And the road goes on forever...

Friday, December 31, 2010

An Ode to an Old Year

First of all I wish all my readers and their families a joyful New Year. If you’re traveling or partying, be safe.

Cold has descended upon the Arizona desert and I’ve sequestered myself indoors all day, whining as if I was in the more brutal parts of the country instead of sitting in sunshine and current temps of 51 degrees. But it was 32 degrees before the sun was up this morning, which is outrageous behavior for old man winter in Yuma! All I could think of was “my poor tomato plant”!

Actually, I’ve been thinking about a lot lately but just not communicating it to these pages. This is not a year I’ll be sorry to see go; indeed, the past three years we haven’t been sorry to see go—ever hopeful that a new year will bring better possibilities. That hasn’t seemed to happen. This year saw both Marc and I lose our fathers. This year became more of an economic struggle with the two of us only working a total of four months and being unemployed once again.

The year ends with some heartache at having my mother here. Her adjustment to Dad’s death just hasn’t seemed to kick into place as yet and my role now has been to be the “mother” to the Mother. It is uncomfortable and alien for me to say the least. I never aspired to be a day-to-day mother at 61—indeed, sometimes I anguish enough over my own kids and their tumultuous lives, let alone having to try and now direct my mother’s life; tend to all her business like it is my own, and ferret out ways to keep her occupied and from further wasting away. I feel sorry for her that she can’t be more; I feel guilty that I expect that out of her when she has never known anything different than caring for my father. What more can I possibly do for this impossibly sad woman? The question haunts my days and follows me into miserable and sleepless nights.

So don’t come around the Duske household saying “Happy New Year”, OK? One follows another as if falling into a tragic abyss and I don’t know when they will end.

Come out warm again Ol Sol, for you are one of the few things I count on. If a person can’t be warm in Yuma in winter, where can they be warm?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

Another day, another party around here! Here’s Christmas Eve with our neighbors in Stan and Patty’s darling casita:

Marc and I hope all our readers, friends and family enjoy a safe and wonderful holiday. Back at ya soon!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Indoor Sport of the Season

Party time in the neighborhood! Rollie and Judy, our neighbors three lots down, invited everyone to bring munchies and a gift to their beautiful pool home and let the good times roll.

After satiation we all got down to the business of opening our exchange gifts and let the stealing begin!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

From My Porch...

Greeting the new morning.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fortuna Frolic

On a warm recent day we piled in the front of the truck with mom while Rocky was tied in back and all headed out about ten miles southeast to the Fortuna mine site. I have written previously about this ghost mining town—a neat thing to see and right in our backyard. We traversed the washboard main road out until making the turn due east up the wash and the rocky trail which leads to the mining area. We were surprised to see an entire group of people here, obviously on a tour of some sort. We later found out that the Range Warden offers tours when enough people call to request it and his schedule can accommodate it.

After a picnic lunch and looking around a bit; we headed out again but due north on a different return route. This boulder and rock-strewn trail hugs the mountains and the scenery is much more interesting and filled with cactus. All the roads in this area are formidable and not to be taken lightly so we now come prepared with plenty of water, shovels, spare tires and GPS. A ten mile walk back in this stuff would be a killer!

Friday, December 10, 2010

When in Rome...

What’s that saying: Do as the Romans do? The Gila Mountain Church not too far from us was offering up a city-wide yard sale Friday and Saturday so I hauled my mother out as the sun was coming up and we fought for a parking space alongside the roadway. Lines were long and we didn’t realize there were several segments, all separately fenced off from one another and wouldn’t you know it, we waited in the men’s line, i.e. sports and outdoor equipment, tools, electronics, etc. Upon realizing our mistake once inside we quickly retreated to other areas!

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many grey-hairs in one place together so it didn’t take me long among the pressing crowds to swipe up several treasures—beer cozies at .20 and several kitchen gadgets like strainers and whisks at the same price. Topped off by two new lacy embellished pillow cases, all pressed and folded neatly for $1 and I was ready to bear the checkout lines. An hour later, and we were free to make our way back down the road to the car with an out of pocket expense of $2.20.

