Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Monday, March 30, 2020

Thankful to be Here

At Orchard Ranch RV Resort, Prescott Valley, Arizona...

Things are very quiet here in the rural area where we're parked between the small towns of Prescott Valley and Dewey, Arizona.

There's been a small uptick to 15 known virus cases here in Yavapai County, with about 1,100 in the entire state of Arizona and, unfortunately, 20 deaths, statewide. Thankfully, the risk is low around here, but we still try to take the prescribed precautions. We've washed our hands as never before, and we're very mindful of what we touch outside Phannie, making sure to sanitize afterward. The thing we're having difficulty learning is to avoid touching our faces with our hands. Never before had we noticed how many times we touch our faces every day and, even as I write this, I find that I mindlessly reach up to adjust my glasses or scratch an itch or something on my face. It's maddening to try and break that habit.

All of the social gathering places in the park are closed, and we rarely see another guest outdoors. Our daily routines are becoming fairly predictable:  We sleep late (nothing new about that), then Sandy gets up to start her iced tea IV drip (if you know her, you'll understand). Shortly afterward, I stumble into the kitchen and figure out what I'll fix for brunch.  We eat only two meals a day--brunch and dinner.  For years, I have done the meal cooking and Sandy does the baking. It works perfectly, because I enjoy cooking entrees but not baking, and she enjoys baking (at which she's very good) but not cooking entrees.  However, she doesn't get to use her baking talents much these days, because we have tried very hard to limit carbs in the last few years. That's helped me lose 53 pounds since retiring, but we've sorta plateaued now that our outside activities have been curtailed--mostly by the social vacuum and Sandy's foot problems.  

She's seen yet a third podiatrist in nearby Prescott Valley; he is changing the orthotics she received from the previous Tucson doctor (who made things worse at a cost of $600) and advised that the orthotics he would be using would be much more appropriate for her condition (we'll see). He also said that surgery may be the last resort, but warned her that it may have only a 50-50 chance of success, in his opinion, because she has already had bunion surgery in the past. We'll see what our doctors in Houston have to say--if we ever get back there.  She mainly just toughs it out, walking with a temporary orthotic from the new doctor. It seems to help, so we're encouraged that he may know what he's doing.  She doesn't complain, however--unlike me, who would do much more whining if I were the one with her problem.

In the afternoons, we generally watch television or spend time on the computer conducting our personal business or keeping up with family and friends.  Thank God for modern technology! We have kept Phannie updated with the latest in satellite and unlimited wi-fi streaming capability on all the major cellular networks, so we are completely independent of any park resources for TV and wi-fi, which is a good thing, as the wi-fi in most parks is terrible.

Dinners are usually light and simple. We have no problem with leftovers, which we often have on hand, as it's not all that easy to cook for just two people.  This has been a huge change for us, as we have had a habit of eating out for the evening meal, usually trying new restaurants that we hear or read about as being good ones.  This has come to a crashing halt with the closing of inside dining, as we almost never do takeout.  We don't like eating in the car, and takeout food has usually deteriorated in some way in the time it takes to get back to Phannie.  Today's menu was a scrambled egg and sausage sandwich for brunch, and dinner tonight will be leftover beef stew and some sauteed fresh vegetables. I would like to say there would be a piece of one of Sandy's wonderful pies, but that would be like giving drugs to a recovering addict--not a good idea.

Thanks to technology, we're able to keep up with the kids, relatives and friends--sometimes by Facetime, and that helps a lot. It has been hard not to be around the grandsons as they grow like weeds. Here's their latest photo:

L to R:  Pryce (6) Sutton (11 months) and Mason (10)
On some days, we drive around the local area, so we'll know our temporary home better. There are some very unusual and picturesque granite rock outcrops around Prescott that we find fascinating. You can barely see Sandy standing in the shadows at the base of some of these rocks:

Here's another photo of the rocks along Highway 89 northbound from Prescott. The mountains in the far distance are 7-8000 feet, near Williams, Arizona:

Beautiful Watson Lake, just north of Prescott, is nestled in the rocky area:

According to geological sources, this collection of granite rocks is known as the "Dells" and consist of very old granite that has been exposed and weathered over time into spheroid shapes. The rocks are unusually high in uranium levels, necessitating periodic radon testing of houses built nearby. All we know is that they're very scenic, and we enjoy driving through the area.

