Big Steps

We celebrated on Wednesday–the last piece of drywall was hung in this ongoing project–the very last piece!!! All the saved pieces were thrown out the door waiting for the next trip to the transfer station. My dear husband said, “never again will I hang drywall.” I hope we “never again do a remodel!!”

On Saturday we crossed another bridge–the last bit of drywall mud has been laid in the main house–we have a bit more mud to lay in the porch area but for right now that area is the cabinet making shop. Sanded and all the dust removed–now it’s time for painting.

Wednesday night it rained–a little over half an inch–very welcome moisture! And it made for nice cloud photos Thursday morning–

Rockfellow Dome peaking out of the clouds.

My first physical therapy appointment was in Willcox on Thursday. On Friday Mom and I drove in to Tucson and took the scenic loop through Saguaro National Park East which she really enjoyed.

Lunch at the Eclectic Cafe on the patio in the sunshine then we drove out to the Mission San Xavier del Bac. The church is closed right now but I wanted Mom to at least see the outside of it. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.

Saturday I baked cookies and made candy all day long! In the evening we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Dan and Louanne’s with Janice and Linda. The food was amazing and we had such a good time.

Mom spent Sunday knitting away, I baked CJ’s Fruitcakes–I’ve had the fruit marinating in brandy for almost a month. These aren’t your traditional heavy fruitcakes but are very flavorful and tasty!

First it was covid weight gain, now it’s Christmas weight gain–YIKES!


A Bit Of Sightseeing

Our first packages are mailed to Germany. I sent a package via Amazon to Germany which isn’t expected to arrive until December 21–thank you covid! And the post office is an interesting place these days here in Arizona and that’s all I will say about that one!

Sandhills as far as the eye can see.
And a snow goose.

Monday afternoon after our stop at the interesting post office Mom and I headed to Whitewater Draw to see the sandhill cranes. If there had been people around they would have wondered why those two ladies were laughing so hard trying to get a wheelchair to move. I thought it would be easy to push Mom on the hard packed ground but no–I almost dumped her out on her head when I became stuck in a sandy spot. Mom ended up walking a ways until we could get the wheelchair on more solid ground. And then she was sure I was going to push her over the edge to join the cranes. We laughed until we cried–it was a great afternoon!  

And a snow goose.
It was 68 degrees but windy and Mom thought she might freeze!

We’ve been having internet issues and our provider is having trouble resolving these issues. In the evening our download speeds drop so low as to be non-usable. Tuesday a technician came out and with the Cowboy’s help ran new wiring and installed a new modem. Didn’t help.

Wednesday the Cowboy helped Dan and Louanne with a project–installing a new heater in their master bath. I baked more cookies, helped Mom with her knitting and made Instant Pot beef stew–the absolute best beef stew you will ever eat!

While taking Emmi for her evening walk we were sprinkled with rain and we have a good chance of rain tonight and tomorrow–let’s hope so!



Seeing An Old Friend

Thursday was a day of downs and ups. Mom and I were off to Sierra Vista bright and early on a cold Arizona desert winter morning. I saw an orthopedic surgeon and to say I was unimpressed is the understatement of the year. After checking in I sat in a spot with my back to the check in desk. As I waited I heard two other people check in for the same exact appointment time with the same doctor I was to see. That was my first red flag. I waited a good thirty minutes past my appointment time for x-rays and it was one hour and forty minutes past my appointment time before I saw the surgeon.

I don’t wait for doctors, I’ve walked out of many doctor’s offices in my life. If my hip had not been hurting for weeks, I would have left. When the surgeon finally walked into the exam room he was in a hurry and I felt as if he didn’t have any time for me. Bottom line–he doesn’t know what is wrong with my hip, no arthritis showed on the x-rays. Six weeks of twice weekly physical therapy and if that doesn’t help, a MRI.

Mom modeling one of the shirts we found at her favorite store, Dillards.

