Monday, December 31, 2012

December 30, 2012

Desert Sky

After doing my Sunday crosswords puzzles, I spend a couple of hours working on my photo show project.  It is a lot of work and I regret not working on it as I went along the last few months. 

Since we have been in one spot for a month now, Monte has made Sundays his day to empty the tanks.  It takes the guesswork out of trying to remember when he did it last and so far weekly dumping seems to be working out just fine.

I am still hacking away.  I just can’t seem to shake this cold and now Monte is coughing also.  I guess when you live in such a confined space like we do it is inevitable that we are going to infect each other.  We really miss exploring and hiking.  Superstition Mountain, which we can see from our rig, is calling to us but right now I have just about enough energy to walk around Walmart. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 29, 2012

Desert Sky

In the morning I felt well enough to work on my photo project.  Originally I was going to put together a slide show of our life on the road since leaving home at the beginning of August.  BUT we have done so many things and have taken over 5,000 pictures that even only selecting one or two photos from each adventure would make the slide show too long.  So I decided to make a series of shows divided by months.  This would enable me to select a few photos from each place we have been to and would make the project a lot more manageable.  And I would only subject my family to watching one fifteen to twenty minute show at a time.

While I was working on my project, Monte went next door to the neighbors who were having computer issues.  They had asked Monte for help as this is one of his areas of expertise. 

We took a ride to Renee’s house late in the afternoon.  I had promised to help her with a project she was working on-a mini makeover of the girls’ rooms.  She had purchased cube organizers for them for Christmas and Monte and I had bought them desks and chairs.  Renee and I had made personalized desk blotters and large initial letters.  We also bought cling-on decals for embellishment.  While Grandpa Monte and Deb put together the cubes, Renee and I cleaned the rooms and then organized everything.  We were quite pleased with the outcome.  We will not know if the girls like what we did with their rooms until they come back home on the 1st.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 28, 2012

Desert Sky

Cabin fever set in and as miserable as I still felt I needed to get out of the rig.  We took a ride to a nearby mall because I had a gift card to J C Penney that was going to expire at the end of the year.  I was relieved when I found something quickly.  Usually when I have a coupon or gift card that is expiring I walk around the store looking for something to buy.

We stopped at Walmart on the way home to pick up a few grocery items.  I always bring a bottle of water in the car whenever I go anywhere but didn’t bring it into Walmart with me and of course I had a coughing fit in the cookie aisle.  Monte brought me a cup of water he got in McDonalds. 

I was so tired from that little outing that when we got home and had some dinner I didn’t budge from the couch until it was time to go to sleep. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 27, 2012

Desert Sky

Another day spent sick in bed.  This is getting old. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 24-26, 2012

Desert Sky

Christmas Eve

We both took Nyquil last night and didn’t wake up until almost 10am.  We were expected at my daughter Renee’s house around 1pm so we really didn’t have that much time to just lounge around.  We had to clear everything out of the trunk of my car to fit the laundry basket.  Because we hadn’t done wash in a week it was full.  We also had to pack the Christmas gifts and our travel bag because we were planning on sleeping over. 

Renee and I spent the afternoon making things for the girls’ bedrooms.  We made giant letters of their initials on my Cricket Machine.  To give the letters some depth we traced them on foam board, cut them out and then glued them to the paper letters.  While we were crafting, Monte assembled the desks and desk chairs we had bought for the twins.

Deb, Renee’s partner, made lasagna for dinner along with garlic bread.  It was delicious but I used some self control and did not overeat because I wanted to leave room for dessert.  My self control went right out the window when I had to choose what to have- blueberry pie, pumpkin pie or Deb’s homemade cheesecake.  So I solved the dilemma by having a sliver of each.  And of course I had to put whipped cream on top!

After everyone was stuffed we settled onto the couch to watch Christmas Vacation.  It had been so long since I had seen that movie that it was like watching it for the first time.  We watched a couple of other shows and went to bed around 2am.  Since the twins were with their dad we didn’t have to worry about being woken up early with the announcement that, “Santa had been there.”

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas!



