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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December 2019

I can't believe this is the last month of the year and even more that, it's the last month of this decade.
But time marches on and here we are.

I had either made or bought "advent" calender's for our family for the past few years.
They had been given their 2019 packages at Thanksgiving so they could begin opening their daily presents on December 1st.
I think this is about the most fun thing I do every year.
It is hard to come up with 24 gifts for each person, and I have to say I take a few short cuts and double up on items sometime, but it really is a fun thing for me to put together.
Cash got his usual Harry Potter Advent. (pre-packaged)
Cooper got a custom one that I came up with and packaged.
Heather got a supply of different jams and jellies (pre-packaged)
Anthony got all types of skin and beard stuff (pre-packaged as well)
Louie and Chuck got a 24 day supply of Hershey kisses. (pre-packed)
Last but not least was one I made for my mom.
The Terra Cotta Nativity set that I purchased on one of our many trips to Algodones was the catalyst for this Advent gift.
It was a blast listening to her open  the first few days of the gifts up.
She really had me laughing when on the second day I asked her what she got in her gift and she told me she thought it was a "foot"!
Image result for cartoon footI knew what I had given her and I sure as heck knew there wasn't a foot in the things.
I quizzed her a bit and asked if she was sure it was a foot.
Now understand that the first day of her Advent was a stable for her soon to be complete set.
Nope, she was convinced it was a foot.....
The following day she said she got another take into account she had gotten sick on her birthday on November 30th and I thought maybe it had affected her eyesight...LOL
I finally asked her if she thought it could possibly be a sheep......well,  guess it could be!
Anyway, the whole 24 days of this unveiling of the Nativity set was so funny.
Since the set only had 15 pieces, of course there were days she got a pair of Christmas socks, or a drink container.....and she did know what they were.
By the way the "foot" was a sheep for the nativity scene....ROFL

I think the Advent gifts were a hit to everyone that got one.
If I would only plan a little more ahead and start buying stuff for this special time of the year months in advance it would sure make it easier to put together.
Maybe this coming year I will begin purchasing little things along the way....but then of course I would have to remember where I put them. LOL

We started this month off with a new to us Coachman Leprechaun Class C Motorhome.
I had been talking to Chuck about us downsizing the Taj-Mah-Hauler since we no longer use it to live in when we are in Arizona in the winter.
Chuck had been combing the Internet and had his eye on a Leprechaun that was very close to our home in Oklahoma.
He chats with the guy that has it listed and we make a trip to see the coach.
Gosh, we have no idea what we are really looking at as far as driving one of these, but we do know that it's in really good shape.
It only has about 2700 miles on it and unfortunately the guys mom has lost her husband and is selling it for that reason.
It is truly amazing how you meet some of the nicest people that have RVing in common.
Long story short, we bought the rig right there on the spot.
We return the following day to pay for the Leprechaun and take it home.
After driving 43' of a Fifth Wheel, this seems like a mini rig.
We got it home and it was amazing that Chuck could actually pull into the backyard, turn around and back this 32' guy into the barn without me even spotting him.
I was still back there making sure we didn't hit anything, but I think the barn had ample space for this guy.
I for one am very excited to get this rig.
I want to start putting all the stuff in it and of course all our "stuff" is in Arizona, so that won't be happening.

Chuck will be going over the rig to make sure everything is working in good shape so we can take it back to Arizona on our return trip after Christmas.
I am looking forward to cleaning out the Taj-Mah-Hauler and moving stuff into the new rig.

We got to spend some quality time with the grandkids as their parents went to New York City for a few days.
I got to be in charge of getting them to bed on time and getting them up the next morning to make it to school on time.
All went very well, and as soon as they got home on Friday, we packed up Olive the Doodle and headed to Chukadi Acre for a few days.
We were concerned about Cooper having anxiety about her mom and dad being away, but all in all I think it went well.
This is the aftermath of her traumatic brain injury due to the bus accident.

