December 22, Website Woes, Arizona to Houston

Been awhile since we wrote and we have stayed busy.

First, we are having a problem with our Web page--most of our files have just disappeared. We are hoping our host (Apple) will be able to restore them from backups, but it hasn't happened yet and they aren't guaranteeing it. We had thought Apple's .Mac was our safety net, but obviously not. It would be nice if we could figure out what happened, but that doesn't look like it's going to occur either. At any rate, until Apple restores our files to .Mac, our Web site is down.

On leaving Payson we stopped in Casa Grande, at Randy's suggestion, in order to see a Northern Jacana that was hanging out at a golf course pond--"water hazard," in golf speak. It was a beautiful bird and I grabbed some pictures of the same individual from the AZ birding Web site. When our site is back up, we'll post them.

Northern Jacana at Casa Grande

After a day with Randy and family in Tucson, we then spent over a week at Patagonia Lake State Park, one of our favorite parks in Arizona. We had a great time and saw lots of birds, even taking a birding boat tour around the lake--much fun. Some Montezuma Quail were seen walking up the road to the Sonoita Creek Natural Area on the same day we were hiking there, but not while we were near the road. So, once again we missed seeing these elusive birds.

Luke and new daughter Naomi born Oct. 23

Amy and Naomi

Tucson in Thanksgiving was as special as ever. Randy and Ginny are always good hosts--lots of good food and lots of great company. There were several hiking trips, which I mainly passed on--just get too out of breath to keep up with the group. Everyone who went had fun and enjoyed both the scenery and the exercise. Again we'll post pictures later. We did miss Eric and his family, as well as Aaron and Burcu, who were unable to make it this year. Eric was busy "supervising" the birth of his first grandchild--Ryin Nicole Kent. Ryin looks just like her mother, Lindsey.

Richardson Thanksgiving

Playing charades

Sabino Canyon Hikers

Scott & Jo -- "who's king of the mountain?"

Harris Hawks at Desert Museum

Coyote at Desert Museum

Ryin Nicole born Nov. 16
After Tucson we headed straight for Houston, stopping only for a short visit with Sharon and Doug in San Saba (can you say, "pecans"?) and a weekend in Austin on Richard and Beverly's driveway. Uncle Bill was also visiting daughter Sharon, and it was good to see him again.

Sharon, Uncle Bill, & Margie

Margie & Riley in San Saba

In Austin, we got to help celebrate Lloyd's birthday, as well as help Richard decorate his yard and tree for Christmas. We also went to see the movie about Bob Dylan, "I'm Not There," and liked it. It's a bit strange and it helps if you know a lot about Dylan's life--Lloyd had to explain the relevance of some parts. For one thing, I didn't realize he'd ever been married, and the movie was presented in such a strange fashion that we weren't sure what was reality and what was fantasy. Cate Blanchett was great as one of six actors portraying (perhaps) facets of Dylan's life!

Richard & origami-decorated Christmas tree

Star is new ornament for 2007

In Houston, we stayed on the Thornton driveway for several days while getting work done on the house and doing some ourselves. There always seems to be work that needs doing, and the yard is impossible to keep up with, working on it but once a year.

Since then we've been staying on Nancy's driveway and helping out with Mom and Aubrey, both of whom seem to be happy living here, and are doing well. We, of course, are happy that they are here too. Nancy is very busy, and I've been glad to help her out. They've just sent their three thoroughbred mares to the breeding farm, and the gelding out to Jim's daughter Carol in California, so they only have two young fillies here. Makes the work of taking care of the horses a lot easier for them (and us, when we fill in). Jim and Nancy are going to St. Louis in late January for five days, and we will take care of things while they are gone. Lloyd and Ferrell have been visiting the last two days, and we look forward to celebrating Christmas here with lots more family.

Million Dollar Diva & Atta Crossroad
Margie & Riley

P.S. by Riley: I've got a hot new notebook computer, an Apple MacBook, that I'm enjoying very much. I'll be even happier when the extra RAM arrives after Christmas, enabling me to push the MacBook to its maximum of 4 GB.

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