Thursday, May 18, 2017

AHH, Spring in the Mountains.....

This is the beautiful view this morning.....    We had hoped there would be the pouring of the cement on the extended patio  today..😕

On a brighter note....this gorgeous box of succulents appeared on my doorstep from Jeff and arrived in perfect condition with lovely yellow and white flowers and mosses and my favorite succulents.    I think I can handle the care and feeding as it says, one cup of water once a month !    It came from a site called Urban Succulents and apparently, this is a favorite for wedding bouquets and such.  

 So, before the grounds were covered in snow, I was playing a lot of golf.    Not well, but thoroughly enjoying being outside for 4+ hours surrounded by gorgeous scenery and  having fun with friends.   The game has moments of brilliance followed quickly by deep frustration.....   I actually got a point in league play on Tuesday.....I think they are used in the Pro Shop when you get enough.   
Meanwhile, the Pickleball player is on the courts every day and gearing up for a tournament in early June.   Plus, he's signed up for golf with the guys so we will both be in great shape to take on Couple's Golf next month.    

 The snow started while I was at Mah Jongg.....we play upstairs in the Clubhouse with a wall of windows facing the mountains....I should have taken a picture as the  big flakes started.     The little hummers are quite amazing and they were feeding well into near darkness.  

As the wet sticky stuff accumulated , it settled on the satellite dish......My handyman figured out that  a hose was the best snow shovel.    I had to repeat the process this morning.

The house is coming together....and hopefully, the patio  will get back on track once the weather improves.    I have everything ready to put flowers in their pots but glad I looked at the forecast.  

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Well, darn........

I do believe it is the end of April but it looks like January around here.......

Most of Colorado has been covered in the white stuff with Denver expecting up to 12 inches.   I'm 

 not sure how the peonies feel about this fluffy coating of their flower buds.    I'm wondering if they will flower.   The weather is to warm up and be actually hot by the end of the week.

 So yesterday, when it was 40 degrees and windy and cloudy, I dragged out the bread maker and made this cute loaf of plain white bread.    I remember trying to make bread years ago at this altitude and it was a total failure.   I followed some hints for high altitude baking and it turned out OK.   I would like to make whole wheat next and pizza dough.     And so, for lunch we had TLT's.   Fresh bread, Just Mayo (egg and dairy free...really good), fresh plump tomatoes, lettuce/spinach and tempeh "bacon".     Tempeh is soy and brown rice and spices and it is made into strips.   Heat it in a pan until it's a bit crispy and it tastes and looks very close to bacon.  (minus all the bad fat)   We don't use substitutes very often, mostly sticking to just plain whole foods.    But the fresh bread and tomatoes insisted we have sandwiches.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017


We picked the perfect day to fly home.    Since we have the privilege of flying stand-by, we (meaning him ), follow the bookings very closely for days.    Flights can appear to have plenty of seats and few stand-bys and then the seats disappear and the stand-bys multiply.   It can be a nerve racking process if you have to be somewhere.  As parents of the employee, we have a low priority.  I really think that management should reconsider that policy.   After all, if we had not done such an outstanding job of parenting and paying for all those shoes and cars and tuition, they wouldn't have this outstanding employee..... but, I digress......   We usually buy a refundable ticket on Southwest (the cheaper Senior fares) and then, if we get on the flight, we cancel the SW ticket and bank the funds for another day.   It really reduces the stress of flying.    Yesterday, there were about 120!!! available seats on the flight from Denver and the next one to Montrose was about half full.   We each had our own row!  We had planned on staying a few more days but those numbers made it a no brainer to head home earlier.   

Arriving in Denver.........

We got home about 1 pm.    A long half day, considering we left CT at 2 am MST.        We left in rain and arrived in rain.    And snow is expected by the weekend.     I need spring, not winter.

We had a delightful time with Andy and Mason.   Such a privilege to see them grow and develop their personalities.    We arrived a bit under the weather with our respiratory bugs that kept hanging on.    Luckily, they are not toddlers and were pretty self sufficient.
They are both extremely bright (aren't all our grandchildren ? ) and I so enjoyed their wit and enthusiasm.    Today's kids are so much smarter than we were at that age.   Now, if they would eat vegetables, they would be perfect.

