A Taste of Sedona

We spent the last weekend of January in Sedona.  It was a first for me and the MR, and frankly it’s beautiful country.



Flying into Tuscon, it was just a few hours drive to our destination.  First stop was the visitors center where the volunteers gave us great recommendations for hikes and directions to trailheads.  We had time for lunch and a short hike with my brother and sister-in-law before checking in to our rental home.

Hiking Collage


The Teacup Trail and the Devil’s Kitchen (a large sink hole) were both impressive, and we managed to stay off the road when the pink jeeps drove by.  Honestly it was nice just to be outside in our shirtsleeves in the middle of winter.


The next day, we were off to Tuzigoot National Monument—an Indian village from 1100 AD.  We were amazed at the simple square buildings that still remain hundreds of years after they were abandoned.  The staff were informative and chatty and even agreed to take a photo of our whole group.  The MR’s folks had driven down from Mesquite, NV to join us.


Just across the valley, we could see the mining city of Jerome built into the steep hillside.  It was an adventure just finding a parking spot, and walking the steep streets was a workout.  Staircases connect the switchbacks up the mountainside. We enjoyed lunch at the Haunted Hamburger and then made a mad dash to Montezuma’s Castle.  It closed minutes before we arrived, but we decided to head back the next day.  The hospital in Jerome has been converted into a hotel with spectacular views. Apparently, you can eat lunch in the assylum with the ghosts—very creepy.

Haunted Hospital

Montezuma’s Castle turned out to be another Indian cliff dwelling built right into the side of the bluff.  This one we had to admire from afar.  It’s really quite amazing what people did with primitive tools so long ago.


Half the fun of traveling to new places is noticing the amazing differences in plant life.  We don’t have sycamore trees back home, and these cacti are so intricate.

plant Collage

Then it was on to the Chapel of the Holy Cross with archeticture inspired by the Empire State Building and lovely views.



The last day, we woke to snow.  It was the MR’s birthday, and we spent a quiet day at home playing card games.


That evening we enjoyed a spectacular dinner at Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill.  It’s not cheap, but the food was quite good.

Mirabella Collage

The next morning it was time to say goodbye and head back home to the real world.


The MR asked if I’d go back.  Well let’s see, lots of nice restaurants, fun shopping, great hikes, beautiful scenery—I’d say that’s a yes.  There’s a gallery with some great paintings we almost bought, lots of shops we didn’t get a chance to explore, and I’d really like a chance to hit a few more trails.  I think this is just our first trip to Sedona.

Where do you like to go for a bit of sunshine in the midst of winter?









Rethinking Light

After living in a place for a while, you get to know it’s quirks.  Some rooms are quieter, others are cozy, some are open and bright, and others feel a little dark.  It’s just the way it is, right?

Well, maybe not.  The great room with it’s massive amount of windows has always felt open and airy, and basically the rest of the house has seemed kind of dark.  I didn’t know whether it was the lack of windows or the lighting, but the bedrooms and upstairs seemed to lack in the brightness department.

Then the MR started painting the upstairs.  Next thing I know, large boxes are showing up on the porch.  He’d ordered packs of LED bulbs to replace the ones upstairs and in the guest room.

Holy cow! What a difference that has made.  Maybe it was simply getting rid of the old light bulbs caked with dust—we have no idea when they were last replace—but now you can actually see in those rooms.

Who knew changing the feel of a room could be as easy as changing a light bulb?  That got me thinking.  I’ve shared with you the story of how the fellow who built this place had to buy repositionable lights after turning them on in the great room the first time.  It looked like some crazy disco with lights scattered everywhere due to the angle of the ceiling.

Well, sometimes I’d like to knit instead being cozy on the couch, and a little light is essential.  So wouldn’t it be nice if we could reposition one of these lights just a little.


A spotlight for knitting seems like a truly good thing.  Now we just have to figure out how to reposition that light without having to buy a really tall ladder and without breaking any lightbulbs.

Speaking of lightbulbs, the new LED bulbs can be pricey, but watch for deals.  The MR bought them on Amazon and the four-pack which was listed for $140 he picked up for $40.  Sometimes your local power company offers rebates and discounts for energy efficient bulbs, so check for ways to save.

I think it’s time to replace the bulbs in the master bedroom next.  I do like a bright cheery space.

Any simple changes for big impact at your house?





Share Your Stories

I was talking to my sister-in-law the other day, and she mentioned she’d donated some of her mom’s costume jewelry to a charity that helps women get back on their feet.  She said that she didn’t know where they came from or who had owned them, her mom may have known, but the stories died with her.

That reminded me of an afternoon with my dad.  We’d been cleaning out the basement, and even though my mom’s been gone for 10 years now, it’s still hard to part with her treasures.  I told him it was OK to let go of these things if they weren’t his style and pointed to a large, purple glass vase that had been around for ages.  I figured it was a safe bet that he’d want to get rid of that.

That’s when he told me a story of when they were newlyweds.  Now, I knew the draft notice had showed up on Valentine’s Day bumping their summer wedding to March, and how they spent hours making ceramics on base as cheap entertainment, I’d even heard how my aunt and cousins came to visit and my oldest cousin flushed a watch down the toilet and grabbed a plate off the wall and smashed it on the floor.  Those were the tales of early marriage that I’d grown up hearing.

This was a new one.  When they were first married, my grandma came to visit, and they took her across the border to Juarez.  They’d visited a glass blowing factory where they had watched them make a purple vase.  My grandma had bought a similar one and brought it home.

I remembered seeing it in her house filled with grass plumes, and after her death it had come to my parents.  It was more than just a glass vase—it was memories, and good time, and laughter.


My dad admitted it wasn’t really his style…  I told him not to worry; I’d find a place for it.

