Merry Christmas 2010

Happy holidays to our family and friends! This year, we’ve taken the time to slow down and enjoy the important things: family, friends, the two furry adoptees in our lives, new hobbies and the outdoors.

Macho and Niña: We welcomed our new babies home on Feb. 13. These two high-energy furballs never fail to entertain us. Bengal cats (a mix between the wild Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat) are high-energy and inquisitive. They love to take showers, “cover up” their food like wild “big cats” when they’re ‘done,’ prefer the tops of the eight-foot divider walls to floors, follow us around like dogs, and have the most incredible musculature I’ve ever seen on a feline. You should see them jump! In fact, check out videos of them on the right of the home page, or visit our Macho & Niña gallery of photos. You have to look at their baby pictures to see how small they really were! Oh – and did I mention that they have gorgeous, exotic spots (rosettes)?

Steve’s Ham Shack: When Steve isn’t busy working as radio communications engineer for Pinal County, he’s generally found in his new “Ham Shack” – which is essentially the camper that is now converted into what I call his “geek laboratory.” For those who don’t know much about ham radio (like me, before Steve’s obsession), it’s known as amateur radio, using various types of radio communications – in Steve’s case (a.k.a. MacGyver) a spool of wire, PVC, and clothesline – to talk to other “hams” around the world. Steve’s greatest accomplishments: making contact with Antarctica, South Africa, Reunion Island (off the coast of Madagascar). Check out his ham activity on his website. He also has been dabbling in some website design for clients on the side.

Melissa’s Writing, Nature & Fitness Hobbies: My slow to nonexistent writing business (caused by the continued economic decline), while unfortunate and a showstopper for house-building progress, has given me the opportunity to focus on two of my passions: nature and fiction writing. I’ve decided, unequivocally, that I’d rather be sitting around creating make-believe worlds as a novelist than writing business communiqués. And I much prefer hikes in the local area with friends/morning jogs among the desert critters to a boring gym or treadmill. (I will be running an 8K “trail run” near the Superstition Mountains in February!). Check out the incredible wildflower photos part 1 and part 2 from spring hikes). And don’t miss my new blog – a combination of my love for the outdoors and my love of writing: You’ll get glimpses of my newfound geology knowledge as well, gleaned from the class I’m taking for fun. (P.S. I was named 2010 Big Sister of the Year for the state of Arizona, for my role in Big Brothers Big Sisters. Shelly is a freshman at Northern Arizona University this year!).

Other Notable 2010 Events:

·     Steve’s 40th birthday bash (and subsequent declining vision and thinning hair). View at own risk.

·     Apache Lake boat ride with friends & neighbors Mark and Roxanne (scroll to bottom)

·     Aravaipa Canyon hike with friends & neighbors Kathy, Don, Mark, Roxanne

·     Melissa’s return to PA – saw best buds Deb, Tuesday, Sandy – as well Mom/Dad/Sis/Nephew, Thiel buddies, Mount Union pals, and the old high school crew at a mini-20-year-reunion. (Gulp… 20 years?).

·     House progress – See our month-by-month photo progress that includes installation of downspouts and scuppers, trenching for drain pipes, installation of water collection tanks, our new drainage ditch and planting shelves. (See great sunset photo below).

If you haven’t stopped by our website before (or if it’s been awhile), feel free to browse the PHOTO, VIDEO, CONSTRUCTION TIMELINE links at the top of  the page for more images and video.

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