Thursday, May 28, 2020

Weather and Blogger Changes Again

AJ, AZ  - see below

Not much to blog about since my last post but I wanted to keep track of our weather for future reference. This is what our next week looks like.




Well, I am trying to create this post using the new blogger format that will be in effect later in June and I am already frustrated. So if it looks strange, blame blogger.  Right now it is centering everything I type and I don't know how to stop it. Any help is appreciated.

Jim has still been working on things on the Bungalow. One of the things he needed to do was to hook up trailer lights for towing the boat behind the Bungalow. Even though it is not legal to tow a boat behind a travel trailer in most states, it is legal in Montana if done correctly.  It is legal to tow behind a fifth wheel in several states, especially in the West,  but with length restrictions. We don't plan on towing the boat except in an emergency situation.

This is how we started our full time lifestyle.


Montana is already preparing for a very active fire season starting in August. If we need to evacuate the campground we will be in at Canyon Ferry, we need to be able to take our boat with us. So Jim has been crawling around underneath the Bungalow and having tons of fun.

We also had a window broken on our slide-out when a semi threw a rock up. Jim patched it as best as he could (duct tape to the rescue) but it was time to take it out and get it to a glass shop to have a new window made.



A new anode rod and the hot water tank cleaned out was done.  Bearings and tires all checked out. Still need to grease the hitch and lubricate the seals. I'm sure Jim will find other things that need to be done.

I've been deal with another round of gout. I have now added peanut butter to my list of things I can no longer eat. This is so not fair.

We celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary on the 17th. We did take-out from the Seafood Market and Restaurant. We both had crab cakes (yummy) and Jim had stuffed mushrooms and cole slaw. It was so good. We had originally planned on going to Medieval Times Dinner Theater but covid-19 ruined that one for us. Maybe next year.

Our plan is to take-off on the 14th. Always subject to change.

















Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Not So Merry Month of May

AJ, AZ   High  100  Low 68

Jim and I are still isolating and wearing masks when we leave the Cottage. However, we are definitely in the minority. We did brave the world to have our hair cut. We were both desperate. But I still felt a twinge of fear. Wonder if I will ever feel comfortable again out in public.

The month started with a fire a couple of miles from us; close to the highway going up to Canyon Lake (Rte 88).  They were able to get it under control quickly which is a good thing.


We've had a few other fires in this area the last week. One of them has burned over 1500 acres in north Phoenix near Cave Creek. Another one closed the highway to Payson for a short time. There was a brush fire on South Mountain but was put out rapidly. All of these were started by humans. They caught the guy who was deliberately starting the fire on South Mountain. 

This could turn out to be a pretty wild fire season down here. We had so much rain this last winter and the desert was blooming like crazy. Then the weather turned into record heat. Not a good combination.

Our friend Jayne and her granddaughter took a drive up to Roosevelt Lake and sent me a couple of pictures showing how full the lake is from all the rain this winter.






We are planning on taking off in June to head to Montana for a couple of months so Jim can do his walleye fishing at Canyon Ferry. The Bungalow (our little travel trailer that we use for traveling) has been sitting since 2018 because Jim was so sick last year. So it needs a lot of tender loving care and is keeping Jim busy with lots of things that need to be done to get it ready to go again.

I recently subscribed to a great RV News Letter - rvtravel.com. It is free and full of really great ideas and information for all RVers. The first thing I found that I was really excited about is the Softstart for an RV air conditioner. The Softstart allows you to run an air conditioner using one Honda 2000 generator. Don't ask me how it works because it has something to do with the compressor kicking on. But Jim understood all of it.



We ordered one and then Jim had to get on the roof to install it. It was an easy install. Jim had the diagram up on the roof and I called up their step by step directions to him. (I also had the phone handy in case I needed to call 911. lol) Took about half an hour. Then we got to test it out using the generator. Yahooie!!! It worked beautifully. Now we can do some boondocking if we want to even when it's 100 degrees outside.

