Thursday, August 25, 2016

Look Who Turned 100 Today!

The Nationals Parks Service!

If by chance you have the opportunity, you can get in FREE to any park from today till August 28th. If you can't get there now, plan a trip for the future. You won't regret it!

Just go to FindYourPark,com!

Our Journey Through LIFE, has had the opportunity to visit a small number of them. We plan to visit MANY more. I just can't wait! I get so excited each time I work on one of our road trips. They always seem to include a visit to one or more.

Last year while on our Road Trip to Orcas I was able to capture so many wonderful photos of that trip. 2,601 to be exact! Traveling over 4200 miles in 13 days took us through some awesome scenery,

Back in May I found out that the National Parks Service does a photo contest. The winners photos become the Annual Federal Recreational Lands Pass. How cool is that!

One is allowed to enter 2 photos per week until December 31, 2016. The photo's must be taken between January  2014 through December 31, 2016. My plan was to submit 2 a week, but we already know how crazy June and July were. With things settling down some, I finally had the opportunity to add 2 more today. Once accepted, usually it takes up to 24 hours, I will share their links as well. I took the time these last few days to work on and prepare a fare number more photos, storing them in their own folder until I can submit them each week. Hopefully that will improve the process for me.

Here are the ones I already submitted back in May. Please, if you would, can you take the time to vote and like my photos. Compared to others, mine are really pretty good. At least I think they are.


Bryce Canyon, Sunrise Point

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Something to Chirp About!

Besides hummingbirds, we have had our fare share of others birds visiting as well. Some stay around for awhile, others are just stopping by for a brief pit stop as they head south or north depending on the time of year.

This guy showed up way back in 2006.

Have no idea where he came from. He actually hung around for quite some time. I even ran up to the store for food. We thought if he/she hangs out longer, we should think about a cage. It never came to that as he was gone the next day.

I had a roadrunner hanging out for a brief time as well. Actually, it was during our time of grief that it's brief visit lifted our spirits. My MIL loved roadrunners. In 2002, after her death and while my FIL was here with us on hospice, one kept walking back and forth along the brick wall outside the window. He talked with it as if it was mom. During a time like this, so many experiences and feelings arise. When you have a strong spirituality, being open to what God does, is so remarkable. I believe she did have something to do with it's visit and the timing was perfect to help keep his spirits up and ours. 

After his death we didn't see it for a while. About a year later, while finishing a big brick project I had been working on, on the front porch, the next morning after completing it and it was out there checking out the work I had done. Walking all over it, hopping back and forth. It soothed my soul. You see, during the job, which was quite a chore for me to do, I would pray to God about her son. He was dealing with their deaths his way, and this was how I dealt with my grief, doing projects and gardening. To have her spirit come in the form of that roadrunner worked. The peace I felt will always be remembered. 

Then after our anniversary in 2009, which had been a rough one for other reasons, here it was again. It made itself known that it was here and brought me out of a fog that had blanketed our journey for a while. This time it hung out above and around the trailer we had bought a few years earlier. I guess it had been hanging out there for a while as a friend who was using our wood shop saw it often. I guess she was watching over him too. Finally I got to have my time with it, and once again I saw it as that sign of answered prayers and I knew what I needed to do as I prepared us for the upcoming races. I could be making more out of it then some can believe, but at that time, with the prayers being said, I felt they were answered by its appearance! 

This is what it created just a few days later....

An Easter Egg Hunt at Phoenix International Raceway! Memories made that weekend were so precious and dear to my heart. I learned to not focus on all the problems that had been hanging over our heads. I learned to give them up to the one who can handle them for us, allowing me to see just what He had wanted me too, the joy of a family strong and full of love.

I also learned later that the roadrunners only live about 7-8 years, which could be why we haven't seen it since. It came during a time we needed it's presence to help us through some really bumpy roads, that had us winding up a steep mountain as well. Grief is a journey all its own. 

Little did I know then that the angels would continue to bring me more birds to brighten my days. I just LOVE "God Moments"! From a sunrise, to a sunset, from the birds and the flowers that grow, to all that is Gods. It just fills my soul. 

