Saturday, November 05, 2011

Happy birthday, Becky

Michael's sister Becky was one of my avid blog readers and,  just in case she is still reading it ,  I'll use this to wish her happy birthday. Though Becky passed away a year and a half ago,  she'll always be one of my best friends and a real inspiration to me. Happy Birthday to you,  Becky!

In other news,  things are moving along here in Tucson.  Jack's mom Mary got out of the hospital the day after we arrived in Tucson -- the 25th of October.  Since she is on oxygen and using a walker,  things are a bit more challenging for her. She has appointments with a nurse,  with pt,  and several doctors. So far,  we've managed to get her where she needs to be and to help her to keep things tidy at her apartment.  Yesterday,  in fact,  she went down to the salon to have her hair done. This was her first time doing that since the hospital,  so it felt great to her. I just followed along,  letting her do everything.  She even said,  "you're not even going to push the elevator button?". But she did it all,  including setting up her small oxygen tank,  by herself. What a woman. She could have just let other people do for her,  but she's decided to get well and do for herself. :-)

Jack is having a workup done,  meanwhile,  and they are finding some blockages in arteries. Extent and remedies are uncertain at this point.

Me? Well,  I've gotten the front "yard" dug for my retaining wall,  Jack and I procured the blocks,  and they are sort of tentatively set in place. We are going to need to cut a few of them to make them fit. Then will come plastic behind them and gravel and maybe soil to fill in behind.

The little cactus that we planted here is just like the one that we put on at Jack's -- the one that someone was inspired to kick over when we first returned. So we'll move mine to his house and replant his remaining broken stalks and see if he can make them grow again. He was so proud of his little cactus that it made me sob to see it all broken off.

Anyway so then my plan is to top my little plot with decorative stone and "plant" some steel cacti there. :-) I would move my steel agaves from 206, but they are so perfect there and they make me smile whenever I walk past. So I'll find more.

People are returning from the frozen north at a steady pace,  and activities are going here. It's a beautiful time to be in Tucson.

Location : 7451 S 5th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85710,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Almost home

Tucson is just 92 miles away! This photo shows a bit of rain that we're seeing along I-10 today.

Our trip has been fun,  punctuated by visits to family and friends. We visited state capitols in IL,  IA,  NE,  and CO. At some point soon,  I will figure out a way to get all these photos online for your viewing pleasure.

I'm posting this with my new smartphone -- a Samsung Charge with much help from Verizon. I so love the little gadget. It can,  I'm convinced,  do anything!

Location : N Railroad Ave, Willcox, AZ 85643,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On I 80

We awoke this morning to a chilly 29° in Henderson,  NE. Were now headed west on I 80 300 miles east of Arvada,  Colorado. All is well and enjoying a break while Jack drives.

Location : 301-399 7th St, Gothenburg, NE 69138,

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Jack was the line judge

 I was proud! 

Location : 9640 Textile Rd, Ypsilanti Township, MI 48197,

A great day

Jack and I had a wonderful day today!  We started by visiting the Ford Museum in Dearborn. What a neat museum,  with so many different things to see!  There was the actual bus in which Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat,  Edgar Allan Poe's writing desk... planes,  trains,  and automobiles.  This was a whole day,  and we didn't see it all,  by a long shot.

We drove back to Ann Arbor and to the school where Wren was to play volleyball. The funny thing is that they were short a line judge,  so Jack was happy to fill in. What a fun time for all of us!

Back at Dave and Kelly's,  we got the tour of their new home and yard and then dinner. Chinese food satisfied all of us so that we were fortified adequately for the short trip to Baskin Robbins!  Lots of love and laughs. .. Just a great time!  <3<3<3<3<3

Location : 9640 Textile Rd, Ypsilanti Township, MI 48197,

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

On the Road Again

Ok...trying posting with the blogaway app I just got for my phone. Jack and I are in Ypsilanti this afternoon. And for those of you who are familiar with the geography of Michigan,   you know that,  to get here,  we traveled east. We're here to visit with David,  Kelly,  and the children. And we're excited about this!  :-)

Location : 9640 Textile Rd, Ypsilanti Township, MI 48197,

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back in Michigan

I've been back in Michigan since August 17. I've mainly been occupied with my usual home-improvement pursuits. If you know me very well, you know that I've been obsessed with home improvement since childhood, when Annette and I rearranged our bedroom furniture... uh... frequently. At least I have not rearranged this house to the point where I'm sleeping under my desk! LOL!

Jack and I have not worked much on his house, I think because he just can't stand it. He says that he wants to sell it, but he can't figure out what he wants to do with his garage FULL of tools, and many other things. We're trying to work in that direction, anyway.

We went to Grand Rapids on Saturday and bought a bookcase and nightstands finally. This will give me a civilized place to put books (duh) and help to organize (or at least hide) the bedside clutter. Jack and I will go back down to pick these up later in the week. I also have been diligent about getting my appointments made -- teeth cleaning, eye exam, financial checkup, etc..

Weather here on the river has been perfection. Jack has cooked delicious food for us on the grill, and I made the best egg salad EVER just yesterday. :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Can it get hotter than this?

Jack and I arrived in Hot Springs, Arkansas yesterday, and spent today here, too. We went to Garvan Woodland Gardens this morning, and spent a good three hours wandering around over the many paths, photographing woodlands and gardens, and sweating! I believe that I would have died, without the water that I'd brought along.

We drove back into town, and then to bath house row. There, we did a tour and read all the exhibits about the heyday of the Hot Springs bathhouse industry which peaked in the 40's. Interesting and fun!

