Tom’s Thumb

One of the many things I love about living in Arizona is the wide open spaces of the Sonoran Desert. Other than my devote faith, and prayer life, spending time walking/hiking in the beautiful Sonoran Desert is where I find peace, and where I feel the most at home.

This morning Bill and I took a 20 minute drive from our home at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, to the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trails, where the Tom’s Thumb trailhead is located. We have heard so much about the Tom’s Thumb hike that we wanted to go and see for ourselves what that hike is all about.

When we arrived at the Tom’s Thumb trailhead, and read the information provided about that hike, we quickly decided that was not going to be the trail for us. Tom’s Thumb is a 5 mile, steep hike, up a mountain, and is rated as extremely difficult. If my hips were 20 years younger, and I was about 20 pounds lighter in the trunk…, perhaps I would have considered taking that hike. However, as Bill and I looked at that trail before us, both Bill and I decided we are not about extreme difficult, we are all about extreme FUN!!!

So, we decided we would take the Marcus Land Slide hike instead. The Marcus Land Slide hike is in the same general area as Tom’s Thumb, but it is rated as moderately difficult, which is much more to our liking.

We were amazed at all the beautiful rock formations on the Marcus Land Slide hike. Take a look.




From the trailhead where we started our hike we were on a constant downhill walk that over looks the desert floor. However, as Bill reminded me… “one that hikes down…must also hike back up… True, but at least it was a gentle down and up again hike. My hips thanked me for the exercise without pushing them into “extreme pain”.


The rock formations in the picture below are called mushrooms and subsurface weathering.


Along with really cool rock formations, I am always amazed by the wide variety of cactus formations as well.


I was so busy trying to take pictures of all the things to be seen that I kept falling behind Bill on our hike…


But not to worry, we always catch up with each other and take time to just stop, be still, and take in all the beauty around us.




How can one not be at peace when looking at scenery like this in the stillness of the desert?


Then, after a few hours of hiking out in the lovely 70 degree weather, we came back home and had a delicious lunch of mini-bacon wrapped meatloaf, with crunchy fried onions on top, and mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn. I made this last night for our dinner and made sure to make enough to heat up for our lunch today… Yummers!


I couldn’t ask for any better way to spend a beautiful afternoon with my very best friend/husband! 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Campsite Views

Some of our adult children and their children are coming this summer to visit Bill and I here in Buffalo Bill State Park. Our daughter, (little) Katie, her husband, Josh, and our two granddaughters, Alex, and Emma, will be here from July 28th through August 1st. Then, our son Pat, and his family will arrive the weekend of August 12th. They all live in Grand Junction Colorado and we are so excited for them to be making the trip to Wyoming to visit us… They will be tent camping, and we got permission for them to be in our location (where our motorhome is parked) …, but we are on a hill and there is no level spot for them to put up their tent… So Bill and I told them that we thought they would be more comfortable in the campground… The campground is so beautiful and for $17.00 cash, or check (no credit cards or debit) per night, they can stay in the beautiful campground and be close to restrooms and the showers…

So I thought I would make this blog post all about what they will see when they come here to camp..Katie and family, & Pat and family.. this is for you… Dad and I can’t hardly wait for you all to get here…

This is the view of one loop of the campgrounds from our home.

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This is the tent section of the campgrounds… Notice that they have wind breakers for tent campers…but it is first come, first serve, with all campsites except those with electric which have to be reserved…So you can be where ever you want as long as you let us know in advance so we can reserve it for you… Dad said you all know how the wind blows almost ALL the time in Wyoming… so if it were me… I would want the wind breaker tent sites… just saying…

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This is the view you will have from the campgrounds…

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I captured this picture of these ducks heading to shore from the river… notice the one white “odd man/woman out..” following up the rear.. That white duck stays with the group all the time…

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This is the view you will have as you look up the river… Just between those mountains is where the Buffalo Bill Dam’s Visitor Center is located.

