Thursday, November 29, 2012

Casa Grande Ruins

Yesterday we visited the Casa Grande Ruins, here in Casa Grande AZ.

This structure was discovered in 1694 by Spanish missionaries (who gave it the name) and has baffled archeologists since that time.

It stands four stories high and is 60 feet long, with a platform mound filling the first floor.  It is the largest of the known structures of the Ancestral People of the Sonoran Desert.

It's walls face the four cardinal points of the compass.  A circular hole in the upper west wall aligns with the setting sun at the summer solstice.  Other openings align with the sun and the moon at specific times.  Perhaps people would gather here to study how the positions of celestial objects related to times for planting, harvesting and celebration.

These people were able to hand dig canals allowing irrigation for growing crops.  In areas without year-round streams, they tapped groundwater or diverted storm runoff.

They did more than just survive and created some beautiful and ornately painted pottery, showing that artistry and beauty was just as important as day to day living.

The mysery is to where they went.  The entire civilization seemed to have vanished like dust in the air.  There are many theories on this, including war, famine, drought and flood.  There had been a great flood at one time and that may have destroyed the village.  It seems every civilization has their great flood story.

Another plausible theory is that by irrigating the land they reduced the water table while at the same time increasing population and the land could no longer sustain the numbers of people.

It was an interesting glimpse into a time long ago.

Long Live the Queen of the Desert People


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We've moved on and are currently at Rover's Roost in Casa Grande.  This is the oldest SKP park and is smaller but doesn't lack in frienliness in any way.

Our first night we caught up with Sherry and Jack before they head for a two week visit to Hawaii.  Lucky ducks!  Although we can't complain about the weather here, it's cold at night and nice and warm during the day.  Perfect!

We found an interesting vegetable stand and who could resist advertising like this?

We had a beautiful sunset the first night we arrived.  And then we experienced the odors they warned us about.

There is a huge dairy farm operation a ways away, I thought it was too far to make any difference, but about 7PM the aroma begins to waft into the windows.

Now this doesn't bother me much as my aunt and uncle had a dairy farm and I spent a lot of time out there, to me it's a somewhat pleasant odor.  But I'm still glad we're only here for five days.

The town isn't too far away and has some good shopping - options other than Wal-Mart kind of shopping.

Tomorrow we will visit the ruins of Casa Grande.  This will be our only "touristy" visit in the area.  We're busy cleaning the rig and getting organized for our move on Saturday into our accommodations in Mesa AZ for December and half of January.

Long Live the Queen of Purple Skies

Monday, November 26, 2012

Any small space can be transformed

When you live in a small space you find any available spot you can to utilize.

The last time I did laundry and thought about the wasted space behind the laundry baskets.  This is also where the firesafe is kept and a storage container with odds and ends.

After seeing my friend Kay's bookcases with tension rods to hold the books in place it sparked an idea.

So, I bought a couple of drawer organizers for the base and two tension rods for support and created....wait for it....
ta da!  A bookcase!

Just another small thing to make living more enjoyable.

Long Live the Queen of Books

Sunday, November 25, 2012

We have a new hobby!

Our newest friends, Tom and Kay, have introduced us to the wonders of geocaching.  Let's just say it's addictive.

For those of you who don't know what this is, think of it as a high tech scavenger hunt using handheld GPS systems.

The names of the caches are interesting and often provide a clue.  Our second find was Harry Tres (with aqua). It instructed us to bring a pen and two quarts of water.  Bringing your own pen usually means it will be a very small cache and there was no room to add a pen to the logbook.

But bring water?  Hmmm.  This was out in a field and it was hidden inside a plastic pipe with a hole in it.  You had to block the hole and pour in water to float the container to the top.  It was a good thing we had many hands to help with this one.

The caches come in various sizes from micro mini to fairly large.  Inside is a log to sign in, and then you also post it to the website.

The website guides you to caches near your location and describes the level of difficulty and the type of terrain.

Some are harder to find than others and it was great to learn first hand how this is done.  I think it might have been hard to figure out on our own.  It certainly would have been much more frustrating.

 They patiently guided us through the entire process from the very beginning to the end, including the logging process.

we didn't need a GPS to find lunch

After finding several easier caches we went to the local restraunt for a "little" bite to eat.  As you can see, the portions here are massive.  This is moussaka with grilled chicken and it had little pita bread pieces on the side with some salad.  It also came with soup or salad and followed by dessert...for $7.25.  We all ended up taking a good deal of it home to enjoy another day.
There was only one cache we simply could not locate and finally had to admit defeat and leave.  As we were searching for it a truck drove by and shouted "check the chair!" Wow, drive by hints and we still failed.

