Morrison Ranch: Visiting “Grandma’s House” roses while they are in bloom

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

–Abraham Lincoln

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Today on the way to pick up the boys from school

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I passed “Grandma’s House” on the corner of Higley and Elliot Road in Gilbert

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I had a few minutes to spare

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and the roses were so colorful and pretty

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I found a place to park nearby

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and crept around the fence

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snapping pictures with my phone

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to share with you

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as I was leaving

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I looked to the left and saw

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a man on a bike leaning over the fence

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to enjoy the roses too

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Sometimes stop to smell the roses

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means simply that.

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Another place in Gilbert with beautiful roses is Joe’s Farm Grill

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My favorite place to smell the roses in Tucson

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is at Reid Park in the Rose Garden, 900 S Randolph Way, Tucson AZ 85716

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gorgeous scent

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loose petals

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suffused with colorIMG_4765

velvety soft

IMG_4766Where do you like to go to find flowers in the spring?

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So you saw the movie Lincoln and would like to learn more

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.

After I saw the movie Lincoln I daydreamed about Lincoln for weeks. I plan to watch the movie again this week now that it is out in Redbox. (free rental code for $1.00 movies, good til May 9 is F2AMA8TG3)

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If you aren’t sure if the movie is appropriate for children, take a look at Common Sense Media’s review of the film for kids. Movies aside, my favorite books about Lincoln for children are:

Abe Lincoln Gets His Chance by Frances Cavanah

Abe Lincoln Gets His Chance by Frances Cavanah You can download the book for free online.

The beautifully illustrated Abe Lincoln and his Boys shows Lincoln as loving father.

The brilliant Lane Smith has a whimiscal, perfectly executed picture book about Lincoln: Lincoln and his Dream. So well done.

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of course for the older reader, the haunting Twenty Days by Edward Meserve is unparalleled.

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Elizabeth Keckley, confidant of Mary Lincoln’s memoir is referenced in almost every modern biography of Lincoln. It is an easy read, if you saw the movie Lincoln, you will recognize much from the movie came from Mrs. Keckley’s book.

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I think you could stack every book ever written about Lincoln and reach the moon. But these books should give you a good start.

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I’ll close with a picture of the boys sitting with on a bench outside the visitor’s center in Gettysburg, PA with our familiar friend.

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Click Clack Moo Redux

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July 7, 2012, my lovely friend Stacy gave me a present, an Underwood typewriter

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For a while, it was enough to look upon it. Then I learned about nearby Mesa Typewriter Exchange and realized I could have it serviced.

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I brought the typewriter to the library in the morning and let the students take turns using it. It generated enormous interest and conversation with every grade.

In the afternoon, Brady and I brought my Underwood to Mr. Bill Wahl at the Mesa Typewriter Exchange.

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He asked me where I bought my typewriter, how long did I have it and how did it work. I knew very little. He stepped into his office and came back with this paper, turned my typewriter over and said it was made in 1916.

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This is what the world was like around the time my typewriter came to be:

  • 1910: Edison shows the 1st talking motion picture
  • 1911: Kettering invents the 1st automotive ignition system
  • 1912: LifeSavers candy introduced
  • 1913: the modern brassiere and crossword puzzle are invented
  • 1914: gas mask invented in time for WWI
  • 1915: Pyrex invented
  • 1916: Model T Ford prices fall to $360 — half the 1911 price
  • 1916: stainless steel invented
  • 1917: modern zipper invented
  • 1918: Armstrong’s core design for super heterodyne radio circuit —
  • which eventually becomes universal
  • 1919: short-wave radio invented

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I was curious and I wanted to stay a while, so every few minutes when a customer came in, I said they could go ahead of us.

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we weren’t in a hurry

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there was so much to look at

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I liked eavesdropping on Mr. Wahl’s conversations with other customers. He seemed to have the same conversation over and over again, while we were there he examined four typewriters for repair and had one picked up.

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I started to feel greedy and felt as if I needed to have ten or fifteen typewriters of my own.

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That is how I get in bookstores too.

Because of his backlog, my typewriter will be waiting in queue for service. I will update again when I go to pick her up.

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I think is the coolest corner of the Valley yet, but don’t take my word for it. Stop by and visit.

One of my students said I had to include this book, I agree.

One of my students said I had to include this book, I agree.

p.s. Here is a snap of the boys using a typewriter on board the U.S.S. North Carolina

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Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibit at AZ Science Center

The traveling Da Vinci exhibit is at the Arizona Science Center until June 9, 2013.

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Cameras are not allowed in the exhibit, so I took these photos from the web. They give you an idea of what to expect when you visit.

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Leonardo da Vinci wanted to discover everything. He kept 6,000 pages of notes on topics ranging from human anatomy, to flight, to machinery, to weapons of war. His curiousity was unparalleled.

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This is the optical chamber, it is a closet with mirrors on all sides, eight walls of mirrors. My boys had a blast looking into infinity inside the optical chamber.

Some of the exhibits were hands on, and some were hands off. That was frustrating for my boys. The hands on exhibits had levers and gears to crank but Max was not tall enough to crank them.

We visited the exhibit at the Whitaker Center in PA where we were allowed to take photos.

We visited the exhibit at the Whitaker Center in PA where we were allowed to take photos.

