Friday, March 31, 2006

10:20 AM Friday March 31, 2006

Ardella’s chemo is finished and she really wanted to go fishing so we drove our motorhomes south of Payson and are boondocking on the shore of Lake Roosevelt. As I said I would do from now on, I DROVE the Lone Ranger and followed Penny the Pace. That made for a nice calm ride for me and Phil didn’t have to listen to my histrionics as he maneuvered our rolling home down the 6 % downgrades. From my vantage point, Penny seemed to take it all in stride which makes me very happy but I still like being in the truck, behind her.

Friends of theirs followed us and pulled their newly refurbished and roomy (24’) pontoon boat down and Phil and Don are out fishing this morning. The temperature as I begin writing this blog entry (at 9:30 AM) is at 64 degrees already with a slight breeze and some sunshine along with high clouds. With our solar panels, dish TV and satellite Internet, we are very comfortable actually (however, we have minimal cell phone service) and if all works as planned while we’re here, maybe we’ll be inclined to boondock more often
Parked on the shore of Lake Roosevelt. Ardella and Don's motorhome on the left and our Penny the Pace on the right. Posted by Picasa
Don talking to his friends that pulled his big pontoon boat down to the lake for us.  Posted by Picasa
Backing the boat into the water takes all four guys ... how men love their toys! Posted by Picasa
Phil and Donald are going fishing!  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The hummers love the feeder but the bees found it this morning. The birds are afraid of the bees but they still try and sneak in for a drink. Online instructions say to move the feeder because the insects are not the smartest critters in the food chain and will have difficulty finding it again. We've moved it twice and so far so good. Posted by Picasa
Don and Ardella's pontoon boat sporting the new bimini top Phil helped install. The boat is ready to go fishing in Lake Roosevelt just as soon as we are ... hopefully next week if Ardella continues to feel good. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

12 32 PM Wednesday March 22, 2006

Happy 67 th Birthday Ardella!

Yesterday was a great day and although it was chemo day, it was the LAST treatment and the doctor had some good news. Her newest blood work is stable and the liver tumor appears to be shrinking. We partnered with Teena and Randy to decorate the house with birthday crepe paper and Ardella’s daughter, Valerie brought a huge bouquet of helium Happy Birthday balloons (and two homemade lemon meringue pies) before her mother returned from the treatment center. Grandson Rick was busily installing their new front door on the porch and Randy was replacing the old toilet with a newer model in son, Jason’s bathroom. Phil and Don with Teena’s help finally corralled the fiber-optic Christmas tree that had been sitting on the porch since the holidays and put it away in the garage the day before so all her “to do” projects were getting done. That brought a big smile to her face when she came in the door!

Teena worked off and on during the afternoon preparing her famous hamburger stroganoff and my job was baking two pumpkin pies, cooking the fresh asparagus in the steamer, making a huge fresh fruit compote and heating the delicious potato rolls. Phil chipped in washing several sinks full of dishes and pots and pans during dinner prep and afterwards as well. Fortunately, Safeway is only a block away because Phil, Randy and Don made several trips for additional and forgotten ingredients but it all came together as planned and the house was full of Ardella’s friends, family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren by dinner time, about 25 people in all. When we left about 9 PM, Ardella was at the kitchen table playing cards with Randy, Teena and Valerie while they listened to her beloved Phoenix Suns play basketball on TV. She was so happy to be feeling good enough to enjoy this perfect day.

Here are a few pictures … not the best quality but I was so busy and the light was so bad, this is as good as they get.

Ardella's brother, Randy from Washington state visiting Payson to help celebrate her birthday! Posted by Picasa
L-R: Son Stan's youngest (can't remember his name), son Jason, Stan and Don.  Posted by Picasa
Son, Darrin and his wife Kristen. Posted by Picasa
Granddaughter, Sunshine (in glasses) with three of her four daughters and brother-in-law, Jonathan. Posted by Picasa
Ardella's children gave her a beautiful new white gold and diamond wedding ring set to replace the over-the-top set she bought for herself many years ago (as an investment during better days) but will soon be selling on ebay. This is necessary to help defer the extremely high expenses of her medicines and diminishing health. The new set although smaller will have much more meaning! Posted by Picasa
Our birthday gifts of a box of frozen lobster tails and a Finch bird feeding sock were a hit! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 19, 2006

11:11 AM Sunday March 19, 2006

I consider myself a writer, albeit unpublished (unless you consider my Blog). This opinion has been a known part of my life since I received my first diary at 15 years old. There is nothing I would rather be doing than sitting in front of my computer—writing (it was my typewriter before that and before that longhand in a spiral notebook not to mention the thousands of lengthy epistles to anyone foolish enough to write me a note). I am overtly curious and obsessively detail oriented noticing what might seem inconsequential to others and often taking notes so I’ll remember to seek answers (when I have time—how I love the search engines) to the varied questions that pop into my mind as each day proceeds. I call myself an “information junkie” and for me, the Internet is to research what slicing at the bakery was to store-bought white bread.

