Grand Canyon: It’s So BIG!


Our first view of the Grand Canyon, at least the first view in the last about 40 years, was breathtaking. We went to the South Rim and had planned to go to Desert View first then make our way back to the more central Visitor’s Center. But when we drove from Tusayan into the park itself, and started to get glimpses of the actual canyon, we couldn’t resist pulling over for a good, long look.

It’s really, really big.

I was moved seeing it spread out before us. Tears sprang to my eyes as we stood and looked out over this amazing, vibrant sight. The size of it is so impressive.


When we’d checked into our RV campsite the evening before, I was a little disheartened by the dreariness. We had road on three sides of us, the back of a strip mall in one direction and no picnic table. A path from the shops to the camp ground went right by our vehicle/home. The staff person in the office was grumpy and unwelcoming.

Rem wisely pointed out we would be spending our time at the Grand Canyon and only needed to be back at the RV campsite to sleep. So it was really wonderful to get our first view of the canyon.

We climbed back into the RV and continued on Desert View to the Desert View Watchtower.


Each overlook provided new views of this magnificent chasm.



Here you can see the Desert View Watchtower in the distance.



Signs provided information about the canyon.



We made sure all the critters had a chance to see from the window of the RV.



Throughout the day, the sunlight and shadows on the canyon walls and rock formations changed.




Looking over to people at another observation point gives some sense of the scale.


I asked Rem to stay where we were and I walked to this point so he could take my picture.


He also took these next two photos:


This is our shadow-selfie (we’re waving).


There’s just too much Grand Canyon to fit in one post.

Thanks for your visit – please stop by again when I have my next post with more Grand Canyon pictures.






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Rosy Red Sedona


The scenery on the drive into Sedona, AZ from Highway 40 on 89A is just stunning.  It is just under 30 miles from the turnoff to Sedona. We arrived in the late afternoon which meant the lighting really enhanced the landscape.  The road descends several thousand feet in elevation as it twists and turns into canyons with incredible views. It included some of the narrowest sections of road that we drove on this trip and branches thwacked the mirrors of the RV a few times, making us both jump.


When you reach Upper Sedona, nearly all the buildings are the same warm pinkish color as the surrounding rock formations. The impression is of the whole town formed of the same rocks.

Rem and I were both feeling some mild symptoms from the altitude and heat and were happy to get settled into Rancho Sedona RV Park.  At one point, I think I counted 6 other Cruise America RV’s in the park, including our neighbors one day, a couple from Holland who’d just been to the Grand Canyon, next on our itinerary.


Traveling in an RV is a good way to meet other travelers, at least more so than when we’ve stayed in motels in the past. Over the course of our trip we met folks from Canada, Ireland, England, Holland, Italy, France, Israel, China, Japan, and Australia. We also met plenty of American travelers, some from close by, like a couple from Phoenix that we chatted with in Sedona and others from Tennessee, New York, Iowa and Kentucky.

On an early morning walk I explored the beautiful grounds of the Sedona Creative Life Center. The glass spire is part of the chapel.


This local kitty was very vocal and greeted me with meows, reminding me of our neighbor’s cat at home.



I fantasized about spending a few hours in their garden crafting but our time was too short and we had other things to see and do.


We strolled around Upper Sedona on a very warm day, enjoying misters set up by outdoor seating of some restaurants. I also found a turquoise ring and bought it for myself. Many shops feature silver and turquoise jewelry, which made me think of my dad.


Outside a shop, we met a local critter.


After lunch, we took a trolley tour that included a stop at Chapel of the Holy Cross which is built right into the red rock buttes.






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Anywhere you go in Sedona, you need only look up to enjoy more fantastic red rock vistas.  We drove up to the airport to get a better look at some.  It is difficult to capture the scale of these rock formations in pictures.







The tour also went through Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. It is styled after a Mexican village with shops, galleries and restaurants. Cobblestone walkways, arched doorways, tiles, plants and splashing fountains were all inviting when we returned late the next afternoon.



The chapel was closed but pretty even on the outside.



I enjoyed browsing the beautiful and unique necklaces in one shop that were well out of my price range, but still a pleasure to look at.


Dinner at El Rincon was Arizona style Mexican food, a delicious green chile relleno for me, a Machaca (shredded beef) taco for Rem and we shared a blue corn beef taco with guacamole. We also shared an enormous sopapilla for dessert. In the past I’ve had them as a side with dinner: small squares of deep-fried dough, about 3 inches across, that puff into hollow pillows. You bite off a corner and drizzle in some honey.  This was a round about 10 inches across, sprinkled with powered sugar and cinnamon. We broke it apart and ate every bite, also drizzled with honey.


