Thursday, April 16, 2015

Camping at Lost Dutchman

Here's the photo story of our trip to Lost Dutchman.  Lots of photos of the Superstitions. The high point in the photo above isThe Flatiron, and I can't figure out exactly why it is called that.

There is a four-mile mountain biking trail that follows along the foot of the mountains.  I went on it and found it wasn't super difficult. Two or three times the trail took a hard turn and I put a foot down to steady myself, but it was negotiable even though it was all uphill.  Here I am starting the trail, looking up at the mountain.

The moment I realized I was heading back downhill again was the moment when I realized my front tire was flat. Here I am just before I made that discovery.

That was a big disappointment because a) I wanted to complete the trail and b) I was looking ahead to doing it again the next day.  Maybe next time - with new tube and tire.  The thorns that punctured the inner tube when Brad was riding have clearly also punctured the tire - and are probably still there, ergo causing this flat.

I walked back to our campsite, about a mile away...

The link here, The Pictorial View, goes to the Google Story, created by them.  It lacks the complimentary verbal story, but nonetheless, it was easy to grab the URL and show the photos this way. Click the link to view.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Every Trail - a Guide to the Canyons et al

I’m on EveryTrail: Map Your Trips, Find local hikes
0 trips
see my profile
Just joined this web group to be able to discover more.  Time will tell.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

day one on the road

It probably isn't really Day One since we drove to Owatonna last night, checking in about 11 PM, but we were up early today, at 8 AM, and Dana took the wheel.  For 300+ miles.
I snapped this photo not long after we left Owatonna, perhaps bout 9 AM.  The sun rays were bleaching through but you can see the clouds in the sky through the sun roof.  Nothing of significance happened other than Dana driving for so many miles.  And she's a very good driver, holding the steering wheel properly, as taught in Drivers Ed.

Tonight we are in Andover, near Wichita, and the thunderstorms are wafting through the area, although they said it would be minimal here in this area, thank goodness.  Tomorrow we leave at 8 AM again, with Albuquerque the destination.

parting - sweet sorrow

Maybe I've been jaded by all the nonsense that goes with preparing for the move including all the arrangements, cleaning things out, over-seeing (or not) the packing process, and getting bored while waiting for the van to be loaded.  Maybe I've let myself get out of touch or something, I don't know.

When the van pulled up all we could do was point the driver in the right direction and watch as they began loading.  They were just "things" having nothing to do with what we had put together here.
As much as we've enjoyed the decorating and building we have done, by the time the house was empty yesterday I was just kind of numb.  I had wondered how it would feel to walk into an empty great room and remember all the great times we had there, the sound system, looking out the high windows at the sky and the ducks flying by, and even watching the shade sails flap violently in a thunderstorm.

When the moment came there was nothing.  I could only feel the satisfaction that it was empty, the job was done, and we were ready to move on.  I sat on the aggregate bench by the pond for a while to listen to it splash; given the very light winds the bubbling was not overtaken by the highway noise, so there was some satisfaction to that.

But the net net is that I guess I was jaded.

We had an enjoyable dinner with the family at the Phoenix.  Then it was time to head south, and we all walked out the door.  I said goodbye to Leigh, and I still didn't get it, that this was a major separation for them, until I hugged Jana and realized she was crying just like Leigh had been.  And the reality was setting in.

For years they had been able to pop in at will, Leigh especially, since she was working right in town, but Jana because she might just buzz through.  Going forward they will really have to go out of their way to make that happen, and I h ope they do.  Jana already mentioned coming to STV in August, when the pool will hopefully be in the ground and operational.  But the easy access?  Gone forever.  Bittersweet.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

moving is liberating - for now

I've been asked how you could make such a decision as a 1700-mile move so quickly as we did.  In fact, from the evening we stopped to look at model homes out of curiosity to the day we sent in a down payment only 10 days had passed, which is pretty marvelous.  Especially when we had never spent any length of time in Arizona, Lonna not at all, me only for occasional conventions.

