Thursday, January 28, 2010

Family Pics and Finding our Way Home

The last part of my Christmas saga will consist mainly of photos during our time in Arizona. Some of the places we visited included Chili's, Babies 'R Us, The Dollar Store, a cool health food place I can't recall the name of, Fry's Electronics and Chick-Fil-A. We went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch on Christmas Eve and we Bethany made yummy chicken for dinner that night. LOL Bethany flew home on Christmas Day, but not without some major problems. Her flight monitor said the flight was 15 mins. late. In reality, it left 1/2 hour early. SO she missed her flight and had some major issues with the airline. We were supposed to leave the next day, giving us some time to spend with Brian, Dee & Jocelin (and doggies.) That was the plan. Instead most of Christmas Day it was just Ed & I waiting at Dee's place alone. We did leave later on the 26th than planned and had a little time, but it wasn't quite the same. The drive home was much nicer weather-wise than the drive down fortunately. Obviously, we made it home. Remember the jokes about family vacation photos? Well, here are some pics from our stay:

From Chick-Fil-A on Christmas Eve:

Jocelin @ Chick-Fil-A:

Avalyn @ Chick-Fil-A:


Pics from around town:

Family pic:
Brian & Jocelin

Cute baby granddaughters:

Avalyn got her ears pierced for Christmas, and she wasn't really thrilled:

Grandma & Grandpa:

more pics here: and in my facebook albums

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Christmas in January?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, God bless you! Seriously, one might think that Ed and I never made it to Arizona at all over the Christmas holiday, but in fact, we made it safe and sound and back again.

We left Kanab, Ut on the 22nd and prepared for the drive towards my daughter, Deidre's place near Phoenix. I spend some time online in the hotel lobby checking the weather reports, and expected to see some snow along the way. There are times when one hopes the weather forecasts would be in error, and this was one of them. I knew it was a mistake not to leave early, but the trip is so much more enjoyable when rested. LOL At any rate, we headed out a little late for Arizona and mentally prepared ourselves for a snowy ride.

And what a snowy ride it was! Once we approached the Jacob's Lake area, the snow was coming down. The roads were not fully plowed at that point, and very messy, so the drive was very slow going.

We made a pit stop at the Navajo Bridge to take photographs. Last time we made the drive to Arizona, we stopped at the bridge for the same reason. Unfortunately, the sun was so bright out it made getting a good photo difficult. I thought it would be a lot better lighting (and I was right.) At first I wasn't sure it was open as the first entrance had a gate across it, but the second entrance was open and we pulled in. I noticed that a few other people seeing us pull in realized it was open as well, so we weren't alone long.

One of our pit stops in AZ was The Gap as Ed needed a refill on coffee and gas prices seemed reasonable. I took a few cell pics to document the stop. We were greeted by a group of muddy pups. Well - actually they were full grown dogs. I grabbed my "good" camera and tried to take photos, but once they noticed my interest in them, they decided to be interested in me. I got a few snaps, and after noticing how wet and muddy they were, I hopped in the car before one of them decided to jump on me for some attention. Then we continued on our way.

Several times we stopped to stretch, take a few photos or get gasoline. Most of the stops were short, but it was getting later and later. I thought for sure we'd be in there by 6 p.m. at the latest, but I was beginning to have doubts. All doubts were put to rest when we reached mountains before Flagstaff . The snow was really coming down, and the roads were not plowed, so we weren't going too quickly. However, we did finally make it to Flagstaff, and stopped at Quiznos on Historic Rte. 66 to have something to eat. They didn't really have any nutritional info. for me (I was informed it was online) so I made the best guesses that I could. I ended up sending the tomato soup back because it was a bisque and I couldn't eat it. I thought of a plan for them to laminate a copy of the nutritional info. and have it on the counter for those of us who need such things. I took snapshots here and there.

Once we were back on the road, I tried to get a snapshot of an historic Rte 66
sign. I didn't see near as many signs as I remember from my last visit, and I wasn't finding an unobstructed view of them when we were stopped at lights. I kept trying, though. LOL

Eventually we were back on the road and headed for our destination. Like I said, the Flagstaff area was a bit on the messy side and slow going, but we did eventually make it to Brian and Dee's place. All of us were hungry, and the plan was to head for Chili's. NO pics. It was another long day, but a good one.

I will post at least one more blog with pics from the highlights.

