Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fish, Fan, Friends and Happy

Apache Junction, AZ  High 81  Low 56

Hey Readers – Bill over at The Journey to our Dream has a countdown of 8 years to be a full timer. He has lots of great questions, some of which I can help him with, others I have no idea. He has some questions about solar and since we don’t have any solar I was hoping some of you might go on over to his blog and give him some good info. Thanks.

P1070847Jim has been catching lately. Things are looking up and we have filets in the freezer. These are bass.



fan1We got the parts for our Fantastic Fan and Jim got it all cleaned up and put back together. It looks like a new fan and it sure is nice to have a fan to move the air around again.

Monday we had a great lunch get together with blogger friends. Ray’s the only one who got a picture, so we’re all using his.


Gordon and Juanita are in the front of the picture. On the left is Rod, Jim, me, Susan (you can barely see her), Ray and Cindy.

Good friends, good food – doesn’t get much better than that.

After leaving the restaurant Jim and I headed for the doctor’s office in Mesa. Aunt Happy was meeting with the doctor who did the surgery on her pacemaker. I wanted to be there with her because she doesn’t have her hearing aids and I was afraid she might not hear everything the doctor said to her. Jim parked the truck, we got out and turned around and the bus from the rehab place pulled up right in front of us. Talk about great timing. But the doctor certainly didn’t have great timing. We waited for over an hour before we got in to see him.

Happy is healing very well and is getting stronger but she’s not ready to go home yet. She has accepted that now and is working hard to get her strength back.

We got home, had dinner, and then collapsed.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Got Apple Butter

Apache Junction, AZ  High 79  Low 51

First of all, I am behind on blog reading because blogger refuses to acknowledge that I follow any blogs. It’s driving me crazy.

Second, thank you for the very interesting comments on my last blog post.

Now for the important stuff – the apple butter.

On Friday we met up with Bob and Jo at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Phoenix. We have been following each other’s blogs for several years and we previously   tried to make plans to meet. They are staying out in Goodyear which is about 55 miles from AJ.


Back in December Bob and Jo came through Willcox, AZ and I asked them to check out Apple Annies. It used to be Stout’s which was famous for their apple pies. However, I loved their apple butter. It was so much like my Mom used to make. I grabbed a quart jar of it and Jim decided to taste it and we ended up with two jars.

When we stopped there last Spring we found that Stouts was out of business and Apple Annies was in the process of moving in. I was so sad.

P1070850Not only did Bob and Jo check out Apple Annies for me they brought me a jar of apple butter. Thank you so much guys.

I had toast with apple butter this morning and Jim and I both agree – Apple Annies is as good as Stouts. Now we’re trying to figure out when we’ll be through that area so we can pick up another jar or two.

We had a wonderful visit with Bob and Jo and I discovered that Jo and I have several things in common. Looking forward to spending some more good times with these folks.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pink Underwear Tour

Apache Junction, AZ  High 78  Low 54

JoeI’m sure many of you are familiar with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The media has named him  “America’s Toughest Sheriff.”  Before Joe became Sheriff of Maricopa County in 1993, he was a police officer in Washington, DC and Las Vegas.


In August, 1993, he started the nation’s largest Tent City for convicted inmates. Did you know you can tour parts of Tent City? You can and that is what we did this morning.

Dianna, Nikki, Ellie and I showed up for our 11:00 tour about 10:30. Since we were early, we stopped in to check out the stuff they sell. All proceeds go to the Youth Assistance Foundation.


Out in the parking lot was this impressive looking tank.


We checked in and waited in the waiting area for our tour guide.


Off we go.

P1070811Sheriff Joe has implemented lots of tough policies. He has banned smoking, coffee, movies, pornographic magazines and serves the cheapest meals in the U.S. Inmates only get fed twice a day to cut the labor costs of meal delivery. Many of you will be happy to know that the inmates are served a vegetarian diet. No meat is served. It’s not for health reasons but because of the cost savings. They also don’t get salt and pepper which saves taxpayers $20,000 a year.

The inmates do not get to see their visitors through the plexiglass and use the phone anymore. They have to use these video phones. This has cut way down on the contraband brought into the prison.

The windows on the right used to be the plexiglass ones.



He has also organized chain gangs which clean streets, paint over graffiti and bury the indigent in the country cemetery. One of the things the media fails to tell you is that this is a voluntary program offered to inmates who have gotten themselves in trouble and have done their time in solitary.

These are some of the examples of contraband they have found.


This is an AA book that has been modified.


A homemade tattoo tool.


This was a frame thingie made out of candy wrappers. It was taken from the inmate because it was hanging from their bunk and that is against the rules.


Lots of people criticize Sheriff Joe’s Tent City because of the hot desert summers. What the media fails to tell you is that the inmates have 24 hour access to the air conditioned day use room. 