We strolled back to the RV park and waited near the entrance with other guests to see the moon rise during the lunar eclipse. It was the perfect event to top our visit to Sedona.

We said goodbye the next day and headed for the Grand Canyon!


At an overlook you can see the road to Sedona.


Thanks for coming along.




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Home (on Wheels) Sweet Home


Rem and I are on the road, vacationing in a rented Cruise America RV. We’ve talked about traveling in an RV and decided the time had come.


This is in front of our apartment complex, after loading up the “rig” with our clothing, bedding, cookware, and other essentials for the trip.  As this was home away from home, we tried to think of everything we might need, without bringing too much.

We did a fair amount of research online, watching orientation videos, reading blogs, etc. so we had an idea of what to expect.  I had some concerns, including driving what still feels huge to me but and now as we are on the way back home I am happy to report that it has been a delightful adventure. That doesn’t mean it has been all sunshine and rainbows, but we will probably do it again.

Here we are, on our way!


Rem didn’t mind driving through the busier city streets as we headed south. In fact, he also drove the RV from the rental place to our home so we could load up.

With plenty of room, we couldn’t resist bringing all our critters


This is the bedroom aka as one of the back corners. Storage bins are overhead. The mattress is comfortable though covered in plastic so it is warm. Rem agreed to sleep in the corner because I get up more frequently in the night.  It means he’s more under the cupboards (more bumped heads) and must climb over me to get out.  It is also means making the bed is more of a challenge.

We originally wanted the compact size vehicle (19 feet long), which would have meant sleeping on a bunk over the cab. I’m so grateful that only the standard was available, which is 25 feet. For the two of us, it has been perfect.


The bathroom facilities are adequate: this small sink and medicine cabinet plus a small space under the sink and through the door a toilet and small shower stall. We’ve stayed in campgrounds with restrooms and showers that are roomier and more comfortable to use.  Which means the shower stall is another space for storing things like my canvas toiletries bag, extra toilet paper, etc.

Here is the kitchen.


A microwave, three-burner propane cook-top and a nice deep sink.  The morning I made pancakes I set off the smoke alarm, (no, not from burning breakfast), but most of the time I’ve cooked without too much hassle. A medium-sized refrigerator and freezer are behind you if you stand at the stove. We are not supposed to use the water for cooking or drinking, since you can’t control the quality, so we have been buying water in large jugs with spigots.

Counter space is quite limited as is storage space.  However, it is ok and I’ve been cooking most of our dinners. I miss an oven but the weather for much of our trip has been quite warm, so I probably wouldn’t have baked anything anyway. I don’t have a picture but there is a huge storage space under the vehicle that comes with a (not very good folding table), where we’ve put some folding camp chairs, firewood, extra water and a box of miscellaneous camping supplies. It would easily hold a large cooler and more.


Rem is at the table which can convert to a bed, though I don’t think the seat cushions, which are thinner than the mattress on the bed, would be as comfy to sleep on.  The large window over the table is wonderful and our view for meals changes as often as we move to a new campsite. With picnic tables at most of the sites, we’ve often eaten outside.

All together, here’s the whole space.  Everything fits together like pieces of a puzzle. This size RV is listed as being able to sleep 5, but I think that would get pretty crowded and crazy.


You can see the fridge behind Rem and beyond the fridge is a small closet and a few drawers.  We have actually kept most of our clothing on the bunk above the cabin the backpack and duffle bag in which we packed them.

Although it feels big to drive…


you can see here it is not the largest vehicle on the road. (That’s a picture, by the way, not a real doggie in the window.)


This is at a rest stop with some of the many, many semis we’ve seen in our travels.


After a fairly easy drive to Fresno for our maiden tour, our first night out was at the curb in front of the home of friends, and we didn’t do the full hook-up. We saved that for our second night, at the KOA in Kingman, AZ, when we actually did it by flashlight. It went much more smoothly than I hoped and (lucky me) Rem is totally ok with doing the sewer hookup.

The landscape changed as we drove along and as we got closer to Arizona, it became decidedly more dry and sparse, with hills and formations out of a Western.



We headed for our first destination: a section of U.S. Route 66. We started in Kingman at the Route 66 Museum. The location and characteristics of Radiator Springs from the Pixar movie Cars are a composite of many different small towns along Route 66.  We learned it is also known as the Will Rogers Highway and colloquially known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road,  and was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System.