Mom and I had brought our lunch as it was too cold to sit outside at any restaurant–we ate sitting in the hospital parking lot–a sad state of affairs. Then it was off to Joann’s–I needed buttons for a little quilt I’ve done–nope, didn’t find the right buttons. Mom purchased some Christmas type fabrics and we rolled through Dillards–one of Mom’s favorite stores–which is also an understatement!😍The mall was deserted–literally–there was probably less than a dozen customers in the whole entire place. Scary deserted–the food court was closed and eerie. Store fronts were dark, not even open. It was disconcerting!

The day definitely got better as we rolled out of Sierra Vista. I sent our friend Angie a text to tell her we were on our way and received this in reply:

We met Angie and Ralph on a shooting range in 2003 and we’ve been good friends since that time. They’ve been to Montana a couple times and we always manage to touch base each winter season. They are living on a shooting range near Tombstone helping the owner with some maintenance projects and enjoying life. Angie had good coffee brewed and a delicious lemon cake ready–we enjoyed some social distanced chatting underneath a propane heater in one of the range buildings.

Friday was just a another day of cooking, playing with Emmi and knitting with Mom. Martha is so excited that she’s learned to knit and can even cast on another project when she finishes this one. I’ve finished one Christmas gift project and am working on the second one.

Dan and Louanne came for dinner Saturday and we had such a good time–those two are a barrel of laughs from one minute to the next. If I do say so myself, our meal was outstanding! Tri-Tip on the grill, Brenda’s cheesy potatoes, and salad with Boulder River Ranch poppy seed dressing.

And, I’m sorry Caryl but we ate the rhubarb! I usually package rhubarb at summer’s end, freeze it and bring it to our friend Caryl who lives at North Ranch. Caryl misses the rhubarb she grew when living in Montana. But, Mom enjoys rhubarb too and as she hasn’t been to Montana in several years I saw that package in the freezer and decided rhubarb crisp was on the menu. Homemade ice cream completed the dessert. Oh, my goodness was it good–tasted like Montana!

Sunday was a lazy day for Mom and me. We made some “millionaires” or “turtles” depending on your definition of those candies with caramel and pecans, coated in chocolate. Our friend Gina taught me to make these and when I sent a photo of my creations, she and Rollie called to chat. They are still on the island of St. Croix, Rollie is finishing up a oil refinery project and they will hopefully be back on the mainland after the first of the year.

Not very pretty but oh, so good!
Mom knitted a dishcloth!!

Life is good–

Big Time Computer Issues

On Monday Mom and Emmi decided to stay home while the Cowboy and I headed to Tucson. Cabinet building lumber was required and the Cowboy thinks the Home Depot store on Broadway in Tucson has better lumber. Tucson is also a mask wearing city–we saw not one person without a mask. We had a extra added treat–Dan and Louanne happened to be in the big city yesterday at the same time and we met for lunch at the Eclectic Café. In this restaurant the outside seating area is accessed without going inside. And the patio has heaters which were welcome yesterday. I love this restaurant, the food is good and the ambience is nice. Notice I said “I love this” restaurantthe Cowboy, not so much!😁

Emmi is a little snob–she likes her people and her people only–me, the Cowboy, Larry and Geri. Period. She is so standoffish with Mom and Monday spent her time on the couch looking out the window watching for us turning her head away when Mom would try to talk to her. Yep, she is a snob!

Tuesday the Cowboy hung drywall and spread drywall mud. Laundry and cooking was on my agenda. Plus getting my printer to work! My Christmas present last year was a Dell laptop and it would not cooperate with my newer Brother printer. It would print a test page from the laptop but nothing else and would give me a “printer has been offline for over a month” message on the “print screen.” Well, I knew better–the printer was NOT offline.

So, I set myself a goal for Tuesday–make the printer work. And I did! Evidently this isn’t an uncommon issue as when I asked Mr. Google it was obvious other folks were having the same problem. I stopped allowing Microsoft control of the printer and guess what–it worked! We are so not fans of Windows 10 and its continuous, non stop updates. Every single time our laptops update one thing or another is not the same–yesterday the Cowboy lost his bookmarks bar–I found it but for goodness sake Microsoft, leave our computers be!!!

