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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Retirement Continues !!!


I am happy to say that retirement is progressing nicely around our house. But we have been very busy!

Emma.

This little darling has stolen our hearts. I got over to see her a few times this fall and she is as endearing as ever. Here she is with her proud daddy! I cannot get enough of her sweet face.




Disneyland to celebrate with Kristi!
Girls' Day at Disneyland with every single on of my gals. We had the best time as you can see here.



And that 60 minute wait for Mickey... SO worth it!!! 


San Francisco with Zach & Sierra.
What a fun time we had - eating and wandering and seeing the sights. This town has so much appeal time after time. We had some of the best egg custard cups ever from a place in Chinatown called Golden Gate Bakery. Our wait time was only 30 minutes and well worth it. We visited the Antique Vibrator Museum, and a great Cidery, called Upcider (www.upcidersf.com) - Amazing ciders!! Our boutique hotel, The Adagio on Geary, was centrally located with a nice happy hour bar and gorgeous rooms. Well Played Adagio! (www.marriott.com) Food... glorious food. From the best dim sum ever at Hong Kong Lounge on Geary Street to the ultimate Hawaiian Brunch at Aina (www.ainasf.com) to the wonderful array of Tiki Bars - this was a great weekend all around. Love these two.




Knee Replacement.
Not for me, mind you but for my hubby. He is now 5 weeks post-op and doing great and I have loved doing all the driving around town. Truly - so proud of his progress!




Fantasy Football.

This mindless sports debacle and competition among family members and friends has us rattled to the core on a weekly basis. Right this very moment - Mr. Smith and I are vying for 9th and 10th place out of 10 teams. Righteous. I'm pretty sure he's got me on this as his team is waaay better than mine. Not saying much - but we have enjoyed our weekly bouts, and have come to love the Philadelphia Eagles


and most notably, Carson Wentz.  Image result for carson wentz This quarterback has thrown incredibly well on the field, and continues to shine as a role model and regular ole human being too.

Gearing up for the holidays around here and looking forward to spending time with all our loved ones. Until next time :)
Deb

Monday, October 2, 2017


I envy people who write every day. I myself, THINK about writing every day. I try to read every day, but writing is a bit more elusive. I think big thoughts and want to memorialize them. I Tweet, I Instagram, and I search out the writing of others - their thoughts, dreams, wishes, and more. But what of mine??




We recently returned from a relaxing trip onboard Holland America Line's Maasdam. The ship was the right size, the service was very good, but the ship was a bit sleepy. We saw the medical teams in action for two emergency evacuations, and we've never seen that on a cruise ship before. Holland America doesn't mess around with their service, but I just don't think we're old enough for Holland America at this point. (www.hollandamerica.com) We had a nice time visiting the various ports on this Canada New England itinerary and would go back to several of them in a hot second.

Montreal, Canada ~ lovely city with a very French European flair. We loved the area by the waterfront with its bars and eats and shops. Just wandering in Chinatown we spied a 'Noodle-Magician' who had quite a way with the raw dough. And we noshed on dumplings so flavorful we almost ordered another dozen. This is a smaller Chinatown, but packed with activity. 




A little place down on the waterfront, Creperie Chez Suzette, had us bowled over with their Crepes Suzette. Delicately thin crepes with a lovely Cognac/Grand Marnier sauce. I'm ruined for all other crepes!! Check them out at www.chezsuzette.ca for hours and location.

Our stay at the Springhill Suites in Montreal was also very nice - so darn friendly at the front desk, we never left or returned without a warm friendly greeting. Well played and affordable at www.marriott.com.




The Montreal Botanical Garden was one of the highlights with its vast green spaces, towering (Christmas) trees, vine sculptures, and gardens galore. You won't want to miss a visit here if you love flora (http://m.espacepourlavie.ca/en/botanical-garden).





See what I mean about Christmas trees?
They were everywhere!


Lastly, we loved their Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. A gorgeous back-lit altar with incredible statuary and architecture. For more info check out http://www.basiliquenotredame.ca/ before your visit. 