In the parking lot of Hackberry General Store we met several members of a group of 40 tourists from Germany traveling by motorcycle. They were en route to Las Vegas where one couple was planning to renew their wedding vows before an Elvis impersonator.


Burma Shave signs liven up stretches of the route, including this group in Hackberry. You can find more here.




Old cars dot the landscape and I imagined my dad would have found this amusing.  A few were beautiful, vintage autos but many were just old junkers but they added character to the various shops and businesses along the way.


Behind Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive In, the garden is full of old signs, a collection of outhouses and other kitsch.


After I enjoyed a snow cone and Rem had a chocolate milkshake, we got back on the road to continue our trip.


Next stop: Sedona, Arizona.

Thanks for coming along.


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Photo Album: Mom’s 80th Birthday


We celebrated my mom’s 80th birthday last weekend.  Her birthday was actually in July but this was when all her kids could be there for the event.

Mom & Grandkids

All the grandkids were there too.

Before the event, I made a batch of invitations. I photocopied this sweet old photograph of my mom to put on the front.


Each card was a little different from the next.


The party was for lunch and after considering different ideas, we ended up having it at my mom’s house (at her suggestion).

Various family members assisted and I organized the party. We decorated with paper lanterns and flowers from the farmer’s market.




Nestled in the arrangements were naked ladies, or pink Amaryllis Belladonna, flowers that my dad always loved, if only because it amused him to say naked ladies!

Here’s some naked ladies outdoors.


The day was sunny and warm but not terribly hot not like the weekend before.

Michael and Suresa.


Victoria and Caitlin, both wearing giant hoop earrings.


Robert and Leah.


Mom and Sarah.


After lunch we had dessert: Kathleen brought angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream.


Leah made lemon bars from Smitten Kitchen.


I made brownies from the Commonsense Kitchen Cookbook to round out a trio of delicious desserts.


Victoria, Jake and Chelsea.


Caitlin, Cooper and Sarah.


Molly and Mom.


It was really a big, extended family party.


Gianna with Stella.


Stella wasn’t the only one that was tired at the end of the festivities.


Mom and I share an ottoman as we both put our feet up.


Thanks to everyone for being a part of this special day.

Thanks for stopping by.





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Photo Album: Jake & Chelsea’s Wedding


My nephew, Jake, and his bride, Chelsea, just after their wedding.

Here’s a little album from this special occasion on the first of August.


I just have to say that it really doesn’t seem that long ago that Jake was a little toddler! Here he is, all grown up,  before the ceremony.


One of Jake’s cousins, my niece, Caitlin.


My sister, and Caitlin’s mom, Sarah.


Victoria, mother-of-the-groom, with friends, Sam, and best man, Stu.

Sam & Nancy

My mom, Nancy, grandmother of the groom, being escorted to her seat by Jake’s younger brother, Sam.

Beau & Pamela coming in

My brother, Beau, father-of-the-groom, with his fiancee, Pamela.

Jake & Vic 1

Jake escorts his mom to her seat.


Here comes the bride!




I think Jake’s got hands like my dad, his grandpa David.


The minister forgot about the rings and almost completed the ceremony without them before several people reminded him and we all had a little laugh.


Jake & Chelsea recess


Faw Family

Family Faw (though a few people are hiding in this picture and one brother and his family didn’t make it out from NY).


Two of my nieces, Miriam and Caitlin, look like Amazon warriors next to their uncle Beau.


I think my mom looks beautiful with her eldest grandson.  The wedding was just a few days after her 80th birthday.




My niece, Leah.


Rem and I.



My sister Kathleen with her little sister Ariel.


Card I made for Chelsea & Jake.


Although the quality of some of the photos is not great, I want to share this event with you. Thank you to Dana for allowing me to share some of her photos as well.

Thanks for the visit.  Congratulations to the newlyweds.






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Rosie Rally Rocked!


We did it! I joined over 1,000 fabulous women today at a Rosie Rally in Richmond.  It was record-breaking in more ways than one: we broke a previous record for the greatest number of women of all ages dressed as Rosie and it was (or at least seemed like) the hottest day of the year.


I got into the details, including my polka-dotted accent nail to go with the polka-dot scarf.  Since this was a Guinness World Record attempt, there was a pretty specific dress code.

The rules specified “black or brown work boots or work shoes,” (I polished up my hiking boots).