And oh wow did we ever have a computer glitch today or rather Walmart had a computer glitch. I received a text message stating $161.34 had been charged today for a Walmart grocery pickup order. We had not ordered groceries nor had we picked up groceries today. The tale became even stranger. I came inside to log onto the computer and see if that amount had indeed been charged to our credit card and it had. The Cowboy then said, “you also have an email from Walmart stating your order is complete, charged $182.65 and the date is October 30.

If you’ve read this blog for long you know we are avid fans of Walmart pickup but today they were having major issues! I called the credit card company, denied the charge and will be sent a new credit card as a result of all this. Then I contacted Walmart and the story became even more ridiculous. Yes, Walmart was having issues, some grocery orders had not charged at the time of purchase and were just now being corrected. Yes, I did buy groceries on October 30 in the amount of $161.34 and it had never been charged to our credit card!!!

The young woman at Walmart was very apologetic. I told her it would have been very nice if Walmart had called us and explained the issue rather than posting a charge to our credit card more than a month after the fact. I explained that I had revoked the charge and my card was being replaced and asked how I could pay for the groceries. Here is what she said, “trust me, because you rejected the charge no one is going to contact you about this issue.” Great, more phone calls for me to make–stay tuned!

Tuesday afternoon late our friends Linda and Janice arrived in Linda’s new Ranger bearing gifts. They had collected pine boughs, created swags and decorated them with bright red bandanas. I hurriedly hung ours today as it was getting dark and don’t like the photos I took–so photos later. And our front porch looks a little trashy! 🤣🤣The trash drywall gets tossed out the front door waiting for the next trash run and instead of a nice firewood rack like the ones our friends Nancy and Geoff have, we have a cardboard box. (The Cowboy made Geoff and Nancy’s racks!😏)

Mom is knitting away making progress, me not so much–too much else to do. I am baking cookies to ship, bathing the pooch, feeding us, etc.

We’ve been having internet issues–dropped signal, slow speeds and today I called our provider. The tech walked me through a few steps and said he would escalate the issue to a company technician. Wonder of wonders–they are actually sending a tech out to our house on Thursday because they could see in our account the dropped signals and slow speeds. That’s service!


Post Thanksgiving

We enjoyed a quiet, easy Thanksgiving at Dan and Louanne’s with Mom, Janice and Linda. Dan’s turkey was delicious as always and all the sides were divine–especially the pumpkin pie! Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving Day was also enjoyable.

Linda and Mike sampling Dan’s homemade pimento cheese spread.
The bird.

Friday the Cowboy hung more drywall. On Saturday we carried into the house the last six sheets of drywall. By Sunday evening there are only two more to hang, and some of those are just pieces. Isn’t it amazing that we are almost finished? Our little construction crew of only two has made some fabulous progress on these two houses in just less than 24 months. This place was a dump, literally. The roofs leaked, the drywall was either falling from the ceiling due to water damage or was non existent. The houses were infested with critters, the well was dry–the list goes on and on. We bought this property in February of 2017 adding a garage and putting a new roof on the guest house portion of the property before we headed back to Montana in April of 2017. This is the two houses in early 2017.

Saturday I made and delivered dinner to Lucy and Milton. Milton’s father has moved in with them and I knew Lucy just might need a hand occasionally–so dinner delivery to the rescue. Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and cookies. Our Sunday lunch will consist of the same meal! And it was delicious!

Before this Covid business reared its ugly head I had planned to spend these next two weeks in Germany with our granddaughter and family–sad.

Mom is learning to knit–

Today we sold the bookcases we bought in Tucson a couple weeks ago–neither one of us liked them so off they went. It was one of those purchases we made when tired after a long day in Tucson not wanting to go look at any more furniture. A young woman drove over from Sierra Vista and we stuffed the 80″ tall bookcases into her mini van.

Life is good.

It’s Looking Festive Around This House

Monday afternoon Mom and I took a drive to the Chiracahua National Monument. Very few people out and about on a Monday–always a good thing. We drove up to the lookout point, turned around and came home. Mom kept saying she never imagined Arizona had such scenery as what is found in the Monument. This photo was taken with my iPhone–I am always amazed when I see the photos one can produce with a phone camera.