On closer analysis . . .   It's not like we were not totally unaware of the changing real estate market which allowed us to buy low in AZ (before the market started moving up) and sell high in WI (where we caught the first up-tick).  That was a huge motivator, but there were other things.

We found we enjoyed the AZ geology and unique culture where we vacationed, the friendliness of several people that we met, the inexpensive labor for repairing the things that would need it, the fact that there was NO SNOW falling on us unlike back home, and a forced consideration of down-sizing.  Add them all together and we were motivated.

Yes we considered the distance from the kids, but with a return home annually for a month or two, and their flights to a southern climate vacation location with free lodging, we think that can be handled.  Plus a Google Hangout or two for sure.  I've awakened early in the morning with some regrets of not being there to watch the two youngest boys grow but have also realized that watching from a distance probably means we'll appreciate the change far more than we would by seeing them regularly.

The most apprehensive moments occur at 3 or 4 in the morning, when one cannot think logically.  Each time those night thoughts have popped up, I have tried to tell myself it makes most sense to wait until daylight to consider what is on the mind because there is always far more clarity when the sun is shining.  The key moment was probably two mornings before we looked at our house again and made the decision.

At 430 AM I woke and trembled at the thought of having to make DECISIONS about all the junk we had, and how difficult that would be.  At 7 AM I woke and thought, "How liberating this will be to get rid of this stuff, and how important it is to make a decision finally."  We had to - since we were downsizing at the rate of about 1,000 square feet, and that's a lot.  But did we need all the stuff that's been moving out the door since we got home?  Not at all.

Even more motivation occurred when my sister Kathy and I were cleaning out some of Dad's stuff on the day of his funeral.  I was looking at many pieces and thinking "Why would I want this?"  And of course the answer was "You don't."  So it got tossed.  At one point I picked up a snapshot of her son Tim and said "Would you like this?"  She said "No, I have my own."  That was a HUGE response, because it clarified for me the unimportance of so many things we have carefully saved.

That was liberating as we started our own clean-out.  I didn't particularly like going through Dad's stuff and I thought of my own kids having to go through mine, which I felt to be a huge imposition, and I started tossing.  Along the way we have found things kept but forgotten for sure.  Yesterday we located a plastic bag in the garage rafters with two bedspreads - of no use because they're for twin beds.  I have found many driver bits for use with electric screwdrivers, drills, or even handheld tools.  They were in about 4 different places, none of them used because the ones I like are in the case with the drill.  I just had forgotten about them.  How many mini screwdriver sets do you need?  I think I had 3 of them, and use only one.

When the kids said "no" to several items they wound up with neighbors, Good Will, or a church garage sale.  For sure SOMEBODY is going to be happy about it.

Still, the days have come when the feelings emerge, though it wasn't really until this past week.  On Mother's Day all the girls were here and loaded up a lot of stuff, what they referred to as the Big Grab.  They had by then set up a girls day out for this past Friday, which I thought was a terrific way for them to be together.  The plan was to have lunch downtown, stroll around to shop, and enjoy each other.  That was the original plan, to which they added Big Grab Two!

And, oh, did we clean out.  Brad was here overnight on Thursday with a twelve-foot trailer that we loaded in the space available behind his ATV.  Patio furniture, coolers, a ladder, bike rack, and all kinds of stuff filled in the space.  He joked about driving to the nearest garage sale that morning and telling everybody what a terrific garage sale HE had just come from.  That afternoon we loaded Jana's Escape and Leigh's Traverse.  Then a neighbor came over to pick up more remnants for his church garage sale starting the next day - and we loaded his minivan.

The first photo below shows our back yard right after we put up the arbor.  We loved what we had done: colorful, artsy, functional.  You can see the pot with flowers above the waterfall (click the photo to view larger) and the blue pot in the background beyond the swinging bench.  Lonna hung geraniums in the open spaces to add more color.  We had several pieces of petrified wood that her Dad had collected scattered about in the rock garden, providing additional character.  The shade sails were a big relief from the sun.