We stayed pretty housebound, not wanting to scare anyone with our ugly coughs.    Reading and knitting was the activity of the day.    I'm late to the game, but just discovered Mary Oliver and her poetry and essays.     I bought them in hard copy so I can return again and again to her imagery of nature and the natural.

Lots of activities going on here at the homestead and lots of projects still needing to be done.     Little by little...............      

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring ............

 I checked the hummingbird migration map and reports and found  that there were sightings  in Grand Junction.   The old feeder was pretty sad so I got a new one.   I'm thinking I preferred the old one but maybe the hummers will like new and bright.     I put it near a window.    I'm hoping the food will last for a week because the next morning....

.....we hopped a  jet and flew East.    This is  sunrise over Blue Mesa Reservoir as we were climbing. 


And this is the contrasting view as we dropped into LaGuardia a few hours later.

It's good to be back in Newtown again.    I enjoy driving the winding hilly roads that became so familiar after 30+ years of living here.     Connecticut springs are fickle at best.    The trees are still bare but the daffodils and forsythia are happy  splashes of color and the flowering fruit trees are everywhere.   Its a perfect time to be here.

   And spring means its my birthday.    Growing up in North Dakota, I always wanted a picnic birthday party.   Of course, it snowed most years and I didn't get my wish.   It  rained this year so we skipped the picnic again.    It was a perfect day anyhow.

Mason started baseball and we loved watching this age show off their skills.   We were impressed.

The parents come back tomorrow and we will head West once again.    These boys are a delight to be around and I don't think we spoiled them too much!     Luckily, they didn't need help with math homework.

I think it would have been easier to pack for a beach somewhere but they flew west until they found 

good snow......Whistler, BC.   

Meanwhile,  spring is here and their pool is  a nippy 55 degrees.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


.....I'll become a blogger again now that I have the latest and greatest equipment to work with.   

 When we were in Scottsdale last week, we had another visit with my cousin Diane and her daughter Sandy.    Since we have such fond memories of our grandmother, I decided to make and take them her version of the iconic rice krispie treats.    I've never seen this recipe elsewhere but I doubt she holds the patent.  These are a staple in our family and school bake sales always sold out of them immediately.    Now of course, I look at the corn syrup and sugar and cringe....
She came to visit us in the early 70's and wrote the recipe in my cookbook.   I love her distinctive British script.    If you have a craving for these delicacies , send me a note so I can give you better directions.   If you follow this exactly, you won't be impressed.  

 The stairs are in process and they are lovely.   I'm so happy we opted to change out the dark and distracting metal.    The color matches all the other wood trim in the house.   Initially, we were going to go with metal pickets, kinda bronzy in color but I was afraid that what I saw in my head wasn't going to be the same in  reality.   In a house of my own design and in the last few we have lived in, we've always had white trim.    I've not been fond of the wood look but for this house, it works and the new almond paint color was a good choice.  The risers are waiting for paint.

When we got back on Friday, I thought I was dealing with allergies to the spring pollens.   Well, not to be.   I have a full blown respiratory bug.   Seems like I just went thru this in January.    We don't have a Dr here (waiting for our preferred group to start taking new patients once again ) so I dragged my sad self over to the Urgent Care.     Have I reached old age ??

Guess who we found?   Andy and Mason flew in to spend their break with their distant families.    They are spending most of the time up in Grand Junction with Grandma Rae as we get to see them next week when we fly to CT.    The parents are taking a much needed break and we will look forward to spring popping up out there.    It would be nice if the dogwoods would bloom but it might be too early.

Weather is so nice here....low 70's and the golfers are making me very jealous.     Wish I were monitoring the greening and blooming from my morning walk..... Maybe in a few days.