Tuesday the Cowboy hung drywall, spread a little drywall mud and I worked on decorating the house for Christmas. We are looking festive. Wednesday I hung the outside lights around our front porch roof. I’m thinking we are decorated.

I’ve also been doing some cooking–nothing fancy yet, just Chex Mix for the Cowboy. I don’t make Chex Mix except during the holidays but I made the second batch today!! We did a little prep work on our contributions for Thanksgiving dinner and will finish up on Thursday morning.

Mom has an iPhone and struggles with using her laptop. So, I’ve been teaching her how to use the phone to access her email and other things. We had the best time, giggling over her lack of phone skills but she is getting much better.

Emmi has been getting her necessary walks and play sessions–she was not impressed that I used her bed as a resting spot for Christmas décor and just squeezed herself into the bed.

Short blog tonight, nothing much going on. We wish you all a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

A Visitor

Look who came to visit–

Thursday morning I headed to Tucson to run errands before going to the airport about 4pm to retrieve a very special guest on her 84th birthday! I was going to fly to Arkansas and fly back to Tucson with her but Mom insisted she was perfectly capable of flying by herself–and she was! Mom is staying a month with us.

Friday the heating and air conditioning crew arrived–two very young people–their appearance made me wonder if they were old enough to know what they were doing. They did. Three hours later we had this–

Working heating and air conditioning mini split units. They are amazingly quiet and we are pleased!

Saturday was an incredibly long and hard day. The Cowboy while cruising through Craigslist found a set of really nice cabinets from someone’s living room–for free. The owner wanted someone to remove the cabinets and then she would give them to that person for free. Let me tell you, we earned those cabinets. When the house was built probably in the 70’s, this set of cabinets was built into the living room wall. New flooring had been laid around the cabinets. This house of ours is short on storage and we wanted these cabinets to go along the end wall of the porch–for storage. It took us over three hours of non stop work–hard work–to remove and load the cabinets into our truck and trailer. This is a photo of the 30 drawers found in this built in cabinet. Emmi went with us but Mom elected to stay home.

Sunday was another busy day. The Cowboy hung the living room ceiling fan–

He also hung some kitchen drywall.

And I had a long list–laundry, patching jeans, cleaning the refrigerator freezer where I let a can of coke explode!!, making tortillas, etc. We had a delicious Sunday lunch of steaks, baked potatoes, mushrooms and salads.

Our friend Jeane shared the following on Facebook Sunday morning and it hit home–it’s something on my mind a lot these days–

Barely the day started and… it’s already six in the evening.
Barely arrived on Monday and it’s already Friday.
… and the month is already over.
… and the year is almost over.
… and already 40, 50 or 60 years of our lives have passed.
… and we realize that we lost our parents, friends.
and we realize it’s too late to go back…
So… Let’s try, despite everything, to enjoy the remaining time…
Let’s keep looking for activities that we like…
Let’s put some color in our grey…
Let’s smile at the little things in life that put balm in our hearts.
And despite everything, we must continue to enjoy with serenity this time we have left. Let’s try to eliminate the afters…
I’m doing it after…
I’ll say after…
I’ll think about it after…
We leave everything for later like ′′ after ′′ is ours.
Because what we don’t understand is that:
Afterwards, the coffee gets cold…
afterwards, priorities change…
Afterwards, the charm is broken…
afterwards, health passes…
Afterwards, the kids grow up…
Afterwards parents get old…
Afterwards, promises are forgotten…
afterwards, the day becomes the night…
afterwards life ends…
And then it’s often too late….
So… Let’s leave nothing for later…
Because still waiting see you later, we can lose the best moments,
the best experiences,
best friends,
the best family…
The day is today… The moment is now…
We are no longer at the age where we can afford to postpone what needs to be done right away.
Every evening we go over to the main house and enjoy the sunset–Sunday’s sunset was stunning!

