Friday, January 30, 2015

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

it's been a full day of meetings today. We started at 8:15 this morning and finished our last session about 8:30 tonight. When you are not used to sitting still for that long a period of time AND concentrating, it's hard.

I think we are all feeling somewhat better about the direction we are going and the information we will be able to present to the delegates at the Biennial Meeting next July. We had some intense but good discussions today.

It's been a good day.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Off to Kansas City

Everything  went very smoothly this morning. We got to Sky Harbor International in Phoenix (it's actually Tempe) a little before nine, so I was in plenty of time. Somewhere along the line, I've been granted TSA Pre-Pass status. I'm not sure exactly how, I certainly did not apply for it. Perhaps it is in deference to my age or maybe Alaska Airlines did it because of all the miles I've flown with them.

However it happened, it's sure been nice the last few times I've flown. You get shifted over to an express line, you don't take off your shoes or your jacket. They really expedite you through the security line. Nice.

I flew US Airways today. This was the first time I've seen them ask military in uniform to board right behind First Class. Nice.

I was reading in yesterday's paper about all the private jets who were coming into Scottsdale for the Super Bowl and the parties. Taxiing by the private side of the airport today, you could see that a lot of them came to Phoenix. There were so many jets, they were double and triple parking them.

It's COLD here! And the wind is coming, I swear, directly from the North Pole. I had a half hour wait for the hotel shuttle and I think I'm still chilled...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Back in another life, when I was still working, I kept a small bag of toiletries always packed. I traveled so much that it was easier than putting stuff together for every trip. I think I had duplicates of everything I needed, including a second curling iron. Nowadays, I have a few things like q-tips and toothpaste in a small bag, but that's about it. I only have meetings that I need to travel for three or four times a year. That's a lot different then once a week or more.

What it means is I need to think a bit more when I pack to make sure I have everything I need. I also have less choices in clothes to pack. I've given away or worn out most of my business casual clothing and don't have a lot of choices. This week's meeting was supposed to have been a conference call until it was decided we really needed to meet in person. There will be one more meeting in April and then the annual meeting in July at which time my second term is up. Thankfully, I am not eligible to serve another term!

My flight leaves Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix at 9:55 tomorrow morning. That means we'll have to leave here by 8. Hopefully, I've got everything ready to go.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Clouds and Rain

Right on schedule last night, the rain started. It rained off and on last night. Sounds like we may have that kind of weather all week. It sort of cleared off late in the afternoon, but by sunset there were still lots of clouds floating around. One thing about it, clouds make for pretty sunsets and Forry was out checking them out. This is the look as the sun began to set:

It just kept getting brighter and brighter --

And this is the reflection out to the east over the Verde River Valley:

I spent most of the day just doing catch-up stuff. I did three loads of laundry. Pushed Forry to get my small carry-on suitcase out of one of the lower bays. Sorted out a few of the things I need to take to Kansas City. Just the usual getting ready to go stuff.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dollar Stores

I needed to pick up some cheap (throw-away) candle holders for the worship at the Executive Board meeting this week. My partner Joy is bringing the candles, but didn't have four holders. Since I have no intention of bringing them back to the RV, I figured I'd look at one of the dollar stores. Looking online to find one is interesting. Would you believe there is one in hoity-toity Scottsdale?

We found a Dollar Tree store even closer to us just outside of Fountain Hills about five miles away, right next to the Target store. I think the last time - and maybe the only time -  I was in a dollar store was with Daughter Dawn when she was shopping for her Purple Party (a thank you party for the lovely ladies who made her purple pansy quilt). I quickly found the glass candle holders for a buck apiece. They actually are pretty good looking. I even remembered to get matches. Yes, they had a couple of kinds of those in the back of the store.


Dollar stores are fascinating places. This one was about a third dedicated to items for Easter and Valentine's Day. If you are planning a party, this would be the place to come. I was surprised by the quantity of groceries as well. I guess I've not thought about buying groceries at one.

We made one more stop before we headed home, stopping at Safeway to pick up a couple of TV dinners for Forry to eat while I am gone.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Listening For Grace"

We drove the thirty plus miles this evening into Glendale to Trinity Mennonite Church to attend a presentation of "Listening For Grace."  This is a play about relationships, sexuality and the church, written and performed by Ted Swartz. I had been reading accounts of the play in eastern churches and was feeling a bit jealous that we were just too far away to go to any of the performances.

