Saturday, December 20, 2008


Before leaving California, we gave our christmas tree to the ward. I would have kept it but:
  • It would not have fit into the moving van
  • It was too FAT
  • It took a long time to assemble
  • It took even longer to put lights on it
  • OK--I just wanted an easier tree to put up that had lights already attached!

So now that we are in Utah and Christmas season is here--there is no money for a new tree. But that is OK--cause I am happy to wait for one when we can afford a new one.

In the meantime, we are using my three decorative trees that I had. Don't you think they look lovely? I mean--just look at those decorations! They are just overwhelmingly gorgeous (and of course my favorite color!!!).

We have one present to put under the tree so far. Maybe I will be adventuresome and produce more gifts??????

Today was good - we are now officially part of the Christmas festivities on our block. We borrowed green lights from Kimberly's apartment ceiling and put a wreath on the door. I think the sign is a fair assessment of our thoughts about Christmas this year.

But then I did decorate our fireplace mantle to bring in the Christmas cheer!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


This evening Von and I attended the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert, with guests Brian Stokes Mitchell and Edward Herrman. It was an incredible evening. Neither one of us had been to the Conference Center for an event. And of course I forgot my camera!

The MoTab was beautiful, the Orchestra on Temple Square were superb, and I think Max Wilberg is a genius, but besides that, the guest soloist had an incredible voice. I believe he is African-American, or at least part. His range of vocals was vast, but the best was when he used his deep gutteral sounds, which just bubbled out, rich and strong. He had arranged a number of the songs he, the choir and orchestra sang and played together.

And then Herrman did a narrative of the life of Longfellow, and the history behind the song "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." I have heard it before, but he did such a beautiful job, and then the vocals to accompany it.

The MoTab sang the Hallelujah Chorus, and everyone stood! I love that song. It brings back memories of when I was in high school, and the choir I was in sang it. Back in the 70s, our director had some "techno" music to accompany us, which was really cool back then. But what I remember most was the part the soprano's sang - the notes just kept getting higher and higher, and sustaining those high notes was a feat unto itself!

Music is powerful. Hearing and singing those ole' familiar carols once again does bring a sweet spirit of remembrance to this Christmas season. How I wish my voice had the ability to sing like it once did!

Monday, December 8, 2008


I thought I would be exempt from being that a good thing or a bad thing?

So you want to know a little about me Marlys - here goes:

1. 8 favorite TV shows: American Idol; HGTV Divine Design; FoodTV Barfeoot Contessa; Project Runway; Simply Quilts (no longer on-sad); House; TLC What Not to Wear; Law and Order.

2. 8 Things That Happened This Week: sat through 6 hours of church meetings; made peanut brittle; made rocky road; went to class; checked in with my daughters; annoyed my husband; watched the snow fall and melt; finished my VT for the month (aren't you jeolous!).

3. 8 Things I Love About Winter: Windy weather; NO snow; fire in the fireplace; eating freshly picked oranges; the beauty of a grove of trees that have no leaves; quietly sitting in the room with only the Christmas tree lights on; shelling nuts; rainstorms.

4. 8 Things on My Wish List: The tugboat to arrive; a "stellar" new purse; EXTRA TIME; going on a mission with Von; a credit card that is paid off each month; wrinkles and extra skin that would disappear; eyes that would accomadate contacts; dinner out once a week.

5. 8 Favorite Foods: Homemade ice cream; zucchini with butter & cream; fresh pico de gallo and chips; homemade wheat bread smothered in butter and honey; Von's tri-tip; sweet watermelon; Marie Calendar's Razzleberry Pie; and cinnamon bears! (No chocolate!!!)

6. 8 Favorite Memories (only eight?): Witnessing the marriage of my children in the temple; bear hugs from my father; the sweet smile of my mom; my grandchildren laughing; the thoughtful planning my husband takes in surprising me; playing in the soft sand of the ditch bank with my nephews; tickling and playing with my children in the grass on the lower lot; the never ending green beans from our garden!

