Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The duvet started it all

Sometimes things are just meant to be.
A couple days ago Kathleen went to Target to see what they had in duvets. We have a white king-sized comforter that came with our problem bedroom. Kathleen found a duvet to stuff the comforter into. It was pink and brown. Sort of masculine, but not really with the flowers. With pillowcases and shams, it came to $99.

She was not sure if this was the right idea, so she waited a day and even consulted the husband on the color scheme. When she returned to Target, the duvet was on clearance at $70.
It was a sign.
The rest is history. We mixed the milk chocolate wall paint, got an IKEA Pax wall system and Malm dresser to break up the window problem, ($335) and some two-inch natural wood blinds at Home Depot -- $100.
We need a blonde headboard and a chair to add to Tami's nightstands and we're done!
Oh yes. Now have to shop for stuff to fill all those new shelves and drawers. And the wall needs art. The nightstands need lamps.
Will the hunting and gathering ever cease?

Somewhere in this pile of lumber are two bookshelves and a dresser.

Minnesotans haggle over nightstands

Army veteran Tami , of Richfield, Minnesota, is moving her family into a new home in Vail.
We always thought Vail was in Colorado.
Tami had a pair of large light-finished nightstands for sale and advertised them on Craigslist. Kathleen spotted them and thought they might look okay in a brown and pink room. We got directions to Vail, Arizona. Fifty miles later we turned off I-10 onto Colossal Cave Road, then Garrigans Gulch until we found this brand new housing development in the absolute middle of nowhere. There was a sign on the road that said "Cattle May Be Present." What is that supposed to mean?
Tami pulled up in her pickup right on time for the noon appointment and we looked at the nightstands. What do you think? They're kind of big, but. Tami wanted $150 for the pair.

Minnesotans all, we are not comfortable with haggling. But we did anyway, and Tami came down to $125, refusing $100. We loaded the car.
Tami has done service inTexas and Korea, but not Iraq. She now works for Raytheon, which is a big military contractor out here. She still has relatives in Bloomington and Kimball. She and her husband have two boys and two very large dogs. The new house has a pool and a big yard.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Meanwhile, in St. Paul

You're invited. Marcelline Harrisonfields is our daughter.

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007
New Art Salon
614 Snelling Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN

Hold the calls, please. We have a winner!

And the winner is. . . Ralph Lauren Chocolate Brown VM23.
We bought a gallon at Home Depot for $28 and a brush for $12 and a roller cover for $4. The rest of the sundries, tape and dropcloths, we found in the garage.
Stand by while we get it spread. If your color monitor isn't showing a true color, get a carton of chocolate milk and pour it into a bowl. That's what is going on the wall.

The carpet is still pink under the dropcloths. Still pink. Oh. If you can't remember what pink looks like, for your convenience we have included a sample, at right.
Stay tuned.

Sister Sosie sends some suggestions from Sunol

(Editor's note: The only sister not covered by the Three Sisters Tour, Solveig Shearer in Sunol, Calif., was not slighted, but continues to loyally blog on. Today we received this thoughtful note:)

First, I think Kathy's shot of the bobcat is absolutely marvelous and I question that anyone sitting safely belted into the driver's seat should suggest otherwise. When JD treed a bobcat and I went to remove him from the base of the tree lest the bobcat get annoyed with the standoff, I took only one very short look at the bobcat. Then I did what I do in scary traffic, I squeezed my eyes shut tight. Had I had a camera, there would be no picture. My hat is enthusiastically off to Kathy.

Second, did you send in a scrap of pink carpet to HGTV? They have whole shows on color combos that play down and play off such a color. Your room is so perfect for a makeover contest. Contact your local Univ of AZ interior dec dept and be a homework assignment for an aspiring designer. Or, unleash Kathy. That girl can do anything, given some quiet support. (Hopefully you will run that same line on Bill some day.)

IMHO, that arched window is ripe for a really, really expensive stained glass treatment, an expression of your joint religious views to start and end the day. Personally, I wouldn't muck it up with a shelf of incense and candles below, but you could.
Isn't it amazing how people who know nothing just swell up with opinions when asked?

(Thank you Sosie. You'll be interested to know that yours is not the only suggestion that hopped into the box. Click on the comment icon with the original post below to see an anonymous decorator wannabe's thoughts. It's all good advice and we're grateful for the interest. You are absolutely correct about Kathleen's camera skills. Do you see me on that pile of stones below in the earlier post? It is actually the same identical pile of stones, taken from two decidedly different angles. Kathleen's trick photography, as it were. I was actually out golfing yesterday and haven't lifted a scoop yet. This ruse was meant to buy time. Don't tell Virg.)

