Cleaning

Still no leaves

Now doesn’t that sound like an exciting blog anyone would want to read?? There’s been way too much cleaning going on in this house lately but on Saturday our friend Debbie came–that woman can clean! When I worked for Kimberly-Clark and traveled extensively, Debbie cleaned my house every two weeks. She still cleans for various people and agreed to come spring clean my house–windows, baseboards, floors, ceiling fans–our house is squeaky clean and I found it very exciting! Boring to most people but exciting to me!

Thursday we were back in Billings. The Cowboy had his photodynamic therapy procedure just on the top of his head. First the nurse applied the photosensitizer drug then sent him to the lobby to wait for two hours. Then he was placed under a super bright light–he said it looked like the hair dryers salons had in the past. The light creates an intense heat, almost unbearable heat. He had to sit under this light for 16 minutes, 40 seconds which is 1000 seconds. The top of his head has turned a deep red color as if he has a major sunburn. He had to keep that area out of the sun totally for 48 hours and even now finds it painful to be outside without his hat. He declined to be photographed for this blog!๐Ÿ˜

A few years ago I lost my sewing mojo and haven’t quilted or sewn much of anything in that time. I’m starting to feel twinges of interest in sewing again and goodness knows I have enough fabric to start most any project! While Debbie was cleaning upstairs on Saturday I was downstairs making potholders and started an apron which I finished on Sunday.

Saturday evening we went to Lonn’s to have dinner with the family. Our Brooks celebrates his birthday in mid April thus we are usually not home for that birthday. He was disappointed this year that we wouldn’t be back for his birthday and I told him we would celebrate again when we got to Montana. He didn’t let me forget! We took presents for he and Millie plus I baked a three layer chocolate cake. Brooks insisted on putting candles on the cake and us bringing the cake to the table as we sang happy birthday. He was so cute!

The Cowboy changed the oil in the mini-excavator in preparation for digging out some rocks for friends. Emmi chased balls and enjoyed treats. It was a good day and life is indeed good.

Regular Programing

My Dad had a saying when I was a teenager, “you are just keeping the road hot!”–meaning I was going out way too much to his way of thinking! Well, this week we are keeping the road hot!

Monday we did stay home and I cleaned parts of the kitchen–who knew so much dust could collect behind closed kitchen cabinet doors??

The Cowboy tinkered with the new Polaris RZR we purchased trying to decide where to mount the GPS, etc.–guy stuff! He’s also been collecting tools–can’t get many tools in a suitcase and Amazon has been making almost daily deliveries of stuff that wouldn’t fit in those suitcases and had to be left in Arizona.

Yesterday Amazon delivered this BIG, LONG box containing running boards for our truck–you can have anything delivered via Amazon it seems! Those running boards are 6-7 feet long and heavy!

Tuesday was a “road” day–to Billings. The Cowboy found treasures on Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace–an air compressor identical to the one we left in Arizona and a battery operated Kobalt lawnmower of all things–new in the box!

We don’t have much lawn, it takes us less than 15 minutes to mow. Our small gas powered lawn mower is on its last legs/wheels and we were looking for something to replace it. The Cowboy charged the battery and I mowed the grass. Oh my–I’m hooked! Quiet, light weight–amazing technology! And I still had two of four bars left on the battery when the lawn was finished!

The joy part of my day Tuesday was having my long time hairdresser cut my hair–Becky has been cutting my hair for probably almost 20 years! She wasn’t very old and not married when she started tackling my hard to cut hair. She just celebrated one of those “zero” birthdays, is married and has two children–one who is going to be a high school sophomore in the fall–where have the years gone??

Becky runs her salon like a business should be run. She is always on time, keeps her appointments and is super efficient. My appointment was for 11am and about a week ago Becky sent me a text asking if she could change my appointment to 9:15am. She never does this so I agreed and jokingly said, “only if you are bringing breakfast!” Well–look what she brought me! โค๏ธThe muffin and cinnamon roll were divine!