7. 8 Favorite Places I Have Been: San Francisco; Utah in the summer; Arizona in the spring; California in the spring; Cruising down the Rhine river in Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland; Amsterdand, Holland; home.

8. 8 Favorite Movies: Bourne series; Sabrina; Lord of the Rings; Runaway Bride; Sweet Home Alabama; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Little Lord Faunteroy; The Fugitive.

9. 8 Nicknames: Annie; Andie-Pandie; Desert Fox; Curtis; Hey there (sorry, that is it!).

10. 8 Things I am Looking Forward to: The semester to end; decorating for Christmas; reading a thick juicy book; getting some major sewing projects up, running and finished; Christmas baking; MoTab Christmas concert; a serious massage; 50 pounds lighter.

11. 8 Embarrasing Moments: Having the wrong word escape my mouth in one of my "thyroid moments"; always losing my hat during our marching band performances, along with the TP I used to stuff it with; 9 months pregnant and peeing in my pants because I was laughing so hard after taking the last hand in Tricks with a red 1 (20 people were playing in that game); I am sure there are more moments--but I don't remember any more--sorry!

Who do you tag?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


All my kiddies went home, and all I have left to show for their visit are piles of blankets yet to be put away. What a crazy wonderful week we had with all the family "home." How blessed Von and I are to have such wonderful children and grandchildren.

I liked the noise and the busyness, late nights, talks and hugs and kisses. I am sure my mother and father were chuckling while watching from on high all the little personalities we had running around our house. Talk about energy!

Now the house is quiet, and maybe that is a good thing since I have yet to finish my english paper :(

I am grateful that our family could be with us this past week. Never before have I missed my family as I have these last 3 months. They define who I am and why I do the things I do. They are as much a part of me as I am of them.

We had a treat as our two youngest granddaughters were blessed, Eden Ann Finch and Tessa Lynn Packard. Lindsey called them our "vanilla and chocolate!" Eden is fair and blue-eyed, while Tessa is dark-haired and brown-eyed--both beautiful little baby girls.

We had fun bowling as a family, hiking, snowboarding and skiing for some, a turkey bowl game to prepare for the feast and playing games. Christmas lights at Temple Square and caroling to dear friends. Family pictures - which will be surprising for some as I no longer have 5 blonde-haired daughters!!!

We know have 11 grandchildren, all as different as can be. Handsome and beautiful and full of life! (Pictures to be posted later)

I love you--children of mine! You are the best.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Another story from my Journalism class. This time I had to work with another classmates. He did some interviews, and I wove the story together. Then we collaborated on the lead and ending. This was a "fun feature" story about something happening in the area of our community.

As is the case every October, people notice more and more faces staring at them with weird expressions. Fortunately gangs and graffiti are not the issue.

The Halloween tradition of carving pumpkins has become so popular, that it is not uncommon to see three to six carved pumpkins sitting on the doorsteps of houses and apartments. Interestingly, college student housing seems to match the amount of doorstep squash as other families.

It’s evident that carving pumpkins is not just for children. College students find it a great social activity. It’s an opportunity and excuse to get together with friends in a wholesome setting. Most of the young adult crowds love the creative experience of getting down and dirty with their pumpkins.

“I carved the most amazing pumpkins this Halloween—all in one week,” said Jessica M--, who has three carved pumpkins to her name this season. “I think I might just like all the guts! The first was a cool sun with sunglasses, the second was abstract—and the third was a puppy dog.”

Home evenings, dates and neighborhood gatherings are all popular situations for pumpkin carving activities. It’s become a tradition. Such is the case with Lance and Rebecca G-- of Highland, Utah. They started an annual pumpkin carving contest about seven years ago with the intent of encouraging their college age nieces and nephews to date. The Garretts provide dinner, pumpkins, carving tools and small prizes for their efforts.
“For the kids, this was a cheap date,” Lance G-- said. “There is always a grand prize winner and a loser, but the real winners are those who had a good social experience with their dates.”