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This is the view from the campground looking towards where Dad and I are parked, just behind the house on that hill…

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Believe it or not.. we actually have pelican’s protroling the river for fish…

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See that cut out square looking cave in the center of this picture…? We have been told a bald eagle nests in there every year..

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OK, this is our campsite, where we, and our new neighbors, and fellow site stewards, Bob and Becky reside along with our law enforcement officer, Sam, and fellow co-workers, maintenance crew, Paula, and Dale, reside… As you can see, no one has their awnings out to provide any shade.. because the wind almost NEVER stops blowing here in beautiful Wyoming… Notice our flag is flying high… So you just have to suck it up, and enjoy the beautiful scenery and forget about the wind…

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Speaking of Bob and Becky, they turned a really ugly site in front of the garage of the (long ago vacated) house we are parked behind into what we are sure to be a tomato producing patch… They took out all these weeds…

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And planted tomato vines with flowers that are supposed to repel the rabbits…

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This is the view we have from the front window of our motorhome.

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This is the view we have from our dining table window…

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Also wanted to share that one of our duties as site stewards is to collect drift wood from the beach when we have time and deposit it into the wood shed that the camp host have in front of their camp site and is offered to visitors for a donation… I saved this one for us because I loved the shape, and I knew Bill could carve our names on it and I could put my favorite incense, Nag Champa, sticks in the crevices of the wood as shown below…

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So in addition to our awning that is attached to our motorhome, which we can’t use when the wind is blowing really hard…. We also have an umbrella on a stand that we can rotate around so we have shade where we need it ..Notice it is laying down beside our picnic table because, did I mention that the wind almost NEVER stops blowing here in beautiful Wyoming…?

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All in all, we are having the time of our lives… and we just have to accept the good (beautiful sights) with the bad (almost constant high blowing winds..)

So counting the days until you and your family get here, then when Pat and his family come… Love you all so much…

Stay Tuned!

So Beautiful, It Made Me Cry..

Being a mother who raised a child that lost both eyes to cancer before the age of two, leaving her blind for life, I’ve certainly seen my share of extreme lows, that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, as my husband and I helped Shantel establish herself in our sighted world.. I’ve also watched her soar to amazing heights as she accomplished each goal set for her throughout her schools years, and later, as an adult, I watched her accomplish the goals she set for herself i.e. earning two degrees at the same time in college, moving out of our home and establishing a life for herself in her own apartment, and now, the goal of landing a full-time job that will allow her to become fully financially independent, and a contributing member of society…

I didn’t have time when I was raising Shantel to feel sorry for her, or for myself, as her mother. I had to keep my mind on the goal, and commitment, I made to myself of making sure all of Shantel’s needs were met in school, and that she learned how to take care of herself since I knew I wouldn’t always be there for her to depend on… So, I kept my feeling and emotions in check as best I could, and tried always to keep our family moving in a positive, forward direction… With the help of my husband, Bill, we were able to accomplish what we set out to do…

Shantel has been living on her own for the past two years, and Bill and I are finally retired, and able to work/camp and travel around the country in our RV. I am, for the first time, realizing that as I am seeing things I’ve never seen before, I’m not trying to find ways to explain to Shantel the beauty that each new place holds like I did all throughout the years we were raising her in our sighted world… I never minded for a minute being Shantel’s sighted guide, but now that I’m no longer in that role, every time I visit a new place, or see something beautiful that I’ve never seen before…, I find myself still really taking in everything I see, and thinking to myself… how would I ever explain all this beauty to my precious Shantel…?

Yesterday, Bill and I visited the upper and lower falls of Yellowstone Park. We took the same route from Buffalo Bill State Park into the east entrance of Yellowstone, and saw many of the same things we saw when we went to visit Old Faithful last week…, but this time, we saw even more…

Like this buffalo walking right down the middle of the road..

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And, a little further down the road, this one was walking right along side of the road, and I got this picture through my rolled up window, as we passed it within just a couple of feet of our car… Wow, they are BIG, and AMAZING creatures to see…

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Then we came up upon this beautiful Elk grazing on the side of the road. Just as we got right in front of it, it raised its head as if to pose for this picture I captured.. Love it!

