Archive for February, 2007

We play Bingo in the rec room, once a week, here at the RV park. I won $44.00 this week! I was so excited, you’d have thought I won the lottery. (No, Cindra, I haven’t dyed my hair blue yet!)

I’m a winner in many other ways, as well. Not only do we have our families and friends at home, we’re so fortunate to be here in the winter, and to have winter friends. Some we keep in touch with, year round. My closest bud here, Diane, is leaving for home this Thursday, and I’m going to miss her.

We’ve been spending some time working on our itinerary for our trip home, too. I’m excited. A little home sick. A little not wanting to leave the desert – for the colder climate. Besides my family and friends, I am really missing my garden, and am so ready to dig in the dirt! The tulips should be blooming by the time we get home. I planted another 250 bulbs before we left this last fall – and can’t even remember where I put them! It’ll be fun watching them come up. And I put most of them in the garden, and in my new ‘secret’ garden – so they are safe from the deer! Dscn7220

There are several state parks we are going to stay in on our way back North, in Arizona, California and Oregon. There are a few places in Arizona and California that we want to check out for next year, too. Our plan for next winter, is to move around more. Maybe stay one month here and one month there. This five month stretch in one place is just too long for us. We’ll be stopping in the ‘Olive capital of the World’ on the way home, to pick up olives for Cindra, and for T to take home. We’ll be staying near Cindra for three or four days. I’m SO excited to see them all. We are so very grateful that we’re getting the opportunity to travel, and to see some of the beautiful country everywhere we go.

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Packing everything up again, to move, isn’t something I’m looking forward to, though. We have to make sure that everything is secure before we hit the road. We don’t want to listen to rattles, or have things falling out of cupboards onto our heads. I’ve got a drawer cleaned out now, to carry my craft supplies for my bookmarks. I can work on them all the way home, as it’s easy to get out and put away the materials I need.                           .

I’ve got to go outside now. Gourds are calling. I’ve soaked and scraped skins off of five more gourds – and now have to cut them and clean the insides. Sure wish I could buy them already cleaned. I had a really nice experience at the ‘gourd farm’ last week. My friend went over with me, as we had some shopping to do in the big city, and errands to run. I hadn’t gone to the bank before I went to the gourd farm, and when I picked out my gourds, and a gourding book, my total was $40.00. I use my credit card for everything and never thought about having cash – but when I went to pay, the young man informed me they only take cash or checks. I don’t even carry a check book. He then told me that I could just send the money to him! I couldn’t believe it. I remarked about how trusting he was, and he said, "Oh, gourders are different, you can trust them". Thankfully, my girlfriend had cash with her – I would not have been comfortable taking their wares and not paying for them right then. And I was still smiling about that ‘trust’ when I got home – I don’t see a lot of that anymore.


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My Gourds


I started by drawing a circle in my ‘birdhouse’, and cutting it out with an xacto knife. I wanted the cacti on my birdhouse, so drew them first on pieces of paper to make sure I could do it. And these are views of my finished birdhouse!

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T and I went to the "Gourd Farm" and I bought some small gourds to practice on. I covered them with wet potting soil for two days to remove the ‘skins’. I didn’t know gourds HAD skins!

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This was the first one I ‘finished’. Img1004

I did wood burning on it and then stained and sprayed it. And then I drew on these two below and painted them. The one on the left is for a little cactus plant, and the one on the right is for my girlfriend here in the RV park. She loves cardinals and quail, so I drew them for her. She taught me how to listen for the cardinal – and identify him before I see him!

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And then I made one for T – with his favorite bird on the front and a ‘note’ written on the back.

Img1044 You can’t see it in this picture, but the towhee has red eyes.                                 Img1045 Img1046

I’m through with birds and cactus for awhile. Now I’m going to make my sister, Caryl, the birdhouse she ordered. With flowers on it. And I’m going to make me a bowl. I’m having fun with this!

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the day that dad left

The_day_dad_left152 Last year, my sister, Caryl, and I dug out all the old family pictures we could find, to make our brother a photo album for his birthday. (There aren’t many pictures as Mom died four years after this picture was taken, and her belongings didn’t come with us).

Today I opened the pictures to copy the CD, as Cindra had ask for a copy. And, of course, I had to look at all the pictures again.

When Caryl and I were making the album and found this picture, we realized what it was. And remembered the day it was taken, as if it had been the day before. Although it wasn’t painful looking at the picture and remembering, I definitely felt it in my stomach. This picture was taken at my grandparent’s house the day our dad left. For good. (What kind of saying is that? ‘Whose good was it for?).

