Like a rolling stone.

7/29/2021 What was I thinking? It’s almost like an out-of-body experience. Moving again. I knew this Arizona gig was not forever, but I did try to ignore that. I like Arizona, I love the conveniences we have living where we do. It’s a nice change from Roatan. But. It’s HOT. DAMN HOT. It’s a dry heat, which means absolutely nothing. It’s a blast furnace. Dry doesn’t even enter into this heat. It DOESN”T MATTER. Wet heat would be better I’m sure. Give me some sweaty under-boob.

So, the house is 3/4 packed. That does NOT include any of Bill’s garage stuff, which is not packed. That just gives me a little anxiety. There are boxes everywhere. When I pack I’m in overdrive, panic mode. I packed all the damn dental floss (bought more) and I had to send the Water Pik back, it flipped the breakers and wouldn’t work. I’ll order another once we get settled. I do miss that thing though, it really cleans your teeth.

I got all the empty boxes in the neighborhood a few weeks ago. I even went to other ‘hoods and picked up boxes. Having other people’s boxes is like a glimpse into their lives, kind of strange.
The master closet looks like this too. This pile has grown considerably.

The boys know something is up. They follow me like they are glued to my ankles. It’s really a pain in the butt, cute as it is, they are a “trip” hazard. I turn around and Highway is sprawled right in my path. ALL DAMN DAY. It’s frustrating.

I have watermelon. They LOVE it and they also love strawberries and blueberries.

So. Bill and I went to Tucson to look at an RV. It’s a 2000 Fleetwood Bounder, 30′ long. It has 2 slideouts which help to make it much bigger for continued (egads) living. It is totally NOT my style but it’s really clean inside. The people took good care of it. The carpet is worn from people getting into the front seats but we’re going to have 4 dogs in this thing. We were gone a long time the day we went to look at it.  On the way home, we could see rain to the north. Highway was locked in our bedroom and the 3 boys were in their crates. There was a thunderstorm while we were away. When we got home, Highway had tried to dig his way out through the carpet, in the master bedroom of a house THAT IS SOLD. The carpet is pitiful at best, Bill did not want to replace it in the 3 bedrooms so we had it cleaned and dealt with the ugliness of it. Now we have to get it repaired. DOGS!

We’ve named the RV Walt because as Olivia pointed out, it is the same kind of RV that Walter White and Jessie Pinkman used to cook meth in Breaking Bad. I guarantee there will be no cooking meth in this. Right now Walt is at the repair shop, there is a bad exhaust leak and we want other stuff checked out before we head east.

Meet Walt.

If we lose some bucks selling it, it was worth it not having to look for an apartment or house rental for a few months. The dogs can run and we can get some things done. Hopefully a garden so I can grow veggies and flowers. I can’t wait. It’s been a long time.

The last visit to the foot doctor happened, he discharged me. My foot is getting better, not great, but better. The Doc thinks the water aerobics and the 50 laps I do with my fins on has helped it get more flexibility. It still hurts, most of the time but I’ve kind of grown used to that. It will be a year until it’s feeling better, if that happens.

I could do more than 50 laps but I get bored, there is nothing to look at. It takes me 15 minutes to do the laps.
And then I float, not every day, but often. I can float for an unusually long period of time without moving. If you noticed in the pic the 2″ white line directly below my top, that is the shaded area that doesn’t get much sun when I sit on a chair in the pool and read.

My cactus has been going crazy lately. I’m not sure why but I have never seen so many flowers. Last year it would have 8 or 10 per day, now there are way more than that. The bees are in pollen heaven.

Hundreds of buds.
Bee Orgy.
Using Google lens, this is identified as a Cereus Jamacaru. It sure looks like it.
This was Saturday morning, flowers galore. I could hear the bees while I was still on the porch. The dogs are keeping away from it.
It’s really a sight to behold.

We had allergy tests done on Barrio and he’s pretty much allergic to every damn thing there is, except Salmon, Turkey and Duck. No peas or flax or rice. It’s really hard and really expensive to find food he can eat. We have stopped cooking liver and veggies. Doing that did nothing to make his skin better so why bother? His armpit is clearing up. Isn’t it odd that it’s just ONE armpit and not both? AND, Gringo has the same thing in the opposite armpit, although not as bad. Max has never had skin issues. It’s very frustrating.