When I read that Ted and Co. were going to be in Arizona this weekend (Tucson yesterday and Phoenix today), we immediately made plans to be in attendance.

From the program:
"The show is a father's journey of discovering, searching, getting advice and hearing from people in his own church. It's a piece about church, about fatherhood, about community. It's a piece about our sexuality. And hopefully it's an entertaining and enlightening piece about openness  and love."

There is a piano on stage on the left. The piano player's music is part of, and moves the show along, but he, himself does not speak. There is a chair occupied by a cello player on the right side of the stage. The cello player represents the son, but the cello does the speaking. Ted Swartz, the author, plays the father Darryl in a monologue that basically includes all the other characters. Sometimes hilariously funny, sometimes terribly sad, but always thought provoking, it was a wonderful experience.

All in all, it was a good preparation for this week's Executive Board meeting.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Busy Day, Windy Day

It was more than gusty today, it was just plain windy. Nice and warm, but windy. I think we are getting the tail end of the Santa Ana winds that are plaguing the California mountains.

I have an Executive Board meeting in Kansas City, Missouri next week (I leave on Thursday, return on Saturday). The documents have all been posted on The Gathering Place on the internet since earlier this week. I have been procrastinating about dealing with the twenty plus documents as it is such a pain. I do understand the rationale - and the money saved - behind not snail mailing the board packets out to everyone. But The Gathering Place is a Microsoft program that I cannot access on my iPad. So I need to download all of the .pdf files on my laptop, then upload them all to Dropbox, so that I can then view them on the Dropbox program on my iPad. I suppose I could take my heavy laptop with me, but this way I only need my lightweight iPad.

It probably would have gone faster if I had not taken the time to read each document and report as I downloaded it. Basically, it's my first read-through of everything. Some of them I'll read through again before I leave and I'll review all of them again on the airplane. It works for me.

Yesterday, The Chew TV show had a guest chef and author named Pati Jinich on the show. She demonstrated a recipe for Bricklayer Tacos (named because they were often served at construction sites) that sounded so good. It used chopped crisp bacon with small chunks of steak, onions and tomatoes for the filling along with slices of avocados. It sounded so good, I had to make some for dinner tonight. Lawsy, they were good!

Also chatted with both of our daughters today. I am a bit worried as they both have the flu at their houses. Grandson Micah had it last week and has passed it on to his Mom. Granddaughter Claire is sick as well. It's a scary year for flu. We need to be sending lots of good wishes and prayers their way.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Back to Town Again

I spent almost an hour on the phone today with the nicest, most patient tech from Garmin. But thanks to him, our GPS in Toad II is back to being usable today. A week or so ago, after I had brought the unit into the house to update the maps, it decided it could only function in night-time mode. Due to that, the screen could not be seen in daylight. It worked just fine when it wasn't connected in the holder in the car, but that meant the battery would run down in ten minutes or so. The tech tried several things to reset it, but we finally resorted to doing a hard reset. That meant that ALL of the stored addresses were wiped out! But at least, now it works properly.

As I had suspected yesterday, we ended up going back into town right after lunch today. Morris from Arizona Camera Works in Chandler had called to say that the new LCD for my camera had come it and he had replaced the cracked one. It's about a half hour drive from the RV Park to his place of work. Morris had replaced the LCD screen as well as removing and cleaning the lens filter. The new screen was only $58, and I basically have an almost new camera. Since I have my camera back, Forry took custody of the little Canon I have been using. I think he's decided he would like to start taking pictures again. Here's the first one he took tonight --I think we'll be seeing lots of sunset pictures...

After we picked up the camera, we went looking for a pharmacy so that I could buy a new mirror. I had dropped the hand mirror I had more than once and glued it back together. But the last time it fell off the side table, it splintered I I found a nice one at Walgreens. Maybe I can keep this one in one piece.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Shopping Trip

It's that time of year again when I need to take all of the receipts and bills, etc. from the ranch file drawer, post them in Quick Books, and put them away in the 2014 file box. But first, we had to pick up a new file box from one of the office supply firms. Since Office Depot and Office Max have merged, they have closed some of their stores. We first went to the Office Depot site listed in the Yellow Pages on my iPhone. Located on Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, it seemed to be the closest one. But, when we got to the address, it was now a clothing store - with the distinctive double door setup, you could tell it had been an Office Depot.