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Finally, we arrived at the upper falls of Yellowstone, shown in the next three pictures below. OMG, I was not prepared for the absolute beauty of this place…

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Next, we made our way to the lower falls area… The next two pictures are at the beginning of the lower falls. Again, so, so, beautiful.

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This area is called the “Grand Canyon” of the Yellowstone…

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Bill and I hiked the 1/4 mile to the lookout point… That is Bill, just ahead of me… I know…, he always says he has to “drag” me out on the hiking trails… Well, some of us know better than that… 🙂

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But, every step of the way of this little hike is absolutely, amazingly, beautiful..

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We ended our trip with a picnic lunch right there in the middle of all this beauty… As I was eating, and just taking in all the beautiful scenery around me… I felt my eyes starting to sting…and I found myself fighting back tears… Like so many of us that think we always have to keep our emotions and feelings in check so as not to put a damper on a beautiful, joyful, experience…I tried hard to not let my emotions show…

 In my younger years… I would have continued to do just that… but, instead, I looked at my loving husband, Bill, and said.. ” All of this is just so beautiful, and amazing to me, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to even be here to experience this… But, it also is making me sad right now as I ponder that our precious Shantel will never see any of this… and, if she were here… how would I ever explain just how beautiful all of this really is…? At that moment… I gave myself permission to just give into my emotions, and just cry…

When our precious, Shantel, lost her sight, both Bill and I asked, and offered, to give up our own eyes if they could be transplanted to allow her to see.. But that was not, and still is not, an option for Shantel..

So, as we continue to move forward with our lives… And every now and then, when I see something  “so beautiful, it makes  me cry…” I allow myself that “minute” as I revert back to my sighted guide days with Shantel, and wonder just how would I explain this kind of beautiful to her… ?

It was an amazing and beautiful day. I allowed myself the rare opportunity to have a good cry…,

I’m good now…, so ..Upper & lower falls 15

Stay Tuned!

It’s All The Hiking

Bill and I were out on the beautiful San Tan Hiking Trails by 6:30 A.M. this morning. We headed up Moonlight, crossed over to Stargazer, then came back down San Tan. With over 10,000 acres and 20 miles of beautiful trails sitting in our backyard, we enjoy a hike almost everyday.

This morning we were looking for an open saguaro cactus flower to take a picture of because one of our fellow park hosts, Shelagh (who is from Canada) has been looking for one for days on end. She walks and walks and can never find one open… Well, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she most likely won’t find one open in the heat of the day because they open at night and are closed by mid-day, which is usually when she is out looking for one to be open…

Bill and I traveled up and down several trails like this one,

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Searching and searching for an open saguaro cactus flower to take a picture of it for our friend Shelagh…

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Finally, we located one that was fully open for the first and only time. Because after they close, that same flower never opens again.. It is a beautiful sight to find an open saguaro flower in the daytime, and I’m sure there is some sort of special blessing one gets as they gaze upon it pondering it’s beauty…but I can’t confirm that.. Here you go Shelagh…this one is just for YOU!

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After we found the precious saguaro cactus, we continued along our way on the San Tan trails. We just love it here and in the early morning hours you often come across all different sorts of wildlife. But if not, as was our case today, you can sit on one of the several benches throughout the park and just take in all the beauty and sounds of nature at it’s finest…

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Isn’t it just beautiful? What a perfect way to start another perfect day here at San Tan Mountain Regional Park

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Now we are off to help one of our other park hosts, Robert, celebrate his 79th birthday. His wife Toni, is serving up lunch and cake and we will all share our birthday wishes for Robert, who I call Pappy. This celebration will be bitter-sweet because Robert and Toni decided this will be the last year they work/camp after 20 years on the road. They just want to relax now and enjoy their family. But they promised to come back and visit us and we will all look forward to that. We wish them well.

Oh, and by the way… Bill got the results of his yearly physical and blood work and the doctor said everything is good and his cholesterol is EXCELLENT!!! First time he ever got that kind of report… I smiled and said “I’m very proud of you, our retirement dream certainly agrees with you, and I believe “it’s all the hiking…”

Stay Tuned!