I spent a lot of idle time in AZ knitting and reading.     I especially liked "Americanah",  a young Nigerian woman comes to American but leaves her love behind.    Also have been reading the Louise Penny series of Detective Gamache solving murders in the picturesque Canadian village of Three Pines.   I think I'm on #4.       I've just started "Lillian Boxfish takes a Walk"....It's too early to form an opinion but has been described as witty, poignant and sparkling.      Our book club  is very popular  and with all the retired educators living here,   the discussions are lively and intelligent.

Time to do more purging of the clothes.    There is a lot of storage and closets but for some odd reason, the master closets are small. Although traipsing up and down the stairs every time I need clothes is good exercise, it's not my choice most days, so I am being quite brutal and realistic.    Shoes are next..........

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Does this look different?     No ???     Well, this blog is being produced on a brand new computer and it's a big deal to me.       This is a MacBook Air.   My 9 yr old MacBook Pro was on it's last leg.   We'd replaced a few of it's parts but it still only had 20 min of battery time, got too hot to hold when charging and the mouse pad was failing.   When we were in Scottsdale, the Apple store was calling and we answered.     I'm still in a bit of a learning curve but I love all the additional features.

 We are home !    But far from settled.     The stairs are still missing most of their railings and some touch up painting is needed and the patio hasn't been started.    But our stuff is all here and this is where we'll finally hang our hats.    

Before we headed north, we settled into Jeff and Jen's guest room and their beautiful home in North Scottsdale.    We shopped and ate and had the RV worked on.   The pool was too chilly but still nice to lounge around.   

Guinness also lives there.   He is a tad suspicious and does not like to have his picture taken.   Every time I raised my phone, he quickly retreated.    I finally tried the dog bone bribe but his wary look says he still didn't trust me.   He's a great little gentle dog.   

 A couple weeks ago, we joined Jen and Jeff at their Club for 9 holes.    I meant to take a lot of pics of this scenic course. I only managed to capture one of Jen before I forgot about photography and had to concentrate on staying out of the desert.    There were snake (rattlesnake to be specific) warnings and I gave up a ball to the cactus field instead of risking my life.

Another day, we headed down to Tucson to the Pima Air Museum.   We'd been there years ago but it has changed significantly.     This is the trainer that P learned to fly in when he was just a kid and 

beginning Navy flight training.   

 And this is the same kid at the hanger dedicated to the Vietnam conflict.   Still very cute and young at heart.

Jon had a short layover in Phoenix and we were able to meet for breakfast.    Jeff is now a manager at the GM Autonomous Vehicle site and he gave us a grand tour.    Very interesting to learn how they are developing an autonomous driving car and partnering with Lyft to get into that market.

Jeff, Jon, the matriarch and patriarch and Jennifer....... a mighty fine looking bunch I think.

The weather is warm here on the western slope but very very windy.   Lots of snow on the peaks and the trees are leafing out.    We will get back in the golf and pickle ball scene once the winds calm down.    Until then, there are still boxes to unpack, pictures to hang and friends to catch up with........

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Counting the days..........

Our time in the desert is winding down.      We head north in about 2 weeks and I am ready.   We expected it to be warmer here and most everyone has said that this is the chilliest winter they remember.   But then, it went from the 70's to the 90's, all in one day and now the daytime heat is really too hot to be out in for any length of time.   The mornings and evening are lovely and we really appreciate the dry comfortable air.    We remember that Florida humidity  and don't miss it.   

A quick summary of the last month or so.     We met up with the Cobble Creek Hiking Club in Tucson and had great times, superb food and a challenging hike.    We spent one day in Sabino Canyon climbing ever upward among the Saguaro and early flowers and great views.   The trail was difficult because of the large rock and boulders which required careful foot holds.   We were only at about 4000 ft so the altitude and uphill climbs were not an issue.   And, it was too early for snakes ( or so they told us).    But it was tedious to always be watching your feet on the narrow trails and we will appreciate our smoother paths in the San Juans.     The next day we headed south to an old Spanish mission and did a dusty trail along the river.   The trail ended in the arty little community of Tubac.    This was a trail followed from Mexico to San Francisco in the 1700's.   I hope the trail got more interesting for those travelers because all we saw were mesquite trees, trash, occasional river views and a dead smelly horse.   I'm really not complaining because I'm glad we saw the contrast between the river lands and the mountains but once was enough.   Fortunately, it was cool for both hikes so we didn't have to deal with heat and dehydration.   

