Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year’s Eve

We would like to Wish Everyone a Wonderful and Safe Celebration!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Blue Skies

December 28, 2015

Today the sky is a beautiful blue. Tom and I, well he did take care of a few household chores and I am starting to crochet an afghan.

We have not been doing a lot these last few days just enjoying our lives. We had a quiet Christmas, together. We did get to speak to our children so that was nice.

Saturday it was pretty windy and the Crusader did do some rocking. In the evening we took a ride over to Surprise, AZ to see the latest Star Wars movie. We had decided it might be fun to see it in Imax and it was the closest theater we could find. We did really like the movie and we were glad we watched it in Imax but probably not enough to spring for the cost of the tickets again. Regular 3D would probably have been just as good. 

Yesterday morning we decided to try the breakfast here at the club house. It was pretty good and not having to cook made it even better. Plus, we sat with nice a couple from Minnesota,  it is always nice to meet and chat with someone new. In the afternoon we took a short ride and then stopped to say hello to a couple we met last week. Spent a pleasant time sitting a getting to know them a little better. They have stayed in this area before and gave us a few hints on places to visit. Another couple, the women are sisters, walked over and we ended up staying a little longer then planned. It was a very nice happy hour.

Hope everyone is enjoying this Beautiful Christmas Season.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2015

Today has been a day of reflection. Remembering Christmas Eve's of the past. In the beginning when it was just the two of us we would spend time at each of our parent's homes. Then, since we where lucky and everyone got along, for a couple of years we had both families come to our house Christmas Eve to celebrate. Eventually everyone was married with children and celebrating the Christmas Season with our own families.

I remember so many Christmas Eve's walking up the church steps with our children, some years with snowflakes coming down, thinking how special it was to be able to join with family and friends at Mass celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Then coming home and putting the baby in the manager to start our Christmas Eve together sitting by the tree celebrating the evening. Such special years when the wonder of the season was in their eyes.

Then grandchildren came along  and for a couple of Christmases we were lucky enough to have them all under one roof with us. The joy of being able to go to Mass, maybe I should say attempting, as a family, and celebrating the child's birth. Then coming home and after putting Jesus in the manger having them open the bags with their pajamas in, changing into them, and sitting together by the tree. Then waking up Christmas morning to the excitement of Santa having left gifts under the tree.

One of the best parts of Christmas morning is the mess
made of wrapping paper. There is something special
about a room with children sitting in the middle
of the colorful paper like the little gifts they are.

This is our second year being "snowbirds" we love the lifestyle. The one drawback is being away from our children, grandchildren, family, and friends.  It is especially hard during the Christmas Season to be missing out on special moments with our children and grandchildren. Yet, Tom and I realize how lucky we are to have each other when so many are alone.

Tonight Tom and I will be thinking of and missing our children and grandchildren as we Celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ at Mass. We will also be thinking of and missing our families and those no longer with us.

Our Christmas wish for each of  you is that you always know how much you are loved!

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Not planning real well we braved the crowds and drove over towards Goodyear, AZ to do some shopping and pick up groceries. It actually was not as bad as we thought it would be until we stopped at Walmart in Buckeye were it was a "little" crowded. Live and learn as they say, whoever "they" are, shopping two days before Christmas not the best idea. We did survive and made it back to the Crusader in one piece listening to Christmas Carols all the way.  Looking back not a bad day in the end.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Dinner at the Park

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Today we went and shared an early Christmas Dinner with other RVer’s here at the park. They provided the ham, yams and a creamed cheese corn casserole and we all brought side dishes. There, of course, was more then enough food to go around and everything, at least that Tom and I tried, was delicious.
The best part of the dinner was spending time with these two very nice couples we ended up sitting down with. We had such a nice time talking and getting to know a little bit about them. We are looking forward to spending more time together and getting to know them a little better. The best part of this lifestyle is the people you meet along the way.