The kids spent some quality time with their great grandparents and helped great grandma make Christmas Candy.

Of course by the time we left great grandma's they were green in the gills from all the chocolate bowl licking and taste testing.

I have to say it was so much fun watching the kids with great grandma.
Made my heart feel happy.

Cooper had a 'bucket list" of things she wanted to do while at our house, so I made sure we made most of them happen.

We made the gingerbread houses that she had on her list....well, anyway she made a house and Cash made a Zombie gingerbread truck.

Of course he had to put his own spin on the was so Christmasie looking...LOL

One of the funny things she wanted to do is go to the "wholesaler".....she is my kind of girl!
We made our way to the wholesaler and got some wholesale therapy checked off her list.
She also wanted to get her nails done, so we of course had to do that as well.
Cash was excited to spend his time in his room watching TV and just chilling.

We took the kids for a spin in the new Leprechaun and they seemed to enjoy the short trip.
Think we will have to come up with some trips during the summer with these two....could be a lot of fun.

Sunday came sooner than expected for me and we were off to pick up Anthony and Heather at the airport.
Olive the doodle had no idea what we were doing but she was just along for the ride.
She is such a sweet and fun dog.
Olive loves to come to our house so she can run like a gazelle and chase squirrels.
So glad we got to spend this quality time with our grandkids and no melt downs that required an emergency call to the parents.

Christmas eve was here before we knew it and we make our way to the kids house for the annual tradition of opening presents.
Cooper has a bug so it was not the typical kissing and hugging for her this year.
She didn't feel good at all, but there were presents to cheer her up.
Cooper and Cash put on their customary Christmas PJ's and we got down to some serious eating.

Heather had called and told me that Cash really wanted a Yule Log for dessert tonight.
She and Cash went to La Bagette and purchased one of the cutest Yule Logs I had seen in a while.

Dinner is over and it is time to cut the Yule Log.

Heather and Anthony are in the kitchen laughing like crazy, so I go in to see what is going on.
Seems Olive the Doodle liked the Yule log too!
She had gotten to one of the corners of the said Yule Log....yep, she ate the chocolate off one of the ends....LOL

She didn't act like the scolding she got bothered her too much, but I think she may have over eaten a bit as she was sure a lot quieter than earlier in the evening.
She ended up crawling up by Pops and laying her head on his lap.....what a dog!

Christmas Day was very uneventful as the kids didn't come out due to Cooper not feeling well.
I cooked some chili and mother and Louie came over for lunch.
As they left I noticed that one of her back tail lights wasn't working.
We called and had them come back to the house so Chuck could check it out.
Sure enough it was burned out.
Of course we didn't have a replacement bulb and it being Christmas day there were no auto houses open.
Our urgency to fix this was just that as we had plans to head back to Arizona first thing on the 26th.
Chuck put the car back together and mother and Louie went home.
I asked Chuck if he though a truck stop like TA would have the bulb......he said they that's all it took for me to head to the nearest TA truck stop.
Guess what....they had it!
With tools in hand I went by their house and put the new bulb in and once again they were street legal to drive :)
What kind of daughter would I be to leave my 91 and 93 yr. old parents without proper lights on their vehicle....LOL
Back home Chuck and I finish up our packing and make ready to leave in the morning to find warmer weather.

Time to make our way back to Arizona and get our new rig there and set up.
Other things to do is get the Taj-Mah-Hauler ready to sell.
Shortly after 8:00am  on the 26th we start the 1200 mile trip back to warmer weather.
I am driving Big Bertha and Chuck is driving the new rig.
By around 4pm we are in Santa Rosa RV Park and set up for the night.
I had actually switched vehicles with Chuck and drove the Leprechaun part of the way today.
I am happy to say that I felt fairly comfortable driving it.
Just glad we didn't switch until we were out of Amarillo's construction zones on I-40.