Next stop was for the poor Cowboy–the dreaded dermatologist! He just has the skin type inherited from his father Nat, that is prone to skin cancers. Dr. Williams biopsied one spot and scheduled the Cowboy for Photodynamic therapy (PDT) which is a two-stage treatment that combines light energy with a drug (photosensitizer) designed to destroy cancerous and precancerous cells after light activation. The biopsied spot is right under his eye and is ouch-y!!

Emmi tagged along on Tuesday–as long as she can be with us she is a happy pooch. It’s still cool enough for her to go with us but soon it won’t be and she will have to stay home.

At Costco I purchased new towels–not because they were organic but because I loved the coral color. I really don’t see why I would need organic towels?? I buy some organic foods–milk always, sometimes fruits and vegetables–but towels? Do you buy organic towels?

Wednesday the Cowboy spent the day under the truck installing those running boards and I spent the day inside my lower cabinets–cleaning again!

Mr. Grouse is still around tormenting Emmi and calling for a lady friend. Emmi put him up on the deck railing.

We love it when our neighbors run their horses and babies in the pasture that borders ours–

Wednesday was a beautiful spring day in Montana–

We have returned to our regular programming without even a hint of politics. Life is good!

Tranquility

“It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.” ~Thomas Jefferson

A friend posted the above on social media and I like it very much–the Cowboy and I have a lot of tranquility in our lives and as you all know we certainly have MUCH occupation!

We don’t watch very much TV–almost none in Montana and very little in Arizona. We don’t watch Fox News or CNN with all their talking heads and conspiracy theories. We don’t listen to talk radio for the same reasons. We chose what news we want to read from the internet and we take it with a grain of salt–all of it. We vote and that’s all we can do. Nothing else we do can change the outcome of any election or the direction of the politicians. We don’t donate to political causes–did that once, and were burned, not doing it again. Are we happy with the current administration–no–but there is nothing we can do so why worry ourselves into what I call a “stew?” Why worry about something we can’t change? We like the tranquility of our lives together; we both have no trouble sleeping–there is something to be said for sleeping well at our ages!

On the way to Livingston late Saturday afternoon to meet Sarge and Sarah for an early dinner the storm clouds were brewing into strange formations–

Taken through a dirty windshield.

I had no more than taken this photo and we were driving into the eye of the storm–black clouds, incredible wind, rain and snow. Exciting! The weather these days we call “spring in Montana.” One day it’s beautiful, the next day it snows, or one hour it is beautiful and the next hour it’s snowing. It is still good to be back in Montana!

The missing piece of countertop is now installed in our Arizona home and let’s just say I’m no more impressed with Lowe’s and their countertop install company Stone Systems than I was when we first started the project way back in late February! And I’m very glad to be done with both companies!

Sunday we spent the day being bums–I fed us and walked Emmi. About 4pm we decided to take a drive up the Boulder–it’s still wintry up there–no leaves on the trees and very little green grass. We did see a few elk and a whole lot of deer.

We wish all our friends and family a happy Mother’s Day!

Montana

We are home in Montana–cooler by far, greener by leaps and bounds and with much cleaner air. The wind and dust in Arizona coupled with the dryness was getting to both of us.

Those readers who are friends on Facebook know we flew home. Dan and Louanne took us to Tucson Sunday afternoon and we flew out on Delta Airlines leaving about 7:30am Monday morning. We landed in Bozeman at 12:29pm.

Why did we fly? We were both weary of spending three to four days each way just to get to our homes on either end of the country. Just the thought of loading and unloading a RV was discouraging. We’ve traveled every route possible and have seen all there is to see. So, the motorhome acquired new owners in late March.

I can hear all of you saying, “not again!!” ๐Ÿ˜ By the time we had driven that huge motorhome to Arizona from Montana we both said, “what were we thinking??” We don’t need a 40 foot motorhome to drive back and forth between our two homes. In fact we just proved we don’t need to drive anything!

Logistics were difficult–suitcases will not hold the Cowboy’s tools, all our clothes or all my yarn! And suitcases will most definitely not hold the CanAm! We decided if the item needed to be transported back and forth each time, it stayed in Arizona and would be replaced in Montana. That made packing a bit easier.