Then, once again out of the blue in the fall of 2014 I had another visitor. Looking back, I know why, Aggie was going to be leaving me soon..

I heard a screeching that had me go out to see just where it was. Hawks make a very distinct sound. I finally found it perched on a pole overlooking the funny farm. For a number of months it was its place of choice to perch while gazing at the field. With all the baby chicks from the free range chickens and turkeys, that got out of control, (remember when a turkey laid her eggs in the "Grand's" bike area) there was always an abundant of them, making their food supply more like a fast food restaurant. Nature has it own grocery store here. Unless they are domesticated, cooped and corralled, it is just part of the normal food chain and there is no corporation that has control over it. Just God!

Now you know why this guy just LOVES hanging out around here!

Then a few months later...

There were two! I watched them fly and dance in the sky almost every day. It was incredible. I think they made a family, however I never did find their nest.  

I still hear them every now and then but have yet to capture them for a while. Either I see them and had no camera available, or they were flying to far away to be able to capture them. I have a great zoom on my camera but it does have it's limits. I hope I get to capture them again, they are just so beautiful.

Now this year I have had some birds that I don't know exactly who they are. I try to capture them as best I can. You just can't get a bird to sit still! Unless of course you have a feeder! I am getting better at it though.

This guy or gal thinks it's a hummingbird? I have to startle it for it to leave the feeder because its weight weighs the feeder to one side and spills all the nectar. Why doesn't it eat from the other feeder in the yard. I guess maybe I should add more. With the assortment pre-made feeders for all type of birds, hanging a couple more wouldn't be a problem. Before I know it I'll be buying the feed in bulk!

Then there is this guy or gal. I wonder, could it be one of the hawks babies or a relative? What do baby hawks look like? Google helped some. I'm just not positive though. The beak doesn't curl down. So I don't know what kind of bird it is.

Since I am not an ornithologist, and I might be having a hard time identifying most of them, one thing is certain, I am not giving up.

While searching the internet to find out what kind they were, I did find and ordered a few books.

They should help.

I also found a poster
Unfortunately I also have plenty of pigeons and doves. Honestly, sometimes I can't tell them apart. The pigeons and doves have taken over a couple of the palm trees. It's like a condo for them. Pigeons on the left, doves on the right. Hahaha! Humor is a must. Getting someone out here to give me a quote to trim or remove, has even been a joke. I'm sure it has to do with the weather so I'll be patient till the weather cools.

They are my dirty birds! They make a MESS! Plus the doves drop ticks and I am tired of dealing with them too! These guys just hang out everywhere though!

What's a girl to do?
I do not shoot to hurt or kill, just to scare them off. I don't know how I would feel if I actually hit one! It's not some high powered air rifle though. I doubt the BB's would really kill them, but still, I don't even want to find out.

With the mess aside, it is a blessing to be able to enjoy the peacefull mornings, while experiencing all these flying beauties. Their songs are magnificent. Reading about their habits have been interesting. Who'd of thunk I would become a bird watcher in my golden years! This could be fun!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Another "2 WEEKS"!

It could possibly be even longer then that with the track record they have going right now!.

I wonder if all their jobs are this unorganized or the lack of knowledge on how to make it right?

Finally the owner of the company came out and he was able to adjust things better, and I will just have to live with the now smaller gap between the stove and counters.

It's better then the half inch gap that was there. I walked away when they couldn't decide how to fix the problem. "Every time I walk in here and see that gap, I am going to think of your company and not in a good way!" A half hour later, after much banging, they figured it out and got it as good as they could. I can't help but say, "I told you so!" Had you removed the counter and cabinets separately like they should have been, this wouldn't be an issue now. I was shocked to hear him ask how the cabinets had been removed. We had to explain to him how they did it. Then for him to say how impressed he was that they moved this huge bank of cabinets and granite as a whole, I couldn't help but add, "Had they done it right from the beginning we wouldn't be dealing with these issues we are, yet again." It also confused me because the foreman made comments a few times that he was in contact with him. Seems that wasn't the case.

