Monday, February 13. Today marks 4 years since Mike passed away from us. He sure is still in my heart and on my mind every day. I live my life and enjoy it, but he is never far from my thoughts. Every event I was involved in since I was 18 years old included him by my side and he accepted me and all the baggage that came with me - mainly a large, disfunctional family. He became a brother to my siblings, another son to my father (although he wasn't treated real well), a father to my sons, and a loyal, loving companion to me. I sure do miss our adventures.
The crud still lingers. Pat, Roger, Jim, and Sue were all going to come over and share memories of Mike, cook bratwurst for dinner and have an old fashioned to toast him, but I had to call it off. I got up, showered, had a tiny bit of coffee, walked around the entire park, had some toast, went to the grocery store and decided I just needed more time to rest and recover. I feel better, then worse, and the roller coaster ride continues.
Friday, February 17. I started feeling much better on Tuesday, got through one of my cleaning jobs, but still took it pretty easy on the stomach. Come, Wednesday I was back to normal eating and feeling good.
Leslie's flight arrived this afternoon around 2:30 and that was the start of some non-stop talking sessions. Pat and Roger joined us for dinner and a tasty Wisconsin Old Fashioned.
Thursday was Ben's 40th Birthday and doesn't that make a mother feel old. I bombarded him with hourly quotes about turning 40 - like "40 isn't old if you're a tree" and "40 is the new 20 - twice" and "the Roman numeral for 40 is XL", etc. I'm proud to have raised such a great guy - he is polite, respectful, a great husband and father, silly like his Dad at times, but kinds of serious like me too.
After my cleaning job in the morning, Leslie and I headed out on the Apache Trail with our first stop at Tortilla Flat for lunch. She was amazed at how green and beautiful the desert and mountains are and we stopped many times along the way to take photos and just enjoy the beauty. Two and a half hours of driving on the dirt road and we reached Roosevelt Dam - a huge surprise after seeing nothing but natural areas the entire thirteen-mile stretch. We wanted to stop at the Cliff dwellings but got there just as the gate was closed - something that she really wanted to see and we may have to go back there another day.
Today, we took it easy and just went into Mesa to the Contemporary Art Museum and store for a while before meeting up with the Hooveys and Chandlers for happy hour at Val Vista Village, so Leslie could get a feel for the snowbirds and their resort lifestyle. We then came back to my house for dinner, the dinner we had planned for Monday when I was ill. Good time!
Sunday, February 19. The weekend was busy and full of rain. Yesterday, we headed back to the Cliff Dwellings because that was one of the primary things that Leslie wanted to see when she was here. It was worth it because it is such an impressive site. We eased our way up the half-mile climb, stopping along the way to admire the spectacular views. When we reached the actual cliff dwellings, the docent that told us all about them was so good at what he does. We had the place to ourselves for at least 10 minutes and able to have a great conversation with him.
Before heading back to Mesa, we stopped in historic downtown Globe and couldn't find a restaurant that was open - imagine that in a Saturday afternoon. Crazy. So...we stopped at a bar and had a beer and a delicious burger before heading back home. Back there, it rained and rained all night long.
Today, we hit the antique mall before going out to dinner - She said it was her husband, Tom's (who passed away a year ago) Valentine's Day treat (from his Social Security check). I thought Rustler's Rooste would be a good place where we could have a good steak and the gorgeous views of the Phoenix valley. It was so darned crowded and loud and full of kids that we decided to go to quiet little Vitos close to my house instead. That was very busy too, but we had a nice dinner and more conversation (we do a great job at that).