Jerry, Joyce, Molly, and Charlie thank you for letting us join your table.
We had such a nice dinner because of the company.

This beautiful time of the year is flying by.
Hope everyone is able to take the time to enjoy each and every day.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Enjoying the Season!

Monday, December, 21,2015

Cannot help but think of family during this season. All the beautiful memories of the past years come flooding back. At the same time enjoying each day during this beautiful time of the year.
Hoping everyone is enjoying this Joyous Season
Making Beautiful Memories!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Enjoying the Christmas Season

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Our daughter-in-law graduated from Oakland University in Rochester, MI today. We could not be there but are very proud of her accomplishment. (Our son graduated from the same University in 2013.) We love you, Nadine and congratulations!

Took a ride over to Buckeye, this afternoon, to pick up some groceries and a few other things. Ended up finding a nice pizza restaurant, Grazie Pizzeria and Winebar, in the Verrado Main Street District. We shared a salad and a pizza both excellent. Outside the window there was a small park, in a square, with trees filled with twinkle lights, very festive.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

It is hard to believe it is almost Christmas the time is flying by. On today's agenda nothing in particular. Except Tom is going out to add another set of blue twinkle lights, he purchased yesterday, to his tripod Christmas "Tree" under the kingpin.

We will be here enjoying the sun, relaxing, listening to Christmas Carols, and enjoying the Christmas Season.

Hoping everyone reading this is having a Wonderful Christmas Season.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Thursday and Friday, December 17 & 18, 2015

The title says it all these last two days have been about relaxing and just enjoying our time here.
(Of course, today has also been about getting the blog caught up.)

Well relaxing except there is one package the post office is having a problem delivering and the gentleman here is not sure why. The scans shows I addressed it correctly and the one that went out with it, to the same address, has been delivered. He keeps apologizing and I keep telling him it is not his fault.(I am believing the post office on the other end is not doing their part.) In the meantime he cannot find out if the package is still at their post office, coming back here, or going to the return address in Escanaba. Hopefully it will be solved before Christmas.

We have been able to take walks in the evening to look at the Christmas decorations people have out. The park has a contest with a prize for the best decorated site and we have been checking out the various sites. Some people really go all out here. One we went by tonight even had Christmas music playing. Monday we will have to stop in the office and caste our votes.

Hope everyone who reads this is relaxing and enjoying this Christmas season.

Let the Christmas Season Begin

Monday and Tuesday, December 14 & 15, 2015

We have been busy getting things done. I have been crocheting and gift wrapping...Tom has been trucking everything to the post office. Everything that is going to be in the mail is in the mail.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Today was the day I put aside to make meat pies. There has never been a Christmas in my life that did not include meat pie on Christmas Eve and when Tom became part of our family he joined in the tradition. (He had no choice.) It is something I passed onto to our children and I hope they will do the same with theirs. (Both of my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandfather where from the Sudbury area of Ontario.) The memories of all the Christmases spent with family come flooding back as I am preparing and baking them. So many meals sitting and visiting with family revolved around this dish at Christmas time.

Sharing Wednesdays Facebook post:

The meat pies are done, the Crusader is decorated, the packages have been sent out, time for a beginning of the Christmas Season toast. A pre-Merry Christmas to all our family and friends.

There is a feeling that comes over me once they are in the freezer that I can only describe as pure satisfaction.

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred,
 and we are better throughout the year for having,
in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. "
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Forty-Six Years

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Our Facebook post:

Today we celebrated our 46th Wedding Anniversary. Not sure where the time went since we stood at the altar at St. Anne's yet here we are 46 years later living our retirement dream. Some days it does not seem possible but we have a great son, a lovely daughter and daughter-in-law, plus seven beautiful grandchildren. It has been a great ride so far proving hopes and dreams do come true.