While he was up there he also checked out all the seams for any cracks or problems and everything looks good.


Did you notice the clouds in that picture? We don't see a lot of clouds during the summer in AZ so they are really special when we do get them.




We had to replace the TV in the Bungalow. When Jim turned it on, it said nope, not happening. Amazon to the rescue. Jim got the new TV installed along with a sound bar. We also needed to replace our indoor/outdoor thermometer and water hoses. 

Our Bungalow was broken into last summer along with a couple of other RVs here in the park. So far the only thing we have found to be missing was our surge guard. We have replaced that and hopefully won't find anything else missing. 

We have an appointment to have the bearings greased and the tires checked out. Sitting in this hot AZ heat is hard on tires even when we keep them covered.

He still needs to change the anode rod in the hot water tank and blow out the dust from the refrigerator coils. And he probably has a bunch of other things to do that will keep him plenty busy until we leave. He loves having things to putter with. 

Skitz is still hanging with us. Some days she bounces all over and others she can barely move. Like Jim and I. 

 

 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Still Hanging On

AJ, AZ   High 103  Low 77

I really have no desire to blog but a part of me wants to document a little bit of what life is like in isolation during a coronavirus pandemic.

We pretty much went into isolation the beginning of March and it is now May 1. The only time we leave home is to go pick up our groceries or a prescription. Occasionally Jim gets take out food when I just can't stand the thought of cooking one more meal but that's not often.

Took this picture of the full moon when I was walking around the park.

 

We did brave the outside world last Tuesday when we went to senior shopping hour at Frys (Kroger). We really needed to get paper towels and toilet paper since we had not bought any since February. I'm hoping we won't have to have that experience again for another couple of months. We got there about 5:35 (senior shopping is 6-7 a.m.) and got in line. There were about 20 folks in front of us and at least that many or more behind us when the doors opened. I did have to ask the woman behind me to back off because she was standing directly behind me and did not have a mask on. She acted like I had insulted her but I figure that's her problem.

We were successful. We got toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex and wipes. Wow. But I can guarantee by 7 a.m., there wasn't much left for anybody else. We also picked up chicken breasts and pork chops to put in the freezer.

We had to go to Costco on Wednesday to pick up Skittlez's prescription. I figured we'd go about 3 p.m. and hope that things weren't too crazy. Worked out really well. There was no line to get in and I would say probably 60% of the people were actually wearing masks. (At Fry's maybe 20% wore masks.) Not too many people in the store but it's still hard to maintain social distance. I did not get anything except the medicine and because there was no one besides me at the pharmacy, I was in and out in about 5 minutes. That works for me. 

Our home still feels really empty without Rocky grumbling all the time. We miss him so much. I think it's especially hard since we don't have other things to focus on.

Why use the bed when all she needs is a foot rest.

 

Some days are tough. We are so grateful that all of our family members are safe and still employed. My heart grieves for all those families who have lost loved ones to this stupid virus. I cry easily when I hear of the wonderful things people have done for others. The world is full of so many good people trying to make life better for others.

I do not understand why people will not wear masks. Yes they are hot and uncomfortable but if my wearing one will save even one life who am I to complain. But people refuse to think beyond the fact that "I am fine. I'm sure I don't have the virus so I don't need to protect anyone." My prayers are for them that they remain safe and  all those they come into contact with. 

Jim and I are still in love even though I think I'm getting on his nerves a little bit. He is the most patient man alive. 

In other news - we are under a heat wave that doesn't seem to have an end. Our temperatures are setting new records and are three digits. That means 100 and above. It's been like that for the last week and we don't see a break in the near future.  

Please stay home, wear a mask and wash your hands. 

We have had a couple of beautiful sunsets.

 


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Projects to Keep Us Busy

AJ, AZ    High 86    Low 52

Holy Cow - now the drug cartels are trying to take advantage of the Covid-19 mess to cause even more havoc in our country. Staying home looks better all the time.

