9.01.2014

Tina's Sunflowers

In memory of Tina Downey, the A to Z Team is hosting a sunflower tribute on September 8, 2014 – Remembering Tina Downey.

 Prior to that date, purchase or plant a sunflower in her honor. (If you have to resort to plastic, that’s cool.) Take a photo of your sunflower and post it in her memory on Monday, September 8.

 Tina loved her sunflowers, and we want to splash the blogging world with sunflowers that day and honor a truly amazing woman who was friend and family to so many. You can sign up now or add your link when you post your sunflower. Please help us spread the word!

Let’s brighten the Internet with sunflowers the way Tina brightened the lives of so many.

We will also be helping her family pay for her sons' college with donations to the Downey Education Fund. If you are able to help, just click that link and you can make a donation to them through Paypal. 

I am on vacation for the next couple weeks so posts will be sporadic (and might be limited to my sunflower post next Monday) but I do hope you all will help us remember Tina on the 8th!

8.25.2014

In loving memory

Words are generally something that come easily to me. But since yesterday afternoon I have been rather short on them. I've been choked up, and so very sad.

My dear friend and fellow A-Z co-host Tina passed on from this world on Saturday.

Tina was one of those rare people who could ask blunt questions that might be too forward coming from anyone else. She had uncanny timing, almost like a sixth sense, for when people needed her, or needed to talk. She was funny, genuine, and most of all loving. Our friendship really started when she sent me an email with some of those blunt questions, at just the right time, before the Challenge in 2013. I needed support, and it turned out that she was just the right person to provide it. From there and through the craziness of the Challenge, our friendship grew. We discovered that we lived only about 30 minutes apart, and vowed to meet at some point. I am so sad now that we only succeeded at hanging out once, but so grateful that we managed that.

Tina has been sick for a while, but has maintained the most incredible positivity through it all. She even managed to continue wrangling the co-hosts while not feeling well. She often spoke of the transformational work she did, writing articles about folks who had come through hardship, working with her church, and of course maintaining her blog for all of us to read. She was an incredible woman and I'm sure that her loss will be felt in her community just as it will be in our blogging world.

We often joked about me smuggling her some red wine at the hospital. I imagine her sitting up in heaven (which of course is fields of sunflowers) looking down at us all, with a glass of wine in her hand and endlessly quotable movies for her viewing pleasure. She's probably talking god's ear off. She's closer now, so he won't have much of a choice but to listen :)

My dear Tina -
Life is Good, and yours was a good life, my friend.
All my love,
~AJ

We will be posting soon at A-Z about what the blogging community can do to help remember Tina.

8.20.2014

Life lately, in pictures

So these..


Got made into these..


And we went here (Pawnee Pass near Brainard Lake)

Lake Isabelle on the way to Pawnee Pass


 In preparation for our hiking trip to here (the Spanish Pyrenees!!)

pic courtesy of hikepyrenees.co.uk
The school year has started, the students are back! And, I finally got my CSM Hardhat (it's purple!!)


How are you all? What have you been up to?

8.06.2014

IWSG - August

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a bloghop dedicated to writers supporting one another through this crazy thing called 'being a writer'. 

If you scroll down a little bit, you'll notice that I haven't posted much since April, because, well, life. But! Sunday marked the last day of my super-crazy work season (no 60 hour work weeks until next year!), so right now I pretty much look like this:
gif credit: pandawhale.com
My clients have all left, I'm not on call at night because even the Union is closed... (to borrow a mantra from a good friend) Life is good. That means... I can write again! Hooray!

So my post for IWSG today is not so much about feeling insecure as it is celebrating getting to return to my introverted writerly existence. Ohh laptop, tea and wingback chair at 6am on a Saturday, how I've missed you!

What is making you do a happy dance right now?

7.05.2014

Happy 4th of July!

We're pretty cute for 6:45am
on a holiday!
Busy day yesterday! And a nice calm one today, so finally getting some quality blogging time in. Ahh... Happy to get to visit some of my blogging buddies! Hello :)

Yesterday started with my second time participating in our town's Downhill Mile race, but this year my totally awesome friend Katie (@katieschmalzel) joined me!

Then Katie helped with some yardwork, which I am SO very happy to have finally gotten around to. You know that feeling of having a Thing To Do that irks you every time you think of it? But then you finally get it taken care of and it is the BEST feeling ever?? Yeah. This chore was like that.

The previous owners of our house did all the 'landscaping' in our backyard with piles of rocks that they used as borders around beds. I think they put in landscaping cloth to keep the grass from growing in the beds, but if so it was forever ago and the cloth is non-existent at this point. I tried last year to re-mulch, but it was not sufficient to keep the grass from growing, and I had given up on keeping things dealt with this year so the beds around our trees in back ended up looking like this:
I swear there's a bed under there, somewhere!
After about an hour of work digging the rocks back out of the dirt into which they had sunk, adding topsoil, new landscaping cloth and mulch and re-placing the stones, the beds now look like this:

Ahh... much better..
Strawberry rhubarb
and mint chocolate chip! Yum.
I'm very pleased :)

After all that work, we headed to the town Pancake Breakfast (as many free pancakes as you can eat! and adorable booths from local businesses!). After running and then doing manual labor, we'd definitely earned breakfast and made short work of some nice stacks of cakes. So yummy. :) Then we walked home and showered before heading to Boulder for some delicious cupcakes from Tee and Cakes.

By the time we got home we had about an hour to relax before folks came over for a BBQ, so we played with some SunPrint paper, and sprawled on the living room floor to rest. There might have been a little bit of a sugar crash in this part of the day. Yup.

The rest of the day was slightly more typical for the 4th - BBQ, movie to fill the time a bit, and then fireworks. All in all, pretty epic!

What did you do for the 4th? 

7.02.2014

IWSG - July

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a bloghop dedicated to writers supporting one another through this crazy thing called 'being a writer'. 

So... Haven't blogged since last month's IWSG.. Yeah.. C'est la vie en ete. 

My little IWSG contribution is a moment of being glad for things like IWSG and Blog Blitz, and WRiTE CLUB (click on newer posts to read the first couple bouts! Good stuff!) because they help me feel like I'm still connected to the writing community even when I don't have the time or energy to be actively working on my current WsIP (is that the correct pluralization of WIP? help me out folks!). 

Most of my writing activity during the last month has been about reading. I read a LOT during the summer and I figure that devouring books is a good way to work on my skillz, right? Right.

How about y'all? How are your summer writing/reading projects going?