Mesa, Arizona – who woulda thunk? I love it! The weather, the people, the location….all of it. I might even consider settling down here when that time arrives; when I am tired of life on the road and need a little more stability. For the moment and the next year, that’s not happening!

Following Mesa and my Spanish teaching gig, I am off to Knoxville for two weeks (by air) to check in for a few routine medical appointments. Then, it’s off to Cody Wyoming for six months (May thru October) as I prepare breakfast for guests of the Cody Hotel. I am looking forward to this new adventure, as, most of you who know me, I love to cook! In November, I will be back here in Mesa, as I have been invited back to teach again.

Unfortunately with this schedule, Habitat for Humanity work will have to go to the back burner for 2017. I did volunteer for twelve active building weeks in 2016, loving every minute, except for my being so ill while in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Teaching Spanish has been challenging and a lot of fun! My students (all 150) of them are enthusiastic learners. Tomorrow we are taking our first field trip to the Los Altos Ranch Market herein Mesa. A large Mexican supermarket and diner, 96 of us will have a tour of the facility and then have lunch together. It will be a very “practical” real life Spanish lesson!

Recently I was blessed with company. My dear friend from California, Judy, spent ten days here, and though the weather was a little cooler than we liked, we made some day trips that were memorable. The Boyce Thompson Arboretum was nature at its best! Our tour guide had some great stories to tell. The cacti and succulents were amazing with a variety of hummingbirds fluttering overhead. The great Saguaro is impressive.

As quoted on its website, “The purpose of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is to instill in people an appreciation of plants through the fostering of educational, recreational, research and conservation opportunities associated with the world’s arid land plants. An Arboretum is an area that focuses on trees and other woody plants. Although the Colonel’s original intent was to plant trees (hence the name, Arboretum), he soon realized that all types of plants from around the world should be included. The Arboretum was founded April 1, 1924, incorporated as Arizona’s first non-profit research institution on October 5, 1927, and officially dedicated and opened to the public on April 6 1929.
I personally recommend joining one of the organized tours – so much to learn! Ambling through the yuccas, agaves, aloes, barrel cacti and more was a feast for the eyes.

A second trip we took was a boat ride on Canyon Lake in the Superstition Mountains on the Dolly Steamboat. We were treated to eagles, falcons, and mountain goats. A must-do adventure!

“An unforgettable vista of volcanic “welded Tuff” canyons and 1300 foot cliffs awaits you on Canyon Lake. This awe-inspiring “Diamond in the Rough” is one of Arizonas’ best-kept secrets! Nestled in the heart of the Superstition Mountains lies spectacular Canyon Lake, home of the Dolly Steamboat. Cruise the secluded inner waterway of this beautiful lake. Discover the beauty of the lower Sonoran Desert and listen to our captain recount some of the legends of the Superstition Mountains.”

Our third excursion took us to the architecture studio and desert home of Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesman. Every detail was planned and executed to the best advantage for weather patterns, views, and comfort. The gift shop was a treat in itself – filled with unique home accent pieces, historical books and so much more. It was a treat to step into the architecture computer room where current-day students continue to study on site.

And lastly, to celebrate Judy’s birthday, we drove into Scottsdale and Phoenix, enjoying the southwest hospitality and charm, window shopping, and mission peeping. We even stopped at the Biltmore, Waldorf Astoria for a quick walk-through – drooling towels should have been provided!

Well, the visit with my daughter and grandson will have to be in another post. This is just getting too long. Let me leave you with a gorgeous farewell for now….. gorgeous sunset over the dog park at my current home.

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Moments of grace: how does one count her blessings? She doesn’t. She simply tries to live each moment gratefully. Thank you, Lord, for family, good friends, safe travel, and beautiful sunsets.

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