The day room had lots of inmates and we were requested not to take any pictures of the inmates themselves. These are the lockers they are assigned when they come into the room if they want to take a shower and change clothes. The only time they can be nude is in the shower. Otherwise they have to at least have their boxers on.


This is their only TV. They are allowed to watch three stations – C-Span, the Food Network, and the Weather Channel. That’s it.


After visiting the Day Use area we headed out to the actual tent area.


One of the most famous programs Arpaio is known for is the pink underwear he makes all inmates wear. When inmates are processed into the jail their clothes are put directly into a big garbage bag. Many of them aren’t clean. So inmates were stealing the jail’s white boxers. Joe decided that red dye was the cheapest and had the underwear dyed pink for better inventory control. Once again it was to save the taxpayer’s money not to emasculate the inmates.


Sorry these are so blurry.



These are the actual tents, however, the prison population is down and this area was not being used currently.


They have a big fan in each tent which holds either 22 or 44 inmates.


It was a very interesting and informative tour and I’m really glad Dianna invited me to go with them.

P1070842Leaving the prison we saw all this smoke. On the news tonight they said it was a plumbing business that was completely destroyed. We had to take a detour off I-10 to get around the fire.

After the tour we met up with Connie (another retired IRS’er from Montana) at the Gecko Grill. It was really good.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jim and Aunt Happy Updates

Apache Junction, AZ  High 80  Low 51

Lets start off with really good news. We saw Jim’s oncologist yesterday and everything is stable. Amazing how wonderful that word can sound when it comes from a medical report. We will be going back in May for another scan and visit and if everything looks stable once again, we won’t have to go back for another scan until November.

Sit in it and they will come


We really haven’t been doing much. Jim went fishing a couple of times and is going again this afternoon. Not catching anything but he talked to one of the guides at Saguaro Lake and they aren’t catching either. Hopefully today will be better.

The motor in our Fantastic Fan decided to die. Talk about fantastic customer service. Jim called them to find out about getting parts to get it fixed. He had no idea what model it is but the woman he was talking to asked him a bunch of questions and was able to determine exactly what he needed. And the only charge we paid was for postage. Our fan is 10 years old but they sent the necessary parts at no cost. Knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. A great experience.


The only other news I have is about Aunt Happy who is not happy. She was moved to Mi Casa which is a rehab/physical therapy place. As many wonderful stories as I have about Aunt Happy she can be very demanding and everything is always all about her. She has always been this way but I really do feel sorry for the people trying to take care of her right now.

Mi Casa is definitely understaffed like most nursing homes and every bed in the place is full. Aunt Happy gets very upset if the nurse doesn’t respond to her call immediately. The food isn’t good enough, they don’t want to answer all her questions, they don’t give her enough physical therapy and the list goes on.

Yesterday when we went to see her, she decided that she wanted to go back to the hospital because they paid more attention to her. I tried to explain to her that she couldn’t go back to the hospital because she wasn’t sick. She made Mi Casa contact her doctor and found out that he was on vacation. She couldn’t believe that he went on vacation and wasn’t available for her. The doctor at Mi Casa told her that they weren’t going to put her back in the hospital; that she needed to do her physical therapy so she could get strong enough to go home. Both Jim and I were mentally exhausted by the time we left.

Sometimes getting old is really not fun to look forward to. I do know she likes us to visit so I’m glad we can do that much for her.

The only other pictures I’ve taken have been of the girls.

The tooth


The tongue


Lots of gray hair


And that’s it from here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Anxiety Prolonged

Apache Junction, AZ  High 77   Low 56

I totally forgot to tell you another Aunt Happy story. Remember when she discovered the lingerie at Kohl’s?  You can read the post here.

Guess what she wore to the hospital. Panties and camisole In black. The nurses all commented on how pretty it was and Happy was in her glory.

She is not going to be allowed to go home for a couple of weeks. Because she lives alone and not in assisted living, she is going to a physical rehab facility until she is strong enough to take care of herself again.

I also just found out that she may be 101 instead of 100. She was adopted as a baby and does not have a birth certificate. 100 years ago things like adoption were not discussed openly and throughout the years the information from her Mother and Dad changed as to her year of birth.

doxieYesterday was doctor appointments for Jim. The most important one was with the oncologist to get the results of his last cancer scan. However, we got a phone call early in the morning. Dr. Gordon was sick and they had to reschedule our appointment. So now I have to wait and worry until the 18th.

(No, our girls didn’t poop in the hallway. I just thought this was so cute.)

He did get his breathing test done and saw the pulmonologist. He has some decreased lung capacity which is considered normal since he had part of the lung removed. The doctor gave him a breathing exercise and also told him that the best thing he could do is to develop his stamina. So we will be working on that.

Played cribbage last night and I finally won. Been a really really long time since I’ve won so it felt kind of good.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Breakfast Battle

Apache Junction, AZ  High 70  Low 48

Sunrise this morning.