Flying was so much easier–Emmi was a trooper helped along with a little dose of calming meds. Lonn retrieved us from the airport, we had lunch at our favorite restaurant in Livingston and made a quick stop at the grocery store. All was well at our home and we settled in quickly unpacking suitcases rather than a 40 foot motorhome.

Tuesday the Cowboy spent the day trying to make his 1997 diesel pickup run with no success. Dang it! I ran the washer/dryer non stop laundering all the sheets used to cover the furniture while we are gone. Emmi enjoyed her walks and playing on the green grass. No leaves on the trees yet but the fields and yard are starting to show green.

Mr. Grouse trying to woo a lady!

And two cute kiddos–our granddaughter Katie captioned this photos–“Mediocre branding help–expert snackers.”

Wednesday we spent the entire day and then some in Billings. Costco broke the bank as it always does when we restock the pantry. Walmart also didn’t help the bank account! Our car could not have held another thing!

We dined at our favorite Billings restaurant, CJ’s and the food was so good! Maybe when you don’t have to cook it yourself it’s better??

I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon I saw last fall for my knee. Remember my cranky hip–well it’s still cranky as in still very painful. I saw an orthopedic surgeon in early December and had a few physical therapy visits with no relief. Time to see someone I trust–Dr. Fischer at Billings Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. The hip x-ray is normal and due to my specific symptoms Dr. Fischer thinks I have ischial tuberosity bursitis. OK–you might ask what the heck are your ischial tuberosities??? Well–they are your sitting bones located at the very bottom of your hip joints and mine hurt! We are going to try some more physical therapy and maybe some massage therapy.

Emmi was once again a trooper–soon it will be too warm for her to accompany us but today was a cool, cloudy, rainy day in Billings.

Life is indeed good!

Busy Days

The kitchen cabinets are finished, upper cabinet doors hung–sink works, dishwasher works–now we just wait for the missing section of countertop. Every time I walk into or through the kitchen I say, “I LOVE my new kitchen!”

Wednesday evening we were invited to Linda’s home for dinner with Louanne and Dan. As always Linda prepared a delicious meal and we enjoyed the company very much. The Cowboy helped Linda with her new watering system timer–he didn’t get it right Wednesday night and had to make another service call on Thursday.๐Ÿ˜

Thursday Milton and Lucy came for dinner. Milton is our summer caretaker and does a fabulous job making our place look nice and also keeps an eye on the comings and goings in the neighborhood. We enjoyed beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, salad and asparagus. Dessert was a fabulous chocolate pie–I will say it again–we eat well!

Friday our friends Linda and Jim came to visit–they live in Tombstone year round and we had not seen them in too long due to covid. We had a great visit and enjoyed some of the leftover chocolate pie.

We’ve been packing, putting away the outdoor furniture and decorations and getting rid of excess groceries–donating them to Lucy and Milton! It’s hard to know just exactly how many groceries you will need–we buy our meat in bulk from Costco and I always have a bit leftover when it comes time to depart one house or another. I’m going to attempt to buy groceries by menus this summer and see if I can get closer to having nothing left when we change houses.

Saturday I fought the heat and the ants to work on the water system to some of our trees–they just weren’t getting enough water. The ants won by biting me three times!! But now the trees are getting plenty of water–if Milton can just keep the rats and gophers from eating the trees!!

In the evening on Saturday we dined at Dan and Louanne’s with Milton and Lucy. Good food, good company–and it’s no secret why we gain weight!

And Sunday evening has us in a Tucson hotel–more on that later–all is well!

Countertops Are Installed

Countertops are installed, sort of–

As you can see, there is a missing piece–the measuring guy who came way back on March 9th didn’t get this one section measured correctly–it fit exactly on top of the cabinet but had no overhang. And of course the situation could not be rectified immediately, oh no, we have to wait until May 6th for that section. I am not a fan of Lowe’s kitchen department and most certainly not a fan of the companies they use for installation of the countertops they sell. I do realize we live in the middle of nowhere but if you are going to take my money then you better be ready to treat your customers well.

