Monday, December 30, 2013

The Rest of Marianne's Visit

Sunday, December 1, 2013

We began December with a slow quiet day after all the excitement and activity over the past week. Dylan had a hockey game that Rich, Marianne, and I attended. He is in the dark uniform on the right.

Since this is how my daughter bundles up at the hockey rink is it any wonder that I can state unequivocally that she will never live in a cold climate?

After the game we went to the kids' house and visited with the rest of the family. 

Jackson and Gpa were playing Words with Friends against each other, sitting side by side!

Monday, December 2, 2013

There were still a few things we wanted Marianne to see before she left on Wednesday. There is an exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass at the Desert Botanical Garden; we loved the one five years ago!

For dinner that evening we took her to Organ Stop Pizza. That is just the coolest place! The pizza, pastas, and salad bar are great but the real attraction is getting to hear the incredible music from the world's largest Wurlitzer pipe organ in a casual, family-oriented atmosphere.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 

We were running out of time so decided that today we would drive up Apache Trail into the mountains we love so much.

Goldfield Mountains

Canyon Lake in the background

Tortilla Flat is a little "town" along the way. There is a small history museum, a couple of shops, and of course, a  saloon!

We continued on our way, running out of paved road shortly after leaving Tortilla Flat. The next four photos were taken at Fish Creek Hill.

We turned around at Fish Creek Hill and returned to Tortilla Flat for a late lunch at the Superstition Restaurant & Saloon. Every inch of the interior is covered with dollar bills, even the ceiling.

Marianne is keeping an eye on the rattlesnake skin mounted above our table.

Long story, but when we were all in California, the nieces started calling "JOCKO!" to each other so, in honor of that family joke, Rich wrote that on a dollar bill that we left to be permanently posted by the staff.

While we were eating, Marianne noticed this Capitol Records 45 rpm record on a high shelf. Rich and I met when we both worked at Capitol Records, him in L.A. and me in Jacksonville, IL, making that a most very cool coincidence.

Another unique part of the place was the women's restroom. These are the stalls so when you are standing inside one, you take on the persona of a saloon girl...loved it!

Of course no trip to AZ would be complete without a hike in the mountains. Here is Marianne hiking; you can see the trail meandering away behind her.

It was good to get home and relax after that grueling mountain hike...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Since Marianne was flying home later in the day, we just went to the Superstition Mountain Museum which is just a few miles from our house. It's a small museum but they have some interesting displays. When we were browsing through the gift shop, Rich discovered a book written by the original owner of our house! How about that? It turns out that he has written several books about the history of the area so we bought one, of course.

Another favorite, we have so many, place to eat is Rubio's which has the best fish tacos anywhere in my humble opinion. We took Marianne there for lunch before taking her to the airport. It was great having her here for ten days and having the opportunity to share just a few of the things that we love about this area.

Sadly, by the time we were driving home from the airport later in the afternoon, I knew I was getting sick. It turned out that I was extremely ill for the next several days and still have no idea what would have caused such a variety of ailments at once. Anyway, by the time I could function at all we would Christmas shop for a couple of hours then I would crash and Rich would wrap gifts and care for me and do everything, I mean everything.

I had my strength back in time to do a little baking with the kids and to celebrate a most wonderful Christmas with our AZ family but do wish I had been able to participate more in the preparations. As soon as I can, I'll post about our Christmas.

Lovin' Life ~~ Healthy Again

Thanksgiving Weekend...Finally

Yes, I do realize that it's been awhile. Have you been a bit busy too? Haven't we all? We had the best Thanksgiving weekend in recent memory.

Have I mentioned that we had lots of house-guests that weekend? You knew that Marianne was here; on Thanksgiving we were joined by our SIL Helen, our nephew Ted and his wife Johanna, and our niece Judy and her husband Merl...all from CA! Of course Sandee, Shawn, Jackson, Dylan, and Shelby were here too which made thirteen of us for a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Here are a few photos of the day.

They're Here!

I had everything ready so we didn't wait long before toasting to everything we are thankful for and remembering those who are no longer with us before having dinner.

After dinner we played the family dice game; I had a lap full of lovin' grandsons while we played the game!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Merl was always the first one up; not unusual because he's an early riser every day.

When the Cranes got here after Dylan's early morning hockey game, the guys went off-roading in the Tonto National Forest behind our house in Ted's & Johanna's Jeep.

Merl & Ted


Merl & Ted

Shelby's favorite treat is cheesecake!

Jackson's favorite spot is relaxing on our sectional!

This is where we spent the most of our time, from "The World's Best Cup of Coffee" in the morning until we drifted of to bed one by one at night we gathered at our kitchen table...everyone mentioned how much they loved this. For Christmas, Judy and Merl even sent all of us coffee mugs with our family portrait and this quote printed on them!

Our designated smoking area...sometimes I still wish, but never will.

Around two o'clock we all loaded up in two cars and the first stop on our itinerary was to visit the cemetery.

From there we went to the Phoenix Zoo. Years ago Ted, Sr and Helen had purchased four bricks that are placed on the entry bridge. One has their names and the other three have the names of their grandchildren at that time.

Marianne & Helen, along with the rest of us, searched until we located all four family bricks.

Jenna Busch, Jocelyn Busch, and Ted & Helen, these three bricks were close together. Patrick's brick was not close to these but we found it too

Patrick Sims

A family portrait on the bridge at the Zoo.

The next item on our tour was to drive past the house where Ted & Helen lived in Ahwautukee before going to Rustler's Rooste for dinner.

Helen & Judy enjoying the view of Phoenix from the deck at Rustler's Rooste.

Helen, I, and Judy were on the outside lookin' in at the rest of the family...giggle!

Oh look the World's Greatest Margarita...They Did It!

Judy and I shared one and thought calling it the World's Greatest was a bit of a stretch.

Who recognizes what this is? Anyone? At the back of the plate is a section of a rattlesnake skeleton. Yes, I ate rattlesnake. Oh c'mon, it was breaded and fried so what's not to like? Along with the rattlesnake, there are cactus fries here too.

By the time we finished with our dinners, it had become dark so I grabbed another shot of Phoenix at night from the restaurant's deck. Those white spots in the center were planes approaching the airport.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ted wanted to be on the road at 8:00, and they drove off just one minute after. Of course we were all up and gathered around the table for the last morning of drinking coffee and chatting.

After Ted, Johanna, & Helen left, Rich and Merl went hiking out of Lost Dutchman State Park. Here are a few of the photos Rich took.

Those are the Praying Hands above Merl's head.

Merl & Rich

The Superstitions!

They saw this Arizona Blonde Tarantula along the trail and Merl put his hand close enough to get some perspective in the photo. They are a very docile species of tarantula.

On the way back down.

There was still time to hang out and chat before they left around 2:30.

After they turned onto the next street, Judy and Merl stopped to take this photo which they posted to FB. Every time we drive past it now, I think "there's Merl's Saguaro!"

It was the Best of Times! We loved having them all here, we found out that our house is great for hosting guests just as it is, Sandee and Shawn loved visiting with them all again, and there were more good times in the days following while Marianne was still here.

I will try to do a summary of December before 2014 gets promises though!

Lovin' Life ~~ Building Special Memories with Family