We got to the hospital about 7:30 this morning. Aunt Happy’s procedure was scheduled for 8:00. She was really scared but Jim and I were able to calm her down and we even had her laughing before they came to get her.

The changing of the battery only took about an hour and when we got back to her room to see her she was wide awake and she was hungry. She wanted French toast. The nurse, who was a real grump, told her the only thing they had was cereal or dry toast. Happy then told her she wanted bacon and eggs. The nurse told her she couldn’t have that. So Happy decided she was going to go to the cafeteria and have breakfast. By this time Jim and I were just cracking up. But the nurse never even smiled.

We finally convinced her she couldn’t get out of bed to go to the cafeteria. Took probably 20 to 30 minutes for the nurse to convince her she could have cereal. She settled for corn flakes and wanted half and half with them. Nope. Only milk. She was not happy. But it really was funny.

She also told the doctor that it would be sinful to send her home so she’s spending another night in the hospital. He told us that normally this procedure is an in-and-out one. But Happy usually does get her way (except for breakfast). So we’ll go break her out tomorrow some time.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Back in AJ

Apache Junction, AZ  High 68  Low  42

We’ve been back in AJ for a week now and for three of those days I had a major migraine. Another couple of days Jim had tests done. We’ll find out the results on Monday.

We went to see Aunt Happy and my sister and visited with lots of folks in the park.

When the girls play, Skittlez always stands up on Scooter’s back.


Got a call on Wednesday from Aunt Happy’s doctor. They need to replace the battery in her pacemaker so we took her to the hospital today. She will spend the night and have the procedure done in the morning. Hopefully she’ll be able to go home shortly after that.

A selfie


She doesn’t like to wear her hearing aids anymore and she cannot hear my voice. But she can understand Jim pretty good so he has to do most of the talking now. She also had a lot of trouble getting into and out of the pickup today which shows a decline from a few months ago. We are going to call a cab to take her home tomorrow and Jim will follow us in the truck.


Jim got his Tonto forest pass today and will get his fishing license shortly. The weather is going to be beautiful next week so guess where he is going to be.

The pictures of the girls are the only pictures I’ve taken this week.

And this is what my lap looks like most of the time.



Monday, February 3, 2014

Clean, Clean, Clean and Clean

Yuma, AZ  High 77  Low 48

P1070770I had one more historical stop I wanted to make before our time was up in Yuma. How many of you know who Robert G. Fowler was? He was born in 1883 and died in 1966.

On October 25, 1911, he touched down in Yuma at this site, becoming the first person to land an airplane in Arizona under its own power. This site is on 4th Avenue which is now a busy street on the I-8 Business loop.

He left Los Angeles on October 19 and earned his place in aviation history by completing the first west to east transcontinental flight when he reached San Pablo Beach, FL on February 17, 1912. He purchased his plane from Orville and Wilbur Wright who taught him to fly.


Before we left Yuma we had Benjamin’s come out to Pilot Knob and wash and wax our rig for us.


This is really a bargain in my book. They bring their own water and do a hand wax of McGuire’s wax for $99. The guys had a blow out on their way to our site and didn’t have a chance to have any lunch. We fixed them a couple of ham and cheese sandwiches which they really appreciated.


The rig looks so good and Jim doesn’t have to spend two weeks trying to get it done.

Friday morning we were ready to head out about 8:00. The wind was blowing but Toni and Doug came out to say goodbye to us. Thanks for being such great neighbors and we’ll see you next year.

Pilot Knob1

P1070776We are now back in Apache Junction and our first order of business were baths. For all of us. It felt so good to stand in that shower and just let the water run and not worry about the tanks filling up or running out of fresh water. Of course the girls were not as impressed. We boondocked for four weeks which is a record for us. Every year it gets easier.

We also had four huge loads of laundry and we now have clean clothes. Still have rugs to wash but we’re making progress.


Tomorrow we start with doctor appointments and Jim is really looking forward to finding time to go fishing.

One more sunset from the desert.



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Final Days in Yuma

Yuma, AZ  High 78  Low 50

Toni took this picture of me while we were in Algodones waiting for lunch. I don’t usually like my picture but Toni did a great job.


Jim and I  decided to check out the military museum at the Yuma Proving Ground. One problem, the museum was closed. So we scoped out the Imperial Dam area and also stopped to check out the tanks.

M4A3 Sherman Tank – manufactured April 1944 in Lima, Ohio. The holes in the body of the tank have had the edges ground flat which is known as European combat damage repairs. These repairs are a testimony to the fact that “Ol War Horse” is a WWII combat veteran.


How about this for a “toad”? It’s a M2A1 40MM towed anti-aircraft gun.


A M386 Launcher 762MM Rocket, Truck Mounted.


While we were gone, the girls just relaxed.



Went to dinner with my cousin John and his wife, Ellen. They have a house in Yuma which they are selling because they prefer to spend their winters in Tucson. Had a really great time.