Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When living in the north country, the coming of September meant the end of summer, the knowledge that the long months of dark and cold were on the way, and the return to my duties as a teacher. It was a bittersweet time. Now that I am retired and living in the Southwest, the change of seasons is welcomed!

I didn't plan to spend the summer in Arizona, but it worked out that way after returning from the family reunions with Mom's bout with Valley Fever. I love all the sunny days, but was getting tired of the hot afternoons. During these months, Arizonans often take a break from the heat by heading north to the higher elevations and cool temperatures.

Yesterday Cindy and I hauled our horses up to Skull Valley where she takes lessons and has her horse trained in reining. While there, one of the trainers rode Bart. I always like to watch a good rider on my horse....I get to see how he moves under saddle and how he responds to a different rider. Here are some pix on Monte, a quiet rider who did very well with Bart. I often wish Bart could have an owner who rode that well, and would let him do all he has the potential to do.

When Monte finished, I rode around in their beautiful arena and lounged around under their big shade trees. It is a beautiful facility, and was a fun day with horses and horse loving people.

And now the cooler temps are coming to the valley....the snowbirds will be returning....and this will be the Land of the Sunshine that visitors love to come to escape the winter cold and dark of the north. Welcome Autumn!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009


If you grew up in the 60's , as I did, you were challenged and motivated by John Kennedy to make a better America, and then devastated by his untimely death. You cheered for the Equal Rights passage, and you prayed and worked for an end to the Vietnam War. And throughout, you listened to the moving music of Peter, Paul and Mary. When I heard of the passing of Mary Travers yesterday from cancer, and watched a recording of "Blown in Wind", it brought back so many feelings and memories of those impressionable days. I'll always remember her as the willowy blond with the long, flowing hair and passionate voice.
My daughter is saddened this week after learning of the death of a friend's young husband who was killed fighting in the Afghanistan war. Their sons were born just days apart. It grieves her to think that this little boy will soon be taking his first steps, and will do it without the guiding hand and encouragement of his loving father. This is a story that is repeating itself throughout the country and world as wars continue to be how conflicts are resolved. It is just so, so sad. And as I read of her grief, the sweet and impassioned song of Mary Travers drifts through my mind and memories. "When will it ever end....."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Last year I took advantage of a great sale and some perks and traded in my 25 year old home for a new one in this 55+ park. I figured the old home would be needing a new roof soon, and with 25 year old air conditioner, furnace, and stove, and a sagging porch, I would be needing to spend some money that I didn't have for constant repairs. So, took advantage of a good deal and moved into my nice new home and felt I would be problem-free for many years to come. WRONG!
Within the first year of ownership, the heat pump (and AC!) went out twice, the hot water heater needed a new element, the new washer needed a part to allow hot water to enter, the ice maker in the refrigerator needed replacing , and the dishwasher needed repair. The hinge on the cabinet under the sink broke in half! I called for a replacement hinge, and was sent ones that didn't match. Then the first year warranties were done. Last month the above-the-stove-microwave went and repairs were $250 but a new microwave of that style was $500, so had to go for the repairs. No warranty. Then two weeks ago the slides holding the produce drawer in the refrigerator shattered.....both sides broke with little pieces of plastic falling to the bottom of the refrigerator.
Now I will share that I do not have teenagers or other children abusing my appliances, nor do I have a burly husband in it many times a day to browse! I have had both new and used homes over the past 40 years, and have seldom EVER needed repairs done on my appliances.....and now all this in the first 16 months!!!!!
I called GE to tell them how disappointed I was in the quality of their appliances. The reply was "That is too bad" and was offered to buy extended warranties on all the appliances for about $1000 a year! She said maybe I wouldn't have any more problems. I said if she was confident with that, would she offer to extend my first year warranty for another year. Nope.
I called the maker of my home, and got a prompt call from their customer service. She promised the next time their repair people were out this way they would see if they could bring me a matching cabinet hinge.....if they still had any of that style. I'm guessing they won't....again.
So now I am holding my breath for the next thing to go wrong....guess the only thing left is the dryer. So if you see me out hanging clothes in my carport.........
My mother had a 1945 Leonard refrigerator. As her family grew, the little frig became too small....and she replaced it with several newer ones in the next 50 years. And the last I heard, that little Leonard is still keeping someones beer cold in a lake cabin in northern Minnesota. certainly doesn't mean better! And I can hear my sister in Cameron, WI cheering that statement. She has Blue Pony Antiques and over the summer her newer refrigerator went out. Yup, she went out to the store and brought in a little 50 year old refrigerator and plugged it in.....and was able to keep her food cool until her husband brought home a large new refrigerator. Yup, that one has already gone out. She offered to sell me her antique refrigerator, but I have the feeling that she will be needing it again!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009


I just read the president's speech for the school children that will be given tomorrow (and what president who has spoken to the schools in the past had to pre-release his speech???). I think it is excellent, and has some similarities that I used to tell students in my classes.....the "Be All You Can Be" speech. I think it is wonderful that as busy as he is with all the problems on his shoulders, that he is taking time to encourage students on their first day of school. What on earth is political (or as some have said, Muslim!) about that!
I worry for our country when I hear of a so-called Christian minister in Phoenix yesterday preaching how he hates Obama, not just his politics, but the man, and prays that God will give him brain cancer like Ted Kennedy, so he will die, too. And in Fountain Hills, where people woke up today to find "KKK", and racist comments carved into their cars and spray painted on their homes. I had hoped and prayed that our country had come so much further than that by now.
I still get emails showing Obama with devil horns, and racist jokes. It is sickening. How can these so called "Christians" be so full of hate? Doesn't their Bible say that "God is Love".....yet they spew hate and racism right in their churches.
We elected a president who represents all of our country. He is part Black, part Irish, and part Asian. His religious background is Catholic, Muslim and Protestant. Guess that gives him a better understanding of the diversity of this country than most. Then I heard someone tell me yesterday that she did not want her granddaughter to hear the speech and that her granddaughters school textbooks sounded if President Obama wrote them since getting into office in January!
This country was founded in the belief that people were equal and everyone had a right to go as far as his skills and opportunities would take them. But we still seem to predicate that with "as long as HE is white, Protestant(that doesn't look right, but spell check says it is!) and male". We have come so far since our founding fathers signed that Declaration of Independence.....and yet, sadly, have so much further to go to make this a country for the people, by the people , and of ALL the people.
I hope the parents and the schools welcome our President taking time to address our students, and I hope they listen well.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I received an invitation from Harrah's in Laughlin to a slot tourniment, with entry and 3 nights of rooms included, with a possible win of $8000, and a win of at least $50 guaranteed. I thought it would be fun to get away for a weekend and invited some friends and family to join me there. My good friend, Pam, took me up on it, and she flew in to Vegas, where I picked her up, then we drove to Laughlin for a few days of good laughs and conversations before she flew out of Phoenix yesterday after spending a few hours checking out Wickenburg on the way through.

She was shocked to discover what record-breaking 115 degrees of sunny, dry air felt like, and I discovered that unlike the winters, Laughlin is NOT cooler than here in the summer! But I love being near the Colorado River, and they were having their float weekend, where people had tubes with umbrellas, decorations and coolersy floating down from the Davis Dam. It looked so fun! Harrahs has a beautiful sandy beach area, so with the water, sand and flowers, I pretended I was on a Caribbean beach, for a moment!

We had a fun time, especially on the community pig race game, but I didn't win the big one in the slot tourniment, and the slots were not kind, so we both ended up donating to the local economy. Guess someone has to pay for all those bright lights reflecting off the river!