We head out around 7:00am on the 27th and I am planning on driving the Leprechaun all day today.
Man, we ran into some big time fog this morning and it was an effort to even see the tail light of Big Bertha.
Chuck and I have a walkie talkie so I made a comment about how soupy it was and his response was "you should be up here".....enough said.

About an hour and a half later the fog was lifting and it sure made it a lot more pleasant to drive.
I actually drove the Leprechaun to San Simon, AZ. today.
Very proud of myself as it was pretty windy today and I was able to handle the rig.
I caught a few tumble weeds along the way and when we pulled into the park they were still attached to the rig.

Of course I bail out when it's time to park it in the RV park....want to keep it all intact.  :)
It is very cloudy and cold.
Sure enough we get set up and we have a light rain shower.
Looks like it is snowing south of us and hopefully it will stay there!

December 28th and we are up and out of the park shortly after 7am.
The skies are still somewhat cloudy and it is cold so it didn't take us long to get moving.
Near Willcox, AZ the clouds begin to clear and start showing some beautiful sun and blue skies....bring on the warmth!

I was a bit scared to drive thru Tucson as it usually is a free for all for speeding, but I sucked it up and did it.
I just kept following my leader and we breezed through.
The winds were a bit brisk today as well, so it makes it a lot of fun when an 18 wheeler whizzes by you.
Finally make it to the Highway 8 cut off and we are getting close to being home!
One last stop for gas at Gila Bend and we switch drivers.
Chuck will take the rig into The Foothills and navigate into our lot.
Bronco seemed to enjoy spending some time with me today.
She had been with her dad most of the time and it was time for us to have some together time.
What a dog!
She really is the best travel buddy a person could ask for....well, almost.....her excited self about drives you crazy for about the first hour of the day when we take off, but she finally settles down and becomes the perfect co-pilot a person could as for.

We are back in The Foothills of Yuma around 2pm.
The sun is shining and it is a bit cool, but hey we are here!
Safe and sound and nothing has been hit or dented along the way.......

Our lemon tree is full of ripe fruit and our tangelo tree has 3 pieces of fruit on it.

It is wonderful to have fruit trees!

Back in full swing we take a Jeep ride to the Fortuna Mine on December 30th, lead by our neighbor and friends Tony and Heidi.
Had considered riding the RZR but it was just too cold for me.
The heater in the Jeep made the trip perfect.
The Fortuna Mine is on the Barry Goldwater Range that is just south of our home.
You have to get permits from the government to go onto the land.
It is an area that is used for military training and on any given time an area may not be accessible as they are doing some type of training there.
Everyone that goes has to have a permit and check in and out of the land.

First time for us and we of course want to follow the rules as we have heard they monitor it quite well and will escort you off the land if you don't have the proper paperwork.

The ride included a couple of four wheel drive units, 3 four wheel drive vehicles and 1 four wheel drive truck....
The ride to the mine is only about 8 miles and the road was not bad at all.
When we get to the mine we decide it's time to eat some lunch.

Everyone brought their own food and we unpack and sit around trying to stay warm!
Chuck backed the Jeep in backwards and we sat inside the back of it and stayed nice and warm.
The wind was pretty brisk today and I for one was quite pleased we rode in the Jeep!

We are back at the entrance to the Barry Goldwater Range by around 3pm.
Great day with some of our great Yuma friends.

I figure there will be many more rides around this area this season.
Thanks to Tony and Heidi for planning this little excursion.

New Years Eve is here and we have a party to attend.
Our neighbors John and Doris are having a big party at their place.
Doris has been working to prepare turkey and ham and all the fixings for this event.
Everyone is to bring something to add to the mix.
Let me tell you, there was plenty of food to be had.
Doris and John had their garage area decorated so cute.

We even had a balloon drop!
This group of people that we stumbled onto when we bought our property are absolutely the best.

We have been so lucky to meet up with some of the best people in Arizona.
I have to say it sure makes these retirement years a whole lot of fun!

