Saturday, May 21, 2022

Our New Blog

 Please check out my new blog:  ournewchoice.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 01, 2022

The Next Chapter

 One of the first places we went after going to our summer home in Lone Tree, Colorado, was to Castle Rock where Olinger Andrews Caldwell Gibson Funeral Home was celebrating the opening of their new facility.  

There's a lot of back story here.  In 1938 John's parents bought a funeral home in Castle Rock, naming it Andrews Funeral Home.  In 1975 we bought the funeral home, owning and managing it until 1984.  We raised our two boys there until we sold it in to the Caldwells.  Last August we were invited by JR to tour the building before they tore it down.  John's sister Cindy and our son Eric and wife Liz joined us that day.

Now that the new building is complete, we were glad to visit.  This is the main chapel area. 


Chris is the new manager and he cut the ribbon for the celebration, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.



He talked a little about the history of the building and the business.
 

Here is the front and side of the building.


We live in an apartment at Camden Lincoln Station during the summer.  It  is in Lone Tree, a community located about a mile from the home we lived in here and that has been rented out 13 years ago.
There is an exercise room here, like we have and use in Superstition Views, our winter home in Gold Canyon, AZ.


This is the pool.

And one of the courtyards.


This small patio offers space to sit outside and a place for John to do his carving.


Notice the sign John made for out entry way.

The apartment is only slightly smaller than our Arizona home.  




And we have our own washer and dryer.

Colorado is especially beautiful at this time of year.  There is still snow on the higher mountain ranges but we don't have to worry about it.


The apple and crabapple and plum trees are blooming.  Love it!





Yesterday, we attended our grandson John's swim meet.


And were able to spend time with our daughter-in-law Liz and son Eric.  (Eric was taking pictures of John when I took this photo.


We plan to spend six months here so I will be sharing much more about our summer home.

Please be patient!  I can’t seem to get the new blog to work.







Saturday, April 30, 2022

Turning the Page

 We went on our first trip in an RV in 1988.  We borrowed John's sister Cindy's popup tent trailer to take our son Eric to a Christian youth gathering--DC88-in Washington, D.C.  That was it for a couple of years, but we had enjoyed it so much that, to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, we bought a Coleman popup tent trailer for ourselves.     

    We used that trailer for getaways on our days off and for traveling during our month-long summer vacation.  One year we went to the Northwest and up into British Columbia.  Then, in 1996 we bought a 1996 Komfort 5th-wheel trailer.  Since then, we have owned two Montana 5thwheels and a Mobile Suites 5th wheel.  Downsizing in 2016, we bought an Airstream travel trailer.  

 Fast forward to this year--we are aging and decided it was time to stop RVing.  The parking area next to our winter home in Arizona no longer has a trailer parked there.

   

On April 18, it pulled out of our driveway without us!  



We have so many wonderful memories of traveling in our trailers.  Over those years, we have slept overnight in our trailer in all 49 of the continental United States. This year, we both turn 79. We have been there, done that.  And decided it was time to change our lifestyle.  To turn the page. 

I began blogging about our life in 2006.   In 2009, we moved out of our home in Centennial, Colorado, and began living in our trailer full-time.  We have traveled; we have volunteered in national parks in Utah and Arkansas; we have volunteered in state parks in Utah and Colorado and in a private RV park in Montana. Then, in 2014, we bought a casita in Gold Canyon, Arizona, where we lived half the year, traveling the rest of the time.  We haven't owned a 5th wheel trailer since 2016. The title "5thWheelWanderings" longer relevant.

Each year I have published my blog posts in a book.  Look at the stack of books I have published!

  


I began blogging about our life in 2006.   In 2009, we moved out of our home in Centennial, Colorado, and began living in our trailer full-time.  We have traveled; we have volunteered in national parks in Utah and Arkansas; we have volunteered in state parks in Utah. Texas and Colorado and in a private RV park in Montana; we have volunteered for US Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Fish and Wildlife. Then, in 2014, we bought a casita in Gold Canyon, Arizona, where we lived half the year, traveling the rest of the time.  We haven't owned a 5th wheel trailer since 2016. The title "5thWheelWanderings" longer relevant.

It is time for a new blog.  From now on, you can read about our life at:  changingourfocus.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, April 07, 2022

Filling our time in the Arizona spring


It is spring in the Arizona desert and the Gold Canyon temps are in the high 80s to low 90s.  That means it is time for snowbirds to begin flying north.  We'll be doing that soon, but not yet.  

The warm weather has brought out these bright red flowers on the ocotillo plants in our resort.  These plants bloom when the temperatures heat up in March and, if there is rain, they bloom again in response to the moisture.


 The prickly pear cactus also blooms in the spring.  This plant has bright red and yellow flowers.  Others have pink flowers.


