Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 23 - 29, 2015, AZ

GWednesday, March 25.  The week did not start on a good note.  I did not sleep well on Sunday night, so when I got up at 3am to take Jim to the airport, I had some coffee.  That insured that I couldn't go back to sleep when I got back home, so it was a long, tiring day.  I recovered when I had a good night's sleep on Monday night.

Customers at work have been cranky.  It amazes me because they are in a beautiful place, with perfect weather, AND, they are on vacation.  On Monday, I had a very large man, leaning over the counter toward me and speaking in a very loud, aggressive voice, demanded  that he got a utility bill that he could pay before he left.  I had to ask him to lower his voice.  Today, a man yelled at me because there is an error on his bill that hasn't been resolved (nothing that I had any control over) and he yelled at me and said "when is this company going to hire competent people that can do the job".  It was really hard to keep my cool with my blood pressure rising and my heart beating fast.  I couldn't even look at him when I handed him his receipt.

It's over, it's my Friday night, and I am enjoying some chocolate and a Cosmopolitan on the patio, watching the colorful sky during the gorgeous sunset.

I talked with Ben this afternoon and he had a sad story for me.  A water leak developed in their upstairs bathroom and damaged the kitchen ceiling and possibly their new cabinets and floors.  A recovery crew has already been there and they are drying things out so they can assess the damages.  I'm praying for good news on that front.

Friday, March 27.  I'm up way too early this morning (4:30), although I had a great night of sleep.  As I was still laying in bed, I was thinking that this is meaningful to me in some way and then I remembered that this is the day that Jill's brother, Casey, lost his battle with cancer.  The poor guy died at age 27 and had battled 7 different cancers in his life, the last was a brain tumor.  I got up and looked at photos on his Facebook page, and it brought back memories of that wonderful guy.

I'm working in the curtains for the trailer and got them sewn today.  The plan is to add 3 vertical rows of small rings to the back so they can be pulled up instead of to the side, as this is the way the windows open. There was just enough fabric left to make a small pillow.  I'm quite happy with how they turned out - just have to figure how to keep them in the up position.

Pat and Rog picked me up and we went to Garcia's to meet up with Chris and Norm and their group of friends for happy hour and dinner - a sendoff to all of the snowbirds in the group.

Saturday, March 28.  More sewing today, stitching the rings by machine worked great.  I ran ribbons through the rings, but still haven't figured out how to keep them up - I need to come up with some type of stopper.

Tonight, Pat, Connie, and I went to the Cave Creek Rodeo. Not was a good thing that we got there early, as there was a sold out crowd, it seemed like there never would be room to fit them all in.  The show was very entertaining, only one injury when a young man landed wrong from a fall. I was hoping that we might get to see my neighbor's son, LJ Jenkins, who is in the pro bull riding circuit, but we learned this afternoon that he rides tomorrow.  What a rough sport!  We had a great time - I would go again.

Sunday, March 29.  I am feeling so thankful right now, that my niece, Monica, invited me to join her, her 
Mom, Nan, and her Grandma Karen for an afternoon of shopping for wedding dresses and a very nice lunch at Joyride in Gilbert in between.  She found a few that she liked but none that just jumped at her where she felt that was it.  I had a great time.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March 16 - 22, 2015, AZ

Friday, March 21.  Yes, I'm finally getting around to writing.  And now to try to remember the events early in the week that are worth writing about.  Work is slowing down.  We had more leaving than arriving this week and my work days ended at 2:00 because I had worked on Saturday.

It had been a couple of weeks since I had talked with Ben, so we had a nice conversation on Wednesday night.  The winter weather is breaking up there and they are seeing some warmer days, enough to be able to get outdoors with the kiddos.  Jill was gone to SF, so he had the help of his in-laws over the weekend.  It has been a couple of weeks since I've seen the little ones, so I'm missing them.

