Christmas 2017

We are all fixed up and ready to celebrate this wonderful season with little touches of Christmas throughout our tiny home. We have a tiny Christmas tree that looks so pretty lit up at night. And Bill loves the little Santa bucket filled with Christmas chocolates. ūüôā

Our tiny Santa’s hang above the dashboard between our Santa hats and they keep a close eye on who is naughty or nice… I love the center piece on the dashboard. I put tiny light in it that are battery operated and I can set them to stay on or blink. So pretty at night.

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas for us without the Virgin Mary sitting on the sofa shelf along with another metal Christmas tree that has tiny ornaments on it, and beside that, is our Poinsettia Centerpiece.

Even my favorite wine, Butter, is decked out with a Christmas scarf and hat…

 

Can’t forget the bathroom with the marching soldiers soap and snowflake kleenex box…

 

And the Santa rug in front of the shower will make sure we all have a goodnight!

 

Bill and I will keep Christ in our Christmas because we know Jesus is the reason for the season. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas season from our home to yours.

Stay Tuned!

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Shantel’s First Thanksgiving

Well, actually, it was not her “first” Thanksgiving, but it was the first Thanksgiving she hosted in her home. And Bill and I were the lucky guests of honor.

Shantel lives alone, in a small, one bedroom apartment. Being blind, she doesn’t want a lot of “stuff” to have to get around, and she likes to keep things simple… She has a sofa and coffee table in her living room area that she purchased when she moved into her apartment.

And she just bought a small table for her dining room area special for hosting her first Thanksgiving. She said she bought the cloth tablecloth and place settings to make her table look “festive” for us… We thought it looked beautiful!

As soon as we arrived, Shantel got to work washing the turkey and getting it ready to go into the oven.

When the turkey was in the oven, she sat down at the table and entertained her Papa and I by telling us all about some of the crazy phone calls she monitors and scores on her job…

When it was time, she asked her Papa to peel the potatoes and pass then over to her to cut up to make the mashed potatoes.

Shantel has excellent knife skills, and had five pounds of potatoes cut up in no time at all. My, my, that girl loves mashed potatoes…

She delegated the making of the green bean casserole to me.

When the potatoes were cooked, she went to work mashing them with her hand mixer.

She asked her Papa to help make the gravy to ensure there were no lumps…

Then she pulled the perfectly cooked turkey from the oven, YUM!

And just like that… winner, winner, her turkey dinner was served…

After dinner, she served up some of her homemade apple pie she made the night before including making her own pie crust…

Everything was DELICIOUS, and we are so very proud, and thankful, to have been the guests of honor in Shantel’s home for the hosting of her very first Thanksgiving dinner.

Great Job Shantel. Thank you for everything. Keep shining your light brightly. We love you and are looking forward to Christmas Eve dinner with you too…

*Note to readers: I haven’t posted any blogs for the past few months because we hit the floor running when we arrived back here at McDowell Mountain Park. Then, shortly after we arrived, I had to have some surgery on my right eye to have a growth removed. I’m still recovering, but doing well, but it has been difficult for me to focus to take pictures, and to work on the computer for any length of time to write the blog posts. That, and the fact that I need to stay out of direct sunlight, and wind, for the next month or so, means we haven’t been doing very many hikes, and the hikes we do take are short and not anything I haven’t shown before on my blogs… I’m sure I will find lots of things to write about over the holidays…so

Stay Tuned!

Bandon Oregon

After Bill and I attended 10:30 a.m. Mass this morning in Bandon, we went to try a fish & chip place our supervisor, Ranger, Patrick, told us about in Bandon, called the Bandon Fish Market.

 

This is a tiny little place with only about five tables inside and some benches on the outdoor patio. There is a constant line of people, that wraps around the building, waiting to get in to order their baskets of fish etc. When we saw all the people Bill and I were hoping this was going to be as good as Patrick told us it was, and it was!

Bill and I love fish and chips, and we both agreed that this was some of the best we’ve ever had. YUMMERS! They give you huge portions, six pieces of fish, and a seemingly bottomless box of fries, as well as coleslaw or garlic toast on the side. It was delicious, and we will definitely go back for more sometime.

After lunch, we walked around Old Town Bandon. What an adorable little place it is. We visited this little shop that is attached to Tony’s Crab Shack.¬†¬†We asked the man behind the counter to tell us about the crabbing¬†pots (big wire basket looking things stacked in the front of the store), they have for rent outside the shop, and about the crabbing season. He explained that in the summer, usually towards the middle or end of summer, is when the larger male crabs come in towards the pier, and are more readily available for catching in the pots. He said there is a size limit and you have to release anything that isn’t the right size… He said you can purchase a crabbing license, rent a pot(s) and go crabbing right off the pier behind the store. And when you catch your crabs, Tony’s Crab Shack will even cook them up for you if you don’t want to take them home and cook them yourself.. How cool is that?