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Central Park Fusion Restaurant, headed back to the KOA, and did laundry!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Santa Fe

We actually made it out of Tucson! We had planned to leave on Tuesday, but ended up leaving at 10:30 am on Wednesday. It was oppressively hot and a little humid, as is typical for the Monsoon season. We stayed last night at the Little Vineyard Campground in Deming, NM.

Tonight finds me with Jack and Eddie the cat in the little Navion close to Santa Fe, NM. The sky is clearing, the air is amazingly cool and fresh, and we're having a fine time! The GPS is working well in conjunction with our collection of AAA maps. We are looking for a place for dinner now. So off we go!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Still in Tucson

I know that I've been remiss in posting. I would vow to do better, but you wouldn't believe me anyway. ;)

We're having a good time here in Tucson. We've been working on projects and here's what we've accomplished:

  • My deck is done and is beautiful.
  • My skirting (made of faux stone) is done and is beautiful.
  • The inside of my cottage is lovely, furnished, and is a great place to live.
  • I have some beautiful new patio furniture and an outdoor heater.
  • Jack's ceiling is done in his cottage's bedroom, and it's splendid.
  • Jack's cottage is neat and clean, and is the process of becoming organized.
  • My 206 cottage, which I'm going to be selling, now has new flooring.
  • The carpet is ripped out from the bedroom in 206 and we're getting set to install new.
  • We moved furniture into 206, so that we can sell it furnished.
  • We have procured some neat decorative items to "stage" 206, and are in the process of placing these items. This included some fabulous finds and the place is going to look wonderful.

I've come to the conclusion that, for both Jack and me, home improvement is a hobby. Ever since the frequent furniture rearranging that Annette and I did as children, I've been a home improvement freak. So, consider it normal that I look around this beautiful cottage and see more things that need to be fixed up. I do. :)

So... are we going to stay here all summer? Are we going to fly back to the midwest? Are we going to take a long RV journey? Stay tuned to find out!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Having a Time

Jack and I are doing well here in Tucson. We're still working on the Project of the Century here on this cottage. We have the "stone" installed around the front, as of Saturday, and it's looking great. I will post photos when I have the final touchups done. I have to do a little "carving" and touch-up painting where the miter joints were cut.

The deck is what we've been working on for the past couple of days. While the foundation for it is made of regular wood, the decking itself is Trex -- a composite product made of 95% post-consumer recycled plastic and sawdust. It is creating a really sleek and beautiful deck and the deckboards are 80% installed.

Today we also got part of the low-voltage lighting installed. As with everything, it took some trial and error to get it all to work, but I think that it's working now. We have it on a dusk to dawn sensor so that there will be light when we need it. I will have solar lights around the front, where I have plenty of sun.

The skirting is part the rock stuff and part is siding like on our cottage -- a sort of cement board. I hate the stuff more than I can really describe. It weighs a ton, is long and cumbersome, and if you lift it wrong, it breaks. To cut it, requires practically a Hazmat suit -- hearing protection, safety glasses, and a dust mask. And all of this in 100+ heat. Urf. I cannot wait till we are all done with that ucky stuff. We are done with the part of that that's on the deck, and the part that's around the north side of the cottage. We still have to do around the south side and the west side.

 We've been taking good care of ourselves -- taking frequent breaks, drinking more Gatorade than I thought a person *could* drink, going out for healthy and delicious lunches, and going for a dip in our pool after the workday is done.

So how hot is it? Yesterday and today were 104. It's been over 100 during the day since Memorial Day, with a day or two with high in the upper 90's. That actually feels noticeably cooler. It's so hot that, even when metal objects are not in the sun, they still feel VERY warm. When anything is in the sun, of course, it is blazingly hot, and that includes skin.

It's also dry. The dew point has been in the negative numbers. Yesterday's was -11. What that means is that you can have a big jug of Gatorade with ice cubes in it and the outside is DRY. Towels air dry in an hour. And we do go through lots of lotion. I love it here!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Project Progress

Jack and I are still progressing nicely with the deck and skirting for my new cottage in Tucson. We have the foundation of the deck built, the steps finished, the OSB boards installed around the perimeter of the cottage and the deck, some of the faux stone installed on the front of the skirting, and about half the deck Trex installed! Woo hoo! Yeah! I can actually walk out my french door and stand on something solid!

We continue to have little adjustments to make, due to things being unlevel when we assumed that they would be, learning curves for these new materials (the faux stone mostly), and things that we have to order which take longer to arrive than we think that they should. But it looks great and I'm well-satisfied with our progress. My design, Jack's engineering, my materials control, and both of our prowess with the power tools -- formidable!

The weather's been fine. While it's quite warm these days (over 100 for about the last week, with high 90's for 3 weeks now), we stay well-hydrated, take some breaks, and pace ourselves. We have stopped guessing when we'll be done, but are hopeful that we make it back to Michigan before the snow flies there!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Dry Heat

... and what a heat it is! Jack and I are still in Tucson, still working on my deck and skirting for my cottage, and, as the temperatures climb, we are experiencing a heat-related adventure! Actually, it's not all that bad. We've been very careful to stay well-hydrated, we try to work out of the sun as much as we can, and we take frequent breaks!

Here are some pics! Jack working on the steps:

Me using the framing nailer:

The deck beginning to come together:

More wood to be converted into decking:

Today, after a long day of cutting and applying siding to the deck and laying our first bits of Trex onto the steps, we dined at New York Pizza and then went to DQ! It doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Trip to Iowa

Jack and I just returned from a nearly 2-week trip to Iowa. There, we stayed with Jack's daughter and son in-law and went to grandchild events. The first was Matthew's play -- The Music Man. He's 12 and in 6th grade and I know you're thinking, "Ok.. a middle school production... how good can that be?" Well, it was great! The lines were delivered flawlessly, with feeling. The songs were sung with emotion and no off-pitches. Matthew as the high voice in the barbershop quartet was engaging, funny, and fit right in with the group of talented young singers. What fun!