Yesterday, I drove to Casa Grande to meet up with Jim, Mike's childhood friend, who had been visiting with his sister Joan and her husband, Pete in Benson.  We met at IHOP for lunch and then Jim came back to Mesa with me.  Although we have only seen him about once a year since Mike and I met, the friendship continued through the years, although I am a little uneasy about having another man in my house, I'm sure it will be fine.  He is a world traveller, is interested in archeology and geology and loves to explore, so we are heading to Northern Arizona to do some sightseeing over the weekend.  Pat and Roger are keeping Frisco for me.

This morning, we left my house about 8:00 and headed to the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, just north of Payson. Mike and I had been here before, but we had Frisco with us and they don't allow dogs on the trails, so we were only able to see the bridge from the upper trails.  Today, Jim and I walked behind a large group of middle school kids and saw that they were actually going along the river, rock crawling under the bridge and beyond.  So off we went too, and hiked the rough terrain, crossing the river several times, hopping from rock to rock, and we took a different path than the school group took.  It was the most rocky hike I have ever taken, but I did well, slipping and falling a few times but not getting hurt and only a little bit wet.

Waterfalls from the entrance.

The entrance.
Jim chatting with one of the chaperones.
The falls from inside the bridge.
I did it!

From there, we stopped in Strawberry for a bite to eat before we got to Winslow, and of course, we had to stand on the corner and get our photos.  We were pretty good at remember the lyrics to the Eagles song.

"Take It Easy"

Well, I'm running down the road 
tryin' to loosen my load 
I've got seven women on 
my mind, 
Four that wanna own me, 
Two that wanna stone me, 
One says she's a friend of mine 
Take It easy, take it easy 
Don't let the sound of your own wheels 
drive you crazy 
Lighten up while you still can 
don't even try to understand 
Just find a place to make your stand 
and take it easy 
Well, I'm a standing on a corner 
in Winslow, Arizona 
and such a fine sight to see 
It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed 
Ford slowin' down to take a look at me 
Come on, baby, don't say maybe 
I gotta know if your sweet love is 
gonna save me 
We may lose and we may win though 
we will never be here again 
so open up, I'm climbin' in, 
so take it easy 
Well I'm running down the road trying to loosen 
my load, got a world of trouble on my mind 
lookin' for a lover who won't blow my 
cover, she's so hard to find 
Take it easy, take it easy 
don't let the sound of your own 
wheels make you crazy 
come on baby, don't say maybe 
I gotta know if your sweet love is 
gonna save me, oh oh oh 
Oh we got it easy 
We oughta take it easy

The Meteor Crater was the next stop.  Although I had been there before, I had different views today, since the guided tours were already closed for the day and I hadn't seen it from the upper and lower viewpoints.  An amazing place!

And then it was on to Flagstaff, checked into our rooms and then went to Outback for dinner.

Saturday, March 21.  Our first destination today was Walnut Canyon, a short distance east of Flagstaff.  A 0.9 mile long loop trail descends 185 ft into the canyon and passes 25 cliff dwelling rooms constructed by the Sinagua, a pre-Columbian cultural group that lived in Walnut Canyon from about 1100 to 1250 CE.  The views were amazing.

From there, we headed to Sunset Crater which is northeast of Flagstaff.  It is the first stop on the drive through the Waputki National Monument.  We hiked the one mile loop around the base of the crater and saw some amazing piles of coarse, black volcanic ash.  It amazes me how a few plants can be so persistent and able to survive in a place like this.

