Ghost Burglar Break-In

Technically it was the wee hours of the morning on July 5th but I still thought the loud crash at 2:07 A.M. was part of a random neighbor’s 4th of July home firework show.firework

As I registered the sound it occurred to me that what I heard was a loud THUMP followed glass breaking. G was already out of bed standing next to the door looking confused and adorable at the same time. We must have been a sight as I hunched down behind him, both of us scantly clad with bed head and slit eyes.  He doesn’t question that my position hiding behind him ensures he will encounter the bad guy first but I still fell kind of guilty.  Burglar RunningWe creep down the hall as graceful as cat burglars to the kitchen. It is at this time I suddenly realize if there IS an intruder we are barefoot and have no weapon.  My heart starts pounding but is soon relieved to see this:

Somehow a   blue vase has crashed to the ground. I am amp-ed up on adrenaline as grab a broom and start sweeping into the dustpan.  Still in the doorway and groggy, G is watching me……so I say “here, make yourself useful” and hand him the dustpan handle. img_7151

For SOME reason I get the giggles. Mostly because I realize I NEVER talk to him like that, and also because he does it on command.  Note to self, if one ever decides to order G about take a chance at 2:08 A.M.

“Where did the painting go!?” I exclaim.img_7153-1

We look around the kitchen and G replies “Ghosts” which is the first word he has said so far.  I keep sweeping and looking around for the painting.Cartoon Ghost

“Maybe it was stolen.” I say and then we look at each other and BURST OUT LAUGHING.  Perhaps I should explain our hysterics: 


The missing painting was created by me at a recent Wine and Paint party at a gallery.  To those who haven’t heard of Wine and Paint party here is the description: A group of friends attend a “class” hosted by a local gallery. Bring snacks & plenty of your favorite wine (oh, and an extra bottle to share with everyone else, wink).  The instructor takes her happy artists on a step by step journey to paint the exact same thing. Blue background, oval, another oval, (mine is looking like a green vagina at this stage), swipe some color, blob here, dot there…

Soon the wine kicks in and jokes about giving each other the  painting for Christmas and other such shenanigans ensue.We are amazed at the different versions we have created and notice someone (far right bottom row) paints it perfectly (DEBBIE) complete with glitter. Next step, sign our masterpieces with  sharpie and go  home.  Well ONE of us in the picture below (hint, the one with big earrings) looks a little TOO happy.  (Wine remember?)

Soooo- back to what is now 2:09 A.M., and the absurdity of someone breaking in to steal my paining  hits us hard. Giggling uncontrollably now while we look around, under, through for the painting.   Really though, where is it? WHERE IS IT?? G finally realizes it fell behind the desk trapped perfectly so that it doesn’t hit the ground which is quite anticlimactic to my wildly imagined scenarios.  I think the WALL JUST REJECTED MY ART

All is well again

So we hang it back up, turn off the light and head back to bed.  G is back asleep by 2:13 A.M. (How does he DO that?)  I however am now fully awake writing this post. Sigh.

Shells & Mexican Politics

Once and a while we stumble on a small business & just fall in love with it.  Rocky Point Rodeo Drive has a of of shops that hold very similar tourist items. We weren’t expecting something different or new.  Creating curios from shells has been a long standing tradition even when this road was simply sand and shacks. I had my own tradition of buying one particular older woman’s shell creations but when they upgraded the road a few years ago, her store disappeared.  Now we have created a new tradition as once we met Salvador.Way at the west end of the street on the north side we found a shop owned by a delightful couple. Salvador is showing the secure backing his wife uses on her designs.Some of the shells are local, some are purchased, but all the work is hers.He explained they live behind the shop and TODAY  he was watching the shop and the kids while his wife was at a political luncheon for women.Salvador’s pride in his wife’s work & her participation in the luncheon was delightful. We  learned a lot about this couple in a short time from his story. They are part of the old traditions, and they are shaping in the future of their town.   This is such a terrific mom and pop business. Please stop in the next time you are in Rocky Point. I know  we always will.