 

This little shop also sells every kind of colorful whirly things you can imagine.

All up and down the pier you can find all sorts of interesting boat dock related things to explore.

And, they have all sorts of wood carved figurines placed all around the pier as well.

In the middle of the pier, they have an enclosed area with all kinds of unique wood carved furniture.

This weekend the pier was also showcasing a local grade school’s art work project.

There were sea gulls flying overhead, and I was hopping one would drop a feather or two, because I’m trying to find some feathers from different kinds of birds for my frister who needs them for some of her special art projects. So far no luck…but I keep looking…

The streets of Old Town Bandon are lined with one of a kind little shops, and all the stores seem to be adorned with the most beautiful flowers.

If the men folk get tired of shopping with the ladies… they even have special waiting areas outside the shops just for them…

It was a really fun day exploring the Old Town Bandon area. Before we left, I did purchase¬†a colorful three tiered whirly wheel to decorate our little campsite yard. Now, if I had about six more colorful whirly things to place around our campsite, we might look like we fit in with all the other camp hosts that come here every summer.. Ha! I did find a really cool, colorful windsock that said “Happy Hour” on it, but I wasn’t about to pay $24.00 for a windsock. Nope, I’m just as happy with my colorful little whirly wheel.

Just before we were ready to leave Bandon, I stopped in the restroom, and captured this note someone wrote on the inside of the¬†restroom door.. While I don’t think it’s at all nice to write on anyone’s property, since it was already there, I thought it was a nice thought, and so I will leave you with it too..

Stay Tuned!

Play Day

Today, Bill and I just decided to take a drive through Cottonwood, and Clarkdale, and just stop and explore anything that caught our eye. No agenda, no time schedule, just Bill and I being absolutely foot loose and fancy free.

The first thing of interest that caught our attention was this place, called, Simply Amazing Plaza. The lime green and yellow horse-drawn buggy sitting out front got my attention right from the get-go.

There were life-size metal horses, out in front of the building, with metal cowboys riding them, and shooting their guns in every direction.

Lots of painted metal flowers, cactus, and pots, to decorate your yard, if you have a yard to decorate. But still, they were all very pretty, and if I had a yard to decorate I would have it full of pretty stuff like this.

Even a full size carved Indian sits on the front porch, with his big purple, green, and yellow, metal bird, to welcome you as you enter the building. And for a special price of $200.00, you can take him home.

Moving on, we ventured into the historic downtown area of Clarkdale. What a cozy little hometown feel this little town has, with flowers hanging in pots outside the store fronts, and several little outdoor cafe type places to eat. The Paradise Point Cafe offers Homemade Deserts, Organic Coffees & Teas, and Therapeutic Massage. ¬†Now doesn’t that sound interesting…?

Bill and I had a good time laughing, and debating, over this sign at the end of the street that reads “Surely Not everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting! We don’t really know, what do you think?

Moving on down the road, we came upon Larry’s Antiques Shop. The thing that caught our eye here was this rusty old car with a skeleton behind the steering wheel. A fun place to visit, but my all time favorite so far, is still Sweet Peas Antiques that just happens to be a couple of miles from our RV Park.

Well, by now we were getting hungry, so we decided to try the Town Tavern & Grill.

When we were seated at our table, the waiter brought us thin bread sticks and a little bit of herb butter to snack on while we waited for our lunch.

Bill ordered the Prim Rib Dip, with fries, and a side of horseradish.

I had the southwestern hamburger on sourdough, with jack cheese, green chilies, and sweet potato fries. Very good, but I could only eat half, because the portions are way BIG.

On our way home we stopped at Wal-Mart, and purchased a Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven. We have a Microwave/Convection Oven in our RV, and I love it for microwaving, but not for baking. I really missed having an oven that actually browns food that you want browned. This little jewel can be used as a bake oven, convection oven, rotisserie oven with rotisserie tools included, and it also broils, and is a toaster oven. What more can anyone ask out of one little over. I have it all set up outside on a table, and will bake a meatloaf in it for our dinner tonight.

Bill and I are getting this relax and play time down REAL good… We are having so much fun just pilfering our day’s away together, doing lots of nothing, but turning nothing into having so much fun.

Stay Tuned!