Our granddaughter, Emily, almost 9 months, whom we miss dearly, in the pool with Melissa.
(We miss you too, Missy)

And now turning to the local news. . .

Today's Tucson News over morning coffee:
Temperature 52; highs of 68 expected; buttermilk skies

Carcasses of 6 cattle found;
all had been shot to death

By Dale Quinn
Arizona Daily Star
The discovery of six cows shot to death near a watering hole in the Redington Pass area east of Tucson has the owner asking for help tracking down the shooter. A $10,000 reward has been offered for information.....

The range area has problems with illegal shooting -- with targets including native plants, animals and road signs -- and illegal dumping.
"All kinds of things get shot up there," Pima County Sheriff's Dept. Detective Mike Duffey said, "But mostly its the junk that people bring up there to shoot."
Now it seems people -- bored with shooting other targets -- are aiming at cows, Duffey said. The cattle belonged to the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch on East Speedway and were worth about $1000 each, ranch owner Bob Cote said.
Illegal shooting has been a problem in the open range, but finding six dead cows at once is unusual, he said.
The cows were found near a wildcat shooting range, U.S. Forest Service land where shooters can take target practice, Cote said. Cote has had more than 12 cows shot dead in the past year, and he said the sheriff could patrol the area more regularly.
The guest ranch has an active cow-calf business. Ranchers raise the mothers and sell the calves to a feedlot for processing. The ranch has about 700 cows, Cote said.
The problem is about more than the value of the cows, though, Cote said.
"People should not be shooting animals like that. If they start shooting at animals, what's the difference between shooting at people. It's not that big a jump."

Monday, January 29, 2007

Can I quit now? Is this good enough?

After chores today, Stan went golfing at The Ranch with Richard Krueger, our neighbor who retired recently from General Mills in Minnesota. His brother-in-law, Tom Lehman look-a-like Richard Robertson and Mack completed our foursome. At the end of the day the new guy found himself paying each one of them $2. I felt kind of bad about that until I learned that Stephen had received exactly the same treatment the first time he went out with them. I am not saying anything, but I am just reporting what happened.

The weather was perfect, no wind, a blue sky, and short sleeves through the 18th. I have never gotten so much for $27. The guys are great fun because they know facts about Steve and Virg and are not afraid to state them. They also know about Jimmy Carter's position on the Middle East and can debate it intelligently. Which I suppose isn't surprising. None of them has a steady job.

Lehman shot a 77, took his cap off and revealed an authentic Lehman hair cut.

Tomorrow, I go to the driving range.

Oops, doorbell just rang as I write this. "Did you know that you left your golf clubs out on the driveway?" a perfect stranger said. I had forgotten them tonight when I was trying to open the garage door with the secret code. It is apparently still a secret.
People are forgetful and people are nice. His name was Joe and we thanked him profusely.

Virgil. You've got to be kidding. . .

Virgil has noticed some bare spots around the house that need to be freshened up with some new stones. There are no lawns in Saddlebrooke so you would think that labor would be brought to a minimum here. Virgil ordered stones and had them delivered to the driveway. Now he is back in Minnesota with Steve. He said he wasn't able to haul all the stones to the back yard because they were "frozen" on the day he intended to do it.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The problem with this room

This is our bedroom in Tucson. Downstairs, brothers Virgil and Steve trade off in the big bulky master, but we've opted to keep this room upstairs as our home base. The problem with this room is the pink carpet and the odd-shaped windows. One is rectangular, the other is square and has an arched top, and what makes it worse, they're in the same corner. Why? Any ideas? How do you fix this? What kind of window treatment would remedy this god-awful situation?
We're wanting to make this a nice, personal retreat, are willing to work at it, but geeze. Pink? This is a manly man's house on a golf course, ya know. Unfortunately, the board of directors has not approved any new carpeting. So what's next? Please help by sending your suggestions to Crisis on Rock Crest at
Thank you for your support.

Kathleen shoots bobcat in neighbor's yard!

At dusk today this bobcat was spotted along a neighbor's fence stalking prey. Stan dashed back to the house for Kathleen and the camera, jumped in the car and returned. The bobcat was still there, but moving on now. Stan stopped the car and Kathleen leaned out the window. "There it is, shoot now, shoot now, Kathleen."