A Most Extraordinary Gift

Only 2 years apart, G grew up with his Uncle O with G’s older brother in between. Their mothers provided the three tiny children with a frying pan, some bacon & eggs,  and watched as the very young boys climbed the side of the mountain behind their side by side houses. Soon there would be a small glimmer of a fire and the boys made their own breakfast.  All day the boys would be immersed in their cowboy existence on that Phoenix mountain. mountain (2) By today’s standards the boys would be considered too young to be making a fire, climbing trails, staying on a mountain all day, shooting 22’s at an imaginary enemy.  It is their experience to share and their memories together.

G’s Bronzed Boots from those days.

This week O presented G with a most extraordinary handmade knife. Using an antler and a piece of steel, he forged and polished to such a sharp edge it slices through a piece of paper so easily, sharper than a razor.img_9926When someone shares a piece of their artistic soul, their art, you just KNOW that you are holding a piece of their heart in your hand.img_9927Thank you Uncle O for such a memorable gift.

Wait up guys! 


Treasure Hunting At The Gem Show

Each February vendors come to Tucson, AZ to exhibit gems, minerals, fossils, boulders, and natural art at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

5 ft and above for these crystal formations!

The logistics of shipping the tremendous amount of heavy rock always amazes me. In just a few weeks tons of material arrive in Tucson.   I picture an off-balance washing machine thumping away; except its the earth wobbling from the excess weight.2018-01-27_13-01-26_504.jpeg

I have my favorite venues.  The Co-Op on Oracle Rd  always has a large petrified wood room with  different tables on display every year.  I highly recommend hugging petrified tree millions of years old whenever one gets a chance.

Spectacular Petrified Wood Table.
Tables are made from slabs millions of years old.

My favorite room at the Co-Op has Septarian geodes from Utah. I check their room first thing on the first day as they are very popular.

Image result for utah geodes
Each Septarian Egg is unique.

The Co-Op is handicap accessible and always has fossils to see.


We tried the new venue advertised as the “upscale” 22nd street show.  Not my type of product but found some interesting art!

Warrior Woman made from metal and motorcycle chain hair!


These bat coffins are quite interesting.  However pants would have been a good idea.  I was not prepared to see bat genitalia so early in the morning.


Also proof that someone whacked that Geico lizard. Perhaps now we can stop contemplating why a Gecko selling insurance in the US has a UK accent and has access to Navy aircraft carriers.


In the olden days (I’d say even 10 years ago) there were only a few different venues hosting exhibits. It was easy to see in a couple of days. The fame of the Tucson Gem Show spread and now there are  venues  all over town.

The ever popular giant pink skull decor.

After the 4th or 5th venue it can feel like repetition, However, treasure may be right around the corner. 2018-01-28_14-03-55_966

I try to buy my supplies from returning vendors to show  support to them for coming back each year.  Half the fun of the treasure hunt is talking to the vendors and listen to their story.  People come from all over the world. There are so many different paths that lead to the Gem Show!

Lights show through the mineral creating fascinating patterns on the wall.

One of the more artistic booths has unique gem inlaid pictures.  Every year they exhibit and have a darkened room where the art is illuminated from behind. Impossible to capture the beauty  in a photo.

This pic doesn’t even come close.  Metal background, gem quality inlaid lapis, turquoise, & coral.

When I tell the exhibitor that ‘this is always one of my favorite booths”, she animatedly responds “Oh do you posses one of our pieces?”  I tell her “I wish”  as I run my hand over the cool metal and stone.2018-01-27_11-04-27_323

One of the returning booths only sells Himalayan Salt Lamps.  If you see one you want buy it because if you wait to “buy it on the way out so I can take it straight to the car” it  the treasure will be gone.

There are miles and miles of beads,





Who knew these fossilized poop emojis sell for $2,000?





Treasure hunters bring your walking shoes!   There is no place like the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.


Replenishing my supplies:  Hopefully enough to get me through 2018.  Until the next treasure hunt at least…

Turquoise all shapes and sizes


Ready to go!  Excited to use some of the new product in the projects. Stay tuned to


Ajo, AZ who knew?