Jim and I are both doing just fine in our isolation. I have always been a real introvert so being allowed to stay home is definitely not a punishment. Jim is much more social then I am but he also enjoys the peace and quiet of being at home. Now ask me again in two months how we're doing. May be a whole different story.

We've been finding projects to keep us busy. I like to read so I'm making a pretty good dent in the books on my Kindle. I also check out books from the public library including audio books.  The one big project that I had to finish was our taxes. I am pleased to say they are now filed and done with for another year. Yippee.

The fan on our fireplace quit working so Jim took it apart. He needed to order a part but it took him a couple of days to find a phone number for the right company. Twinstar was a great company to work with and sent everything he needed to fix the fireplace including the wire connectors and ties.  Of course, it is now in the upper 80s and a fireplace is definitely not needed. But our mornings are still cool so I turn it on for Skitz when she drags me out of bed at 4:30 am. 


The other major project he had was wiring the new backup camera that we got for the pickup. It's amazing how much longer projects take than they would have 20 or even 10 years ago. And also how much harder they are on the body. The camera takes video of what's happening in front of us until the truck is put in reverse and then it becomes a back up camera. Really slick. 


I am having trouble keeping track of what day of the week it is. If it wasn't for Skitz's pill box or my phone - I really wouldn't have a clue. The other issue I have is my hair. I have yucky hair to begin with and not being able to get it cut is driving me crazy. Here in AZ hair salons and barbershops are considered essential but there is no way I am going to go sit in one. And cutting my own hair or letting Jim cut it is also totally out of the question. So who knows what I will look like in a couple of months. Really scary.  

We had an issue with Skittlez that gave us a scare. She started pooping bloody stools during the night and we had blood all over the place. She also didn't want to eat which means she really doesn't feel good because she is totally food motivated. I found an emergency vet and they told us to bring her right in. They were wonderful. We did all the paperwork in the truck and they took her in for her exam while we waited in the truck. After just losing Rocky, we were really worried about what was wrong. Seems she picked up a parasite somehow. They gave her meds and a special diet and we got to bring her home with us. We are so grateful for the wonderful care we got at VCA Animal Referral and Emergency Center of Arizona in Mesa.  

Some of the guys in our park practicing social distancing.  Took the picture from inside our rig. We are not socializing at all right now.


And that's enough excitement in our lives. Hope everyone is staying safe and staying far away from each other. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Happy 16th Skittlez

AJ, AZ   High 85  Low 52



On March 30, our little girl turned 16 years old. She has been with us since she was 8 months old and is as goofy now as she was as a puppy.  We were pretty naive back then and did not realize we were buying from a backyard breeder. But I am glad we got her out of that situation. Jim picked her out and we took her home. Boy did she need a bath. We didn't take many pictures back then, so we have very few pictures of her as a puppy.

This one is of her and Scooter playing.


I've always said that Skitz is an agoraphobic. She hates to be outside. She wants to be in her house where she feels safe and secure and where the food is. She is not a good traveler so we have had to listen to her complain for a lot of the thousands of miles we have covered over the years. And it's gotten worse as she got older.


She has always been a Mommy's girl. I was the one she always wanted to cuddle with but as she has aged she no longer wants to sit on my lap, or cuddle, or sleep in our bed. She wants to be in her bed on the floor and in front of the fireplace if it is cold.






When we lost Scooter, she was inconsolable. She was not ready to be an only dog. She cried and cried if we left her alone.  We lasted six months and then realized that we had to do something for her and us. So along came Rocky. She was really patient when we got Rocky as he snapped and snarled at her. But eventually they became almost inseparable. He always wanted to climb in the same bed with her.


 Skitz is deaf and almost blind with a little bit of dementia thrown in but she is doing really great. She sleeps a lot and doesn't seem to mind being an only dog. I don't think she realizes that she is. 



