Friday, January 12, 2018

Hoping for Good Results

You've all seen the ads, "Just Eat the Food and Loose the Weight."  It was time.  We have each put on at least 5 pounds since we arrived in Arizona in September and even more over the years since our last serious diet.  So we decided to give Nutrisystem  a try.  The food was delivered in November--when we decided on this path we didn't want to change our minds so we ordered food for a month.

Most of the food came in boxes that can be stored about anywhere.  We kept those in the covered bed of our truck while Eric and his family were here.  Then we moved back into our house and put the food in the trailer.  Some of the food is frozen.  That picture is further below.

We are in the first week of the diet. This is one day's food for one person.  Breakfast, morning turbo shake snack, lunch, afternoon Nutricrush snack, and dinner.  We add at least 4 servings of vegetables to round out lunch and dinner.  Our daily allotment of food will increase for the next 3 weeks.

Here is John's scrumptious lunch for today. Actually it is pretty tasty.  Many items are flavored with chocolate which makes us feel we aren't being deprived.  Do you know how long it takes to chew 2 celery sticks?

Here are most of the dinners for the next 3 weeks.

And breakfasts.



We don't know why, but John's food includes frozen items--dinners



We are hoping for good results by the end of our first month. During "boot camp" we have each lost almost 5 pounds. Hope to keep it up, though at a slower pace.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Family Time

We had visitors to celebrate the new year. On January 1 our son Eric and wife Liz and our grandchildren Kylie and John came for a two-day visit. They were headed to Mexico so they flew to Phoenix, spent time with us then drove to Mexico. On Friday that week they returned to Phoenix and flew back to Colorado.

Since today is Eric's birthday, we celebrated on the night we arrived. We haven't been with them for his birthday for years so it was good to mark the day this year.

The weather was warm enough we could sit outside before dinner, something you can't do in Colorado at this time of the year.

Kylie is on two swim teams, her high school team and a club team. One of the coaches wanted her to keep up her pool workouts while they were on their trip so two days she swam laps in our resort pool--for an hour each day!

John has been spending a lot of time turning pens and he taught grandson John how to do that while they were here. Papa showed John where to hold the turning gouge.

Then he demonstrated how to do the work.

John learned quickly how to change to square piece of wood into a found pen body.

After sanding and putting on a finish and waxing the pen, here he proudly shows it off.  Papa and John and a good time together.

We enjoyed the family visit and were glad they were able to spend some time here.  We just wish it happened more often.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 in Review

The year 2017 has been full of contrasts.  We spent 6 1/2 months in our winter home in Gold Canyon and 8 weeks in 4 Colorado state parks and we still managed to drive a little over 17,000 miles, including 8,139 miles towing our Airstream.  Part of the year we were really on the move.

Our travels included 47 campgrounds from Arizona to New Hampshire to Colorado and back to Arizona.  We stayed in two of those campgrounds twice.  As we traveled, we stayed in 9 KOA campgrounds and 2 Corps of Engineers campgrounds.  We try to avoid KOA because they are often overpriced but there are just times when they are the only or the best place available where we want to stay.  Unfortunately, the Corps doesn't have campgrounds all across the country.  In fact, the majority are west of the Mississippi River.

We were in 20 states as we traveled.  Five of those we stayed in for the first time--knocking one item off our bucket list.  We have now slept overnight in our RV in all 49 continental states.  It has taken us 29 years to make it to all of the lower 48 and Alaska. This shows where we have been this year.

We didn't drive to the East Coast just to complete an item on our bucket list.  We traveled to New Hampshire to watch our son Doug graduate from Nashua Community College.  We also spent some time with our 2 granddaughters, Rachal and Samantha.  Since we were in the neighborhood--so to speak--we also visited New York City and Washington, DC.

We were able to see family and friends as we made a somewhat slower return trip west.  In Colorado we had more time with family and friends.