A few weeks ago we accidentally poorly timed driving across the Mexican border and ended up crossing during the busiest Sunday rush.  Consequently we were delayed in line for over an hour.

We had been in line for a while. Still a long way to go as I can’t yet see the Flags. Vendors walk along selling to captives of traffic. 

We had given away our  food that is illegal to bring back into the U.S. (which is pretty much everything we like)  We gave it to our friend Rosa who sells her delicious tamales on the beach.  Time meandered way  past lunchtime and we were hungry.   The few gas station stores along the route didn’t sound appealing. Well, mainly  because the LAST time G purchased a “Tornado Dog” (mystery meat wrapped in corn meal-supposed to be chicken) which led to  an uncomfortable evening.   The Tornado part of the title  lived up to the name.  We decided to drive the 10 miles west out of our way to Ajo, AZ.   Founded 1854 .1 (2) I told G “I can’t remember ever having been here  before”.  He tells me how he used to call on the Ajo when he was in sales  in the 70″s. He held up his arm, pointed to his armpit, and says “here’s Ajo”.         NOT true today!   2017-08-19_14-50-50_000Expecting the worst, I was  surprised at the cute renovations on the rows of old mining bungalows, restoration of Municipal buildings, and churches. 2017-08-19_14-50-32_0002017-08-19_14-50-38_000Perhaps the most impressive is the tremendous amount of street art.2017-08-19_14-41-30_000Not just art, each piece was meaningful and moving.  Spent so much time here studying them, wondering about the artist, feeling the pain expressed through this beauty. Viewing them I felt overwhelming sadness, pain, anger, happiness, beauty. I touched the hot brick gently perhaps trying to connect with the artist to hug them and thank them for sharing their soul. A few examples below.  2017-08-19_14-41-03_0002017-08-19_14-41-52_0002017-08-19_14-42-12_000Unfortunately there was not a fast food establishment and our tummies are  protesting noisily.  Perhaps lack of a modern drive thru fast food establishment is how it should be in this antique town. We stopped at the  a local spot, Agave Grill, an asian fusion restaurant and enjoyed the fresh food and local atmosphere. Full and satisfied G turned the RV around and headed east toward home talking  about how  Ajo. AZ was such  a pleasant surprise.2017-08-19_14-40-52_000MORAL OF THE STORY;  Don’t judge a town by the 70’s , OR- G’s armpit is more artistic and lovely than previously thought.2017-08-19_14-44-18_0002017-08-19_14-42-40_000



AZ Quilt

We stumbled across this Arizona shaped quilt on display at the Naninni Library just as the Librarian was placing it behind the glass. It was mesmerizing.  The  quilt focuses on Historical places in Tucson and southern AZ.  Small touches & attention to detail~WOW! img_5186

Represented are the Tohono O’odham NationSaguaro National Park, Davis-Monthan Air Force BaseMission San Xavier Del Bac, Stage Coach Southern AZ, Colossal Cave (a natural cave full of geological formation),, or could be Karchner Caverns, the poppies of Picacho PeakJarvick Heart (the first artificial heart)University of ArizonaHistoric Fox TheaterArizona Cotton, Tucson Rodeo La Fiesta De Los VaquerosArt Galleries, Kitt Peak National ObservatoryMt. Graham International ObservatoryDesert Museum just to name a few.  I stood in wonder identifying the detail the artist has represented.  Well done Tucson Quilters Guild!

New Shoes For Baby Blue


Time to get Baby Blue some new shoes. Two & a quarter inch white wall American Classic tires. Mounted on chrome rims with baby moon hubs…whaaaaaaaat am I even saying right now?

So the other day G informs me that The tires on the 1951 Ford were 50 years old.  See  Old tires>>img_4607   the 51 is his retirement project that began  with a rusted out old Ford. This picture is after he had done the first layer of body work.image0013-1

Then one day I pulled in the garage and the top was cut off of the old car taking up the space I park.

He told me he was going to chop it (which is apparently difficult ) & French it (which conjures other images).  Then he said “Worst case we have a convertible!”  This did not ease my mind, but about a year later he accomplished it.

chopped-fordSo here it is just before paint, after hours and hours of patient body work. Lots of hours of hand sanding to get the angles right and the windows cut.