Down the road, we stopped at most of the overlooks and most of them had the painted desert in the background, just on the horizon.  It was beautiful but the photos just didn't capture it like my eyes saw it.  We also stopped to see the remains of Wukoki and The Citadel, dwellings that were built by Indian tribes from way back in 500 AD.  The dwelling's walls were constructed from thin, flat blocks of the local sandstone, and it gives them a distinct red color. Held together with mortar, many of the walls still stand. Each settlement was constructed as a single building, sometimes with scores of rooms. The largest settlement on monument territory is the Wupatki Ruin, built around a natural rock outcropping. With over 100 rooms, this ruin is believed to be the area's tallest and largest structure for its time period. The monument also contains ruins identified as a ball court, similar to those found in Mesoamerica and in the Hohokam ruins of southern Arizona; this is the northernmost example of this kind of structure. This site also contains a geological blowhole

This evening, we delayed our dinner because we learned that there was a lecture about the sun, going on at the Lowell Observatory, so we took that in first.  Before hearing the lecture, we were able to look through 2 huge telescopes and see Venus and Jupiter.

Sunday, March 23.  This morning, we headed south along Hwy 89A, the scenic route to Sedona.  We stopped at Oak Creek Canyon and talked with one of the staff about hiking possibilities in the area, and decided to take the West Fork Trail, one that meanders along Oak Creek at the base of the canyon.  She told us that it was a 3.3 mile hike to the end and back and that there were several river crossings.  I'm not a big fan of rock hopping, my balance definitely needs to be improved on, but I made it, mostly in soggy, wet shoes.  The hike also involved climbing over a few log jams and big boulders but it wasn't so difficult that I felt like I wanted to turn back.  We got all of the way to the end where the canyon walls narrowed, so you were standing in a sand bar with the canyon walls only about 10 feet on both sides of the stream.  We rested, had a snack, and headed back to where we started out.  The "My Tracks" app on my phone said that it was a 4.2 mile hike back, and that means we actually hiked 8 miles.  We were both feeling it, with tired legs, hips, knees and feet, but all is good - we did it!

We met a couple along the trail and when they were ahead of us, they turned to look down the canyon and saw us on this outcropping.  He yelled to us to stay where we were and he took our photo and sent it to me via text message.  Thank you to the kind stranger from Canada.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 9 - 15, 2015, AZ

I'm Tuesday, March 9.  Have I mentioned how sweet the air around here smells these days?  The sweet scent of citrus in bloom is everywhere and you really don't go far without getting a pleasant whiff of it.  Many people complain about the allergies they get from it but I savor every whiff.  It is a true sign of spring around here.  Love it!

Today is the 2-year anniversary of my brother-in-law, Dan's, passing away.  It's another one of those family events that are so near and dear and we will feel his loss for a long, long time.  I talked with Sharon for a while tonight - always nice to chat with her.  We have so much in common, especially our marriage to brothers and the similar circumstances in which they died.  It is so sad.

I've also been thinking a lot about my dear friend, Leslie, who just lost her husband, Tom, on January 21.  I called her and we had a nice, long talk and I hope that my calling helped her a bit.  You know, it is such an individual thing, and everyone copes in different ways, but it has to be comforting knowing that someone else has been in your shoes.  For all three of us, it was a sudden, unexpected loss that left so many questions and we all feel we were cheated out of a few more years with the ones that we loved the most in our lives.  We will carry on and make the most of it, although I never dreamed that I would be a widow at such a young age.

I fixed myself a yummy dinner tonight - sauteed shrimp and steamed asparagus and a glass of wine.  MMMMMMM!  It can't get much better than that.

Friday, March 12.  Finally, after years of talking about it, Pat and I went on a trail ride at Saguaro Lake Ranch today.  There were six of us plus our guide, Preston.  We crossed the Salt River, were on rocky terrain and smooth terrain, rode up and down hills, saw the early stages of wildflower bloom, gorgeous views of Saguaro Lake and Four Peaks.  I couldn't have asked for anything more - it was perfect.
Pat and I on the backs of Mickey and Laredo

Sunday, March 15.  I have actually spent most of my weekend at home, just taking life at a slow pace.  The exceptions were going out to dinner with Pat, Rog, and Arlene to Pier de Orleans on Friday night, working on Saturday afternoon, dinner and dancing here in Brentwood on Saturday night, hanging out at the pool with Connie this afternoon and making a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner for Chuck & Kathy, Connie and I tonight.  And now, after writing this, it hasn't really been a slow pace.  Still, fun Nd enjoyable.