Now when I see a group of people all looking at their cell phones and looking lost, I wonder if they are geocachers.

this is the one I finally found,
it was hanging in a tree
We've already upgraded our membership at to the premium membership to get more options, and we're reviewing which gps system we might want to get.

We are looking at the Garmin Oregon 550 right now, but any suggestions or preferences would be appreciated if you have been bitten by this "bug" and want to share your opinions. 

I'm thinking I need to get the decal for the car now or at least a t-shirt with the scan code on it.  Then you become a moving cache.  Our friends had seen this on a Volkswagen bug - that would be so cool....a real travel bug!

There is so much more to learn!  We can't wait to get into the Mesa area and search in earnest and then teach this to the grandkids when they come to visit.

Long Live the Queen of GeoCachers

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most

I have a mind like a steel trap.  It’s just such a shame it slammed shut some time ago and rusted into a locked position.

My friend’s birthday was on Thanksgiving so I planned to send her a really funny card I had saved just for her.  The card was signed, addressed, stamped and sealed…ready for shipment.  Having mentally crossed it off my “to do” list I forgot all about it…including mailing it. 
Sigh.  I just found it today.
Then there was the other night when I went to the clubhouse to play with the jigsaw puzzles.  I had a blast visiting with other ladies and putting the pieces together.  When it started to get dark and people were filing out to return home, I walked out the door and looked for my car.  It was nowhere to be seen.  It’s often confusing here as it’s a large building, so I walked around the building to the other parking lot.  Nope.  This one was totally empty.

After panicking for a while and running through my own little scene from ‘On Golden Pond’ it finally came to me.  I had walked over.  So I strolled home and decided not to say anything about this to Left Brain.

Last week at Safeway I spotted one of my friends and in my excitement I did what I always did…I rammed her cart and yelled at her to get the hell out of my way!  Oh did she look stunned, then confused and finally angry.

I meekly explained that I thought she was someone else and swerved away to hid in the condiments aisle and recover.  I had overlooked the fact that I was in Arizona at the moment and since she lives in Minnesota, it more than likely was not going to be her.  Well now I feel just plain stupid!

Why is my memory so crappy right now?  Oh, it must be from all the stress of this fast paced lifestyle.  Yeah, that’s it!  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Long Live the….what was her name again?


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Memories

We had planned to have Thanksgiving here at the RV park but after learning how it was handled we changed opted out.  Instead of this being a dinner you pay for and help serve or whatever, it is a group potluck. 

Picture this: Each table of twenty people coordinates among themselves who will bring what, how to decorate the tables, whether or not to have a second gathering the next day for leftovers, etc.  Then on the Big Day the masses ascend in unison with all their dishes to serve.  The din in the room has to be overwhelming while stuff is arranged, thanks given, food getting cold.  No thank you.

This just sounded like too much hassle and confusion to us, and thankfully our new friends,Kay and Tom, felt the same way.  So we opted to have dinner someplace in town that was serving, eat, enjoy ourselves, pay and leave the mess for someone else to clean up.  That is my kind of holiday dinner!

It's kind of like Christmas and Easter dinner for us Jews when we frequent the Chinese restraunts.

Thanksgiving used to be MY holiday when we still had the sticks and bricks home.  I think of it as "the holiday nobody else wanted".  The feasts of Christmas and Easter went to those of the Christian faith, although they certainly allowed the Jewish Mother to attend.  But it just made sense for us to host the turkey dinner. 

And I enjoyed it, gathering all my family together in one place and serving them food and seeing us together.   It reminded me of the good holiday dinners put on by my beloved Grandmother. It does feel strange not to be among them during this holiday.  But I know they are with me in spirit.

I reminisced about all those turkey carcasses of yesteryear and the enjoyment of teasing my cousins and stealing each others buttered rolls and surrendered to a moment of sentimentality.  Then I recalled the drudgery in the kitchen that traditionally fell to the female members of the family while the men watched football in the other room.  Those were the good old days when my Grandmother was still at the helm.

The later years, remembered as the Holidays from Hell, where after she no longer guided.  Now in command were my mother and aunt.   The days started early and the drinking with it.  Sometimes dinner actually was served before the fighing and tears began, closely followed by the accusations. Other times the charred remains of the food were thrown away.

