Wednesday, June 24, 2015

And the Arizona Trip Memories continue...

It was really great to be able to spend so much time in Arizona on our recent trip. Usually we head there on a Friday and come back on a Sunday. This time my sister Lisa and I took time off on Thursday, Friday and Monday. So we left on Thursday and came back on Monday which gave us Friday, Saturday and Sunday for family fun!

Here's the route we took. This estimates that it would take 9 hours and 53 minutes, but because we don't want to tire our mom out too much we stop often for her to walk around and stretch her legs. We stop often for snacks and we have a traditional stop in Needles for Dairy Queen Ice Cream!

I know this is not the fastest route, but this is the route my mom would take with my dad when they would visit Arizona and so it's the route she's familiar with and she relives memories of travelling this way with my it may take a little more time, but it's worth it to make mom happy. 

We always make a stop in Parker, Arizona to visit my cousin Mary Lou and this trip was no different. We stopped and stretched our legs. Mary Lou had made us a delicious meal and her famous homemade rolls. She's a fabulous cook and we loved spending time with her. 

We finally arrived in Eloy at around 8 pm. We had left Bakersfield around 6am even though mom wanted to leave at 4am...she was chomping at the bit to get to Arizona! It was a very long day. We grabbed a bite to eat with Tia Ninfa at Dennys and then our cousins Stella and Norrie came by Tia Ninfa's house and we drank a margarita together to unwind and then we called it a day.

The next morning mom was very anxious to go visit her sister Maria in the nursing home where she lives. We had coffee and some sweet bread and headed to Casa Grande. I can't even describe the joy in my heart to see my mom reunited with her sister. There just are no words and since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, well we will let the pictures speak.

Side by Side
or Miles Apart
We are Sisters
Connected by the Heart


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Visiting Arizona - It's all about the family

In my last post I spoke about "mi tierra", the land where I grew up, where my heart is and also where the majority of my maternal side of the family lives. Family is the main reason we visited Arizona in May.

My mom still has a brother and a sister that live in Arizona. My moms father, mother, brother and five of her sisters are buried in Arizona cemeteries so mom of course has been wanting to go to Arizona and visit her sister Maria who lives in a nursing home and to visit her brother Tino who lives with his daughter and of course to visit relatives at the cemetery.

We went during Mothers Day weekend. The first thing we did was visit our Tia Ninfa who we stayed with. Tia Ninfa is the widow of my moms oldest brother Jesus or as we all called him Uncle Jesse. Tia Ninfa is like a real sister to my mom and she loves her dearly. We all love Tia Ninfa, she never had children of her owned so spoiled all of us her nieces and nephews endlessly. She's a wonderful, kind hearted, spirited fun lady who always has a smile on her face and only kind words about everyone she knows and a kind word for everyone she meets.

Mom with her sister in law Ninfa (Ninfa in red)
Tia Ninfa just had her home remodeled and when I say remodeled I mean they moved her and everything she owns out of the house she and my Uncle Jesse had lived in their whole married life, leveled it down to the ground and then rebuilt it. 

Here's a picture of what the house originally looked like. I have many wonderful memories in this house. I visited it often and spent the night many times with my Tio and Tia. They treated me like a princess!

Tio Jesse was sick for many years before he passed away and the house was beginning to have many problems with the plumbing and a leaking roof. One day Tia Ninfa received notification of a program in Arizona to rebuild homes for those that qualify. She called my cousin Norrie who is a realtor in Arizona as it sounded too good to be true. Norrie checked it all out and it was legit and Tia signed up and then forgot all about it.

Tia Ninfa tells us that one night after an especially heavy rainstorm the roof was leaking badly and she spent most of the night awake running around dumping out buckets of water that kept refilling from the leaks.

She said that in the morning, exhausted she sat down on her couch and started to cry and she talked to Tio Jesse. She told him, "Well Jesse, when you married me you said that you would always provide a roof over my head and you did for many years and now you're gone and the roof is falling in on my head and I don't know what to do, I need your help Jesse."

A few days later she received a phone call in response to her application to have her home rebuilt. She had qualified and they were ready to begin the process. It took a while as Tia Ninfa had stored years and years of treasures on the property but finally they began and here is her new home now. A home that she truly deserves for being the wonderful wife she was to our Uncle, for loving all of us and for just being the kindest person I know.

I had not noticed until right now that they kept the same color of her old house, a pinkish color. isn't it beautiful? The inside of the home is gorgeous. They would only rebuild it to the specifications it originally was so it's a two bedroom, one bath, but the kitchen is beautiful and modern and she's so happy with it! Thank you cousin Norrie for all you do for our beautiful Tia Ninfa!

I want all my friends and family members in California that whine about not being able to water their lawns because of the drought we are in, to notice that here is no grass on this lawn, that is all rock. Arizona learned how to live without being wasteful with water and California...we can learn too! Let's be water wise Californians!

Tia Ninfa was a great hostess and we had a wonderful time with her. She has not changed a bit, her heart is still as big as the state of Arizona.

Here's my sister Lisa with our mom and Tia Ninfa at the Picacho Peak State Park with Picacho Peak in the background.

And here's yours truly with Tia Ninfa and my mom and Picacho Peak in the background. We had just visited the gift shop where we bought souvenirs for all our loved ones back in California. Every time I go I buy a hot pink shirt with an Arizona decal. I don't know why but they always have a hot pink shirt waiting for me! It's like they know I'm coming back to "mi tierra". Love you Arizona!