My niece, Lanae, has started an Etsy business call Free Society Threads and I had her custom make this darling t-sheet for me.  Isn't it cute?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 2 - 8, 2015

Tuesday, March 2.  I'm a little stressed, to say the least.  The days at work have been so busy that I've been unable to complete all of my transactions by the end of the day and have had to stay late the last 2 and only able to squeeze in a half-hour break for lunch.  I did talk to the manager about it and he came and helped me out with a few things.  Grumbling, even if it is here on my blog, helps a bit.  Now that I've vented, tomorrow, will be a better day.  I'm going to take it all in stride, help those that I can, and get out of there on time.

I was surprised when I got home last night when Sue came walking out of Tom's house next door to say hello.  She spent the winter with him last year but has been unable to get here this year until now.  It was good to see her again and I hope to hang out a bit before she has to go back home,

The moon was gorgeous tonight when I took Frisco out around 8:30.  This photo doesn't do justice, but it was surrounded by white clouds and there was a golden ring around it.  I just love the night skies here, only wish I could stay up past 9:00 on most nights to see more of it.

Sunday, March 8.  The focus on my days off this week have been to make curtains for the trailer.  On Thursday, Pat and I went to Ikea to look at hardware, since I have to figure that out before I can do anything else.  I decided to try the hardware that I had used on my patio for curtains.  So, I took that all down on Thursday night - it looked like it would work.  On Friday morning, I got the trailer out of storage and parked it in front of my house and proceeded to get the hardware in place first.

I fiddled and fiddled with the hardware and it seemed that the bolts were stripped - I couldn't get them to screw together.  So I went back to Ikea and bought all new hardware.  Back at home, I figured out that my problem was that the right and left sides turned in opposite directions, so I could use the "used" ones after all.  This means another trip to Ikea, but not today!  I don't want to screw holes into the walls (there might be electric running through or weak areas), so 3M Command strips is how I want to mount them.  It didn't work - they kept pulling away from the wall.  That idea is down the drain and by now it is starting to get dark and I haven't accomplished a thing.

On Saturday morning, I had to attend a Defensive Driving Class so the speeding ticket I got back in January gets erased from my record - no points, no insurance increase.  The instructor was good - he kept my attention and gave some very good examples.  Now that is behind me and I can get on with my project.

On the way home, I stopped at Walmart - maybe they will have some cafe curtain rods that will work.  NOT!  OK, so I looked online at Camping World, found something that would work, called them to see if they had the item in stock, learned that they did, so I headed over there to pick it up.  They only had 1 of the 6 that they said was available.  Grrrrrr!  I hooked up the trailer when I got back home and parked it back in the storage lot and will attempt this project again some day.

This morning, Pat & Rog, Connie and I and the dogs all went to the Gilbert Riparian Preserve for a nice walk.  It was a beautiful morning.  An Osprey and some small rodent were the only critters that we say, other than lots of ducks, geese, and Egrets.  It was an enjoyable time.

I stayed home the rest of the day and got my house cleaned up a bit, did some laundry, relaxed and read and got to see the grandkids on Facetime.  They were fussy and crying, so that didn't last too long.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March 1. 2015, AZ

I went back out to the Salt River with the Hoovey's and AJ for a hike with the dogs this morning.  They all went for a swim and we had stinky wet dogs in the car for the ride back home.  Frisco had a great time rolling in the sand that was covered with horse poop.  It has been cloudy and there is rain in the forecast, but it was nice weather for our hike.  When we got back to my house, AJ hosed his dogs off and Pat and I both gave ours a bath.  

This is the first photo I've taken with a timer.  I need practice.

They all came over for dinner, Pat made pork chops in the slow cooker and I made coleslaw and lemon pie.