G looses track of time when he is working on the Ol’ Ford.  He would  sleep out there if it weren’t for me calling him in, like a mom calling a little kid playing kick the can until dark thirty on a summer night.  Here he is reworking the entire wiring system.

engine-on-a-stickOn to the engine which he kept on a stick covered with  a Toys R Us bag. (Which I found appropriate).



Then one day it was just time.  Time to put the engine where it belonged. It started right away to our delight.

After a lot of hard work it turned into a beautiful  piece of art.


Having old car means meet ups at burger joints and lots  of discussion about flatheads,   V8s , cams & other engine speak.  Meanwhile I am zoning out to the 50’s music and trying to ‘fit in’.


The key to happiness may be building a custom car, who knows.  All I know is it makes him happiest when he smells motor oil and hears the roar of a good strong engine.  Secretly I am glad that Baby Blue needed new shoes.  img_4626

G says it drives so much better he’s driving it everyday. Kachow!



Just WOW! At Rincon Creek Ranch

Wow what a spectacular experience! We were treated to a luxurious stay at Rincon Creek Ranch for my niece’s wedding.


I must say the beauty and serenity of this place is nothing short of magical.
What they call “casitas” are beautifully furnished one and two bedroom homes.


Each Casita is different and a work of art.

Welcome home!
The name of each Casita is painted on a tile
Unique styles

Since my family was staying in the other casitas,  I was able to visit them all and even picked up a few decorating ideas! Here are some interior views!


Great place to hang a  hat!
Marble and granite counter tops throughout contrasted with wood ceramic flooring.
Every room has a view
Attention to detail down to the type of wood.
Brown chicken, brown cow… Shower in farmhouse keeping the theme.

The views are spectacular here as it borders the Saguaro National Park Wilderness Area.





Then there are the Arizona skies which never disappoint as they provide the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises from our front porch view top of the hill view.


My great niece enjoying her aunt’s rehearsal dinner venue.

To top it off the proprietors Gretchen and Bill are beyond hospitable.

gretchen and bill.jpg

There are special touches everywhere such as a luxurious air bubble tub complete with four choices of bubble bath,  thick bathrobes, candles and  lighters hanging on pretty ribbons. The kitchen equipment is fully stocked and  there was even basket of fresh eggs in the refrigerator!

Everything one needs for fresh ground coffee in the morning.
Very comfy robes
Even the bathtubs have beautiful views!

On to the wedding. There are many special touches with the ranch as a beautiful backdrop.

Everywhere one looks there is something special and unique to see!

Rincon Creek Ranch was a much needed retreat.  The family was still feeling the loss of our patriarch two weeks prior so the relaxing reflective atmosphere was extremely healing.



For me, well,  I took the time to enjoy all that Arizona nature was showing off that weekend and thought my Dad may have had something to do with it after all.

Just next to the wedding arch were Jack’s boots and hat. His presence was felt.

Because of Rincon Creek Ranch I was  able to celebrate my niece’s special day knowing that is what my dad would have wanted for his loved ones.  It’s just that kind of place. Healing, romantic, fun, delightful, and very special.  I highly recommend finding time or occasion to stay at this wonderful Ranch!


More fun below:


Make sure to ask permission to feed the horses apples.




What a great experience!


Juanita Rides The Sky

As part of the memorial to Gary’s mom I painted an old carousel horse in her honor with symbols from her Cherokee heritage.

Meet” Juanita Rides The Sky”


Gary’s mother Juanita , born in 1925,  was raised with her 100% Cherokee Grandmother living with the family.  Grandma Root shared a bed with her and told stories to little Juanita of nature, lore, and  her own past on the Trail of Tears.  Juanita listened to Grandma Root’s stories every night. She  believed that everything in creation contained the Creator’s spirit and must be cherished and respected.  Juanita and her mother, Dolly,   were artists.  Juanita  often painting Kachinas and other southwestern art, giving it away to all her friends or leaving her art as part of a wall or house they moved away from. The symbols on the horse represent things about her and things we shared.