As we close the 2019 year and look forward to the new decade on this earth, I am excited to experience many more fun and happy times in this thing we call life.
Happy New Year to all my friends and family.....see you next year.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

November 2019

The month starts out with finishing up some of the things I needed to get done around the Casita.

More plants have been purchased and planted into pots.
We went to Lowe's and got an ocotillo to plant in the front area. 
I am hopeful that it will take root and flourish.
Amazing how you buy them bare rooted and with a little water and patience you wait to see if they will start growing.
Since they are protected by the State Of Arizona ours has the tag proving we didn't go out into the desert and dig it up.

Jay and Chuck were reconstructing our tired and worn out mailbox holders.
Seems that they have eroded to the point that when the mailman tried to place mail in the box it fell over.
Susie said she saw the mailman when it happened and said it was so funny to watch him try to figure out what to do with the mailbox that was now in his hands.  
I can only imagine what he was thinking....but he did get out of his vehicle and go and tell Jay that we had to get this think!

A day to go over to Mexico and find some stuff was in order.
We bargained for a wall mount Talavera water fountain.
It really does look nice on the patio area.  
That same day I guess we were really in the bargaining spirit and I also came home with a leather peacock.
I tried to buy it last trip and the lady wouldn't come down to my price.
Chuck told me she got very close in price so this time I went by and told her I would give her $23 for it, and she remembered me and said "OK"!!!!!!

I also found some "Frida" prints that just had our names on them....LOL
They will look perfect in the casita over the bed.  
Looks like the casita is becoming a "Frida" casita!  
If you don't know who Frida is, here is a link to this very colorful lady.  Frida Kahlo

We also bought a painted mailbox from our friend Saundra.
It is truly amazing to watch these very talented people take a plain ole mailbox and bring it to life. 

Chuck has been playing golf and I think he is really enjoying getting back into the swing of things.
I played one day with the ladies, and I enjoyed it very much.
I am not the avid golfer that these people are, and I have told them that I would not be joining them that much on the course.

Its just not my passion.

At this point in my life, I really don't know what my passion consist of other than working around the casita and decorating it and just really enjoying my non constructed time to be doing something.
Not sure if that makes any sense, but I think I have worked so long and had so many time frames to work with it is just fun to "do nothing"....LOL

Diana and Chris made it to our neck of the woods.
So excited for them to be as they are only a few doors down from us.
They brought their two dogs, Zoe and Abby.
We start our day by walking 2 miles and Diana says that her two dogs are so excited to walk.
I know Bronco enjoys her daily walk.

We finally get to take the RZR's out on a trip on November 11th.
Our next door neighbors Cathy and Don are leading Chris, Diana, Chuck and I on a trip "around" the mountain to the town of Wellton, AZ.
Our plans are to have breakfast at a little place they always go to.

The ride was interesting and although Chuck and I had ridden around some, we had no idea that you could actually go around the mountains to this town. 
Our plans quickly changed to "Plan B" as when we reached our restaurant destination it was not open.
Looks like they aren't open on Monday....Oh well, we are just enjoying exploring and this makes it even more fun.

"Dusty Rose Diner" was our plan "B".
Kind of a quaint little eatery that looked like the locals frequent it quite a bit.
Check out their sign "OEPN"...LOL
Upon further inspection it appears they even cook their burgers on the charcoaler that is in the front of the building.
Most of us had breakfast and Chris and I both commented about how good the pancakes were. 
Could be that we were just really hungry, but I think all in all it was a great brunch.
The company wasn't bad was awesome actually.

I ended up taking a picture in the community bathroom as I couldn't help myself.
It appears you can weigh yourself while in the bathroom....LOL....not really, I think they were there for decoration.
Amazing the things you see along the way, isn't it!  

Our drive back was pretty uneventful other than playing tag with a train that was riding along side us.

