August 31, 2010


Future Business Leaders of America...what, you ask? Marisa sent me a text this morning from school. Her computer teacher told her she is recommending her for Advanced Web Design class and encourages her to join the FBLA club!

This warms my heart because:
1) I was in FBLA (thank you very much!)
2) Marisa's self-esteem went up several notches (thank you, Ms. Campbell!)
3) She has been interested in web design for some time now (grateful for the recognition!)
4) Marisa has found another niche besides sports (academically speaking!)

Great job, Marisa! First club meeting is tomorrow...

August 29, 2010

Puppy Love

To get the pooch monsters to be still for a picture, Marisa flaunted a much coveted Pringles chip. It worked!

Lucy, our older pup, was very grateful and gave Sissy lots of kisses!

KC's so sweet! She will stick by Sissy's side all day long.

August 27, 2010

Pet Therapy

One of the wonderful integrated therapies we provide in hospice care is pet therapy. I've been very fortunate enough to facilitate sessions for several patients. It is so rewarding for all parties. The other day, my friend Sherri posted this video of Baxter, a service dog. Danny and Marisa were at the table when I was watching the video. I was so excited to share with them what I do, what facilitating a session means. We were all in tears, but not with complete sadness. They were tears of compassion.

Next week I have two sessions: one to help a patient with a relocation from her assisted living apartment to a skilled nursing home; and, one for a patient that is bedbound and wants to 'snuggle' with a dog but is high risk for skin tears. The other time I facilitated a session was with an Alzheimer's pt to help bridge communication as she had lost the ability to complete thoughts. As she stroked the dog's back, she was able to complete 5-6 word phrases and talk with her daughter. It was beautiful. This is such a wonderful part of my job! When I get home, I hug my doggies and realize they are a part of our family! Hope you enjoy the video.

August 26, 2010

"That's So Garza"

The Spyder needs new breaks.
That costs money.
Why pay money to get the breaks replaced when Danny can do it himself?
After all, he IS a Garza!
He went to the auto parts store after work.
We ate dinner, then he retreated to the garage to replace the breaks.

Oops! There's a problem!
The auto parts store gave him the wrong size pads.
Don't you just hate it when that happens?

So off to the auto parts store he goes to get the right size pads.
Oh, and the 'right' size pads costs more money.
But, Danny is determined to do this himself....'that's so Garza'!
Now, don't get me wrong...that's a good thing!

August 25, 2010


(Wordless Wednesday)

August 23, 2010

Summer's End

We had such an active and fun-filled summer. Here's the short version:

1) Tony's 15th birthday
2) New windows for the entire house
3) Rodriguez family reunion in the Rio Grande Valley
4) Uncle Jase's birthday (annual trip to Six Flags)
5) 2 Van's Warped Tours (1 in Texas, 1 in Colorado)
6) Hours and hours of supervised driving with Marisa
7) Scrapbooking in the mountains (This one is exclusively mine!)
8) Las Vegas family vacation
9) New roof
10) Dad's diagnosis (not fun, but important/significant to our family)
11) Jotsna's Bharathanatya Arangetram (Solo Indian Classical Dance)...I posted this on facebook
12) Setting up the studio for Tony
13) School....

We managed to keep the troublesome elements at bay this summer. We learned alot about tolerance, forgiveness, and acceptance. We practiced turning the other cheek. We made it!

Summer has ended. This summer was great! Now, it's time to start another school year. This calls for routine, predictability, stability, as well as flexibility, sacrifice, and more patience. Lots on our plates, but we can do it! Good-bye Summer.

August 22, 2010

Halcyon Morning

This cute little bunny was outside our front door this morning. Amazingly, our pooch monsters did not bark at him and scare him away. Danny and I watched him for the longest time. I was able to open the screen door, sit on the porch, and take this picture. Eventually, he hopped between the rock and the Iris, into a quaint snuggly place. Halcyon, indeed...calm, peaceful, tranquil.

August 19, 2010

The Studio

Since Tony is participating in online school for this school year, he needed a 'space' to do his work. I didn't want him to use his bedroom. Danny didn't think the kitchen table was ideal either. 'T' kept begging to set him up in the basement. Problem is...the basement is 90% complete. We still need to tape/mud/texturize the walls and install the cabinetry/bathroom fixtures. 'T' doesn't care, so really, why should we?

We told 'T' he could put up pictures knowing that they will have to come down whenever (if ever) the walls are completed. I cleaned out the drawers and this little bookcase for his use. The school provided him with a laptop and printer/scanner. He decorated the desk with things from his room.