To help prove the theory when you are married for awhile you start to think alike. I add this picture, to today's post, of the cards we exchanged this year.
I'll always remember the song they were playin'
The first time we danced and I knew
As we swayed to the music and held to each other
I fell in love with you

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
Would you be my partner then every night?
When we're together it feels so right
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

Lyrics from - Could I Have This Dance - Anne Murray


Getting Settled

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Today we settled in and did some Christmas decorating. Tom put up our outside Christmas decorations and I started to get the inside ones up. Mostly though, I worked on wrapping what gifts we had left to send out. Plus, I had a couple things left to finish crocheting.

Just like living back in our house it is that time of year and things need to get done.

Funny Christmas riddle: What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? Claustrophobic!

Moving to Tonopah, Arizona

Friday, December 11, 2015

Today was a travel day. We drove about 185 miles to Saddle Mountain RV Park in Tonopah, AZ. This was the only reservation we had made before we left Michigan and we will be parked here for a month. Santa was waiting to greet us at the gate when we arrived.

This is a nice, well kept park, with good size spaces. The downside is we are about 25 miles from any type of shopping but then maybe that is a good thing.

Today's ride was a familiar one, from last year, and we had a couple of minutes of rain.

Views from today's drive

We left Tucson on I 10, turned onto I 8, took Arizona 85 north, and reconnected with I 10 about 18  miles before our exit. This way we bypassed Phoenix and only lost about 12 minutes according to google maps. I am guessing by not pulling the 5th wheel through Phoenix we gained time.

The dinosaurs at the Holt Shell Station
in Gila Bend are ready for Christmas.

"Give every day the chance
to be the most beautiful day in your life."
                                                   ~Mark Twain

Saguaro (West) National Park

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

We spent the day relaxing and chilling at the Crusader.

 Thursday, December 10, 2015

We started the day slowly sitting and enjoying our coffee. Then we headed out and did some shopping.

The last thing we had planned for the day was a visit to the Saguaro West-Tucson Mountain District so we could take the 5 mile Scenic Bajado Loop Drive at Sunset.

On the way there we drove through the Tucson Mountain County Park.

The following are the pictures taken during our sunset drive through the park.

Starting our drive through the park.
Bottom right someone is peaking out behind the prickly pears.

We stopped to watch the sun slip down behind the mountains.
The three pictures on the right. Middle bottom from another stop.
The picture in the upper left was as we exited the park; the
sky was such a vivid blue against the pink clouds.

As we continued our drive on the Bajado Loop

Looking east with the sun setting behind us.

On the way back, to the Crusader, we stopped at a pull-out in the
Tucson Mountain County park. This was our view as we
ate our dinner. Just before we finished the "lights went out".

"Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect."
                                                     ~Chief Seattle

December 8th continued: Saguaro (East)

After leaving the Mission San Xavier de Bac we drove over to the Saguaro East-Ricon Mountain District.

This is for a family and friends.
Or if you have visited the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
We came to a stop then turned onto Houghton Road.

In the 1920’s grazing and development threatened the existence of the Saguaro. The Saguaro forests began to disappear as mature cactus were chopped down to make way for roads and livestock trampled seedlings. A man by the name of Homer Shantz led the efforts to save the Saguaro and establish the Saguaro National Park. His efforts lead to the saving of the Saguaro for future generations.
In 1933 President Hoover authorized the Saguaro National Monument and in 1994 it became a national park.
The park is divided into two districts, lying approximately 20 miles east and 15 miles west of the center of Tucson, Arizona. Total area of the park is 143 square miles, 91, 327 acres, 2/3rds of which is designated wilderness.  Beautiful tracts of the Sonoran Desert are conserved in both districts including ranges of significant hills, the Tucson Mountains in the west and the Rincon Mountains in the east.
The park gets its name from the saguaro cactus which is native to the district. The saguaro has been called the monarch of the Sonoran Desert, supreme symbol of the American Southwest, a plant with a personality, and renowned for its variety of odd shapes. Interestingly the ones we see with “arms” are probably at least 75 years old. The oldest ones, about 150-200 years old, are the towering 50ft ones we see and weigh in at 16,000 pounds. They are the largest cacti in the United States and can live to be 200 years old. The saguaro is a slow growing plant and in a year a seedling will only measure about 1/4 inch. After 15 years only a foot and they do not begin to flower until around 30 years.
Another interesting thing I read about the saguaro is how they store and conserve the water. They collect water with a network of roots that lies about three inches below the desert surfaces and stretches as far from the main trunk as the saguaros is tall. Accordion-like pleats allow the cactus to expand and hold the water and the spongy flesh in its trunk and branches serves as a reservoir storing water as a slow-to-move gelatin like substance. During a single rainfall they may soak up as much as 200 gallons of water, enough to last the saguaro a year.