We also got to go to two of his baseball games which, while not entirely successful, were still fun to watch. Oh, and we got popcorn!

Katherine was in her first-ever swim meet while we were there, too. This was an intra-squad meet, just to show them what swim meets are all about. I'd never been to a swim meet before, and found it interesting and entertaining.

We went on a short stay-cation, driving all of 20 minutes to the Grand Harbor Resort on the Mississippi River. Our room had a splendid view, looking right out at the river, the bridge, and barges that went past. While there, we took the children (Katherine, Matthew, and K's friend Lexi) to the waterpark. The following day, we went to the Mississippi River Museum, which is fantastic. This is a Smithsonian project, and is a world-class museum.

During the 12-day stay, we had some "dumb time," too. I learned how to do Ken-Ken puzzles and got pretty good at them. We watched plenty of HGTV, taking advantage of the fact that they have it and we don't!

The flights were uneventful and pleasant, actually. This was notable for me, because these were the first flights that I'd taken since fall of 2007, right after Michael died. And these were the first flights for me in a long time when I did not feel anxious at all. Yay!

Progress is happening on my cottage projects! We now have supports up for about half of the skirting. We now have most of the deck posts vertical. There are beams in place for most of the deck. Oh, and did I mention that my driveway is full of wood?

Weather is holding out for us. We enjoyed a very nice cool day yesterday, with a high of 75. Clouds attenuated the heat a bit, though skies were mostly clear and lovely.

Jack fixed us a great dinner last night -- Panko-encrusted tilapia, corn on the cob, baked beans, and mixed vegetables. I think that he's doing dishes right now. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011


Easter was blessed and wonderful for us. I had really missed Easter (and Christmas) in the time that I was married to Michael, because he and his family didn't celebrate those holidays. Easter, in particular, was one that he did not like.

For us, we went to our church's sunrise service at 7 am, and then to the pancake breakfast afterwards. Next, while I was at choir practice, Jack went to get Mary and took her to her church and came back just in time for our church to start up at 10. Our choir sang and the service was good.

After church, we went to get Mary and she took us and Joe and Kay to the Sheraton's buffet dinner. We enjoyed a sumptious feast with good conversation. Mary shared many memories with Joe and Kay. She's been friends with them for over 60 years!

Today was a bit back to real life, with Jack and me working on the materials list for the deck, and going around pricing things. I'm beginning to rethink doing the entire deck in Trex, after pricing that stuff. Lowe's offers a single 20' 2x6 at $50. One board for $50. And, of course, I will need many boards. ;) I'm thinking about making just the octagon part in front and the steps out of Trex and doing the back part with plywood covered in dark carpet. Many people here do decks with plywood covered in carpet; they hold up well, and people are happy with them. That would save me a few hundred bucks, which I could use for solar lights on my deck posts! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day

Today is not only the day before Easter, but it's the day after Earth Day! I celebrated Earth Day, along with probably 15 others from our church, helping to spruce up the grounds. My task was trimming mesquite trees, cutting off dead palm fronds, and reshaping a palm "bush." No one I know back in the midwest or the east is doing THAT today! :) I also helped Jack and some of the guys in raking and shoveling gravel. We left the grounds looking fine, if I do say so myself.

After the cleanup detail, Jack and I went to the Pima County Fair. I believe that I ate less at this fair than ever in the history of my going to fairs. We had a battered and deep-fried half zucchini (shared), a small bag of kettle corn (shared), a beef stick, and 2.5 bottles of water.

The fair was fun, as always, with its share of people trying to relieve others of their money in various ways. We escaped with buying just our parking ($5), entry fee ($16), and the food (total of $12).

I'm enjoying my new cottage very much. The loft bedroom is wonderful -- comfortable and cool at night. I know that I'll like it just as much, if not more, in the winter! I'd been a little concerned about the size of the kitchen, but it is more than adequate for li'l ol' me and the infrequent and unfancy meals that I fix here. The back room -- my hobby room -- is just perfect, too. I am truly appreciating having that bit of space in which to stretch out with my hobbies. :)

We have finally ordered the material for the skirting. We are getting Faux Panels and click that link to see what it looks like. They should be in, in about 4 weeks. By then, we'll have the backer up for them and be ready to put them on! Yay!

It's getting more and more quiet around the park now, with all the less hardy snowbirds taking off. I'm rather enjoying the peace, though. Jack and I have gotten into a fun routine of sharing lunches out and dinners either out or at home -- his place or mine.

We are enjoying time with Mary (Jack's mom), too. We've been taking her to church and on various errands. She loves to shop and so do we! She is getting along well at her retirement community, has many friends, likes the food, and even takes part in an exercise class there.

We've been seeing many bunnies around here, and I'm not sure but whether one of them may be the Easter bunny! We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More furniture moving

MORE? Yeah. Only this isn't for me. Our good friend John has decided again that he's going to move back to Colorado and sell his Tucson cottage. Well, this time he seems serious, because he sold Jack his furniture! The furniture that Jack had will then go to John's, since he wants to sell it furnished. The stuff that he had was just far too good to "toss in" with the sale of a $14K cottage.

So we spent part of the day hauling furniture out of Jack's cottage and out of John's, and then new stuff into Jack's. We will hang onto John's new stuff till after he has his carpet cleaned tomorrow. :) He'll be leaving then for good on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Other things continue apace. I've taken more things from 206 down here and have just a few things in the cottage and a few in the shed to bring over. I have organized my two sheds here so that I can easily find things. When the people all get back in the fall, I'll have a patio sale and unload more things -- nice things, mind you -- just things that *I* don't need. ;)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Goodbye, Trust Market

A long time ago, in a land far, far away, AT&T won some legal wrangling against Verizon. In the end, the government ordered some groups of Verizon's customers to be taken over by AT&T. These people were termed "The Trust Market" and I was among them.

