Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year script



I guess our celebration will have to be a quiet one this year since we are still dealing with these nasty colds. Tom came over a while ago with a New Year's Eve care package from Juni. She had made pozole -- making our portion "not-quite-so-spicey." She also sent along some great pork tamales. It's nice to have friends like that!

 We did get brave enough to take a short bike ride this afternoon. We rode over to the mail annex and back and it didn't hurt! Guess I've finally worked out the muscle soreness from over-doing it last week.

There has been quite an influx of RVs the last couple if days. I think all of the people who wanted to be at home for Christmas are now on the move. The only space left on our street is the site right next to us. I would imagine it won't be empty for much longer.


We'd like to wish all of our friends and family a 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Drippy -- Inside and Out

This cold is not fun! We've stayed cooped up in the house all day -- decided not to attempt church to avoid spreading our germs. Though, that's probably where we picked them up in the first place.

It would have been a fairly quiet day if it wasn't for the two of us coughing. I still have some of the cough pills given to me by the Nurse Practitioner at the Mini-Clinic last year in Florida. They take the edge off the coughing, but don't stop it entirely.

Forry's been content to watch football games while I read, but he's NOT happy about not being able to watch the Seahawk's game. (Since our billing address is Mount Vernon, Direct TV assumes we're in the black-out local area, so won't let him watch it.) Siri on my iPhone kept us up on the score, so we can at least celebrate their win.

If it isn't bad enough that we're dealing with runny noses inside, it has now started raining outside. There was no rain forecast for today. In fact, the area is still under a "freeze alert." In spite of all that, it is coming down pretty hard outside.

With all the rain we've endured in the month we've been here, I'm sure glad the first thing we did was to get the roof sealed!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I've Got a Code...

My head is SO plugged up and stuffy. I've felt a bit "off" the last couple of days, but thought I could shake it off...]

This morning I sounded horrible. My voice sounded like some croaky old frog. As the day went on, it didn't get a whole lot better. Forry's been telling everyone that I am sick.

Tonight I was trying to think of what to get made for supper, when he told me he would go to KFC for me. I ended up riding along with him to get comfort food. Original recipe dark meat meals with mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuits.

The sun was just setting as we drove. It had clouded up a bit this afternoon, which made for a gorgeous sunset --

I took both of these shots with my iPhone as we were driving along.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Toad II Gets Some First Aid

Going down Interstate 60 last week, Toad II was hit by a piece of gravel tossed by a vehicle in front of us. She got a nasty rock chip on the top right side of her windshield!

Concerned that the rock chip would spread and we would soon have a crack in the windshield, I looked for a place that might do rock chip repair. Juni suggested to us that car washes often offered this service, so I called the place where we had gotten Toad II washed and waxed a couple of weeks ago. The receptionist as Full Circle Auto Wash said that indeed they had someone there that provided this service and he was in this afternoon.

So off we went to meet Justin Harwood of the Auto Glass Shop, a national chain of auto glass repairs. He opened up the chip a bit -- I jumped almost as much as I did from the original hit when he tapped on it.

Justin agreed with us that it was a pretty bad chip as he went to work and filled it with resin, then left it to cure for a few minutes...

It probably didn't take more than twenty minutes and cost us $35 (guaranteed to be refunded if the repair failed...). You can still see the "spider legs" of where it was hit, though you have to look for them. Justin said he got the outside of the rig dirty, so sent us through the car wash with his compliments.

While we were out and about, we went to Barnes and Noble to buy Forry a new "Page-a-Day" Sudoku calendar as well as a calendar for the living room. It was nice to see that since it was the last week of the year, all of the calendars were 50% off.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Almost Over...

It's hard to believe that 2012 is almost over. As I listened to the news and the weather reports this evening, I began to think that many on the East Coast will probably be very glad to see the end of it! Once again, people were attempting to keep their houses and basements from flooding. Once again, they are dealing with downed power lines and cold, cold houses. They've had to deal with hurricanes and nor'easters, tornadoes and blizzards this year. Enough, already!

