Appreciating Arizona

When I moved here 36 years ago from New Jersey, I felt I had moved to another world. It took me awhile to adjust to the open skies, the desert, and people talking real slooooow.

Now I feel like a native and a visitor. I discover new places and things to do constantly. Watching the state grow has been energizing and dismal at times. But with growth comes more options for living our lives to the fullest.

I have been sharing my travel adventures also on

I welcome your comments and experiences in living in our grand state in a grand way.

Happy 100 years to Arizona! 1912-2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Flying High!

I have been going to the Arizona State Fair for as long as I’ve lived here, 36 years.  I took my kids to the fair every year, went with them on school trips, band trips, dance trips.  I’ve seen every inch of those grounds, especially the bathrooms.  But this year, they had something new, something I’ve wanted to do.  I wanted to do it when we were in Utah but the snow prevailed.  I wanted to do it when we were in the Poconos, but time passed too quickly. 

So here it is, in my own back yard, a ZIP LINE!!  I’ve always loved swinging, (keep your minds out of the gutter), that feeling of being in the air, close to the sky, free as a bird, so zip lining would be the ultimate swinging adventure.

As Joshua and I walked up to the table with those ominous warnings and releases to be signed, I started to have second thoughts.  The waiver said I could die and be maimed for life and all of that gory stuff and there wasn’t anything I could do about it, whew!  The sign said if you have back or neck problems or are pregnant, you should not do this.  I know I’m not pregnant, (that’s my darling Jen).  But the rest, well, I have every ache and pain known in this old body and it can be aggravated by walking to the bathroom, so I might as well have some fun if I’m going to ache.  Joshua encouraged me and told me to not back out now.  (Did he just take out a life insurance policy??)

There were two young men in front of me, late 20’s, and I watched as the attendant strapped them in and they started to climb the stairs, those stairs that you have to climb without help and they go way hiiiiiigh into the air.   I can do this, I’ll take my time, there’s no one behind me. 
The young attendant had me step into the gear and hoisted the straps around me.  We joked and he said he’s had all ages do this and he’s done it several times and it’s a blast.   He handed me the rest of the strappings and I was on my way.

As I started my ascent, I waved to my darling and held on to the cold, steely rails and took it one step at a time.  After the first two flights, I needed a breather and stopped and looked out at the lights and rides covering the fairgrounds.  Couples pushing strollers, kids running in costumes, everyone oblivious to my undertaking.  When I reached the top, the two men were strapped in and ready for takeoff.  You have to jump off by yourself; no ride that starts up, no one giving you a push or boost, it’s all you, jump into the abyss, take a flying leap.  One of the young men was hesitant but after looking back at me, he thought if this old broad is going to do this, so can I.

So here I was, at the top of the world.  Hello Phoenix, you bright star, I’m ready for my fly through your air.  “Just jump”, the attendant said, “or some people sit down, you can do that if you want.”  No sitting down for me, young man, I’ve been waiting a long time for this and I’m ready to fly.  And I did, jumping into the atmosphere, feeling nothing but freedom, waving my arms at everyone below, hooting, whooping and incessant laughing.  I am here, flying, look at me, I’m a bird, I am free!  My body is weightless, nothing hurts, nothing aches, I was meant to fly!

And then it was over, the landing was smooth and the euphoria filled my senses as the straps were undone and the attendant said, “You really enjoyed that, didn’t you?”    You betcha, maybe next time I’ll jump from an airplane!

BTW, the next day my body felt great, everything had been stretched out to the max, maybe they should use this as physical therapy. They tell you to try and look at the landing as they are taking pictures of you for sale below, but I was looking everywhere else, relishing this flightful adventure.  But Joshua got a few at the beginning and end.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rejuvenating at Kohl's Ranch

The sound of the creek running over the rocks, crickets chirping their lullabies, the smell of pine mixed with horses; nighttime at Kohl’s Ranch Lodge in Payson.  Getting a cabin there was just what the doctor ordered to slough off stress and fill ourselves with ranch style hospitality.  The best part, of course, was having my darling husband, three children and their mates all together to share mornings, noons and nights of fun, food and frivolity.

The cabin overlooked Tonto Creek, surrounded by Ponderosa pines.  Robins were bobbing along, pulling worms from the ground for a tasty meal as butterflies fluttered through the plants. Craw-fish skittered along the rocks in the creek but the quick hands of our daring men gave us a closer look at their snapping claws.

Joshua made his “I want to live sandwiches” for a healthy start to the day amidst the ranch’s numerous options for play.   Basketball and tennis courts, horseshoe pits and bocce ball are a few of the activities that strained the muscles of the weekend warriors.  We had our own wheelbarrow races and Joshua kept up with the youngun’s with his attempts at handstands.

Tonto Natural Bridge was a must see, the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. You can hike down to the bottom or stay at the top at one of the lookout points and still catch the grandeur of this unique geological formation.  There is a trail to take to see a waterfall cave but I just let my imagination do what my legs protested.

The Tonto Fish Hatchery and the surrounding campsites were all closed because of fire danger and recent bear attacks.  One night at about 3a.m. I heard lots of scuffling outside but it wasn’t a bear, just some javelina looking for a snack.  We found some more docile javelina at the bridge and they are quite accustomed to the humans gawking at them as they go about their business.

Kohl’s Ranch is the perfect family getaway.  Dogs are allowed, though the grandogs didn’t accompany us.  There is a restaurant and bar with a guitar playing singer that we kicked up our heels to, waking up the sleepy patrons that enjoyed our antics.

There is much history to partake of through a book written by the Kohl’s granddaughters that you can check out through the office.  Friendly, accommodating staff, super clean cabins with TVs with a million channels, WIFI and even a whirlpool tub!  Best yet, there was no cell phone service so no texting.

I’m ready to go again and sit by the creek with my tea and crumpets, watching the water flow over the rocks, feeling the peace and serenity that swallows you up.  Just what vacations are for.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blooming in the Desert

 Ode to my Husband the Gardener

This story begins at the front of our home
where the rabbits, coyotes and javelina may roam.
Please don’t disturb these flowers so bright
or my hubby may scare you and fill you with fright!

The orange, the yellow, the purple and red,
fill our front yard on our joyous homestead.

My honey, he waters and feeds the dear plants,
and cuts me bouquets, with which he enchants.

Our kitty, Namare, likes to roam through the blooms
watching hummingbirds flutter as they zip and they zoom.

An afternoon break with a goodie and café
Reminds us to savor this magnificent day.

Thank you my darling for flowers so sweet
for keeping them blooming is no easy feat.