While I have been doing a fair amount of writing lately, my blogging has certainly been irregular and inconsistent. I feel the need to do some "catch-up" for the record.
About one year ago, our Phoenix-area-based children (Ben, Joel, and Jennifer) ganged up on us and convinced us that it was time for us to downsize from our large San Antonio home and, in the process, relocate to the Phoenix area. We have accomplished that over the past year and now live in Mesa, Arizona, in a 55+ retirement community called Encore. We traveled to Phoenix to shop for a new home and signed a contract on our new-build in July of 2018. I made two more trips from SA to Phoenix over the summer to make final selections for the new home and to move my "classic" car to Arizona. By September, we had our San Antonio home decluttered and staged and on the market. It sold in three days for above our listing price. We closed on that sale at the end of October and over the Hallowe'en weekend we relocated to the Phoenix area driving our Nissan pickup with a U-Haul trailer. We made the trip in two days, with an overnight at Faywood Springs in New Mexico. Selling one house, buying another, and moving was more work than I can describe. I don't know if I'd have undertaken it if I had known how much work it would be.
Arriving in Phoenix, we settled into Jennifer and Bre's guest room where we stayed through Thanksgiving (all of our home furnishings were in two Pods in storage in Chandler, AZ). We had to move out after Thanksgiving because they had other guests coming who would need the guest room. It all worked out, because...
The day after Thanksgiving we left Phoenix for our trip to Israel in celebration of our 50 years of married life together. Originally we had planned to go to Israel as part of an LDS-themed group tour, but looking carefully at the itinerary we decided that it was too intense and too impersonal for our maximum enjoyment. So, we toured Israel pretty much on our own using AirBnB for lodging and a rental car for transport. Thus we toured Tel Aviv, Jaffa (Yafo), Caesarea, Haifa, Nazareth, Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, and Capernaum over a 10-day period. We had a wonderful time on our own schedule, saw all we wanted, and met some outstanding BnB hosts: Iris in Hertzliyya, Ayal in Haifa, and Anat in Tiberias. We felt very welcomed everywhere we went. Reaching Jerusalem for the last few days of our time in Israel, we took a room in the El Dan Hotel and turned in our rental car, depending on feet and taxis for most of our time in the city. We got to celebrate Hannukah in Jerusalem, and that was very special. I even got to light the Hannukah Menora one evening in our hotel. For our final day, we engaged a local guide, Eldar Rozin. He picked us up at our hotel after breakfast along with our luggage and effects and took us in his luxurious sedan to see Bethlehem and other areas we could not tour on our own. We also were treated to a private tour of the BYU Jerusalem Center to include an organ recital. This, on a day that the BYU Center was closed to tours and to the public. Mr. Rozin, though not LDS, was able to arrange this for us at short notice. One surprise in Israel was how heavily the entire country was decorated in a "Christmas" theme. Angels, stars, and Christmas trees were everywhere! After a full day in Bethlehem and Old Jerusalem, he drove us to the Ben Gurion Airport for our flight home.
On return to Phoenix from Israel, we settled into Joel's guest room in Gilbert, where we laid our heads until our new home was ready at the end of January, 2019.
Except for the week between Christmas and New Years, which we spent with all of the Arizona family gathered at a rental cabin in Forest Lakes, AZ.
The place the family rented was a beautiful, large cabin with all modern conveniences and very nicely decorated for the holidays.
Not all of 2018 was joyful and fun.
In September, we received word that Ronald Estep, who had been my closed friend through High School had passed of a massive heart attack. He and his wife, Sandy, had been serving a mission in Detroit at the time of his passing. Ron shared birthdays with Glenda, and had been born in the same hospital as she, delivered by the same doctor. A true life-time acquaintance.
In November, Sarah Leane, my oldest (and last living) sibling passed away in Blackfoot, ID. She was 87 and had been in ill health for quite some time. Her immediate family decided to postpone her memorial until summer of 2019 to coincide with other family travel when we can all gather in Hagerman where she will be memorialized next to her eternal companion, Aaron Bowen. We plan to travel to Idaho in early August for her memorial and to see other family members.
And on December 5, while we were in Israel, our adopted son, Vincent Marshall, died in San Antonio. I've written about this a bit in an earlier blog post. We have been so very saddened to lose him, but feel so blessed to have had him in our lives for so long. We were able to have one last conversation with him via Skype, before his passing. In years past, one phrase I've used to define our blessings was, "We raised six children and didn't lose any to accident, drugs, or disease!" We can't say that anymore.
Our first night in our new home, at 10445 East Tesla Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85212, was January 31st, 2019. We are very happy in our new home and new neighborhood, but we do certainly miss San Antonio. It's great to be close to Ben, Joel, Jenn (and families), but we miss being close to Derek''s family and Vincent's bereaved family. There is a lot we miss about San Antonio, too.
Today is the second Saturday of June, 2019. Glenda's step-mother, Netta Cardon Giles Baum, passed away this past week. Glenda will be flying home to Idaho for the services to be held on Friday the 14th of June, leaving Phoenix on the 12th and returning on the 17th. I can't go because I have a medical procedure scheduled for Tuesday the 18th, and I have to have a CT done "at least 3 but no more than 5 days prior," so Glenda will fly non-stop Phoenix to Boise where Carolyn and other family will take care of her and get her back to the airport to fly home from Boise on Monday the 17th.
In May, 2019, we got to attend the H.S. graduation of Ben's daughter, Sydney. She was a high school member of the Honor Society and has been accepted to ASU this August. We are so very, very proud of her.
Since our settling in the home in Mesa, I've been participating in the Encore neighborhood writers' group. That work has yielded three pieces of prose I've authored. Two of them are suitable for sharing here, and, in fact, are posted as the two earlier posts to this blog. They have also been published online at Medium.com.
51 Ways. A short story on Medium.com by Dan Moyes.
The Stump Search. A short story on Medium.com by Dan Moyes.
One of my works is not yet suitable to share publicly, and may never be. It was written as part of an assignment given me by my mental health counselor with the prostate cancer support group a couple of years ago. I've revised it a few times, and may eventually be comfortable sharing it. Or maybe not.
I recently completed a 4-week course (MOOC), Introduction to Who Wrote Shakesheare, from the University of London. The course was offered through Coursera.org and was completed entirely online. Starting this Monday, I will be working on another Coursera offering, Sit Less, Get Active. It's also a 4-week course and is presented by the University of Edinburgh.