The G--’s further explained that it gives the couples an opportunity to engage in some “small talk” and learn about their date’s sense of humor and creativity. Pumpkins turned out with impressive artwork and even pyrotechnics. Another benefit is that cousins are able to introduce their dates to the family, with two contests resulting in wedding engagements.

“Pumpkins are so unique—who thought to carve a pumpkin and put a face on it,” Hallie S-- said. “Someone obviously connected a pumpkin with a head, then thought, ‘Hmm…let’s poke some holes in it to make eyes, nose and a mouth’.”

Those pumpkin heads and spooky signs may be unique, but they have become classic in the neighborhood Halloween atmosphere.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


For my journalism class assignment I had to interview someone and then interview 2 people that knew that person. OK, so I am boasting, I got 50/50 points. That was very encouraging day. Here is my story:

When walking into Sandra Y.’s office it is easy to see why the dead don’t leave her alone. There is order and peace. Notebooks are labeled and filed on bookshelves, special drawers hold over 16,000 family file names and numerous files are stuffed with accumulated information while searching for her kindred dead.

One of the three-fold missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to redeem the dead.

“You don’t build temples for their good looks,” Y. said. ”We need to do our family history.
There will come a time when the significance of ‘Redeem the Dead’ will come to force.”

Every family has a unique story. As a volunteer at the Alpine Tabernacle Family History Center one can find Y., each Tuesday, helping patrons find that story. She assists and teaches others how to search their own family history. One patron, Sheila P., was directed to her because of a chance meeting in the temple with P.’s husband. Y. visited the temple one evening to do temple sealings for her family. Von P. noticed the lilting British accent of Y., his wife is British also, so he struck up a conversation. During their discussion he discovered that she was a family history consultant, and that she had a special interest in British genealogy.

“It was sheer providence,” P. said. “She made it easy.”

“She knows how to get into the records on the internet,” P. said. “She is very thorough, documenting everything exactly where we found it.”

Shortly after Y.’s mother passed away she met a young man, Trevor Y. They took a holiday together to visit an aunt who lived in the southern part of England. The aunt was a “Mormon.” Neither she nor Trevor thought much of this religious faith after their discussions with the missionaries, and dismissed the experience. However, the missionaries did not forget them. A few months later this set of missionaries were attending a meeting where they met some missionaries that lived in Y.’s hometown. The missionaries promptly told them that there were a couple of young kids that needed the gospel.

Both Y., and her husband-to-be, joined the church in 1959, and married soon after. Y. wanted to leave England for America, so after selling everything, the family immigrated to the United States. With two children under the age of 3, four suitcases and $200, they arrived in Salt Lake City in 1963. Y.’s husband worked for $2 a day and she managed apartments. Y.’s husband has never looked back; he felt he had come home.

However, Y. missed her family and homeland and traveled back to England only to discover that visiting living relatives was not the only way to cure a homesick heart.

“I know that when I was on the other side, I said, ‘I will do it!’,” Y. said. “Next time I will sit on my hands. I can’t leave it alone—they won’t leave me alone! I eat, sleep, and breathe family history.”

“My daughter will call to make an appointment with me for lunch,” Y. said. “She calls it--lunch with the living.”

Y.’s daughter, Julie P., describes her mother’s temperament as sweet and giving, always willing to serve others. Genealogy became one of the family projects, one where they learned to serve those that have passed on.

“My mom has a ‘no one left behind’ rule,” P. said. “It is something personal for her. It is as if someone leads her.”

“Oh, look, there’s one more lovely little family,” Y. said.

When it comes to family relationships or family history, Y.’s life is evident that her love is genuine and sincere. At this time in her life she has found a passion that gets her out of bed in the morning and excited to welcome those departed to her office.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Someday soon--my blog will look awesome. Probably around Thanksgiving time when Loralee is visiting and she can show me in person HOW to do incredible things with my blog. At least I have some of my family members listed, thank you Lindsey.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


It was on Cami's blog that I read about using your blog as a daily journal. Hmmm...most days that would be boring, as I don't have any little ones around to add humor to my days. And it would be very disrespectful of me to use Von as my story line each day, though he does give me something to talk about (nope - won't go there!).

