Monday, December 30, 2013

Fun in Denver

We had a gorgeous flight to Denver for Christmas.  With a perfectly clear sky, we had a good view of the Mogollon Rim on our way north.  

The trees ended and we continued over the desert in northeast Arizona.  Then we were over the San Juan mountains with a view of the San Luis valley in Colorado.  

And soon we saw Pikes Peak in the distance.
Of course the pictures look terrible, so you'll just have to trust me that it was spectacular.

Finally Ron was reunited with grandson Harper.

And all his direct descendants.  Cookie decorating is an annual tradition.

We joined little Harper and his parents for a trip to the mall.  We were hoping for a visit with Santa, but the wait time was about two hours.  Harper probably enjoyed visiting the cars more anyway.

Christmas Eve is a big event usually hosted by Ron's brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  Unfortunately, Peg was in the hospital.  How sad is that?  Even with about 35 people there, Peg and Harry were very missed.  Here is the younger generation opening their present from Peg.  It's really very organized.

There's always one present that makes me ask, "What the heck is that?"
(There's a very pretty girl under that thing.)

Then it was Christmas morning.  There's nothing like the wonder of a small child.  Harper spotted his plasma car immediately.

It was a big hit.

He is such a typical boy - loves cars, trucks, trains, planes, actually anything with wheels.  I laughed at how he carries them.

Shannon, who is now 12, was always a beautiful girl, but is now a charming young lady.

And Adam, at 15, generously gave up his room and slept on the floor while we were all there.  He's all set for snow boarding with his new jacket.

But I have to tell you about the cutest thing that Harper does.  You might remember last year when he cried on Santa's lap.

And Diana changed that frown upside down.

Well I made a two-sided ornament out of the pictures and now when Harper see the happy side, he does this.

And when he sees the crying side, he does this.

Actually his pout is usually better, but I distracted him by laughing hysterically.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

For a fantastic free display of Christmas lights, you can't beat the LDS Mesa Temple Garden.  Beginning October 1st, thousands of volunteers hang an uncountable number of lights.  During December, visitors come from all around to enjoy the display and the nightly choir entertainment.

Of course pictures can't do it justice, but I'm going to post some anyway.

There is a nearly full-sized nativity scene to remind us of the reason for the season.

The star over the stable has 10,000 lights.

I particularly liked this little shepherd boy.

The Wise Men came from afar.

There were unusual flowers in the garden.  I believe these are rare multicolored hydrangeas.

And how about these red-eyed susans?

The Temple was the first built in Arizona and was dedicated in 1927.

When you go, don't miss the wonderful display in the visitors center featuring nativity sets from around the world.

They were all wonderful.  Here's one from Mexico.

I think we had something like this German nativity pyramid when I was little.  Is that right, Diana?  Candles are placed in the holders and, when lit, the heat causes the tiers of the pyramid to turn.

I think this one was my very favorite.  It was marked USA, but was obviously a very specific part of our country.

Ron and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season 

and the happiest of New Years.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Massacre?

One of the houses in our area is really into the airblown inflatable yard decorations.  It just makes me smile every time I pass by.

But today I was shocked and appalled to see the unspeakable carnage.  The horror!  What could have happened?  Who is responsible for this outrage?

(Okay, Ron says this isn't funny, but I just have a weird sense of humor.)

And a bit of nostalgia.  My father uses old stamps that he collected over the years on his mailings.  It's a real adventure to receive a letter from him.  I love seeing all the old stamps.  On his Christmas card to me, one of the four stamps was really cool.

From the Santa depiction, I would have thought the stamp was about 60 years old, but I checked and the postage was 20 cents in the early 80s.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Christmas Present

So Ron and I bought ourselves a very practical Christmas present with a fun twist.  And, okay, maybe this is another example of us being easily entertained, but we are now the proud owners of a magic toilet!  Of course it's a low water usage which is enough to make us happy, but it has something extra.  Click on the video and see what it does.

Not only does the lid do this, but also the seat and both together.  We had long ago and independently gotten in the habit of closing the lid in our respective RVs.  You never knew what would come flying out of the cabinet and into the toilet.  I wonder if they make them for RVs.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Birding with Friends

One day (alright, it was almost two weeks ago now), we met our friends John and Carol for a walk around Gilbert Riparian Preserve.  This place is a real unknown treasure that they had discovered last year.  We were happy they invited us to share it with them.