We slept in until around 10am on Christmas morning.  After exchanging gifts, we played a few games of SkipBo while the aroma from the pot roast cooking in the oven was making our mouths water.  When the timer went off, I added carrots and quartered potatoes to the pot and returned it to the oven for an additional hour.  Renee had invited her friend Dennis, who she knows doesn’t have family in the area and would have spent Christmas alone, to join us for dinner.  The roast had shrunk down but between the sides dishes and the dinner rolls there was enough to go around. 

After dinner Monte, Deb and Dennis spent a couple of hours outside assembling the trampoline that Deb and Renee had purchased for the girls as a Christmas present.  I took some pictures at the different stages of assembly.  And of course, when it was all put together I had to be the one to test it out.  I couldn’t believe how winded I was after only 5 or 6 jumps.  I tried consoling myself by saying it was because I was not over my cold yet and having difficulty breathing had nothing to do with my age.  Right. 

But seriously, as the day wore on I started coughing and my head was very congested.

At the same time the trampoline was being assembled, Renee and I were inside making blotters for the desks Monte and I bought the girls for Christmas.  We cut to size poster board and embellished them with decals.  Then taped the poster board to foam board to give it more substance and then covered the entire thing with clear contact paper.  We were really pleased with the end result.

After dessert, we packed up the car and went home where I was a couch potato the rest of the evening.

Day after Christmas

The cold has moved into my chest during the night.  It really hurt when I coughed and I started considering going to a clinic for some meds.  I spent the entire day in bed watching one episode after another of a show on Hulu called Heartland.  Monte had to go to Walgreens to get me some more Nyquil and while he was out he picked up a pizza at Little Caesars.  I haven’t been sick like this in a while and I am really regretting not getting my flu shot this year.  I will make a decision tomorrow about going to a clinic. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 23, 2012

Desert Sky

We slept in until 10am.  I’m not sure what time I ended up falling asleep after turning and tossing and not being able to get comfortable because I overate last night.   We both were still full and only had a couple of slices of toast for brunch.  Weather-wise it was a beautiful day.  I’m learning to really appreciate and not take for granted sunny warm days in Arizona.  I guess I am spoiled from having lived in Florida for so long where the occasional cool day is actually a treat.

In the afternoon we tossed around the idea of going for a walk but both of us are still not feeling 100 percent yet so we decided to have one more slug day and did pretty much nothing. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 22, 2012

Desert Sky

The weather was warm enough to sit outside.  Both Monte and I were feeling a lot better.  We spent the morning catching up on some chores that have we neglected the last few days.

 In the afternoon, Renee brought the twins for a visit.  They are going to spend Christmas with their dad and we won’t see them until January 1st.  I took a ride with her to drop them off.

 When we got back to the rig we only had a half hour to wait before leaving for the party we were invited to.  I should say Renee was invited to the party and had asked the hosts if we could also attend.  We hadn’t had lunch so we were pretty hungry.  There were so many delicious finger foods including Swedish meatballs.  I overate and paid for it all through the night.   I couldn’t fall asleep because I was so uncomfortably stuffed.  BUT the party was great.  It was nice to meet new people. 

Between being sick and visiting with family we have not been as physically active as we normally are.  We have been in Arizona almost a month and have only gone on one hike.  We both agree that we have to get back into more physical activities because we are felling like slugs. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 21, 2012

Desert Sky

Still sick!  Not only are we miserable because we are not feeling well but being sick is putting a crimp on our holiday plans.  We were supposed to attend a potluck Christmas dinner last night at the clubhouse where we are staying.  But we didn’t go because we didn’t feel up to going out and because we didn’t want to pass on our germs to our unsuspecting neighbors. 

Last night I had set the alarm for 7am hoping we were going to feel better because we had been invited to attend the twins’ party in their classrooms.  However, when the alarm went off I knew we were going to have to disappoint the girls.  Monte’s throat is still sore and my head is very congested. 

Luckily it was warm enough outside to sit and read.  It was nice to get some fresh air.  Monte took apart our portable heater because it had started making a loud noise.  He fixed it of course.  His knowledge about electronics and mechanics has really saved us a lot of money over the years. 