Some days she bounces around here like a puppy and then the next day she can hardly move from the arthritis. Her back legs frequently don't work very good so we have to help her get up on them. 



Hopefully we have several more years with her. We love you little bit.




Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Another Tough Day

Image may contain: drawing
We picked up Rocky's ashes yesterday. He is now on our shelf with Scooter. Once again tears were shed. 

 Other than the trip to the vet's office, Jim and I have hunkered down. I know, some folks think I am overreacting, but I am taking social distancing extremely seriously. Jim is 80 years old. He has heart issues, he's diabetic, and he lost part of a lung to cancer. So we will not be visiting with anyone except on the phone. 

All activities have been cancelled here in our park. Some folks are thinking about heading home to family and their own doctors. Can't say I blame them. Our Canadian neighbors are not leaving til the middle of April. They checked with their insurance carrier and they will be covered. That's good news.

We stocked up on foods that we like  and other necessities before the panic hit the shelves so we are good for at least a month. Paula made a COSTCO run and picked up three big boxes of puppy pads for us. Skitz prefers to use them inside rather than go out into the big bad world. But I figure, if things get desperate she can share them with Jim and I.

We also used Fry's (Kroger's) pick up grocery shopping. You order online, they pick out your items for you, and then bring them out to your car for you. You don't need to go into the store which is a plus. But you do need to sanitize everything. We are still having problems remembering to do that but we're getting better.

We've recorded several movies and our favorite shows. I read and listen to books checked out from our library online. Jim has lots of projects that he will be working on. We will keep busy. Oh, and I need to work on our taxes. I know we got an extension but I want to get them done and over with. 

Our friends, Ray and Cindy, are hoarding M & M peanuts. Now that kind of hoarding I can understand.

I hope and pray all of you are taking good care of yourselves.

Friday, March 13, 2020

ROCKY JOE - JIM'S BEST BUDDY

Gotcha 01-14-2017 to 03-11-20


Our hearts and lives are shattered.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Nightmare I Never Saw Coming

AJ, AZ   High 80  Low 49

On Thursday, Jim and I went to Sky Harbor Airport to pick up a friend of ours who was flying in from Maine. We made sure we got there a little early so we could find short term parking. We even got a parking spot about as close to the door as you could get. 

While we were waiting I glanced up and saw some interesting things on the walls. I also noticed that most people getting off the plane didn't even see these things because they were headed for baggage claim and just wanted to get out of that airport. 

These two pictures are part of the Phoenix Airport Museum. I'm sure there are many other items that we didn't see.

This picture is of the Bright Angel segment of the Grand Canyon as seen from the North Rim at sunrise. The artist, Merrill Mahaffey, wet the canvas and applied acrylic washes of color with a big brush. After the washes dried, he projected slides onto the canvas and laid in the details with small brushes and an air brush. The painting took four weeks to complete.




This one is called The Aviators and was done by Donald Lipski. The artwork celebrates Arizona's abundance of sunshine and rich aviation history. The 29 foot wide steel frames weigh more than a ton and feature chromed fiberglass lenses. Details include full-functioning hinges and vinyl nose pads. The sky is hand-painted on a 90 foot wide canvas.




 On Friday, Jim and I headed out to do some grocery shopping. I wanted to add to our food supply so we would be a little more prepared if things get really bad with the coronavirus stuff that is wrecking havoc around the world. We also stopped to have lunch at Papa Kelsey's. Great sub sandwiches.

We were gone about three hours which is about as long as we dare to leave the old dogs alone. I got out of the truck and climbed the steps and went in the door. It wasn't until I actually got inside that I noticed something was horribly wrong. All three of our slides were pulled in. My first thought was for the dogs. Rocky met me at the door so he was okay, but Skitz was not there. When our slides come in you can't get to the living room area unless you climb over the island counter. My thoughts went into overdrive and I was scared to death that Skitz had been trapped under a slide and had been killed or was badly hurt. Jim was outside in the truck and I screamed for him (I'm sure the whole park could hear me). 