We were also required to wear

  • Dark blue long-sleeve workers coveralls, OR long-sleeve dark blue collared shirt and dark blue pants, OR very dark blue jeans (not faded). Long sleeves must be rolled up like the classic image.
  • Red socks that cover calves (pants must be rolled up to reveal socks).
  • Red bandana with approximately 1″ diameter white polka-dots (hair should be pinned up, not down or in a ponytail).IMG_0166-001

Because I dressed as Rosie the Riveter for Halloween a few years ago, I had most of my outfit ready to go, including a great Rosie name patch and a We Can Do It sign (thank you Alice and Shook).


Getting to the event didn’t quite go as planned. I left later than I thought I would and with very hot, smoggy/smokey weather and unclear information about parking, I was grateful that my friend Nicole had offered to let me park at her place and drop me off at the event. She and Rem averted a Rosie meltdown.

My niece Leah, another Rosie fan and Halloween Rosie, was at the site ahead of me, looking rosy and wonderful.


She brought along the little Rosie that I made for her as a Christmas ornament.

It was really fun being in such a large crowd of women dressed alike. Rosie’s were checking in, taking pictures, dancing, and enjoying picnics. There was a sea of red polka dot scarves.





There were Rosie’s of all ages.




And even a few canine Rosie’s (though I don’t think they were counted for the record).



I loved all the little Rosebuds.


The Swingin’ Blue Stars of the USS Hornet performed great World War II classics like Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Rum & Coca-Cola


Which got a Rosie conga line going.


We were finally directed to an enclosed area for the official attempt. As we filed under an awning, two people with counters were clicking away, counting all the costumed participants.



Rosie supporters were on the outside taking photos.


A handful of speakers welcomed everyone, thanked the participants and introduced some real Rosie’s, including 95 year old Elinor Otto, whose grandson said she worked until 2014 when the plant where she worked closed!


A Rosie sculpture was unveiled.


A drone buzzed over the gathering while we waited for the official Guinness World Record attempt.


We learned that we during this part of the program, we must all stay in full costume and stay in the roped off area for five minutes. Monitors stationed around the perimeter would note anyone not in compliance when the numbers were being tallied.

In the heat some people had peeled off layers of their costumes but everyone got suited up and the clock started ticking. We didn’t hear the number right away but later they announced an unverified number of 1,083 (I saw 1,084 on the Facebook page).  The previous record was 778 so even if our number goes down a bit, WE DID IT!


Leah and I strolled around a bit. We saw a few more of the original Rosie’s.




More adorable little Rosies.


We decided we didn’t need to take a picture in front of this background.


Because we didn’t really want to wait in line.


Three generations of Rosies.


It was a great event and in spite of the heat, everyone seemed to have a great afternoon.

Getting into the shade, getting out of the long sleeves and digging into some snacks was a great way to wrap things up.


One last rockin’ pair of Rosie’s.


Thanks for the visit.  Thanks also to Melinda for letting me know about it, the organizers for a well-run event and all the Rosies who participated with creativity, patience and a lot of spirit.


Filed under Life

BONUS Day 31: 30 Day Journal


“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.”   ~ Lao Tzu

Today, for some reason, when I thought of this #30DayJournal and the theme of FLOW, I didn’t think of water or a river. I thought of honey flowing.


After that, the phrase “Life is Sweet” popped into my head and although our prompts steered us in the direction of letting go of hardness or letting in softness and gentleness, I was focused on life’s sweetness.


Imagine if this was honey dripping on the page and you could just swipe a finger through it and taste the sweetness.

Tomorrow, my nephew Jake and his fiancee, Chelsea, are getting married. He is the first of my parents’ grandchildren to get married and I know in the midst of this celebration, there will be an ache of sadness that Papa isn’t here to witness it.


But, even with this, I believe there will be enough joy and love flowing to ease that ache.


My mom just had her 80th birthday and we’ll be celebrating that event in a few weeks. Lest you get the wrong mental image of this grandmother-of-six let me share a few details: she is active, well read and she does yoga weekly and stretches daily, she walks her dog Molly six days a week, will be retiring for the third (and final) time in about a month, and will be wearing red patent leather pumps with her chic sheath dress at her grandsons wedding tomorrow.


There is so much to celebrate, including the completion of this project!


I will be returning to my craft desk tomorrow to create a wedding card, but I’m going to catch my breath and catch up on a few other things in my life, including getting enough sleep!


Thank you.


Filed under 30DayJournal, Art Journal Pages, Crafts