So I have made up some acronyms to speed up my journaling process:
  • SAD - Studied All Day
  • OOPS - Officially Out of Perfume Scents
  • BAG - Busted A Gut
  • NC - Need Chocolate
  • TGIF - Thank Goodness Its Food
I would love to hear from anyone that have some acronyms that would be appropriate for journaling--and show a lot more creativity then I can. Bring them on!

Monday, September 29, 2008


I have to admit that one of my biggest fears about coming back to school were the desks. Whenever I would visit an open house for my high school age children, sitting in their school desks was tight. I am happy to report that at college, they have generously, oops, the desk are of a generous size that I and other big boys can fit in. I am most appreciatitive of this as well as my rolls of bodily girth that would overflow the countours of the chair. And I think those sitting around me are appreciatitive as well.

Friday, September 26, 2008


My daughter Julianne, gave me a call yesterday telling me about a competition she and her classmates are participating in - where any viewers that I have can participate in! I am copying my other daughter, Loralee's, post about this opportunity. The most important aspect of this blog post is for any and all to go to the website and view the youtube video mulitiple times a day!!!! So here is what Loralee has to say about her sister, Julianne.....which I ditto by 500%!!!!!!

TAG - JU-JU's Paul Mitchell Contest
My sister Julianne attends Paul Mitchell Hair Academy in Rexburg and she's entering a contest. I want to say just a few words about her. She is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet in your life. She has had to overcome some SERIOUS obstacles throughout her life. When I think about the things that she has encountered, I am amazed at her ability to get through them. No doubt she is one of Heavenly Father's strongest and most faithful daughters. She is a loyal friend and tries so hard to bring happiness into the lives of those around her. Hair school means so much to her because it's a place where she can go and feel safe, feel confident in her abilities, and feel like she has a support system all around her. Here's what she wrote:

"Paul Mitchell is having a YouTube contest that all Future Professionals in all of the schools nationwide are invited to participate in. And I really really really want to win!!! The grand prize is an all expense paid airfare, hotel, and dinner with John Paul Dejoria and Winn Claybaugh. So here is the deal. The winners are picked by the HIGHEST NUMBER OF VIEWS and HIGHEST RANKING. So here is where all of you come into play and your friends and family and their friends and family! You will all need to view JUST my video (don't view the other videos b/c then they get a vote as well) as often as possible and then rank it high!!! In order to rank it, you need to be a You Tube member-it takes just a couple minutes to create an account and other than the confirmation email, you don't get any other emails from them. You can view it as much as you want (please view it a lot) and then I would love you to tag everyone on your blog list with it. Voting goes from the time my video is uploaded until October 18. This is so important to me. Love you all!!!!!!! So keep your eyes open for the link!which is right here (and to make sure you have the right one, her username is julijam421):
Just copy and paste this post and put it on your blog,
then create a You Tube account and view, view, view!!!
Julianne would flip out if she won this contest.THANKS!
***Voting starts at midnight tonight-Thursday***

Sunday, August 31, 2008


I guess I am an official student now - I bought my books for school. But darn it all, I am still trying to decide what to wear on the first day of class.

Last Wednesday, Kimmy went with ME to buy my books! She also was with me when I dropped in to the NTOS - Non-Traditional/Older Student Assoc. meeting. We both learned some interesting tidbits. Kimmy thought the information on where there are beds on campus was very helpful - as she may use them from time to time to crash from her nocturnal habits.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Loading the Van:

I wish I had pictures to share how the movers moved. I don't think SLOW can be pictured. I had to leave several times while this experience was occuring. I happened to be up (and I mean vertically UP) the street visiting my neighbor, watching the movers pack the truck. Out they came with my computer desk. I am not sure at what geometrical point they hit walking on the downslope of our driveway - but in full view I saw the desk break into many pieces while a variety of exclamations spewed from their mouths. It was a good thing I wasn't fond of that piece any longer!