Okay, back online to look for another store. I found an Office Max about a mile further up Scottsdale Road. This time I  called to see if they were still there. The man who answered the phone, said that, indeed, they were a survivor. So a quick trip there, and then a hunt for the store. It was one of those shopping complexes with multiple large buildings. The store we wanted turned out to be down a side road, way towards the back. But, we finally found it and picked up the file box, another package of paper and a couple of small storage boxes for Forry's corner.

From there it was back to Fountain Hills to the grocery store. I think I've made it plain that I dislike shopping for groceries, but I bit the bullet and got the job done. The only really nice thing was using one of the Starbuck's cards Sister Dena gave us for Christmas. Forry had his usual Peppermint Mocha while I tried out the new Flat White drink (two shots of espresso with frothy milk). It's very similar to a plain latte, but it seems a little richer tasting.

While I was in the grocery store, I got a call from Morris at Arizona Camera Works in Chandler. He said the LCD screen for my camera had arrived and he had gotten it installed. So I guess we'll be going to town again tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Black Canyon Road Trip - Part II

We headed on up the dirt road through more saguaros. This barrel cactus was one of two we saw that were still celebrating Christmas -

This is part of the fence that fronts Bumble Bee Ranch. The barb wire has spacers about a foot apart with an iron pipe as a header -

The story goes that prospectors in 1863 found a beehive full of honey in the cliffs along the creek. The Bumble Bee Ranch had these silhouettes of a cattle drive on both sides of their main gate. 

It was nice to see that Bumble Bee Creek actually had water in it. So many of the stream beds here are dry except when there is flooding post rains in the mountains.

This is one of the only three cows we saw yesterday. She looks in pretty fair shape given the desert surroundings.

The road in this section is no longer nicely graded. It got pretty rocky in sections with some deeply eroded areas and ditches. The newspaper article that we were following said this 5 mile section of the road  would take at least half hour. It took us almost 50 minutes! Of course, we were doing some bird-watching along the way...


The rock through this whole area was sedimentary rock with the layers standing on end. It had a very shale like consistency.

The terrain gets pretty rough through here as it leads into the Bradshaw Mountains -

 We were almost back to the main highway, but there were still incredible rocks along the road -

And this is the reward for traversing this unique back country road. Back where the road joins the paved highway, you come to Rock Springs and the Rock Springs Cafe. The cafe is famous for its pies -- all 21 kinds! Now, I am a skeptic when it comes to pies. After all, I come from a family of pie makers: my daughters, Sister Sherry and Martha, my beloved mother-in-law. Martha used to bake 2-3 pies every day during harvest for the crew - and she could go for over a month without a duplicate!

But, even Martha could not have made a better pie than the piece of lemon meringue pie I had. Tart lemony filling with beautifully and delicately browned 1 1/2 inch high meringue. Forry said his chocolate cream pie was even better (but he loves anything chocolate!).

We saw Alan and his crew washing another RV when we returned to Eagle View Park last evening. We stopped and made arrangements for them to come over today and wash all of the dust off of Toad II!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day Trip to Black Canyon

Today we took a Day Trip north of Phoenix on Highway 17. Basically, we took the back roads that went to Cordes before the freeway came. As we headed up 17, we were impressed by the incredible number of saguaros on the hillsides.

With all of the rain the past few weeks, the countryside is quite green

This was the view from the Black Canyon Rest Area on 17. Those dirt roads along the bottom of the hills are what we would be traveling on when we left the highway at Exit 259.

This is where we turned off and headed about three and a half miles up Bloody Basin Road (gruesome name) to Cordes.

We had been climbing into the more mountainous area. These are the kind of rock formations we were seeing along the dirt road.

And this is Cordes. Settled in 1883 by German immigrant John Henry Cordes and his wife Lizzie. They had moved from New York City to buy a stage station named  Antelope Station for $769.43. The sign on the door said that it was open on Saturdays and Sundays and the proprietor was Carrie Cordes.

Although the roads we traveled were mostly dirt, they seemed to be in pretty good shape. We actually passed a grader that was clearing out the barrow pit along the road.

These horses were in a small pen behind the Cordes store. I'm not sure what they were eating, but they looked in not too bad a shape.

A pretty good road...

It wasn't even too dusty until three of these rental rigs came tearing past us!

We went left at this fork toward Bumble Bee. The trailers must have gone right as, thankfully, we never saw them or their dust again.