Chuck and I look a bit silly with our dust mask, but I think it makes me laugh when I see ourselves in the mirrors.

We can't thank Cathy and Don enough for planning our little trip.
It was a lot of fun, and I know when everyone gets back from the holidays, there will be plenty more of them.
Lil Bit, our RZR, did very well for our first longer distance drive. 

Decided to go back over to Mexico (once again) and see what bargains we could find. 
This was the first trip for this season with Diana & Chris. 
It was a nice warm day, and of course we had a great time with our friends.

We have this trip down now.
We hit the local taco vendor and have our "shrimp or fish taco" when we first get there.
This assures us the energy to bargain with locals and get some prized possessions to to back over the border. LOL

November 15th, we decide to explore the hills around us. 
Chuck and Bronco had already been on most of these trails so he we felt he was seasoned to lead us around.

The goal was to see if there was an actually trail that would take us through the mountain pass instead of riding around it. 
We find a trail and it was going quite well until we got into some boulders that were just too large for us to attempt to crawl over. 

The area we decided to turn around at was a nice area so we decided it was the place we would have lunch.
Our ride today was a slow ride and we enjoyed crawling around the mountain.

Saturday the 16th we were invited to Susies house for "Omelette's in a bag".
They had all the ingredients chopped up and ready for us.
All you had to do was find your name on one of the Ziplock bags and fill it with what you wanted in your omelette. 
I was told they had no jalapenos so of course Diana & I took care of that!

Don & John were in charge of the boiling water that cooks the omelette's and I have to say they were quite punctual on their timing of the food.
As we waited for the food to cook, we had Mimosa's and Bloody Mary's to drink.
This wasn't these peoples first cooking experience as they had this down very well.

Before you know it the omelette's are coming out of the boiling water and "breakfast was served".
The ONLY reason that the food might not taste good would be because you didn't choose the correct things to put in your bag, but I don't even think that you could mess that up!

The whole thing was great.
The company of our little group of neighbors is absolutely wonderful.
I think we have a really nice group of peeps here in Yuma!  

Not to be outdone by the perfect brunch on Saturday, it was decided to have do overs on Sunday.
This way we use up all the ingredients that is left over. 
Once again it was wonderful!  

Monday the 18th we are celebrating one of our friends birthday.
Tony is getting "older" and his wife Heidi has invited us over for a Mexican food dinner.
The weather has been perfect and tonight was no exception.
The food and company was absolutely spectacular!  
Thanks so much for inviting us to share in Tony's special birthday.

Tuesday the 19th Diana, Heidi and I decide we didn't get enough junk in Mexico and have to make a return visit.  
We are "seasoned" shoppers now, and the locals are even getting where they recognize us....LOL
Heidi was looking for some talavera bowls and me, well, who knows what I will bring home!  
You can bet we didn't come home empty handed!  

The rain gods have decided to show us that they can actually rain on Yuma.
We have a cool front move in today and yes we even got some rain.
Our dinner this evening was moved into the garage as it was just too cool to sit outside and eat.
I was able to make a fire in the firepit and it was great!  

Another first for me was using my newly purchased convection oven.
With Diana's help we whipped up an apple cobbler and baked it.
The cobbler was great, and I am so happy to have my little easy bake over :)

That same evening we actually saw a rainbow over the mountains.
What a perfect ending to another great day in Yuma. 

The following few days were cooler than usual, and we even got a little more rain, but all in all it still some great weather.
The garage is our "go to" place to eat.
At least it is out of the cool breeze that is accompanying the cloudy skies.  