Believe It Or Not

As I continue to process the passing of my mother, and we continue to work through the details of final arrangements, i.e. Friday we picked out her casket and made the graveside service arrangements, Sunday, Bill and I went back to the Care Center to go through her personal things, i.e. clothes, pictures etc. because the room needs to be cleared for a new resident arriving soon, and of course we wanted to make sure the staff at the care center knows how much we appreciate all they did to care for my mother, so Bill and I took two large platters of cookies for the staff on both shifts as a way of thanking them for all they did to care for her. My brother, Danny, is having fruit of the month delivered to the care center staff every month for a year as his way of thanking them for the care they provided… Six years is a long time to live in a 24/7 skilled nursing home, and over those years we came to know and love the staff and the other residents…

When I walked into the room where my mother lived, and died, the bed was stripped and only her personal belongs remained. As I looked around the room I thought about how many times my mother told me, after my father died 10 years ago, that she just didn’t want to go on living without him… As I remembered those conversations, I sent out a little private request to my mother. I asked her to show me some kind of a sign, if she could, that would be unique to her, so I would know that she is at peace now and where she wants to be… I didn’t even mention to Bill that I made that silent request to my mother.

When Bill and I arrived home, he went into our room and turned on the races like he does every Sunday during racing season. I normally turn on music and listen to that while I prep and/or cook make ahead meals for the upcoming week. I never turn on the TV on Sunday’s because first of all there is nothing on that I care to watch. We don’t have Netflix or cable, so if you don’t care for sports of some sort… the choices are pretty slim. But for some reason, out of the blue, I decided I would see if there was anything I cared to watch on channel 45, a channel I rarely, if ever, watch. I have to say I was amazed to find that the movie “Dances with Wolves” starring Kevin Costner was just starting… Believe it or not, that movie was my mother’s all time favorite movie… Like me, my mother rarely watched a movie a second time, but she watched Dances with Wolves six times! I watched the entire movie and took comfort in choosing to believe that my mother was letting me know she is at peace, and exactly where she wants to be…

On behalf of my brother, Danny, and his family, and Bill and I and our family, I want to thank everyone for the messages, however sent, to let us know you are keeping us in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time in our lives. We very much appreciate your thoughtfulness.




Catching Up

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post. Not because I have nothing to say, but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and really focus on what I wanted to write about… I know, Bill and I are retired, and for many retired people that means having lots of extra time on their hands. But, that’s not how Bill and I choose to live our retirement years. No, we are making the most of every minute of our retirement, and making sure we are first, and foremost, having FUN!

We love our motorhome, and we love being able to work a few shifts per week in exchange for our space rent, utilities, and propane… Once we’ve covered our work commitment for the day/week, Bill and I love to come home and just relax together. Sometimes we put music on and dance, sometimes we cook together, sometimes we read together.. There are all sorts of “things” we love to do together now that we have the time, and have “found ourselves” again in our new retirement life.

Bill and I don’t feel the need to run all over the place in search of entertainment… Like many other’s have done, we spent the majority of our marriage running from one place to another as we worked in our careers, raised our children, helped our parents, and everyone we could…,

But now, it’s our time. Time for Bill and I to do what we want to do, when we want to do it etc… Believe me, if we let it happen, Shantel, and my mother, would have us running constantly everyday to be with them and/or help them take care of this or that…just like we did before we retired… But we stopped all that when we retired. We let both mom and Shantel know that we can no longer be there to meet their every need… We are going to travel in the summer and they need to know how to get things done without us then, and that can just as well carry over to the winter months when we are here. And guess what?? They managed just fine when we were gone all summer, and they manage just fine now too. So when we do see each other it’s really quality time together. Not time spent out of guilt and or resentment… It’s time we choose to spend together, and we make sure we do see each other at least once a week which is enough for grown adults don’t you think?

