Posts tagged Arizona

Not the most consistent writer, am I???!!!!!!

Heck, I almost forgot I even had this blog sitting out here, and there have been many times when I should have actually been documenting my thoughts and actions.

Guess I’ll see what comes from these fingers tonight, maybe it will be the impetus to write a bit more often in the coming months and years.  Then again, it may be such a ramble that maybe I would be better shutting it down forever! LOL  Only time will tell.

Actually, I probably wouldn’t have even started writing tonight, if it hadn’t been for my dear friend Linda dropping me a note to see what I’ve been up to and where I am heading next.  In a nutshell, I’m getting ready to leave AZ at the end of this month for cooler climes, as I am heading to MT to see my daughter graduate from college and visit with my son and his family before heading to Yellowstone National Park, WY to work this summer at the Mammoth General Store!

In the process of catching her up we made an amazing discovery…….  We’re getting older…….. LOL  See, we’ve known each other online for at least 12 or 13 years now, but have never had the chance to meet in person.  Someday that will change… Slowly but surely I am heading that way!  Just have to take time to smell the roses along the way.

So much has already changed in the years we have known each other; she’s retired, moved, become a mother-in-law and grandmother, all things that have happened to most of us in that same time span.  Myself, I’ve become a 2nd time divorced nomad! LOL  Much more than that really, but it is the easiest way to explain who I am becoming, assuming I can explain.  Those of you who have read my blog from start to finish already know what started me on the road to wherever; for those of you who haven’t read it all yet, feel free to stop now and catch up or just join me as I trip down memory lane.

Back when Linda and I first “met” everyone was living with the “Y2K” fever and fears.  What was going to become of the world as we had known it up to that time period?  Were computers going to shut down forever?  Would phones stop working, would electricity become a thing of the past? Were we going to lose touch with the rest of the globe as a result?  Or, was everything going to go forward as it had before?

For quilters online it became a chance to pull together, no matter where we lived.  To reach out to total strangers and share our hearts and our skills while we could.  Y2K quilts started a craze that has connected us forever.  Little pieces of fabrics traded around the world became our connecting thread in a time when uncertainty was the only certainty we knew.  Can you even imagine what 2000 little squares of fabric are like when you have no clue whether you will be able to reach out to those you have met thru the “Net” once the year 2000 became a reality?!  They were our tie to what had been, and our hopes for a safe and normal outcome once Jan.1st of that year had rolled into being.  As we all know the world as we knew it did not come to an end, thankfully.  The bonds that were forged online continued and many a friendship has grown from those earlier times.  Many of these friendships will always only be online, but thru luck and planning many of these people have actually met in person and become even “faster” friends. Others will meet as time permits and in many cases thru some mighty strange circumstances.

I had lived in a little town at the time called Thompson Falls, MT.  I was raising my daughter mostly alone at the time as her father was an over the road truck driver.  The computer became my connection to a world I thought I would never be able to see, but even that has changed with time.  I met, traded and chatted with many, many women and even a few men who relied on these machines to pull us outside of our current circumstances, whatever they were.

Okay, enough about what has drawn us together, intertwining our lives in ways we would never have thought possible.

At this moment I can honestly say my life truly changed yet again just over 2 years ago.  On March 16th, at 7 a.m., 2008 I left my “safe” job as night auditor at a motel in Kalispell, MT. and moved down the road to the home I now live in, my 19′ little house on wheels.  Those first weeks even though I was safely sitting in the driveway of my son and daughter-in-law’s house were a real experience!  Cold as only MT can be in the oddest of March’s.  The winds howled, the trailer rocked, the propane heater worked when it wanted and stopped when most needed though no one could find an explanation for it’s pulling tricks on me, and while I wondered whether I had a stupid mistake in forsaking my safe but most tiresome of lifestyles, I also knew that I had to try something different.  I was stuck in such a rut that I literally lived to work, sleep and go back to work.  That is not living, that is nothing more than existing.  Thank you, Lord, for my children!  Without them I would not be where I am today!  They are the ones who saw an opportunity for me to move out of the rut and see as much of this country as I possibly can while I am still young enough to enjoy the experiences.