He decided he wanted to arrange the old, haggard furniture we stuck in the basement so he can 'feel like it's my room' (more like a bachelor pad). We explained that this space is not his room and he must share with Marisa if she wants to hang out there too. I put out a snack tray on the table filled with chips, fruit cups, and mixed nuts. He moved the frig over from Danny's side of the basement so he could get a drink when he wanted (for Pete's sake!). He brought his personalized coaster in (it's a pic of him and cousin Parker). And, there ya' have it....The Studio!

Here's my girl, a Junior at Legacy high school. She was cracking up at T's excitement over the studio. I just love the picture behind Marisa here. She has grown up so much this past year. Good luck this year, Sweetie! Now, off ya' go...

August 18, 2010

August 16, 2010

A Journey To Come

I work with doctors, lawyers, nurses, scientists, secretaries, engineers, career military, warehouse workers, bankers, accountants, teachers, administrators, geologists, telephone operators, clerks, professors, etc.

I work with those afflicted with all kinds of cancers, COPD, congestive heart failure, failure to thrive, dementia, Alzheimers, heart disease, Parkinson's, leukemia, etc.

I work with moms, dads, grands and greats, aunts, sisters, sisters-in-law, uncles, brothers, brothers-in-law, cousins, neighbors, friends, children, etc.

I work with family systems that are open, closed, emeshed, disengaged, under-functioning, and over-functioning.

Today, I learned my dad has Parkinson's Disease.

August 14, 2010

Under A New Roof

It's difficult to get into a routine following summer break, especially when a new roof is going up. This is the first time in the life of the house that we got a new roof. So much hail damage from the Spring storms forced our hand. Now that our summer is coming to an end and extended vacations are over, it's time for the new roof.

The nice thing about this job is that it's 100% covered by insurance.
Well, the 'cost' will be in a new homeowners rate next year.

The day after we returned from Vegas, the roofers called and said they were going to stop by for a 'roof drop'. They put the rollaway in the drive and the new shingles on the roof.

These guys worked for 2 days, made a big mess and lots of noise.

They did clean up after themselves when the job was done.

Part of the repair is a new paint job. Now we are waiting for the paint guy to come by to try and match the colors. I hope he can't match them so we can get new colors on the trim and siding.

August 11, 2010

Vegas Treats!


Chocolate candy

Chocolate fountain

August 10, 2010

The Vegas Buffet Kid

Since we had the 'buffet deal' in Vegas, Tony, my 15-year-old boy, took advantage of it. His food choices made me a bit queezy, but it's his stomach. I gave up on the well-balanced meals a long time ago!

Breakfast, Day 1

I think Sushi was available at every meal.

What's up with all the salad dressing?
Ok, never mind!

What a combo, Sweetie!

Now, that's an interesting 'presentation'!

I think it all caught up with him...finally.

August 8, 2010


We had a fantastic family vacation in Las Vegas. Initially, the kids were skeptical becasue they had heard from their friends how kids under 21 years old had nothing to do. We put that myth to rest! Writing down our adventures is a challenge: lots of bells and whistles to capture. But between Marisa, Tony, and I we took almost 300 pictures. Tony used the Nikon D70S with the Tamron tele-macro lens. Marisa and I used her Coolpix. I have to say that Marisa has a 'photographer's eye' though.

We stayed at Bally's, officially, but we walked and walked through hotel, casino, and restaurant after hotel, casino, and restaurant. Each one with a unique memory.

Once we unloaded our bags at the hotel, we had to eat. Here is my girl at Nathan's. She looks so mature, which was a bit of an at issue pool-side! While Danny went to the SOE Fan Faire, the kids and I hung out at the pool. Man, did they get a glimpse of young adult singles in action? No worries...mostly PG-13. A couple of young men would flirt with my daughter. She didn't falter once. She would give it right back and looked quite amused with the 'Vincent Chase' look-a-like as he danced up to her. She can be so cool, yet coy. Marisa knows a BS-er from a mile away!

On our walk through Paris, we encountered the new 3D-TVs. Really cool...reminds me of Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' in action.

The Paris Eiffel at night, the Vegas version. Which camera? Which kid took it? Their photog mentor loved it! This was taken at midnight on the first night.

This is the famous ceiling in the Bellagio. It was really gorgeous! On our way to breakfast, we cut through the hotels to avoid the triple-digit heat. We had buffet passes for the entire time for a total of $180, for all 4 of us, TOTAL! The quality of the buffet was measured by Tony's plates. As long as we ate at one of the 8 participating hotels, our meals were paid for! We ate at Harrahs, Paris, Flamingo, Caesar's Palace, the Rio, Planet Hollywood, and Bally's. We missed the Imperial this trip.