The upper cabinet doors are almost ready–two more coats of polyurethane and the doors can be hung. The Cowboy installed the last light fixture in the kitchen on Wednesday morning. When we come back in the fall the Cowboy will install the back splash which will go all the way up to the bottom of the windows on the west side of the kitchen and cover the entire wall between countertop and bottom of upper cabinets on the east side.

My dream sink!!

While we were enjoying our coffee Wednesday morning the Cowboy spotted this herd of grasshoppers trying to dine on our trees–they were encouraged to move along!

We had lunch out on Wednesday at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Willcox and picked up a few groceries. While the Cowboy was waiting for me the clouds opened and it poured rain–there were deep puddles everywhere and I was a touch damp by the time I got to the truck. At home we had had not one drop of rain–๐Ÿ˜ฉ.

Tuesday evening we took a drive to see the area that burned in the Cochise Stronghold back in February. Rumor has it a resident in that area was burning garbage on one of those windy days we are prone to have. The fire burned probably about 50 acres and could have been so much worse!

And no one bothers to ask this Mimi what she thinks about Millie being on that huge horse!!

And The Winner Is

The automatic number chooser (aka, the Cowboy) has chosen Terry R. as the winner of the KURU shoes. I will be reaching out to Terry for a shipping address and hope her husband enjoys those shoes as much as we both do!

It’s been a busy non-stop week (what else is new??) of packing, buttoning up last minute projects, entertaining, etc. We haven’t heard from the countertop installation folks so fingers are still crossed the install happens Monday morning–if not you might be able to hear me cursing wherever you may live!!

Saturday we hung the only upper cabinets the kitchen will have–that’s hard work! The Cowboy does most of the work but I help lift, hold, fetch–whatever I can do to help him. The upper cabinet doors have not had their polyurethane applied and I’m not sure I will get them all painted before we leave–time will tell.

On Friday our long time friends Ralph and Angie came for a visit and late lunch. You may remember, Ralph is our friend who had a tough go with covid and I wrote this blog post about their love story. Ralph continues to improve but he’s definitely not back to his pre-covid self! We enjoyed a fabulous lunch and a nice, long visit. They will stay in Tombstone for the summer taking some short trips to cooler destinations. It was so good to see them!

It’s a warm, warm day in sunny Arizona this Sunday. Early in the morning the Cowboy spent some time on the roof. Saturday morning while enjoying our coffee we heard this awful screeching sound coming from the stove pipe attached to our wood burning stove. Seems a bird thought it might be a good idea to investigate the stove pipe–not–he ended up in the stove. We fashioned a catch pen around the stove–an old sheet secured with clothespins, both of us donned gloves, slowly opened the door, and let the bird fly into the sheet where the Cowboy caught him. Released outside the bird flew away probably thinking–“that was a close call!”

On Sunday morning I lifted the Cowboy up onto the roof where he attached poultry wire around our stove pipe cap so birds can’t commit suicide by falling into the stove when we are not here. Crisis solved!

Sunday evening we are dining at the home of our friend Janice–we do eat well!! Thank you to those who entered the KURU shoe drawing and thanks to everyone who continues to read this blog of ours!

KURU Shoe Giveaway

Kelly, the marketing and communications director for KURU Shoes has given us a pair of shoes to gift to a blog reader!!! The first pair the Cowboy received didn’t fit and instead of jumping through the hoops to send the shoes back to KURU, Kelly directed me to keep the shoes and give them away!!

So, the men’s shoes are size 9.5 wide in the Chicane style. The shoes fit more like a size 9. If you would like to put your name in the hat for these shoes leave a comment mentioning the shoes on this blog. If you comment about the shoes on our Facebook post linking to this blog, you will also be entered in the drawing. We will do a random drawing of a name from those comments and announce the winner in Sunday’s blog post. We will pay shipping in the US. Good luck!!

Those of us who are heading north soon are trying to cook/eat all the food in our refrigerators and freezers. Monday evening we had dinner with Dan and Louanne–their guest, Bob from New York City was leaving on Tuesday morning and we enjoyed a fabulous goodbye dinner consuming some of the food from Dan and Louanne’s freezer/refrigerator.