Thus the holidays became known for drunken accusations and being rescued by my cousin Gary when he would take me and my son bowling or to a movie to escape.  Other times my cousin Bonnie and I escaped to a Chinese restraunt where we would order "The Happy Family" as we figured the only way we'd have one was to pay for it.

You can imagine Left Brain's shock at seeing me calmly stepping over my mothers inert body while avoiding the pool of urine surrounding it to cross the room.  This seemed shocking to him and was prompted by the command to "help my mother".  To which my reply was "No, let her sleep, this is better.  Really.  Trust me."  I guess when you come from a "normal" family this looked strange but I learned long ago that after they pass out it's much more pleasant.

So all the memories, good, bad and ugly, blur together on holidays like this, and I give thanks for being able to remember the good ones and try to forgive the others.  I have a firm belief that it's never to late to have a happy childhood.

Long Live the Queen of Selected Memories

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Making new friends

Thank you to Andrea for this photo - just what I needed for today's posting

It's really a very small world we live in.  Just when I was starting to miss having friends out here on the road, they seem to come in droves.  As my newest friend, Kay, told me...I manifest well.

Social media is a great way to stay in touch, as well as meeting new people.  You just have to be careful, because there are so real nuts out there.  I know, because now I've met them!

While chatting on Facebook with Big Al, he mentioned that his wife's mother lived in Benson.  Well, fancy that.  I'll have to get her address and run into town and meet her.  Found out I don't need to go that far, she lives here in the RV park. 

During a Skype visit on Left Brain's birthday there was a knock on the door.  It was Betty coming to say hello.  I think it may have been to get her daughter off her back about hooking up with me.  We sat outside and chatted for a bit while the kids were singing birthday and visiting with Left Brain.  After the call he come out and said hi also.  Then it got cold enough we all just wanted to retreat to the warmth of our respective rigs.

Big Al had also "virtually" introduced me to his friend Kay and her husband, Tom via Facebook.  We'd been keeping in touch through Facebook for some time and I was hoping to meet them someday.  Well, it appears they arrived in Benson to stay at the park also.  In fact, after meeting them, they said they had driven by our RV but didn't stop because we had company.  That would have been when I was getting to know Betty.

We agreed to meet for doughnuts and coffee the next morning to talk in person.  So Left Brain and I picked them up at 8:30 and took them to one of their favorite doughnut places in the US, right here in Benson.  And talk we did.  At least Kay and I cluttered the air with chatter.  Left Brain and Tom did their best to interject comments occassionally. To say we hit it off would be an understatement.

After a two hour chat at the doughnut place we took them home and they gave us a tour of their Hitchhiker fifth wheel and we visited another hour before Left Brain peeled me away from my newest friend to go home.

We learned a lot about what to expect at Quartzite in January and they agreed to show us how to geocache.  Now I'm really starting to have fun.  There is just no substitute for enjoying the company of women.  I had just enjoyed an hour and a half phone chat with the Divine Miss M the day before, so I am totally blissed out now.

To get my other female companionship fixes I've been hanging out around the jigsaw puzzles in the clubhouse.  It's a wonderful room with large tables, good lighting and at least three or four puzzles going all at the same time.

It just goes to show that if you keep your intentions open and watch for the blessings, they will be bestowed upon you.  I've felt so blessed in so many ways it would be impossible to list them all here. 

Long Live the Queen of Abundance


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy birthday Left Brain!

Yup, I married an old guy for all those senior perks.  I won't say how old he is but let's just say there's an entire Route that crosses the country that has that number in it.

We celebrated by driving into Tucson to tour the Pima Air Museum and have a birthday lunch.  The air museum has every kind of vintage plane, helicopter and what-not that you can imagine.

He opted to take the tour to "the Boneyard" where they store countless numbers of old bombers.  I opted to wait with my book and a coke at the little cafe there.

Then we stopped at a Joanne's fabrics so I could pick up a couple of things.  My fingers have been itching to make something, so I'm trying to ease back into some quilting and needlework...slowly.

He bought himself a snappy little remote control helicopter a couple of days earlier when we went into town to see Argo.  This is a must see movie, very riveting and well done.  It's amazing what the spy world can accomplish and see how it's done.  The facts of this operation had been kept secret for many years.  It made me wonder what is going on out there now...and I decided I didn't want to know.

Long Live the Much Younger Queen Wife

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Compliments of Left Brain

He means well, he really does.  I have convinced myself of this fact for his own safetly.

Unfortunately he suffers from premature male speaking, you know...where the guy doesn't quite think the whole sentence through before it exits his mouth.

I'm sure you've been the victim of some of these also.  For example, when getting ready to go out and you ask if your jeans look okay and get the reply that they don't make you look that fat. 

