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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Grand, indeed!

Seeing friends and family was just part of our recent trip to the Southwest. Another highlight was spending a whole day exploring just a tiny bit of the Grand Canyon. After we left Durango, we headed to Flagstaff, AZ, our jumping off place. Enroute, we passed Shiprock, one of the great landmarks of our desert country. We tried to imagine the pioneers seeing it without today's roads and telephone wires.

Upon the advice of Nancy's friend, Bill, we took the less traveled East Entrance and were glad he suggested it. Our first stop was Desert View where there is this amazing Watchtower that was built in the 1930's.

Looking carefully at other stops along the way, we could still see the tower.
Same tower, a few miles away

We stopped frequently to enjoy the view until we reached Mather Point where we decided to walk a ways along the Rim Trail.

We had to look carefully to see the Colorado River which is about ten miles below. From above it's hard to believe that this river, which starts in the Rocky Mountains and flows all the way to the Gulf of California, carved this magnificent canyon.
A bend in the Colorado River

On our heavily traveled trail, we didn't see too many four-legged animals. We did see a gentleman feeding this rock squirrel despite many warnings that medics often treat 30 squirrel bites a day. I guess they have pretty sharp teeth and don't hesitate to use them!
Rock Squirrel

We saw a number of folks risking life and limb by walking out on the edge of rocks with no railings, all for the sake of a picture or two. And then there was the guy tossing rocks over the edge, unmindful of people who may have been hiking below. (I don't mean to be critical but do have a hard time understanding such folly. Guess it's my age showing....)
Can you see the "brave" person?

Once in a while I can catch Dick on "film". And yes, he was in front of the wall!
Photographer-in -Chief

Apparently the raven is the most common bird of the Grand Canyon. He's much larger than the crows that frequent our backyard.

We have several friends who've hiked down into the canyon so were quite excited to see the trail far below as well as the suspension bridge across the river. That sounds like a really tough hike as the way back out is all uphill! Ten miles UP!
Trail and bridge

A kind woman saw us struggling to take a timed photo of the two of us and offered to help. We were able to return the favor to another much younger couple on down the trail. We only walked as far as the Yavapai Observation station where Dick took the bridge picture, and we realized that was as far as our day's trek would take us.

While we barely scratched the surface of this beautiful place, it was a fun way to end our trip. From Flagstaff we headed back to Phoenix, had a great visit with our long ago neighbors, the Lamms, and flew back to the blessedly cool weather of the Northwest.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Been Travelin'

It's been a while, but we're finally back home from our Southwest adventure. Our plan was to visit my stepmother, see some friends, and explore a bit of the Grand Canyon. We had a busy ten days but lots of fun. After an uneventful flight which took us over the Grand Canyon, we arrived in Phoenix to temperatures that were above 100 degrees and a shock to our Seattle-systems! We spent the night in Tempe and for the first time experienced a new way to keep cool, the misters.
Grand Canyon from on high

The next day we headed for Flagstaff. Enroute we saw lots of saguaros until we left their environment; they suddenly disappeared only to be replaced by another cactus, one which seems less picky about its growing conditions. Our neighbors across the street in Bellevue have a huge prickly pear that lifts itself up each spring and grows with abandon!


Prickly Pear

When the road branched off to Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, we decided to detour a bit and were glad we did. We were, however, very surprised how this area has changed since our last visit. It's still beautiful but has definitely been discovered.
Oak Creek Canyon

We spent two days in Rio Rancho, NM, visiting my stepmother. She turned 95 this past August and is doing quite well.
Grandma T.

From Albuquerque, we headed north to see our friends Gene and Linda who left Seattle in June to make a new life together in Las Vegas, New Mexico. We enjoyed our stay with them immensely and were sad to leave.
from the front porch

Dick attended Gene's class on New Mexico history while Linda took me shopping in town at the new quilt shop called Threadbear. Check out Linda's blog for more photos of the area and be sure to see her wonderful quilt.
view from the frontyard

No visit to Gene and Linda would be complete without a photo of their dog, Levi. Believe it or not, he hopped up on our bed, a long way for a guy with such short legs.