The preserve is really a birder's paradise.  This 'wild' ring-necked duck was thinking we were good for a handout.  Obviously he doesn't know me very well.

John, Ron, and I came prepared with binoculars to observe the shyer wildlife.  Carol brought her camera with the monster telephoto lens.

I had my point-and-shoot camera so it was just luck if it happened to focus correctly.  We got a kick out of the great blue heron and great egret standoff.  The egret was obviously intimidated, but tried to stand his ground.

The two ducks on the right must be mixtures.  I'm guessing the white Pekin duck is the mother and a mallard was the father.

Well, that's it for acceptable pictures from me.  Carol has lots more on her blog.  Click here to see them.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I've said it before, Ron and I are easily amused.  For those of you who fast forward through commercials and miss the little gems, here is one that makes us laugh every time we see it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Home Again

We arrived back in Mesa the end of October and are all settled in for the winter.  As usual, I won't be posting as often while we are hibernating, but I do have a couple of things to mention.

First, I flew to Pennsylvania to visit with my father.  We had a nice time, as always.  It's just so great to see him doing so well.  A few days before I arrived, he said the leaves were just spectacular.  Then came the rain, followed by high winds that quickly stripped the trees.  He did take me to this scenic covered bridge where there was one tree still hanging on.

And I have some news.  I am one of the 20 million people who will lose my current health insurance because it doesn't meet the criteria for Obamacare.  Yep, I am one of the masses.  But the reason is what I find truly remarkable - my policy doesn't cover me for pregnancy.  Humm, at 61 I really wasn't planning anything like that.  Also amazing - my carrier seems to be psychic since they said I could keep my policy until the end of 2014 BEFORE Obama asked the insurance companies to do that.  Of  course I'll be paying an extra $50 a month.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Agua Fria

On our way back to Mesa for the winter, we stopped at a place I had been curious about for years.  Agua Fria National Monument is only about 40 miles north of Phoenix and while driving past, we always commented, "We should stop there sometime."  This was the time.

Since it is a national monument, we were surprised that there is no visitors center, just a board with some maps.  We headed out Bloodly Basin Road and had our second surprise - after about 5 miles, the road worsened.  Made us glad we had splurged for a high-clearance vehicle last winter.  Our destination was the remains of a prehistoric pueblo.  See it?

Well, it's no Tuzigoot, but this is what happens when no restoration is done.  I've always been critical of all that repair work, but I think I might be changing my mind.
This structure probably had 100 rooms and was multi-storied, but we'll never know.

What was really cool, though, was the amount of pottery shards all over the ground, making it feel that the natives had just left.

Ron even found one that looked typical of the Zuni tribe who lived a couple hundred miles east.

The location was perfect for defense with 360 degree views.

And it was not far from the river if you didn't mind a climb.

We discovered later that there are petroglyphs in another part of the monument - we'll save that for next time.

Finally, just before arriving home, we stopped at a very unusual RV dump.  This one seems to have some mental problems.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ron Sighting

We understand Ron made the Viewfinder section of the November/December Escapees magazine.  The theme was Dizzying Heights.  We haven't received our magazine yet, but here's the picture.

We were at a viewpoint above the Hoover Dam and Ron's hat blew off.  The crazy guy promptly climbed over the guardrail and down the cliff to retrieve it.  I didn't think to snap the picture until he was almost back up.  I was too busy having a heart attack.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


We decided to spend a few days near Prescott, AZ, where we experienced an unusual hassle finding a place to stay.  Prescott is surrounded on three sides by national forest, so I didn't expect a problem, but stuff happens.  Prescott National Forest only allows dispersed camping in designated places.  We disconnected the car and checked out a few of these spots.  Wow!  The roads to these unbelievably UNlevel, tiny spots were scary, to say the least.

Okay, no problem, there are three national forest campgrounds close to town. Unfortunately, it happened to be a Friday, and the first campground was completely reserved.  I've probably already mentioned how I feel about reservable campgrounds.  Campground number two was non-reservable (Yeah!), but was closed for the weekend because it was booked out to some group (Hey! What happened to non-reservable?) Campground number three was just right - too bad we didn't go there first.  Yavapi campground is on Granite Basin Road with giant sites and lots of sun for the solar panels.

Nearby are the Granite Dells, a pretty area with lots of cool rock formations.

We did some rock scrambling.

The rocks looked like somebody scribbled on them - pretty cool.

One more.

And speaking of sights, we got a kick out of this one.