I was whining a bit this morning because it was overcast and chilly (50 degrees) here in Mesa. Big deal! We got a few - very few - drops of rain, then it all cleared up. Actually been quite pleasant here this winter.

I did some laundry today and read a couple more books on my new iPad. Forry drove over to Camping World to pick up a little ice maker that was advertised in their flyer which came in our box of snail mail yesterday. Unfortunately, they were all out. They gave him a rain check that's good for a month in case they might get some more in.

I did take a look at the web-site for OdysseyO, the horse performance that is going on in Scottsdale over the holidays. We had talked about getting tickets with Juni and Tom, but after I looked at the ticket prices - even for weekdays - we decided we really didn't want to go that bad! Even tickets for Seniors were over $150 each.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After...

The day after Christmas is always such a funny day. It's sort of a let-down after all of the excitement and hype around Christmas. My late Sister-in-law Pearl's birthday was the 26th of December. We tried a couple of times to have a special celebration of her birthday, but it never seemed to quite gel.

My Sister Roxy's birthday is the 15th and our Daughter Dawn's is the 16th. Because they are before Christmas, it's easier to celebrate their birthdays. As a kid I was always a bit jealous of Roxy's big birthday presents as the folks often combined her birthday and Christmas presents in one. I discovered later in life that she often felt cheated as she only got one present - albeit a big one - instead of separate birthday and Christmas ones...

Today was a quiet day for us. I was in bed last night and asleep before ten PM, but I slept around the clock! I had gotten up once very early to visit the bathroom, but went right back to sleep. I can't believe I was that tired! My knees are still excruciatingly sore, so I have not been doing much moving around.

Forry got me an iPad for Christmas and I have been playing with all of the things that it can do. I've started playing "Words With Friends" which I am really enjoying. I had tried it before on my iPhone and didn't like it at all. The game on the iPad is big enough to easily see and I'm finding it much more fun. I've also been reading more books on the iPad than on my Kindle. It's a bit lighter and easier to use.

I did spend a little time on the computer this afternoon, getting some bookwork done and ordering some medications. We mostly ate leftovers today. We had pie for breakfast, then the last of the crab cocktail, and then ham sandwiches for supper. It was a good day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day!


"While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."

Today was a lovely peaceful day. We slept in, then checked out the goodies in our stockings. I wasn't moving very fast as I have extremely sore knees. I think that I may overdone my trike-riding this week!

About two PM, we went over to our friends Tom and Juni's and enjoyed Christmas dinner with them and their son Tommy. We had crab cocktails, then Juni served ham and a roast turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, dressing, a layer salad, rolls and cranberry sauce. By the time we ate all of that, waited a while, then ate pie, we were definitely stuffed!

We were able to chat with both of our daughters today in Oregon and Washington. It's not quite the same as getting to be with them, but it brings them and their families a bit closer.

We'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of our friends, family and gracious readers a VERY Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see -- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people."

It's been another enjoyable day. We got a package of mail from Daughter Mary Mae today with lots of Christmas cards as well as the traditional swag made by the grand-kids. Its arrival means Christmas is truly here --

I spent the early part of the day baking pies. I made a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie for tomorrow's dinner. Then I mixed up a batch of crab cocktails so that it could age overnight. Auntie Violet sure smelled good!

Later this evening we headed over to Glendale for the Christmas Eve services at Trinity Mennonite Church. As we walked into the church compound (the sanctuary, Sunday School rooms, library and offices are all in separate small buildings around a central courtyard), we were guided by rows of luminarias --

We were here for Christmas Eve two years ago. The climax of the service has the congregation filing out into the courtyard carrying candles and singing Christmas carols. It's a beautiful way to end the evening.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Role of Women...

Pastor Hal at Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale played portion of an audio tape from Meagan Goode of Oregon as part of his sermon this morning. He was talking about some of the beginnings of the "Upside Down Kingdom" when the earliest news of the gospel was shared with two insignificant women. Meagan's audio talked about how you would really NOT want to have been a woman at that point in history.