What this meant was that AT&T was to take over our service, was to replace all our phones and my MiFi with AT&T things and then they were going to be our provider. In the meantime, and this was nearly two years, I could not just go into a Verizon store and get answers about my account. No one had any access to it, because we were *The Trust Market.*

Well, this did not amuse me. I have not been a Verizon customer because they are a giant and they forced me to be with them. I've been a Verizon customer since they were a "whoozzat" company. I have stayed with them for many years, because I like their service.

So, after numerous postponements, The Day finally arrived. This was the day that AT&T's devices were to be activated. That Day .. was today.

I awoke curious, so I tried to call Jack on my Verizon phone and got a message that my phone no longer had service. So I tried the AT&T phone and was told that IT didn't have service.

So this afternoon, Jack and I went hopefully to our friendly Verizon man. He is Roy at the Pantano/Broadway Verizon store. He was helpful in listening to our situation and in getting me on the phone with a guy from Verizon who knew another guy from Verizon who might be able to help. Manuel from the WinBack Department (yes, really!) was my guy.

It took the better part of 30 minutes, I'm guessing, to get it all squared away, but the offshoot is that I am again a Verizon customer, I am no longer part of a Trust Market, I have the same plan, the same devices, and they all WORK! Thank you, Manuel! Thank you, Roy! And thank you, Verizon! Here's to another bazillion years of working together! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Photos of the New Cottage!

Slowly, but steadily, we're making progress on the projects around my new cottage. Jack got some concrete blocks cemented in today, and I got another carload of stuff loaded up at 206, driven here, and offloaded. Most of it is put away now.

I got the Fit serviced this morning. Its "oil life" indicator was down to 15%, and that means that it's time to get it changed. It takes awhile for it to get that low, too. Last oil change was in Big Rapids, and so that was September or before. When I first arrived here, I took it to my dealer, and they told me that I needed to wait for that 15%.

Ok! Here we are. New photos of the new digs!

Here is the delivery guy unwrapping the front. The doors are not even on yet!

Notice .. no flooring yet, and all the building stuff everywhere. I was NOT living here yet!

Fast-forward to today. Here's Jack working on the concrete footer for the deck:

And here are some interior photos, with explanations. You have to click the pic to see the explanations. :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Yep... my sister finally busted me for not writing in this blog more. And she's right. I will repent. I will blog more. My camera is still at my old house, so I can't take pics tonight, but I'll go and get it tomorrow!

I love this cottage more every day. Change is difficult, and moving is difficult on so many levels, but this is a very nice move for me. The little loft bedroom is working out great. With the windows open, I get this amazing air blowing just right, and so, even on the nearly 100 degree days that we've had, it's nice and cool at night.

The kitchen is smaller than the one I had at 206, but I am really enjoying it. The peninsula takes the place of the island I no longer have, and it gives me plenty of counter space. While I have not yet baked a pie in this kitchen, I hold out hopes that it'll serve nicely for that.

Jack got the footers for the deck front poured on Friday, just in time for our big cooldown. On Saturday, we awoke to rain and 47 degrees -- perfect for going to the Home Show! We spent several hours there, perusing the aisles. Big show with many, many booths. It's not the Indy show, however, with its actual custom home built on the premises!

After the show, we came back to my cottage and got our feet up in the recliners, TV on... and the doorbell rang. John and Carlene, friends of ours from Big Rapids, were here with Smania's (other friends from BR who winter in our park). John and Carlene winter in Phoenix area, so this was just the 2nd time that we saw them this season. We all went out to Mimi's for a delicious dinner and some fun conversation and catching up.

Today it was a bit warmer and we got to see the snow left on the Catalinas and Rincons after this cold & rain down here. Church was good. Pastor Bruce is leaving our church to pursue a new venture in California. While I'm sure that it'll be fine for our church and that Bruce and his family will be happy there, I'm still bummed about that.

My voice lessons and practicing continue to be lots of fun. I am up to 12 different exercises now, and I get a new song every week. While sometimes it sounds like I'm hollering or shrieking, mostly I sound ok... to me! LOL! Marcia swears that she's going to make me a star.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Moved in!

I've moved into my new place! Well, I should clarify that I've been sleeping here for a few nights now. I just got my dishes moved here today, but they're not put away, because the shelves they will sit on are yet to have "poly" painted on them.

The shower is done and working fine! I love it and am more convinced than ever that Jack can do anything.

The flooring has been in for a couple of weeks and it looks splendid. The awning is in and looks great. They have one little part to fix, but the shade it provides is so welcome and wonderful.

Al and Jack moved my mattress here just a few days ago. They, with just a bit of help from me, hefted the thing up OVER the railing to my loft. The loft bedroom is working great for me. It's comfortable, nice and cool with the windows open at night, airy, bright, and I get to look out my window from my bed, to watch the sun begin to light the Catalina Mountains.

Today we got our deck plan approved! That means that we'll finalize the plans, calculate materials, and get moving on that! I will likely do it using Trex -- the stuff that looks like wood but isn't.

We've been keeping busy with other activities, too. While the Far Horizons activities have mostly ended, since the weaker snowbirds have already flown back, church activities are continuing fast and furious, and we're having fun with choir, working on the meditation garden, working on soup suppers (for Lent), and just general partying.