I took Barrio to the vet to chat about his skin. I let the dogs out before I left, then put 3 in their crates and had Barrio jump in the car. We got to the vets and checked in, sat down and I noticed Barrio had a cactus thorn sticking out of his nose. I tried to pull it out but was afraid to tug on it so I had the vet do it. I know exactly where he got that cactus thorn, from the blooming cactus. A dove built a nest in there and it’s within reach of the dogs. She recently abandoned the nest with 2 eggs in it. It was not a wise thought on the doves’ part to nest there. I kept Barrio away as much as I could, he was the only one interested. He’s lucky he didn’t get one in his eye. They hurt and luckily, I’ve never had one break off in my skin.

Crazy dog.

We had a Haboob 2 nights in a row. They were not as bad as the one last year.  Many areas had more severe weather than we did this time.  Then the rains came, they started Thursday night with a wild thunder and lightning storm. The dogs were not thrilled. It rained off and on, sometimes really hard, until Sunday afternoon.

This is the park we usually walkthrough. Totally flooded. Mosquito city.
My fake grass was drowning.
Saturated. The dogs wouldn’t walk on it.
Yep, it p o u r e d,

It’s finally dried up out there and is back to being hot. It’s weird when it rains. In the jungle, it always felt so fresh and clean after a downpour. Here, it is a wet dirt smell that hangs in the air, not a breath of freshness to be seen.

And that’s why we’re headed back to the mountains.

I am a Flamingo school drop-out

04/26/21 We had a great start to April, temps were in the high 90’s and we had company arriving Sat., the 3rd. I worked several days getting the spare bedrooms ready and baking. I made 3 doz zucchini muffins and realized I forgot to add the blueberries so I made 3 doz more with blueberries and I made a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread, broccoli salad and some guac.

Main guest room
Guest bath
Overdose of baked goods
3 of the boys out back

The dogs were of course terrified of the little people but they chilled because the kids were pretty cool with them and ignored them for the most part. Addison and Bryson were so excited to swim in the pool but had to wait until Sunday when the Easter Bunny brought them new swimsuits! We had dinner the evening when they got here and then sat around the table talking and sipping on some Damiana and Bill’s homemade beer. The kids were playing on the shelf of the pool, the water was barely 70 degrees.

The next morning we walked the dogs, Kailey and the kids came with me and Kev went with Bill. Once we got back to the house the kids checked out their Easter loot and then had an Easter egg hunt. I had a bag of stuff for each of them and of course, Kailey did as well. After breakfast, the kids headed right to the pool and pretty much stayed there most of the day. I forgot how much fun it is to have young kids around, especially these two. They were both so easy and chill, didn’t really matter what was going on, they were cool with it.

Nighttime swimming
Opening Easter “baskets”
Egg coloring
This kid is a hoot. He has half of the big plastic egg on his head.
Bryson crashed.
Addison is the dog whisperer. Highway loved her.

Most of the time here was spent around the pool, the kids are fish. I wish the water had been warmer but they didn’t seem to mind.

Addison is a good swimmer, Bryson is getting there.
He is so much like his father, a laugh a minute.
Sun baking
Addison is such a boho chick, she dresses so cute and is very laid back,
I love his curls.
I bought them each bubble wands, Bryson had a blast with them.
Happy we finally have outdoor dining.
Kevin, my favorite accomplice in all things bad. We’ve known each other since 2000 when we worked at BofA. We have had some crazy fun together, he’s a great guy. I always knew he would be a good Dad and he is.
Kevin, Kailey, Addison and Bryson the morning they left. It was so great having them visit us!

After the company left we just chilled for a few weeks, anticipating my upcoming foot surgery. I saw the Doc the 14th and we decided on the 23rd for surgery.

The boys celebrated their 6th birthday April 15th. They each got their regular kibble, zucchini and a can of tuna. We count our blessings daily that we have these dogs, they are the best ever!
I started walking Highway and Barrio together, mornings and evenings. They are pretty easy to handle.
All of the flowers we got from the nursery are doing well. The Oleander has been flowering for a few weeks. I did not know that Oleander is poisonous. Luckily the dogs have no interest in dried flowers.
The cactus is going crazy with blooms. Some are pink and others orange and they are FILLED with bees. The bees roll around inside the flower getting as much pollen as they can. Unfortunately, the flowers last just one night.