And there most definitely have been a lot of them! And, God willing, there will be many more in the coming years!

I’ve lived and worked at the base of Mt. Shasta (California), and ridden a old renovated train across part of that mountain, and I’ve worked and wintered in AZ. two years in a row and ridden the new “light rail” train system between Mesa and Phoenix which only finally opened for business last winter!  Talk about history!  Old and new alike! I’ve stood on both rims of the Grand Canyon, crossed the Hoover Dam at least twice (I don’t usually “do” dams as they are way up in the air compared to being on level ground, to say nothing of having an awful lot of water on at least one side of them! LOL), revisited the Vermilion Cliffs (which I hadn’t seen in 20 plus years), I’ve walked the grounds of  Montezuma Castle cliff dwellings, and listened to exquisite Native American flute music piped into the area of the Casa Grande Ruins!!!  Very eery, but totally enchanting!!  I have revisited the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in S. Dakota, seen Crazy Horse’s Monument (for the first time), revisited the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and so much more I can’t even begin to recount!  All in a little more than 2 years time!  Blows me away to even think about it!!

And, of course, that now leads us back in a loop to where I am headed next.  Yellowstone Park via Zion National Park as I travel up thru UT.  Yellowstone and I have a history of our own.  It was the vacation spot we always went to when I was young.  Visiting the geysers, staring into the hot pools and watching the bison graze as well as checking out the bear “jams” as dad drove us from one spot to another and mom gave us little tidbits of information about the park.  It became a summer “retirement” location for my father to work in off and on as my children grew up, but most of all it represented a dream of mine.  I wanted to also work there one day myself!  As a child I saw students from all over the world working at various positions in the park as well as folks who had retired but wanted to work a bit to give pleasure to themselves and others at one of the most marvelous wonders this world offers for our enjoyment of Mother Nature.  As an adult I took my children to visit their grandfather there in “God’s Backyard” and hoped yet again that someday I too would be able to work there.  Well, come May 24th another of my dreams will come true, because that’s just what I am going to do, as I mentioned earlier!

What comes after that?  I have no clue.  I realized I was again letting myself be sucked into the rut of safety by coming back to the same location to work until just a few weeks ago.  Don’t misunderstand, I love this park in Mesa, most of all I love those people who come to winter in this park and could easily see myself coming back year after year and working myself into the ground to continue making sure their time was enjoyed to the fullest I could help make it, but that isn’t why I changed my lifestyle.  I changed it so I could also have time to explore and enjoy as much of this country as possible before I too have to someday get off the road and settle down for a well deserved retirement.  So, I turned in my notice and this summer will once again start looking for another location to work in next winter.  I’m thinking possibly southern New Mexico or the Gulf Coast of Texas!!!  Maybe even Louisiana if nothing appeals to me enough in this half of the country.  I’ve always wanted to see New Orleans!!!  LOL

Can you tell my foot has gotten “itchy” again?!

I’ll keep you posted as I see what is to come!

Oops!   Just realized I forgot a couple of things!  Some post back a ways I had said the kids sent me down here to AZ last fall with a bright, shiny red 1 ton diesel to pull my trailer with as they sold the van out from under me and were planning on going back on the road permanently themselves…. Well, they changed their plans after being out for 2 or 3 months in northern California and returned home.  Decided they liked being in one place where they could all spread out better till the boys are grown and gone, so they moved back up to Whitefish, MT right near Glacier National Park.  They have loved the area for many years, so I’m tickled they decided to go back.  At the same time, they also decided mom was right, as lovely as the diesel was for pulling my rig, it really was way more vehicle than I needed, especially in parking lots!  So, I now have a lovely white 2006 Nissan Titan with a 6 ft. truck bed and a full back seat to call my own!  May 1st will be her maiden voyage pulling the trailer and I don’t think she will mind one bit!  The truck is supposed to be able to pull 9500 lbs. but my trailer, even stuffed with my junk comes in under 4000 lbs.!  I’m really looking forward to taking to the road, can you tell???!!!!!!!!