Charlottetown, PEI was the most surprising little city with the (truly) friendliest people we have ever encountered on vacation. People stopped us on the street to see if we needed help or directions. We visited The Beaconsfield Historic House, noshed on mussels and potato-fish cakes, enjoyed the most delicious date confection, and shopped in darling little Irish & Scottish shops. Truly an enchanting little city, and I can't wait to go back! 

Sydney, Nova Scotia was also charming but a bit more economically depressed. We visited the Jost House, shopped at a craft market, and sampled hot cocoa at Doctor Luke's, a local coffee shop with homey service and excellent shortbread cookies. Grabbed a pic of one of my very favorite signs of all time right there at Doctor Luke's...




We also visited Halifax but it was pouring rain so we sprinted into the dockside brewery, Garrison Brewing Company, and visited with another traveling couple. We shared stories of teaching, retirement, and breast cancer - just a note that I'm praying she's going to be well and healthy soon. 

Bar Harbor, Maine was our last stop and I loved it. Quaint and kitschy in the little shopping area, but the real beauty is Acadia National Park. Our driver was particularly knowledgeable and shared some great info with us. I can't wait to re-visit this area of Maine and continue along the coastline. 



And more Christmas trees! 





What's Next ?? 
We Shall Certainly See...
:) Deb 










Thursday, August 3, 2017

McDowell Road Artistry


I drive down McDowell Road in Phoenix pretty regularly to meet up with Zach for lunch. 
Originally called Christy Road, the name was changed to McDowell Road way back when...




This road actually led to the cavalry outpost of Fort McDowell near the criss-crossing of the Salt and Verde Rivers. The street, the fort, the mountains, and the ranch all got their name from Civil War General Irvin McDowell, a graduate of West Point and Union Commander at the Battle of Bull Run. 

Fort McDowell, as a military installation, existed here from 1865 to 1895. 




Dubbed the "Miracle Mile" during the 1950's, McDowell Road was quite the stunner in its heyday.
Prominent businesses included birdhouse vendors, delicatessens, newspaper offices, and photography studios, along with clothing shops and other small businesses. 

The street lost its vibrancy as local areas began building mega-malls that motivated shoppers to seek bargains off this major thoroughfare. A decline continued through the late 1980's. 

Artists began looking at this Central Phoenix Corridor to not only open up shop, but also to paint murals along the sides of dilapidated and vacant buildings. And that's where we get started. 




My camera is typically at home, but not today! 
A perfectly humid, look at those gorgeous clouds kinda day. 
It's only 98* outside today and my driver and I are ready. 

Mr. Smith and I made the trek up and down McDowell Road from Hwy 143 to 19th Avenue at Grand Avenue where the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum holds court. Nicknamed "The Madhouse on McDowell", this venerable stadium is host to all sorts of conventions and The Arizona State Fair. 

This street is loaded with great mural artistry - check out some of my favorite finds below. 
























Like what you see? Check out some of our major thoroughfares in Phoenix and look for mural art. 
Just don't go the wrong way on a one-way street!!! 




Enjoying every Day of Retirement!!!!
:) Deb 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What Do You DO All Day?


What do you do all day?
I'd be so bored at home. 
My spouse would drive me crazy. 
There's nothing to do. 
I can't afford it. We can't afford it. 
What do you DO all day????

Retirement questions and comments fired our way for the last few months. I've been home for over five years now, and Mr. Smith just joined me last month. We're just getting started.

What DON'T we do???

Retirement, according to an online dictionary is regarded as "the act of leaving one's job or employ." Another site reminds us that retirement means to "cease working."

There's still so much work to be done around here though!

The Social Security Administration recommends couples our age work until age 70 to increase their benefits. Ha! No way! You can (at this time) collect a percentage of your benefits at age 62. We'll consider that, when we get there.

One of the biggest issues facing couples our age is not only $$$, but also medical expenses. With the current political regime, we can expect our medical costs to skyrocket. Valued citizens, I think not. The current regime... that's a topic for another time.