In front of the visitor center.

 Leaving the Visitor Center we took the eight mile Cactus Forest Drive. Warning — what will follow is pictures of Cacti.

2015-12-16 13.06.19

Ocotillo (not a cactus)
Bare here but with moisture the
stems will fill with small green leaves.
March through June dense red clusters
of tubular flowers will grow at the tips
of the stems. I love the look of this bush.

In the front Staghorn Cholla

Prickly Pear

Barrel Cactus

Chain-fruit Cholla, behind the Prickly Pear

More Staghorn Cholla with Saguaros as far as
we could see.

Teddy Bear Cholla

Young Saguaros

The symbol of the southwest.

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Javelina Rocks named after their favorite inhabitants.
(Javelinas are not pigs. They are peccaries and
weigh about 60 pounds.)

    Advice from a Cactus: 1. Get plenty of sunshine
                            2. Accentuate your strong points
                                 3. Be patient through the dry spells
                   4. Conserve your resources
                         5. Wait for your time to bloom 
                                          6. Stay sharp

Mission San Xavier del Bac and Saguaro (East) National Park

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Today we visited the Mission at San Xavier del Bac, a National Historic Landmark, founded as a Catholic mission by Fr. Eusebio Kino in 1692. (He is the same priest that established Tumacacori as a mission in 1691. We visited Tumacacori this past Saturday, December 5th.) Construction of this current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797. It is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona and the mission continues to serve the residents of the San Xavier Reservation. Often called the “white dove of the desert,” the mission is located in the San Xavier Reservation, part of the Tohono O’odham nation, southwest of Tucson in Pima County, Arizona.

The inside of the church, which they are slowly renovating as funds are available, is filled with original statuary and mural paintings. The ceilings are beautiful and when you look up you notice a ledge surrounding the interior filled with lit candles. There is so much to look at it is impossible to take it all in. As we sat there during mass I leaned over and whispered to Tom, we could not have taken the kids here for mass when they were small their heads would have never stopped turning. I had trouble keeping my concentration.

The front entrance as we walked up to the Mission.

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Walking through the front door.


Pictures of Sanctuary.
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2015-12-16 20.51.35


2015-12-16 14.52.30

Choir Loft (candles can be seen on ledge)


Two of the several murals.

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Close up of the wall.


The above pictures, a few of what we took, of the interior of the mission only show a fraction of what is within the walls. There is just to much to take in during one visit.
Unlike many other historic Spanish missions from this era it is entirely European. There is no Piman influence on the Baroque style, a mix of Byzantine and Moorish architecture. Though desert marterials were used to build the mission. The main building was built by O’odham laborers and is composed of adobe bricks set in lime mortar.The exterior walls are painted white stucco. The mission property includes the main church, mortuary chapel, dormitory, patio, garden, and convent.

The outside court yard.

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More of front of Mission.


Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened a school at the Mission in 1872. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity now teach at the school and reside in the convent.

It was a beautiful day and a peaceful place to visit. We will definitely visit here again.

Grotto Hill (not part of the Mission San Xavier del Bac or the Tucson Diocese it is located next to the mission)


One last picture of Mission San Xavier del Bac.


Our visit to Saguaro National Park  is on the next page.