He climbed up onto the island and was able to see that Skitz was still in her bed and was just fine. I'm not sure she even realized that anything had happened. Once I knew the dogs were okay, I was able to breathe again and Jim could focus on figuring out what had happened. Skitz was able to squeeze her chunky body between the slide and the island and get over to the kitchen where we were. 

Jim called a 24 hour technician from Camping World (where we bought the trailer) and between them and our neighbor, Pat, they were able to finally figure out what happened. It seems that water got in the hydraulic pump compartment and shorted out and blew a fuse and kicked the circuit breaker. This caused the slides to come in all by themselves. It took the guys about two hours to finally get the slides back out again. Jim drilled a couple of holes in the bottom of that compartment so this can't happen again.

This was truly a nightmare experience.


 You spend all this money for beds and they just want to lay on the floor.


 

 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Heard Museum


Paula to my rescue once again.  She just won't take no for an answer when I whine about getting out of the house. This time she had gone to the library and checked out two tickets to the Heard Museum. Did you know that your local library offers free tickets to certain museums and attractions in your area? Check it out.

I took this from the Heard Museum website: The mission of the Heard Museum is to be the world’s preeminent museum for the presentation, interpretation and advancement of American Indian art, emphasizing its intersection with broader artistic and cultural themes.


The Heard Museum was founded in 1929 by Dwight and Marie Bartlett Heard. Today the museum has grown to over 130,000 square feet.  There are many exhibits and we did not have time to see and appreciate them all. Think we'll be making another visit in the future. 

The following are the exhibits we did explore.

David Hockney’s Yosemite and Masters of California Basketry

David Hockney is a British artist who, in 1982, took beautiful photos of Yosemite. In 2010 he revisited Yosemite Valley and used his iPad to draw pictures which he printed on paper. 










These next two are much smaller iPad pictures.





During the early decades of the 20th century, production of baskets in the Yosemite Valley was at its zenith, fueled by a newly established tourism-based economy. Miwok and Mono Lake Paiute women began expanding their practice of making baskets as traditional functional objects, evolving them into objects designed for artistic consumption. 


In the Sandra Day O'Connor Gallery we found the Grand Procession: Contemporary Plains Indian Dolls.

The dolls provide a figurative reference to Indigenous peoples from the Great Plains and Great Basin regions who lived in those areas during the late nineteenth century. 








This art fence represents the Southwest and the organic fences built by Native people from adobe, ocotillo or saguaro cactus. The fence begins with darker colors and then continues with brighter colors representing land and sky.


These next two pictures are close ups of some of the glass work on the fence.




 This mural was created by Tony Abeyta, Navajo, in 2008. He calls it "A Place Where We Emerge" and is India ink and charcoal on the gallery wall.



One exhibit that I would have liked to explore further was Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories. Next time.



 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Out and About

Jim and I finally got out of the house to do something. That something was a car show. A small car show which is just my speed. The Apache Junction Animal Shelter was holding a fund raiser at the ELKS club.




This is a1940 Chevy. Pretty car.





But this was the most unique car at the show. It's a Camaro. There were only 80 of these produced and in all of Jim's years dealing with cars and going to car shows, this is the first time he had ever seen one.


We've also been out to eat with friends from the park and also got to meet up with Jeff and Tina who are RV friends from our years on the road. Always good times.

Portillo's for dinner.



Our weather has been fantastic. In the 70's during the day and down to the upper 40's at night for perfect sleeping weather. Lots of sunshine and blue skies with beautiful sunsets. No complaints here.

But - next week our night time temps will get down to freezing and day time temps only in the 50's. So I can go back to whining. Hope our winter is short.

The flowers definitely think its Spring. This is just down the road from us here in Apache Junction.




 Hope everyone is enjoying February.