During my visit with my mother last week, I am happy to say that she is doing better in that she is not as paranoid but she is still very much living in her own little world… She told me that another resident, who happens to have dementia and is paranoid herself, wouldn’t talk to her and that upset her. My mother kept asking the resident what her name was but the woman wouldn’t answer her so my mother decided the woman didn’t know what her name is and my mother took it upon herself to “teach” the woman her name is Mary. My mother said every time she saw the woman, she would start telling her to say “my name is Mary” over and over and over again… until the woman finally started saying “my name is Mary.” Now the woman says that to everyone…. I asked one of the Aids if the woman’s name is really Mary and she said no, but your mother convinced her that her name is Mary so that is what we all call her now… OMG, I guess it’s all about whatever makes them happy… 🙂

When I talked to Shantel the other day she told me a story about yet another adventure she and her best friend, Jaz, had at the grocery store. Those two girls seem to always have one thing or another go wrong when they are shopping for Shantel’s groceries… Most of the time when they get the groceries back to Shantel’s apartment parking lot and are carrying the bags to her apartment, the bags break and Jaz ends up searching the parking lot for Shantel’s lost groceries that may roll under cars etc… This week they found out that Fry’s has new shopping carts that are designed to help keep people from stealing the carts from the store. Apparently, if you take the shopping cart too far away from the store, the wheels will all lock-up so you can’t move the cart… Well, after Shantel and Jaz finished buying Shantel’s groceries, and were about to leave the store to take the groceries to the car… for some reason as they left the store doors, all four wheels on the cart locked up and the girls had to carry the shopping cart, full of groceries, to the car.. Can you just imagine what a sight that must have been…?I thought I would die laughing when Shantel was telling me that story.. 🙂

I will close this post with some pictures of more beautiful hiking trails here at San Tan Mountain Reserve Park. Bill and I took a two-hour hike today, something we try to do at least four times a week… so beautiful, peaceful, and just a great way to, as a fellow hiker we met on the trails today put it today “put more years in your life and life in your years…”



One of the things we learned during our time here at San Tan is when you see a cactus under a tree or growing up within a tree is that the tree is called a “nursery tree” in that it protects the cactus until it is big enough to stand on its own, then the cactus helps support the tree… who knew?



We also learned that there is an invasive form of Holly that gets into many of our desert trees and takes over the tree and will eventually kill the tree…


Hard as it can be… what we love about the San Tan Trails is the diversity of the trails… Up hill and down hill… Here is Bill making his way up this steep incline. This is when we love our hiking sticks…


Just can’t say enough of how thankful Bill and I are to be retired, and living our retirement dream, this lifestyle might not work for everyone… but it couldn’t be more PERFECT for us! 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!




Christmas Smiles

Now that Bill and I are back in Arizona for the winter months, and are living at San Tan Regional Mountain Park which is an hour away from the care center where my mother lives, I only go to visit my mother once a week. For the last couple of weeks my mother has not been doing well. She has been very paranoid and fearful of everything. It got so bad that she wouldn’t leave her room for fear that someone was going to “kill” her in the hallway’s, dining room, or activity room…. I spoke to her doctor and requested that they either increase her medication that is supposed to reduce her anxiety and fearfulness, or give her something to sedate her and calm her down without putting her in a coma like state. Her doctor said she had “a lot of room” to increase her anxiety medication and ordered it increased and gave instructions to continue to increase it weekly until my mother showed signs of improvement. I don’t understand why they didn’t just increase her medication when mom first started showing signs of the severe anxiety/fearfulness. I don’t know what they would have done if I had not requested they do something to relieve her anxiety and fearfulness. I mean anyone that spends any amount of time with my mother, and actually listened to what she is saying, would know that her talking about people trying to kill her in the hallway, dining room, etc. is not normal, and something should be done to help relieve her fearfulness/anxiety…

