Sunday, December 31, 2023

Blessings and a Blip - Christmas in Tombstone

 December 9 - 31, 2023
Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone Christmas

Some of Santa's crew playing tourists.

What a beautiful late Fall/Winter we're having in Southern Arizona! Sunny, blue skies with a day or two of rain, temps in the mid 60's, and much less wind than usual. Nearby Bisbee competes with San Diego for the best overall weather rating in the country, and it's not hard to understand that this year. When you can't move on, it's a blessing to be here!

Our little craft group has been growing this season, and we gather with spouses for a holiday party. Good turnout, and a fun couple hours of food and crafty gift exchanges.

Penny's Grinch was a big hit.

Rebecca loves getting her pic taken :-) Monica and Michael don't mind, or don't know!

With busy lives our kids don't always get to spend time together, but Corey, Christie and Oliver surprise Travis, Emily and the girls in Virginia for a 10-day visit. It is wonderful to see the pics and videos they all share of their visit. Plucked our heart strings for sure.

Just in time for Penelope, Oliver and Reese to play in the first snow of the year.

Love seeing Uncle Travis with cousins Penelope and Oliver.

Brothers Travis and Corey with a peek of Reese.

We have Rebecca and Michael over for pasta one afternoon, and she and I make a day trip to our favorite Tubac. Decorated for the holidays, it's delightful, and we pick a day with no crowds so even better. The gallery owners and shop workers are all friendly, and we enjoy taking our time visiting with them. Lunch at the gorgeous Elvira's is soooo good with their unique and fabulous menu offerings. 

The entire body is small metal nuts (as in nuts and bolts) of the same size, with bicycle chain mane and tail. She would look great in our yard!

Ladies Night Out is an 18" square acrylic on metal by Karl Hoffman. All his pieces are stunning - and his wife is the gallery owner!

Can't decide if he's fun or disturbing - but good art makes you consider it's impact so it's at least good :-)

Poblano stuffed with pork and beef, pecans, beans and some other wonderfulness, topped with spiced crema and pomegranate - beyond delicious.

Rebecca among the beauty of Elvira's.

The whole place is a treat for the eyes.
A chilly storm moves in smothering the Huachuca Mountains to the south.

We love the gift that is rain in the desert.

A full rainbow dresses up the skies.

From our backyard, an interesting triangle of light over the Mules.
Jeff flies in from Seattle on the Saturday before Christmas. Tucson airport isn't packed, and his flight is only 45 minutes late. I pick up our holiday ham (wow, one needs a co-signer for a Honeybake Ham this year!), and Tessa and I take a short walk while we wait to hear he's landed.

It's great to see him after eight months, and we enjoy our drive getting caught up. Until......

Oh deer!

20 miles from home we're slammed into by a large deer on the right side. I never see it before, during or after the contact, but Jeff sees it fly through the air into the desert behind us. Sadly we've killed her, but there is minimal damage to the Jeep, and we're hardly shaken. Still there's a wait for AAA to come and change our tire as the valve stem is broken off. Mark, the tow driver who comes to help us is hysterically funny, advising me to "go around" the deer next time, or better yet, just wait for them to cross! Thanks Mark :-)))

Instead of getting home before dark, Jeff and I hang out here for an hour.

No air bags deployed and no glass/lights damage - the deer ran into the side of us, taking out the fender and valve stem. Our claims adjuster says it's definitely "a first" among numerous deer-strike claims in this area.

Discount Tires takes me right in a couple days later, changes the broken valve stem, remounts the tire to the spare bracket, and free-of-charge the tire issue is quickly resolved. 

I'm grateful the rest of the family have no added excitement on their trip, and Brian, Shalise, Ezra and Elliott (and Rizer the dog) arrive in time for late dinner. Seeing the tree and presents and decorations, the littles are very excited for it to hurry up and be Christmas. We all manage to keep busy for Christmas Eve, and have our holiday meal that evening.

The felt tree is a big hit with ornaments to move around as "needed".

"Driving" the Mommy-bus with different reactions from Ezra and Jeff.

Peeeez can't we open those presents now??

That million dollar ham and all the fixin's, wonderful to share with family.

Of course there are a couple Christmas Eve presents under the tree!
One of the really special moments is Elliott putting on his bag "crown", declaring himself the King, and directing Daddy to dance with the Princess. He is a very specific director, giving his brother a crown to wear while he stands to the side to watch. It was precious.

The early morning frost gives us an "almost white Christmas" start.

Santa's been here, eaten his treats, and left toys.