We watched some TV and went to bed early hoping to get a good nights’ sleep and feel better tomorrow because we are invited to a party Saturday night. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 20, 2012

Desert Sky

I guess I never really got over whatever bug I had last week because it roared its ugly head again.  Monte and I were miserably sick.  We stayed in our PJs all day and watched reruns of the TV show John Doe on Hulu.    

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 19, 2012

Desert Sky

I spent the morning working on putting some of the 5,000 plus pictures I have taken over the past 5 months into some kind of order so I can put together a photo show.  I already have them sorted out by date and am trying to choose only a few from each folder.  Looking over the photos has brought back a lot of wonderful memories.  We really crammed a lot of experiences into a short time.

In the early afternoon I received a call from one of the twins wanting to know when we were going to arrive.  She does that each time we are scheduled to come over and it is so cute. 

I brought the fixings for fajitas and began the preparations as soon as I arrived.  After dinner we played a game called Payday. 

It had been a good day but got even better when I got a surprise Skype call from my son Ryan who is currently in Afghanistan.  It was great seeing him on the computer and getting caught up. 

When Monte asked me what I want for Christmas I could honestly tell him that I have everything I want.  How lucky am I?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 18, 2012

Desert Sky

We took a ride to Sam’s Club today but before going in to shop we stopped across the street at San Tan Village, an outdoor mall.  I was surprised how little people were shopping one week before Christmas.  We really weren’t looking to buy anything.  We just wanted to take a walk and get some fresh air.  Back home, we had a quiet uneventful evening.

Today marks the anniversary of two of the most special people in my life-my parents.   The fact that they have been together for over sixty years is a real testament to their love and respect for each other.  They met while my dad, a soldier, was stationed in Germany.  They must have been fated to be together because despite coming from such different backgrounds, both socially and economically, they met, fell in love and married.


My mom took a leap of faith when she left her native country, friends and the security of her family to come to a strange place, especially during a time when Germans were not exactly warmly welcomed.  I am so grateful for her many sacrifices and for being such a sensitive, supportive and loving woman.      

I couldn’t have asked for a better dad.  As children, my brother Jon and I never knew how little money we had because we had everything we needed.  We never went to bed hungry or worried about being evicted from our apartment.  We had this secure childhood because my dad worked two jobs in addition to taking college courses. 


As a couple, my parents were and continue to be, excellent role models, not only for Jon and me, but also for their grandchildren and great grandchildren.  They have never shied away from showing affection for each other and, after sixty plus years, can still be found sitting together on the couch holding hands.  I just love that!


I feel very blessed to have them as my parents. 

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 17, 2012

Desert Sky

My son Ryan, who is deployed to Afghanistan, received the Christmas package I mailed him last Monday.  I was hoping he would get it in time for Christmas but never expected it to be delivered in one week.

We have been discussing where to go once we leave here at the end of January.  We considered going back to Florida to visit family but ruled that out now that my parents are flying in next month for a couple of weeks.  We knew from looking at the weather map that we would not be going north so that left us with the option of returning to Southern California, heading southeast or staying put.  I emailed the manager here at Desert Sky to inquire about availability at our current site for the month of February. We were told we could have the site so we are going to stay until at least the end of February. 

In the late afternoon we headed over to Renee’s house for dinner.  The girls were happy to see us.  After we ate we played Mouse Trap.  Every time it was Grandpa Monte’s turn to go he would take one of the pieces and purposely place it in the wrong area.  Both girls would say,” No, no, no, that is not where it goes.”  It was adorable because they really thought he didn’t know where to place the piece. 

Every time I look at them I can’t help but think about the children who were murdered in last week’s massacre especially because, at 7 years old, they are within the same age range of the victims.   

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 16, 2012

Desert Sky

We didn’t wake up until almost 10am!  When we got home last night we were too awake from our Walking Dead marathon to go to sleep so we watched TV until almost 2am.  The plan for the day included Renee coming over to spend some alone time with us until it was time to pick up the twins who had spent the weekend with their dad.  I was going to take the ride with her and then we were going to come back to our rig where I would make dinner for all of us. 