We invited our friend and neighbor over for dinner the week before my surgery. I met Nick soon after I moved here. He was born in 1942 and in 1979, while working at his landscaping company he fell from a tree. He hit all the branches on the way down. He was taken to the hospital. They could find nothing wrong with him so they sent him home. He woke up the next morning paralyzed from the waist down. He also had a stroke so he is very hard to understand. He is such a nice guy, I’ve been taking him baked goods, lasagna, all kinds of food for a year now. When he came to eat he was unable to spread the tapenade on the foccacia bread. It took me a few minutes to realize why he wasn’t using the tapenade so I put some on his plate for him. Turns out, he is from Philadelphia and he used to be a dancer on American Bandstand.

We made a chicken, pineapple, peppers and onion dish on the grill and I made a large fruit salad for dessert. I gave him dishes of both to take home.

I spent the week before surgery getting stuff done around here, knowing I wouldn’t be dusting or vacuuming for a while. I had to be at the hospital in Mesa by 6 AM. We got there before it opened. Bill just dropped me off and drove home to take care of the dogs. When he got home and the boys realized I wasn’t with him, they searched the house for me. He walked them and fed them and turned around and came back to get me.

When I saw the doc the 14th I had asked him to allow me to stay awake for the surgery, he said ok. They had to put me to sleep for the nerve block, he said it’s quite painful and burns very badly. Once that was over, I woke up and was talking to the nurse and the anesthesiologist. They had Johnny Cash music playing, which was great. I could feel the doc doing something to my heel, it kind of hurt but not enough to scream or anything. Then I felt him sewing me up.

I was taken back to the area I was previously in and got dressed and called Bill. He was almost at the hospital when I called. Once he got there they went over some things with him. The doc stopped by and said, “by the way, your tendon was destroyed.” It had adhered to my heel and he had to extricate it from there (that’s what I felt), plus I had a huge calcification that he removed. The 45-minute surgery ended up taking 90 minutes.

We were home by 11 AM and the dogs were insane. They were so worried that I was gone. They spent most of the day in bed with me. My foot is feeling fine, no pain to speak of. We bought a new wheelchair and crutches so I can motor around the house. Crutches and 4 dogs who are constantly at your feet is not a good combo, plus I really suck on crutches. Our toilet is in a small room, it’s so crazy. I use the crutches to get in there, then stand on one foot (Flamingo), hold onto the doorjamb to sit down, hold onto the doorjamb to get up, rest my bad leg on the toilet seat until I can get my clothes situated, flush, then go for the crutches again. I freaking hate being laid up and would like to moan and whine and complain in general but I won’t because my friend Nick has it much worse than I do and he doesn’t complain at all.

Amazing, state of the art hospital in Mesa, AZ
My new splint
Barrio and Gringo love watermelon
They also love brussel sprouts, which is what they are begging for.
Check this soap out on Instagram

A long-time friend of ours from PA recently messaged me and said his wife was making soaps and candles and to send my address so they could give me some to try. Check them out on IG, @Mountain_Elk_Soaps_and_Candles. I got black raspberry and vanilla, Blueberry Thyme, Oatmeal honey and Lemongrass. So far I have used the black raspberry and vanilla and it is wonderful soap. It smells so good and makes your skin really soft.

My friend Galina is an artist, you can see some of her work at DrawingBlueberry.com. We worked together at Horizon Bank. I will be forever grateful to that place for introducing me to some of my fav people. I sent Galina a photo of me that my friend Stan took at our last class reunion. Galina did a drawing of me and sent it to me. I LOVE it. Galina’s clients include: Salvatore Ferragamo, David Yurman, Neiman Marcus, Seattle Magazine, Kendra Scott, Nordstrom, Seattle Bride, The Bellevue Collection, JCrew. If you have a special event or a favorite photo, contact her for a drawing to display in your house.

Check out Galina’s work @ Drawingblueberry.com or on Instagram @drawingblueberry.

One last thing. I know I’ve commented about our love for Brussel Sprouts, well, I just found this recipe on a pinch of yum. Try it, you will love it. https://pinchofyum.com/house-favorite-brussels-sprouts.

I’ll check in again next month, hopefully, I will be walking and no longer doing knee stands on the toilet seat.

 

The week with the Haboob and Monsoon.

09/02/2020  Here it is September and it’s still over 100 degrees every damn day. I can get Max out in the morning and not again until after dinner, too darn hot for him.

The face I get when I say, “Max, want to go out?”

Barrio and Gringo on the other hand will go out and lay on the sidewalk around the pool, it must be 100, I can barely walk on it. I haven’t been in the pool since Sunday, no reason other than I’ve been busy doing nothing. I am planning on a pool day tomorrow, I have a book I want to finish. I picked up 6 books at Goodwill a few weeks ago, they are much easier to read than my tablet while sitting in the pool. The tablet gets so hot and the sun is so bright, no matter how I adjust the screen, it’s tough reading. Much cheaper if I drop the book in the pool and not the tablet, so there is that.

