Wednesday, December 29, 2010


For Christmas, we flew to Denver where Ron's daughter Kim, son-in-law Tom, and grandchildren Adam and Shannon live. It has been the holiday meeting point for as long as I've known Ron. I always think, "Poor Kim." This year there were nine of us for her to feed and organize. What a job.

As you know, I don't do Christmas presents, but I do hostess gifts when I find something appropriate. This year I had the genius idea to use one of the talented ladies who paints the Christmas stockings to make one for each of the 'grand-dogs.' After she did her part, I sewed them up and finished the tops, then she even put the names on for me. (I don't trust myself to do anything like that.)

Didn't they turn out cute? Maddie belongs to Kim and family and Lucy is Ron's other daughter Kelli's who we stayed with in San Diego about a month ago. Ta-da! Hostess presents!

I didn't take my usual formal family pictures, but I'll share what I have. Of course this is a lot more interesting if you actually know the people involved. As soon as we arrived, Ron saw something that needed to be fixed.

The annual Christmas cookie baking went smoothly with Adam and Shannon helping Kim with the cutouts.

Then we all were involved with the decorating process - some with more success than others. Here Kelli and her fiance Sean take a second to pose for the camera.

Even Tom was coaxed into helping. Just look at that concentration.

Ron feels he's better utilized as a taster.

Uh-oh, an equipment malfunction.

Ron's son Jim gives Adam some pointers.

His are always perfect. What a show off.

Actually I think they look pretty good (and taste even better.)

Shannon modeled her Halloween costume for us. Isn't it just the best?!?

Adam, Kelli, Jim, Ron, and I took the dogs for a walk to the park. We were lucky that all the snow stayed on the west side of the Rockies this year. Although Ron and I thought it was cold, it was really pretty nice.

Shannon showed us how she can roller blade.

Do you think Adam looks a little impatient to open his stocking?

Have you seen these beautiful American Girl dolls? Shannon got a snow outfit for Julie - it's absolutely gorgeous! Although I don't think that Lucy is any more thrilled with the doll than she was with the stuffed Santa at her house.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas!

As an adult, I've always had trouble getting into the spirit of Christmas. Other than buying for my daughters, I find gift giving to be very stressful. I worry too much about what I should buy and whether the recipient will like my choice. Now I have sworn off gift giving - don't buy anything for me, I'm not buying for you! That relieves the stress, but I still need a Christmas kick. For years, I was in a choral group that sang at various nursing homes, malls, etc. That was when I really felt it was Christmas.

This year, it was the windup of the stocking project. We worked on them all year, but the highlight was stuffing them for the underprivileged kids. We made 1037 stockings, but only stuffed 537. Thankfully, a local church took care of the rest, because we didn't have the funds to buy for all the stockings.

First, we had lunch.

Then we went round and round the tables loaded with supplies.

Here are the stockings all packed up ready to go. It was really a pretty impressive sight and did the heart good. Because of misinformation, we didn't get to see the kids get the stockings, but we could just imagine their joy.

Then walking around the neighborhood, I was surprised to see snow in southern Arizona! Wow!

Some people are really clever with their decorations. What's that on this cactus?

How cute!

Ron and I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous New Year!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Around the House

I know it's been awhile since I posted, but I haven't had much to say. Mostly we've been doing those never-ending household chores.

Like trimming the citrus trees. Tip - don't ever plant a lemon tree.

I'm holding a branch that sprouted less than a year ago. This one was unusual, but I topped the tree back to where it was last year and the trimmings averaged 5 feet!
The orange and grapefruit trees are much better behaved.

And then I blow the leaves with my handy leaf blower/vacuum. I haven't mastered the vacuum part - I don't think it was designed for yards with stones instead of grass.

Here's what all the well-dressed yard workers are wearing. Can't forget the mask - I don't want to breathe all that dust.

And while I visited my father, Ron painted the garage. I think he's now out of things to paint. (And that was my favorite shirt!)

But the best thing that happened lately is that Ron's son Jim came and took Ron to the Cardinals/Broncos game. Surprisingly, the Broncos lost badly. I'll let you guess who they were routing for. Here's the 'before' picture.

And here's the 'after.'

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Desert Creatures

While we were in Borrego Springs, we took some time to check out the wild and wonderful sculptures in the desert surrounding the town. They are life-sized depictions of the prehistoric creatures that roamed the valley millions of years ago. Dennis Avery (of Avery labels) hired sculptor Ricardo Breceda of Perris, California to create these treasures out of scrap reinforcement bars, wire, and metal. They are scattered on Mr. Avery's land, but he generously allows the public access to them. The project only began in 2008 and already there are about 80 of them with more to come.

I'm not really up on my prehistoric birds, but imagine this guy flying overhead.

Just look at the detail in the feathers of one of his friends.

Hey, I think I recognize these - could they be mastodons?

And look how happy this one looks - blissfully unaware of the ice age to come.

Whew! This one looks mean.

With an equally mean baby who seems to be stalking me!


I believe these are giant sloths - mommy and baby.

Just look at the front claws (paws?) on her!

This guy appears to be doing a 'happy dance.'

I don't know - maybe a prehistoric tapir?

Some of the sculptures depicted more modern sights in the desert. Gosh, Myra, those weightlifting exercises are really paying off.

The Spanish brought horses into the area in the 1600's.

And I finally got to see my desert bighorn sheep!

I crept up and got a closeup of this one. Isn't he gorgeous?

A memorial to the California gold rush seems appropriate. Although you still see these optimistic souls today (minus the horse.)