At least at this point, we don't expect 2018 will bring as much travel--at least in our RV.  We are hoping to fly to England and spend 6 to 8 weeks traveling there.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


We are spending the week of Christmas in Tucson, at Justin's Diamond J RV park. It isn't a resort by any stretch, but the sites are large, the hookups full with 50 amp and there are trails right outside the gate through the beautiful Arizona desert.

There are cholla, saguaro and prickly pear cactus thick in this part of the Sonoran Desert.

The nearby trails were developed and are maintained by the campground staff.  They are labeled with neatly printed signs on the rocks.  At one time the signs must have been different.  In 2 places we saw this old tin baking sheets with long faded arrows marking the way.

The have a sense of humor, as well.   Here are two "graves" along the track.  The jug at the head of the right-hand grave reads "Platte River."  It comes from Missouri.

These folding chairs once provided a resting place along the trail.  There have long outlived their usefulness.

The day after Christmas we went hiking in the nearby national park.  Can you guess which one it is?  We are near Saguaro National Park West.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

Looking for a little Christmas spirit, we went to Mesa Monday evening and had bbq sandwiches at Waldo's.  John had the brisket sandwich on the left and I had the pulled pork on the right.

The food was good and filling.  The we were ready to set off for the Christmas light display on the Mesa LDS temple grounds.

There were the 3 wise men.

Lights around the reflecting pool in front of the temple.

The trees were lighted, the gardens and walkways.  It was truly beautiful.

As we were taking pictures, one of the volunteers offered to take our picture.

And more lights on the grounds.

Here is on last photo of the wise men and their camels with lighted palm trees in  the background.

Monday, December 18, 2017


Change can be hard and we’ve had a lot of it this year.  After officiating in July at the marriage of our niece Sarah to Jay, John announced that he was retiring and that was the last priestly event he would do for the family.  The past 2 summers there have been funerals for one brother-in-law and one sister-in-law. Those life events are very important and serious and they demand a lot of time and effort for everyone involved.  John was ordained to the priesthood 30 years ago and we are both 75 years old.  It was time for a change—for real retirement.

That retirement from ministry meant he would not be preaching and celebrating several times a month at the Church of the Epiphany in Tempe, the Episcopal church we have been worshiping in for  5 years during our winters in Arizona.  That was a real change.  On top of that, the rector there (who happened to have attended the same seminary as John at the same time) retired.  The worship experience was different as a result.  Being a part of that church community and worship had been a central part of our life here each winter.

These changes were difficult to adjust to.  We decided to see if we could find a church where we could truly worship God in the Phoenix valley without driving 25 miles one way to the services.  That drive had meant John drove 400 miles during Holy Week last spring, serving at every worship service during that special week.  We wanted to find something closer.

After visiting 3 nearby churches, I wondered if we would find any place where we really felt we could worship.  I had to keep reassuring myself God would not abandon us.  There would be a church closer to where we live, where we would feel comfortable and reach out to God in this part of the valley.

In 1984 the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America entered into open communion, agreeing they could share clergy and members could worship and receive communion in either church, no matter which one they were a member of.  We think we have found a church home in an ELCA church and are working through this change with hope.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

No Pictures?

Not much to talk about this week--and less to post photos about. Wednesday we met Ron and Barbara and Diana for lunch at Kneaders. Good food and good conversation. But would you believe that 3 bloggers met for lunch (Barbara, Diana and I) and no one took a picture? Oh well, it was a good get together even without pictures.

A week or so ago, our neighbors Jack and Kathy said they were having a painter come to do some work on their house. We said we really needed someone to paint some of the exterior trim on our house. Thursday the painters came and made estimates of the cost of our paint jobs. By 9 am Friday their were working at Jack and Kathty's and by the end of the day they had painted the trim on 3 houses on our street. Today they painted 3 or 4 more places and others are expecting them to come on Monday. It looks really spiffy on our street!

The painters are very careful and neat. We didn't see any drips or spots and they didn't put the dark paint on the light stucco--all without any masking. They do a really good and professional job. Thanks!