My voice lessons have been going well and I'm learning a lot. I never knew that there was so much involved in learning to sing, and to sing well. I guess I just thought that you either could do it or you couldn't. That's what lots of people think about art, too. I think, of course, that everyone has art in them, and it just has to be brought out.

We're also spending a bit of time with Mary, and all of us enjoy that. We take her to church every Sunday after dropping me off at choir practice for our church. Then after church we pick her up, go to brunch, and then do errands with her.  She and I went to a fashion show at Skyline Country Club a few weeks ago, and that was lots of fun.

Last Tuesday, Jack and I went hiking with Dick, a man we met at church, to Chiva Falls. Great hike, beautiful falls, but over 8 miles, so it was a long one for me! We were all happy to get to the cars.

It's getting hotter here, with some record highs recorded already. We have had temps up into the 90's, but it's going to get cooler again this week.

I will be getting photos posted of the new digs, as soon as I get it done. Right now, my camera is still at the other house. ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011


... That's how many people Jack and I had at our St Patrick's Day party! It was at the new place and everything worked out great. We did have a bit too much alcohol to serve, so we had a half-empty keg to return, but next year we'll know better.

We had our friends bring finger food, and they came through with love and creativity. We had beautiful and delicious food, ranging from shrimp cocktail and pigs-in-blankets to melon wrapped in prociutto and homemade cookies! We had two 8' tables completely filled with food.

When it started to get dark, I turned on the lights -- a thousand mini lights in yellow and clear -- which adorned the patio awning. What a sight! And then, as it got just a wee bit of a nip in the air, we turned on the firepit at the back of the lot and a group of us roasted marshmallows for smores!

The party continued from 4 - 10pm, and then the remaining guests helped us to fold up the tables and chairs, recycle all the cans and bottles, and dispose of the trash. We have such great friends! That left us with just a few dishes to clean up today, tables and chairs to return, and the keg to take back to Bevmo.

Oh, and I have not mentioned in here yet (because I was told to keep it secret!) that this photo of mine won the photo contest here! Wooo hooo!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

She's Back!

Hi there! It's good to be back. Where was I? Well, I really wasn't gone, but my computer was! My computer contracted a virus because stupid Janee didn't have any anti-virus protection on her machine. Blue Chip Computers on Broadway was able to get her fixed up, cleaned up, and new AV installed for $100, so I'm good to go.

The new cottage is progressing. The blinds are all installed now. The tile is up in the shower, it's grouted, and all that's left is for the "haze" to be cleaned off of it. The awning -- an enormous expanse of beautiful white aluminum -- is nearly finished. They have to do downspouts and fill in a part that's at the back of the cottage, but we can see the end of that.

So now what's left besides moving in? We have to get the flooring installed, figure out what I want for my deck, order skirting, install the plywood sub-skirting, and then install the skirting. The dining room lighting fixture needs to be installed, and we need to put up the shower door and the television. 

We've scheduled a party THERE for one week from today, so that should be interesting. At least we have the awning, and I can string lights from it! And I bought some patio furniture including a cute bar and a table with 4 chairs.

Singing is going well. Our FHTV choir concert is on Sunday evening and I think that we're all quite ready for that. I've really enjoyed this season's music, and having Julie as director. Church choir is very fun, too, and I'm loving my singing lessons!

I did end up making an appointment with my doc, and I'm on a new antidepressant, which costs me enough to make me depressed! Seriously it does seem to be working, though.

And I went to the dentist here, got my teeth cleaned, and got a replacement for my poor li'l broken retainer. Who'd have thought that would set me back another $750?? Zow. They did submit it to my dental insurance, so hopefully some of that will be covered. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two Twenty-two

And not much has changed with my cottage. The awning's on order. Blinds for the front 9 windows are on order. Tile for shower is on order. Kitchen faucet is on order. Floor is on hold till we get the tile in and on. Skirting is yet to be chosen and ordered. Guys are supposedly pouring the concrete footer for the skirting today.

We did get vertical blinds for the four upstairs windows and for the kitchen from Home Depot. We put them in on Saturday. They are a neat non-plain mottled browns and white and they look great.

I took some pictures yesterday, but left the camera over there. While I was taking pictures, Jack was working on installing an electrical box in my bathroom cabinet. This is something that I've enjoyed as a way to keep my appliances charged without having them out on the countertop. What was supposed to be a quick project, however, turned into a half-day ordeal. He had to remove the medicine chest, drill, router, and try all manner of combinations of wire hookups, before he got it to work without tripping the GFCI.

Today's hiking day, but I'm not going. I have not been feeling quite myself lately -- as if the air valve has been released. I'm thinking that I may have hypothyroidism, and I'm thinking that just based upon my Dr's wife experience. Low energy, weight that just will not come off, and maybe even my neck situation. Who knows? I need to make an appointment with my doc.

On Sunday, I discovered a screw embedded in my tire. And this morning my retainer broke when I was taking it out of my mouth. (Yes, it's true. I am a 54 year-young woman who still wears her retainer every night!) I will need to find an orthodontist, I expect, who can replace that for me. Cha-ching! I would say that it's done well, though. In the 25 years since I got my braces off, I've just had two retainers!