Tuesday I applied more polyurethane this time on the dining bar cabinet. Countertop install in less than a week–fingers crossed! The Cowboy has been applying drywall mud in the porch room now that he has all the kitchen cabinets constructed. He has also been clearing out more treasures making room in the garage.

Wednesday we drove to Sierra Vista to pick up a prescription at Walmart–something I have always avoided doing. Those long lines in Walmart pharmacies make me cringe! I prefer to have medications delivered to my mailbox!! Here’s the ugly story about why I stood in line for 20+ minutes, was told the medication wasn’t in stock (the pharmacist had told me on Tuesday she had the med in stock) and waited another 10+ minutes while they corrected their mistake.

I have for years used Acyclovir cream for the cold sores I develop when stressed. It’s a fabulous drug and if applied when you feel the first tickle the cold sore doesn’t develop. If one does appear the cream significantly reduces the pain and the length of time the cold sore will be present.

Acyclovir cream when I first started using it back in the late 1990’s was inexpensive so to speak, $20 for a very small tube. Suddenly that very small tube was $400+!!!! I purchased the medication from Canada for a long time then started to obtain it in Mexico when we would visit the border towns. The Canadian AND the Mexican versions worked just as well as the US version. The Canadian route is no longer an option and we aren’t really thrilled with the idea of crossing the Mexican border right now with everything in such turmoil. US citizens may still walk across the border for “essential” services–medications, dentists, etc. and we may still make that crossing before heading north.

My Medicare drug plan will not cover the cream, they cover the Acyclovir pills which are really inexpensive at $9 for a 30 day supply but will not cover the cream. I spoke with my drug plan pharmacist yesterday and she told me about the Acyclovir ONITMENT–not cream–that was less expensive if you used GoodRx coupons. She kindly sent me a coupon for the ointment.

Good grief–same drug, same strength–one is a cream and one is an ointment. Let the games begin and some would wonder why many US citizens find our health care system beyond annoying! Look at these two photos and tell me the pharmaceutical companies aren’t robbing us! The first photo is for the cream, the second the ointment. The lower prices are using GoodRx coupons.

I paid the $33.26 for 15grams of the ointment at Walmart. That’s reasonable. $316 is not reasonable. I called a pharmacy in Aqua Prieta, Mexico today–their cost for a tube of the CREAM–$4!! Yes, $4!!! Yep, it’s a racket in the US, an expensive racket!

And don’t get me started on the cost of diabetic testing strips–I was behind a man in line at a local pharmacy who was hard of hearing–I helped him understand what the masked, behind plexiglass pharmacy technician was trying to tell him thus I heard his entire conversation. $148 for a box of 30 test strips if he paid out of pocket which he did. Insulin and testing supplies have been around forever, literally–can someone tell me another reason other than pharmaceutical company greed that causes these items to cost so much???

OK–off the soap box!

In less than two weeks we will be heading north–yippee!!

Gatherings And Stuff

Storm clouds gathering over the Chiracahua Mountains

If only these storm clouds would bring us rain. As you can see in these photos, it’s dry in southeast Arizona. No beautiful fields of poppies this year, very little green grass. We haven’t mowed once this season and usually we mow at least twice.

And yet, the tumbleweeds sprouted out of that dry, dusty earth. While I was in Arkansas the temps really warmed and those dang tumbleweeds sprouted by the dozens in our gravel. So, out came the big lawn mower with its Cowboy attached weed sprayer and those tumbleweeds have a dose of weed killer. I also sprayed around our house and outbuildings for termites. It’s always something isn’t it!

Emmi had a much needed bath and haircut and I also had my hair cut. The Cowboy is next–I cut his hair and he doesn’t wiggle as much as Emmi!

Saturday evening we had the best gathering of friends and the best of meals! There were seven of us including our Montana friend Larry who was going to depart on Friday or Saturday for the north country. But, once viewing the weather forecast for Sunday and Monday in Montana he decided to postpone his departure and was able to join us. We also welcomed Louanne and Dan’s friend Bob from New York City. Bob likes our Arizona weather which has been mighty perfect lately–except for the wind! I outdid myself with the meal–brisket, Calico beans, garlic and herb roasted potatoes and salad dressed with poppy seed dressing. For dessert we had a chocolate cake with ice cream. We do eat well!