The exhibit is full of working models of machines drafted in Da Vinci’s Notebooks. It is quite remarkable to see his work come to life.

This photo was taken in PA as well. This same wooden tank is on display in Arizona.

This photo was taken in PA as well. This same wooden tank is on display in Arizona.

My boys are 5 and 7, so they were a little young for the richness of the exhibit. We ended up visiting for about 20 minutes before they wearied of all they could not touch and wanted to explore the rest of the Science Center. I noticed many older kids happily sitting on the floor sketching or watching one of the two films or listening to an audio tour. My boys did not have the patience for these things.

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The last 1/3 of the exhibit is aisles of Da Vinci’s artwork with loads of insight into his intention. I could not read any of it and I would like to go back on my own. I bought the guidebook so I could read it at home, but I think the audio tour while looking at the exhibit would be the best.

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This was an incredible exhibit and I look forward to coming back alone! Do you plan to visit? This is a link to a video of Da Vinci’s machines from Australia. It gives a flavor of the exhibit as well.

Mesa Typewriter Exchange: A trip to the typewriter store

Last summer my friend Stacy bought me a typewriter. It was just the kind of thing your bestie would give you and I loved it.

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Even thought I was in Pennsylvania and I had to haul it all the way back on the plane!

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This week we are taking a special trip to Mesa Typewriter Exchange at 30 S. Macdonald, Mesa, Arizona 85210 (480) 964-3603)

On my neighborhood list I bought a nifty metal typewriter table, just the size for my front entrance.

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The typewriter is magical, kids love it. I almost want to keep it at school so everyone can enjoy it.

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This year Brady started to take online typing classes at home. He uses typekids. This is another resource full of typing games you can try.

on my wish list

on my wish list

Have you ever used a typewriter? Do you think it would be fun to take a typing class at school?

San Tan Mountain Regional Park: Looking for Wildflowers

It was 85 degrees today, a perfect day for walking outside

Wildflowers along Riggs Road in a wash

Wildflowers along Riggs Road in a wash

We drove to San Tan Mountain Regional Park and took the easy one mile hike, first half Little Leaf Trail, then turned left and headed back along the Gold Mine Trail.

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We saw the spring wildflowers

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Strawberry Hedgehog

The best thing I did was stop at the nature center before the hike to ask for the right hike for my boys and to pick up a color sheet of wildflower identifications so that we knew the names of the flowers.

a great bank of brittlebush (I think!)

a great bank of brittlebush (I think!)

Mexican gold poppies are my favorite. I love their vibrant, sunny color.

Mexican Golden Poppies were everywhere

Mexican Golden Poppies were everywhere

We did not see any snakes, just some lizards and birds. I knew the snakes are out this time of year. I like to see them, I just don’t like to be surprised by them.

Coulter's Lupine

Coulter’s Lupine

We picked up the snake and the tarantula at the gift shop. They were so soft and cuddly and very reasonable!

The trail has lots of dips and gullys bisected with sandy washes, it is a fun place to run

The trail has lots of dips and gullys bisected with sandy washes, it is a fun place to run

At the halfway point we saw the sign for the Gold Mine Trail and turned left, back to the visitor’s center.

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The boys were a little tired but revived whenever they saw an interesting rock or a good walking stick. We each drank a bottle of water.

At the visitor center we saw a tarantula, a gila monster, a king snake, a rattle snake and a table of items to touch and handle.

At the visitor center we saw a tarantula, a gila monster, a king snake, a rattle snake and a table of items to touch and handle.

we spent about a half hour in the visitor center playing with puzzles, resting a little and watching the snakes.

An assortment of dried cactus spine, snake skin, feathers for you to touch and handle as you wish

An assortment of dried cactus spine, snake skin, feathers for you to touch and handle as you wish

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On the trail we expected to see rattle snakes stretched out and sunning themselves but no luck.

On the trail we expected to see rattle snakes stretched out and sunning themselves but no luck.

The San Tan Mountain Regional Park has an active calendar. The park is located at 6533 West Phillips Road
Queen Creek Arizona 85242, 480-655-5554, santanpark@mail.maricopa.gov It has a visitor’s center with a modern restroom and a gift shop.

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On the way home from the park I pulled over on Riggs Road (right next to the Equestrian Center) and photographed a beautiful wash loaded with poppies, lupine, marigold and bladderpad.

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I hope you enjoyed our pictures of our morning out! I enjoy sharing our days with you.

Another on my Tucson dream list…what does Cienega mean?

FIVE SEASONS IN THE SUN: TUCSON WITH KIDS

The Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, located in Vail, is beautiful this time of year. If you are yearning for the colors and smells of autumn take a hike along Cienega Creek. This is one of the most intact riparian areas in southern Arizona. The preserve protects approximately 12 miles of the lower creek. Portions of the creek are perennial, the result of bedrock formations just below the ground forcing underground water to the surface. Surface flows have not been depleted and groundwater levels remain shallow.

The canopy of Cottonwoods and Willows offers plenty of shade and beautiful fall colors.

Riparian habitats occupy less than 1% of Arizona, yet 75% of Arizona’s native wildlife species depend on these areas for all or part of their life cycle. The area along Cienega Creek supports over 200 native species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and over 100 species of birds. The…

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