From Las Vegas we took a rather circuitous route to Durango, Colorado where we met up with our good friend Nancy and her friend Bill. Our friendship dates clear back to 1965 when we were both new teachers in Poway, California.

As we covered the miles to Durango, we did stop a time or two, once to photograph a couple of pronghorn (antelope) running free across the desert. We also had to snap a shot of these little asters which must be extremely adaptable. They are blooming in our yard right now as well as all over the high desert.
"where the antelope roam"

Desert flowers

In Durango we also met up with Nancy's sister Susan and her husband Rainer as well as Nancy's son, Scott, and his wife, Jenny, whom we'd never met. After a delicious dinner at the Sow's Ear, we spent the night at a very nice bed and breakfast just north of Durango. Our time together went much too quickly, and the next morning we all went our separate ways with lots of miles to cover before nightfall.
the Durango gang minus Scott and Jenny

Since the last part of our visit included a whole day in the Grand Canyon, this saga will continue soon. The big surprise of our trip to this point was two full days of rain in New Mexico, something we'd not really encountered during previous visits but something that was sorely needed. If nothing else, this trip reminded us how precious water is and how much we take its abundance in our area for granted.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

From Chicago with love....

OK, I admit it, I am smitten. Thanks to Michael and Jill I have new pictures to share. Here's David, off to preschool. He loves it! Can you tell?
First Day of Preschool

Sophia's modelling her frog hat, and I think she's hinting that she needs some long gloves. Someday..........

Not gloves, Sophia!

Michael's holding Daniel on top of David's giant pumpkin. He fits into his sweater quite well now don't you agree? Won't that pumpkin make a great jack o' lantern?

It's scary up here!

We are off tomorrow to visit friends and family for a few days. Our friend Mary Jo is housesitting and cat watching as we head to the Southwest. Adios! Catch you later.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Down but not Out.....

Look what showed up in our yard! Around these parts, you know that fall is coming when mushrooms start popping up in the grass overnight and the spiders go crazy and start spinning webs everywhere. A few leaves are already turning colors, the mountain ash is full of orange berries, and some of the purple asters are starting to bloom. Yep, fall is on its way to the Northwest, and I am glad these past two weeks are gone.
Surprise Visitor

The indoor plants have prospered from my lack of attention. This Hoya, which is a cutting from one of Mom Shaw's plants, put on TWO smelly flowers. They sure are pretty though.
Gammy's Hoya

One of my recent discoveries, thanks to pink eye, is that I can knit without wearing my contacts or glasses, and knit I did these past few weeks. I finished a couple of secret projects that are on their way to Lake Sylvan, AND one very longstanding WISP which had been put away partially finished so long ago that I don't remember when I started it. BAD! But it's done now and ready to wear. Hurrah!

It took a while to sew all the ends in on this project, that's for sure. This was my first attempt at modular knitting using a yarn called Rhythm. No two balls of any shade are quite the same which keeps things interesting. It took 4 circular needles of varied lengths to knit the edging! If you want the details, you can find me on Ravelry as jatshaw.
Rhythm Scarf

Besides knitting, I read some interesting books recommended by our daughter Catherine. One, The Blue Sweater, asks some very provocative questions about philanthropic projects and helped me to better understand her work. The other, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, was an enjoyable and interesting read. I'd recommend both. Oh, and I got a nice handmade get well card from David, who is getting quite good at writing his name as well as growing pumpkins and sunflowers.
The Yellow Giant

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Catching Up.....

Well, I'm back but still not 100%. This has been the stubbornest bug I've had for a very long time. In the midst of it all, I got a very nice package from Pat with the sweet bird's nest necklace that I won from her giveaway. As always, her package was beautifully wrapped. Thank you, Pat!
Being a such generous soul, she included some of her lovely ribbons, a little package of beads and sequins with a nifty little flower doodad that's going on my purse, and a ciggie. She's gearing up to teach some classes which you can read about on her blog. Sounds like fun, but a tad far.......
More pretties

During the past few weeks, I've done lots of knitting and read several books. I also got to talk on the phone to Sophia for the very first time. You can see she really liked the button on her ruffled hat, and she even told me so!
More pictures soon.
"That's a cute frog, Oma."