Dec 31, 2009

Happy New Year! 2010

We rang in the new year by going to Phoenix Zoo lights (a HUGE light display that encompasses the entire zoo) and Old Spaghetti Factory (our favorite date night restaurant)! At the Zoo lights we managed to wander into Sting Ray Bay on one of the rare public feeding nights. For $2.00 you got a little cup full of minnows and got to hand feed the sting rays. It's a WEIRD feeling! They don't have teeth, so they basically suck your entire hand into their mouth to get the piece of fish...pretty cool experience.

Dec 29, 2009

Christmas in Big Bear

We are very blessed to have just spent a week in Big Bear, CA like we do most weeks between Christmas and New Years. It is a nice break after the busy holiday retail season. We also met Hazel Lindgren for the first time! She seems like a great happy beautiful baby!

Dec 6, 2009

Bisbee Trip!

Got woken up with warm cinnamon rolls in bed and then we headed out on a fun road trip with my hubby to Bisbee! Tyler researched and found an old mine tour so we gassed up the mini and went for a road trip. The mine tour was amazing! We got dressed up in yellow jackets, hard hats and head lamps and rode an old mining cart into the mine. Our tour guide was an actual old miner from this mine.

BISBEE - a name to stir the interest of mining men everywhere - has been one of the greatest copper camps the world has ever known. In almost 100 years of continuous production before the Bisbee mines closed in 1975, the local mines produced metals valued at $6.1 billion (at 1975 price) one of the largest production valuations of all the mining districts in the world. This staggering amount of wealth came from the estimated production of 8,032,352,000 lbs of copper, 2,871,786 ounces of gold, 77,162,986 ounces of silver, 304,627,600 lbs of lead and 371,945,900 lbs of zinc!

Today’s Queen Mine Tour takes visitors deep into the old workings of the famous Queen Mine where great tonnages of extremely rich copper ore was mined in the early days, catching the attention of the mining industry around the world as one of the greatest treasure troves of copper ever discovered.

Taking the Queen Mine Tour is to step back through the pages of history. A melting pot of immigrant miners from the mining districts of Europe labored beneath the Mule Mountains to feed the insatiable demand for copper and electricity. The electrical age changed the World from a predominantly rural society to the industrial age, bringing with it the highest standard of living the world has ever known.

Nov 23, 2009

Gotta love Craiglist!

Silver Dapple Craft Room (aka our Guest Room) is newly reorganized! I found this great find on Craiglist and couldnt pass it up for only $25! This exact set up new from Ikea is over $300! I scored on this one!

Nov 21, 2009

B.B. King tonight in concert!

Thank you to Steve and Christy we got the chance to see BB King in concert! What an amazing show!

Nov 8, 2009

Holiday Gift Show

Reminder!! this SUNDAY (11/8/09) my holiday gift party from 12-6pm. Come by and say HI ! Food and Drinks plus jewelry, hand scrubs, mary kay and Cake Pops - who could ask for more! We would love your support even if its just a visit!

Oct 16, 2009

CLU 5 yr Homecoming

It is Claires 5 year Anniversary for Cal Lu! Most of the family is coming into town. It is also Cates 30th Anniv and Rachels 10th! What a family legacy we have! Unfortunatley we only had about 15 people show up for my class reunion but I saw many other classmates at the football game. It was great family time and fun to see old college friends.

Oct 8, 2009

The 4Runner

Posted by Tyler: (Claire doesn't want any part of this)

I figure the 4Runner and I are both getting up there in age, there won't be many more years before I have to load a car seat into my beloved off road vehicle. So, while the time is still there, and the bank account is calculating diaper purchases, it was time to make the 4Runner what it has always strived to be...ready for anything.

I had a set of Rock Sliders added to the 4Runner about 2 years ago. These are 2"x2" square tubes that were welded onto the frame under the doors. These are in place in case you slowly drive over a rock (or other obstacle) that is taller than the space between the ground and the bottom of the doors. If you don't have rock sliders, and you miscalculate the height of something, you can cause MAJOR damage to the rocker panels (the small area under the doors). The rock sliders were just there so I could go a few more places...and I have used them on more than one occasion.