Before the development of the Internet, in order to travel like Phil and I are doing today, I would have felt compelled to carry a library of research books on board our motorhome and the public libraries along the way would have been essential stops because my need to know is ever present and sometimes overpowering. Having our Internet satellite connection and two computers has nullified those requirements and once we realized this as a bona fide option (even considering the cost), it was “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” I told Phil I needed just two things to go fulltime in an RV: A slide-out and the Internet and once we had both; this girl was a happy camper. Of course, I amended that list and added television (another form of research for me) but if you’re a regular reader, that’s a story you already know.

So-o-o-o-o, I’m thinking of adding a second blog to my “bag of tricks”. This new site could be where I can explore with the ultimate tool (words) other experiences (personal or newly discovered) beyond travel. These thoughts are still in their infant stage but I’m hoping to get some feedback from you, dear readers. Do you have an opinion? I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

11:35 AM Saturday March 18, 2006

For a “travel blog”, we’re not doing much traveling lately, are we?

Ardella’s brother Randy and sister-in-law Tina were due to arrive late last night (after we left and came home to the RV park) and plan to stay for a week. Phil and I will try not to intrude on their family time together if that’s possible. My worry is that Ardella will try and do too much while they’re here because she’s always been a wonderful hostess in the past and knowing her, (because she’s feeling better) she will attempt to do the same for them. Hopefully, her brother will quickly recognize that try as she might, she just isn’t able to cook and entertain as before and will not let her overdo.

Back to travel plans. We hope to take some time to sketch out the next leg of our adventure and set a tentative time for leaving Payson this weekend. When we leave here, we want to spend some time in Yuma, AZ (to visit family and enjoy some real desert weather) then make a short stop in Las Vegas (again, to visit family—my cousin Buster in Henderson, NV—and hopefully take in a show or two) then back to WA by early to mid-May.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

9:34 PM Wednesday March 15. 2006

After receiving two units of blood, Ardella has been feeling better each day—just in time for her next chemo treatment on this coming Tuesday. Although she hasn’t lost all her hair (and may not they tell her) her daughter, Valerie has been looking for a wig to fit her mother and so far, this is what she’s found.
Well ... maybe not ... Posted by Picasa
Oh yes, this one is much better! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 12, 2006

3:07 PM Sunday March 12, 2006

Who woulda thunk it? Snowed in—in Arizona! After nearly 140 days of drought and 70 degree weather, Phil and I arrive in Payson and voilĂ  … rain in the valley (Phoenix and surrounding area) and 18” of snow in Payson. As Elvis would have said, “Thank you … thank you very much!!” We told them we would bring an end to their worries when we arrived and they didn’t believe us.

We’ve had no Internet since 11 PM last Friday night when the storm clouds moved in. Then, by Saturday morning, our datastorm dish was covered with snow so still no signal. This afternoon, my HERO got up on the roof (risking life and limb), cleared the snow away and when the sky cleared we were online again!

Right now, the sun is shining and the temperatue is up to 38 degrees. The snow will melt fast at that rate. Our winter of 2006 trip to Arizona has turned into quite an adventure.

Looking out Penny's front window, this is what we woke up to on Saturday (3-11-06) morning.  Posted by Picasa
Penny the Pace with her blanket of snow on Saturday morning. She kept us warm and toasty in spite of the cold.  Posted by Picasa
My HERO!  Posted by Picasa
We filled a feeder for the hungry hummingbirds. It was empty and hanging next door beside an unoccupied travel trailer so we cleaned and filled it. The birds were as surprised by the snow as we were and looking for food this morning. Posted by Picasa
Phil clearing a path to the Lone Ranger with our broom. Part of the snow on top is our boat; so far, we have accumulated 16" here in Oxbow RV Park (which is closed by the way).  Posted by Picasa
So much for sitting outside in sunny Arizona! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

12:41 PM Wednesday March 8, 2006

It's snowing here at our RV park! It's not a "serious" snow and there is rain mixed in but still it is real snow. So much for warm Arizona weather ... more cold weather in the forecast for the rest of the week. I can hear our friends up north laughing their heads off ... that will teach us to brag about the wonderful weather here in Payson!
Out to lunch on Tuesday, March 7th, Don is showing off his favorite appetizer, "Texas Toothpicks". They are jalapeno pepper and onion strips, breaded and deep fried. Delicious!  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

11:30 AM Wednesday March 1, 2006

The probable rain hasn’t materialized. Yesterday afternoon, going from Penny to the Ranger we felt about four drops and that was it! 135 days have passed now without measurable rain in this part of Arizona. As a long time Washington resident, it’s hard to comprehend how any of this vegetation survives but somehow—it does! On the other hand, the native grasses (which look dead) and the cedars and pines (that are still green) are all tinder dry, the fire danger is “extreme” and a burn ban is in effect everywhere. We’ve heard there have been three fires already and unless they get some rain, there’s bound to be more. I have to admit, it makes me a bit nervous but we have the advantage of being able to move our rolling home out of harms way with just a few minutes notice.

By the way, when we were here last year Phil and I were both affected by the altitude. Nothing serious but we were definitely aware of the difference. This year … nothing. Isn’t that odd?