People keep asking me when I'm going to be moving into my new cottage and if I've sold this one. I'm going to wait till the new one is ready, unless this one sells before that. If this one should sell before I'm ready to move, my stuff will go into storage and I'll just sleep in the loft of my new place. :)

In other happy news, I'm taking voice lessons. I've thought for a long time that I could be a good singer if I had training, so now we'll see. I'm having fun with it so far!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

My New Arrival

My new cottage arrived today! Here it is rolling down the hill into our park:

Going down the road in our park:

Positioned in its temporary spot:
The guys were making final preparations on the site, as we all waited for the cottage to come:

And here it comes! As I shot this, it was going past my old cottage:
And here it is backing into its new lot:
Jack is getting ready to tell the driver that he's close enough to that cottage! The truck came within one inch of that cottage to the right:
A small crowd of onlookers gathered to watch her being positioned:

There were more people on the other side of the truck, too!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

More good days

I'm not sure where the time goes, but plenty of it has slipped past me this week! I had a big success on Thursday, when I gave an "awareness presentation" on Photoshop Elements for our Far Horizons Photo Club. I talked about things that Photoshop Elements can do with Layers and Adjustment Layers -- selected adjustments -- and it was well-received by all who talked to me about it, including Shirley, Jack, John and Jean! :)

Then, on Thursday evening, Jack and I hosted John, MaryAnn, and Becky here for ribs on the grill, Jack's grilled potatoes, and asparagus. We topped off the delicious meal with pies which our guests had brought. What a fun evening we had!

Yesterday, Jack and I went to the Gem Show, Tucson Electric Park venue. Amazing. That's the only word for this incredible show. It's huge, it's quality, and it's very much fun. I bought a lovely 14K and peridot bauble for my collar necklace. We walked around among the vendors and tents for several hours.

Today we began the day with omelets at the clubhouse. Then we sort of relaxed. Jack had made soup, which he shared with me at lunchtime. Then I took him out for Long John Silver's nutritious fare and DQ to end the day. We walked around the Park Square Mall a bit, where I looked at bedding for my new cottage, which is coming.... soon!

Oh.. and did I mention that it's been COLD? We had a low of 18° with a wind chill of 5°. This doesn't mean much to the rest of the country, where you are all prepared for such stuff. But here, we don't *own* winter coats. We don't have our pipes insulated adequately, and we have heat pumps and not furnaces, in many of our buildings. HERE is a story about how our town was affected by this cold snap.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

California Dreaming

I've been away! Jack and I took a short trip to Corona, California, last week. The main purpose of the trip was to visit my new cottage, which is under construction at a manufactured housing plant there. It's very nearly completed, with just a few finishing touches to go before it's shipped here to Tucson! I expect that it'll be here next week.

The cottage is lovely to my eyes. It's a bit of a darker color than I remembered ordering, approaching a coffee brown, but it's still beautiful. The roof seems quite high, and I love the color that I chose for the interior paint, the Corian, and the cabinets. The stainless appliances look great, the sink is under-mounted, and the loft is wonderfully spacious. I should have no trouble getting my mattress to fit up there.

So today I did some money-shifting, so that everything is in place to pay the bill when it does arrive.

We spent a couple of days in Phoenix area, paying a visit to the state Capitol, and made a trip to the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting. Definitely worth a trip, if you're in the area -- the Hall of Flame, that is. The capitol building is nice too, serving as a museum now, though, since all the government functions are spread out over the downtown area. We enjoyed two visits to IKEA, as well. That's one of our favorite stores.

We also stopped in Quartzsite, AZ, on the way out. This is a huge and sprawling RV mecca for 2 weeks in the wintertime. And I mean huge. There are an estimated million people who come to Quartzsite for the RV show and then for the gem and mineral show. We walked through the main tent, spending a grand total of about 4 hours there. I got the new Trailer Life Directory, Jack got some hydraulic bed lifts, and I had some ice cream. I didn't eat it all, because it wasn't fantastic. But we had a good time.

We stayed in Best Western hotels the whole way -- in Tempe, Indio, CA, Blythe, CA, and then back in Tempe. We found them to be comfortable, clean, and well-supplied. The one in Tempe was the best. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stuff 'n' Such

I did end up not singing the solo in church on Sunday. Marcia had all the sopranos sing that part, which was fine, and we sounded good. She told me that she wants me to be part of a group of 4 to sing a song in March, though, and I am happy and honored to do that. She says that confidence is something that I have to get, and she's right. I was particularly taken by Rita's telling me that I should do the solo because I have a good voice. :) I have some really great friends!

Today I got out on the deck and whittled a little. It was a perfect afternoon for that -- just a little too warm in the sun, so I whittled in the shade. I'm whittling on a piece of nice basswood that I got at Woodcraft and making a ball in a cage. If it turns out ok, I'll post a photo.

I'm really looking forward to getting my new cottage! It's supposed to be here near the first of February. I talked to George today to change my mind about carpeting the back room, which is going to be my hobby room. Even if it's someday my bedroom, it'll still be ok to have a hard-surface floor in there. I'm not sure why I thought that carpet would be best, but, anyway, I caught it in time, so it won't have carpet.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

End of another week

It's been a very busy week for me here in Tucson. The weather's been wonderful, health's been good, and the mood is, for the most part, high here in the Village.

I won't try to tell ALL the exciting things that have transpired -- just a sampling. We had a bike rodeo here in the park on Thursday. I was surprised at how many of us showed up -- probably 30 or more. The leader showed us some skill maneuvers and we got to practice them on our bikes. This included obstacle avoidance, quick right turns (like to avoid someone making a right turn in front of you), and quick stops. It was lots of fun, and it was good to practice these moves.

At church choir practice on Wednesday, I practiced my short solo for this coming Sunday and it went well. Then at Far Horizons choir on Thursday, our director told me that I wasn't "ready" for small group singing or soloing. This, along with my normal apprehension about doing something new, led to my decision that I'm not going to do that solo tomorrow. I sent our director an email begging out. I pray that she gets another soprano to do it. Maybe I'll sleep better now.

Last evening's movie here at the park was called "Flipped." It's about a childhood boy-girl friendship and I really enjoyed it.