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Living a life of “1sts”….

Yep, that just about says it all!

I haven’t updated my blog in ages, have I?

Well, that’s about to change!  Don’t say I haven’t warned you all!

The reason I’ve decided to stop and share a bit more of what I have been up to of late…..  Speaking to a dear friend for the 1st time in almost a year.  She called today and it came back to me that I really have been so busy making a new life for myself that I haven’t kept up with my past in some time.  So, thanks, Marilyn, for digging me out again!

Things have gone from stupendous to super superb as the past months have flown by. And, the months have flown!  I’ve been in Mesa over 4 months now, though it only seems like I arrived a few days ago.

The rv resort, Orangewood Shadows is gorgeous!  The orange, lemon and grapefruit trees are loaded with fruit, much of it just about ready for picking and enjoying. (Actually, these trees are such a delight to the eye that they remind me of beautifully decorated Christmas trees).  Some of the different types of oranges are already ripened (Navals being one of my most favorite of choices) and the lemons and both red and yellow grapefruit.  I’ve had plenty of all to eat as I wait for the Valencias on my tree to finish ripening next month. Not only have I enjoyed the fruits themselves, but I’ve been learning about those glorious fruits most of us have only found in supermarkets.   Honestly, I always bought oranges when they were on sale, so never bothered to learn which breeds were likeliest to not have seeds or to have the least seeds of the breeds available. Nor which were tastiest as an eating fruit versus those that make a delightful glass of fresh squeezed juice.  I’m learning though and totally thrilled by what I have learned!

I do have to tell you of my special Christmas gift……..  Yeah, it has to do with oranges so read on if you care to.

When I arrived here all of the trees had what looked to me to be ripe or almost ripe fruit on them, I was rather bummed when I learned how wrong I had been in this assumption as nothing had reached the stage where I could stop and pick my first “fresh from the tree” orange.  Well, patience is a virtue (so they tell me) and one that is usually rewarded with time.  So, I watched these trees and dreamed of when I would be able to experience what seems to me to be the ultimate delight of living in such an area as Arizona at this time of the year.  Okay, on with my story…..  About a week before Christmas I was again hopping out of my car by “my” orange tree when I realized that one of the oranges was looking different from all the rest I could see.  I don’t know how to describe it, but it was more orange looking than the rest, like it had put on a special glow to get my attention.  I went up and looked at it, compared it to the fruits around it and even gave it a gentle squeeze.  It had no green tint in its skin as the others did, it was brighter in color than all the rest…….Most of all, it “gave” a bit when I squeezed it.  Knowing the fruit was not to ripen any time soon I gave up my inspection and came into my little house on wheels for the night.  Each day leading up to Christmas Eve I did stop and visit that orange as it continued to draw my eye to it time and time again.  Each day I was sure that my desire to pick an orange outweighed what that orange was telling me, so I stepped away and just prayed I was not being totally silly with my belief that that orange was going to be a special gift to me soon.  I finally had to give that orange what to me was one last test on Christmas Eve day, shortly before sundown.  I went up to it (wouldn’t you know it was right at my eye level) and after telling that little orange what I had in mind, I reached out and gave a very gentle tug on it.  I had promised myself that if it didn’t come away easily I would leave it alone, but if it did come away it would be my Christmas orange the next day.  Well, I ate my orange for breakfast the next morning after having it almost fall off the tree into my hand.  I was so stunned that it had come away and so easily, that I just stood there in wonder for several minutes.  I was given the most precious (to myself anyway) of gifts for the most special day of the year, I was totally amazed and still am for that matter!  My 1st picked by myself orange!  What a treasure and what a blessing!  Since then not another orange has fully ripened on that tree, though in a month they should all be ready for picking, and I’ll be here waiting not only to enjoy them myself, but to share with many of the wondrous people I have come to know in this park.