The Same Ole Thing

Working on the house, keeping our clothes and the house clean. Nothing exciting. Monday I went to Tucson with Louanne–she was picking up her hearing aids at Costco. We did a little shopping and it was good to see that with the exception of one woman, everyone we saw in the stores was wearing masks. We ate lunch at our favorite taco spot–outside.

While I was in Tucson the Cowboy started the cabinet work. He keeps himself from getting bored by doing a little drywall work, a little cabinetry, a little outside work. On Monday he built the frame work for the small kitchen pantry.

Tuesday I applied polyurethane to the boards which form the inside structure of the pantry and had my hair cut. In the evening we joined Linda and Janice at Dan and Louanne’s for dinner. We had such a good time and the more we are around this small group, the better we feel. They are careful.

It’s been a touch warm the last few days–hot in fact! And the Cowboy put our evaporative cooler to bed for the winter! The heating and air conditioning guy is coming on Friday to do the final hookup of our mini split units–that will be good!

Do any of you use Blink security cameras? Indoors or outdoors?

And a few more of those gorgeous photos the family in Germany had made.



We Take A Drive–Or Two

The following was written by the registered dietician at our small town Montana hospital/clinic/nursing home and she gave me permission to share. As you all know, I’m a mask advocate. I am a nurse. Masks work. The points made by Kelsey are spot on.
I have so many things to say…
I tested positive for COVID October 28. First of all, I’m fine. Brandon, the kids and I all had cold-like symptoms. Thankfully I was able to return to work this Monday; meanwhile Brandon and the kids have been quarantined at home, working and attending school virtually.
Our little community has been hit hard. Half of my employees (including myself) have contracted COVID. We have 40+ active cases in our county and our poor county health nurse is exhausted from making phone call after phone call, conducting test after test. Most people are recovering and have mild symptoms; some are severe.
I have been on the fence about the damn masks. I work in a hospital and we’ve been wearing the damn masks since March, all day, everyday. We are soooo over it as healthcare workers.
Here are some observations I’ve made:
*Our providers/doctors religiously wear their masks wherever they go and they’ve cared for many, many COVID positive patients; they have not contracted this virus.
*We have had 10-15 employees that have tested positive who all work closely with our nursing home residents, the most vulnerable population; none of our residents have contracted COVID. I pray it stays this way.
*In order to work, all staff members must get a weekly COVID test to help keep our facility safe. Some of the positive cases had no symptoms at all.
*I seriously doubted that a paper-like face covering could really protect all of us. But what I’m witnessing with my own eyes tells me the masks are working in an environment where there is no option of whether you wear a mask or not.
Our little hospital is so overwhelmed. We don’t have backups incase someone is sick. It’s been really scary. I am in awe each day of the amazing people I work with who are powering through to provide care for our community and patients. We had record high volumes in our ER and record breaking months for the number of CT scans over the summer and things aren’t slowing down; and we’re in the midst of a pandemic. These are the things people on the outside don’t always see or hear. In the community our facility feels so scrutinized all the time…and it’s so hard to stay positive. We’ve also been very blessed to receive incredibly positive feedback from the patients and people we have served; and I think that’s what keeps us going.
Please pray for our local hospital and healthcare workers all over the country. Please be patient and kind to each other regardless of your beliefs about COVID and the damn masks. To my co-workers, it is an honor to work with you; keep the faith that better days will come.
Thursday was another go get supplies day. First stop was the post office where not one person including the staff was wearing masks! But I did get a box of squishy mail–yarn, and a box of books from my dear friend Kelly–
Onward to Sierra Vista where we made a stop at Home Depot and one at Fry’s grocery store. We had lunch and then waited, and waited. The Cowboy discovered a company located on the outskirts of Sierra Vista which builds stairs–TopTread Stairways. Clyde Martin also sells lumber as in the kind of lumber the Cowboy needs for building the kitchen cabinets–hickory. Clyde wouldn’t be back in the shop until late in the afternoon so as I said, we waited.
Last season we purchased a bit of hickory lumber from him and while in the shop he showed us the slide–as in children’s slide–he was building from Brazilian rosewood. Amazing!! Thursday I asked him about the slide and he sent me these photos–it’s an amazing piece of work created by Clyde to go into a tower in a home in Sacramento, CA. He built the slide and stairs in the Sierra Vista shop and took it to Sacramento for installation. Clyde is an artist, without a doubt!
Friday I tackled a big chore that had been staring at me every time I went out the back door–the motorhome and trailer needed to be washed! Whew! The Cowboy is working on getting the mini split heating and air conditioning system ready for the heating and air conditioning guy who is coming next Friday to do the final hookup.
Saturday we took a much needed break and took a drive over the Chiricahua Mountains to Portal. It’s sad to see this area so incredibly dry. For the first time since we’ve been coming to this area there was no water in the creeks on the west side of the mountains and only puddles in the creeks on the east side. The fall colors are muted probably due to lack of water. But no matter, it was a beautiful drive, we enjoyed a picnic lunch and came home.
Our family in Germany had professional photographs taken recently and the photos have WOW factor!
Here is one of my favorites of Lora–
And that’s enough words for one blog!

