Summer Travel Map

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas To All!!!

As we complete 2011, we continue to be thankful for our family and friends, and our ability to both travel and spend the winters in the sunny Southwest.  This past year was a  whirlwind of activity with graduations, rallies, an exciting RV caravan, an overdue visit to Canada, and travel coast-to-coast in the USA.  We had the good fortune to have some great family visits, and we had the chance to see old friends and make new ones along the way.  
Take a look at some of our photo memories from 2011 and here's looking forward to a wonderful 2012!

PS: We're also thankful for our ability to communicate so effectively and quickly with everyone.  With Facebook and Twitter, email and text messages, Foursquare and LinkedIn, our travel Blog, Skype and Facetime and even the odd HeyTell, we're able to stay in touch like never before.  While we know it's not everyone's "thing", we hope that you'll bear with us as we convert a lot of our communications away from "snail mail" to electronic formats.  In addition to saving a tree (OK, maybe just a branch), we're hopeful that we'll be more timely and frequent with our communications in the future.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

December 10, 2011
Peoria, AZ

It's been a busy couple of weeks, and it's been feeling like winter as well.

I managed to migrate my eBay selling processes to the Mac and put a bunch of used items out there.  Roughly half off this batch sold, bringing in enough to pay for the upgrades to the "spare" bathroom.  It's more work than you might expect, since each item has to be photographed and weighed, and the proper text describing the item (especially any flaws) created.  This batch went through pretty smoothly, with a minimum of questions and post-sale issues.  While I was doing the packing and shipping, I managed to send out most of the Christmas gifts at the same time.  We only have a couple of things that need to go out next week.

We've continued to eat well and I've been whittling away at the short list of "should have drunk this last year" wines. We've made some "old favorites" (my Lamb RagĂș, Geri's Pasta Sauce") and tried some new recipes as well.  Geri made a nice Spicy Shrimp with Orchiette, and I had fun with Pork Chops Roasted over Cauliflower.  We did a couple of braises, of Short Ribs and Brisket, but neither was a "keeper".

Today, I wrapped up two coats of paint on the bathroom.  When it was completed, Geri and I looked at each other and said "crap".  Yes, that's what the walls look like.  Literally.  Yuck.  As it turns out, "what we have here is a failure to communicate".  I was worried about the wall color being too dark and thought we'd do contrasting colors on opposing walls, but didn't push the issue.  Geri didn't like the color right in the store, but we both let Paint Guy do the computer color matching and off we went.  Fortunately, we're smart enough to call a halt at this point and regroup -- while everything is all taped off and changing the color isn't a huge issue.  It may take a couple of coats of Kilz before we can go lighter, but that's relatively easy right now.  Once we have the colors right, we'll finalize the tile selection and wrap this project up.  Hopefully, we'll have selected a light fixture by then.

I did take time out this morning to watch the lunar eclipse.  OK, I actually got up early, oh-dark-thirty, and was outside pre-dawn.  Chilly, but a nice show.  I was able to get at least one halfway decent picture before the whole thing set behind a the neighbor's roofline.  The eclipse was visible here just as the moon was setting and the sun was rising, diminishing some of the visual flair, but it was still worth an early morning.

Finally, we're pretty glad we decided to put up the Christmas decorations early, right after Thanksgiving.  Within a few days, it turned cold and windy, and we actually had some rain.  I think we're almost up to 4" for the year at this point!  Anyway, we've use the same decoration scheme as the past several years inside and out.  Each year, we threaten to toss the whole thing and start over, but we like what we have and know how to get things up quickly.  One person's efficiency is another's tradition, I suppose.  Geri did a great job with the tree, as always, and she arranged for some upgrades to the outside lights with a series of LED "snowflakes".  All in all, we're definitely getting in the holiday spirit!