Okay, as it says in the heading, I’m living a life of 1sts; the orange is just one of many I have experienced.  I made my 1st trip pulling my little house totally unescorted by family members this past fall when I moved from N. Calif. down here to Az.  I’ve spent my 1st winter ever in an area where I didn’t need a winter coat for even a few days of the season (when I was young I spent one winter in S. Calif. but still needed a warm coat as I lived near the ocean and the breezes got pretty cool), here I’ve only put on a light fleece jacket a couple of mornings.  I experienced my 1st Thanksgiving and my 1st Christmas totally away from my own flesh and blood, even if we didn’t have many chances to share holidays when we lived nearer each other.  I thoroughly loved having about a hundred and fifty friends to share those meals with as we have the holidays here in the park for all who care to join in on not only the eating, but also the cooking of our meals.

I’ve learned to be more comfortable speaking into a microphone (I host a coffee (another 1st) every Thursday morning to any of the residents who care to come for donuts, coffee and an update of events happening in the park each week).  When I first arrived I was tickled to see about 38 people come out to meet me, imagine my surprise when after the holidays were over I suddenly found myself facing over 200 people at one time! That was quite a 1st!!! LOL  I had been warned, and yes, the numbers attending had grown considerably as the park began filling, but the numbers doubled overnight with the 1st of the new year!  I had been told the mike was necessary when the hall began to fill.  Silly me, I really didn’t think the hall would ever fill enough that just raising my voice wouldn’t carry to everyone there!!!  Well, I have been using the mike, like it or not,  I am a person who talks with her hands and that darned thing kept running away from my face for a while when I lifted the hand holding it for whatever I was trying express.  I’ve learned to just walk around the room instead! LOL  No one knows where I’ll pop up next as I yak on that thing, but I would never be able to have them all hear me without my mechanical aide.

More 1sts…….  I’ve been to live dinner theatre shows, to theatre in the round (also live), I’ve driven the Apache Trail…….  Not planning on ever doing that again! LOL  Been there, done that!

For those of you who do not know of this particular road, I recommend not driving it if you are at all afraid of heights or mountainous gravel roads that seem to go on forever even when the signs assure you that its only 22 miles of gravel!  I will never drive that one again!  Oops, I believe I have said that more than once! LOL  Sorry about that, but that 1st was definitely a one time only for me!  I drove through the Superstition Mountains!  Not through them actually, but up them and down them and all around some of them!!!  What a trip!  Thinking it would only take 3 hours or so, imagine my shock to find myself and a new friend driving for more than 5 and a half hours, in a “loop” of a road, to still be more than an hour from Mesa by the time we had made that much of the trip!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted I made the trip as I got to visit the Goldfield Ghost Town and even stopped at Tortilla Flats for a bit of a break and I even got to see the Roosevelt Dam after a couple of hours driving……..But, I discovered there was nothing on the rest of that trip that would ever make me feel I had “missed out”  if I had never seen it that time!! LOL  Yoikes!!  What a “hairy” road that one was for a mini-van!   Dorothy from  the “Wizard of Oz” had it right though when she said her very famous line.  “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…….”  Even if home moves with me whenever I travel to another location to work!!!  I was most happy when I pulled into my driveway that night! LOL

I’ve experienced what is reputedly the largest flea market in this country that remains open nearly year round and for the most part is considered to be an outdoor market.  Housed in at least 4 huge Quonsets the sides of the buildings are open to the elements (though the folks who rent the spaces usually hang tarps to act like a back wall in their space and keep out the sun, or rain when we happen to get some).  In these buildings people come every weekend and set up shop selling whatever you could possibly want to buy.  I got my 1st Arizona Dirt shirt there (dyed with the orange dirt of this state), totally “cool” to know that the rich reddish orange dirt is so full of iron that it can stain a shirt the way it does.  I’ll keep that shirt for years just to remind myself of the vibrant colors to be seen wherever you look around here.

