Wednesday, December 28, 2011

White Christmas

There is a risk when attempting a trip to Colorado in the winter and we had a close call this year. The night before we were scheduled to fly out of nice sunny Arizona, Denver had snow. Although the storm didn't result in a lot of snow at the Denver airport, it still managed to delay our takeoff for about two hours. Ron and I agree, though, that we would much rather have that delay in the Phoenix airport rather than circling Denver, waiting to land.

However, the next morning was gorgeous, as well as the rest of our visit. Ron's daughter lives close to the foothills and the snow on the deck was impressive.

Granddaughter Shannon and granddog Maddie were happy to see us.

This is Maddie's favorite spot. She is the quintessential lapdog and never gets tired of being petted.

On Christmas Eve, Adam and Shannon set out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. I never thought about the poor reindeer.

To me, the most amazing part of the holiday is when the extended family gets together to exchange presents. Being from a very small family, the scene is a little overwhelming to me. See for yourself.

We're back in the warm now and by giving up our seats on the return flight, we each scored a $350 credit toward our next trip. Cool! Now it's time for me to catch up on the 100+ blog postings that I've missed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

My (and Diana's) father was into Photoshop long before the program was invented and computers were the size of whole buildings. His method was literally 'cut and paste'. To commemorate the season, I thought I would post a few of my favorite cards of Christmases past (way past.)

Before I turned into the chubby girl in the previously posted Halloween picture, I was a very cute little kid. That's me in the upper left with Diana looking adorable on the right.

Wow! Those are some really BIG stockings!

As you can see, our father was very creative. (Still is, actually.)

When I hit school age, I entered my awkward stage. Even my candle was fat!
(Our mother was a teacher and I believe one of her coworkers, an art teacher, drew the candles.)

Ron and I hope this holiday season finds you happy and healthy and living life to the fullest!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

San Tan Regional Park

We're heading for a colder climate tomorrow, so we wanted to fully appreciate today's sunny and 60 degree weather. We haven't been hiking lately, but our blogger friends Carol and John suggested meeting at San Tan Regional Park.
We had a nice hike, four miles and not at all strenuous. In other words, not like the climb up Picacho Peak that the four of us did almost two years ago. If you want to see a challenge, click here. But back to today, a walk in the park was just perfect, since we hadn't seen Carol and John for a year and had lots to say.

I thought this cactus looked interesting with the back-lighting, but my photography doesn't quite capture it.

This park is popular with our four-footed friends too.
After our exercise, we attacked the pizza buffet at Pizza Hut. Yum! And we still didn't run out of things to talk about. What a fun time!

In preparation for our flight to Denver tomorrow, I thought I'd do a little Photoshopping to see how we look in the snow. Humm. Maybe we should pack coats.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Excitement Never Ends

When you live in an 'over-55' community, things become interesting that were never even noticed before. One day, Ron and I realized the wet spot in front of our house was not drying up. He called the Mesa water people and we awaited developments.

The next day there were some hyroglyphics added to the blacktop. I think this is code for 'some crazy people live here who are full of BS.'

As the workers started digging, I started snapping.

Soon they had to bring in the big sucky machine to empty out the waterhole.
At this point they noticed me lurking so I told them they were the entertainment for the day. They were very nice. (I could see them thinking, "Ah, she's old enough to be my grandmother.")

Remarkably soon, they found the problem. No wonder the street was flooded. I congratulated the guys on finding it so quickly and one confided, "We got lucky."

And before you could say 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious', it was repaired.

They brought in some clean dirt to fill the hole.

And patted it down with the backhoe.

Then finished packing with the 'big foot' thing.

After topping it off with some crushed blacktop and packing that down, it was finished. They told Ron they would be back in a couple of weeks or months to permanently fix the blacktop.

During the repair, five other neighbors came by to see what was happening. I bet the workers just love the over-55 communities!

Monday, December 12, 2011

How Cool!

No, not the weather, although it has been downright chilly here lately. Sometimes it doesn't even get up to 60! Brrrr.

Anyway, my title refers to something I ordered online and highly recommend to all my picture-taking friends. I ordered a calendar of my photos and am thrilled with the results. Although I know you can buy these calendars at many locations, I went with Staples online where you can upload your pictures, add captions, and either pick it up at your local store or have it sent to you for only $9.49 plus tax. Last year, I created one to pick up at the store. Although I was happy with that one, this year I ordered it to be sent and I think this one looks more professional.

Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with each month, but here's a sample.

You can also add events like this one.

One more.

Go ahead and give it a try. Imagine seeing your favorite pictures each month.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Have you Heard about Onions?

I know this is long and doesn't even have pictures, but it's really interesting. Ron and I had heard the first story a couple of years ago and have kept an unpeeled onion in our kitchen (both in the RV and house) ever since. Of course I didn't admit that to anybody else lest they think we were crazy. We didn't get the flu, although we probably wouldn't have anyway. After recently receiving this as an email and reading it to the end, I think before I eat or store onions. Whether you believe this or not, I think you'll find it a fascinating read. Here goes:


In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu.. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser. She said that several years ago, many of her employees were coming down with the flu, and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.

Now there is a P. S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most
interesting experience about onions:

Thanks for the reminder. I don't know about the farmer's story...but, I do know that I contracted pneumonia, and, needless to say, I was very ill... I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs. ..sure enough it happened just like that...the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.

Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.

This is the other note.

Lots of times when we have stomach problems we don't know what to blame. Maybe it's the onions that are to blame. Onions absorb bacteria is the reason they are so good at preventing us from getting colds and flu and is the very reason we shouldn't eat an onion that has been sitting for a time after it has been cut open.