Ezra is not only excited that Santa brought what he asked for, but has also read the letter he left for him, and added a letter of his own for Ezra. The joy of Christmas morning!!

Three of us take dozens of photos all day Christmas, enough to fill many posts, but I'll limit what I add here :-) One highlight of the day is my gift from Jeff. An electronic picture frame that I can invite people (in my case family only) to email photos directly to. So I get to see our Christmas photos everyday, as well as those sent of the other grands. I looooove it!

Elliott helping Mommy with the ribbon.

A surprising hit, Elliott loves his new spidey hoodie. And of course getting lifts from Daddy!

Ezra is our Santa Helper, handing out all the presents - in between much excitement over his own.

Shalise has a great Christmas, getting emotional over some of her treasures.

No matter how old they get, seeing your kid happy about their own happy kid is just the best.
Bourbon (probably not for everyone), and board games make for a raucous good time.

Thanks to Shalise, we get a family pic before Jeff heads back to Seattle. It all went by waay too fast.

Rizer keeping an eye on the final packing to be sure they don't forget him :-)

When I get home from dropping Bill off on Thursday, it's just me and Tessa again. It's too quiet, I miss them all so much. Might as well un-Christmas and get ready for the New Year. 

It takes a couple days, but another Christmas is all wrapped up.

M and M charming Ol' St Nick.

Henry's happy with his Henry book.

Oliver already turning two this month!

Reese and Penelope taking on the world post-Christmas.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

That Time In-Between

 November 26 - December 8, 2023
Tombstone, Arizona

There is a marked drop in the energy level following our family visit. We miss them immediately, and already can't wait for their Christmas visit. Excited that Jeff will be joining us all as well. Weird to think we haven't seen him since April, after his being part of our everyday for a few years. 

"They" say looking forward can make us anxious (fear of the unknown, the "what-if's), and looking back can make us depressed (the "should-have-done's, the losses, the failures), and focusing on the present day is best for our mental and emotional health. I can't say I disagree for the most part, although I found great enjoyment in looking forward to the travels I was planning and the places we'd be seeing. I also find big smiles and reasons to be grateful when I go back and read past blog posts. Most of our blogging friends (so grateful for all of you) have commented at one time or another that one of the main reasons they blog is to capture what's happening in their lives to always remember the good times. And the less-than-good-times they survived and learned from. Wrapping the present day in the good memories of my past and the joyful anticipation of future events is a comfortable place for me these days. 

Christmas 2016 in New Orleans.

Christmas 2018 Marathon, Texas

Our present day is pretty good. Bill continues to have no ill effects from dialysis, the people who care for him there are friendly and professional, and he fills the time with audible books and television. I keep busy (Christmas decorating and shopping and wrapping and immersing myself in the season has been a wonderful diversion) on the days he's in treatment whether I drive him or he drives himself. When we don't have other appointments, Rebecca and I enjoy breakfast and craft group on Tuesdays and usually a day trip on Thursday or Saturday. 

And the weather is glorious! Bright sunshine with chilly mornings, warm and breezy afternoons. We have one day of a good female rain, slowly soaking into our dry land. Nothing more cleansing than the smell of washed greasewood and softening earth. 

San Pedro River

Back porch.
One of the many places from Gay's blog posts that I'm excited to visit is Gathering - A Vintage Market, open once a month (twice in December) in Tucson. Rebecca and I check it out the first weekend of the month, and have a fabulous time perusing the seasonal dazzles on display. We make several rounds in the converted warehouse, visit the attached home decor stores (oh to have a big house and a bigger bank account!), and make a few fun purchases. 

Floor to very tall ceiling Christmas joy.

The many 12 foot trees are stunning with hand-blown, hand-crafted ornaments of all kinds.

We warm up along the cute brick sidewalk in front.

I send Bill a pic of this - he agrees we probably don't have room for it :-)

Donnie comes up for Cribbage every week, Anna and  I get together for coffee and catching up. It's lovely having long-time friends so close. 

We're planning our first mini-travel for Super Bowl weekend. We'll drive the Jeep to Kingman and spend three nights at our friends' lovely home. It will be our first adventure without the motorhome, but we'll be staying in their fifth-wheel so the transition will be gentle :-) Bill's dialysis team will arrange for Friday and Monday treatments at their Kingman facility so that will also give us a trial-run for future excursions. With his 50th reunion coming up in April (we already have reservations at the RV park in Desert Center) it will be helpful to know how it works!

I love this time of year.

Elliott, Brian, Shalise, Ezra and friend in their small town holiday parade.

M and M get to meet Pete at a local event.

The youngest, Cassidy, lighting up her world already.