I’ve also gotten used to dealing with total strangers for setting up entertainers to come to this park on a weekly basis to give their own “live” shows to our residents.  We have seen all kinds of acts so far, with many more to come before the end of season, and even more to come as my office sets up dates for next year.  I can’t wait to see how those shows appeal as most of them are my own choices!  I quake in my sandals whenever I wonder if I have chosen right or whether my “take” on the people here is wrong.  Guess I’ll have my answers beginning this coming fall!!!

While I haven’t yet made my 1st trip to the Grand Canyon I will be going in the next couple of months…  Oh how I am looking forward to that day and that stupendous creation of nature!!!!!!!  Maybe I’ll even remember to take some pictures when I’m there, I usually forget the camera so far! LOL

I could go on and on, each day presents me with yet another 1st, but its’ getting late and I’ve either kept your attention too long or lost you completely………..Still I  had to share more of the wonders my new life has brought me!

I almost forgot the most important 1st…………  My little house on wheels celebrated its 1st birthday in the family this month!  This time last year my DS and DDIL found this little snug beauty for me in Butte, Mt. !!  Okay, I won’t have lived in her for a a full year till the middle of March but that’s just around the corner time-wise! LOL

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Almost There!!!!!!!!

I arrived in Wickenburg, AZ. yesterday afternoon and found a most delightful rv park called Desert Cypress off the highway tucked in behind a McDonald’s’ and Subway on a little street called Jack Burden Rd.  If I hadn’t stopped and asked a couple places for directions (its in the city limits so they can’t post a sign along the road to give you a heads up) I would have probably given up looking for it and gone on down the road and then cussed for being so tired and not having a place to stay without going the extra 2 hours or so into Mesa.  Having gotten to the right place I also chose to stay here 2 nights as I am not expected in Mesa until tomorrow and I needed the rest.  This beautiful little park is a real haven (I normally can’t nap during the day for any reason, but just woke from a 2 hour nap in the middle of the afternoon! LOL). If ever you find yourself near it, go ahead and check them out.  One thing to remember though, it is a 55+ park, so if you are younger than that you may not be so lucky as I was.  It never hurts to ask though if you are just looking for an overnight parking space, does it?  Jim and Jeri may be able to help you out, though this also is a normal “snowbird” park, so should fill up again here in the next few weeks.  Luckily I am ahead of the crowd, so I got a nice little pull-thru once again.  Pull-thru sites are few and far between in most parks I’ve noticed in some of the rv park directories when it comes to areas like Arizona.  Not having to unhitch or back in for short layovers is a real blessing in my eyes and once more I did get lucky in that respect.  My space is right next to the office and just a short walk down the street from the washroom.  Handy for me as I didn’t want to mess with more than the electric hook-ups.  Tomorrow in Mesa will be soon enough for attaching to all the comforts of home again.

Being I’m still tired from such a quick trip, I won’t go into the details of all I saw along the way, or tips I have learned from others for making my travels more enjoyable yet.  I need to be able to think before I try writing all of that! LOL  So, check back in a few days, okay?  I will write, I promise.

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Since it has been a long, long time since I wrote….

It really is time for an update or two.

My summer in McCloud has been fantastic!  The gas and fuel prices made for some empty rv spaces we really didn’t want here (as has been the case all across the tourism industry), but most all weekends have been seeing us near full capacity.  The season is winding down, with Labor Day weekend just a few days ahead of us, to be followed by my departure from the park on Sept. 15th.  I sure am going to miss this beautiful location and my new “family”.  All the people I have worked with are dear to my heart in so many ways.  I’m going to miss them, though I just may be back here again next summer!  Tricia, the sweetest manager I have ever worked for has already said I have got to come back should I not find something else that draws me more towards the east coast.  It’s going to have to be a mighty tempting offer for me not to consider coming back, let me tell you! LOL

