Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Livin' Life in Laveen

I find my self in Laveen. AZ.  What's that you say?  Where the heck is Laveen?  Until my niece bought a house here, I hadn't heard of it either.  It's a bedroom community SW of Phoenix that used to be a farming community, and still is in some places.  Not a mile from her house is a big dairy with lots of cows packed into a small area surrounded by tract homes.  And lordy, lordy, lordy does it stink when you drive by-no way should that many cows be in one place at one time.  I grew up in the country with a huge cow pasture within site of my house and it was nothing like that.

But, I digress.  I'm here in Laveen hanging out with my newest great-nephew!  Every new mama needs a helper for a while and I'm so happy to be able to act as her postpartum doula/lactation consultant.  Nate is entering into his third week of life on this planet and I think he's fitting right in.  Her certainly has the eating and pooping down.  

He's a keeper, for sure.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Refinish Fail!

Remember this?

I took a few inches off the bottom, stained the top and it was looking much better.

I then had a great idea!  Add some pretty paper to the back wall of the shelf...

So now I get to practice my scraping skills.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Furniture

Found this at the thrift store yesterday and yes, I am happy.  It will be perfect for my current project-well, after some work. It's a twin headboard now but it's raison d'etre is about to change.

I had to bring it home tied to the stop of my car with twine-thanks to the guys at the store.  Most things will fit in the back of my little car but this was just big enough and oddly shaped enough that it had to ride on top.  I should have taken a photo of that.

Had to wait for the sons to get home from school so they could unload it.  Younger son's comment when he saw the piece:  "So, you decided we needed another craptastic piece of furniture in the house?" 

One can never too much craptastic furniture! Especially if it's only $2.95.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Still Kickin'

Even went to the doctor yesterday!  Something I try not to do but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girls gotta do.  Now I'm on ANOTHER antibiotic!  Seriously, I've never taken this many abx in my entire life but, enough about me.

I have had some fun in between fits of coughing that included working with this great fabric:
  Pretty, huh?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Christmas in February-an old project

One thing about being sick in bed, once you can stay awake, you can catch up on things.  I've read the entire Internet in the last 6 days.   No, really.
I do feel a bit better today, if only my head belonged to someone else and my bones didn't hurt.  But, the cough is much better!  Things are looking up.

In spending lots of time with my computer and trying to get some order to my photos, I realized I never shared this project.  Remember when we tore out the massive adobe hearth that ate the living room?

What was I thinking?

Love these guys!

The wall after plastering.
And finally this.  Wow, that tree is bright!

We needed something to store the media center computer, DVDs, game stuff but it needed to be narrow.  I tried a couple of different options but in the end and old wall cabinet fit the bill.  So, we built a box for it to sit on and I painted in a nice gray/green.  I experimented with a copper look door.


Finally, chalkboard paint makes it less obtrusive and adds some fun.

So, that's it.  Except the top still isn't finished so I'm using a piece of burlap until I figure that out.

 Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I think I have the flu!!  I haven't felt this bad in...ever.  I thought I felt better this morning but was up for about 30 minutes and then had to go back to bed.  This is day 5, people!  I blame in on the flu vaccine.  I never get the vaccine but did this year because I was going to Honduras and so here I am with the coughing, hacking, headachy, sneezing, muscle aching, skin hurting crud.  (I don't really blame in on the vaccine, it's just so coincidental.)

And I have so many fun projects I'd love to be working on.  First there is the tiny strawbale house I'm working on with my friend, C.  Her family is making the courageous move to simplify and live on a piece of rural land hidden right in the heart of SE Tucson.  This also allows them to be near their horses.  Right now they are living in travel trailers but C is interested in building and wanted a more substantial place of her own so she came up with a plan and here we go. 

 Yes, I realize there are no posts on the deck near the house wall.  That will be a separate structure with the proper support.