Over the last two months, I continued with the "trail armor" by custom fabricating front and rear bumpers...with the help of my buddy Jared. We started with the front bumper, removed it, and then started fabricating! We started with a 20' stick of square tube, a 20' stick of round tube, and a sheet of metal....the bumpers in the photo are what we created.

The back bumper followed immediatly, including a new swing out spare tire carrier. I also had to make some more room for larger tires, so I added a 3" Daystar lift kit to the 4Runner. This made just enough room for 33" mud terrain tires. Actually it didn't make enough room in the front, I had to add 1.25" Billet Aluminum wheel spacers so the new tires wouldn't rub the a-arms.

With all that fabrication, painting, grinding, welding and stressing done...the lift was installed and then the new tires where installed.

This is where we are now. A 4Runner to beat all 4Runners.....a MAN'S TRUCK! :)


This is where it all starts...

Half way through the front.

The front done.

The back done.

Lifted and DONE!

Aug 28, 2009

Dynamic MINI Collective

Claire, the MINI and myself have now joined the Phoenix area club called...The Dynamic MINI Collective. This is a group of MINI Cooper enthusiasts that span the state of Arizona. On Wen. night I went to my first group event which was a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the release of the original Mini. Unfortunately due some emergencies at work, Claire wasn't able to make this event.

The history of where our great little car came from is a lengthy story, so to sum it up quickly, the first Mini (lower case letters back then) rolled off the lot in August of 1959 as the Austin Mini Seven, Austin Mini Minor and Austin Mini Minor DL. It changed shapes and names a few times over the next several decades but always carried the Mini name in it's title. Production stopped world wide in 2000, and then in 2002 BMW took the little British car out of retirement and brought it to the USA with a slight twist to the name, and the MINI Cooper was reborn.

Our MINI, nick named C-Diddy (for our English Bulldog, Cooper) was born in 2003. It's not fast, but it's fun and sporty and turns heads everywhere we drive it.

We are hoping to get out with the club on their group drives, weekend getaways and monthly ice cream socials and other dinner events. Here is a photo taken at the 50th anniversary dinner. There was a total of about 20 MINIs at this was some sight to see all those cars lined up!

Jul 20, 2009

Going old school

Every month or six weeks, I am out at the grocery store and I wander into the shaving aisle. I bend down to grab a package of Mach3 Razor cartridges and gasp...$17....what a waste of money!!! Then it gets worse, the fact that I travel frequently means that my mach 3 handle needs replacement every 4 months or so. So I figure I am about $200 into shaving annually. Did I mention I hate shaving? I hate shaving.

Ok, time for solutions. I started poking around the internet to see if someone had made a razor that is more affordable, maybe something not available at the grocery store.

I found the answer, brace yourself. Straight razor shaving. The kind your grandfather's grandfather shaved with...old school.

I found a forum (there is a forum for everything by the way), called I learned a lot, and was directed to, the owners also founded the forum. I started shopping, and after a slight investment (about the same as my annual shaving bill) I now own a Dovo Straight Razor, Illinois Leasther Strop, shaving soap, shaving cream, badger hair shaving brush, a shaving mug and a "how to" shave DVD.

You might be scratching your head right now...especially if you have ever seen a straight razor. YIKES! To say they are sharp, is an understatment! To test the sharpness of a shaving razor, and to make sure it is "shave ready" you simply pluck a hair off your head, and while holding it in one hand you raise the razor, blade up into the hair, it will cut clean through without moving the hair.

Ok, back to the blog! I have now been shaving with my straight razor for about 2 months, I have expanded my soap and cream selection and picked up another razor just to see the differences. I have also watched many youtube videos, talked to some other locals and have become VERY comfortable with this form of shaving. I have had a few "nicks", but nothing to bad.

Here's the real kicker....I LOVE TO SHAVE NOW! I love it, I wish I could shave 3 times a day!