It started me thinking about the incredible women that we have in leadership roles in my home state of Washington that would not even have been allowed to venture out of the confines of their homes in that day and age. Senators Cantwell and Murray and Governor Gregiore are role models that any little girl can model her aspirations on. My friend Mary is the longest serving Health Secretary in the United States. What a waste of talent and brains it would have been if they were dis-regarded.

I think of the "strong Menno women" (as my daughters and I always described them) of my home church and what incredible role models they were. Now those ladies are the elderly or they have passed on. But, what is exciting to see, is how the younger women of the congregation are stepping up into those same roles. Wives and mothers, teachers and store keepers, nurses and caregivers, writers and scientists, administrators and lawyers.

True, for many of us, it is a good time to be alive and to be a female. We must remember though, that there are still parts of the the world where that is not so.

Whenever you doubt what God thinks of you, a mere woman, remember that not only were Mary and Elizabeth the first to know of the good news, it was also women who were the first to know of the resurrection!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Slow Saturday

When you don't get up very early and it's almost noon by the time you get showers and breakfast done, it doesn't leave a whole lot of day. It was actually a bit warmer today. I was able to sit outside and read for a while this afternoon.

We were out of milk and orange juice, so made a trip over to the nearby Safeway store and from there went to Costco for the big cartons of blueberries. Forry's been hungry for one of their Polish dogs, so that's what we had for supper. It's hard to beat the price -- $1.50 for the large hot dog and a soda!

Costco had some caramels -- "made in small batches with real butter and cream." I bought some and they are good, but they don't compare to the ones Sister Sherry makes. The last ones we got from her were sprinkled with sea salt -- so good! Sherry likes to make caramels, but hates to cut and wrap them, so unless Napua or I am there it just doesn't happen. :-(

We got another lovely care package yesterday. Sister Roxy sent a box STUFFED with various kinds of tea, both loose and bags. It's going to be a nice change from all of the coffee we've been drinking. We've been enjoying these Christmas surprises.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Auntie Violet's Day

Today was finally Auntie Violet's long awaited wash and wax day. We had planned to get the job done as soon as we arrived in Mesa. But first we needed to get the roof sealed, which we did get done. Then we needed to let the roof fix cure for a week before we dared to have a pressure washer near it.

Joe from ASAP Mobile Repair Service recommended his friend Ryan who owned Renegade Mobile Detailing as a good person to hire. This morning a little after eleven, Ryan and his employee arrived.

Ryan said that he had originally had a bricks and mortar shop as well, but as the economy went south, he down-sized to just his mobile unit.

While Ryan started washing Auntie Violet with the pressure washer, his helper was up on the ladder scrubbing away --

After washing and rinsing the rig, they started the waxing and buffing job --

By the time they finished, Auntie Violet was glistening in the sunlight --

It took the two of them a little over four hours of pretty intense work, but they got the job done. And Auntie Violet is very happy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Decorations

This evening, after hamburgers at Fuddruckers, Tom drove the four of us around the Valle del Oro.

We took a look at all of the winners of the holiday decorating contest at the park.


There were categories for park models --

and ones for RVs.

Some of the decorations were quite elaborate --

While others were quite simple.

This one just put lights on their cactus and aguave plants.

Others had lots of icicles.

This one strung lights on a bicycle --

I really like the ones with blue lights. This one had snowflakes hanging from the palm tree that looked almost like dates...

These people decorated all the way back into their Arizona room --

This was one of the RV winners.

This blow-up Santa was riding a three-wheeler with a cargo of reindeer --

This one's wheels turned as he went.

Looking down 76th Street which won the "best decorated street" award --

These folks had a blow-up penguin.

I liked these candy canes.

This little train was being watched over by deer.

A pretty Christmas tree.

How about the bear with the Santa hat?

