Friday, January 2, 2009


I went back to work today at Ak Chin. The air in the clinic out there is gritty, you can taste dirt in it.

When we were in Albuquerque New Mexico I took a class for my certification for my new employer. I met a gentleman who had travelled to the Phoenix area working as a nurse. He complained about the filthy air, the crowded congested traffic, and the general unpleasantness of his experience. At the time I was taken aback by his statements and thought to myself "why in the world are we taking our children into such a horrible sounding place?". I dismissed his comments as grumbling from a unhappy man, although he didn't appear unhappy. I needed to convince myself we weren't heading into some overpopulated dirt clod filth farm.

Well we've seen a lot of the Phoenix area and some points this man stated have born out to be true. In several of the pictures on the blog you can see mountains shrouded in the film of filth hanging in the air. Today as I drove home I could see the brown stain that marked the air above the greater Phoenix region and I remembered vividly the look on that traveller's face. I could actually recognize the same look on my face.

The air appears to be permanently wrecked like those white shirts in the Tide commercials where the kid plays in mud all day and Brand X fails to remove the dirt, only leaves a faint dark smudge after the wash. They need Tide for the air.

The filth appearing in the air you can see. Drive to Maricopa or Ak Chin and you suddenly become afraid to breathe deeply. The smell reminds you of a ripe overcrowded cow farm and engulfs your senses. The past few years people have built new houses all over Maricopa. I wonder if the smell or the people came first.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year

Good day and good year this is going to be a great year. The economy will fix itself, the middle east will observe a long standing peace, the religions of the world will unite, bigotry and bigamy will self destruct, we'll see the tiniest particles ever, new dimensional views will be exposed to expert physicists, a new era in leadership will be realised in the United States and the Miller family will round out an adventure whose genesis was formed in the fragile and mildly fanatical dreams of a couple of newlyweds over fourteen years ago.

We spent our evening playing games, eating all the food in the house, and sharing good company. We were joined by Lisa, our friend in Phoenix. The kids barely made the ten o'clock hour drooping eyelids appeared well before nine. Savannah was determined to see the beginning moments of 2009 and she did. We watched the ball drop in New York. Mini tacos, hot wings, pizza rolls, salsa, guacamole, tortilla chips, and cookies were all enjoyed here.

Everyone slept later today. Traci and Lisa had a big day planned so they left around 11 a.m. The three kids and I lounged a bit longer then decided to visit Desert Breeze park, a park with a fishing pond, play equipment, a carousel and a train traveling half the perimeter of the park. There are several activities to do there and the kids and I enjoy them all. We would like to try fishing in the parks but haven't licensed yet. There are several dates they stock the ponds with catfish, perch, trout, and bass. We often see people fishing but haven't paid enough attention to see if anyone has caught anything. I think it would be interesting to fish in the desert.

The kids started off with a nice game of hide and seek. Savannah was hiding, Shane finding. I watched as several times Shane would ask me to help find Savannah. My attention was focused on Sophia so I didn't see where Savannah went. After a few minutes I found Shane trying to do the monkey bars and as I brought him into focus to take his picture I noticed Savannah behind him on a higher platform smiling wide. Shane was still asking where she was and I had a difficult time not laughing, right over his shoulder was Savannah, waving her arms in wide arcs above her head. Shane eventually caught on and we all had a good laugh.
The other side of the play equipment has a splash pad that is off for the winter. The area features dolphins, an elephant and giraffe statues making great climbers for little kids. I can imagine the temperature being 110 and all the kids running through the water.

Shane found a fascination with the camera and snapped a few images. The boy started a stream of questions about how to operate the camera and what each button does. He's good at asking questions.

We looked at the ducks in detail. Sophie named one "Blacky" as he was black and had a sharp beak where the others had flat bills. Sophie asked why he was different. I still don't know. Sophie also loves the swings. She rallied each turn with a cry for higher. I obliged her with a gentle push only to have her cry out again with higher daddy!

Sophie played in the sand, Savannah and Shane took turns in the tire swing and riding the scooter around the park. Sophia asked about petting a dog. It was a mixed breed the owner found at a shelter, brown black with thick fur like a german sheperd, slight with a build resembling a coyote. She was sweet and let us all pet her.

The other day at work in the Ak Chin clinic one of the nurses had her husband bring out their blood hounds. These were 90-95 lb dogs about 2 1/2 feet tall on all fours. Their faces were all wrinkled up with noses flexing and sniffing constantly. The dogs are part of a search and rescue team and having been bred for a hundred years for finding people these two were a prime display of their breed. Every time a person left their sight the dogs wanted to get off the lease and find them. They were entertaining and slobbery. Cletus and Virgil were their names. Appropriate names for a couple of bloodhounds.

We enjoyed our day together in the park. The weather was beautiful. Savannah revelled in the fact we didn't go hiking again, all we ever do is hike according to Savannah. The other night we went to California Pizza Kitchen after Savannah's first soccer practice. Savannah looked like she was having a good time playing soccer and meeting new friends. She'll start playing in a couple of weeks. Only hiking indeed!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Phoenix is offering many New Year's Eve festivities tonight. But, after much debate, Jim and I decided to keep it low key and spend the evening at home. It makes me nervous to even consider driving with the kids in the car on a night such as this.

Lisa is coming over and we are planning an evening of boardgames, Wii playing, and snack munching.

The kids are already looking sleepy after 2 hours of romping in the pool this afternoon. I bet Shane does not make it past 10p. Sophie will hold out as long as possible and Savannah is adamant about staying up to ring in the New Year.

I hope everyone has a wonderful evening, and stays safe. Have a Happy New Year!!!

Love from Arizona.....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Mess

First, I want to thank everyone for the lovely cards and gifts that were sent our way. The only thing that could have been better would have been to have everyone here with us.

Now that the Christmas has passed, and I have spent enough days ignoring the mess, I have chosen today as my get organized and clean day. I have the task of going through all the toys, separating old from new, broken and missing parts, and toys no longer played with. All though we have been here only 2 and a half months we have managed to accumulate many new objects.

We are planning on Savannah taking home a suitcase of items we no longer need, but still want to own. Hopefully, Mom and Dad won't mind housing them for us? :) Savannah is eagerly anticipating her trip back home. She is planning trips to see her friends, spend a day at school, play in a game with her old indoor soccer team, and spend time with her Grandparents. Jim and I are happy to allow her to go, but are not looking forward to having her gone so long. We will miss her! Not to mention the anxiety I am experiencing with her having to fly for the first time all alone. I am praying for good weather and a safe flight!

While Savannah is in IL much will stay the same in AZ. Savannah will still be expected to do her school work while away. I have her in an on-line school that involves 2 hours of Language Arts, 1 hour of Math, and 1/2 hour of science that she will need to spend time on daily. While she is away, I will be looking forward to our first Arizona visitor. Jill is flying in on the 22ND of January and will stay over the weekend. Lisa and I are looking forward to taking her shopping for wedding "stuff".

Jim and I will be renewing our lease this week. It looks like we will be staying in Arizona until the end of March. We will then drive past Las Vegas, see the Arches National Park in Utah, stay for a few days in Boise, ID with the Jones, before we land in the lovely state of Washington.

Once in Washington we will began making our plans for Alaska. We are looking into taking a ferry to Alaska instead of hauling the van and U-haul through Canada. Anyone have any experience with the ferry systems?

Well, like I said before...this is my cleaning day. Now that I have managed to avoid it for the past hour, I guess it is time to get busy.

Love from Arizona.....