Sunday, September 20, 2015

We've Landed! --- Sept 20. 2015

Guess what?  We finally left Payson this past Tuesday! I'm sure you were thinking that day was never going to come!   Right when the weather was turning p-e-r-f-e-c-t!  Oh well...that's okay!  We'll have good weather all winter :-)  Our last night in Payson gave Nikko and I a beautiful driveway view sunset....

So, we're in Scottsdale, AZ now.  I used to live here, so it's not unfamiliar.  We are staying at my friend's where I am helping him get the place ready for his folks to move in - in about a week.  There has been....and still is, A LOT to do!  But, it's coming along and will be really great when it's all finished. I've been too tired by the end of the day to do anything around town, so far.  But because I've already spent a lot of time here, it isn't a priority.  I've also been way too busy to do any Zen-Art or GoSun solar cooking, but there will be plenty of time for that when we get back on the road.  

Scottsdale is not Payson....not even close!  Payson is pine trees....Scottsdale is towering palms!  From pines to palms in an hour's drive.  It's very different here! 

Scottsdale has been called "The Most Livable City"....I really can't agree.  Yes, it's beautiful and has a lot to offer, but it is very expensive here, in my opinion...making it not so "livable" for a lot of people. I got a decent deal (it's all relative!) on renting a 2 BR townhouse when the market was down when I lived here...$795/month...that was 6-7 years ago. The community I'm in right now is an older (early 70's), really quiet, patio home community where a 2-bedroom rents for $1800/mo.  For me, anyway, that's far from "livable"!  LOL!  The New York Times called Scottsdale "a desert version of Miami's South Beach".  (Following are not my photos, hence smaller size.)  

Yep....pretty much the glitz of "South Beach"! 

There is a nice "riverfront" area...

If you are in the area, do visit Old Town Scottsdale....

---there are lots of shops and restaurants that are very nice and fun...and scads of art galleries in the Marshall Way Arts District where you will see a lot of wonderful western art.  Even if you think that might not be your style, I think you will appreciate it when you see it here.  Top notch western artists and sculptors are represented in these galleries.  For 40 years, there has been an art walk every Thursday night from 7pm-9pm.  That's really a fun way to visit the galleries. You will also find beautiful Native American jewelry and art in Scottsdale.  There are horse-drawn carriage rides through Old Town, too, in the cooler months.   

Scottsdale Fashion Square has all the designer shops....Armani, Cartier, Coach, David Yurman, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Prada, Tiffany & Co, get the idea! Hmmmmmm.....again, not that "livable" to me!  But, there are lots of other fine stores, too....stores where I could actually buy something!  

Scottsdale is full of gorgeous resorts, spas, and golf really is a vacation paradise in the desert. The 5-star hotels here average $440/ 5-star meals and greens fees!  Oh...and tips! And a rental car!  $800/day should do it if you don't go shopping!  I can go a long way and see a lot of sites for that amount of money.  I'll stick to RVing!  LOL!  But, these resorts really are magnificent! If you can't stay at one, just pop into the bar and enjoy a cold drink out on one of the patios looking out at an unbelievable sunset....that's fun, too!  

Here are two good articles if you plan to visit Scottsdale...

Another nice thing about the area are the plants....lots of citrus trees.....most everyone has a least one in their back yard.  My friend has lemon, tangelo and orange trees, all of which will start to ripen soon.  I used to make all kinds of fresh lemon recipes when I lived here and had my own lemon trees. So good!  It seems flowers of all kinds are blooming all year long here, too.  Can't not like that!


Red Bird of Paradise.....

A great place to visit -- Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West
I wouldn't mind going there again

             Last but not least are the many gated communities with very palatial homes                 .....think Architectural Digest!  

I'll be here in Scottsdale at least until the end of the week.  It will take that long to get everything else finished with this project.  Then......we will slowly move south.  It's still pretty warm....mid to upper 90's .....but we'll just have to make do until the temperatures start to drop.  I don't mind it so much, but Nikko gets uncomfortable.  Hopefully he is adjusting a bit while we are stopped here in Scotts-dale.   I will be in touch after we leave Scottsdale and make a nest at our next boondocking spot. A reader friend asked for more detailed info on how I made a smoker out of a small Weber grill.  I will post more info on that topic next time!  Stay tuned!

THANK YOU ALL for ordering via my Amazon link!Every order, big or small, helps me keep producing this blog!

If you can't visit Scottsdale, you will find nice southwestern jewelry and gorgeous coffee table books depicting southwestern art on Amazon.  Price ranges for everyone.  It's not too early to start thinking about unique and memorable holiday gifts!

Until next time, enjoy a pretty Scottsdale - Nikko walk - sunrise.... 

Have a great week!  Autumn is in the air....


Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Little Bit of Everything! -- Sep 3, 2015

Howdy!  Howdy again….from Payson, AZ!  Yepperoooo….it’s September and I’m still here!  This has not been my plan at all, but that’s one of the good things about the RV lifestyle…it really doesn’t matter!  I'm using Safeway's (grocery) internet....didn't realize they provided it until today...and it's fast!  It's a short walk from me, so I'll be using this often!  The weather is getting picture perfect here now, too!  Hard to give that up!

Here’s the deal --- I have some business to attend to down in [still hot – 107*] Scottsdale.  It’s only about 1.5 hours away, so I really don’t want to stray too far from here or there at this point…why use up gas?  I’m just waiting for it to cool off a bit down there.  I’m going to be helping my friend (who is letting me stay at this house in Payson) declutter and reorganize his elderly parents’ home in Scottsdale so it can be put on the market.  It will be quite a project, but a necessary one, and I'm happy to help in return for this long term parking spot!  I’m really good at all that moving and organizing stuff….I’ve moved 40 times and organized countless spaces!  That’s one thing I’ve got on my calendar and one thing that is keeping me here a little longer.  The other thing I need to take care of is my storage unit in Scottsdale….I left it full five years ago!  Now that I’m in an RV….well, needless to say, I can’t take that stuff with me anywhere, so I have to figure that all out.  So, anyway, in a nutshell, that’s why you’re not seeing pictures of mountains, sunsets, lakes, sunrises, sweeping vistas, etc.!  But, that’s just part of this lifestyle…’s “life”……not an endless vacation to perfect locations!

With all that said, I do have some great photos to share, however.  I’m going to take you on a little tour of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ....taken a few years ago in April, with my great friend, Theresa.  If you want a break from the cold next spring, this is the place to go!  It’s a wonderful day trip if you’re coming through that area.  Almost hooked to the arboretum area is the Boyce Thompson State Park.  I don’t think they have camping there, but I would still like to take a spin around the park and stop for a picnic and a hike sometime!  So, without further ado, here are several photos taken throughtout the arboretum….enjoy!  First some closeups...then a walk-around....

There are lots of walkways to explore....

Surprise water areas!

A cactus "forest" !

Maybe an idea for your own garden... I love gazing globes!

I hope you've enjoyed this picture tour of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ!  There's lots more to see around the Superior and Miami, AZ area!  I hope you can stop there sometime!  It really is a very nice (and educational) spot in Arizona…one of  very, very many!

New topic --- the Go Sun Solar Oven.  In a word – FANTASTIC!  I have used this oven almost every day…if not making something from scratch, just for heating up leftovers.  It is so efficient! Among other great dishes, I made mini meat loaves and pineapple upside down cake recently.  Both were delicious!  My sister also has one and has made meat/veg skewers, cooked apples and beer brats.  Great results at her end, too!  I am highly recommending this oven to anyone who is curious about solar cooking, interested in solar technology in general, is wanting to dip their toe into the “off grid” way of living pond, or just likes new and interesting things that really work!  Again, here’s the link to the Go Sun Solar Oven on Amazon….try it!  I know you will like it!

While I’m having the time here in Payson, I’m continuing my zen-art drawings.  I love the southwestern kachinas, so I thought it would be fun to do a series of zen-art kachinas.  I’ve had a lot of interest in these and other designs on various levels – one being to create an adult coloring book….with the kachinas and other zen-art designs.  I’ll do the drawings – you can do the coloring!  It has become a PROVEN way to relax and let your mind go free of all those oppressive thoughts that overtake our well being.  We are all so busy these days, we need a way to quickly decompress --- this is it!  Just get some fine point colored pens and you’re all set to go down the road of relaxation!  Please let me know in the comments section if this would be of interest to you….the more interest I have, the more likely I am to pursue the coloring book idea.  I really don’t need to print 250 books if I don’t have the level of interest to support an order.  You can find many articles on the virtues of adult coloring on the internet.  It is definitely the simple, self-help way to go to free your mind! I know the drawings do it for me!

Here are some samples of what you would see in the coloring book.  OR if you are interested in the black and white prints to mat and frame for your own d├ęcor or for a gift, those would be available, also. I'm exploring other ways to use these designs.....mugs, notecards, t-shirts….just about anything!  Just ask!  I’m creating new designs every day.  If you have something particular in mind (animals, insects, vehicles, etc.) let me know and I’ll work up a special design for you. (These are cell phone photos....not the best, but.....)

Oh – by the way – I mentioned the Certified Zentangle® Teacher (CZT) classes in my last post ------ welllllll….I won’t be spending almost $2000 for 3 days and traveling to Rhode Island!  I’m sure they are great classes, but that’s a bit out of my particular budget and I don’t plan to be in Rhode Island anytime soon!  I think I can teach the zen-art techniques to anyone interested without that "investment".

That wraps up my smorgasbord of topics for today!  I hope you have gleaned some interest out of at least one of them! 

BIG THANK YOUS to everyone who has been ordering from my Amazon link!  Don’t you just love Amazon?!?!  There’s something for everyone!

Enjoy a great Labor Day weekend!!