By Judy Vorfeld This beautiful young woman is one of many of my talented nieces. She grew up living on Lake Quinault, Washington, and has always loved music. I wonder if it's because her mother, Jennifer, is a talented musician, and so is her grandmother, Carolyn Downing, and so was her great-grandmother, Ethel Crook. Wonderful, gifted women of the West. Alex has done a great deal of writing, singing, and performing, and recently spent a year in Nashville. Last summer, she opened for Amy Grant in the Aberdeen area of the Washington Coast. And here's a picture of her with Grant, who gave her the white roses. It's easy to see that Alex spreads sunshine wherever she goes. And she's on the go a great deal, since she's also an avid outdoor enthusiast. That's in her DNA too! Go, Alex!
Monday morning, my brother, David Crook, friend Martha Retallick, and I, went to the Phoenix Zoo. We had a wonderful time. Retallick recently published a book, Bike-tography. "When I was in my early twenties," she says, "I set the goal of bicycling through all 50 of the United States. I accomplished this over a twelve-year period, traveling more than 15,000 miles in the United States, plus a bit of Mexico and Canada." These days she lives in Tucson, where bicycling is a huge culture, and she covers many events, bicycle and other, by using her bike as transportation. I'd hoped to show her the Komodo Dragons, but they weren't visible, so we went off to see what else we could find. We discovered lots of little creatures in the first part of our trip, since only one elephant was visible and it stayed near the shelter. We finally got to the area where the giraffes lived, which is always fun. Martha hiked around that area while David and I grabbed a hamburger. We stopped to enjoy the brilliant, beautiful koi, then headed back for Peoria.
It's been a good but "different" month with computer breakdowns and seeing tragedy in the lives of people I care about. It was time for a break. Monday my brother and I took a break and drove to the mining town of Jerome, Arizona. We wandered all around, and I felt this was the time to photograph old machinery, vehicles, buildings, etc. We got some great shots and had some good experiences, then headed to Prescott Valley, and then home. Jerome's beauty is obvious...and I hope you enjoy the picture I took (and redigitized) near Ghost Town, which up in the mountains but close to Jerome. More later!
Guest post by Patti Stern, Mesa, Arizona My husband did a search on the internet for Payson Therapy Dog, and your blog post came up. We just had to send you an email about Julie Moran’s “Payson,” as we also had a certified therapy dog named Payson. We are totally devastated right now, as he passed away two weeks ago, here at home, with a Hospice Vet. The loss is completely overwhelming, as Payson was not just a dog: he was amazing, and he was the center of our universe. We, like Julie, got him as a puppy in Payson, but in 2000. He was five weeks old when we adopted him at the Payson Humane Society (we live in Mesa). We also named him Payson, for the town he was born in. Payson would have been 11 in 2 weeks. We retired him as a therapy dog about two years ago, due to his arthritic condition. Unfortunately, our sweet PayPay (as we called him) passed away from complications of a brain tumor and severe grand mal seizures (23 of them in six months). We could not allow him to have seizure #24. We did everything we could for him to try and save him, even though we knew we were chasing something we could never catch. Our lives are so empty w/out PayPay, and his adopted brother, Moe, is also grieving terribly. Only once in a lifetime does a pet like Payson come along. Of all the pets we’ve ever had, Payson made the greatest impact on our lives, and others. (We also started out with Pam at Gabriel’s Angels and then Delta, and then Therapy Dogs, Inc.) We’d love to hear from Julie and find out how her Payson is doing now. I’m guessing she is about 11? Same age almost as our Pay was. Our Payson was a Rottie/Blk Lab/Heeler mix. We hope your Payson is doing well as a senior. Take care. Patti and Marc Stern Also, here is the thank-you note we sent to the Hospice Vet who came to our home (Payson’s Home!) two weeks ago to allow Payson to transition into a peaceful, eternal rest. Dr. Brown (& Katie): There are no words, feelings, or expressions to ever thank you ENOUGH for what you did to help our sweet Payson at his end of life. You helped us to help Payson transition into his final resting phase of life, after 11 beautiful years. Thanks to you, Payson was able to peacefully pass on here at home, on his favorite ortho bed, with complete dignity and with the absolute integrity he SO deserved. He passed away quietly and with tranquility, and with all of us hugging him, holding him, and showering him with kisses. He was in his glory! Not to mention he was eating his favorite treat when he went into eternal sleep: he was eating his VANILLA ICE CREAM!!! He went to sleep knowing and remembering all of this. He could not have lived, or ended his life in a more peaceful and perfect way. Our certified Banner Hospital Therapy Dog had now become the terminal patient, and you, in the end, became his angel. Our love and gratitude forever, Patti and Marc Stern/Mesa, AZ & Moe (& Payson). In addition, we wrote one final thank you to the town of Payson (Payson, Arizona) in memory of Payson. You can read that “farewell” in the Payson Roundup Newspaper, at this link: http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2011/may/27/thanks-payson/ Note from Judy: the Sterns have connected with Julie Moran, and plan to meet soon.