The owner left saying the guys would be back that afternoon to finish the grouting. Of course the foreman calls a couple hours later that they had to order the grout and would be Friday before they will get back. Really? "We bought it at Home Depot, it was a standard color?" His response was that they have changed shades and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I finally said fine and ended the call. I will not be able to believe what he says from now on. And guess what? He never showed up Friday, nor did he call that he wasn't. No one has called about the flooring either.

I can tell the foreman really doesn't like dealing with me. His perception of my home being a trailer, set the stage a long time ago. His comment, "We do it like this all the time!" set an example of the type work he does. There is nothing trailer or manufactured about my home. It's permanently set and has no axles or wheels under it. There is not a single piece of fake wood or wall paper panels in the entire house.

I believe I have been very polite and VERY patient!  We told them from the get go this was a custom kitchen. Our insurance covers replacing what was here with the same, not builder grade stuff. Because it is a manufactured home that we remodeled, their system generates replacements based on manufacturers suggestion, not what was actually here. Whoever did their estimate messed up. A computer program can't see what I have. So now they are dragging their feet as they complain about billable hours and extra material cost. I am so very sorry their profit margin took a hit on this job.

Oh, to add more frustration on top of aggravation, we are still waiting for the flooring that hasn't even been ordered! I picked it out almost 2 weeks ago. As of yesterday, it still hasn't been ordered because it hasn't been paid for. I wonder, should I just go in and pay for the materials and this company can adjust my bill. It might save me money since the flooring I picked out was $2.69sq and the foreman told me it was $3.09sq, I tried to correct him but he wouldn't budge. The estimate from the insurance company has it at the $3.09 as well. As I see it I am under budget, not over as he claims. I think we need to visit the flooring company today. I can't wait to see how that goes!

Maybe, if we are lucky, it will just be another "2 Weeks"! We'll see.

Bumps are getting bumpier on "Our Journey Through LIFE!"

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tovrea Castle

Monday was my annual appointment in Phoenix.

Afterwards we had some time to do a little exploring.

I read an article from azcentral that there are 3 castles in the Phoenix area, I immediately plugged their information into my phone just waiting for the opportunity to arise.

The 3 castles are The Tovrea Castle, The Coperhaven Castle, and The Mystery Castle.

We had the time to at least find one of them this time.

Tovrea Castle was built by Alessio Carraro and his son starting in 1928 and finishing it in 1930. His vision was to develop the desert with a resort and a subdivision called Carraro Heights. Unfortunately trying something like this during the depression, financial stresses caused the sale of the hotel and a portion of the property in 1931 to E.A. Tovrea, who then died less then a year later. E.A. wife lived in the castle until her death in 1969.

We weren't able to take the tour as it is only open Fri/Sat/Sun, September through June, and closed July/August. Just our luck, right. It is highly recommended that you book a reservation well in advance as they will sell out and "walk-in" tours "might be" considered based on availability.

Maybe we'll try again, or just look for the others next time up. We just never know where Our Journey Through LIFE will take us next, but we sure do enjoy the journey and love being surprised by were we end up sometimes.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Next Up - Autumn!

With no reconstruction happening today, 
I was able to get a few things accomplished by noon!

Outside watering doesn't take long these days 
since most of my flowers fried when it hit 115+ degrees.

With the cabinets in place and no workers, 
it gave me the perfect opportunity to clean out the draws.
Before the family arrived I had cleaned out a few cabinets already with the
intention to continue with the draws after they had left.

Well, we all know what happened that caused a snag in that, don't we!

Now was the perfect time to finally go through and throw out 
or place aside for donation items not needed anymore. 
Like baby spoons and forks since all the "Grand's" are now in school!
The youngest reminds me often he's a BIG boy now!
I can't believe the last three "Grand's" started Kindergarten this year, 
while the oldest "Grand" started High School. 
Three others started Jr. High, and are on the crest of being 13.

These years are going by faster and faster!

How do I slow them down?

I can't!

It's just how it works. 