Okay, it's not fair to get upset with him for this since I do realize that I am fat.  This life of leisure and relaxation has not been kind to my body.  Or at least that's what the scale indicates.  Maybe the batteries are can only hope.

He lovingly gazed at me while we were out walking about the other day and commented on how lovely my hair was.  Oh!  That is so sweet!  And then being Left Brain he continued to talk and added..."yes, the gray is coming in really nicely".

This might have upset some women, but I have been waiting for the gray to appear as I embrace the aging process and welcome all the visual signs of having lived a long life.  Okay, I'm not so excited about the bags under my eyes, and given that I get many long hours of sleep each night, they probably aren't going away any time soon.

We've been on this extended vacation and I haven't worn any jewelry or fixed my hair in months.  Oh wait, I guess that isn't really any big change from before.  Some of the places we've been are so remote it really hasn't mattered.  But as we approach our month and half in our sister's RV park in December, I may have to clean up my act.  And if I'm going to use the pool I might have to scrap off a layer of fur as well.

This might be just the look I'm going for.  Miss Edna posted this photo of the Max Factor Cover girl and I just adore her.

Of course that would mean I have to start giving a hoot what I look like and occassionally glancing into a mirror, something I tend to avoid.  And that's not easy to do with all the mirrors around here.

Long Live the Queen of the Slobs

Saturday, November 17, 2012

She's totally lost it now

this is the sight that greeted me this morning

I knew this day would come eventually, when I was old.  But now?  I'm 61.  I don't feel old, although I'm sure my son would remind me that I really am quite ancient.  He should talk, he just turned 42.  How is that even possible?

Anyway, I've heard all the stories as have you that people get forgetful as they age and start losing keys and glasses and the like.  I never do that.  No, let me correct that.  I never did that before.

Yesterday we headed out to visit Kartchner Caverns and I went through my regime of gathering up purse, camera, keys...keys?  Where in blazes are my keys?  I always hang them on the hook on the right side of the door, ready to be grabbed as I exit the RV.  But they were not there.  This is a very disconcerting sensation.

I added a watercolor filter to this one
But I remained calm as I ransacked the RV looking for them.  Come on!  It's only 300 square feet, how far away could they go?  But they remained hidden.  I swear I could hear them snickering.  Oh great.  Now I'm having auditory hallucinations...that can't be good.

We decided to just let it go for now and headed out, with a stop to the office on the way hoping I'd dropped them on our walk yesterday and some kind spirit turned them in.  Nope.

I added some textures to this one
So, we went to Kartchner and did the Throne Room tour (no bathroom...I thought that would have been funny to park an old toilet in there) and in spite of this being our third cavern in as many months it was not boring at all.  The tour is limited to 20 people and guided with lots of stops and explanations along the way. 

You walk in through a temperature controlled corridor where you are subjected to a light misting to prevent skin cells and lint from coming off your body before getting to the inside of the cave.  Another security measure prohibits any gum, food, drink, backpacks, cameras, phones or anything hanging off your body.  We're thinking we may have to come back and do the other tour next week. 

It amazes me how fast the sky will change - this was just minutes earlier than the previous one
had to try one in black and white
On the way home we stopped at Safeway so I could check with them and see if my keys were lost there.  Nope.  So, I grabbed a few groceries while I was inside anyway and we went home.

We went through all the outside bays thinking perhaps I had set them down inside while organizing and cleaning them the other day.  Nope.

Something told me to "do the dishes and I would find them", those pesky voices again.  It made no sense, but I've learned to trust my intuition and started doing dishes.  As I relaxed and gazed about the RV while working I spotted them.  They were hanging on the LEFT side of the door on that hook.  Sigh.

At supper I set our salads down while Left Brain brought in our steak off the grill and he must have decided it should be a "tossed salad" as he bumped the TV tray and sent mine flying.  But I had just vacummed the floor yesterday...I think. Was it yesterday?  I don't remember.  Anyway, it was sometime fairly recent.  I think.  I'm not sure.  Regardless, I scooped it up off the carpet and put it back in the dish since he insisted on trading with me and would take the "tossed" salad.

As my eyes slitted open this morning I noticed the sunrise through his window.  This got me in fast motion and I quickly dressed and ran outside to get a photo.  I forgot to grab my glasses.  I wonder where they are?  Oh well, thank goodness for autofocus features!  I even snapped one of the bunny snacking on our old cornbread that I offered to the birds. 