Last week when I visited my mother she had not shown any signs of improvement even though her medication had been increased for the past two weeks… It’s very difficult to watch anyone go through so much agony within their own mind when your helpless to do anything to relieve their pain… All I could do was speak to her doctor and watch and pray for my mother to get some peace in her day’s… I don’t know how anyone can watch someone in that state of mind and not do something to help them. God help those who don’t have anyone looking in on them and speaking on their behalf. I’m not knocking the nursing staff at all. I know they do the best they can, but they are overworked, and the doctor only comes once a week.  So if your problem is “all in your head”, and you sit in your room, in your own little personal HELL,  and don’t cause any problems…you just don’t get all the attention you need…

Finally, today, after three weeks of watching her suffer through her paranoid state of mind… when I went to visit my mother she actually smiled at me, and even sang some Christmas songs when I took her to the activity room for the Christmas music entertainment. She even smiled when I took her to lunch, keep in mind she has advanced Parkinson’s which makes it difficult for her to show facial expressions, and she actually ate all her lunch, something she rarely does. I decided that was a Christmas gift from her to me… a “Christmas smile.” I’ll take it!


Then, when I got back to our motorhome rig at the ranch… I found another “Christmas smile.” We have beautiful tile floors in our motorhome that I just love, love, love… IN THE SUMMERTIME.. but oh baby.. when it’s as cold outside as it has been lately, including today… I don’t love, love, love them near as much… If you think tile floors can be cold in a house… you haven’t begun to know how cold they can be in a motorhome that is on wheels so all that cold, cold, air gets to encircle the entire coach and I mean those tiles get COLD!!!

So, what to do? Everyone knows I’m not about to suffer through being cold in my own home… No, and our motorhome heater warms the motorhome real well but those tiles are always cold… So we went out and bought an electric space heater that heats up those tile floors, and the space you are sitting in, and makes everything comfy and cozy… That’s right, it’s so comfy and cozy that even our princess cat, Carmen, can’t resist getting in on some of it… She just loves taking a nap in front of the nice warm space heater, and that brought another “Christmas smile” to my face… 🙂


We’re real happy with our space heater but we never leave it on when we are not home. Our neighbor’s, and fellow co-hosts, leave their space heater on low in their fifth-wheel RV for their two little dogs when they are not home, but I’m too afraid that something would happen and burn our whole motorhome down if I did that… But I do so love turning it on when we are home… 🙂

Hoping all of you are finding your own little “Christmas smiles” during this beautiful Christmas season and all the year through… If I’ve learned nothing else as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that it is truly the little things in life that make me the happiest of all…

I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you to everyone for following my blog as I document our life journey, especially written for our daughter Shantel to treasure as a written family photo album, and for any family and friends that enjoy reading my writing’s…

Merry Christmas!




A Time To Listen…

I went to visit my mother today and found her sitting alone in her wheelchair at the end of the hall near the nurses station. When I approached her, and bent down to give her a hug, she grabbed me and held onto my neck and said “oh Cindy, you got here just in time.” I asked her what I was just in time for and she said “they are going to kill all of us and we have to wait here and not move.” I asked her who was going to kill them and she said “we are all going to get killed right now and there is nothing we can do but sit here and wait.” With her dementia, this was Very real to her and she was VERY, VERY, upset. She said if she thought I was out there in the middle of all that she would have been even more scared than she already was.  I told her everything was going to be fine and told her that I was going to take her back to her room so we could visit.

When I got mom to her room she said ” you just don’t know what all is going on around here and it’s not safe for anyone to be here.” I noticed her roommates TV was on and the roommate was not in the room.  That TV is on every time I visit my mother and my mother has told me that the roommate leaves it on all day and night. As I sat there trying to calm my mother down, I heard the news broadcasting events of the attacks in Paris, and realized that my mother must have been listening to that news over the past couple days and translated that to the care center where she lives is being attacked and people are being killed there… So I asked the nurse if we could turn the TV off, which she did, and the nurse agreed that my mother might be hearing the news over and over, and with her dementia, she thinks it is all happening at the care center in real-time…