BUT shortly before Renee arrived, Monte started feeling ill.  He went into the bedroom to rest while I spent time with Renee.  When it came time to pick up the girls I sent Renee off on her own because Monte wasn’t feeling up to seeing them.

We watched a couple of movies and went to bed early. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 15, 2012

Desert Sky

I have been trying to wrap my head around the senseless school shooting that occurred in Newtown Connecticut on Friday, December 14.  News reports state that all the victims were killed up close by multiple rifle shots.  I just don’t understand how a human being can inflict so much pain and suffering to other human beings especially children.   So many people are asking why this person (I refuse to use his name) did this horrible thing.  We may never know and I really don’t think knowing would bring any kind of solace or closure to the people who lost loved ones.  It is a shame that these people with messed up minds just don’t kill themselves and not involve innocent people. 

When something like this massacre happens my initial reaction is what kind of a world do we live in?  But then as time goes by I begin to see the beauty in the world again.  If we didn’t have that coping and healing ability we would not want to go on living.  As for me, I’m going to give my granddaughters a little tighter hug the next time I see them.

Weather-wise it was a miserable day, rainy and cold.  We went to my daughter’s house in the late afternoon after having stopped at the mall near where she lives.  I have been looking to buy a pair of light-weight pants for hiking but have not been able to find the type I was looking for in any of the sporting goods stores we have been to.   I had noticed last time I was at that mall there was a Sports Chalet but we were in a hurry and didn’t have time to check it out.  This time round we made a point of allowing extra time and I found just the pants I was looking for with a zippered section that allows them to be turned into shorts.  As an added bonus, the price was very reasonable. 

I brought all the ingredients needed to make spinach pies, a family favorite and something that Renee, my daughter, had specifically requested I make.  The recipe comes from a long-time friend, Erma.  It is very time consuming but well worth the effort.  Although we call them “pies” the spinach and feta filling is placed in the phyllo dough and are rolled to the size of a short fat cigar.  As soon as we had enough rolled for a tray we popped them in the oven and by the time they had baked and cooled we had made enough for four more trays.  When going through the trouble to make them we always make extras.  They freeze well uncooked.

After stuffing ourselves we watched a Walking Dead marathon.  The show is one of our favorites.  We hadn’t been able to see any of season three because the show airs on AMC and we don’t have cable in our rig.  I mentioned it to Renee when we first arrived in Arizona.   She had never seen the show so she watched the first two seasons over the course of the last two weeks in preparation for our marathon. The twins are with their dad this weekend so it was the perfect time to watch the shows.  It is NOT for children.   The story is based on a comic book of the same name.  It takes place in Georgia and centers around a deputy who awakens from a coma in a hospital to find the world dominated by flesh-eating “walkers”.  He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way.  The plot is focused primarily on the dilemmas they face as they struggle to balance their humanity with their survival and how they cope with some members being killed.  It also shows how they deal with other human survivors they encounter who are dangerous and predatory. 

We finished up with the mid-season finale cliffhanger at midnight.  We left tired, horrified and totally grossed out.  It had been a good evening.   

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 14, 2012

Desert Sky

We needed some groceries so after taking a much needed shower and making a long list, we went shopping.  It was chilly enough to need a jacket and the clouds threatened rain but all we got were a few sprinkles.  In addition to the supermarket we went to Camping World because we had something we needed to return.  BUT this time I brought my book with me.  I am currently reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight Saga.  It started out really slow and I was tempted to give up on it but pushed through.  I am glad I did because it is very interesting so I didn’t mind sitting in the car waiting for Monte while he browsed in Camping World. 

We had left just before lunchtime and did not stop anywhere to eat along the way so we were starving by the time we got home at 5.  I popped a frozen pizza we had purchased in Walmart into the convection oven.  It was delicious.   I was exhausted from all the running around we did so I was a couch potato the rest of the evening.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 13, 2012

Desert Sky

I felt well enough to sit outside and read for a couple of hours.  It felt good to get some fresh air. 