The rest of our days are taken up with Pickleball, lots of PB, and an occasional round of golf.   The course here is a Par 3, 18 hole so just a quick walk around a beautiful setting.   We've met our neighbors and often meet for Happy Hour on someone's patio.   Always fun to meet like minded RVers and hear their traveling tales.   
We revisited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum  and enjoyed the 2 miles stroll thru the various gardens and settings.    I so resent seeing the captive animals.  I understand that they are probably rescued and couldn't survive in the wild but I want to see them running free.   It was spring break at the museum and listening to the kids comments is always refreshing.   

This is a crested Saguaro....quite rare.   I'm sure it was transplanted to be at the entrance but I was glad to see one close up without hiking thru the desert.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, the painting and remodeling is getting done.   We have cameras in various locations so we can get some idea of the changes.    The workers know of the cameras.   We're ready to be back and to get settled once and for all.    It has been in the 70's and I hope it lasts.   We have a full golf membership this year, I have new shoes AND a new golf club so I am anxious to get my game back.
I had more pictures to post but can't get them downloaded.   Imagination is always better anyhow.

See you when we get home.....unless life gets more interesting........ !

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Catching up.......

We're still in Montrose.    I had thought a couple of weeks would be enough to make some decisions about the house but finding that not everyone works at my pace.    It's good to be back amongst our stuff and to empty boxes and either feel like it's a box of gifts or wondering why would we still want THAT !     The Heirloom Hospice store is a recipient of our nicer leftovers.....the shop is on Main St and looks like a very  nice boutique  filled with furniture, housewares and lovely clothes.   

So, I've managed to arrange for painters.   The Lady Painters have a great reputation and I am impressed with their abilities to build scaffolding, patch and retexture walls, move heavy furniture and do it all for a better price than our friend and local builder.     The new color will be called Blanched Almond by B. Moore.    So much better than the lavenderish grey now residing on the walls.  

These pics got reversed and my computer is getting old and cranky (no comment please ) and it's lost most of the touch pad so can't click and move them.    Anyhow, this is from Houzz...where I spend too much time looking at ideas....   This is the stairway look that we want......

This is the stairway we have !!     No, the walls aren't that crooked.....I just can't hold my phone straight.       It is busy and distracting and overpowering...... Those wall sconces ( There are 4 of them ) are also going away....onyx and dark brown metal and are free if you pay the shipping....they are heavy !

Meanwhile, I love the kitchen and find that I almost enjoy cooking........ After having delicious pizza at Jeff and Jenn's last month, I splurged on the Williams and Sonoma pizza maker ( on sale ) and it does a great job.    I used pizza dough from the market and skipped the meats and cheese and it was perfect.   I suspect the oven works just as well but now that I have room for gadgets and small appliances, why not......Come over and I'll make you one !   One should always edit their pics....when I enlarged this I noted the tomatoes stuck to the heating coil (they were still fine ) and the island is rather messy.  

This small rural community seems to be growing.    The official population is 20,000 but we hear of new businesses and future plans for growth.    Just in our development, new homes are going up and there are plans to expand into another section.   Seems like most of the newbies to Cobble Creek are either from the Front Range ( Denver etc) or Texas.      The biggest event of late in Montrose was the opening of the new Rec Center.   It is stunning.   This is just one pool area....there are lap pools and diving and swimming pools on the other side of that wall.   The windows on the left become doors that open in the summer to more pool area and slides and such.    There are 8 pickle ball courts inside and 8 outside.    It has a walking trail with hills...inside and of course, a huge climbing wall and fitness area.     It is a wonderful addition for our town.   

 Weather had been quite lovely around here.   In the 50's and 60's and the golfers are out in force.       P headed back to AZ this past week for some PB events and said it was finally getting warm there as well.   He won some and lost some and came back just in time for the cold and rainy weather to move in with heavy snows in the mountains.