Here is the system.
Preshave- like an old school barber, sharpen your straight razor with a leather's theraputic.
1. Take a nice soft towel, soak it in piping hot water and then hold it on your beard until it starts to cool (it's heavenly).
2. Repeat step one a few times...
3. Place a small amout of shave cream in a shaving mug (which has been soaking in hot water so it's warm).
4. Now take your badger hair shaving brush and get it wet under hot water then shake it dry. Now whip that cream and shave soap into a nice fluffy warm lather!
5. Apply generously to your face.
6. Now, very carefully, with very little pressure shave with the grain of you hair.
7. Splash some nice aftershave or better yet some vanilla flavored shave milk...and enjoy the baby butt smoothness!

For more information on how to be more manly, save some money, and actually enjoy the morning shave ritual visit.

You'll thank me!

Necklace Sale

FREE SHIPPING (in US only) when you BUY any NECKLACE until July 31, 2009!
Visit www.SilverDappleJewelry for more ...
Buy Handmade

Jul 9, 2009

Holden Village and WA trip

Claire's side of the family had a small reunion this year at Holden Village, an amazing old mining town that is now a Lutheran Retreat Center. We spent a few days in Sammamish and then went into Holden (the only way to Holden is via boat or on foot). Tyler and a group of other family members decided they wanted to opt for the "on foot" route to Holden but unfortunately due to snow lingering in the surrounding mountains, that was not an option. Instead, they spend 3 days hiking around in the mountains near Stehekin, WA (the last stop on the Chelan Ferry route, and also only accessed by boat or on foot). After the three days of hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail both north and south of Stehekin, the hikers took the boat back to Holden Village to spend some time with the entire family. Unfortunately we had to leave a little earlier then the rest of the family but still had a terrific time, albeit, short. One of the highlights of the trip was on the bus ride from Holden, back down the dirt road to the ferry terminal, which normally wouldn't be a highlight! A few miles from Holden, standing in the middle of the road was the bear that Tyler was complaining about not seeing...trip complete!

For more information on Holden Village, please visit:

Jun 20, 2009

Rim Country Open

FIRST PLACE in the Rim Country Open. My first advanced division win. This was the best disc golf I have ever played (period). I won by 4 strokes, and actually shot the best round of the entire field (including the pro division) during the first round.

Photo courtesy of the Payson Roundup newspaper....that's right...I'm FAMOUS! :)

Topo swims!

Thanks to Dana and Mark, Topo got to go to her house and after he saw me in the pool relaxing, he decided to join me! Once I calmed him down he had a blast in the water! He isnt the most organized swimmer but he swam forever! He would jump in, swim, jump out, run around the yard crazy and then jump in again. I think he thought he was in heaven! Thanks Dana and Mark for letting us use your pool!

May 29, 2009

4 Years!

Wow its been 4 years! Time flies by when you are married to someone great! These past 4 years have been wonderful and I am lucky to have someone so special and treats me so good!
As an early 5 year Anniv. present Tyler got me a new ring! My original one had a small diamond fall out and Tyler surprised me by getting a new one! I love it and the diamonds are set into the ring so they should never fall out! Thank you again Tyler!
I love you and look forward to many more years to come!

May 17, 2009

Zach and Anne's Wedding and trip to WA

What a whirl wind of a weekend! We went to WA for Zach and Anne Zimmermans wedding! Tyler was a handsome groomsman and it was a beautiful wedding! We had perfect weather and a wonderful time with family and friends. The Matneys came into town as well for the wedding so it was great to have both sets of parents at the same time. We enjoyed breakfast over looking Pike Place and then walked around the market. We also got a chance to see Bridget and her new baby boy with Alli as well!

May 8, 2009

More Updates on our home!

Well we had the house painted this week and we love the difference! Thanks Zach! Here is a before and after photo ... How many things can you find different?

Here is what we updated:
~ New exterior lights (bye bye 80's gold)
~ tan and green paint (no more 80's cream & brown)
~ 2 new Arizona native plants in front rocks
~ new solar sidewalk lights
~ kept the screens from the front windows off
~ took down a row of cabinets which totally opened up the kitchen

Apr 7, 2009

Tessa and Michael Visit

Tessa and Michael came to visit while they had spring break. Tyler and them played a ton of disc golf at many different courses in the Phoenix area and we also took a long day drive to Sedona, Jerome, and back home. It was great to have them out here and hope they will come out again!

Mar 24, 2009

Floors are finished!

Thank the Lord~! Here are some photos for your enjoyment!