This day followed on the heels of earlier this week also cavorting among the grey-hairs in downtown Yuma at the Welcome Back Winter Visitor’s festival. That was mostly a bust for us as we didn’t care to divulge our personal information in order to enter the myriad drawings for free dinners, etc. that all the vendors were using to suck suspects in. We did have fun touring the downtown businesses however, which consist mostly of antique and gift stores.

In another post, I’ll update you on our four-wheeling trip out to Fortuna. Yeah, we’ve been keeping busy! And Tucker loves being back “home”.

Why We Love Yuma in Winter

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Settling In

I never tire of the blazing sunrises and sunset this state seems to offer up so
magnanimously. This morning Old Sol created virtual flames licking from the sky. In an attempt to get Mom out a little bit, I am back to feathering my nest. Or maybe tweaking it would be a better phrase. The old ice cream stool I purchased in Rapid City needed a plant and I decided the anti-gravity lounge chairs really needed some pillows to make them go from comfortable to “oh I don’t want to leave this spot” cozy in front of the fire pit. I was looking for some Mexican serape type material but will likely have to go into Algodones for that, so a stop at JoAnn’s Fabric provided some make-do colorful pattern with blue that tied in perfectly with the blue accents in the rest of my yard.

After trimming my pygmy palm I decided it needed some allure for the holidays, so I adorned it with three strings of lights which will provide a welcoming glow to nighttime al fresco dining and entertaining. Most of our neighbors are all set to arrive by early next week and I’m sure the parties will start in earnest soon thereafter.

With no room left on the lot, Marc parked my car in the street and proceeded to play shade tree mechanic with a bunch of maintenance items—new brakes, new belts, tire rotation, oil change. Walkers of the neighborhood looked a little askance as they passed by, some even offering to bring over their cars too; while Marc was just happy to be back amongst his tools.

His to-do list is quite extensive after finishing with my car. There is maintenance on the Freightliner as well and then the major axle renovation to the fifth wheel. Both trailers need new steps built which he will do out of welded metal so they don’t rot so rapidly in the desert sun. The fire pit needs a brick stand built under it and a buried gas line run to it. Let’s see…I’m sure more will come to mind soon. Vacation? What vacation!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Trip South

After an hour of running ice water over the slides in an attempt to clear them of ice and snow so they would retract, standing high up on the slippery metal ladder, Marc figured he just about had things ready to go. By the time we left, it was a chilly 19 at 11 a.m. Needless to say, we didn’t get as far as we wanted our first day out—making it to McDermott just across the Nevada line. As we tried to settle in and deploy the living room slide, it ground to a guttural, groaning halt. It was frozen into place, now in the closed position. With an interior walkway of less than two feet, it made for close quarters for three adults, a cat and a 100 lb. dog. Nineteen was the best the day would see as the nighttime temps dropped to a bone-chilling three degrees and our generator quit working. All water lines, dump valves, and plumbing remained solidly frozen and we lived, cooked, and washed up off of two ten gallon water jugs.

Two days later, the slide finally opened for our stay at the Beatty Hot Springs RV Park but water lines remained frozen. Having some space felt wonderful; having our first showers in days at the small bathhouse felt even better! Pressing onward the next day, Saturday, we finally thawed enough to obtain water in the RV for our boondock stay at Quartzsite but the pump wouldn’t stop running and was spewing water all over. It will be another fix on Marc’s to-do list to replace it along with the horrendous job of pulling the generator from the truck—at least an eight hour ordeal, to figure out what is wrong with it this time.

Finally able to relax and enjoy the desert ambiance and warmth of Quartzsite was priceless. Quartzsite already has a fair assortment of boondockers and we also noted that Lake Havasu and Parker were really abuzz with recreationalists and ATVers enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend. Traffic was nonstop. But nothing was like what greeted us upon our arrival in Yuma—the place is crawling with Snowbirds already! We were astounded to find nearly every lot in our area of the Foothills already full, with owners back to their casitas and renters occupying every single hookup on the rental lots. This normally doesn’t happen until January! If you are an RVer and have plans to come to Yuma this winter and don’t already have a reservation, I would venture to say you may be boondocking in the desert somewhere. There’s no room left at the Inn.