On a quiet afternoon or evening there was nothing more satisfying or enjoyable than sitting there just listening - to the birds, kids screaming  with joy from a neighbor's pool, the water bubbling as it fell into our pond.  We loved it.

"Now" it's all gone, as you can see in the second photo.  No pots, no flowers, just empty spaces.  On Friday we had a rainy, cloudy day, so the current photo taken this morning does not do justice to the dreary look that I saw when they had cleaned out.  That was an emotional moment and I don't know if I could have taken a photo.  I've been comforted over the years by the life we've built, the things we've purchased, received, and saved, whether in the back yard or in the basement, and here I am ripping that all up, losing the comfort from "things."  I need to look forward to the alternative in San Tan Valley, where the landscaping guy had worked last week and sent pictures early Friday morning.  Then.  Now.  Tomorrow.  One must be ready for each.

Then -

Now -

And San Tan Valley this week -
When the girls arrived on Friday I suddenly realized Jana was walking around taking pictures - of the rooms where we'd been living for 25 years.  And when they returned from their shopping afternoon we all sat in the Great Room and chatted.  It's a moment of pride, joy, and love.  

I don't know how many times over the years it's been just the five of us together, whether eating a regular meal, vacationing in Mazatlan, celebrating at Thanksgiving, or opening our Christmas gifts when we lived in Platteville, Clarence, Aledo, or rural Hudson.

Friday was probably the very last time that just the five of us would ever be together in the same room.  We've been so blessed, and feel so proud that the girls have made their own successful lives.  Tears of pride and happiness run down my face.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

life transitions

There it is - May 2, 2013 in the northern climate.  No wonder a person wants to move to Arizona.

After all the commitments have been made, the thought occurred that we've been in the same place for 30 years, so no wonder I was ready to move on.  Other than the eight years in LaPorte, home has averaged maybe 2 years at best, as if we're nomads, and we just got stuck here in Hudson 31 years ago.

There was never any real desire to move until 6 weeks ago.  I told the family my plan was to die here and they'd have to clean things out, knowing that we'd accumulated way too much stuff just by failure to clean house from time to time.  But that's the reality of things.  I wonder how often I have purchased and used a tube of caulk, for example, and though I used less than a quarter of it, the tube was set aside with the understanding that at some point in the next six months I very likely would need it again.  Then I'd forget that I had it.  I've found a lot of that stuff in the last two weeks.

Or a toy used by the first grandchild was set aside after he grew out of it, and by the time any other grandchild would want to use it, that article, too, is hidden somewhere that I've forgotten about.  Thus the last few weeks have been a time of re-discovery, shall we say.

Honestly, the mental process of "choosing to dump or take" has been much easier to undertake after going through Dad's stuff following his funeral.  The good news for him was that he had been downsizing and eliminating over a period of years and there wasn't all that much stuff left, but he had a tendency to keep odds and ends that by themselves had absolutely no value.  At one point he was in his room at the nursing home just adamant that Kathy needed to bring to him a plastic case with a variety of tools - in case he needed "to fix something."  Ignoring, of course, that the maintenance operation at LRH would take care of it for him.

I looked at that case as we did our "distribution" and didn't particularly see anything of value in it for me at least, as important as it was for him.  The entire experience led me to understand that at some point in time my own family would be picking through my stuff and they, too, would wonder why the heck I was keeping what I did.  So our garbage can is filling with stuff that is not worthy of being dropped off at Good Will.