I put up the rest of the pictures tomorrow...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Another Beautiful Day

It was absolutely gorgeous today. Lots of blue skies and nice, nice warm air. As I was walking this afternoon, I met a couple of fellows that had just come in in an MCI bus conversion. They said they were actually locals from Fountain Hills and had just come in to dump their tanks... But, they enjoyed telling me how wonderful the weather was in this part of the world. As if I didn't already  know!

Today was laundry day. It's always nicer to do laundry on these warm days -- everything dries so much more quickly. From the amount of laundry I had, I think it had been a while since I have done it.

Enough light wispy clouds came in this evening over Four Peaks to make for a beautiful sunset. The light reflects from the west to turn the mountains pink and purple. Gorgeous!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Seahawks WIN!

Between bull riding and football, we spent a good share of today in front of the boob tube.

The PBR (Professional Bull Riders) was in Madison Square Garden in New York City this weekend. At Noon our time, they ran a 15/15 Contest where the 15 top ranked riders ride the top 15 bulls,

Then as soon as that was over, it was time for the Seahawks vs Packers game. Green Bay came out fighting and took the lead quickly. At halftime, the Seahawks had not scored at all! The third quarter wasn't much better. But then by the time Forry had decided it was all over, the Seahawks did it. The game ended up in a tie 22-22. Talk about a come back! Then the Seahawks struck in overtime with another touch down to win the game. It was unreal!

We took a break after the game and went for a short walk. We didn't go far, then stopped a bit to visit with the neighbors before we went back in to watch the final round of the bull riding.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

B & B

What a lovely nice warm sunny day today! Days like this are the reason I love Arizona in the winter time.

Too bad there were also basketball gamesand bull riding to watch. Otherwise we could have just stayed outside. Gonzaga University is on a roll, they won their game very handily this afternoon.

The Professional Bull Riders are in Madison Square Garden in New York City this weekend. CBS is broadcasting the riding both this evening and tomorrow. There will also be a 15/15 Contest (15 top riders against 15 top bulls) tomorrow that will be broadcast as well.

I did a fairly easy supper. Baked some Yukon Gold potatoes that are so good just served with butter and salt and pepper. I had the last of a frozen package of lime flavored chicken wings that I also baked. My freezer is getting emptier. I think it is almost time for for a Costco trip.

Friday, January 16, 2015


It's that time of year. The end of the year, beginning of the year paperwork is starting to collect. I spent some time this morning taking care of a bit of it. Part of it is just finding a place to accumulate what papers we're going to need for this year's income taxes. Of course, they all don't arrive at once, so you have to gather them up. Things like the interest statements from banks as well as W2 forms.

There was also the state forms that can be taken care of online. One was for the annual business license for the ranch. Then there was the tab renewal for Auntie Violet's license plate. Both of those I can do over the internet. Then the Skagit County Auditor will mail the tabs to us.

I had some banking to do as well. When I got everything done I took what I had to mail over to the office, to the Outgoing Mail basket. It was a warm walk! The sun was shining today and it was nice and hot. Now this is more what we come to Arizona for!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A VERY Special Evening

Sunshine today, but gusty windy. Not a very nice day for being out walking.

But, a VERY nice evening. Our dear friends Pat and Warde are here in Arizona this week. They drove down from their home in Oregon to attend the Barret-Jackson 44th Annual Scottsdale Auction. Warde, and his father before him, had a car dealership in Woodburn, Oregon that they sold a few years ago. Coming to the "World's Greatest Collector Car Auction" has always been on his bucket list.

They had purchased a week at a Scottsdale condo at the Western School Auction earlier, so decided to use it for this week of the auction. They've been here since the first of the week, visiting family, attending the auction as well as touring a music museum.

Pat and Warde were able to meet us for dinner tonight. We had decided to meet them over at the Rancho Del Tia Rosa at the Gilbert location. The original restaurant, which we loved, has never reopened, losing their lease after the kitchen fire. I had called when we were a half hour out (their procedure to get you a table for small parties since they only take reservations for groups of 10 or more). Pat and Warde were already there, so we were seated as soon as we arrived. Nice, since there was a line out the door!