Unloading the Van:

I received a report from my sister-in-law in Texas about my 2 sister-in-laws in Utah that took charge and distributed my boxes to the nethermost regions of my new abode AND unboxed many other boxes to help make our new home functional - and this I am most grateful for. I owe them BIG TIME!!! And from that report, it was a good thing I wasn't around when the movers were unloading.
Questions - Can anything good come from using a moving company? Will I ever again live in the same house longer than 7 years (but more like 2 years)? Will I ever get to the point that I can leave everything behind (like you suggested Pat!)? How many more moves do I have left?
So how...what do Movers make me...after 17 moves..
GRATEFUL that it is their backs not mine, despite their speed or personal natures!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


FRAZZLED [1. verb]

frayed at the edges; exhausted either physically or emotionally

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Today is my oldest daughter, Ann-Marie's, birthday. I won't say how old she is other than she is a year younger than we have been married! She is an incredible young woman, and I am so glad she chose our family even though we have plenty of quirks and dys-functionality (of course it ALL comes from her Dad's side of the family!!! - OK, J/K! I take half the blame.)

When I started having babies, I never worried about myself or my babies. Maybe that is a blessing, because when I was delivering Ann-Marie, the doctor told my mother that they were very concerned for both me and 'the baby' due to the loss of so much blood. I was so clueless back then. When Ann-Marie was born she was so pink and pretty. I remember her eyes, so wide and ready to meet the world, checking everything out! She hasn't changed much and that is one of the things I love about her.

This is Ann-Marie when she was 17 years old!


Kimmy came to visit this last weekend. One of her unique characteristics as a child was similar to a Tasmanian devil, she would leave a whirlwind of stuff in her wake. Her visit with 3 other college friends did not dispel that flaw – did I say flaw? Don’t get me wrong – Kimmy and her friends were adorable, with personality plus – BUT – apparently I and the other mothers did not teach our daughters “Company’ etiquette.

So without further ado, let me share a few rules that I deem appropriate “Company” etiquette.

Offer and be willing to help with meal preparation or to clean up (as extra people do create more chaos/clutter). Most often the host doesn’t need your help, or may have everything under control, but the fact that you offered scores brownie points. And if you are a marriage possibility – this really makes you look good! DO NOT take a seat on the couch, waiting for someone to serve you.

Make your bed after you are ready for the day. DO NOT straighten it up when you go to bed at 1 AM, and call it good.

Pick up your clothes. Put them away in your bag or hang them up. DO NOT leave your personal unmentionables stuffed behind bathroom doors or hanging out on the floor.

Clean up after yourself in the bathroom. DO NOT leave your towels on the floor; or your curling irons turned ON. And it is recommended that you invest in a magnet wand to pick up all bobby pins that have fallen on the floors.

When leaving, gather towels and linens that you have used and ASK where you should put them. Fold blankets, stack pillows or any other bath & bedding you are no longer using. Your host may tell you where to put them all, or they may say, “Don’t bother, I will take care of it all.” DO NOT leave without picking up.

Be sure to write a thank you note, or leave a small gift for their hospitality. Show your gratitude.

And the most important thing to remember – leave the space you occupied cleaner than when you came. You might want to visit again!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


We have begun to pack. This is the computer room stack.
And then what is left of this room to pack

Looks nice and neat. But from here on out it is going to get UGLY!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Many have asked what is going on in our lives, so I guess I should share a few things, as some major adventures are about to take place! (Sorry if you read my email already.)

We are moving to Utah next month. I (Ann) will be going back to college after 33 years!!! Either my grades were sufficient or my ecclesiastic leaders gave me a glowing report that I needed to return to school. Either way I am excited to head back to BYU. There is a goal and a plan to graduate. We hope it is sooner than later. The adventure begins Sept. 2nd!!! How it will end up - don't know. But school it is - for now.

And Von - yep, he is coming. He has his own adventures planned out too, but that is his to share.