From the doorway of my mother’s room, she can see across the hall, and out the window of the resident across the hall from her. Outside that window is a storage lot for the care center. Beyond that, is a two-story apartment building, and my mother can see the upper floor balcony of that apartment building, and people that live in the apartments walking back and forth on that balcony as they come and go. I can clearly see that the building is an apartment, and the people walking on the balcony live there… However, my mother is convinced that the people on the balcony are soldiers, and they are watching the care center residents, and are ready to kill them at any moment… She even told me today that yesterday they had Jesus hanging on a big cross out there in the lot all day long. With tears in her eyes, she said “I just think that is awful, don’t you?” What could I say? There is no reasoning with my mother now. She is convinced that what she thinks she sees is real now, and any attempt to try to explain that what she thinks she sees, in reality just isn’t, just upsets her even more. So all I can do is listen to her and try to calm her as best as I can…

Today, in my attempt to calm her, I said “mom, when you get scared, or anxious, you know you can always just say your prayers and focus on that to help you calm down.” She said “I do, every morning, when I wake up, I look at the picture of Jesus on my wall and say, now listen, today has to be a good day because I can’t stand all this commotion so if you help me I’ll help you.” OMG, I can just hear my mother saying that to Jesus… and I’m sure he smiles and just listens

Stay Tuned!

Homecoming with Mom – 2015

So I went to see my mother yesterday at the Care Center where she lives. As I approached her room I saw her in deep thought as she was going through her night stand drawers. When I entered her room I said “good morning mom” and she looked up at me with a look of great surprise on her face and said “Cindy, oh, I’m so happy to see you, how did you get here?”

I reminded her that we are back in Arizona and that I will be coming to see her every week now. She was very happy to hear that, then immediately asked me if I thought her eyes looked crossed to me… I said “no, why mom?” She said because I feel like my eyes are crossed. Well that prompted me to take a closer look at her glasses, and sure enough, she had on a pair of glasses that I knew were not hers! I know my mother has two pair of glasses and I know what both look like and the ones she had on were definitely NOT hers… So I told mom that I didn’t think she had on her own glasses. She said “well, these are the glasses that were on my table (night stand) so I put them on…

I looked in my mother’s night stand, found her two pair of glasses, cleaned them, and put one pair of them on her…, Then she said “OH!, that is much better… Then I found the duty nurse and told her that my mother somehow came in contact with her roommate’s glasses and I wanted to return them… The duty nurse laughed and said “oh that happens all the time now, they think they can share everything… I didn’t even want to know what else they share so I didn’t ask…

About an hour into our visit it was time for my mother to go to lunch. I pushed her in her wheelchair to the lunchroom where I was greeted by the Dietician who told me that my mother’s weight is now 135 lbs. She said that is a significant weight loss for my mother. When Bill and I left to go to Utah last May, my mother’s weight was 157 lbs. So she lost 22 lbs since we have been gone. I was asked what I thought about that, and I said “my mother just wants to be kept comfortable, and she doesn’t want to know what is going on with her health, or why she is loosing so much weight.”

Mom looks good, well as good as she can considering her condition…, she recognized me, and was able to talk to me in short sentences… But it was a struggle for her to tell me what she needed, and what she thought went wrong while I was gone…  I didn’t ask what went wrong while I was gone but she started a couple of times to tell me that something happened… but she couldn’t remember… The only reason I am sharing this on my blog is for family and friends that want to know how she is doing… She is doing as good as can be expected… but the reality is she is in her final stage of life and I don’t want anyone to have false hope… She is not going to get any better… and in fact, when I visit mom, she tells me she is tired and just wants to go be with dad…

But while I was visiting with my mother she told me that she gets something for breakfast that is thick and creamy, and she isn’t sure she likes it …. I asked her if it was oatmeal? She said “I think so, but I don’t like it.” I said “mom you and dad had oatmeal every morning when dad was alive and you ate it and said dad said “it’s good for you.” She said “well, yes, dad said it was good for us, and he also drank vinegar every morning saying that was good for us…, but I wouldn’t drink that… and I’m still here and he is not, so what does that tell you?”

