Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Family, Food and Football - Yep, Thanksgiving

 November 11 - 25, 2023
Tombstone, Arizona

Despite the sad repercussions of the natives sharing a feast with the refugees from Europe, the tradition of having a day to focus on gratitude is one of our finer traditions. 

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. When the house is ringing with the sound of little people laughing and playing (and even the occasional less-than-happy expressions), the fun conversations with your adult children, the smells of rich and savory cooking, the extra days of football, and the pleasure of leftovers (!) - one doesn't have to look far to find a LOT of gratitude. 

I didn't take all the photos I was planning, including not a single one of the bountiful feast and family around the table :-( . We have our meal on Tuesday so everyone can enjoy a couple days of leftovers before they leave on Friday. It also means no competition from the football games in the other room. Bill barbeques the 20# turkey and makes two pans of his sausage dressing (both his specialties that we all love), leaving the less labor-intensive side dishes of candied yams, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce and rolls - you know, "the usual" to me. 

Smokey on the outside, juicy on the inside - perfect!

We're blessed with great weather for the week so the kids spend time racing around on the driveway. Shalise and Ezra take a couple hours to play in Tombstone, and we all hang out inside where the boys wrestle non-stop (so glad we have nice thick carpet!).

Bill's able to drive to dialysis, leaving me home with the family. He's bummed to miss the time, but we're making it work. 

"No help"

"I did it!" - flexing muscles :-)

Ezra had fun trying on his inner cowboy.

Matching bracelets from their fun day.

Ezra's getting good at taking photos too!


Who's having the most fun?

More than one way to ride.

A moment of calm.

So sweet.

Got it for toys, but this works :-)

Afternoon smores.

Mastering his technique with help from Mom.

Sharing fun videos.

It's never long enough, there're always "things" that didn't get done - but I'm really glad we had the extra days of leftovers to share with the family :-) They load up the Subaru (including the large dog) and head out on Friday. They'll make one stop then get home on Saturday to beat the Sunday traffic. I'm always relieved when I get that end-of-trip text that tells me "Home safe!"

Best of all, they will be back for Christmas, with Jeff joining us as well - woohoo!!

Time to get our Christmas on!

Reese is already four!!

Little sister turned two in October!

Oliver snuggles with Mom and Dad

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Doing Fine, Keeping Busy

 October 8 - November 10, 2023
Tombstone, Arizona

Having spent many years in the SoCal desert where our summers could reach 120 degrees, rarely cooled down below 80 degrees at night, and often lasted past Halloween, you'd think I wouldn't see 85 degrees as hot.

Yet I do!

While our October was cooler than our September, it was still a lot warmer than I'd like! Even the first week of November has seen some days in the mid-80's.

Whine, whine, whine. Like many feel about snowy winters, I'm so over hot summers that go on too long!

Alas, maybe weather isn't everything.... :-)

Our reality continues to change as Bill navigates dialysis. Three days a week for 4.5 hours each fills a lot of life, but other than getting bored he's not having any negative reaction to the treatments. No more energy, but not any less either. 

But maybe not for life after all. He may be approved for a transplant (we were told more than once it wasn't an option for someone with his health issues) according to his doctor and the dialysis team. Several hoops to jump through, but we're optimistic it could happen in the next couple years. 

In the meantime I'm puttering around the property and exploring the local area. I realize that the biggest change for me is no travel planning for the upcoming year. It's something I've always enjoyed, so I do miss it. 

Tessa and I explore Brown Canyon Ranch.

Exhibits highlight three ranching families who helped settle this area.

The windmill fins add a rusty song in the light breeze.

How rude.....

A short drive up Ramsey Canyon finds some late fall color.

Lots of leaves already on the ground.

San Pedro River
The second annual Native American Festival has a good turnout in Tombstone this year. I stand in line to enter the grounds, but with the exception of the two fry bread stands that have long lines all day, the few vendors are easy to access. I find a lovely black pot to add to the few other pieces I have from this potter. 

Frybread is the biggest draw of the festival!

Our Tombstone locals always add some authenticity.

The "bring your own chair" set up is good for those who arrive and set up early, but then the standing crowd fill in so anyone with chairs who arrives later are stuck behind the standers. Not a good plan. I really want to watch the dancers and drummers, but can't get a decent spot in what is rapidly becoming a hot day in the direct sun. Gay and Joe (good times rollin') got some great pics of both the parade and the circle (we didn't know each other were there) so check out her post to see more. 

Eagle Feather Ceremony

It's not the Monument Valley experience we had planned, but the solar eclipse does "happen" here! I make several attempts to capture the partial coverage with my phone and special glasses, but am unsuccessful. Including a couple pics to remember the experience.

Without the glasses (I'm not looking at it, the camera is) through the clouds. It's a little darker outside for the duration of the eclipse.

With the glasses, not showing the "bite out of the apple" that I can see through the glasses with my eyes.

We don't get any trick-or-treaters out here in the boonies, but we do have friends over for BBQ and games on Halloween. Fun times!

I love our bats :-)))

Anna, Donnie, Cindy, Bill and Jimmy - Bill won!

Boo-bees - hehehe

The grands all enjoy their Halloween festivals and parties and parades and soooo much candy :-)

Penelope and Reese are our princesses every day!

Even as a scary Venom, Elliott adores his big brother Ezra.

Black Ninja, aka Big M

Little M is a great Link.

Oliver is the cutest garbage truck ever!

Henry chose classic costumes for he and sister Cassidy with their spooky parents.

Rebecca and Michael are back from their summer travels so she and I've been enjoying our Tuesday craft group at the RV park where they have a year-round lot. It's a fun group of travelers who share a couple hours each week. 

Nice to have a room to gather.

Rebecca and I take our first day trip of the year to the "big city" to visit the Tucson Art Museum and the wonderful eatery next door - A la Carte Cafe. The museum is one of those spaces that's small on the outside and large on the inside. With three stories underground, there's a wonderful variety of art and artifacts to appreciate for a couple hours. Lunch is delicious, hearty and unique in a funky and fun setting. Their patio is a lush treat of greenery, mosaics, and hopeful sparrows. 

Untitled yarn painting - stunning!

Multicolored yarns applied to a thin layer of beeswax on wood.

Winter - lithograph by Joseph Lonewolf.  

Massive bronze sculpture - Prayer Song by Allan Houser.

Dia de los Muertos altar by Sophia Mayorga with blessings added by visitors.

Peruvian Tapestry Tunic - 600 AD! They have an impressive collection of ancient textiles.

Perla Segovia - embroidered wall hangings over simple altar representing the children who have died while migrating from violence in Central America to the United States. Very moving.

Adam by Rodin - one of several pieces in the masters' gallery.

This lovely salmon salad is also a work of art!

Since we're driving into Sierra Vista at least three days a week, we're fortunate the drive is pretty under always-changing skies. With so many mountain ranges and rolling hills, the moving clouds put on a variety show most days. 

So we're keeping busy and staying positive. I'll get caught up next post :-)