This was Kathleen's first live bobcat, friends, and her excitement is quite visible in the photo, above. (Remember, prop, hold your breath, squeeze, Kathleen.)

The bobcat sauntered into another yard, then onto the fairway in front of our house. Kathleen retreated there and fired again and again. Results at right. If you can't see it, click to zoom in. It's there in the center. Really. If you look carefully, up beyond the golf cart, you can see some mule deer along the fence line as well.

By the way, Linda, be sure to bring the lenses for the telescope when you come. We're not only watching mule deer on the other side of the fairway, but there is a pool boy for Kathleen.

Yes, Rebecca, there is an IKEA in AZ

You take the Warner Road exit off Interstate 10 in Tempe. More on this later.

What does this skinny girl know about food?

High on a hill above Durango stands brand-new Mercy Hospital, serving the health needs of this burgeoning community.

Inside the bowels of this proud edifice, deep inside the bowels, is the Nutrition and Environmental Services Supervisor, Heidi Brewer. She is Kathleen's niece.

She gave us the cook's tour. We had lunch in a fabulous hospital cafeteria (really, it is very nice), dropped by the Merciful Mug, Heidi's answer to Starbucks, viewed the chapel filled with very nice stained glass, photographed the little beavers statue outside, dubbed "Bill and Monica" by some hospital wag, studied artifacts and the time line showing how the mountain hospital has grown, and let Heidi get back to work, which was good, because both a doctor and her mother said that she actually runs the place.

Mostly we wanted to know about Heidi's new husband and about their home construction project in the old part of Durango.

Mary Lou and Dave drove us to the remodeling project, and we saw a 1920s building getting a complete overhaul.

The living area and kitchen downstairs is getting a trendy bamboo floor. The exterior was being clad in "galvaluminum" which makes it look like an industrial shed, but is considered very hip, the Teluride look. We are trying to catch up.

The carriage house in the back (their rental, where Heidi and Sam are nested during the remodel) already has the siding (click on red photo).

The upstairs master is very dramatic, with wonderful windows, colors and a hot tub deck outside under the mountain view.

After the self-guided tour we had chocolate in Starbucks in downtown Durango.

Lots of young professionals are moving to Durango and you can tell it in many ways. There are 26 teams in the city hockey league, mostly aging jocks, male and female.

One of them is Sam King from Denver and Chicago, an engineer with British Petroleum. Durango sits on top of one of the world's largest gas domes, fueling an amazing growth spurt in local population and home values.

Sam is Heidi's husband. We like him a lot, which is probably why we didn't get a picture of him, we were having too much fun. We had dinner with them downtown at Ken and Sue's restaurant. He came to dinner dressed as a pirate, with lacy sleeves and a tricorn hat. It is a costume for a weekend chamber of commerce event, but he just couldn't wait to try it out. Aaargh, matey. We're happy for Heidi.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It wasn't all misery in the Rockies. . .

Lest we leave the impression that our passage through the Colorado Rockies was nothing but a struggle, we offer these window shots by Kathleen. We're going through Wolf's Creek Pass where three lanes of clean roads were maintained.

The state seems to do a good job on this area as it is critical to the economy. The rest of the state doesn't meet these high standards, however, as taxpapers seem content to follow their adage "What the Lord has given, let the Lord take away."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mary Lou showed us how to do this...

Kathleen's sister Mary Lou has a bright and colorful house that she is getting ready to sell. (Is there a familiar theme here?) There is a neat faux tile feature in her kitchen and in a bathroom that we think is really cool and may try to imitate back home on the kitchen hood.

Mary Lou explained how to do it with a square kitchen sponge. That's where the textured look comes from. You cut the sponges to the size you want then press each into separate paint pans, experiment a little, then press a sponge onto the wall, being careful to follow your guides and plan. What do you think?

(Remember you can click on an image to get an extreme closeup of the detail.)

Wild life in Durango

No matter how you feel about feeding wild animals in the front yard, Kathleen's sister does it in Durango and the result is a small herd of loyal mule deer coming to visit each evening. Kathleen, a city girl who has never milked a cow in her life, loved getting so close to these sweet, quiet, skittish animals. We counted five in the yard.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Here she is! Showing off in Mexico!

Our daughter, Melissa, sent us this photo of our granddaughter, Emily, 7 months, having fun at Melissa's time share in Mazatlan. Emily loves the water, we're told.

Tucson last weekend

Virgil is home in Minnesota now, but this afternoon he sent us some photographs of last weekend's snowfall in Tucson.