Last week I noticed my Cereus cactus had over 110 new buds on it. I stopped counting at that point. It’s finally blooming again. I wish they lasted longer than one night.

Covered with buds. I think there are a total of 3 bird nests in this thing. One is used by the creepy bird but there are no eggs.
She’s H U G E.
When we get home from walking, around 6:15 AM the cactus is a buzz with bees pollinating. There is a bee in this flower.
Another cactus in the ‘hood.
About an hour after the sun has risen in the sky the blooms close up. They last one night only.
Then they turn into these things and fall off and look like small piles of dog poop.

I keep count every morning of the # of blooms. This is the third time she’s bloomed this summer and this is the most flowers ever, so far we are at 102 with a lot of buds left to open.

I noticed this cactus flowering the other day, they lasted a few days.

I didn’t plant this, the previous owner has a few cactus in a terracotta pot.

The other day I was coming home and noticed the neighbors that recently moved in had these huge crates in their yard. My friend Paula was convinced there were wild animals and short necked giraffes in them. In less than a week they were emptied, broken down and gone.

I dug my underwater camera out and snapped a few photos of Barrio swimming. He spends more time in the pool than the other two do.

They are all such strong swimmers. Barrio is the only one of the 3 that is smart enough NOT to drink the water as he goes. The other 2 drink and then get out and gag and cough. They haven’t figured it out yet.
My swimmer boy, headed for the steps.

A few weeks ago I got an alert on my phone a dust storm was possible that evening, UGH, my first HABOOB. Just a few days prior I ran to the grocery, I was gone maybe 20 minutes. As I was pulling in the driveway I noticed my blue Agave looked weird. I parked the car and walked out to look again and the thing had exploded, like there was a bomb in the center and it detonated. I have never seen anything like it. I took some photos and posted in the Casa Grande FB pages. Several people had the same thing happen. I guess it’s the extreme heat, they just can’t take it. Seems weird because they are a desert plant.

This is what I came home to.
After pulling all the leaves off this is what the center looked like.
I put on long sleeves and got heavy gloves to clean this mess up.
This piece I couldn’t even lift, Laura was going to come help me with it.

Once I got notice of the dust storm coming I went out to move the trash can and my neighbor was out there cleaning up the rest of my plant. He got the heavy piece in his trash can and took my can down to the curb for morning pick-up. I noticed the sky and he said, yep, a HABOOB is coming.

The whole light area is sand and strong winds.
The house across the street was barely visible.

The wind was howling and stuff was blowing everywhere. I walked out back and had to run back in, you could not breathe the air was so thick. It lasted about 30 minutes. After it was over I went out to look at my sparkling clean pool. I almost cried. I keep this pool spotless, ALL the time.

The Baja shelf
UGH, the dirt.
Tree branches, leaves and dirt, so much dirt.
It was awful. The morning after the storm, I let the dogs out back when we were finished walking. Barrio jumped in the pool before I could stop him. I had to bathe him.
My patio. I cleaned the patio and all the concrete around the pool before Wayne tore the filter apart.
Front entryway, Bougainvillea leaves and I don’t even have a Bougainvillea.

My friend Paula lives three houses away and they used to have a pool business, so her husband Wayne came down the morning after and started helping me clean. The one thing I don’t know how to do is tear the filter apart to clean it. Unfortunately, Wayne was covering his son’s pool business while his son was on vacation and they were inundated with calls. He didn’t have time to do my pool until Friday morning so I vacuumed it in the morning, brushed the walls down and vacuumed it again in the afternoon, every day. Once the filters were clean on Friday, we vacuumed it again and by Sunday it was clean enough to swim in.

I decided to freeze some basil because I am tired of watering it every darn day. I washed the sand off all the leaves, dried them and used the food processor with some oilve oil. Once they were mushed up I put them in ince cube trays and froze them. I’m not sure it worked. I’m going to try another way with the basil that is still growing.