Mar 21, 2009

Hillard's came to town!

Cate and Wayne came for a 5 day visit before heading to So Cal to babysit for the Squires. Most of the time was busy trying to figure out how to go buy our new Mini Cooper but we did go to Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens which had a great glass exhibit! Below the photos is more info on Chihuly...

Dale Chihuly has been influential within the Studio Glass movement. He continues to revolutionize the art of handblown glass. Working in a generally free-form and unorthodox manner, the results of his approach elicit widespread admiration from the full spectrum of viewers, with one art historian calling his work "liquid light."

Chihuly's work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Among the many museums in which his work has been exhibited are the Louvre's Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Some of the great botanical gardens have recently exhibited his work, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, and the New York Botanical garden. His corporate installations include the famous ceiling sculpture at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Born in 1941 and raised in Tacoma, Washington, Chihuly studied interior design and architecture at the University of Washington in Seattle, earning his BA in 1965. In that same year, Chihuly blew his first glass bubble. He attended graduate school on scholarship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he studied glass under Harvey Littleton. That same year Chihuly received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Venini glass factory in Venice. The following year Chihuly became part of the faculty of RISD and established a glass program there. In 1971, he cofounded the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington.

Through the 1970s Chihuly divided his time between RISD and Pilchuck and developed his team model of blowing glass that he had learned from Venini. During those years Chihuly also developed a core philosophy. "I am less concerned with being narrative or figurative. I am involved in the glass and the light that passes through it - the phenomenon of light being transmitted through colored glass."

Over the years Chihuly created a wide vocabulary of blown forms. Earlier series from the late 1970s through the 1990s, such as Baskets, Seaforms, Ikebana, Venetians, and Chandeliers have been augmented with the new Fiori-or flower- forms. "Over time I developed the most organic, natural way of working with glass, using the least amount of tools that I could. The glass looks as if it comes from nature." Some of these new flower forms are reminiscent of his early installations made at Pilchuck in the 1970s, so Chihuly has come full circle with his vocabulary of forms. In his garden installations, the artist juxtaposes his forms with those of nature establishing a direct and immediate dialog between nature, art, and light.

Major Installations
Chihuly Over Venice - 1995-96
Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem - 2000
Chihuly in the Park: A Garden of Glass at Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory - 2001-2002
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Tacoma - 2002
Mille Fiori at the Tacoma Art Museum - 2003
Chihuly at the de Young, San Francisco, CA - 2008

Garden Installations
Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory - 2001
Atlanta Botanical Gardens - 2004
Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew - 2005
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Coral Gables, Florida - 2006
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis - 2006
New York Botanical Garden - 2006
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania - 2007
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona - 2008

Mar 20, 2009

Our New MINI Cooper!

For my birthday, Tyler bought me a 2003 MINI Cooper! It is the car I have always wanted and always point out while driving. It is such a fun little sporty car to drive around!

Feb 18, 2009

Scheila and RubyJoy

Scheila and RubyJoy came to AZ on spring break and Tyler and I got to play with RubyJoy and her mountain board! RubyJoy and Claire also had some fun driving around the neighborhood in a golf cart!

Jan 30, 2009

More work on the house

This was Tyler's idea!

We have been needing to replace the carpet in our house for at least a year. Having 3 dogs and an active lifestyle is very tough on the flooring. Tyler has a friend who just did something some might consider extreme, pulling up all the carpet and staining the concrete slab.

We are doing it! Last night, Tyler yanked all the carpet and padding out of our living room, the office is next and the two bedrooms are still in question. We are going to leave the bare concrete floor exposed for a few weeks while we make sure that we like the feel of concrete.

The next step will be to rent a commercial sander and sand the paint and carpet glue off the slab. Then we have to get the floor VERY VERY clean, then it's just a matter of spraying the stain onto the floor and letting it dry. The last step is to spray a couple clear coats on it for shine and it's done.

The benefit is cleanliness. Our carpet was so gross, that I can't believe we were walking on it all day everyday. Carpet is carpet padding is nasty stuff after awhile. The downside is resale value which can be overcome with cheap carpeting at the time of sale, and the other is noise. It's very loud in here with no carpet.