This is drawn in Google SketchUp, which is my new love.  My days of graph paper and pencil are gone.  I think C's settled on the gable roof style which will have a dormer on the roof face which now appears to be transparent.  She really wanted an entrance to the skydeck from the loft so she can sleep outside when the mood strikes.  There is also a great view of the Catalinas from there.

This is the south facade but the dormer will be on the north, I just couldn't figure out how to flip is over to that side without a lot of work.

We're working on the foundation and I am anxious to get that done and on to bales.  We're using as much recycled material as we can which requires quite a bit of creativity and thinking outside the box.
The foundation, which was hand-dug by C and friends.

  I told you it was a TINY house-8'x14' as a matter of fact.  It'll make the perfect hangout space for C and friends.  There won't be a bathroom as those facilities are close by.

 Great views of the horses.

The foundation is going to be rubble trench and now has gravel in it, I think.  Definitely more to come.

I also have another fun project which I will get into next time.  Now, I think I need a nap or some medicine or something.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Looking for direction

I'm looking for a direction for this blog.  I've been thinking and thinking and so far, nothing.  It will come.

In the meantime, I've been busy.  I spent 10 days in a small village in Honduras with a medical mission.  A friend invited me to help paint a mural on the wall of the hospital there and I jumped at the chance.  I also got to do some nurse-y things.

Here's what I wrote on Facebook about the experience:

My trip to Honduras came about by happenstance when I stopped by to say 'Hi' to a neighbor.  She had gone the previous year at the invitation of the organizers and was going back to create a mural to brighten the drab hospital walls. I said: "I've always wanted to do something like that!" and the rest is history. 

The organizers are a retired orthopedic surgeon and his wife who hail from Minneapolis but winter in Tucson. They have been making the Honduras trip for 5 years.  They gather together a team of medical professionals that this year included 2 orthopedic surgeons, a retired neurosurgeon, an ob-gyn, 2 anesthesiologists, 2 CRNAs, an MD-MPH whose day job is epidemiology, 2 PACU (recovery room) RNs and 2 pre-op RNs. And then there were the "kids", 4 pre-meds and 1 youth ministry student who kept us all energized with their enthusiasm and seemingly boundless energy. And even though everyone had their professional titles it was often of matter of doing whatever it took to get the job done.  When there was a flood in the OR one evening at 9:30, most of us were down there doing whatever we could to make sure the room was ready for the surgeries scheduled for the next day.

This week a new team organized by the same people is there.  This team includes a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and an eye surgeon.

The first 2 days on the ground, the orthopedists see patients in clinic.  People flock to be seen and put on the list to get a new joint the following year.  The logistics of an endeavor like this are mind-boggling as they have to keep track of how many knees, right and left and how many hips need to be brought to Honduras. You would hate to show up with all right knees!  We also had to carry in most of the other supplies, including instruments, needed for these big surgeries. All of the supplies are donated.  The Minneapolis crew even brought an orthopedic instrument tray that their hospital donated for use during the time they were in Honduras.

Those having ortho surgery this year were seen last year and put on the surgery list.  One woman who was seen last year called the hospital to see when her surgery would be done.  She was told if she could get there she could have it that day.  So she walked, and I'm not talking from across the street.  She walked several miles on a bad knee.  Amazing.

They gyn cases are seen and evaluated as they come in or referred by a local physician.  Gyn surgeries can start as little cases but you never know what you might find once the surgeon is in there.  There were several little cases that turned into big cases.  I know one day 7 total knees were done along with various gyn cases.  The hospital has 3 ORs that are reasonably set-up with old anesthesia machines, a cranky vacuum (for suction in surgery) system, an intermittently functioning autoclave but a lot of willing help. There were a couple of days that surgeries went on until 10:00pm. The smiles of the Honduran people made it all worthwhile.

I did some pre-op and PACU the first 2 days while my friend finished her preliminary design.  We put a chalk line grid on the wall and then with charcoal transferred the design.  And then we painted and painted and painted some more. 

I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity, I've never done anything that has brightened so many faces.
To say that something is life changing sounds so cliched.  But this trip was.