Friday, December 28, 2012

I Must be Nuts

Or just bored.  Recently, I decided that our perfectly good dining room table had to go.  We had bought it off Craigslist during the frenzy of furnishing our empty house in '09.  Although I still liked the table, I realized it was the only thing in the whole house that was light wood.  It just seemed out of place.

So I listed it on Craigslist and within a day it sold for $25 less than we had paid for it.

I wasn't in a real hurry to replace it until we decided it was time to buy a car and trade in the truck.   Ooops. I checked Craigslist and didn't see anything I liked so we decided to hit the consignment stores.  At the first one, we saw a nice Ethan Allen set, but the table had a couple of horrible scratches.  Then we bought the car and the pressure was on.  We told them we couldn't pick up the car for 24 hours and looked in three other places.  Nothing.

Since we were down to the wire, we bought the set with the scratches figuring I could just leave a tablecloth on it and I really did like it other than that problem.  Also it was such a bargain that if I decided I hated it, I could always resell it on Craigslist. So we loaded it in the truck, carted it home, and promptly traded in the truck.

Well, it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.  I hit it with a little scratch cover and the scratches just disappeared!

If they had just done that in the consignment store, they could have sold it for a lot more money.  I think I'll keep this one.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

We're spending Christmas with our WIN friends in Yuma, AZ.  About 60 of us are gathered in the desert, making merry.  This evening, we had a Christmas celebration with finger foods and Christmas carols.

The WINs are always ready to eat.

And visit.

Here are the festive hat ladies.

A creosote bush was drafted as a Christmas tree.

Our Bagpipe Bob played a few numbers for us.
The sound of a bagpipe is one of my very favorite things, but I have to wonder what the non-WINs in the area are thinking.  "Am I hearing things - are those bagpipes?"

Have you ever heard 'Oh, Come all ye Faithful' on the bagpipes?  It's just beautiful.

And we finished out the evening with carols around the multiple fires.

Meanwhile, I don't think our little Harper was thrilled with Santa.

Happy Holidays 

to all our blogger friends

from Barbara and Ron

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ron's Latest Project

Once again, Ron has invested a lot of time and effort into a project that only he would think up.  If I heard it once, I heard it a hundred times - he hated the bathroom sink in the RV.  "It's too small," was his oft repeated complaint.  So here's what the clever guy did.

First a picture of the 'before' sink.  You can probably agree that it was a bit small.
To be accurate, this is not exactly 'before'.  He had already moved those switches and the drawer was out.  And, okay, he put the sink back in for the picture.

He really liked the sink in Diana's rig and we bought one just like it at an RV store in Salt Lake City.  The problem is that a larger sink will not fit into that counter.  Here's Diana's sink and you can see how cleverly they built the cabinet to fit it.  You might have to put on your 3-D glasses, but there's a piece of wood that curves out of the cabinet to cover the bowl of the sink.

First Ron made a new counter top out of pressed board and took it to a counter man to cover with Formica.

But the big problem was how to bend a piece of plywood.  He tried cutting notches and soaking it to form it into the correct shape.

But no matter how carefully he worked, it developed cracks.

After attempting this method a couple of times, he got very creative and cut pieces of wood which he then glued together, like this.  (This is the inside.)

Which he sanded on the outside to a nice smooth surface.

Then he stained it and put it all together to create a thing of beauty.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of an Era

For a couple of years, we have been talking about buying a new towed vehicle for the RV. Our problem was that we couldn't decide what kind of vehicle to buy.  Do we buy a 4-wheel drive or one that is more economical?  Our little Saturn that has been towed behind Ron's rig for over seven years was having some problems, but giving up that 38mpg was difficult.  I kept insisting (and I guess I talked Ron into believing it) that we don't really need a 4WD, just something that has a higher clearance than the Saturn.  We decided on a front-wheel drive Ford Escape, researched it on and, and bought the first one we looked at.

But it was the end of an era for me, because we traded in my beloved truck.  In 2001, I quit work, sold my house, bought the truck and the perfect fifth-wheel, and began the adventure of a lifetime.
(Yes, that is a window box.)

Although I sold the fifth-wheel in 2006, I still had my truck.  It came in very handy while furnishing the house we bought in 2009 and I told everyone that I had the truck as a backup if Ron should throw me out.  It made me sad to see it go.

But just look what I got in return!
(And the car is pretty cool too.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Visiting PA

Now would that be Pennsylvania or Pa (as in Father)?  Well, both, actually.  Recently I flew East to spend a week with my father.  It rained, or at least drizzled, every day I was there, but at least it wasn't too cold.  I always have a nice time when I visit and I hope he does too.  We made the rounds catching up with my relatives and my father's wonderful neighbors.

Between the raindrops, I helped him change the oil in his car and cut and split some wood.  And this is a man who complains that he can't do anything any more.  At nearly 92, I think he's amazing.  Before you picture Paul Bunyan, he did use a chain saw to cut and a mechanical splitter to split the wood, but that image of him sliding under the car to remove the oil pan plug is accurate.  I functioned as the gofer.

Everything was perfect until I was on my way  home.  My flight out of Harrisburg to Atlanta was delayed and I would have missed my flight home out of Atlanta.  That was when the fun began.  I had to fly to Detroit, then Minneapolis, then home to Phoenix.  Somehow I was assigned a seat in first class for the second flight.  I kept waiting for somebody to kick me back to coach or worse.  I swear the rest of the first class passengers were looking at me oddly.  My seatmate was very sweet though and even pointed out the choicest snacks.