Saturday the 23rd and we are up bright and early and packed to head back to Oklahoma for the holidays.
Amazing how this trip is a lot quicker since we aren't pulling the Taj-Mah-Hauler with us.
I am one that reads road signs....and sometimes one catches my eye too late.
I swear I saw a sign that said something about "pecan pie".....I asked Diana if they saw it and she said they didn't.
So now I am on my phone trying to find "pecan pies" near me....LOL

As I continue to bury my head into my phone, Chuck says he saw a sign for a restaurant in Bowie, AZ.
Sounds like someplace we need to stop!  
Rafters Restaurant didn't disappoint our taste buds.
The food was very good, but let me tell you, that Pecan Pie was worth the stop.
Chris & I had regular pecan pies and Diana & Chuck had their chocolate bourbon pecan pie.
I tried it and really wasn't that excited about it, but my regular ole pecan pie was delicious. 

Back on the road with our tummies full we make our way to Alamogordo, NM. for the night.
Since we have three dogs between us we find a pet friendly motel and get settled for the night.
We opted for pizza and had it delivered to the room.
Not a bad evening  although the train that goes by every so often is quite noisy....just part of traveling I guess!

Sunday the 24th, we are up and at em and making some miles. 
Plans are to make it home today baring no problems.
We stopped in Amarillo and ate a later lunch at Rudy's.
I really didn't realize how much I missed BBQ until we walked into the place and the aroma of some good BBQ slapped me in the face. 

Final leg of our travels and all went well.
We get home a little after 4pm.
It is so enjoyable to make it back to the house even if it is colder here!

Time to get the Thanksgiving feast ready for our family, so the next few days are spent grocery shopping and preparing for Thursday.

Thanksgiving day is very dreary and wet.
The weather had been predicted to be like this, but you know I am an optimist and never believe what they say.  
It was so nice to spend time with our group of peeps.
The grand kids are growing like crazy.
How lucky am I to have such a wonderful group to call "family". :)

Oh my gosh, guess what today the 29th is??
Its my birthday.
I get a text from Doreen today and she said that some of our friends were meeting downtown for dinner tonight and wanted to invite us.
With no other plans we figure why not!!! 
Diana & Chris come by and pick us up.

We meet Doreen, Allen, Lynn, Keith, Carla and Larry at Fassler Hall.

Plans to take the trolley over to Abuello's for some after Thanksgiving Mexican food.

Little did we know that our ill fated Trolley would make that trip of only a few miles over an hour long.

This was some of ours first trip on the new Trolley system and man did we get the slowwwww ride.
There was something really wrong with the trolley.

First sign of this should have been that it was about 30-45 minutes late to its stop.
Second was the total shut down and re-boot of the system midway.

Third was the flashing lights of the truck behind the trolley with the employees coming and going out of our car.

Most everyone on the trolley decided to leave, but we chose to stick with our ill fated car and ride it to our destination.

Yes, we could have probably walked faster but hey, it was the experience.

We kept ourselves very entertained during the trip.
One girl got on and we sang some Christmas songs and 99 bottles of beer on the wall.
They even sang "Happy Birthday" to me :)

The pictures I have added to this post are worth a thousand words.
Some pictures I intentionally didn't post as I didn't want to create a frenzy on this post. 

Finally make it to Abuello's and have was delicious as usual, and oh this group of peeps were even better!  
Dinner is over and it is time to make our way back to our vehicles.
The trolley is pulling up as we make our way out of the restaurant.
This trolley is working well, and it makes cutting through a whole lot of traffic an easy feat.
The Thunder Basketball game was just finishing up so the trolley got pretty packed with people.

The girl that had sang and laughed with us earlier got on the trolley once again.
She had made it to the Thunder game and was now making her way back to her car.

She stood by us and we got to laughing about our earlier trolley mishaps.
What a fun evening we have had and it is also a birthday celebration and Black Friday I won't forget anytime soon.

November 30th is my moms birthday.
Sadly she has gotten a cold and we won't be celebrating her 91st birthday with her today.

Final day of November and Chuck and I are dog sitting our granddog Olive.
Kids have gone to Texas for the annual trip to the Gaylord Texan.
I am sure they will have a fun time, and Olive is enjoying cuddling with her grandma!
This is the end of our adventures for November 2019.