With school starting means that Autumn is also just round the corner.

With all my dishes spread out on the table, 
it inspired me to search for some creative tablescape ideas for Autumn.

I have been following a blog for many years that has always been my "go to" place.

Of course she sets the perfect table, but on Thursdays, 
she does a link up that has oh so many more table ideas to explore. 
A girl can get lost in cyber dreams from all those 
wonderful tables with all those beautiful dishes. 

I just LOVE dishes!

It was time to end my day dreaming search break 
before I got to far off of other goals for today, that also includes Autumn.

While at Home Depot I had picked up some more seeds. 
I knew I needed to get the pumpkins started by the end of July to have pumpkins by Halloween.

I just wasn't planning on a flood though.

 I started some seeds just before the family arrived, but the birds that make my yard sing, also steal seeds!I have already started my second set of seeds, this time in small containers and will transfer them into the garden when they are bigger and when it's not so hot outside to make sure they don't die on me. Right now I have them in my window sill till they germinate. If all goes well, I should have a good assortment of pumpkins, white and orange, to small and large, even some bumpy ones. Each child at the Boo Bash will hopefully get to take home a pumpkin. 
They can paint it or carve it if they choose too as well.

I've had pumpkins for prizes before. I've used them for ring toss games and of course for the photo shoot area. Now is a good of time as any to try to grow some again creating the "GRAND" Pumpkin Patch. Two years ago I got about a dozen but because I had planted them to early, the pumpkins didn't make it to Halloween. I learned I could have brought them into the house
where it was cooler and they would have.

A mistake I will not make again. 

Let's hope the seeds germinating create the pumpkin patch I hope it does.
Each morning I get another patch of the garden ready for them.

With that under control, I began making my list.

The Boo Bash is just around the corner.

Less then 80 days to be exact!

As fast as time has been moving, it will be here before we know it. 

Time to check out which games need updated or repaired.
What supplies need replenished.
Pull out the ones that need repainted.
And most important, a plan, a layout of how it should come together.

Since vacation has been delayed, yes, you read that correctly. 
I will have some time to fill, making the perfect distraction.

When a commercial job lands in your lap, not one - but two,
you understand and make the best of it.


I'm disappointed! Who wouldn't be.

We've been trying to get away all summer. One day was not enough!

I'm really trying, I really am!

But sometimes it just overwhelms me. 

I'm praying very hard, that I continue to trust through this next bump in the road! 
The summer has had a few of them.

After all, bumps have always been a part of Our Journey Through LIFE!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Decisions, Decisions?

When I got home from my doctors appointment, this is what I came home too!

Now the hold up is with the flooring. The sooner I choose a flooring, the sooner it will be completed.

The company I got the floor from the first time said the flooring I had, had been discontinued. The sample I saw over the weekend was from the same collection the reconstruction foreman thought matched the most. However, once at the house it seemed dark and had more gray through it then I liked. The longer I kept it down, and if I had no other options, I was willing to consider it.

After my appointment I planned to swing by another flooring company to see what they had. I had the laborers cut me a piece of the old floor to help me compare. Silly me, I left it at home, along with my wallet. My daughter was so sweet and brought my wallet to the doctors office for me, but at that time I still hadn't thought about the flooring until I was driving away from his office. I decided I would still go, at the least I would get a pretty good idea of what was available. Besides, I felt I knew what I was looking for.

What do you think? Can you see the new sample laying on top of my old flooring?

The sample on the left is the one I found today. The sample on the right was the one the foreman brought me. The sample on the right has a 13in slate tile, while the one on the left has a 10in slate tile. I'm kind of liking the bigger squares?

The sample on the left is the one I found today. My old flooring sample is on the right.

Pretty close, right!

How awesome is that!

Let's just say it was a "God Moment!"

I'm so glad I went ahead and stopped!

So for the next 24 hours I get to decide which one I want:

  1. Go with the new flooring with the gray and bigger tiles? Bold choice?
  2. Stay with the flooring I already had? Safe choice?

If you could please help I would surely appreciate it. Just leave a suggestion in the comments.



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