Mom had moved us in with Gram and Grandpa, and was getting a divorce. And dad was leaving. We didn’t know where he was going. To this day, we don’t know where he went. I saw him once, 8 years later, just before he died, and he’d been living in Seattle. About 500 miles away. Our dad had ‘issues’ – as they say today.

Our dad, Jack, is on the left, then there is me, with Caryl behind me, our brother, Harold, and older sister, Jean. The dog is Paderewski, or Paddy, for short. (Our mother, who must have had a great sense of humor, named the dog after Paderewski, because our dog was also the ‘pee-inest’).

Today I was remembering what Caryl and I remembered when we saw this picture – that we had taken rubber bands and wrapped them around the lug nuts on the wheels of dad’s car the day he left. We knew he was leaving and we knew we wouldn’t see him again (I don’t know what they told us about it). We wanted a way to identify his car – or to find him, I guess. We thought if we ever saw a car with rubber bands around the lug nuts, we’d know it was him. We watched cars for a long time, too. But we never saw the rubber bands again.

Today, 49 years after this picture was taken, I ‘remember’, but the pain and sadness is just a part of the past. I think I’m grateful for that.

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Thoughts on the Garden

I hadn’t read it in years, but ran across it the other day, and it’s still one of my favorites. I don’t know if that is because I like the way it is written, or whether it is because I like the fact that there was a time in my life when I hung on to this poem and derived comfort from it. Over the years, I have decoupaged, embroidered, and framed this poem as gifts for my friends – when they were going through trying times.                                       

                                               Plant Your Own Garden


After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and sharing a life and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession and company doesn’t mean security and loneliness is universal.

And you learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open with the grace of a woman not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build your hope on today as the future has a way of falling apart in mid-flight because tomorrow’s ground can be too uncertain for plans yet, each step taken in a new direction creates a path toward the promise of a brighter dawn.

And you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much so you plant your own garden and nourish your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that love, true love, always has joys and sorrows that seem every present, yet is never quite the same becoming more than love and less than love…so difficult to define.

And you learn that through it all you really can endure that you really are strong that you do have value and you learn and grow with every goodbye you learn.

Veronica Shoffstall

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The Mighty Wurlitzer

We went to Dscn0315Mesa, Arizona to see the largest Wurlitzer in the world. Originally built for the Denver theater in 1927, it was moved to Mesa, Arizona to be refurbished in 1975.

Pit orchestras and pianists first provided background music for stage shows and silent movies, and the theater organ has been described as part military band, part symphony orchestra and part theatrical sound effects.

Since arriving in Mesa, Arizona, the Wurlitzer has been an ongoing project. Over the years, several rare sets of pipes have been added to the organ, including a massive set of 32′ wood diaphones. The organ has over 5,500 pipes. The ceiling is 43 feet high and the console rises out of the floor on an 8,000 pound rotating hydraulic elevator.

The artist we listened to was amazing. He could make the organ do any type of sound or music. When he played ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’, it sounded like the train was coming through the building. (And felt like it!) Dscn0307 Dscn0314 Dscn0310

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Prison Run

Dscn6322_2           (Sorry about the quality of the pictures. Don’t know what I did to the camera!)

Yesterday was the 24th Annual Florence Prison Run. Florence, Arizona is a unique, historical, little town – which has 8 prison facilities! There are state, federal, private, juvenile, immigration and DUI prisons. 

The townfolks say that the population is over 21,000 – with only 3,500 of that number NOT being incarcerated!


Between 1,500 and 2,000 members of motorcycle clubs meet annually, Dscn6315_1five miles South of the town of Florence, on highway 79, to participate in the ‘run’. The run goes past the main prison and to the other side of Florence, and is to "show support for all incarcerated brothers and let them know that they are not forgotten".

The morning of the run, Florence is overrun with law officials….state, county, city and federal. There are police cars/trucks/helicopters every where you look. They block off highway 79 for the 1:00 pm ride. People line the highway in their lawn chairs to watch the run. And what a noise it makes!

I spoke with one of the city police who told me that although there was a lot of controversy over the run when it first began, people take it in stride now. He said that people basically just show up to look at the bikes.

I’m not sure how I feel about all this. What is that "show support"? Support of the crime they’ve committed? What? I can understand the part about letting them know they are not forgotten, I guess. And you are suppose to ‘loDscn6333ve the sinner, not the sin’. And, after all, they are all someone’s sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, loved ones, etc. – but I just have a niggling uncomfortable feeling about it all. I’ve definitely decided, seeing it once – was enough for me. Just isn’t something I want to support.

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