These shots are of the front and back yard as well as an unidentified friend apparently sweeping snow from his car. Virg asks the question: "Is this Tucson or Minnesota?"

A midnight visit from the Saddlebrooke Patrol

Sometimes we lose our glasses. We can't always remember what exit to take, even though we repeated "take exit No. 58" three times. We forget to take our pills. Where did we park the car? Where do you apply Head On?
Last night we forgot to close the garage door. We were stripping the interior of the car so we can wash all the Colorado dirt and bird doo off of it at Virgil's new car wash behind Target. Somewhere along the line we forgot to finish the job and left the hatch door wide open and the garage door in the up position. Oblivious, we watched the news and went to bed. Normally, this security breach would go unnoticed until the next day when we would chasten ourselves for our laxity.

Not in Saddlebrooke. In Saddlebrooke we have the Saddlebrooke Patrol.
The Saddlebrooke Patrol is an elite pack of gentleman Rough Riders who browse the Saddlebrooke range seeking outlaws and signs of criminal opportunity. Last night they found a bonanza on Rock Crest.
We were awakened shortly after midnight by flashing lights and a persistent ringing. What could it be? My light-sleeping spouse was no help. I scurried down the stairs, trying to remember where the light switches are, how to open the door.

"Saddlebrooke Patrol, sir. Your garage door is open and it won't close because the car isn't all the way into the garage." He spoke with a sure confidence that didn't go with the goofy stocking cap he had pulled all the way down over his glasses tops. (These people think it is cold here and it is amazing the garb they think appropriate to 32 degree weather.)
Still in a foggy, surreal half-awake state, I meekly thanked the patrolman, hunted up the car keys, closed the garage door and headed back to bed, hoping my wife would not say "Who was that masked man? I wanted to thank him."
Oh Yes. This morning it finally came to me. You apply it directly to your forehead.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


An error in a previous post has been brought to our attention: The Ancient Age Bourbon Whiskey I drank upon arrival last night was not purchased by Virgil, as originally reported. In fact, it was purchased by Stephen. The sandwich I am enjoying tonight as I post this, made from Butterball Extra Thin Sliced Honey Roasted Turkey Breast and Hillshire Farm Ultra-Thin Deli Select Honey Ham on Oroweat Health Nut Original Bread with butter and mayo and pickles was provided by Virgil. We regret the error and apologize for any confusion this unintentional oversight may have caused.

Want to buy a house in Ft. Collins?

For Sale, 4BR, 4 bath, nice nbrhd, nr 2 schools, grt lndscape, hge mstr, vlt lvroom, 2 -car grage, nwly redcorated. mst see! $400,000 or BO. Nice semi-retired couple moving to Minn.
4400 Craig, Ft. Collins

I promised you some photos of Linda and Ron at the house on Craig that they are diligently preparing for sale. Sunday the house had a nice but rare coat of snow all about it. But don't worry. There are mostly Republicans and Mormons in the neighborhood so all the walks are shoveled clean as soon as the snow falls.

Kathleen and I told Ron and Linda we'd treat them to dinner Saturday night. Linda took us to a nice lunch in their Old Town at Enzio's where we had some nice pasta and sausages and salads. Very Tuscanesque surroundings and a great looking bar, if you ever get the chance to check it out.

During a mandatory shopping spree, the couple picked out a nice picture depicting one of the great restored buildings in the Old Town. After the picture helps sell their house, it will be used in Minnesota to remind them of their time in Ft. Collins.

Our treat was to be dinner anywhere they wanted to go, --- the trick was that it was Saturday night and we had no reservations. Kathleen and I have a rule to never go anywhere on Saturday night and, sure enough, we proved the rule, as everywhere we went, there were long waits and standing room only. We settled on pizza to go from the Old Chicago.

Back at the house we were just finishing up the meatlovers when the doorbell rang and the entire Heurta family exploded through the door.

We weren't sure we were going to get to see all of them (the grandkids had to clean their rooms to qualify to come over to Grandma and Grandpa's) but there they all were, with all the energy and vigor of youth, excited to run free at the Big House.

They came equipped with radio-control devices, DVDs, etc., for a Saturday night pajama party and church with Grandma in the morning.

Parents Alyssa and Corey got the night off and are beginning to show their age: they opted for a quick trip to WalMart and then home to bed.

Kathleen and I are hopeful that the Heurta's will come to
Minnesota to stay next summer, but only time will tell what they end up doing. It would be great having them extend our family there.