This one won the "Best of Show" award --

with its red, white and blue palm tree.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Company for Dinner

I bought a stuffed pork roast at Costco that just begged to be shared with company, so we invited Juni and Tom over to share it with us. It was stuffed with apple sausage dressing and was really good. I fixed butternut squash with some honey, butter and nutmeg that went well with the garlic mashed potatoes and green salad that Juni brought over. We ate really well to night --


I have been hungry for a cherry pie the last few weeks and had bought some cans of cherries in order to make one. I decided that I would make a pie for our dinner. As I opened the first can of cherries, I noticed that the juice was awfully dark. Then I looked again and realized I had a can of bing cherries, NOT pie cherries! The picture on the can looked just like regular sour cherries unless you looked really closely. At that point, I wasn't sure what to do, so decided to just go ahead and make the pie out of the sweet cherries. I added a little less sugar than I normally would, but made the rest as I normally do.

The pie actually turned out pretty well. I thought it was a bit too sweet, but Forry really liked it. Tom agreed with me, thinking it needed some lemon juice to make it a bit more tart. Juni agreed with Forry and thought it was quite good.

Not sure what Forry was thinking about when I took this picture -- maybe he just ate too much?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Musings Upon Bed Making...

I was reading something the other day that has sort of stuck in my head. The author commented that the only reason she made her bed every day was because it "was an island of calm in the chaos of her life."

I do make my bed every day. It does bother me if I don't. It bothers me enough that I will stop and make it when I see it unmade --  even if I didn't intend to make it.

Because of that casual comment, I started thinking about my bed-making habits. I'm not sure when I really became compulsive about it. When I was a teenager, our bedrooms were upstairs in the old farmhouse. I cannot remember much about ever making my bed and I don't remember Mom ever coming upstairs to fuss about it. (I do remember how cold it was up there in the winter time. A glass of water taken upstairs would be ice in the morning. And I can remember the weight of the heavy layers of blankets we covered up with.)

Sometime after we were married and had moved into the house that had been Forry's parents, we bought our first water bed. I can recall how easy it was to make that bed -- all you had to do was toss the duvet up and you were done. (We did wonder if the floor was sturdy enough to support the weight of all that water in a king size bed...) Strangely enough, I cannot remember nagging at our kids about making their beds either (though I'll bet they might!). It probably helped that their bedrooms were downstairs where I didn't see them every day.

 I suppose I was thinking about bed making today because I changed the sheets on our bed. I do know that there is nothing nicer then crawling into a bed with freshly washed sheets that smell so good and feel so smooth. Pure sensual delight!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Las Noches de Las Luminarias

Out in the desert twenty miles or so from where Auntie Violet is parked --

Is a place called the Desert Botanical Gardens --

I had read in the Arizona Republic about Las Nochas de Las Luminarias, the nights of the lights, which is held around Christmas time at the Botanical Gardens. We invited our friends Tom and Juni to attend with us as their Christmas present. The first musician we encountered was this harpist as we came towards the entrance --

The show started at 5:30 PM, just as it was beginning to get dark. We saw the many lights on the trees as well as the luminarias (traditionally candles in paper bags weighted with sand in the bottom).

This basin fountain was surrounded by white poinsettias --

There were white amaryllis complimented by paper whites --

As well as this tree also made of white poinsettias --

A Mariachi band was playing in this corner of the courtyard --

We saw this family of stone people watching the musicians from outside the gift shop --

Trails lit by luminaria led us further into the gardens of cacti --

 There were lights everywhere --

As we wandered down the paths, we came to this gypsy violinist --

Looking back towards the sunset --

Forry and Tom sitting in the darkness, listening to the music --

Another beautiful lit tree --

The next musician was a classical guitarist --

I'm glad this cacti was lit up. I'd hate to stumble into it in the dark!

A Native American flutist --

Scattered throughout the gardens were various sculptures. I think the most spectacular ones were these lighted glass ones --

Scattered at strategic points around the gardens were little stands that sold glasses of wine or beer. At the Garden Cafe, we had some hot butternut squash soup topped off by cream-filled churros. The soup certainly took the chill off.

It was an interesting evening. They do this for three weeks of nights with thirty different groups of musicians providing music. It is the main fund-raising activity for the gardens. The paper said that on Saturday and Sunday nights, they have as many as 2500 people visiting the grounds.