We received an email from Steve and Dianne, whom we had met back in September at the RV Dreams Rally in Harrisburg, OR, telling us they will be in our area in the beginning of January.  We made a tentative date to get together and are looking forward to catching up with them. 

January is going to be a great month because my mom and dad are flying in from Florida for a visit.  We share a very close relationship and I miss them not having seen them since the end of July.  We do try to either Skype or talk on the phone every day or at least every other day but it is not the same as seeing them in person.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 12, 2012

Desert Sky

It really stinks being sick.  I spent the day moving from the bed to the couch back to the bed again.  Most people don’t feel like eating when they are sick.  BUT not me---I found myself munching all day long until I felt like a blob.  I really miss doing something physical especially hiking but right now even walking outside to sit and read a book seems like it would take too much exertion. 

I also feel bad about missing time with my daughter and granddaughters.  We are only planning on being here until the end of January and want to spend as much time with them as possible.   Hopefully I will sleep better tonight than last night and feel better in the morning.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 11, 2012

Desert Sky


When I woke up this morning I had that first tell-tale sign I was getting sick when I swallowed and felt the lump in my throat.  I really didn’t want to get out of bed but we had an appointment at the Mitsubishi dealer to get the brakes on my car looked at because they were grinding.    I brought along a book and Monte his tablet to help pass the time.  Since buying the car in 2004 I have always brought it to the dealer where we lived in Florida for service.  I was a little leery going to the dealer in Mesa because of some of the horror stories I have heard about being taking advantage of when getting service away from home.  BUT I was pleasantly surprised when the service tech gave me a rundown of items that should be addressed but did not give me the hard sell.  He said I could wait on the brakes. 

I have had a “Service Engine Soon” light on for a couple of months.  When we were in California we went into an AutoZone to inquire about getting the code read but they wanted to charge a fee so we didn’t have it done.  Last week, Monte went into an O’Reilly’s where they read the code with no fee and gave us a printout of the possible reasons the light was coming on.  It was an oxygen sensor.  While we were at the dealer, they also ran the code and gave us an estimate of over $300 to replace the sensor.   We decided against having the dealer replace the sensor. 

Also on the list of things that needed to be addressed was the burned out license plate light bulb and cracks in the motor mounts.  I am also going to need new front tires.  I had already been informed I needed new tires when I took my car to Walmart for an oil change the prior week. 

We authorized the brake work and were given a ride to a nearby mall so we could have lunch and walk around rather than wait in the dealers lounge.  The mall was two stories and had a large food court.  We were offered a sample of chicken teriyaki as we were passing the Japanese booth.  It was delicious so that is what we ordered.

After lunch we walked around Sears and a few of the other stores but didn’t come across anything we couldn’t live without.  Shopping is a different experience for us now because of the limited space we have in our rig.  If we don’t NEED it we don’t buy it.

Since the dealer was relatively close and we were very full we decided to walk back.  Our timing was great because the car was ready when we returned to the dealer.  On the way home we stopped at AutoZone where Monte bought and replaced the burned out license plate bulb for $4.99, a saving of over $20.00 from what the dealer wanted to charge.  We also purchased the oxygen sensor for less than $70 that Monte installed in less than an hour after we returned home. 

We will buy new tires before leaving the area at the end of January.  According to the dealer, the last remaining item on the list, the cracks in the motor mounts can be addressed at a later time.

By the time we returned home at 3pm I was feeling worse.  Not only did it hurt my throat when I swallowed but I could also feel pain in my right ear.  We normally get our flu shots in the beginning of October but were remiss this year and had planned on getting it done after leaving the dealer.  But now I will have to put off getting the shot until after I recover from this illness.   

December 10, 2012

Desert Sky

Monte and I celebrated our anniversary today.   We were destined to meet.  The reason I believe we were fated to be together is because of all the events that had to happen for us to meet.  I am originally from New York and relocated to Florida for a job.  Monte also moved from Illinois to Florida for a job.  We were both single and decided to give Match.Com a chance at the same time.  When I first enrolled in the on-line dating service I had limited my parameters in distance to 3o miles and the age of the male I was seeking to below 50.  I met some real interesting men but none of them was “the” one.  I was ready to give up but decided to give it one more try and widened the distance parameter to 60 miles from my location and the age of the male to 55. 

