Monday, January 23, 2017

Not Ready to Give Up a Good Thing Just Yet


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We are still at McDowell Mountain Park near Fountain Hills, AZ. Our departure date was to be January 20, when we planned to meet up with the Lazy Daze group in Quartzsite. As the time was drawing nearer we weren’t really feeling ready to move on, and it just so happened some friends here had to leave early due to family issues, and were planning to cancel their reservations. Since they had sites reserved until March 10, we decided to go ahead and grab their sites as they cancelled them, which is what we did.

So now we can spend more time biking, hiking, and volunteering at Fearless Kitty. The first two and a half months here have flown by, so I’m sure our next six weeks will, also.
Jim, Ellen, and Alex, resting up before we continue our bike ride. The old cover over the picnic table collapsed during one of the several rain/wind storms we’ve experienced.

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Since my last post we’ve met some more Lazy Daze owners, Rebecca from Washington traveling with her kids Joshua and Matthew (thanks for the movie tickets!), and Steve and Adele from Colorado.

Last week we were happy to see none other than Box Canyon Mark and Bobbie show up on their way to the Tucson area. They arrived on a beautiful sunny and warm day, the only nice day of their stay. We were able to do one fun bike ride with them, and the rest of the time had to resort to cold hikes under cloudy skies. 

Biker Bobbie.

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Cowboys Mark and Jim taking a break from the saddle.

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I led Mark and Bobbie on an 8.5 mile “death march” through a wash on a very windy day. Mark was a bit concerned I got us lost as the sun went down behind the McDowell Mountains. Since we have felt the same way on many of the hikes they’ve taken us on, it was fun to have the tables turned for a change.

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Lots of rain over the weekend meant lots of snow for the surrounding mountains.

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On another cold and rainy day Mark and Bobbie joined us at the movies in Scottsdale where we met up with Alex and Ellen. We all really liked Hidden Figures, the story of the African-American women mathematicians who worked for NASA in the 60s. Conveniently, McFate Brewery was just up the road, so we had pizza and beer after. The Gingerbread Stout and Orange Brownsicle on nitro were really good.

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Other than that we’ve had a few more doctor appointments. Jim had a crown fall off and can attest that it’s not easy finding a dentist office open on a Friday afternoon, but finally found one in Mesa who cemented it back on. He also saw an ophthalmologist in Mesa who specializes in corneal transplants, which Jim may need one day due to his hereditary Fuch’s dystrophy. He was having some blurred vision in one eye, and Dr. McKee thought it wasn’t due to the Fuch’s but to dry eyes. Since he is already using hot compresses and Restasis drops daily, which have helped, he suggested trying punctal plugs, tiny plugs that block the tears from draining down into the tear ducts. They seem to be making a big difference, but they dissolve within three to six months and have to be replaced. When he goes back in March he will ask about permanent plugs so he won’t have to find an eye doctor to put them in again after we leave here.

We filled in for quite a few extra shifts at Fearless Kitty over the past month. With the move to the new larger building there are extra rooms to care for, and they didn’t have time to train new volunteers during the move. Things have settled down now and we worked yesterday morning for the first time in a week.

Jim the cat whisperer.

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I’m sure there have been other noteworthy things we’ve done lately but since I haven’t been taking many photos I can’t remember what they are. Clearly I need to go back to carrying the camera and blogging more often.

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Hope our friends in Quartzite are having a good time, and that the weather there is better than what it’s been here. We’re ready for some sun and 70s!

Addendum: Six hours later and I remembered something else that happened last week. I had my 62nd birthday, one I was actually excited about for a change since I am now eligible for Social Security and the Senior Pass, which is still $10. Have to get one soon before the price increase.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Felines, Friends, and Physicians

 

P1050855                                            Another great site at McDowell Mountain

Things have been busy these last couple weeks of 2016, taking care of annual and other medical appointments, hanging with friends, hiking and biking, and spending time at Fearless Kitty Rescue.

Some of the feathered and furry friends at our site.

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First for the medical. Jim had his annual visits with the hematologist and dermatologist, and an emergency visit to the ophthalmologist. He started having flashing lights and floaters in the left eye, but luckily it was just another vitreous detachment, which he has had before. Nothing to be done, just another one of those aging issues.

When I saw the primary care PA last week she said I was overdue for a colonoscopy. I really didn’t want to get it done, but they scheduled me for February, after we plan to leave here. I called to cancel and see if they had an earlier appointment, and the only thing available before February was for December 23. Since my call took place on the 20th, I decided to just get it over with. Of course the prep was unpleasant, but I survived and had the procedure with no problems, other than the doctor found a very small (2 mm) polyp. Much to my surprise, the biopsy report showed it was precancerous, and I am to have a repeat colonoscopy in three years. I am certainly glad I didn’t put this off.

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Friends Alex and Ellen have been over several times for bike riding. Maikel and Susan stayed for 2 weeks, their first time here. And we met Tim and Florence, Lazy Daze owners from California who were here last week. On Christmas Day, after we returned from our shift at Fearless Kitty, we all took a 7 mile hike on the Scenic trail, a great way to spend the day. Barely 50 degrees outside and snow from the previous day on the mountains.

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DSC06914                                    Maikel, Susan, Ellen, Tim, Jim, Alex, and Florence

DSC06917                                                         Same except I’m in this one

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We’ve been spending quite a bit of time at Fearless Kitty Rescue, helping them get moved into the new building, and filling in for some extra shifts caring for the cats. What an amazing feat to move a rescue over the week of the Christmas/New Year holiday, all with just the help of volunteers.