  
We met our friend Darlene Sibigtroth for lunch one day in late March.  When we lived in Granby-Grand Lake, Colorado, she was my supervisor at Mountain Parks Bank.  She and her late husband Gary were members of our church.  Now she lives in Casa Grande, south of Gold Canyon.  It was so good to catch up with her.

Darlene's daughters were people our son Eric knew in high school.  John officiated at one daughter's wedding and today that couple is related to people we know at St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in Colorado.  That is the church John served as rector before retirement and where we worship when living in our Lone Tree apartment.  What a small world.

John is beginning to look better, too, as we wait to head north.  The dermatologist and plastic surgeon removed a basal cell cancer from near his left eye.  We're so glad that cancer is gone!



In a week or two, we'll never know the surgery took place
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Thursday, March 24, 2022

Family and Good Food

We've had a busy--and delicious and fun--few days.  Our son Eric, seen here second from right, his wife Liz and son John--came to Arizona over their spring break.  They spent time with us and checked out a couple of universities here in Arizona--ASU in Tempe and Grand Canyon University.

Our grandson John brought three friends along--Branson, Josiah and Estebahn.  They have been friends for years and all of them are high school seniors.  That means giving some thought to what they want to study in college and, more importantly, where.


They spent two nights in an Airbnb rental house in San Tan Valley.  We had lunch at the Cactus grill in our resort. Coming from Colorado, the warm weather and sun were big attractions here.  I didn't realize boys like to lay out and tan in the sun.


Our neighbors Bob and Jean lent us their golf cart.  These four boys--all 16--enjoyed touring the resort on these wheels. Thanks, Bob and Jean.


That day I served a chili dinner at our place.

Monday, they moved to Tapatio Cliffs resort in Phoenix.  We joined them for lunch.


                                        





 Eric took a selfie in front of the falls in the resort.  What a beautiful place!



They are now headed north, back toward their Colorado homes.  We so enjoyed their visit.



Friday, March 18, 2022

Fun on the Lake

Tuesday we joined 28 of our neighbors for a boat ride on Canyon Lake.  The lake was formed on the Salt River by the Mormon Flat Dam, completed in 1925.

In arid Arizona, people flock to water.  This shows part of the marina on the lake.


Our group had rented three of these pontoon boats for the trip.



Lou was our driver most of the trip.  The rest of us enjoyed the scenery and lots of time to talk.


We saw some wildlife--several big horn sheep.  Trust me, that is what that while figure is on the top of the rock.  


On our boat, we kept the canopy up so part of our group--including John and me--were sitting in the shade.  Here you see another part of our crew with their canopy down.



These folks are also part of our group. I got photos of only part of the group.  I don't want to leave anyone out, so I won't start listing names. 



We enjoyed the scenery surrounding the lake.





Friday, March 04, 2022

Crafting in Retirement

Before we retired, my creative endeavors were limited to sewing.  And is that really creative when I follow patterns?  The same is true for my cooking.   I always follow a recipe.

John had made a number of leaded glass windows for our home and for others.

Then, in 2003 we retired.  Six years later, in 2006, we first spent an extended period of time in Arizona.  Three winters we volunteered for several months at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge.  We also discovered +55 Resorts.  Since then, two of those resorts, Valle del Oro in Mesa and Superstition Views at Canyon Vistas in Gold Canyon, have been our winter homes.

I have tried several crafts, taking classes in pottery and wood turning and other wood projects, as well as learning to make beaded jewelry.  

John also began making various items out of wood and he carves when we are traveling and at our apartment in Colorado.  He makes small wooden boxes, using the scroll saw.  He also uses the scroll saw to make plaques with sayings on them, as well as scenes.  He turns pens.  And he makes intarsia pieces.  

Over the years, I have posted blogs on many of these projects we have completed.

All of this explains why we make it a point each February to attend the Mesa Woodcarvers show.  It is inspiring to see all the beautiful items wood carvers make.

Enjoy all these skilled creations.

Isn't this mountain bluebird good? It looks like it might fly off at any minute.

This building--maybe a tea house--received one of the top awards.  It can be stored in the box it is sitting on. 


Look at this scene.  I picture a mother in the World War I era, respoding to a phone call that someone had been killed.


This relief carving show numerous houses in and around a tree.


                    
I had to really examine this piece--those guns really are wooden carvings.


This tree house carving is very detailed.


Compare it to this rainbow trout--it really is as smooth as it looks.


A beautiful intarsia piece of steer roping.


Look at the texture of this bear's coat.


This bear cub is so cute.  And the relief carving of cowboy boots is impressive.


I like this relief carving of geese near the barn.
 

I imagine this tree is carved out of one piece of wood.  Think how much had to be carved away to allow the branch layers to look this way.


I'm not a carver, but making such a detailed face in a relatively thin stick of wood is not easy.


Not all carving is done in wood.  These bears are carved in stone.


Maybe this carving will help young children learn how to tie their shoes.