The restaurant owners have moved many of the decorations and all of the large flower pots from the original restaurant over to this location. The food was as good as ever, but the company was even better! We talked and talked. By the time we finished our meals, the waiting crowd had thinned out, so we felt comfortable sitting and talking. We were there at six and finally left just before nine. It was a VERY special evening with some great people.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another Day at Eagle View

It was another quiet day at Eagle View RV Resort. We slept in this morning, so got a pretty slow start on the day. We got a fat box of mail from Daughter MM this afternoon, so spent a good while sorting it all out. There's a pretty good stack of magazines, so we'll have some good reading over the next few days.

I did get out for a short walk just before sunset. It is always fascinating to watch the different colors over the river valley. We can only get a glimpse of the Verde River up at the far corner of the perimeter fence towards the north end.

You can see the golden glow of the sunset on the edge of the river.

One of the things that came in the mail today was a packet of 2014 tax preparation papers from our accountant's firm. Guess that means it's time to get started on the year's bookwork...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Another WET Day

We woke up to a steady rain again this morning. The weather forecast said "occasional showers," but there was nothing occasional about it! Damp and chilly, not my idea of a fun day. We had planned a drive today, but figured we wouldn't see much, so put it off for another day.

We had some visitors early this afternoon If they don't bellow or moo, you'd never know they were there. They drift in and out of the bushes like shadows.

The cattle disappear almost as quickly as they appear. The ground drops off towards the river valley very quickly just a short distance from the fence and they take one of trails on down to the bottom.

I went onto the Internet today and looked for a camera repair place in the Phoenix area. I found a shop in the Mesa/Chandler area that had really good reviews on Yelp!. It sounded like they actually did repairs instead of just sending the camera back to the factory. I had dropped my Canon SX a few weeks ago and cracked the LCD screen. The fellow at Arizona Camera Works gave me an estimate over the phone that sounded pretty reasonable, so we decided to take it over there. It was a pretty straight shot to the shop on Highway 87.

We did just fine until we got to the address. It was in one of those complexes with several buildings each with multiple small businesses in them. First of all, the fellow had moved from the address we had, Building 3120, to Building 3150. We called back to see where he was and got directions, then had a heck of a time finding it. After our third trip around the complex, we finally found him. Sounds like it'll take about a week to get the new screen in...

From there, since we were in the area, we went over to Camping World. But, that store is now called Adventure RV. They consolidated the two Mesa stores and now have only the large store on Main Street. Forry found the hose he was looking for, but not the map book. (We are looking for a map of Arizona counties.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Gloomy Day

It was gray, overcast and gloomy when I got up this morning. I was up early and felt as gloomy as the day. The older I get the more I realize how much I crave sunshine. I just do not well without it. In years past, we had made a couple of trips to Alaska in mid-May and I so enjoyed the long days of sunshine. As great as they are, I know that the reversal during the winter would drive me batty very quickly.

We did make a quick trip into Fountain Hills to pick up groceries -- himself was out of licorice! We spotted three of the wild horses on the way, but didn't have a chance for a picture. We also spotted another Road Runner alongside the road -- all puffed up and hiding in plain sight.

Forry has been watching some young vultures perched in a tree across the valley. They pretty much stay in the same place making us think they maybe aren't flying yet?

I was funny to hear the young clerk (from Vancouver, Washington) at Papa Murphy's tell about the balance between Ohio and Oregon customers who had been coming into the store for pizza today.  Evidently, the numbers were pretty evenly split, but he was having a difficult time not telling everyone they should be cheering for Oregon.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Today's Walk

It was a lovely day today. Nice and warm with beautiful blue skies most of the day. (By evening, the clouds moved in and we had showers about seven o'clock.)

I had recorded last night's Bull Riding so that we could watch both the Seahawks game and the Gonzaga basketball game. It was so nice to see both of our home teams win. But that meant we ended up watching the recorded Bull Riding this morning, then watching the Finals this evening.

I walked out along the perimeter fence in the back of the resort this afternoon. I spotted this Road Runner on the other side of the fence. He was doing the usual "you can't see me if I stand still" routine. He would run about ten feet and then freeze before moving again.

I never did get him to turn his/her head to the side so I could see if there was any color (males) on the cheek.

 We continue to have this hummingbird (we believe it's an Anna's) guarding the Palo Verde tree by Auntie Violet. He chases away any other hummingbird that dares to come into what he seems to consider "his" territory. Between sips from the feeder, he perches up in the tree, on guard.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Rainbow Sort of Day

Today was an interesting day. I spent part of it on the computer, working on some Readers Theatre for the Executive Board meeting coming up the end of the month in Kansas City. I had drafted what I wanted to say on paper with a pencil -- haven't done that for a while!