Sunday during Gospel Doctrine class, our teacher was talking about the mission she and her husband served. She said that she knew it was the right thing to do, but she cried the whole way to the MTC, feeling great sadness at leaving all she loved behind. But then when they left the mission field, she cried all the way home to CA, missing all the dear friends and members they had made in Chicago. After she shared that, my eyes welled up with tears, for that is how both Von and I have felt about leaving Carlsbad this time around. We have made so many wonderful neighbors and friends, and we have such a great ward which we will truly miss.

So these are the things I have to be concerned with now:

  • I have to get used to the cold weather and buy a COAT. I have thought about the possibility of only going to school fall, spring and summer, then be a snowbird during winter semester!!! (JK -but it is something to consider!).
  • I may take up the sport of snowboarding, they say it is easier on the knees than skiing.
  • I will consider purchasing a "Nuke" light to ward off the gloomy winter days or I will create a happy, sunny, light filled cave for myself.
  • I also am considering forming a club of other "seasoned" women on campus, where we will set up a system of rating dating potentials for our unmarried children. Von and I have been discussing what would be the best approach for this, like the numbering system they do for diving. Suggestions are welcomed.
  • What do I wear for the first day of class? What impression do I want to make? Oh, that's right, I don't have to worry about that anymore!!!!! Maybe that will keep me more focused - ya' think? All I have to worry about is whether I have food caught in my braces and that I don't have classes waaaay down in the Richards PE Bldg.
  • Maybe I will be lucky like I was 35 years ago - and lose 10 lbs. the first 3 weeks of class from all the walking...hmmm...good thought.
  • This time around - I am getting a rolling backpack - I am going to be a nerd - what can I say - I am over 50!

Well, it has been lovely sharing what will be happening to us soon. It is time to move and purge again. While on our adventure I am hoping to have some worthy posts for my blog.

So - wish us well, envy the fact that we get to drink GOOD water, not Carlsbad's sewer water.

We will miss our hometown of Carlsbad, it is our home, but this adventure will last only a season, and who knows what will happen then?

Monday, June 30, 2008


My cinnamon rolls have a reputation of being cinnamony, gooey and delicious. Last year for the 4th of July Breakfast, the new ward activities chairman did not request people to bring rolls and other goodies. When I arrived I was met by more than a handful of people WAITING for the cinnamon rolls to arrive (they had arrived early so they would be one of the first to get one!). They were very disappointed. It was annouced that this year's 4th of July Breakfast would include those traditional items that have been brought in year's past, namely, Ann's cinnamon rolls. Sadly, I won't be making them this year unless Von wants to follow my instructions!

Since it had been so quiet at our home on Sundays, I thought it would be a good thing for us to be a little more social! So I invited a few ward members over for Cinnamon Rolls. We invited about 5 families over. Afterwards, I was asked, "When are you doing it again?" So I came up with a new tradition for Von and I, "Cinnamon Roll Sunday". Every 5th Sunday will be Cinnamon Roll Sunday, and we will invite new families in the ward we haven't met to join us. I have encouraged those 5 families to do the same - but they haven't got with the program yet - mainly because they haven't mastered the technique of cinnamon rolls on their own. Possibly I may do this every 4th Sunday so we can share the cinnamon goo a little more!!!

Anyway - I tried another cinnamon roll recipe tonight. I liked it. We will have a verdict tomorrow morning after we see how well they hold up "the day after". Another good thing about Cinnamon Roll Sunday is that I get to try out new recipes - trying to find "the one" recipe that fulfills everyone's cinnamon fantasy.


Tomorrow I go in for surgery for my right hand. This is my 4th surgery on this hand - and I hope it is my last! (This is not my arm - I do not have black hairy arms!!!)

After my first surgery, they wrapped my hand and forearm up so nice and pretty. The nurse called it a "overgrown zucchini" bandage. That is what will happen again tomorrow. It will be a frustrating week.

The challenge: Do everything with your left (or right for the lefties) hand for 2 hours. Let me know how you succeed!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I love springtime in Carlsbad because there are so many colors in the foliage from the Flower Fields to the Birds of Paradise and now the blossoming of the Jacaranda trees with their bright lavender flowers. Rancho Santa Fe is lined with Jacaranda trees as well as Melrose Ave. and the Von’s shopping center on Alga & El Camino Real. These trees make me happy as I drive by them each day.

