezing, but we had a wonderful time. It is so fun to look back and see what people have written over the years. I think Judy was in about second grade then and to see her handwriting as a second grader is so fun.

Seeing my kids entries when they were little and what they wrote and how they wrote it is something so special. What a legacy it has been.

This past weekend, the weather could not have been better. It was cool and a bit overcast. We got some rain while we were there. The ground was quite wet from all of the rain that they have gotten over the past few months. The creek was quite full and was absolutely beautiful.

There is a natural swimming hole about a mile from the picnic area. The road stops at the picnic area and you have to walk from then on. We call the swimming hole "The Bathtub" and I have so many wonderful memories of going there over the years. We decided to go there on Sunday. In order to get to "The Bathtub," you have to walk across the creek three times. The rain that southeastern Arizona has gotten during this season has been a lot. The amount of water has actually changed the creek in a couple of spots and wiped out the trail. If we hadn't been familiar with the area, I think we may have had a hard time finding the trail. It was amazing what nature can do!!

When we got to "The Bathtub" it was full of water and so beautiful. Everyone decided to go in (not me--the water is freezing.) When you jump into the water, it almost takes your breath away. Everyone had such fun. Cameron was hesitant, but decided to try jumping in. There is a waterfall that you sit on and it pushes you into the water. He did it a couple of times.

I forget how relaxing it is to spend time there. There is nothing to worry about and what goes on in the world will wait until you get back to read the newspaper or listen to the news. In our fast paced world, that is so refreshing.

I am hoping that we can get back soon as I truly believe that this is my very favorite spot on earth. If you have never been to the Chiricahuas, you are missing seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in Arizona, the U. S., and probably the world. People come from all over the globe to visit. It is well worth the trip. I just wish it was closer to us!! It was a great weekend spent enjoying the beauty of nature!!