Thursday evening, Jack and I went with Donna and Al to see "Secretariat." What a fantastic movie that was! Even though we knew how it was going to turn out, we were on the edges of our seats. We had a nice time with D&A, too. We have wonderful friends.

I bought EA Sports Active -- yet another fitness program for my Wii. I have done two workouts with it, and I like it! I'm also keeping up with Dance Dance Revolution, My Fitness Coach, Wii Fit Plus, Just Dance, and Gold's Gym Cardio. All good fun, and all different enough from each other to keep things interesting. My weight's still stuck between 140 and 143, but I suppose I could drop some, if I really were trying.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I was feeling a little nauseous last evening, and I'm not sure why. I'd eaten some "raw" cashews, almonds, and craisins, but have difficulty believing that's what made me sick. I had a nap and regained enough strength that, when Jack appeared at my door with baked-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies, I was all over them! What a treat!

Today was hiking day and I decided to give it a try. I wore my heart rate monitor just out of curiosity. I didn't realize that the Esperero Trail in the Sabino Canyon area was SO challenging! I went about 5 miles total, and Susie and David went back with me. The rest of them, including Jack, went the whole way. My heart rate, for the 2.5 hours that I was hiking, averaged 131. And I had a high of 185.

Looking online just now, I see that my "maximum" heart rate is 226 - 54 (my age).. which gives me a maximum of 172. By looking at the chart at the bottom of this page, it seems as if, in order to increase my stamina and aerobic endurance, which seems like a good goal, I should shoot for 70-80% of this maximum rate. That gives me a range of 120 - 137. So my average, including the time I sat for lunch, is in the range. But what about that high reading? And all of the times that the thing beeped, telling me that my rate was over 168? Am I endangering my heart to do this sort of exercise? I don't even know whom to ask!

I did slow down, or even stop, when the thing started to beep, and my heart would slow right back down into a normal speed. I just don't know if I should even DO hikes anymore. I've never considered myself to be cardiovascularly strong, though I don't really know why. I guess it's that I seem to get out of breath easily when doing stuff like hiking or riding bikes. Should I start being concerned with such things? (Times like this, I really miss Michael! He would know!)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Beautiful Sunday

Actually, I'll talk a bit about Saturday first. Jack and I were at the Home Show at the Convention Center in downtown Tucson when we heard the news about Gabrielle Giffords, the US Congresswoman from Arizona. She was shot and critically wounded at the Safeway store at Ina and Oracle, right here in our friendly city of Tucson. Along with her, there were 6 people killed and several badly hurt. People are blaming politics, of course, and Sarah Palin, with her goofy "gunsights" imagery is being blamed. Incidentally, I am not going to allow any comments in this blog about opinions regarding politics. Just ain't happening.

I will state for the record that I cannot abide any politician using gunsight imagery to identify candidates that she wishes to have "gone." I call that inappropriate, violence-inspiring, and just downright dangerous. I'm surprised that she's allowed to live free in this country, with that sort of attitude.

In church today, Pastor Bruce talked about how sad he was about this happening, but how hopeful he was for the world at the same time. Me too. I enjoy surrounding myself with positive people who carry positive messages. This makes my world a happy place. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm not political enough. But maybe I just like living the way I live. I'm not afraid.

After a fine omelet at Village Inn, Jack and I were thwarted in our attempt to get to the Fiesta Room to practice setting up for our Fitness with the Wii presentation tomorrow, so we took off and did a little shopping. I actually was successful in finding 6- and 7-lb dumbbells. I just got the 6-pounders for now. And I got a bit more yarn for playing with knitting.

Later in the day, we did get in and set up the stuff for the presentation, and, after numerous trials and errors, we did get it all to work. The secret lay in changing something in the back room, moving the "channel" indicator to 0, and then .. bingo! There it was. I'm hopeful that tomorrow morning it works on the first try.

It was dark by the time we got back here and ready to go over to Jack's for dinner, and I didn't feel like a) driving; b) riding my bike; or c) walking, so I opted to stay here and enjoyed some of my delicious tuna salad. And now it's time for bed!

Friday, January 07, 2011


Today was a Mary day. Jack and I went over to her house early to take her little poodle Jill to the groomer. Then we went on errands -- Fry's, the license branch, and Costco, before hitting Buddy's (at Swan and Grant) for lunch. The restaurant was a new one for all of us, though Mary had been there many years ago. We found it to be dark and noisy, but the food was really good.

My search continues for the delicious Bora Bora Bars which I found once at Costco, have fallen in love with, and now cannot locate. The package that I got at Costco a year ago contained several flavors. The ones that I can order online are boxes of all one flavor. So I continue to look.

Tonight Jack and I went to see The Soloist, with Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx. It's a great movie, a true story, and it lets you into the mind of a schizophrenic man better than anything else I've ever seen. The voices that he hears are so much like the voices that I used to hear (from when I was about 4 till I was 17) that I found it uncomfortable to watch at times. (Thank goodness I got over it!) But it's a story about hope and friendship, about trust and love. We saw it here at Far Horizons for $1, and that includes popcorn!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Filing and Shredding

Another busy day in Tucson. Choir practice for FHTV was cancelled because our fearless leader is sick, so I had a little free time. I used that time to dig around in my files, find the 2003 folders and shred the contents, take out all the 2010 stuff and tuck away the things that I'll need for my taxes and file the rest in my longer-term files. Whew. That's always a bigger job than I think it ought to be.

It was sort of fun going through the 2003 stuff. I love finding things with Michael's handwriting on them. In particular, I found a little pile of notes that he wrote detailing all the calls that he had to make on one Friday afternoon. That was his phone-calling day. I really miss having him to do all of the business stuff for me, though I'm getting onto it better these days.

