Introducing me!

Posted on January 15th, 2014 by Jean

I thought I’d follow along with the Zero To Hero assignments to improve my site. The first challenge is to introduce myself.

Hello! I’m Jean, a 40-something woman making her way through life, trying to juggle family, business and everything in between. We live in Arizona although I hail from the Bay Area of California and spent my high school years in Reno, Nevada. I also did a short stint in Appleton, Wisconsin, and spent two summers in Sarasota, Florida.

My husband, Tom, and I have been together twelve years. We run our own business (celebrating its 25th anniversary this year!) publishing the local real estate guide. It is a full color, glossy magazine of which we are very proud. It is distributed in California, Nevada and Arizona.

We have two daughters, ages 11 and 9, who love school, dancing, drawing, acting, acrobatics, and animals. During the summer months, we travel to Anaheim as a family, and enjoy many of that area’s attractions. On shorter breaks, we visit local points of interest such as Grand Canyon Caverns, the Wild Animal Park in Valentine, or the old mining town of Oatman. We also enjoy boating on the Colorado River which is 3 miles from our house.

When I need to get away, I visit nearby Las Vegas, a 90-minute drive north, to shop at the various malls and enjoy a decadent meal. I always bring a treat home such as cupcakes, cheesecake, or fresh fruit from Trader Joe’s.

Before falling off to sleep at night, I watch recorded episodes of The Housewives of (name any city), Vanderpump Rules, The Shahs of Sunset – all things Bravo – or The Dead Files, Ghost Hunters, The Haunting Of – all things Travel Channel. I wake up to Headline News or Weekend Express every morning. I love to know what’s going on in the world.

I don’t exercise. I don’t eat right. But I think about both every day.

I’m not very crafty, but I will attempt crafts for the sake of my children.

I’m shy and reserved, but I won’t take crap.

I enjoy learning and sharing knowledge.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please ask.

Fighting With New England

Posted on January 8th, 2014 by Jean
Desert Pussy

Although this is not my neighbor, it looks a lot like him. He walks with one stick and a small pistol.

Today I got in a fight with my neighbor, “New England”. No, this is not my typical behavior. Let me back up to the day that ignited the feud. During the November break from school, my daughters were home while my husband and I continued our work from our home office. Tom had driven over to a client’s office to get final approval on the December cover of our real estate magazine. I was upstairs with the girls when I noticed a dog in our yard. We have 13 pet chickens who roam freely on our acres during the day, and this dog was being aggressive towards them.

I ran outside, so scared I couldn’t catch my breath, running at the dog and shouting, “Get out! Get out!” The dog jumped over the rock wall, but then hopped right back into the yard. He kept chasing the chickens and bit one. Again I shouted and charged. The dog, a large husky type dog, walked towards me, then past me and out our front gate. A third time the dog jumped back into the yard, chasing and snapping at the chickens. “Get out!” I shouted. I grabbed a rake and swung at it. I threw rocks. I felt defenseless. I looked to the sky and stated, “Why won’t anyone help me?”

Just then, a tenant on our land came out of his van to see what was going on. He threw rocks at the dog too. Meanwhile, my daughters, hearing my screams, phoned their father on his cell phone, and he came screeching back to the house. Screeching is the key, as the dust on our dirt road was flying through the air.

The dog was detained and removed by Animal Control. The chickens, though short a few feathers, were unharmed. The neighbor, “New England”, was dusted out. His words. He was dusted out when Tom drove up the road in such a hurry. He had not spoken to us since… until today.

This morning I overheard yelling and swearing. I heard my husband ask, “Why didn’t you help my wife when you heard her screaming?” I heard “New England”‘s reply, “She wasn’t screaming!” More back and forth exchange, f-bombs and screw you’s. Then only one continued to yell… it was “New England” aka Eric. I stepped outside, and saw him walking up the road, swearing aloud.

“What are you talking about?”, I asked.

“F you! Go back in your house!”

“I did ask for help. Why didn’t you help me?”

“F you! Get out of here!”

“Oh, that’s right. You’re a pussy. Do you want to borrow my Midol?”

“Blah blah blah” – I have to admit, I tuned him out. My adrenaline made me a little deaf. Perhaps the same deafness that affected him when he saw the dog charging my chickens.

“Why don’t you go change your tampon, Eric? Do you have cramps? I can loan you the Midol?”, I continued with my derogatory barrage.

He continued on his way, muttering loudly to himself. A handyman installing a drain on the side of our house said, “I love you.” Tom said, “I told you my wife was cool.”

I don’t want any further arguments with the guy. He chose not to come to my aid although he was apparently near enough our home to have the flying dirt fall on him… or perhaps on his furniture which he had to dust. You don’t want to help me? No problem, but don’t lie about me. I did ask for help. I did receive help. You, neighbor Eric, can still borrow my Midol or perhaps my lemon-fresh furniture polish.

• Have you ever had an argument with a neighbor, and were you able to resolve the problem?

Winter in Arizona

Posted on January 6th, 2014 by Jean

My friend, Ron, of Vent hosted a Winter Photograph Share, and it gave me the opportunity to try to capture winter in the desert. I snapped photos of our firewood, Christmas decorations, my daughter rollerblading, our orange, jacaranda and palm trees. To see which photo I submitted and to view some truly amazing winter photos, please visit Ron’s blog. He will host future photo shares, and we can all participate.

I’m also trying out Jetpack Tiled Galleries. What a cool tool! It wasn’t too difficult to set up. The hardest part for me was finding the “create gallery” feature. Long story short, it will appear (add media) when you post a new blog. Here is a more detailed tutorial. I’m always looking for better ways to display photos for myself and my clients.

What does winter look like where you live?