A Year In Review – or, “I made the mistake of looking back.”

shooting
Target shooting in the desert

The year started meek and mild – the temperatures were warm enough in January that I was wearing a tank top when I took Liz shooting in the desert.

I started a new job in January with a major home improvement operation, on the merchandising Team. On the plus side: 40-hours a week and generous benefits. On the minus side: I work nights, and the pay-scale is retail grade.

It is less than three weeks away from my one-year anniversary and a modest pay increase, I am one of the two official trainers (no extra pay for that responsibility, but it goes favorably if you are looking to promote) and am licensed to operate three pieces of equipment.

Working nights has taken its toll on my creative output. The only work I have completed this year was a clock made from the jawbone of a horse and rusted metal scavenged in the desert. I suppose I can count the pergola and bar projects as creative output, if I stretch the meaning of the word.

At the Renaissance Festival

The onslaught of requests to purchase the domain name wuli.com from me has persisted – all from China, and thus suspicious. Every offer has been insulting, and every lying contact used an American first name to contact me, as if I could not trace the email to the origin country.  The Chinese, in collusion with traitorous American corporate turncoats have stolen American manufacturing jobs, and assisted in destroying our economy – I will be damned if I am going to hand over my domain for a pittance. The Chinese blow more money in an hour at the Blackjack table at an Indian casino than they have offered me for the domain.

Mountain Health and Wellness behind the first two murals.
Two public murals sponsored by Mountain Health and Wellness and SACA

Of course, we hit the Renaissance Festival this year – twice! This is one of the high pints (pun intended) of my year. We have fully geeked out, wearing costume when we attend.

Liz and I worked with SACA in creating a public mural on the grounds of Mountain Health and Wellness. SACA wanted to be involved in some sort of public art project, and we resurrected a project she had done in Millville with at-risk youth.

cucci-smithI took over the design of the SACA website this year. I set up a WordPress blog that their president and select others can easily update at will.  My latest venture is to set up blogs for those that want their own but are too intimidated to attempt it themselves.

rodeo
Rodeo

Jill Smith wanted her static website converted to a blog, and after a few false starts we arrived at an aesthetically pleasing format.

We attended the rodeo during the Lost Dutchman Days, after a two-hour parade, and a few cold ones at Captains.

new stone 2
Stoned!

In April we got stoned – three tons of stone for our front yard. We have continued landscaping, adding cactus and century plants to both front and back yards. I am all in favor of anything that does not require mowing or trimming or pruning.

Liz and I had a tent at the Salsa/Pinata festival at Mountain Health and Wellness Earthheart Park. Liz sold a few paintings, I got a sunburn.

This season’s monsoon rivaled that of our first year here. Last year, monsoon just fizzled – contributing to the continuing drought. Mother Nature made up for it with a wet and furious monsoon, and several drenching downpours courtesy of storm fronts off of the Mexican coastline.

Rainbow over the Superstitions
Rainbow over the Superstitions

The rains continued into December, promising a lush wildflower season this spring.

We spent Saturday evenings at the local auction, followed by a few beers at Captains; and managed to turn some investments into enough profit to offset the costs of the evening.

Pergola completedIn September I began the pergola project. This was the most ambitious project I had undertaken, and my rudimentary carpentry skills are evident. However, the pergola is rock solid, surviving monsoon gusts. I spent almost every waking hour of the fall in our new outdoor room.

Stray Cat
Samantha

The holiday season has been mostly uneventful. I had visits from friends back East in October. We acquired a new member of the family, a cat who adopted us one night after following one of our guests home when he was walking one night.

Liz and I went horseback riding in October – it was the first time either of us had been on a horse in decades.  The OK Corral is a family owned stable; the sons star in an Animal Planet series about mining gold – I have never seen the show.

Liz and I on horseback
Horseback riding at the OK Corral

I took Gerry Moore, my friend from back East, on a hike on the Hieroglyphic Trail. Liz and I began hiking regularly in the fall, after the temperatures dropped, and hike every weekend that she isn’t working.

Liz’s niece and her husband, Alison and Paul were in town for thanksgiving. Liz’s daughter, Steph is here for Christmas. We plan a quiet New Year’s Eve at our house with Mike, and Tami and Kim.

Fosti 150cc ScooterAnd as I wrap up the year, I have two major projects underway.  The first is repair of a scooter that was gifted to me by a co-worker that relocated and couldn’t take it with him. It is a basket-case, and with my nominal mechanics skills should result in lots of cursing on my part, and possibly a working scooter by the time I am finished.

My latest projectThe other project is a 1953 Field and Stream Trailer that needs to be totally gutted and refurbished. The first order of business was to trap and release the packrat that has stowed away. This week I have been slowly dismantling the interior so that I can eventually see the extent of the damage and rot to the frame. The chassis is solid, and while renovations will tax my woodworking skills to the max, this should actually be a fun project to complete.

Unless I get arrested before New Year’s Eve, this about wraps up my year.

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