Then I dug around in my photos and found some that I thought were worthy of showing to the Foto Fun club, and I put these onto a thumb drive. While I was in there, looking at all these photos that I thought were pretty good, it occurred to me that I ought to be backing this stuff up! So I got out the ol' Seagate and got started on a backup. It took hours, but now it's done!

Foto Fun started at 3:30 and it went well. Bob critiqued the photos with an eye toward what story the photos told. I maintain that images don't always have to tell a story -- that they can be just for art, they can illustrate a point, or can be used to sell something. Of course a story can go along with any of these purposes, but ... I don't think that you have to have a story.

But then some of the "stories" that he and others came up with for the shown photos were things like "symmetry," "repetition," and "textures..." I'll buy that an image has to speak on some level to its audience, but I wouldn't call it a story all the time. Maybe I'm picking nits.

After FotoFun, I went to George and Patty's with Jack. They were having a large and fun gathering involving hors d'oevres, beer, and wine. Much of all of these was consumed, and a merry time was enjoyed by all!

Then Jack and I came back here and watched a couple of episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." The ones for which we stayed awake were good!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Mail came at last, containing just 2 bills for me. $20 for snow removal in Michigan and my tax bill for my house in Michigan. :) I love that house, and I'm happy to pay its bills.

It was a good day in the Old Pueblo, too. I went off in search of a knitting bag and found a very cool stand-up one at Joanne's, on sale even, for just $13. I love it so much that I did a bit of knitting this afternoon!

Tonight was church choir practice and that was, as always, fun. We have our new songs for the next several weeks, taking us up to Ash Wednesday. I'm going to get to sing a solo! It's just 4 measures, but it's my first real solo part ever, so I'm stoked.

Ok.. off to pay those bills now!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Sunny Tuesday

It's starting to warm up again a bit. Today was up probably near 60. As Herb said, "You can wear shorts today, but you're going to want to be in the sun!" Jack and I went to Goodwill and to the Humane Society to drop off things to be donated. I had some clothes I was finished with, and he had some animal crates from his Mom and Dad.

We both opted out of hiking today. It was going to be another dusty and flat walk through the desert, and I didn't feel like doing that today. Rather, I did Dance Dance Revolution for about an hour, and walked for about 30 minutes. It was just 30 when I was out walking, but it was sunny, so it was tolerable.

Jack and I got some supplies and he cooked ribs, artichokes, and potatoes for us at my cottage. Then we watched "Stand and Deliver," one of my favorite teacher movies.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Lazy Monday

Today I measured my new site and drew it all out on graph paper, getting an idea of what I want to have where. The site's a little larger than where I am now, and I'll have more room for things.

Did I mention in here that Jack got me a heart rate monitor for Christmas? It's a great thing -- a really thoughtful and good gift and I love it! It keeps me moving when I'm doing my morning workouts, and I can tell how well I'm doing with keeping my heart in its target zone and such. It also sets my mind at ease, knowing that my heart really is NOT going to just beat out of my chest when I'm exercising, that it's quite normal and good. Thank you, Jack!

I took down my Christmas tree and my outdoor lights today, packed them all into boxes, and took them to the shed on my new lot. I was encouraged by the warmer weather we had today!

And tonight, John stopped by with his dog Sam, while Jack was here. And all of us (except Sam -- sorry, Sam!) went out to dinner at Golden Corral! Good eats, good fun.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


This was a fun day! We began with church, and it was freezing in there! It was so cold outside (below freezing this morning) that the church's heat pump was not functioning well, so we were all shivering. But the service was good and we survived.

Jack and I had a few errands to run after church, including getting me more gas for my two small gas bottles. I have one hooked up to my furnace now, because I ran out of propane in my big bottles. I had not had them filled since sometime in early 2010, so I am doing pretty well with that. I keep it fairly cool in the house, turning the thing to 56 at night.

We were off to our Pastor and his wife's house for their annual Open House and we enjoyed that very much. The most notable food was Rene's spinach dip, for which I'm going to get the recipe. It contained water chestnuts, I believe, which lent a delightful little crunch. I just love the people at our church, and it was fun to talk with them.

We got back to the park in time to pack up Jack's pot roast to go to another party with some other friends. This was a dinner with a rousing game of Aggravation, and we had a ball. We were celebrating, among other things, the arrival (finally) of Carol and Mike. They'd gotten stuck in a snowstorm in Flagstaff. Brrrr! I think that, after this few days of cold here (nearly a week now), we're all ready for warmth again!

And have I mentioned that I'm still exercising every day? I have now gone every day, without missing a day, since 11/15, and that's 48 days, I think. Yay, me!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

1/1/11! I rang in the New Year without a midnight kiss, but that was ok. I had a good day yesterday and a good one today, so who needs a kiss to punctuate things? (Me! LOL!)

I went to the clubhouse last evening with Jack to the potluck supper. I brought my salmon and penne casserole. There was lots of food, and, even being the last table to be served, we still got plenty.

After dinner, we opted to go to the dance over at Mary's. They had a band which played till 8:30. We danced, drank champagne, and enjoyed hors d'oevres, all compliments of Broadway Proper. At 8:30, the band played Auld Lang Syne, and everyone sang. Very fun evening.

We had started to watch the "ball drop" show on Mary's TV, but we decided to finish watching it at Jack's. But, by the time we arrived there, the show had ended and news was on. Sheesh. So I came back home and read till midnight, at which time, I fell asleep. This was a better New Year's Eve than I had expected it to be!

Of course, I can't let a New Year's Eve pass without remembering December 31, 1982, the night that Michael and I were married. Twenty-eight years ago.

It continues cold today, and I'm hopeful that it gets warmer before long. We have friends who are stuck in Flagstaff in snow!