Growing up in Yuma, AZ, we didn’t see much color (one of the reasons why I love Carlsbad!). There were two predominant colors - SAND, BROWN, GREY-BROWN, DUSTY-BROWN, MUDDY-BROWN, ALFALFA-GREEN, GREY-GREEN, CACTUS-GREEN, CITRUS-GREEN and TOAD-GREEN.

By our front porch we had a Jacaranda Tree, the only non-fruit bearing tree in our yard! I don’t think anyone else had one in Yuma. Every spring it would bloom, big, beautiful clusters of LAVENDER blossoms. We officially were a 4-colored yard! After the blossoms dropped the leaves were a treat as they were large fan-like wisps that kept the sun from beating down on the front porch.

We also had toads that hibernated in the ground near the front porch. They are supposed to ‘emerge’ when the monsoons come in August – but the monsoons rarely dropped a raindrop in Yuma. Instead we irrigated our yard, especially when springtime was upon us – so the tress would soak up heavily to bear the summer heat. Our toads used the irrigation as their alarm clock.

So, each springtime as the Jacaranda Tree was blooming, the evening exodus of toads onto our front porch began – along with their croaking songs! Now - these toads weren’t the small cute things – they were huge; the size of a salad plate in circumference and 4-6 inches tall!!! And we didn’t have a few, we had MANY. Our front porch was about 10’ x 6’ with a 5’ walkway to the driveway. When you would open the front door, the WHOLE front porch would be covered with toads. We would open and shut the screen door to see if they would move – which they didn’t. Then you would take one of the toad-sticks, which was kept in a bucket by the front door, to prod the toads to action. If you were lucky, they’d hop onto the toad next to them and hopefully cause a domino/chain reaction and MOVE! It took a few minutes to clear a path. Then we had to move quickly, as they liked to gravitate back to their favorite spot.

It was a disgusting chore to clear the porch. Toad cooties, toads flopping on your feet, toad remains – yes, you can imagine the excuses we would come up with to fore go the nightly ritual. And heaven forbid if we had company! Didn’t have cell phones to call someone in the house – instead our company would yell to get our attention so WE could clear a path to the front door. However, my nephews, when visiting in the evening had a grand time. They would grab the toads, scare one another with them, chase after them, put them on their heads, or see how many they could get inside the house and stuff in their mom’s purse without being caught. In fact those were the only evenings that the toads seemed to disappear without the toad-stick.

It was one of those rare dry-cool evenings that AZ is known for, that the wind picked up. The Jacaranda blossoms had begun to drop, and they left a mess on the porch. No one had swept the porch that day. The toads began to congregate. Around 9 PM, I arrived home from work to discover the front porch covered with a heavy layer of Jacaranda blossoms from the wind. I thought it looked so pretty in the light. I was mesmerized by such color and beauty and stillness, that I did not stop to consider the reason for such depth of dropped blossoms.

I joyously started walking to the front door only to realize that the blossoms were starting to lurch! Oh, no, purple toads! I stepped on one – gag! It was able to move away from my foot which caused me to stumble and play a quick two-step to avoid stepping on more toads!

“MOM!!! HELP ME! MOM!” I yelled. That seemed to wake up the sleeping toad princes! I was frozen, not wanting to step and crush anymore toads. They started hopping, those purple covered toads, plopping on my feet, brushing against my legs, ugh! Would no one come and save me?

Finally the door opened, and my mom and dad - well, they just stood there and laughed at the mounds of purple flopping toad-blossoms around my feet. Purple Toads – they have a way of diminishing all your dignity.

In honor of the Toads, I collect them – but they are ceramic, which line my front porch. Maybe someday I will get myself a Jacaranda Tree then I will have some more Purple Toads – that don’t flop and plop!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

At some point I will get this

I am not sure how to do this, so the beginning of this blog is going to be random posts.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Drat! My Hand is all bandaged up.