Well, all I can say is my mother is 89 years old, what she likes to call the “matriarch of the family…, and she says she never gave into all those “hoky-poky” things dad wanted her to do like drink vinegar, eat oatmeal… and she is still here… must mean something… what do you think?

Stay Tuned!




Whatever Makes You Happy!

Even if it seems strange to others… If it’s not hurting anyone, and you’re having fun, I say go for it…Because “it’s all good!” Right?

That said, I just couldn’t help getting a closer look, and doing some investigating, into one of the “campers” that visited Quail Creek this week.

It all started when I was sitting at our dining room table in our motorhome on one of my days off and I saw a man driving a Porsche around and around the campground. He appeared to be lost. He drove through the campground three times then drove back up the hill toward the gate booth. Normally I wouldn’t think anything about that because people often drive through the campground to see which campsites are not reserved, then they choose an unreserved spot and set up their tent etc. and then drive back to the gate booth to pay the overnight camping fee and receive the window sticker for their vehicle. But in the five months we have been here at Quail Creek, I have never seen anyone come camping in a Porsche… I don’t mean to judge anyone… but I found that to be just a bit strange…

So then, about a half hour after the man in the Porsche drove off towards the gate booth, he came back again and parked in a campsite that our motorhome overlooks. By this time I was very intrigued, and wanted to see what this man was going to do… I mean, how often do you see someone go camping in a Porsche? He wasn’t pulling a trailer and didn’t have anything on top of the car like a rack to carry a tent… No, in fact, the Porsche was a convertible!

So now I’m really interested in what this man is going to do in his campsite, with his Porsche and no tent… Call me a Nib-nose… like Bill does all the time… but I just couldn’t help myself.. I had to see what this guy was all about. So I hurried and grabbed my binoculars, and camera, and had a great time watching this man set the table in his campsite up with all sorts of interesting figurines… Take a look at what I witnessed and let me know what you think.

He parked his little Porsche and started taking bag after bag of “stuff” out and carried it all over to the table… I thought he was taking groceries out and was going to start cooking… but No…


Each bag was full of all sorts of figurines, battery operated candles, crosses, etc. that he placed with great care on the table that he had covered with a blue and while table-cloth.


Well, my curiosity got the better of me so I called down to the gate booth and asked my friend Jackie if she knew anything about the man in the campsite with a Porsche.. Jackie told me that when he paid his fee for the campsite he also asked to buy some firewood. While Jackie was unlocking the firewood cage, the man started telling her some of his life story. He told Jackie that when he was younger he worked in a Bar and a Strip Joint, lived in California and got into some trouble there. Eventually he got his act together, put himself through college and eventually became a District Judge in Florida for 25 years!! He said he travels over seas a lot and has been all over the world. But now he is here in Quail Creek for the Sr. Games that are being held six miles away in St. George Utah. He told Jackie he swims in the Sr. Games and swam 20 miles around Catalina Island.  I asked Jackie if he seemed odd when she was talking to him. She said no, but he was missing his two front teeth…

Wow… what an interesting life to match the interesting and unique figurines he displayed on his campsite table…Figurines I just had to see up close. So the following day, while the man was in St. George at the Sr. Games I walked past his campsite and captured these close-up pictures of some of his figurines. I didn’t go into his campsite, I just stood in front of it and took pictures.

Take a closer look… 🙂





I wanted so badly to talk to the man myself, but he is gone all day and when he comes in at night, he lights a campfire and sits at the table reading… I checked the reservation book and found out he is leaving tomorrow so I’ve pretty much missed any chance of talking to him…

As I write this blog post, he is in St. George at the Sr. Games, and I can see his campsite table is still set just the way he arranged it the first day he arrived. And for the entire week he has been here, he never put up a tent. I can’t imagine he slept in his little Porsche… the man is at least 6 feet tall, so I have no idea where he is sleeping. Bill said perhaps he has a sleeping bag he gets into under the table… maybe, who knows… and it really doesn’t matter… as long as he is doing whatever makes him happy… Right?

Stay Tuned!

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

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On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With Pets

The Brantley Blog

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the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random in

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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