Veterans Day

I love this photo—Laci was returning from Iraq (her parents did not know she was back on US soil) and called to ask if I could somehow arrange for her parents to be at the Rib and Chop House in Livingston, MT.  It was tough—if I was going to feed Lonn and LoraLee I cooked—so they thought it strange we were asking them to go out to eat.  Laci was late (as usual) and we waited with Lonn and LoraLee who were wondering why in the world we wouldn’t let them order!  Laci walks into the restaurant and the expression on Lonn and LoraLee’s faces was priceless. The entire restaurant erupted in applause.

Laci is no longer in the military but is instead married to John, and they are stationed with the USAF in Germany for almost four long years–coming back to the US soon!

And here are our family’s other veterans–Nat (the Cowboy’s Dad on the left) who died two years ago at the age of 96. He served in World War II flying thirty three missions as a gunner on B29 aircraft over Japan. My Cowboy served in the US Army Reserves during the Vietnam war–gosh he was a handsome soldier!

We thank these members of our family and all the other veterans who’ve served this country of ours.

Whew–we’ve been working hard–as if that’s anything new! Monday we spent the entire day in Tucson looking at and buying furniture and appliances. We bought a stove and microwave/convection oven/vent hood from an 85 year old woman who said, “honey, I don’t cook.” She told me she used the oven only to make muffins or cornbread. She cooks in her electric fry pan. She kept a towel over the glass stove top all the time. The stove and microwave look brand new–score!

But the piece I am so excited about is this–a custom built TV cabinet–which we of course won’t use for a TV but will use for storage.

Obtaining this piece was a story in itself! This is just a short version of her story–“she moved from a 10,000 square foot house and 2500 square foot guest house when she divorced. She paid an interior designer $800,000 to decorate those two houses. She paid $85,000 for the dining table that was in her kitchen eating area.” And the story went on and on. The house in which she is now living is huge and absolutely stuffed with furniture–high end furniture. She is trying to sell much of it but her prices for used furniture are outrageous. Except this piece–for some reason she didn’t have an outrageous price tag on it??? It’s obviously custom made, well done and gorgeous. We like it!!

Tuesday I packaged all the meat we purchased at Costco on Monday–took me forever! Then I spent the afternoon outside rescuing our two apple trees. The wind storm we had on Saturday and Sunday coupled with too much irrigation caused our apple trees to fall over! I straightened and staked them plus cut way back on the amount of irrigation the trees will get. We will see if they survive this insult!

The Cowboy unloaded all the furniture and appliances we bought then busied himself finding a place for all of it. Today he hung some of the last drywall we have to hang and worked on the mini split heating and air conditioning unit.

Are you a fruit cake fan–I never was until I made fruitcake using the recipe a Facebook/blogging friend makes. It’s to die for! One of the secrets is marinating the dried fruit in brandy for a month or more. My fruit is now marinating.

And that’s it–lots of hard work but also lots of progress!