Being at the base of Mt. Shasta has been a real delight.  Every time I look at the mountain I see something new and different.  When I first arrived Mt. Shasta was still covered in snow, but as the summer has passed the snow has receded to show the glacier near her top.  Fortunately, no fire has struck on the mountain this season, though the whole northern part of California has suffered through some extreme blazes.  We had some smoke here in the park on occasion, but nothing compared to the surrounding areas.  Redding (only about 1 hr. and 10 minutes away) really has been slammed with smoke, and fires came mighty close to that city, but they are recovering and time will only help them more.  Many folks from that area came to stay with us for a few days just to breathe cleaner air and we were not only glad for their company, but happy they could see further than the end of their street and inhale purer air for a while.

Because of the fires I haven’t done all the exploring I would have liked to do up here, but it just wasn’t smart to go into unknown to me territory to see the sights.  They will still be there next year or at some future time for me to investigate.

So, what else happened around here while I’ve been in the area?  Well, Danielle, one of my co-workers had her baby girl about 2 and half months ago.  The sweetest doll you have ever seen!  Her name is Riley and she has the chubbiest baby cheeks you have ever seen.  And a head of hair that many people would love to have! LOL  That girl is never going to have to worry about thin or limp hair!  I sure hope her mommy brings here by the park again one day before I leave so I can hold her once more before I take off.  Babies smell so sweet and special, don’t they?

We’ve had a number of wedding parties, group gatherings and family reunions here in the park, so helping make sure everyone had their needs met was a big part of our job, most times fun to help make happen, at others rather trying, but experiences I will treasure all the same.

I did make a couple of trips to Redding and even a few up to Yreka (only 45 minutes away and they have the closest Wal-Mart which explains most my trips, I’m sure), but I have to say the most memorable day I spent happened when Tricia and I went to a Lavender Farm!  Yep, it was a lovely day.  We stood in 10 acres of lavender fields looking over a glorious valley and listened to the bees humming in the blossoms.  I’ll have to see if I can find the link to their site for you, so hang on a couple of minutes while I make a side trip in my computer! LOL  http://www.mtshastalavenderfarms.com Take a look and drool!  Tricia got a few pix, I’ll see if I can download them tomorrow or the next day, I’ve already yakked long enough for now.  And, I still haven’t told you all where I am heading next, have I!!???!!!!!!!

Well, you gals on my quilt list know, since I did drop in there a few days back to let you know, but you are still the only ones besides my family and friends here in the park.

So, without further ado…………….

I am heading for Mesa, AZ.  No snow for me this winter! LOL  I’ll be working at http://www.orangewoodshadows.com as the Activities Director and I am so excited not only about the location, but the job itself.  While I have organized lots of activities over the years for many organizations, I have never had a position like this one!  And, truthfully, I would never have even considered trying if it hadn’t been for Tricia suggesting it.  She opened up a whole new field for me when she said she thought it would be perfect for me.  Well, time will tell since I will be down there for 7 months giving it a try.  And, I’ve already been told by the manager of that park that I would be welcome to come back next winter, if I should choose to do so.  The man hasn’t done more than read my resume and talked to me a couple of times on the phone, so we will see if he still feels that way after the season.  It looks to me that everyone in the park enjoys playing in their spare time, so I have a feeling I am going to have a grand time there making even more new friends and family, cause I love to “play”, too! LOL  And just think, I am going to be only 3 hours from the Grand Canyon!  I’ve flown over it and driven within about 50 miles of it, but I have never had the chance to actually stand on the Rim and say I am at the Grand Canyon, but I will do it some time this fall!

Well, I am really getting off here now.  McCloud has a small library which I found just a day or so after arriving last April and I just had to go get a couple more books to help pass my evening hours these last weeks before heading south.  I had thought I would only return the books I had checked out a few weeks ago and say good-bye to the librarian today, but those books just called to me once more, so I’m going to go read a bit before hitting the pillows.

Pictures coming soon!!!

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