It was slightly overcast today with clouds that sort of came and went. Then in the late afternoon, we had the shower that had been forecast earlier. It didn't rain much. Just enough to wet the ground. When I went out later to take my walk, it was pleasantly cool, but refreshing. The weather forecast says that we'll have this kind of showery weather for the next week or so. At least it's not freezing at night anymore.

There was a couple that drove in just before sunset and parked a couple of sites down from us. I heard them saying they had run into a lot of black ice up around the Albuquerque area. Doesn't sound like it was very fun traveling.

Just before sunset, I looked out the front window and saw the most beautiful rainbow. We had seen a couple of partial ones earlier, but this one was spectacular.

Within a few minutes, it got darker and rainbow started to dissipate. But it sure was pretty while it lasted.

Friday, January 9, 2015

It's Friday

All day it's Friday -- and it's a good day.

While it was nicely warm today, it was gusty. We sat outside for a bit after I went for my walk and Forry went for his trike ride. It was nice enough to sit outside and chat with Sister Sherry. She did comment that she could hear the wind whistle over the phone.

I had walked over to the office to check if the box of mail from Daughter MM was here. Sandy, the office staff, was swamped with new arrivals and the telephone (rigs with trailers full of cars for the big Barrett-Jackson Car Auction next week are starting to arrive). She hadn't even started to sort the mail yet, even though it was almost four o'clock. I asked if there was anything I could do to help and she put me to work sorting mail. Interesting task, as there are over two hundred people in the park getting mail. I did what I could, sorting it into stacks for individuals.

While I was in the office, I went ahead and made the reservation and deposit for our stay next fall. We are not sure about what the next year will bring, but in order to have our same site next year, we had to make a deposit for next year by the end of next week.

Back at home, we sat outside and chatted for a while, then went in to listen to the news and start supper. The news was just about where we left off listening this morning. Lots of news from France and the terrorist attacks. It's been a tough few days in the world.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Every time I read a book about pioneer times, I end up impressed with how difficult life was for our ancestors. And how easy so many things are for us. And how much we take for granted. The diaries or journals of pioneer women especially intrigue me.

I was grumbling to myself as I sat down at my computer tonight about all of the paper that seems to end up stacked on my desk. Often it's something I need to file, or maybe a piece of paper with a phone number or an internet or email address. Or a receipt that I don't want to shred until I have seen and cross-checked it on my bank statement. Then I thought about a book I had been reading where the woman had written back to her parents on the same piece of paper that they had written a letter to her on (she turned it sideways and wrote across the sentences that were already there.), as she had no new paper of her own...

We flick a switch and turn on our electric heaters and warm the motor coach nicely. Then I read about people chopping wood for days, or digging brown lignite coal from surface veins in Colorado or picking up coal spilled from the rail cars along the railroad tracks in West Virginia. Hours of work to ensure winter warmth.

I warmed corn in the microwave tonight that I hadn't planted, harvested and preserved. I grilled hamburgers that I hadn't raised, slaughtered, ground or froze. I made a salad from cabbage, avocados, peppers and artichoke hearts that I hadn't raised. When I'm tempted to whine or complain, I guess it's good for me to stop and think how lucky I am that I'm not a pioneer!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Most of the time, all it takes is the vacuum and a dust cloth and that takes care of the cleaning task. But every once in a while, I decide the cherry wood in the coach needs a little more. Mostly, it's when I notice streaks under the kitchen or bathroom sinks where something has dripped. Seems to happen every six months or so.

Once I start looking and fussing about it, I start noticing that the knobs in the kitchen are gunky. After I think about it for a couple of days, I finally will get out my little bucket that I store in the closet with the cleaning rags. Usually, when things get to this point, the cupboards need to be washed down before I put on another coat of Liquid Gold.

Liquid Gold is the most amazing stuff. It nicely covers the water marks and stains that show up on the wood. I know that it is the only finish the fellows in Oregon at Amazing Creations and Kustom Coach Works used on the wood when they built my desk.

