Anyone who has ever had a pet knows how much they enrich your life, and our beautiful little Dory was no exception. We adopted Dory (her former family named her Ruby) back in October of 2005 at the Maricopa County Pound’s Mutt Madness and Meow event after she put a spell on Tina with her beauty and sweetness. OK, Gannon will admit he was partial to a big, rotund Tabby he saw that night but also saw how sweet she was at the pound.
Dory’s adoption paperwork said she had been spayed, but after a few days in her new home we started to wonder; she was “showing” a lot of affection for Gannon. :) As it turned out, she wasn’t spayed after all and was in heat! After contacting the pound, they asked us to bring her back in to be spayed as this was included in the adoption.
It didn’t take long for her to settle in to her new home, making friends with Donovan, our black lab, and Taylor, our shepherd mix who passed away a few years ago. Dory was a very vocal cat — she’d let out her roar any time she wanted to play, needed to show you her latest “kill” or when she just wanted your affection. During her time with us, we adopted Elwood, our white Chihuahua, who became Dory’s new playmate — Elwood would chase Dory around the house on occasion and she would playfully swat Elwood in the head, very cute. Continue reading →
Our February choice for camping brought us back to Lake Pleasant regional park, only about an hour from our house. It is a very nice campground with some sites overlooking the lake. We lucked out again this time and had a great spot at the end of the loop on the edge of the water. We we’re anxious to see our spot right from the start, as the woman at the ranger station told us it was the best camping spot they had. We weren’t disappointed; a great spot with beautiful views of both sunrise and sunset.
We like to try and stay close to home during the winter months, because the nights can get pretty chilly even here in the Phoenix area. However, the last couple of weeks we’ve had temperatures 10-15° higher than normal, so we probably could have headed up north and still been okay weather-wise.
As usual, our camping trips have us spending a lot of time just sitting around but that’s the whole point—getting away from all the hustle and bustle of city life, catching up on reading, and just spending quality time as a family. All of our dogs are pretty old and have some kind of leg or joint problem that creates a lot of pain, so long walks or hikes as a group are out of the question. However, we do try and still get out individually. Gannon went for a hike on the Pipeline Canyon Trail and Tina was able to get in a run, as she is getting ready to do a 10K next weekend.
Lake Pleasant is really clean—you can see the bottom of the lake so we allowed our lab, Donovan, to go swimming both days. He hasn’t been swimming in quite a long time, as it seems each time he gets his ears wet he gets an ear infection. But, since he’s now 15, just a few, short dog paddles was enough for him which didn’t get his ears wet. As you can see by the photo, he was ready for a nap in his kennel on the ride home. :)
We prefer to give our family “experiences” rather than material gifts. So this year we decided to take our our niece and nephew to a children’s theater production of The Cat in the Hat as their Christmas gift. They really enjoy going places with their aunt and uncle, so Kiara and Aidan were ecstatic when they found out we were going.
After a lunch out where we hinted there was another surprise, we went to the play which was being held at the Tempe Center for the Arts. We spilled the surprise as we entered the theatre—our tickets were in the front row right in the middle of the stage! Gannon took Aidan to see How the Grinch Stole Christmas a couple years back and those seats were in the balcony, so the kids really liked being upfront to see all the action and interacting with the cast on stage.
It was a cute show—just the narration of the book, but there was a lot of action in between all of the words. After a quick stop at Dairy Queen for a sweet treat, we headed out to Tina’s parents for our weekly Sunday dinner. We all had a great time and the kids are already asking where we’ll take them next. :)
Our first vacation in the new year was a short trip south to Picacho Peak State Park. They have a very nice campground so we drove the camper and the three dogs down to spend the weekend. As usual, our camping trips consist of relaxing, catching up on reading, babysitting our elderly dogs and daily happy hours. However, we really do enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle and both of us did get in some hiking during our visit on Picacho Peaks many trails.
Gannon took the long trip all the way to the summit, about a 3.5 round trip that included 6-7 sections of cable-assisted traverses. Some of these sections were on the edge of the mountain or up 140° inclines; let’s just say this hike isn’t for the faint of heart as you can see from the photos below (look for all the cable lines and rebar drilled into the mountain side). Tina opted for a shorter hike to what they call the saddle, about 45 minutes straight up to a nice view of the surrounding area.
We had absolutely beautiful weather the entire weekend, It was quite pleasant just sitting outside the camper reading with around 70 degree mid-January temps in Arizona. We only had one hiccup the entire trip—our propane gas leak detector went off in the middle of the night because Tina had placed a blanket that blocked part of the sensor. Lesson learned for us, however we do not think our camping neighbors were very happy, as you could hear the piercing alarm a mile away! :)
To ring in Tina’s 46th birthday on New Year’s Eve, we started our day at the usual birthday breakfast spot, Liberty Market in Gilbert. Tina’s sister Dawn and her kids Kiara and Aidan were able to join us this year. Great food with great company!
Next, off to play 18 holes at ASU’s Karsten Golf Course. It was a beautiful day and we were paired with a nice couple from Michigan. The round was really long due to an early morning frost delay and just an overcrowded course; this threw us off schedule and we didn’t make it to the movies as planned. However, later that night we did watch the clock strike 12 with great friends at their annual Uker tournament, a card game neither of us played before but learned in a trial-by-fire fashion. The game takes some time to learn so neither of us won much but now we have a new card game to play with friends when the opportunity arises. We had a great time with awesome friends—it was a great way to end 2013. Happy New Year everyone!