And I I've been to a couple of concerts since my return, that I should definitely mention. I'll be back (said with best Schwarzneggar impersonation.)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

We WishYou a Merry Christmas

and a happy new year.

There was nothing normal about this Christmas. For one thing, my vision of the Christmas holidays consisted of a decorated tree hung with candy canes of every imaginable variety, packages under the tree, and some silk nog. IT seems every year a little more of this tradition seems to slip away. There was no tree this year, no presents under the tree, and I was restricting the silk nog to half a cup a day to keep that girlish figure I worked so hard to achieve. I knew Christmas must be coming, though. TSO's show made it feel like Christmas for a while, and I had all the store displays to remind me. I made sure to put on Christmas music on my Zune in hopes to kindle a little Chistmas spirit. We celebrated Advent at church. But it just always seemed so far away. Before I knew it, Christmas was sneaking up without me.

But Christmas was different in one other very important way as this was my first Christmas as a grandmother. I have a 4 month old granddaughter (Avalyn) born in August, and another granddaughter born on Dec. 11 (Jocelin) who lives in Arizona. So this Christmas, the plan was to drive to Arizona. My daughter (Bethany) and granddaughter (Avalyn) who live nearby were also heading for AZ and the plan was to drop them off at the airport on Dec. 21 and then drive out ourselves. Confused yet? I was a little bit nervous as it is not really the best time of year for driving. Our homestead is pretty much surrounded by mountains, and I pretty much questioned our sanity for driving through some of them in the middle of winter. I hoped and prayed for the best. My car has been having a few issues lately, so we decided to use Bethany's car for the trip. Her car is smaller overall, but fortunately it does have a large trunk! LOL We managed to get everyone and everything into the car on the 21st and head out to the airport without too much trouble.

Once we got to the airport, we parked and went inside to make sure that Bethany would be able to get through security okay before we left. I went through the line and stopped at the checkout point. I guess I could have gone back and gotten some sort of ticket to assist her from the airline, but we decided against it. The security guy was pretty funny commenting on how adorable Avalyn was and then telling Bethany that her id pic was the best he's ever seen and offering to help. Once we confirmed that she had made it to the gate okay, we headed for Kanab.

Driving to Brian and Deidre's place in Arizona is about a 12 hour drive, and the plan was to drive as far as Kanab and split the drive in half, and it is sort of a fun thought to stop just before the border and cut the drive in two in more ways than one. LOL It's so much nicer to divide the drive as we don't have to rush or worry about getting overtired on the road. I made reservations at the Shilo Inn in Kanab for the 21st and 26th of December. We've stayed there a few times in the past and it's been a pretty good experience overall. It didn't hurt that it was off season so we were able to get a pretty good rate as well. That was the one positive side to making the trek in the middle of winter. The other positive was all of the beautiful winter scenery. We stopped along the way and I took lots of photos. At one point we pulled over and took photos of an icy stream. IT was just too pretty not too. I have come to the conclusion that the beauty of snow is what makes it bearable as I'm not overly fond of the cold.

I took a lot of photos on this trip literally everywhere and with three cameras. My point and shoot, my cell phone and my "good" camera aka Canon 50D. It helped to pass the time, and it was fun. It's also customary for me to take a photo of every hotel room I visit. So, when we arrived at Kanab on the 21st much later than planned (well after dark) I took the obligatory hotel room photos. The room was large, and really nice. It was across from the laundry, so there was some concern about noise, but it was all very quiet.

After we settled into our room we headed over to Glazier's market to pick up a few things for dinner. There weren't many places to eat out at night in Kanab in the middle of winter and neither of us really wanted to eat out anyway. The prices were not exactly cheap, and we almost could have eaten out for the cost, but it was much cozier in our room. I will say the cashier was really nice, and in lieu of purchasing some plastic silverware, she offered to give us a few plastic forks and stuck them in our bag. It saved us $1.49 plus tax. LOL

Then we went back to our room, microwaved our meals and just watched tv with Ed dozing off first, and me following a little bit later. It was a long day and we were both pretty tired. Before dozing I set my phone alarm so that I wouldn't miss my free breakfast (never turn down a free meal?) I slept better than I normally sleep in a hotel room, and woke up just before the alarm went off. I took my shower and dressed, and went down to breakfast while Ed got his shower out of the way. I brought up a breakfast for Ed, and brought myself up some oatmeal. Then we packed up and headed out for Dee's place. It had been snowing already. We had another long day ahead.

To be continued...