Somehow I never took any pictures. (And I especially wish I had gotten a shot of my father's feet sticking out from under the car.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cool Trains

The other day, Ron and I visited with friends John and Carol who are staying at a nearby RV park for the winter.  They are always a lot of fun and we enjoyed shopping and having lunch with them.  The park has a weekly Country Store which brings in vendors and lots of shoppers.  Ron got a really nice belt and the guy sized it for him right there.  I was the big spender and replaced my worn and fraying bicycle seat with a brand new one.  I've tried many seats that were supposed to be comfortable, but I can testify that the Cloud 9 seat really is.

Their park also has a train layout that I wanted to see.  It is truly amazing with large cars (about 12" long) like the ones my father set up when we were little.  I thought the cars were even bigger than these, but I guess that's because I was so little.

The park residents handcraft all the buildings which are works of art.

I especially liked the roundhouse.

And the steam engine.  When I took this picture, I didn't notice the tree that fell on the building in the background.  How clever.

There was even a Santa train.  Isn't that the Travelocity gnome standing on top of the caboose?

As John pointed out, everything doesn't always run smoothly.  It looks like there was a derailment on the other side of the trestle bridge.

But the most fun was just visiting and reliving their trip to Alaska last summer.  Although Carol did a great job documenting it in their blog, nothing beats hearing about it in person.  Ron has already done the Alaska trip, but I never have.  We're talking about it for 2014, but haven't decided on the method since we don't want to drive all that way.  We'll see.  I envision some version of plane, train, and automobile, with maybe a boat thrown in.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Heeeere's Harper!

It's amazing how much Harper changed in the month since we saw him in Las Vegas, but he's still just as cute.  He pulls himself up and stands while holding on to something.  It won't be long before he's walking.  Then the fun really begins.

He turned 10 months while we were visiting and now he wants to be in control.  He hates being in his bouncy seat, although he still plays with the attached toys.

The only time he likes his walker is when he goes outside to help Daddy sweep the leaves.

Look how fast he is in this two second video.

He loves to walk with his shopping cart.

Just look at that face.

Yikes!  Let me out of here!

You can take the baby out of Denver, but he's still going to dress up like Payton Manning for the Broncos game.

And sometimes Harper's sister Lucy needs a little time with Mommy too.

This might be my favorite picture.  Just imagine what's going through Harper's mind as he's looking at Ron.

That's all folks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


For the holiday, Ron and I drove to San Diego where all of his descendants were meeting.  It's 400 miles from Mesa and even in the car, it took 8 hours.  But at least we didn't have to worry about snow or ice.

We stayed with Kelli, Sean, and Harper, the cutest baby in the world.  In case you've been paying really close attention, yes, they lived in Denver last summer, but moved to San Diego recently.

Kim, Tom, Adam, and Shannon came from Denver, but had their own place to stay for the week.  Here they are on our trip to La Jolla.

Were we saw all the seals and sea lions at Casa Beach.

We visited the San Diego Zoo, where we saw flamingos.

These cute meerkats.

And everybody's favorite, the panda.
The zoo has a baby panda, but it was not yet on public display.

Adam and Shannon impersonated seals peeking out of the ice.

Of course the highlight of the week was Thanksgiving (which also happened to be Shannon's birthday this year.)  Kelli did a wonderful job putting the meal together even with little Harper needing a big piece of her attention.

I realize Ron and Jim were cut out of the previous picture, so here's one of them.  Jim came in from Salt Lake City for the holiday.
Jim always seems to be left out of the pictures - I wonder if he does that on purpose.

It's good to stop and take time to appreciate all we have to be thankful for.  It's not just about turkey and football, after all.

In case you're wondering why there aren't more pictures of the cutest baby, never fear.  The next post will be all Harper!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Just a Note

We're back in the land of the funny trees.  Actually, I love the Saguaro cactus and today Diana and I took a hike in among them and the hills north of Mesa.

Although it was a short hike, it was rocky and difficult, so we felt like we got a good workout.

(I'm posting this quickly - her pictures will be better.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Ron and I really went all out on our costumes this year!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wrapping Up

After visiting with the relatives, we spent a week at the Las Vegas Campground in Lake Mead National Recreation Area with our WIN friends.  It's like a little oasis in the desert.

Since the WINs have a gathering in the area every year, we have been here many times.  Once again, we walked the new bridge (completed in 2010) for the best view of Hoover Dam.
For my Hoover Dam post from last year, click here.

We hiked the Bluff Trail out of the campground and even blazed our own trail on the return trip.  This is one place I don't mind doing that since you can see for miles in the desert.

And although we didn't go to Fremont Street this year, for a view of their spectacular light show, click here.

However, we also did some new things this year.  Greg, a WIN who lives in Las Vegas, invited us all over for a potluck.  The WINs have perfected the art of the potluck.  I made brownies and Ron picked up some frozen mini eclairs at Walmart - always a crowd favorite.

Here are some of the WINs with Greg in the back there.

He says his place is a work in progress.  I think he's one of those people who keeps finding more things to improve.  He has a gorgeous RV, but at this rate, he might never get on the road.  He even has a pool, but it was really windy that day and only Phil made an effort to try it.

We all had a great time as always.

Last night we went to Boulder City to attend a 50's show that was really fun.  Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera, but the singers were very talented and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was chair dancing.  And we stopped at the marina where they were having a Halloween party.  There were lots of great costumes with a plethora of pirates and wenches.   (Sorry, no pictures.)

This morning we left our friends to head back to Mesa.  After driving 203 miles, the most in one day all summer, we stopped at the Escapee Park in Congress, AZ.  Yes, we are in Congress and we didn't even run.

We're back to those pretty Arizona sunsets with a full moon bonus.  Tomorrow, we'll be back at our winter home, but I'll try to find something to write about.