Anyway, today was one of those days when it got to me. I spent most of the afternoon cleaning and waxing cupboards in spurts. I'd work for a while, read for a while, work for a little longer. In between, I browned some beef chunks, added red wine, a sweet potato, a carrot, an onion and a parsnip so that we had stew for supper. A batch of biscuits with some of Mary's peach jam made for a feast.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Oh, it was nice today! It started warming up yesterday and today it was gorgeous. It was nice to see people walking around again in shorts after the sweats and  sweatshirts of the last week or so. It's hard to tell for sure as our thermometer is where the sun hits, but it read 78 degrees this afternoon.

We spent a bit of time putting away the last of the Christmas decorations. The ones that go in a box in one of the outside bays. We were able to get everything into the box by consolidating some of the decorations into one package. Now that task is done for another year!

I did a couple of loads of laundry and as the door and windows were open, everything dried quickly and it's already folded and put away.

The weather forecast is saying that this whole week should be nice and warm. I am definitely ready for it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Papa Murphy's

I think I have made it quite plain that I dislike getting groceries. The only thing I think I dislike more is putting them away.

I think I had been preconditioned by my mother. When we were kids, the grocers in our little town of Ritzville cheerfully delivered groceries. She would call them up, giving explicit directions about the ripeness of the bananas, or whatever. Then a half hour of so later, there would be a knock on the back door and the grocery man - often the proprietor himself - would be standing there with a cardboard box full of groceries. If I'm remembering right, she ran a tab and Dad would pay the grocery bill once a month.

Later after my Grandfather Lyman had retired, we moved out to the farm. And not too long after that Sister Sherry got her driver's license and became the grocery shopper. Later after they retired and moved into Moses Lake, I often saw Dad doing the grocery shopping. So I guess I come by my aversion to grocery shopping honestly.

I am always tired after dealing with the groceries and the last thing I want to do is cook supper. I would often find something at the deli to serve. But now, there is a new Papa Murphy's just up the road from the Safeway store. The last few week's we have stopped and had a Take and Bake pizza made for supper. It has made life much easier. Their smallest pizza, the medium, is enough for supper and for breakfast the next morning. It's a good deal.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Howling Wolf Moon

We have had a beautiful full moon, the Howling Wolf Moon, the last couple of nights. Yesterday when I was talking to Brother Pat I could see it rising over Four Peaks.

It fascinating to see how quickly it rose above the horizon --

This  evening we decided to check out Los Sombreros, a Mexican restaurant that was profiled in the Arizona Republic a couple of weeks ago. We've been looking for a different authentic Mexican restaurant since our favorite Tia Rosa's closed last year.

This is the scene along Highway 87 as we drove into Scottsdale --


It was an absolutely spectacular sunset.

Dinner at Los Sombreros was good, but pricey The flan we had for dessert was exceptional. We'll probably keep looking, though. It still was not as good as Tia Rosa and not worth the thirty mile round trip.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cold Nights

There were five nights in the last week where the temperature dropped down to 27 degrees. Without a doubt, the cacti do not like the cold! When I took my walk this afternoon, I saw some of the damage from the cold. To look at it, you'd almost think there had been vandals at work in the park.

The weight of the frozen sections just tore them from the plant --

It was sad to see so many pieces just lying on the ground --

We boxed up the luminarias and the weights we had left to dry out last night. I was able to pack the luminarias into one box instead of the two they came in. That should make storage a bit easier.

It was a good afternoon. I had a nice telephone visit with Sister Sherry, then with Brother Pat and Nephew Nick while they were driving home from their day at the Farm. Later Daughter Dawn called and visited for a while. It's not quite the same as seeing them, but it sure feels good.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Clear Blue Sky

What a change we woke up to this morning! This is what the skies looked like yesterday and the day before as the rains moved through. You could not even see the mountains -

This is what it looked like this morning when we awoke to clear crisp blue skies. I'm sure glad that snow didn't come any closer!

We spent part of the afternoon taking down the icicle lights from the front of the RV then breaking down the luminaria bags. They were damp with lots of leaves and other debris from the Palo Verde tree along side. I took the light bulbs out so that Forry could roll them up in bubble wrap. After I wiped down the bags, I collapsed them, I'll leave them sit overnight to dry more before I put them back in the boxes.

Forry took a pliers and pulled the plugs from the water weights and drained them as much as he could. We decided to put them in the shower overnight to finish draining - and maybe dry out before we pack them away as well.

It may be hard to get them completely dry as the drain holes are offset on one side of the weights. Not exactly easy to drain.