The base color is turquoise.   Juanita  worked in a fine jewelry store and sold Turquoise and silver jewelry. She had great knowledge of the gemstone and enjoyed meeting all of the artists symbolized by the jewel on the horse’s right thigh.  Some of our outings were to Silversmiths and she would identify the artist, the origin of the turquoise and the value. Blue was her favorite color and above the hooves is darker ombre.


The lightening bolt is a symbol that the warriors would paint on their horses legs to give their horses speed.Once when she was staying in a cabin in Sedona, she decided to ride her scooter back to her place. Her scooter has two settings; rabbit and turtle. She turned it on rabbit and rode off so fast in the wrong direction with Gary and I running after her.  She LOVED to go fast. She loved adventure.  The Lightening bolt signifies both.


One of Juanita’s favorite pastime was to find shapes in the clouds represented on the horse by the various  cloud symbols.  I remember riding in the back seat of a car with her on the way to Tombstone. After identifying many animals/people/shapes in the clouds, she leaned over to me and said “Honey, I think that cloud looks like a…”  and proceeded to show me her middle finger.  We laughed until tears rolled down our cheeks.


G’s red right hand print on the rear is the  symbol of safe journey and the spiral in the middle means home.  Safe journey home Juanita.You are safe now lovely woman.


There is a sun symbol that represents the Cherokee Sun Myth which the the when sun shines on the faces of the Cherokee people they  smile.  The symbol below it in black is also a type  sun symbol but signified the four directions of the earth


There’s even a blanket to keep her warm.   The feathers are representative of her love of birds and animals.  She could sit for hours identifying birds for me.  From the time she was a little girl she made pets of wild animals wherever she lived. One time it was a skunk family with a mommy, daddy and 8 babies who followed her everywhere (much to G’s dismay as it was at his Lodge).


The back of the saddle has her name written phonetically in Cherokee alphabet.  Many people don’t know that the Cherokee had a written language and published newspapers.  Grandma Root’s childhood home was a two story house on a river which they were taken from to be relocated to the reservation.  (Actually more than once as they ran away from the reservation back home again.)  The first symbol that kind of looks like an I = Wa sound. The  lower case fancy h=Ni  (long I sound) Fancy W=Ta.  There is no long E sound in the Cherokee language so it is wanIta. Note to the English Language: Isn’t it odd  that the word phonetically is not spelled phonetically.  Shouldn’t it be foneticly.


The red symbol on the rear is the Cherokee symbol for Love. Our  love for this tiny little 4’9″-90 pound woman was immeasurable.  She had the most melodic laugh and we would do anything to hear it. I miss her voice every day.


The hand on the shoulder represents life and the crossed arrows represent friendship.  Juanita gave second chances to so many young children.  She was a foster mother to 57 foster boys over the years.(Not a typo, really was 57!)   She gave them a second chance at life and was a friend when they needed one.She was my friend too and oh how  I miss her beautiful soul.


The lines below the thumb on the hand represent spring which was always her favorite time of year.  They also represent crops.  Every time we had a plant that was dying I would take it to her. She would talk to it, love it, and it would flourish.  She would call me and say “that dying lily you gave me has two blooms on it now!”  Of course it does.


“Juanita Rides The Sky” was painted with love for a beautiful spirit.  It symbolizes a tiny little woman who’s mark on this world was huge. She believed the Great Spirit/Creator was in every living thing. I hear her voice so often and feel her spirit everywhere.


Ride to the sky Juanita.  You are free!

Juanita Lorraine Kirk August 8th 1925 to September 9th 2015.

Juanita the teen years and at 90 years eating shrimp cocktail, having a Tecate beer, and wearing her hat sideways.


P.S. The Coca Cola base came with the horse.  I made it bright and new instead of antique looking because of something she said to me once as I was wheeling her about  at a restaurant in her wheelchair…

Me: “Nita, this is Tom Mix’s suit he wore in the movies. Do you want to see it?”

Juanita: “No, I saw it when it was new”

The Making:






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