Share your stories before it’s too late.


Remembering January

January, the first month of the year, when you start off gung-ho and ready to conquer anything.  I had plans, and dreams, and they kind of petered out.

Sometimes other stuff just gets in the way like helping my dad move 30-plus years of stuff, packing up my mom’s treasures and trinkets, and saying goodbye to the home where I grew up.  Add in sweet girlies visiting for a weekend and a trip to celebrate the MR’s birthday and my list is woefully behind.

The MR did add a fresh coat of paint to the ceilings upstairs.  The Contrast of White brings a hint of freshness to everything.

Snow Day

He was working hard and edged around all the windows, the stairs, and the kitchen area in the hangout room.  Now that my dad has moved out, the MR will have his weekends back and finish up in no time.

I do really like my Make It Mod plant stand.  I’ve been inspired to add a few more details, and yes, the plant is looking good with a little new soil and some TLC.


Me and the MR both agree that our lemons are a lighter shade of green than when I pictured them in Anticipation.  Of course, it’s still dark—I’m watching the sunrise as I type—and we just got back from a lovely weekend in Arizona, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s lighter, dare I say ripening.


It’s not a bad place to put down my thoughts of a morning.

Sunrise Cocoa Blog

Sadly, the picture boxes are still stacked in the garage and piled on the china buffet.  Did I tell you my mom really liked taking photos?  I said it here, by the end of February, they’ll be gone.


We’ll say it’s ironic that I blogged about photos and didn’t include any in my post. Here’s the boxes from my dad’s minus five. As you can see, I have my work cut out for me.

We spent the last weekend in Sedona escaping from the wet and gloom.  While we’ve had more rain in the last four months than we usually receive in a year, we do get the occasional sunny day.  You can bet me and the MR take those opportunities to spend a little time on the deck enjoying the River Views.

River View

While it’s fun to visit new places, I’m oh-so glad to be home with crazy dogs, boxes of photos, tons of ladybugs (it’s the season), and my sweet life.

February is going to be a good month; I just know it.

How’s your year going so far?

River Views

Me and the MR enjoyed a rare winter afternoon out on the deck yesterday.  Our warm weather hangout doesn’t see much use this time of year.

It’s not just the rain that keeps us inside; when the sun sets, it just too cold. Winter has opened up our view of the river. With the leaves gone, we can see both loops of our meandering stream.

River View

I was talking to my dad the other day and realized I may have given my readers a wrong impression.  My aunt had asked him if the river was still flooded. I posted pictures months ago; our river usually floods for a few days at most.

Let’s go back to my Geology 101 class and get a little technical.  The Snoqualmie Valley is a large U-shaped valley, with an underfit stream, carved out by glaciers thousands of years ago.  We have a lot of these valleys in this part of the country.  We do have standing water in the lowlands currently after receiving several inches of rain last week, but the roads are open for the moment.

So Aunt Doris, flooding is an intermittent problem during the rainy season (especially when coupled with warm temperatures and melting snow-pack), but we’re certainly not trapped all winter long.  Thank you for your concern.

That’s not to say the ground isn’t plenty wet.  Our silly dogs make the most of an afternoon of leisure outside.  Bogart sits and chews on his toys, but Cocoa goes off exploring and comes back sopping wet and smelling strongly of dirt.


It’s the price we pay for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

How do you escape winter weather?





My mom loved taking pictures.  She photographed the grandkids, trips with my dad, gatherings with family and friends, and each holiday.  Of course, this was all old school involving a camera, film, and multiple prints from Costco.

As my dad was packing up his home of more than 30 years, he flatly stated the pictures weren’t coming with him.  While dumping them in the trash might be the most expedient option, me and the MR packed them up a few weeks ago and brought them home.

The MR was strategic in his unloading and stacked more than a dozen boxes in front of my shoe shelf in the garage.  A little inconvenience can be quite motivating.  I’ve made it through five of them so far laughing at pictures of my sweet girlies when they were tiny and all the cousins.

My dad is moving to a townhome less than half the size of the house he’s leaving behind, but I don’t believe he wouldn’t want a few of these remembrances.  I’ve been scanning Pinterest to check out photo crafts and ideas.  I see a few in my future.

And if you’re related to me, or knew my mom, you’ll probably be receiving a package in the mail before too long filled with memories.  I’m hoping they’ll make you laugh, make you smile, and bring back some good times.  Grandma Donna would have wanted that.





I remember when we were expecting the girls.  We were hopeful and excited anxiously anticipating our sweet babies

Recently I learned that babies aren’t the only thing that take nine months to arrive.  We have a lemon tree; a two-and-a-half-foot-tall lemon tree to be exact.  Our tree blooms in the winter, it sets some fruit, we watch them for awhile, and then they drop off.  We’re not expecting much.

That is until now. The tree has managed to hold on to two of its lemons, and they’ve grown, and they’ve grown, and they’ve grown.  Now why would two full-size lemons decide to grow on a branch smaller than the diamete of a pencil? I don’t know.  Perhaps the tree has heard of the little engine that could…

The MR found a paint stir stick and is using it to support the overstressed branch.


We’ve had our eye on these two for months, and I was beginning to think they’d just hang out there forever.  A little Google search revealed that we might be reaching the end.  Under proper conditions, it takes six to nine months to ripen.  Our short winter days may have stretched out the timeleine.  I could swear we were watching these two last April when we left for Hawaii.

Perhpas I should look into the definition of “proper growing conditions”.  Maybe it just needs a little fertilizer, a little more light, or longer days.  For now, we’re just anticipating that someday we’ll have a harvest.  At this rate, I’m glad the grocery store is just down the highway.

Any luck growing lemons?  How can I turn them yellow?