Sunday afternoon I must have been tired–I was just going to close my eyes for a few minutes after lunch–an hour and a half later I woke up! Yep, must have needed that sleep!

Emmi and I continue to take our walks out across the desert roads–the scenery just isn’t very photo inspiring right now–

On Wednesday evening we were invited to the home of friends Clint and Christy for a Hawaiian meal. Christy’s college friends from long ago, Bev and Ralph were visiting. Bev is Hawaiian and treated us to an outstanding meal–teriyaki chicken, spring rolls with peanut sauce, jasmine rice, fruit salad, the list went on and on–it was all so delicious!!! Ralph has an amazing story–he grew up as one of ten children of a single mom struggling to keep her family together. Ralph was the only one of his siblings to attend college and has a PhD in communications!!!

We’ve both been sorting and packing a bit. The Cowboy has used a bit of Crisco and thinks he can store all the vehicles in the garage. Our cargo trailer is spending the summer under a secure carport belonging to friends Clint and Christy. I’m sort of sad to be leaving but also anxious to see some green!

KURU Shoes

Have you ever tried Kuru shoes (only sold online). I have found the Quantum best for heel pain. Have been wearing that style for about 3 years. Free shipping and free returns. Good luck. It is miserable when it hurts to stand up!–Marlene, a blog reader, left this comment on the March 7th post I wrote about plantar fasciitis. I responded to Marlene’s comment by saying no I had not tried this brand of shoes but would the next time I was looking for shoes. I had just purchased a pair of sneakers to use with the inserts and wasn’t in the market for more shoes at the time.

Not long after that blog post I received an email from Kelly, the marketing and communications director for KURU Shoes. She offered to send “the Cowboy and the Belle” each a pair of KURU shoes of our choosing from their online only catalog. We were awed by the offer, chose shoes and Kelly had them quickly shipped.

The Cowboy’s shoes were too small and Kelly quickly sent a replacement–WOW!!! When I returned from Arkansas I tried the shoes and my pair fit. These KURU shoes are amazing!! Totally amazing!!

The Cowboy has chronic ankle pain–severe ankle pain to the point he has trouble walking at times. He was having to walk Emmi a couple times a day while I was gone and had resorted to walking her in the air boot cast he has for times when the pain is so bad. The ankle has been broken three times over the course of his life and probably has major arthritis. He wore the KURU shoes the first day for a few hours and—–NO MORE ankle pain!! He continues to wear the shoes and still no ankle pain.

KURU Shoes has it right–there is support in the right place in these shoes–your heel stays where it should and the arch support is in the right place. They are without a doubt the most comfortable shoes ever! We have concrete floors and are on our feet for hours every day–as you all know!–and neither of us has foot/ankle pain when wearing the KURU shoes. We both chose the Chicane style and here you see us wearing our new shoes as we head off to Home Depot.

KURU shoes is an online only store offering free shipping, free exchanges and free return shipping. They advertise themselves as the “world’s most comfortable shoe” and we would agree with that slogan!

KURU promises the world’s most comfortable mens shoes and womens shoes, ensuring maximum comfort and superior support. Our patented KURUSOLE technology adapts to your feet and cradles your heel for unprecedented comfort and cushioning.

Optimized for comfort, KURU shoes bring joy into everyday activities for thousands of people just like you. Experience a quality of life never before realized with our comfort shoes for work, sports, or casual wear.

KURU has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands previously suffering from foot pain. Something so powerful it can banish away foot pain is more than a shoeโ€”it’s a KURU” (copied from the KURUfootwear.com website)

We are looking forward to trying more of these shoes–the company has not only sneaker/hiking type shoes but also sandals and dress shoes. I LOVE shoes much to the Cowboy’s dismay!๐Ÿ˜

It is warm and windy in Arizona and we are puttering along finishing up last minute chores as it’s almost time to head north. The cupboards were bare and we made a grocery run to Sierra Vista on Tuesday for fresh produce, etc. to get us to departure day.