Christmas 2016

Anyone that knows me, knows, I LOVE Christmas. I love everything about it. I love decorating our home, cooking special holiday meals to share with family and friends that come to visit us, and going to visit family and friends that invite us into their Christmas celebrations…

When Bill and I were still living in our home with Shantel, I went all out decorating for Christmas. I had Christmas decorations in every room of our home as well as having the outside of our home lit up and decorated.  For me, and my family, Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. For us, Jesus is the reason for the season.

That said, when I host a celebration of a birth, or birthday, of someone I care about, I always what to make sure in addition to the food we will share, that I decorate our home as best I can to show how much that person means to me…

Well, now that Bill and I are full-time RVers, of course I don’t have room for all the beautiful decorations I displayed when we had our home in Chandler. In fact, we had to leave years of decorations, and memories, I collected behind, because I just don’t have room to carry them around with me… And, more importantly, when Bill and I made the decision to go full-time RV, I decided I wanted to let go of ¬†past “stuff”, knowing I don’t need “stuff” to remind me of past memories… I will always keep those memories in my heart.

So…, I decided I wanted Bill and I to start new memories when we started this new retirement life. With that, I knew I still want to celebrate, and decorate for Christmas, but on a much smaller scale…

*Note to readers: I write my blog for our daughter, Shantel, who lost her sight to cancer when she was two. So I always try to explain each picture in as much detail as I can so she can get an idea of the pictures I post.. Her phone has voice-over that will read to her what is written.  I also love that our sighted family and friends enjoy reading my blog, and I especially love it when you leave your comments..

Welcome to Christmas in our home, 2016, at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

On the side table between the two reclining chairs, I have a Santa bucket (little red and white bucket with a black Santa belt in the middle) holding candy canes. I also put some Christmas flowers, and ornament that says seasons greetings.

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We have a small green metal Christmas tree that has little tiny Christmas ornaments attached to it.

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I hung a Santa hat from one of the fans in our RV.

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And a center piece with evergreens, pine cones, and berries that sits on the dash of our RV.

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I put a Santa face bath rug in front of our shower that is mostly red(hat), white (beard), and green (background).

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A snowflake tissue box, and cinnamon scented pine cones, are spread throughout our home giving off a warm and inviting holiday smell.

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I placed a second Santa hat above the bathroom sink, hung over the hand towel holder. Not to worry, we have a paper towel holder on the bathroom sink to wipe your hands..

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I flipped our bedroom comforter to show the red/green plaid, and placed your childhood favorites, Velveteen Rabbit and Hug-a-muffin, (that you said you didn’t need anymore when you moved from our home to your own place, but I just couldn’t leave behind after all they saw us through…) on our bed. I will NEVER give them up!

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And finally, this is a picture of the reclining chairs in our home( where you sit when you travel with us) which is the area I most use to decorate for the holiday’s . ¬†It shows most of what I described to you above as far as the main living area… Can’t ¬†wait to spend Christmas Eve at your apartment, along with your best friend, and our dear friends, Jaz, Holly and Chuck.

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And this next picture is just for my frissy. She loaned me a Nikon camera so I could practice taking pictures with a “big girl” camera. And, because she loves abstract photography, this is my attempt at a close-up of our little metal Christmas tree with the little tiny ornaments..

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We are ready, and anxious, to celebrate Christmas with our family and friends.. Let the fun of the season begin!!!

Stay Tuned!

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Now that we are all settled into our campsite at McDowell Mountain Park, I took my morning walk and captured a few pictures of what this park has to offer. McDowell Mountain Park is about four-times larger than San Tan Park, with what I am told offers over 22 thousand acres of land, and approx. 80 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback ridding, as well as about 80 campsites for RV’s, and I think they have about 10 tent campsites as well. I have not been given the “official” documentation of the park to study yet, but you can bet when I get that information, I will memorize all that information so I can share it with our visitors when I’m working the entry station booth…

The sun was just coming up over four peaks mountain as I started out this morning. What a beautiful sight. This is what we see every morning from the front window of our motorhome. I never get tired of watching the sun rise over those mountains.

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I didn’t hike the trails this morning, but instead, I walked the paved road that goes around the campground where we live. This area is called Pemberton Loop Drive. As I walked along I saw lots of quail scurrying across the road. I love the quails especially when they are with their little babies. They run fast and are hard to capture when they are on the move. But I did manage to capture a picture of one before it got across the road and into the bushes…

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I don’t know what kind of bird this is in the next picture, but it was perched in the top of this tree (not a great picture but if you look closely you can see it), and it was singing the most beautiful tune as I walked by.

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Of course the mighty saguaro cactus makes its appearance by the thousands throughout the park.