We'll head back to the desert this week.     Have to finalize stair plans and design ideas for the patio and outdoor fireplace and then we just wait until it's all done.............

And in-between it all, I'm finding things I love in the boxes.    I have done several needlepoints but this was always a favorite and somehow, it got sorta lost.      I got this in London over 10 years ago and now I hope to finish it.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I remember when..........

........I used to be a pretty good photographer and eagerly shared my efforts on the blog.    I carried the big camera on grueling uphill hikes, thru botanical gardens, focused on distant vistas and captured the grandkids in special moments.    Fast forward to present day......  My camera is rarely charged and my iPhone becomes the go-to short cut to capturing my world.    I think it reflects most everything about today's life.   The short attention spans and the inability to stop, look and listen as we seek instant gratification.      I must get better........Meanwhile, here's my snapshot views of the last couple of days.   

My  sisters came to AZ this week.    We gathered at Jeff and Jen's beautiful Scottsdale home and filled in the spaces since we last shared a bit of wine 18 mos ago.     They are funny, generous and very talented 'younger' sisters.     We also met up with a favorite cousin.    We laughed over all the childhood memories and found that the years hadn't diminished the stories.      From L to R    Sandy, Diane (the favorite cousin), the author of the world wide blog and Maureen.         It was a special time.

The next day, we loaded up the Jeep and headed north to Colorado.      Having only spent a couple of weeks in the new house, I am needing to get some things done and make arrangements for painting and some remodeling.     It's 550+ mi and doable in a days drive.    But, the mountains have been buried in snow so it was very slow going over Lizard Head Pass south of Telluride.    The views were breathtaking.    Maybe I could have captured the beauty with the other camera and the willingness to stop and step outside the car...... but we were anxious to get to lower levels before dark so the trusty phone had to be good enough.

After getting to a lower altitude and the setting sun, we had to deal with deer wandering the roads....very scary and this year, with the tremendous snows, the deer are leaving their safe areas to find food and the carnage on the roads has increased dramatically.    This morning, I read that they are setting up feeding stations to keep them off the roads.   

The undercarriage of the Jeep was heavy with chunky ice....this morning it cluttered up the floor.

It's good to be home !      ( for a week or so ).

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Alive and mostly well.......

 After getting partially settled, we left the cold west and flew to the cold east on Dec 22nd.    Prior to departure, we received word that there were evil germs lurking in the body of this innocent and adorably cute kid.   However, we felt brave and invincible and armed with a store's supply of ColdEze and hand sanitizer, we forged ahead.

 On Christmas Day, this very tall 13 year old, who preferred not to be photographed, came down with the bug and spent the day prostrate on the couch with a 103 temp.   It was over for everyone by that time.   One by one, we succumbed.  

Despite all of the misery, it was a wonderful family gathering and almost worth every sneeze.

Feeling rather crummy, we took the plague with us and flew back to FL to retrieve the RV.    Despite a strong will, we had to say no to a neighborhood gathering that the Scott's so generously planned.  We will surely miss them and the good times we've shared.
We gave ourselves an extra day or two to try and heal ourselves but then we had to leave as there were no more reservations to be had.     We limped westward until we got to San Antonio where one of us finally gave in and admitted to being really sick.    Drugs became his friends.  

Eventually, we made it across Texas and into Arizona and finally settled into our spot  at Palm Creek Resort in Casa Grande.     
It's nice here....lots of activities, lots of very nice RV's, lots of small houses, lots of Pickleball and a golf course.   We haven't explored the surrounding area but don't think there's much to see except desert.    We have several CO friends about 30 min away and look forward to catching up with them on Saturday.   Jeff and Jen are about 90 min away and we will get up there when they are not so busy.

We would like to drive back up to the house ( a long day's drive) to get some things we neglected to bring.....hiking stuff, bikes..... But the roads throughout CO are inundated with snow and avalanche warnings and closings....we'll wait  for clear weather and venture forth.  

The weight of buying and selling and selling and moving and moving  has finally been lifted.   I can't wait to get back to the house and get settled.... probably not before late March or April.    Until then, we'll enjoy the sun...........