Tuesday, April 16, 2024


 Lots of things bloom in April.    It's a beautiful month, one of Dave's favorites - he's a flower guy you know.    April convinces the Argentine Giant to show us what it's been working on all winter.....

Several (actually 13!) huge, fragrant, simply stunning blooms have formed and opened within the past week.  


Oh Dave.....

We also have several cheerful little "volunteers" springing up in our stone yard.   Sometimes I wonder why I bother to buy pots of these pretty violas, to water them and keep them fertilized and in the sun, to cover them when it's cold,  when they seem to prefer the bare gravel yard with absolutely no attention whatsoever.

 April is baby time here in the desert.  Lots and lots of little cottontails are scampering around the rocks behind the house.  Birds are getting frisky; eggs are being laid.   When Dave moved the trash can the other day he found this nest.

We assume they are Quail eggs but aren't sure.   No one has claimed them, we've never seen a parent nearby but there are 4 more eggs now than there were in this picture.   Hmmmm

Taos is growing and changing.    He's still a sweet, smart, adaptable and loving little guy but is beginning to enter the pre-teen age, you know what that means.  

get out of the closet Taos!

out of the bathroom Taos!

 We've developed methods to keep him busy and moving in the correct direction.

hands hold coffee cups, feet hold dog bones.....


 Second cup and happy hour outside have taken on a new look.   We've learned strategies to enjoy our beverages and conversation without a thousand interruptions, while keeping him happy and close by.    Learning new things is good, right?

We take every opportunity to socialize him in a safe way and have attended several club (Guide Dog for the Blind Phoenix Northwest Area Club) meetings.   During these meetings we're often asked to switch dogs/puppies.   This is to accustom them to other people and, perhaps, different ways of working.   We've been happy to see Taos adjust well to someone else.

good boy, Taos

You can't help but love this puppy.     He carries the perfect birthmark..

see the little pink heart?

April is also the month for the NHRA Arizona Nationals Drag Races at Firebird Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ.     Dave and I are race fans, both drag racing and NASCAR, so when we found out what would be practically in our backyard, we jumped at the chance to attend.

As it turned out Steve and MonaLiza Lowe were also excited to get to the races, so we made a fun weekend out of it.     First, we dropped Taos off at a puppy sitter arranged by the GDB club.    One of the nice things about this group is that they encourage you to take the dog with you wherever you travel, but if it's not practical they will happily arrange for someone to puppy sit.    We didn't worry one bit about him because we knew he'd be having as good a time as we were.    His sitter took him for a ride in a wagon and also let him greet parishioners at her church! 

where are we going?

After we settled Taos at Judy's home we proceeded to our hotel (we booked two nights there so we would not have to deal with race traffic when we were tired - and also so that we could have a couple nice dinners with friends!).     We met at a small tablecloth restaurant near the hotel, The Hidden House.    Great dinner, great wine, great conversation, great friends.

The next morning, we left for the track at 7:30.     We wandered through the pits and watched the crews ready their cars for the days runs.    It's an impressive operation.  I took very few pictures; we've done this many times before.   Look at the Lowes blog if you want to see the cars!      We watched some early runs, wandered through the "Midway" where everything "race" is sold (bought a few t shirts) and practically anything unhealthy to eat is sold.   Oh well....churros and pizza for me!

watching the dragsters stage for their turn at the track

Legend, 74 year old John Force signing an autograph before racing down the track at more than 300 mph!

It was a wonderful day of racing.   The weather was perfect, coolish and sunny.   The wind was blowing from behind us - a important plus because the clouds of tire smoke and nitromethane didn't envelop us each run.      Well, there was that one time our eyes burned and watered but, hey, it's the drags!

We were at the track for about 9 hours and we had dinner reservations at the nearby Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant, so we wiped the black specks off our faces, straightened our clothes and went straight to dinner.      We all had wonderful meals, a great waitress, and LOTS of complimentary wine.   I don't remember when we spent such a long time at the dinner table, laughing, talking, eating and tasting wine.   burp....

Sunday morning, we had a light but yummy breakfast at LeMadeline Cafe and then headed out for a big surprise for Steve.    Long story short, Dave had arranged a meeting with one of Steve's rock and roll idols, Lou Gramm - from the band, Foreigner!     Lou is from Rochester; his kids went to school with our son and Dave bought a beautiful 67 SS 396 Chevelle from him back in the day.   Lou is a big car nut, as are Dave and Steve.     Lou visited with us for a long time and signed a beautiful photo of Steve, MonaLiza and Tam, the 69 Firebird Trans Am that has been keeping Steve (and Dave) happy and busy for quite a while now.

Steve, Lou and Dave


thanks for the photo MonaLiza!

Next up for us is a short Beluga trip to Catalina State Park in Tucson.    This will give Taos a chance to acclimate to motorhome life and visiting new places before we all head north for our summer get a way.    Stay tuned.

Here comes Anabel!



Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Taos (no, we're not in New Mexico)

 If you aren't interested in cute puppy pictures, go no further.   

come sit with me!

This post is filled with pictures of little Taos as he grows and learns.     He's changed our lives and keeps us very busy.     Sometimes he thinks he's in charge - one of our jobs is to remind him that he's not, in a kind but firm way.     Not always easy!    He has a very loud voice.

He likes to "help" with whatever we're doing and he's very alert to his surroundings.  Fun.

Happy Hour each night is more of a production now.    No more just pouring a couple glasses of wine or beer, and perhaps a little snicky snack for the two of us.  There is the filling of the interactive puzzle toy (s) that allow us to enjoy our outside time without worry of unnecessary wine spillage.   

he figured them out quickly!

yes, that is red wine on his head

Happy Hour interrupted.....must hose red wine off the rug immediately!

He's learning to accept the "equipment" he'll be expected to wear in his grown-up life as a Guide Dog.  

We play games to help him learn behaviors that may be needed in the future.   He loves games and sometimes plays them by himself - you know, just for fun (and the possibility of treats?)

he lays quietly in his "place" while we eat

Until he's completely up to date on all his vaccinations we can't really take him out in public very much.    He's been a few places and had a good time.     He goes to "class" in Phoenix about once a month.    It's hard for him to control himself in such an exciting environment, but he tries hard.

hmmm, now that I've posted this picture, I'm not sure if it's Taos OR his sister Talia!

He has had dinner at Steve and MonaLiza's house and behaved very well.    He learned to follow a paver path instead of racing, willy nilly, around the yard.   Good boy!

Who is that bald man walking with Taos you ask?   Tee Hee, it's Dave!    He used the wrong clipper on his hair and, before he realized it, there was no more hair!

Back to socialization......He saw Steve's "new" car and let MonaLiza pick him up and hold him.     She's really little he says...

Pam and John came down for a couple days, so Taos got to ride out in the desert with us!    He was a real trooper in his crate behind the back seat.    We bounced and jiggled and started, stopped and turned around for a few hours, in the quest of a Crested Saguaro.     He slept!        The few times we stopped for photographs; he was a good boy.    Well, except when he snapped the head off a pretty blue Lupine and we had to poke around in his little sharp mouth to remove it.    And, when he gulped large mouthfuls of river sand instead of exploring the dry riverbed.  sigh.

But, most often, he's just a silly, sweet puppy who plays with his toys, loves his people, and falls asleep in the oddest places....



he doesn't fit very well anymore.

lying in front of the fire always gets them.....

French friends.....ahem

Nascar buddies

And, here's Anabel "playing" with Dexter, the cat.   Check out Dexter's manicure!