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But one of my favorite cactus is the beautiful, and graceful, ocotillo cactus. When this cactus is in bloom it is just fabulous!

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The park offers visitors the opportunity to purchase memorial benches, for their loved ones that have passed, and have them places in different locations throughout the park.

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As far as the eye can see in any direction here in the park, there are trails that take you through miles and miles of beautiful desert. With trails for every level of hiker, mountain biker or horseback rider. ¬†From flat walking trails to more slightly elevated moderate trails, to the more difficult and challenging trails for more experienced and adventurous folks…

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After about 45 minutes of walking and enjoying the quiet of the morning desert, with the exception of a few coyotes howling in the distance…, I returned back home to our little slice of heaven in the desert.

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This will be our home for the winter. We love our space here. This is where we will spend our mornings watching the sun rise, and our evenings watching the sun set. Where we welcome family, and long-time friends, and where we will make new friends along the way. Our home… welcome to it!

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Stay Tuned!

That 1%

While Bill and I were working one of our shifts in the Fee Booth/Nature Center at San Tan Mountain Regional Park this week, I encountered a woman who became my 1% of the public that came in pissed off, and wanted to spew her hate and discontent on the first person she came in contact with, which just happened to be “yours truly…” me!

This woman received a “failure to pay notice on her car because she came into the park, parked her car, and went hiking the trails without paying the $6.00 fee. When she returned from her hike, she stormed into the Nature Center waving her failure to pay ticket in the air, and without regard to any of the other customers in the Nature Center, she started her rant about how do we expect people to pay when the fee booth wasn’t open (we open at 8:00 a.m.) and she didn’t have the cash because if we knew anything… we would know that no one carries cash these days…

Bill was working with another customer who was buying an annual pass, so I mentioned to the woman that when people don’t have the cash, they can put their credit card information on the self-pay envelope and deposit it into the self-pay locked box, or I told her that if she uses the park often perhaps she might want to purchase an annual pass. Well, that set her off like a cannon, and she threw her arms up in the air and shouted “oh no, you are not going to force me to buy your annual pass”. I said ” I’m not trying to force you to buy anything, I’m simply letting you know how you can use the park without paying in cash”. At that point she tossed her credit card on the counter and said “just process this ticket and let me get out of here”. I ran her credit card which failed to go through twice then I let her know her card failed to go through. She said “well I have another one and stormed out the door to her car. When she returned she literally threw the card at me and said just get this ticket paid and let me get out of here and I will never be back here again. She went on to say “I pay taxes and you still want to charge me to walk around in your park”. I tried to let her know that San Tan is a county park and is not supported by any tax dollars. All park fees go directly towards the upkeep and maintenance of the park. I also told her that most of the staff working in the park are volunteers. She said “well your volunteering your time for the wrong place” and out the door she went!

What I wanted to say to that woman was ” I can see that you are having a really bad day, and we want our customers to come here to this park and enjoy the experience, and nature…, so I’m going to let this ticket be on me and I will take care of it for you because it just isn’t worth $6.00 to let this ruin your day or mine… so if you will just go out and try to spread a little joy into your surroundings instead of leaving here with all the anger, I will pay your ticket myself”. However, before I could get a word in edgewise, she stormed out shouting that she would never be back again. All I could get out was “I hope the rest of your day is wonderful”. Thank God it really is only 1% of the public that ever come in acting like that woman. When someone acts like that, it not only makes your day less fun, but I would think she had to have left there feeling miserable within herself… I can’t imagine anyone acting like that and feeling good about it… Just my thoughts..

But, on a happy note…

The very next day Bill and I made a trip to Scottsdale to pick up our medications. While we were there we stopped off in Fountain Hills to pick up our mail, and have a quick visit with our dear friends Holly and Chuck. Chuck wasn’t there because he was working. Holly was working too, but she works from home and we made arrangements to arrive at her lunch hour so we could get a short visit in with her.

Just before we had to leave to get back to San Tan, Holly surprised me with this adorable birdcage welcome sign she got me as a gift for our new winter home outside space when we get back to McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills.

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And check this out… it lights up! How cute is that! Thank you Holly. I just love it, it makes me smile every time I look at it…, and I love you too!

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And speaking of things that make me smile, we got the word from the East Side County Parks Superintendent that we are needed back at McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills. They are gearing up for their busy season… So, the Superintendent told the Supervisor here at San Tan that he needs to be ready to let us return to McDowell Mountain Regional Park by the end of October!

We were happy to come here to San Tan and help out while we could. But now we are anxious to get back to McDowell Mountain Regional Park, get settled in, and get our outside living space fixed up there, because that will be our winter home going forward.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

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