I have a ton.
They really didn’t freeze well, maybe not enough olive oil?
Once I saw the blueberries at the market, all I could think of was blueberry zucchini muffins. Naturally, I passed them out to the neighbors.
I found this scary thing on my front porch, turns out it’s a Sun Spider and is harmless. Now I know.
My yard was a mess after the HABOOB so I vacuumed it. I can’t believe how nicely it cleaned up.
Have you vacuumed your yard lately?
This is how Barrio sleeps next to me. Butt in my face, feet on my pillow.
A few days after the HABOOB, we had a monsoon. It was awesome, first real rain since I’ve been here. The green spaces in the hood were flooded for a few days. It allowed me to skip adding water to the pool for a day or two.

I got my hair seriously chopped off and it feels so good, I love it. I should have done this a long time ago, it’s so much easier with the pool and all, no more pony tails.

Tomorrow I am going to get the orthotic that I had made for my ankle. I’m hoping it reduces the pain in my ankle until I can get the surgery I need.

About 6 weeks ago I started having bad pains in my stomach, had no clue what it was but I was sure it would go away. After a week I was still in pain so I went to the Dr. She sent me for an Xray, that was fine so she had me get a CT scan and then she referred me to a gastroenterologist. When I saw him he checked me out and looked at the CT scan and said I had diverticulosis. Great. He said cut back on dairy, ugh, I live on cheese. He wanted me to get a colonoscopy since it had been 8 years + since I had one. I started the prep for the procedure on a Monday, so Sunday I ate a second dinner at 8PM, just because I am stupid enough to think that would help hold me over until Tuesday afternoon. From Sunday night until after the procedure I could eat nothing but clear broth and jello and was allowed to drink water until midnight Monday. On Monday afternoon I took the laxative pills, they did nothing. At 3 I started drinking the Golytle poison. I was to drink an 8 oz glass every 10-15 minutes. Yeah, right. I was also supposed to drink a lot of water. Once the poison kicked in I was running back and forth between the living room and the bathroom, dodging 3 seventy pound dogs that thought this was a new game. After a few near misses I decided to take a zero gravity chair from the patio into the bathroom and set up shop there. The dogs were so confused. I had my computer and some magazines and the poison plus my water. I was going to watch some movies but decided to Google colonoscopies. Oh boy, that was a mistake.

The dogs were so confused. Barrio slept beside me in the bathroom, the other 2 were in bed but kept checking in to see what was going on.

By 10 PM I still had about 5 glasses to drink but said screw it, I’m done. After all, I read so much about colonoscopies that I was now ready for the gastroenterologist final exam and was convinced I had cleansed myself thoroughly. I was only interrupted once after I got in bed for a speedy jaunt to the bathroom, after that I laid in bed worrying that maybe I didn’t drink enough poison and would have TO DO THIS OVER AGAIN.

The next morning I woke feeling nasty, hungry and thirsty as hell. I got up and walked all 3 dogs separately, came home and laid down again. My appointment was at 11. I showered and then my friend Laura came to get me, she was the designated driver. I don’t know what was going on at the Dr office but they didn’t take me until 1PM. I had not eaten since 8 PM Sunday night. I was famished. I was out of there by 2. I noticed on the paper they gave me that it says, “The quality of the bowel preparation was excellent.” NO SHIT. I already knew that.

At what point does a gastro Doc realize he’s made the wrong career choice? How many colonoscopies does he do before he says, “shit, I should have been a plastic surgeon?” I had the procedure done, all is well, but honestly, you could have tied a string around my ankles and flown me in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I’ve said this so many times, but will say it again, I don’t know what I would do without my dogs. Talk about being alone, I am totally alone. I go for 5-7 days without talking to another soul except for saying good morning to the people I see while walking the boys. These dogs are so in tune with my life and me with theirs. When I leave the house I tell them how long I’ll be gone, like they can tell time. I worry if I’m gone too long and will skip doing things just so I can get home to be with their slobbering barking faces. They give me a reason to get my butt out of bed before the sun comes up, they have contributed to me getting the exercise that I so badly needed. I love walking when it’s still dark out and the moon is full in the sky, it’s so quiet and usually about 10 degrees cooler than when the sun rises. We start and end our days together, my best friends.

I’m looking forward to October, Trace and his girlfriend are going to drive down to visit. They will stop and climb some mountains on the way, then come spend a week with me. Chance was going to come in October also but he tore his Achilles tendon and just had surgery on it. He will be laid up for 2 months, hopefully he’ll heal and still be able to come visit. I really am bummed I didn’t get to spend time with my granddaughters, I was so excited for it to happen. One of the reasons I wanted to move back to the states was to see the boys more, then Covid screwed up everything. Speaking of, oh, never mind.

Off to the foot doc, have a great September everyone.