20161224_103232                                                                         Shasta, one of our favorites

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We don’t normally go out on New Year’s Eve, but today we are stopping to do laundry on our way to meet friends at the movies this afternoon. Plan to stop for a drink on the way home, but will be back long before the serious New Years Eve party crowd gets on the road.

Wishing a great 2017 to our friends, family, and blog readers! See you next year…

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Passing Time

 

Hard to believe another couple of weeks have passed here at McDowell Mountain Park. Been keeping busy with biking and Fearless Kitty. We helped set up for the annual Holiday Pet Festival in Scottsdale on the 3rd, spent a day taking down shelves in the old building and rearranging things in the new building in preparation for the tile being installed this week. That along with our usual days of caring for the cats. Here are just a few of the cuties awaiting a new home. And no, that new home won’t be ours!

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It was time to move sites again last week. Our last site had a great view of sunset over the McDowell Mountains.

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Our current site gives us a view of sunrise over Arizona’s Four Peaks and the Mazatzal Mountain Range.

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And our very own coyote.

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I put up two hummingbird feeders and they are getting lots of use. I’ve been trying to get some good photos of their color, but maybe one in fifty turns out halfway decent. This beautiful Anna’s hummingbird was sitting in the tree where one of the feeders is hanging. He just sat there on a branch and let me take as many shots as I wanted. They are gorgeous when the sunlight catches them just right.

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Couldn’t leave out the finches.

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Friends Alex and Ellen left the park but moved nearby to Eagle View RV Park for a couple months to work on some RV projects with their friend Scott. They are close enough that we’ve been by their place for happy hour, and they’ve come and ridden bikes with us a couple times.

We should know better than to hang around people like them who have big class As, since that got us looking at RVs again. Took a drive to Surprise to check out a 32’ Tiffin, which we both really liked. The owners were very nice and let us drive it. I only went round and round the huge (4,000 unit!) storage lot, but Jim drove down Bell Road and on the 101 for several miles. There is way too much traffic in that part of town so he was not very comfortable, although it is only two feet longer (and taller) and one inch wider than our Lazy Daze. Sitting up so high with that giant windshield was a bit intimidating for the first time. As usual, we will probably do nothing, but it’s something we would enjoy having as we sit for awhile in one place, and I imagine we could get used to driving it eventually.

We would really miss our big windows, though, especially since we got them de-fogged.

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One day we were eating lunch and noticed a car with bicycles on the back slowly going by our site. They stopped and Jim walked out to see if it was someone we knew. Turned out to be Mike and Deb, from Trekking With The Bs. They are staying at an RV park in Mesa, as she is still working part time, but they’ll be here at McDowell for a few days in January before we leave. Look forward to visiting more with them then.

Last Thursday we took a drive to Mesa to do laundry, and then met Debbie for lunch at San Tan Brewery in Chandler, which is halfway between McDowell and Casa Grande, where she is staying. Always fun to catch up, and we even took a couple photos for her mom!

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Jim went back to the Mayo Clinic for blood tests, which were all normal. He and Alex are the same age, and they were complaining about lack of stamina and being tired. Their standing joke now is “Remember, you’re not 66 any more”. Ellen and I, who are both soon to be 62, joked that we should have married younger men. Smile

If I don’t get around to posting again before Christmas. hope everyone enjoys the holiday season, no matter how you celebrate it!

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Week of Thanksgiving

 

DSC06861                                                             Lovely Saguaro Lake

When I last posted a week ago, Jim was taking the Subaru in to get the dash air vent problem fixed after our airbag recall. The GPS died on his way, so he just assumed it was the GPS. After getting the other problem fixed, the old GPS we keep in the car just in case also quit working. Too much of a coincidence, which is when he realized the 12 volt charger wasn’t working, due to the fact that the cigarette lighter outlet was dead. Unfortunately he was already home by then, so he had to drive the 20 miles back to the dealer after lunch to get that little problem resolved. If anyone out there got the Takata airbag recall, remember to check everything on the dash to be sure they have things reconnected correctly before you leave the dealer. Lesson learned.

On Tuesday Jim was back in Scottsdale for his annual check with the family practitioner. Blood tests still to come. Our two weeks were up so we had to move sites and dump tanks. Most of the sites here at McDowell Mountain are very nice, but this one is exceptionally so.

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The next day we met up with Ron and Barbara for a hike on the Butcher Jones trail at Saguaro Lake. We’ve been there once before but forgot how pretty it is.

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The happy hikers, Barbara, Ron, and Jim.

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Thanksgiving was spent doing a long bike ride with Alex and Ellen, then having dinner with the volunteers and some other couples who spend much of the winter here at McDowell Mountain.

More biking on Friday and Saturday, and also back to Fearless Kitty to take care of cats. It’s nice having Jim’s help this year, as we can spend more time playing an socializing with cats rather than cleaning. This is Jim’s favorite so far, Shadi, a very petite and affectionate older lady.

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Yesterday it turned cold and windy, so instead of biking, we did a 7 mile hike on the Scenic trail with Alex and Ellen. Just got back before it started sprinkling.

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Ellen thinks all that green is an orange grove.

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Alex and Jim.

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And the highlight of our week was receiving this email on Friday from Simply Cats in Boise:

“Wyoming (aka Elvis) was adopted by a really nice family who fell in love with his sweet personality, and loved how calm and affectionate he was with their young son. Hurray for shy Wyoming!”

So maybe we did raise them right after all! I am just ecstatic that he finally has a new home, and I truly hope they live happily ever after.

While coming back from the restroom a few minutes ago I saw a man walking a black and white cat on a leash. I spoke to him, and his reply was, looks just like Sophie, doesn’t he? It was blog reader Lee, from Colorado, and we had a pleasant chat about cats and RVing. Always nice to be recognized!