I had the wonderful privilege of touring Mullins Food Products, makers of mayonnaise. Questions about food poisoning came up, and I wanted to share what I learned from a chemist.

Ed, who was our tour guide, is a food chemistry whiz. During the tour, someone asked if we really needed to worry about mayonnaise. People are always worried that mayonnaise will spoil. Ed's answer will surprise you. Ed said that all commercially-made mayo is completely safe.

"It doesn't even have to be refrigerated. No harm in refrigerating it, but it's not really necessary." He explained that the pH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in that environment. He then talked about the summer picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table, and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick.

Ed says that, when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the 'victim' last ate ONIONS and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). Ed says it's not the mayonnaise (as long as it's not homemade mayo) that spoils in the outdoors. It's probably the ONIONS, and if not the onions, it's the POTATOES.

He explained onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion.. He says it's not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator.

It's already contaminated enough just by being cut open and out for a bit, that it can be a danger to you (and doubly watch out for those onions you put in your hot dogs at the baseball park!). Ed says if you take the leftover onion and cook it like crazy you'll probably be okay, but if you slice that leftover onion and put on your sandwich, you're asking for trouble. Both the onions and the moist potato in a potato salad, will attract and grow bacteria faster than any commercial mayonnaise will even begin to break down.

Also, dogs should never eat onions. Their stomachs cannot metabolize onions.

Please remember it is dangerous to cut an onion and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates toxic bacteria which may cause adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning.

Please pass this on to all you love and care about.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Signs of Autumn

Let's face it, since we're back in Mesa for the winter, I'll have to be more creative with my posts. I was thinking, "What does autumn mean to me?" Well of course there are a couple of fun holidays, but I'm going to go with 'pumpkin chucking'.

Although this fine tradition is celebrated in various places, we were in Moab a few years ago for their annual Pumpkin Chuckin' contest. What a hoot!

The chucking methods ranged from the basic catapult

To this elaborate dragon cannon.

These cute little girls displayed plenty of heart, but their pumpkin only went about 10 feet.

These guys went for the basic giant slingshot and dressed the part.

But there was really no competition for the dragon cannon which hurled a pumpkin clear out of sight.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Recently I spent a lovely week visiting with my father in Pennsylvania. At 90 (closing in on 91), it's wonderful to see how well he's doing. He complains that he can't do what he used to, but personally I'm glad he hired somebody this year to climb up on the roof of his two story house and blow the leaves out of the gutter.

I happened to be there for Veteran's Day which started with a visit to the local elementary school for a program honoring our servicemen past and present. The precious little girl next door had asked him to come.

Then we went to Applebees for their free meal for veterans. I never saw so many old guys in one place. I guess the young ones were at work. The waitress gave my father a cute card made by a student in one of the other elementary schools. We got a charge out of it.

Not to embarrass him, but here's my very handsome father in 1943 when he joined the army.

What I didn't know until fairly recently was that he was in the second wave to land on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day. I simply can't imagine my kind and gentle father going through that horror and I guess that's why he never talked about it. If it wasn't for France deciding to give a medal to all the servicemen who were involved, I probably would never have known. Here's the medal and nice accompanying letter.

I always say my father lives on the side of a mountain, although when Ron saw it, he asked, "Where's the mountain?" Hey! These are the grand old Appalachians, not the upstart Rockies! We admired this colorful sunset through the living room window.

And to backtrack even more, we received this picture of Ron's granddaughter Shannon in her Halloween costume. She decided what she wanted to be and her mother made it happen.

I promise this is the last Halloween picture, but this is Shannon last year. Cute, huh?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Two

Okay, enough with the cute grandchildren in their Halloween costumes. Since I do not have grandkids (just a grandcat), I am fighting back the only way I can - old pictures.

Here are my two daughters with their best friend about 35 years ago. My little angel looks worried and my ballerina is wearing her orthopedic shoes. Since they don't read my blog, they'll never know I'm exploiting them.

Now for a real laugh, this is me about 50 years ago. As you can see, I was ahead of my time being the only kid in my school that was overweight. Although my father always said I was only 'pleasingly plump', once I lost the weight, he admitted I was fat.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost!

We dashed across California, Nevada, and Arizona to be back at the house in Mesa in time for the community Halloween party. Okay, that's not really true, but we are back at our winter home and the party was a lot of fun. How old are we anyway?

Ron and I went as a ghostbuster with his captive ghost. I admit I wasn't very original, but when I said I was going as a ghost, Ron came up with the ghostbuster costume using the leaf vacuum. Pretty good, huh?

Steve and Linda were the prize winners with their doctor and patient costumes.

Happy Halloween and don't eat too much candy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Big Dam and Bridge

The Hoover Dam was built in the early 30s during the Great Depression and destroyed and rebuilt in Superman: The Movie. But enough history.

Pictures of the dam are usually from the lower side, but these are the giant intakes on the Lake Mead side.

After years of unlimited traffic driving over the dam with massive security backups since 9/11, the bypass bridge was completed in 2010. Phil, Ron, and Donna posed for me in front of the new bridge.

The wind caught Ron's hat and blew it over the edge. We couldn't believe he went after it. Yikes!

The view of the Black Canyon below the dam is impressive.

Although the sides of the bridge are too high to see anything while driving across, there is a walkway for pedestrians. Cool!

The seal in the walkway marks the state line between Nevada and Arizona.

After our excursion, we indulged in a late breakfast, or, in Diana's case, dessert.