We will keep this updated as we move forward. Here is the initial demolition!

Jan 9, 2009

New home Upgrades!

On Christmas morning I was pleasantly surprised to see that Santa had left a new Chandelier and a new matching ceiling fan under the Christmas Tree!

Tonight, we had Mark and Dana (Dana works with Claire at Animal Kingdom) over for dinner and a fun filled evening of "ceiling fixture installation"! We replaced the fan and the Chandelier and it looks terrific!

The only out of pocket cost for install....was a nice steak dinner for Mark and Dana! Not a bad deal!!!!

Here are the new additions.

Jan 5, 2009

From Topo's point of view... Tule TH to Tortilla Road (Hwy 88), AZ

WOW, if I had known what I was getting into, I would have stayed in my kennel and pretended to be sick...I can puke on command you know!

This all started when I notice my human doing some work on my back pack, and then he bought me a new jacket...buttering me up, I now realize.

I was waken up VERY early on Friday morning, I was having a good dream and just about to catch that stupid cat. I met a couple other hikers out in the driveway and then we loaded up and headed out. The car ride was nuts, Hwy 88...made me throw up and it wasn't on command. That's a very curvy road to be stuck in the back of an SUV for.

We got to the Tule trailhead and things were looking good, I got my gear all situated and my pack weight was light since there would be nice streams to drink out of all weekend.

Holy crap, that Tule trail was crazy, steep and rocky and we were lost for about 90% of the time...from the smell of things, there hadn't been anything but a cow on that trail in a few months! I was all but useless in helping locate the trail between Cairns. I got stuck on a tree branch at one point, and in an effort to get away snapped one of the straps on my new human seemed super excited about carrying the extra 8 or 9 lbs. for the last major hill climb and into camp...he said a few things to me that I didn't understand, I am sure they were nice though! :?

It was starting to get dark, when we finally found a camp site. I ended up spending the night in my new jacket...thank God the Human picked that thing up for me...I would for sure be a doggie-cicle if I hadn't had that. There was another dog on this trip too, Sawyer, kind of skidish but it was nice to have some K-9 companionship and someone to stay warm with all night. Him and I both had a nice time barking at Alex when he was trying to relive himself in the middle of the night.

Saturday morning we woke up to frost on everything. I had a little warm water on my food and felt better. My human fixed my pack...which kind of bummed me out, I would rather have worn the jacket all day and let him lug my gear around. We got into Reavis Ranch pretty early and enjoyed a quick lunch. Unfortunately Sawyer and his human Hayden, had to leave early so I was the only dog from here on out. After Reavis we ran into the other group of Hike Arizona folks there were hiking to Campaign trail for the night, I had met a few of them before but decided to bark at most of them. They don't realize that when I am on the trail, it's MY trail!

We finally made it to Angel Basin, pretty early and I got a little nap in on Andrew's lap before bed time. I also got lucky, and scored some left over tortellini for dinner! It's a good thing my human left enough room under his hammock for me, because it started to rain in the middle of the night, I slept good though under the hammock and it wasn't really that cold thankfully.

Sunday morning we got up and the rain had stopped, had breakfast and headed out for the next camp at Charlibois Springs. That's when the fun began....

I had my first major run-ins with catsclaw...which TORE ME UP! That stuff is crazy, I couldn't jump over it, or go around it, I just had to plow through...ouch! Rumor has it there might be a cleanup effort in March, I will be there doing whatever I can!

We finally made it up to Tortilla Pass, but not before it started to rain. I was soaked already from the wet brush we had to plow through, so it didn't matter much. Then the wind came...

We sat down for a quick lunch break and I mooched some beef jerky and pepperoni off the rest of the guys and laid down for a nap under a rock overhang. Next thing I know, they want to hike the the wind...WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!?!

So we headed out, and I got wind that we were cutting the trip short, thank goodness! We hiked into the Tortilla Trailhead and then hoofed it on the road to Hwy 88...which actually looked good, even though it had made me car sick. Some nice people picked up Ryan and Andrew to go get the cars at First Water, and I slept under the rain fly while my Human and Alex had some warm drinks. It was so nice to be able to lay down.

What a weekend.....