Sunday, January 24, 2010


As a cub scout, I knew what a bobcat was--it was what you earned before you earned your wolf badge. But here in Tucson, we've learned what a bobcat is. This is a video that Lindsey took from her bedroom window a few days before Christmas. We've got a couple rabbits that like to live in the cactus/brush near our front entry. Apparently, they were under critical observation.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Baby blankets

Most anyone who would read this will already know that Carolyn Jane Madsen (Jane) was born on March 11th.  You can see more pictures at my Picassa Web Album or WebAlbum2 or check out Carol's blog.
After we brought her home, we realized that we had given our well-used flannel baby blankets away after Grace grew out of them.  Neighbors had kindly taken Rachel and Kimmer to a high school play, so Lindsey, Grace, and I went to the fabric store.  Gracie chose out some pink "letter fabric" she liked, and Lindsey and I picked out the brown/green fabric.  I knew Carol would love it.
That night, after Gracie had gone to bed, I sewed two little baby blankets.  Sewing is a skill I taught myself while trying to get two girls who worked at Carol's Bernina in Price to pay attention to me.  The homemade shorts I made that summer tore open in a tragically embarrassing incident, but these blankets are first class.  Pretty impressive, huh?  
 Apparently, it is still not considered manly to sew, as I was teased today in Priesthood meeting (by a member of the neighbor family that took the girls to the play and saw me sewing when they came back).  But I guess it's always been (and can only be) about the girls for me. . . .
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The local cats

Along with the javelina that have made our house part of their routine stops, we've been seeing this bobcat frequently making trips along our back wall. I'm sure he's well fed with all of the bunnies roaming the neighborhood. The latest sighting was on Martin Luther King weekend when I got this picture. I was talking to Carol while she was making breakfast and noticed it moving along the wall. Doug (who was staying with us for the weekend) told us we could get $359 for the pelt. I'm pretty sure the gunshot would raise a few eyebrows among our neighbors though.
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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Our Backyard Friends

This is a continuation of Carol's post.
So last night I watched the end of the new Indiana Jones movie after everyone else had gone to bed. There is an awful lot of stupid fighting in the show (like you would really continue to drive your Jeep just as fast as the bad guys and jump back and forth between vehicles for no reason). During one of those extraneous fight scenes, I thought the surround sound was a little too good for our TV and paused the show while I took a look for the cause of some extra noises from the back patio. Mother and baby Javalina were enjoying a little snack on some forgotten garbage. They stuck around licking an empty ice cream container long enough for me to go find the camera and get this shot. Seems our yard is coming back on their list of regularly scheduled stops. It's true we do have food stuff (discarded suckers, fallen bits and pieces) strewn around the yard pretty regularly, so I imagine they don't go hungry much. I wonder if garbage fed pig is as good as corn fed beef.
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Birthday Trauma

This picture may be worth a thousand words. For any parent who has ever had a three year-old, this may remind you of about 365 days in addition to those 1000 words. Grace was really happy until we sang Happy Birthday and lit 3 candles--she only wanted to be two, not three. And a three year-old wants to choose EVERYTHING!
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Monday, December 08, 2008

Hot Water - An underappreciated utility

We added to the list of things we are thankful for last week. Hot water came to the top of the list after a few days of delay getting the gas hooked up to the water heater.

I found there are a few reasons why hot water is important:

1) Your dishwasher runs only from the hot water tap. Carol found it too much trouble to unload after all the dishes were already in there, so they just had to wait for hot water. Besides, washing dishes in the sink with cold water is not exactly easy either. Would be easy to heat a pot of water on the stove to make the sink water warm, right? Unless, of course, your stove is a gas stove like ours.

2) Hygiene. Showers and baths just aren't quite as needed when you know the water is cold. Lindsey decided to go to school early and shower to maintain her hygiene. I still wonder what the teachers must think about the girl who comes to school 30 minutes early just to shower. The authorities may be here to visit us soon, but at least we didn't post evidence like Nicole.

3) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder - After maintaining my minimal hygeine by showering at work after sham workouts, I decided to brave the shower on Thursday morning. As I splashed in the frigid water I had vivid flashbacks to mornings in Santo Tome, Argentina where I would pull a disc of ice off the top of an outdoor water basin to get a bucket of water to "shower" with in the little outhouse like enclosure in the backyard. The key was to get all the key areas just wet enough to soap, lather up good, then rinse with urgency and race back inside to the small space heater and blanket. If you were really fast you could do it with only mild hypothermia. This experience explains why we later rigged up 220 volt shower heads in our next apartment which regularly shocked us, but we found it an acceptable alternative.

4) The Ward Relief Society Progressive Dinner was at our house on Thursday night. You might, like me, think there are a lot of homes in the ward which are not under threat of having walls knocked in at any moment that might serve to host the Progressive Dinner this year. But apparently the Lord works in mysterious ways. Fortunately, we were the last stop and we only needed to fit 50 chairs in the living area (no small feat) and serve desert. Carol plead with David and the other workers and managed to get them to delay knocking in the wall from the garage until Friday morning. So aside from the 30 yard dumpster everyone had to shuffle around to get in the front door, it was like there was no construction at all. Plus all those people managed to create quite a bit of heat over the hour they were here--a free benefit that is appreciated when your furnace is also not operable. See-- didn't even need the hot water. . . .

5) Compassion - It must be an awful thing to have to work for the gas company and shut people's gas off in the middle of winter. It must really take a toll on the workers. When Carol called on Friday to make sure they were coming to hook up the gas, they told her they couldn't make it out until Monday or Tuesday. Carol says she told them, "that's just not going to work." (Add a persistent and persuasive wife to the list of things I'm grateful for.) Somehow she persuaded the gas workers and they found a way to squeeze hooking a gas meter up for a pregnant woman and her now slightly stinky family.

When Lindsey got home from school on Friday and found out the hot water was working she had the same reaction as if we said her homework was cancelled for a week and we were going on vacation to a waterpark. Maybe next November we'll turn off the water or power for a week.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shoes--not just an accessory

Perhaps it was spending two years on Guam that got our girls in the habit of not wearing shoes. Our Salt Lake neighbors always gave us puzzled looks as our girls continued to venture outside in the chilly weather without shoes on. The habit has continued even into Arizona, despite the fact that it is like walking on a frying pan in the summer and there are a few other hazards here. Yesterday Lindsey "went for a walk down the street" and came whimpering home for this picture.
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I remember my Mom painting my fingernails with some kind of putrid material to get me to stop biting them. Maybe cactus can have a similar function--