After brunch one morning, we walked through Caesar's Palace. The kids ended up coming back here on their unsupervised night. That story to be continued...

Each night the Bellagio had a water show. We happened to find a place on the walkway to enjoy the show. Again, which camera, which kid? Great shot, eh?

This was taken the night we went to Monte Carlo and saw Frank Caliendo. He is one funny guy! Notice my big earrings? I usually don't jazz up like this, but, hey, when in Vegas... I couldn't keep them straight. I was messing with these things all night. Like I said, not really my thing, but I tried and it was fun!

Here's my girl again! This was at the Secret Garden at The Mirage. We were at the Dolphin Refuge.

I'll tell you this time...this was taken with Tony's camera. I love dolphins!

Here is one of Siegfried & Roy's tigers. Lazy, but deadly!

When Danny was at the Fan Faire, the kids and I went to Miracle Mile to shop.

We also went to the Coca-Cola store where we sampled 16 different Cokes from around the world. They liked South Africa's products best. I thought they were too sweet.

And, we paid $$ to ride this monster at New York, New York. Nothing like HOT air rushing over you on a roller coaster that made you lose your perifial vision. The kids liked it and that's what counts!

Beginning and ending with a plane ride, the kids hadn't flown since 9/11 (as far as we can remember). We returned this morning, having to be at the airport at 4am! The kids want to go back. We still need to hit the Northend casinos and downtown as well as sight-see the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.

August 3, 2010

Ever Questing

My name is Garzael. I am a High Elf Enchantress with the Crusaders Valorous Guild. I am married to Danrael, a Gnome Magician.

I was originally kidnapped from the High Elf City of Felwithe by the god Bertoxxulous. And, as a Gnome servant of Bertoxxulous, Danrael was awarded me as a wife when he lead a raid against an enemy of Bertoxxulous.

I am an Enchantress, so I am a master of illusions. Bertoxxulous has turned my powers against me and forces me to live in a Gnome illusion. I am to auto-follow the Gnome Magician, Danrael.

But every once in awhile, my true imagine will appear and reveal the real Garzael, a High Elf Enchantress.

Okay, folks! This is the character that Danny created for me in the Sony game called 'Everquest'. This is what's taking us to Vegas: the SOE Fan Faire Convention! I think Tony had a character at one time called Pooty-Poot.

August 2, 2010

Thumbs Up!

I like a clean house, but I surely don't obsess over one. I want my kids to feel 'at home' when at home, not like they are in a museum. Our 'clean house' rules are simple:

1) Pick up after yourself
2) Put things back where you got them
3) Let us know if you broke something rather than hide it
4) You are responsible for messes your friends make, so clean up after them
5) Bring laundry down on Fridays or it won't get done, period
6) Put your own dishes away
7) If you complain about the house being dirty, then whatever you complain about is now your responsiblity to 'clean' it!

August 1, 2010

Tony's Favorite Dinner

Jerk Chicken Nachos! I made these for his birthday once. Big hit! Now, everytime I make them, he wants to invite the neighborhood! ('s really a Pampered Chef recipe base, but I've personalized it a little bit).

Start off with:
-6 or 7 cups of tortilla chips (I use 'On The Border' brand)
-3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
-2 cups of shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend (I add 4 squares of The Laughing Cow brand of 'Queso Fresco & Chipotle')
-1 can of refried beans
-1 small can of green chilies, chopped
-2 tablespoons of Jamaican Jerk Rub or Southwestern Seasoning decide, I've used both
-1 small yellow or red bell pepper (I use a little of both)
-1 small lime
-2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro
-¼ cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon additional Jamaican Jerk Rub
-2 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped to your preference

-Preheating your oven to 425°F.
-Arrange the chips on cookie sheet or baking stone.
-Heat up refried beans, mixing in green chilies.
-Combine chicken, cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the rub/seasoning, mix together.
-Smear beans on the chips, and sprinkle the chicken rub cheese mixture on the chips.
-Bake about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
-While the nachos are heating, dice peppers and slice lime in half.
-Juice half of the lime into a small bowl, add remaining rub/seasoning and bell peppers, mix well.
-Snip the cilantro.
-Spoon the bell peppers over the nachos and sprinkle on tomato and cilantro.
-Have sour cream, salsa, and lime on the side, if desired.