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:






Red Handed

I am working on a memorial art project as a tribute to G’s mom who passed away last year.  I find him outside and tell him I need a hand.  To which he begins a slow clap escalating to bravo and well done.

“No, I mean your ACTual hand. I need to paint your right hand red.”

G: “Can’t you use your own hand?”

Me: “It’s for your mom, it should be your hand.”

G: “I have a cut on my right hand.”

Me: “We can put liquid New Skin on it.”  (which he lets me do)

G: “HOLY CRAP THAT BURNS!!! It’s got alcohol in it! …. SMELL THAT!”

It smells like alcohol.

(I know I shouldn’t be laughing but NOW he is gyrating around while swirling his right hand.  When I ask him what he is doing he says;)

“I told you there was alcohol in it, my hand is drunk.”

Look what drunk hands can do!

…”and out of the smoke comes a tall handsome man with a dusty black coat and a red right hand.”  Peaky Blinders theme song.  Been singing it all day