Actually I almost stepped on him since I couldn't see anything without my glasses.  I'll have to look for those next.

Maybe it's time to do those dishes again.

Long Live the Queen of Forgetfulness

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bisbee AZ

I'm guessing most people have never heard of Bisbee AZ.  I know I had not until reading Nick Russell's book on "Overlooked Arizona".  When I saw his write up on the Shady Dell RV Park, I just had to go and see it.

Now I was really excited to visit here and had my whole speech about being a writer and whatever other lies were necessary to get a tour of the place. 

But none of that was necessary as the office didn't open until 3:00...way too long a wait for us, being the impatient people we are.

So I just snapped away as many photos as I could through the fence to capture some of the flavor for you.

Think of this as a motel, but instead of a room or little cabin you are offered a choice of which vintage RV you'd like to sleep in for the night.

I think this is just a smashing idea and wished we could have seen the inside of at least one or two of them.  Oh heck, I wanted to see inside ALL of them.

Some of them were tiny.

One of them was actually a boat.

All of them were cute.

In addition to the many RV's to rent, they had the old taxi cab and this truck.  I just love rusty old trucks.

Bisbee started as a mining town and many of the houses were built into the hillside.

We noticed that downtown a lot of the houses had bridges leading to the house, or the house built over the runway for the water.

It is interesting to us to see how other people live and the changes in the terrain as we go from one area to another.

Our next stop is the Kartchner Caverns.  You need reservations to do these tours as they are limited to small groups.  Unfortunately no photography is allowed.  They have many restrictions on what goes down there, no strollers, backpacks, children, etc.

Long Live the Queen of the Tourists

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tombstone AZ

For those readers of my vintage, you will recall watching westerns on TV as a child.  I grew up with Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Gene Autry and the rest of the gang.

I wanted very badly to be a cowboy when I grew up and cried for days when my Grandmother informed me that I would have to be a cowgirl.  This was just not right!  I did not want to ride side-saddle!  It was my first brush with gender inequality.

This is the bar at Big Nose Kate's
So when the opportunity came up to visit Tombstone, we simply had to go!  They have a shoot out at the OK Corral, but the times didn't work for us.  But it's not so far away that we can't revisit that.

We did visit a reenactment of some of the shoot outs in this little bar.  Try as I might, I could not get any action shots because when the gun went off my arms jerked upwards.  I never have liked the sound of guns.

There were several cool old buildings in the area and I just had to take photos of those, being in love with old run down things.  These looked like stage sets but are actual buildings still in use in Tombstone.  I'm thinking I need to check out the cowboy church sometime just to see what it's like.

This experience would have been so much more fun when I was a child, it seems a bit cheesy to me now.  Left Brain and I were pondering how tough times must be for several grown men to make a living doing shoot outs several times a day.

Along the way we saw this large open pit mine and had to stop to take a look at it.  It was huge and deep and made me cringe to think of working somewhere like this. 
This is a close up of the edge of the odd lake at the bottom of the mine
 Then there was the matter of the little "lake" at the bottom that had some odd coloration to it.

But I do applaud the use of alternative energy down here.

One thing this area has is lots of sun and wind and they utilize it well. 

I thought this solar powered trash compactor was a great idea. 

I'd never seen one before.

So, even though my visit to Tombstone was a few decades too late to be truly awe-inspiring, it was still a pleasant outing with my sweetie.

Long Live the Queen of "Hell No I Won't Ride Side-Saddle"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Outside looking in

Well, we've been full-timing for over six months now and it's going pretty good.  There have been some bumpy spots, as expected, but nothing too terrible.

When I have an attack of the blues I enjoy torturing myself by thinking of the gardens and artwork I used to busy myself with, and the freedom of picking up the phone and arranging an outing with a friend and then try to remind myself of the good things this new life has brought.

Traveling has it's own reward and I thoroughly enjoy the photography involved in exploring areas of our country.  But the downside of traveling is that you never really fit in.  It sometimes feels like a little girl watching through the window at the people gathered together and sharing their private jokes.

Sometimes I miss going to a favorite restaurant and seeing the familiar faces and banter that goes on.  On the road you have a constant anonymity.  At times that is nice, other times I just feel left out.

But then we land in an area like Benson AZ where there are so many things to see and do that I think we may have extend for another week before moving on.  It's fairly close to Tucson and after looking at the RV parks in that area (and the prices!) I do believe we'll settle in here a bit longer and drive into Tucson to take in those attractions.

This puts more miles on the car, but it gets much better mileage, so that's the plan.

Long Live the Queen