We'll try to get some photos of the town of Prescott the next time we take an excursion. Life, for us, is moving very slowly now, in this unusual time for our country; it's almost as though everything is happening in slow motion. For us, a day's activity may consist of just one chore or maybe a trip to the grocery or drug store. We feel especially bad for those who are sick and those who have lost their jobs, and we pray things will return to normal sooner rather than later.  Until then, we'll keep you updated from time to time.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I fail to appreciate it each day as I should.

We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing. 
 ---George Bernard Shaw
"I get up every morning, and I just don't let the old man in." ---Clint Eastwood


  1. Sounds like you've found a Safe place to be Hunkered down in. These are times that one would never have thought that they would ever experience in their Lifetimes.
    Hoping the new Orthotics work better for Sandy.
    There's lots to see around Prescott. Problem is most of it is probably closed to the public.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your social distancing.

    It's about time.

    1. Thank you for the kind comments. We are in a good place during strange times; I wish everyone could say the same. Our best to you guys.

  2. Your grandsons sure are handsome fellows!
    I'm sorry things haven't worked as well as you and Sandy thought they might with the orthotics. I pray they find someway to repair the problem in the near future. Stay safe.

    1. Thank you, Cheri. Getting old is not for sissies, but we all hate to see our loved ones in pain. Thanks especially for your prayers. Our best to you and Dean.

  3. If you have to be travel-restricted, it looks like the Prescott Valley area is a beautiful location in which to be settled. I imagine that a ride through the magnificent scenery that's apparent in your photos is a sure way to brighten any day - as is being able to stay in touch with your grandsons via the wonders and blessings of technology. That photo of the three of them is evidence that miracles do occur. Just think, three young children, all looking directly at the camera, and all with angelic smiles. A round of applause for Mindy, whom I assume to be the miracle worker in this case. That pic is just precious, and would quickly be identified as a "Christmas card photo" in our house. I see that Blogger removed the extra line between your quotes, along with the one you probably wanted to keep. It certainly does have its quirks. Last week, while working on a draft, I tried to remove an extra line and, suddenly, my entire post was centered mid-page. I keep reminding myself that patience is a virtue and Blogger is free and, in theory, easy to use. Here's hoping that Sandy's foot continues to be helped by the new orthotics, and that both of you stay well in your temporary home!

    P.S. Unless it's a family secret (and if you're so inclined), feel free to share the recipe for Mike's Famous Chicken and Dumplings the next time you make it.

    1. How sweet of you to carry on about my grandsons--as you should. LOL! Yes, even Mindy will admit that that photo, taken with her cell phone, was a miracle. I couldn't help but include it in the post. Unfortunately, my plans for further excursions near Prescott has been quashed by the governor of Arizona, who says we can't do that for a while. I'm convinced that Blogger is possessed and needs an exorcism. That line has brought me close to profane language, something I have always thought was a substitute for a weak vocabulary; I don't know how much longer I can hold out, though. Chicken and dumplings, huh? Okay, I'll see what I can do. I'll have to make it again first to get the basics written down, but even then, there's some guesswork involved. My mother never had a recipe; I just watched her do it. If you don't mind, send me your email address at mike (dot) sandy (dot) mills at gmail (dot) com for the particulars. We are doing fine, as are the kiddos; we pray for Mindy, as her hospital is filling with Covid-19 patients. Prayers also for you and your family.

    2. My Mom came from a large Italian family, and always made her own sauce (or "gravy" as my cousins called it). She never had a recipe and my brother finally pinned her down one day long enough to work up a good estimate of the ingredients. I adjusted the estimate gradually over the years until I was convinced it finally tasted like "Nana's Sauce." So, I do understand the family recipe concept. If you're willing to guesstimate your Chicken and Dumplings recipe - AND you're willing to share it - I'd be delighted to receive it. If you prefer not to share, though, no worries. I'll not be offended. I'll check in with you via email within the next few days. Prayers said and fingers crossed for Mindy.

  4. Great pics of your grand children, I can certainly see the family resemblance. Hope Sandy has better luck with the new orthotic. Praying that this pandemic will be over sooner then later. We are grateful that we have the "Ridge" during this time of 14 day isolation, and afterward, where we can be outside without being near anyone. Take care.

  5. Thanks, Bill. We are pretty proud of those tykes. I appreciate your kind comments, and I'm especially glad that you guys are in a good place. Please stay well, my friend.

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