Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Our Year in Pictures

Where did this past year go?  We will try to show how we spent part of it in pictures.

January sunset from from our deck on Mayne Island.

I started this year laying tile in our new pantry... and will end the year laying tile in our snowbird home at Rancho del Lago, near Tucson, AZ.

I built my first cabinet... did most of it twice.  After getting it all done I couldn't pull out the drawers... so had to make them a little smaller.  Shirley loves it... No more long walk to the garage fridge and freezer.

The windows came in January... and this was the first of 36 which we installed.  Shirley and I installed all but about six of the biggest... we had Dan come and give us a hand for part of a day.

It took most of this year for us to get the exterior completely finished... all the siding, soffits and trim for the windows.  Before we left for Arizona in November we even had the exterior all painted.

Insulating the high ceilings was no small task... and Shirley helped install all the vapour barrier.

In March we did a week cruise in the Caribbean with Lorne and Gail Booth.

In the Cayman Islands there is a place called "Hell."  I hope that is as close to Hell I ever get to it... got that out of my system!

This is the other side of the same red barn in Hell.

Lorne and Gail posed at the Tortuga Rum shop... the Caymans are famous for their rum.

Our cruise departed and returned to New Orleans... where we spent four enjoyable days visiting the city where Hurricane Katrina left its mark.  Our hotel was in the French Quarter... not affected by the storm...  and we were there just after Mardi Gras. The city was still buzzing.

This monument showed the depth of water in various parts of the city,.. in some places 14 feet deep!

Many homes are being rebuilt... the people praying the new levies will keep them safe.

We loved the trolley system in New Orleans... very affordable and a fun way to see the city.

We took a day trip out of the city to Oak Alley, an old plantation estate house.  28 majestic oaks lined this walkway.

We also spent half a day at the World War II Museum. Lorne looks small beside Old Glory.

The predominant symbol... the Fleur-de-Lis was everywhere in the city.

We returned then to Tucson for a couple of weeks to golf and play pickleball.  A perfect way to escape the rain and keep warm.

I started most days playing pickleball...

and usually golfed 3-4 times a week.  More than a few golf balls hit this mighty Saguaro Cactus.

Back home again we had our work cut out finishing the exterior of the new addition.

Shirley would pre paint the cedar siding... and I would fit it into place.

We enjoyed Calgary during Stampede Week... I loved the tall buildings downtown.

This is the Bow... the newest and tallest in Cow Town.  It is the home of Encana.

We did a walk thru the livestock barns and saw some beautiful critters.

But the highlight of this trip was the Beach Boys concert.  They are still amazing!

When Shelby and family came home this past October we took a day trip to Saturna... a neighbour island to Mayne Island.  It was fun adventure.

Before we left for Arizona mid November we reached our goal... all the exterior cladding was completed and painted... except for a couple of places where I will do rock facing next year... like parts of the pantry and new bedroom closet.

When we get home again the interior finishing awaits us.  Shirley has most of the walls painted... but there are floors to lay and a staircase to the loft to build.  Will it ever end?  I doubt it.

This next year the original house will get repainted and in places new shingle siding too.

On our way south we spent several days in Walla Walla with Sher and family... Shelby and family also came over for Thanksgiving.  It was fun taking our family picture without a tripod on delayed exposure. Duct tape and a step ladder to the rescue.

"Christmas doesn't come from a store, 
maybe Christmas means a little bit more..." 
-Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

From our house to yours we wish you all the very best Christmas possible... and may 2013 be the best year yet for you.

May the Lord bless and keep you, ALWAYS.
May the Lord make His light shine upon you, ALWAYS.
And be gracious to you, ALWAYS.
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, ALWAYS...
And give you peace.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Walk in the Park

This past week there was more progress on the house next door than in our house.  We pulled out some carpet... and painted a few rooms.

It's nice to have the sidewalk completed on Friday.  As one man works...

the other is taking a break in the window ledge.  Concrete work is hard work, right?

Shirley also was doing some pretty hard work this week... painting ceilings gave her a stiff neck.  So she stopped for a Mexican style break.

This morning Lorne joined us for a easy hike at Saguaro National Park.  The stately Saguaro cactus is only part of the amazing desert vegetation.

The Cholla cactus is also plentiful in this area.

Up close are thousands of sharp prickly needles... kind of pretty as long as you don't get too close.

Shirley is checking out this Barrel cactus.

It will be very pretty to see this cactus in full bloom.

The majesty of the might Saguaro is a sight to behold.  I asked Lorne and Shirley to stand by this one just to give an idea of the size of this cactus.

Did you know that the accordion exterior of the Saguaro expands and contracts thru the year as it stores water to carry it thru the dry months?  We watched a 15 minute film at the Park Visitor Centre... and that was where I learned this interesting tidbit.

We encountered a man riding his horse... and later these girls were enjoying a ride thru the park.  Lorne asked if the horses ever got into the cactus.  One girl said it doesn't happen very often, but she carries a pair of pliers to remove the needles when it does.

Lorne is checking out a dead Saguaro.  Nothing lasts forever... and it is interesting to see the skeleton of the old dead cactus... part on the ground... part still standing.

Just like with people, there are no two cactus the same.  They all are different shapes and sizes and have a personality all of their own.  Shirley called this one the prodigal son...

and this one the elder brother.   But I told her that creative one was the "Twisted Sister!"

As we were leaving the park we saw these people climbing up among the rocks.  It was a perfect day to take a walk in the park.

For us it was a treat to spend some time in a desert park and see a completely different environment than we have back on Mayne Island... and to only get one tiny needle in my shoe was not bad for the day.

"Roses may say "I love you," but the cactus says "Fuck off.""
-Jarod Kintz, Seriously delirious, but not at all serious

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Getting Into Tucson Mode

Sitting at my desk this is the roof over the master bedroom.

The house next door has the roof tiles loaded on the roof, so maybe next week we will see those installed... they look better once they are properly placed.

These three windows are above the bed in the master bedroom.

About the only place you can see the solar panels is from the patio... which at this time has not been completed.

This small concrete slab doesn't count as a patio!

At certain times of the day when the sun comes thru the patio doors you see a green cast of light... the energy efficient gas between inside the sealed units.

All the walls are textured... but it only shows up this dramatic when the angle of the sun is on it just right.

Every day we have been getting closer to picking the colours for our home.  Sitting on the granite countertop is the 16" tile... to the left are the taupe wall colours Shirley has picked... and the other colours are going to be the accent colours.

We went for a little exploratory walk this morning.  We parked at the golf course and walked down to the Pantano Wash where there is a hiking trail.  As we followed it the golf course comes along side, and we found several golf balls.  There was a pond on the course where this duck was enjoying the day.

There was a tournament happening here this morning... but we will no doubt get in several rounds here as time permits.

No one wants to cut lawn here... so there are mostly various desert plants used to landscape the homes here.  In time we will acquire a few different ones.  The largest tree in our front yard didn't survive, so it is going to be replaced with a Palo Verde... just love the green bark on that tree.

And these prickly pear cactus are very common here... and quite pretty when in bloom come spring.

So far the weather has been awesome... around 80 F. every day and sunny.