But... I digress.

Erin needed some help with her classroom this week, so we were able to hang posters, clean files, and get shit done. She's ready for hordes of high-schoolers to come and learn all they can about history.




Jeff and another retiree friend of his took in a Diamondbacks game yesterday. They got great seats and the matinee prices are damn good. D-Backs won the game, and that was pretty snazzy.  If you want to see the D-Backs, check out www.mlb.com/dbacks for information.



There's still a few peanuts leftover for me!

Today we picked up a much-anticipated monthly shipment of beer. Yup, it's been a terrific retirement gift so far from our good friends. We are loving every bottle! 




Tacos. It's a passion here for us and we've found some pretty delectable plates around town. This yummy lunch happened at TaCarbon on 43rd Avenue and Thomas in Phoenix. My favorite, and could be yours as well. Carne asada or lengua, or beef cheek, or pork, or pastor, or ... you name it, they have it on a tortilla or in a burrito. The smell of grilled perfection smacks you in the face before you even leave your car. Don't deny yourself. 




Oh, this. We're trying to keep our brains engaged. So, yeah this is happening too. 




Buenos Dias!!
:) Deb & Jeff 




Saturday, July 22, 2017

Welcome to Retirement, Mr. Smith!!

Jeff and I made some financial plans for his retirement in June of 2018, right after Erin's wedding. 
But, truth be told, Jeff couldn't wait till then, and I don't blame him a bit. 
Retirement came early and we couldn't be happier. 

Here's how the first month of retirement shook out for us. 



Week One - Buy a new Retirement Vehicle!
Hey, what's money if you can't piss it away? 
We got ours at Honda of Tempe - great customer service. 
www.tempehonda.com 



Over to California to celebrate my great-nephew's high school graduation.
Four generations of Torrance High Tartars right here. 
From 1955 to 2017 - wahoo! 



Baby Shower for my new great niece with 
her proud & expectant parents!
A gorgeous day for a gorgeous new family. 
Think Pink...



Erin & I at the Heard Museum to visit Frida & Diego
The Heard Museum in Phoenix is one of those amazing little places that transports you with the beauty of Southwest Indian art and culture. Founded in 1929, the museum is recognized internationally for its world-class collections, exhibits, and festivals. 
If you're in town, check it out at www.heard.org 


One of my favorites by Diego


A fantastic Frida self-portrait


Frida & Diego 



Whilst in Torrance - gotta catch up with my niece.
We're sporting our LuLu Disney - Thanks Erin!!



A lovely visit to the Musical Instrument Museum (https://mim.org) here in Phoenix. 
The MIM is home to over 6,000 displayed instruments from around the world. (There are about 10,000 instruments in reserve at any given time.) Plan on a few hours to enjoy the diverse performances within each country's exhibit. 




Back to California to visit the Ronald Reagan Library. 
This presidential library is filled with memorabilia from Reagan's life of service, along with tributes to many notable events of the 1980's. It is well worth your time to see this gorgeous property in Simi Valley. You won't want to miss wandering through Air Force One! 
See for yourself at: https://www.reaganlibrary.gov 



Madame President... 




Over to the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Cemetery for a glimpse at a few famous graves.
Debbie Reynolds & Carrie Fisher above 

Nellie Wooden & John Wooden below
(one of Jeff's all-time favorite basketball coaches!) 



And Liberace! 




Jeff and I enjoyed the 2 Cellos concert at the Greek Theatre
where you can spot a $15 Pacifico in a can. Great concert though! 
If you fancy a listen, check out www.2cellos.com for some amazing cello playing. 
They do everything from classical, to movie themes, to U2, the Beatles, and Queen. 

Surprising us the morning after the concert was the arrival of our new great-niece.
She is as pretty as you can possibly imagine and we love her to pieces already.
No pics here, sorry. Maybe when she's older. 

... And that's just the FIRST month of retirement. 

:) Deb