When I hit “enter” the first profile that popped up was Monte’s.  I got a real sense of the type of person he was when I read his remarks.  I e-mailed him.  He called me.  We made a date to meet and I knew after the first encounter that I was in “trouble”. 

It was my idea to sell almost everything we own to live a nomadic life and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to do it with than Monte.  We celebrated by going out to dinner at Applebee’s, our favorite restaurant chain.  The food was excellent as was the conversation as we reminisced about some of the exciting things we have experienced together as a couple. 

After dinner we took a ride to the Mesa Temple. 

 I had read about their spectacular Christmas light display. 

 AND it truly was SPECTACULAR!  We took many photos but pictures just don’t do it justice.

  It is really amazing how simply adding lights to pathways and trees can make something so magical.

  We would have liked to stay longer but I was wearing sandals and the temperature had dropped to the 50’s. 

On the way home I felt so content.  It had been another wonderful day with my sweetheart.

Nine years ago the nicest, most thoughtful and caring man entered my life and I have thanked God every day for bringing us together.  I am truly blessed to be loved by this special man.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 9, 2012

Desert Sky

Well it is official-the sleepover was a success.  I know this because as we were driving the twin’s home they asked when they could sleep over again.  They were very well behaved when they woke up earlier than us. They sat patiently waiting for us to wake up.  They had brought along hand-held electronic games but never took them out of their little suitcases.  They found other things in the rig to amuse them.  When the bedroom door is closed there is a space under the stairs that is open so they used their imagination and pretended they were crawling through a tunnel.  The latch on the front door also fascinated them.  One would go outside and close the door so the other one could work the latch. 

I made waffles for breakfast and Kennedy decided to try it Grandpa Monte’s style with powdered sugar.  She loved it. Daphne claimed she didn’t like waffles so I made an offer of oatmeal, cold cereal and toast.  All were declined.  She settled on plain bread with jam.  But when she took a bite she made a horrified expression because the bread was whole grain and she is used to eating white bread.  She wanted cookies so I struck up a deal with her.  She must eat at least half the slice and then I would give her a large Christmas cookie.  She held her nose as she ate. 

When it was time to leave we piled the sleeping bags, suitcases and pillows into the trunk.  It was close to lunchtime so we went through the McDonalds drive-thru and ordered some chicken nuggets for Kennedy.  Daphne only wanted to eat some of the miniature chocolate bars I had given her.  I know I shouldn’t have let her have that for lunch but being a grandma has its privileges and she is old enough to know that allowing it had been a special treat.

We stayed until just after dinner when the girls started getting a little cranky.  Spending time with our granddaughters had been wonderful but the joy of having our own place to go home to- priceless!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 8, 2012

Desert Sky

After a lazy morning, my daughter Renee brought my twin granddaughters for a sleepover.  After dinner at Taco Bell we went to the Boulder Mountain Christian Church in Mesa.  On the road leading to the church there were hundreds of luminaries on each side of the road. 

The first thing the girls wanted to do was go the petting zoo area.  There were donkeys, sheep, rabbits, chickens and miniature pigs running wild.  Kennedy didn’t like the smell so she didn’t stay long but Daphne ran from one animal to another petting them.


After having some hot cocoa and cookies we made angel ornaments.  The face painting booth was next.  Daphne chose a snowflake and Kennedy a snowman. 

 We watched the nativity presentation and then went for a hay ride.  On the way out we were given bags of popcorn and candy canes.  It was the perfect outing.  We had a wonderful time.


Back home we watched a Christmas movie.  Kennedy fell asleep shortly after it started but Daphne, the night owl, was still wide awake when the movie ended.  She watched another movie and was finally ready to go to sleep when it ended at 11pm. 


I am just so thrilled to be here creating memories that I hope will remain with the girls long after I am gone.