Now the drill has been changing to the prep and setup of 3542 E Velasco St.  So I have:
  • made contact with SRP, electric utilities, to put it in our name - so we can be drip-watering the existing plants and two orange trees;
  • hooked up the water service at Diversified Water, again for the drip-watering;
  • confirmed a setup date for the beginning of waste pickup through Right Away Disposal;
  • solicited three bids for Homeowners Insurance and selected Farmers in Apache Junction;
  • purchased a new refrigerator at the local Home Depot for delivery on or about June 12;
  • contacted three different pool companies for a proposal for the back yard;
  • called Rural/Metro Fire Department for enrolling in their fire protection service at $521/year for a service not provided by a local municipality;
  • set up a move with DirecTV (with the NFL Package for free - woo-hoo go Packers!);
  • connected with CenturyLink for internet service that apparently is DSL but is at a discount since it's bundled with DirecTV;
  • tried to set up an account online with the Laredo Ranch HomeOwners Association, with no success since they don't show us as the owners yet, I suppose
  • selected National Van Lines for the move, at $2,300 less than either competitor;
  • made hotel arrangements all the way to STV for the road trip down June 8 - 11;
  • received permission from Mr Wookey to stay at his place during the transition from arrival in STV to the arrival of the National Van;
  • and purchased the return flight for Dana and Marni, our driver companions.

I think when we moved to Laurel Avenue we just showed up one day in 1985, at least that's all I can recall.

This morning on a talk show I heard an author/journalist commenting on the book written by Sheryl Sandberg, the whiz kid COO at Facebook. Sandberg speaks in her book of professional struggles and attainments of women.  The journalist was reflecting on the differences between the two of them, and then said, "You know, her book is all about work, and I wonder if she's ever given any thought that she's going to die."

Maybe that was in the back of my head when I was seized by this move, this transition in life.  For all the nonsense that goes into the process, I have been of a notion that there must be something better than where I am today, that living here is NOT all that attractive to me, especially as we see less and less of the family as they reach out, there's no work life that carries me around the country as I did for several years, and Hudson still does not seem like "home" to me. For whatever reason, that's the way it is.

I'm going to die, like everyone else, the family will need to clean out what's left at some point, and I just prefer that it not be when I am in my 90s.  I have thought 87 would be good, since I hopefully would retain most of my faculties until that time, but like a fellow said to me once, "You may reconsider that when you're 85."

Humor aside, there's no time like the present to make one last fling, and Arizona is it.  We have a lot of remodeling to do, but with a little imagination you can see a pool in the photo below, and there will never be any snow here, at least for very long, compared to the photo above.  What's not to like?
Think pool - right about here, after the curb and sidewalk are gone and the trees have been moved
Probably won't be an Olympic-sized pool.  :(  Hope Dana likes it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

thoughtful comments about Curtis Leidal

In an email from Richard Holstad -

Much time has gone by already since your Dad’s passing and I am still thinking of the best words to express my sympathy.
So many deaths recently.
In your Dad’s case, one can say the usual “His struggles are over” or “He had a long wonderful life” or “He is in a better place now” ……  on and on.

But we are talking about Curtis now.  To me, Curtis is one of those people who is supposed to “always be there”.
I have to force myself to adjust my thinking to the fact that he is not there.
I mentioned to you a time or two that Luella and Curtis ALWAYS sent me a Christmas card, whether I deserved it or not.
No matter how much trouble I was in; whatever I had done; Curtis and Luella were always there and they always greeted me with the same “So nice to see Richard” attitude.
Sometimes I thought I should throw my hat in the room first to see if it “drew any fire”.  Of course nothing never did draw fire from them; they always had outstretched arms.

Your Father-Son relationship with Curtis was most likely interspersed with the necessary discipline, not 100% warm and fuzzy times as I am describing.

When I lost my dad, it wasn’t very long before it occurred to me that he was the only one who would recall some football play the he thought was “just outstanding”, or a track meet that should have been 0.1 seconds longer because I was gaining on the lead runner so fast the only problem was the track was just a “smidgen” too short ….. a couple more strides and I wound have had the lead.   
Nobody tells me those stories anymore because no one else was watching the way he was.

Curtis and Luella did make me feel important though.  That was something I will remember and pass along about them with my memories of them ….. “They made me feel important”.

My sympathies go out to you and your family, for sure.  You will get condolences from far and wide from folks from whom you otherwise infrequently have contact.
I consider myself one of those uncommonly available targets for you, Lee.  By that I mean we both know we can communicate electronically with one another within seconds or minutes time on the internet.

Take care of yourself, Lee.
My sympathies to you and best wishes,