Saturday, December 27, 2014

Winterhaven 2014 - 50th Anniversary!

Winterhaven is a neighborhood in Tucson that goes all out in Christmas decorations.....and I really mean ALL OUT!!  The displays were especially spectacular this year with it being the 50th anniversary.  In the past, we went with our dear friends, the Doughtys, but since they moved we had to trek through the neighborhood all by ourselves!  Boo hoo.......

The crowds are huge, music is everywhere, the police are directing traffic because you have to park quite a ways away.  It's crazy Christmas chaos!  Thankfully we did not lose Isaac and Joshua!

The yearly "changing colors Christmas tree"!

This house is one of my favorites each year.  They have music going, and the lights 
on the little trees, and the fountains all change colors with the rhythm of the music.  
The fountains go up and down to the beat, too.  Very fun!

Yes, there were quite a few "Frozen" displays!

And some lovely Hanukka displays, too.

My pictures don't do this big event justice!  But we had a great time, the weather
 was nice and crisp, and the Christmas spirit was in full force!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Snow Day!

One of the reasons I love leaving in Arizona is that we can enjoy glorious temperatures year-round, with four mild seasons where we are.  We had some fairly significant rain last week, which left the mountains to the north of us topped with snow - Beautiful!

We decided to head up to the Coronado National Forest last weekend to bring down some firewood. The Forestry Department is constantly felling trees that are dead in order to keep the risk of forest fires at bay.  They cut the wood into "rounds" and pile them along the side of the mountain roads for the public to collect for firewood.  You do have to get a permit, which is odd, because we are doing the public a favor by reducing the fire danger, right?

Isaac and Joshua were so excited to go "up the mountain" and hopefully see some snow.  Boy, did they have a blast!  Firewood?  Not so good.......very picked over the weekend before Christmas.  But we will head back up another time.

The switchbacks up here were a bit hair-raising at times.  We went up to 8,000 feet!

And yes, here's David, who at 15 is still learning what "Dress warmly!" means.

Snowball fight in process!

I had to discreetly take a picture of this poor young lady 
who seemed very under-dressed for the weather!

 There's Mr. Muscles bringing home some firewood!

Joe and David found a few reasonably small logs that they loaded up, but not the
smaller rounds that we were expecting to bring home.

One more round of snowball making as we headed back down the mountains.

And the very best part of it all?  We got to enjoy the cold and the beauty of the snow, and
then we got to leave it as we headed back down in altitude!
A win-win experience for sure!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jonathan's Visit to Dachau

Jonathan's comment on Facebook:

Very sobering to visit this place - glad I got a chance to though. This was a fairly small camp compared to others later built. It was also the first camp constructed, just a few weeks after Hitler came to power.

General information from Wikipedia:

In 1933, the Dachau concentration camp was built east of the city by the Nazis and was operated until 1945. It became the prototype for all other camps. 25,613 prisoners died in the camp and almost another 10,000 in its subcamps.

The prisoners of Dachau concentration camp originally were to serve as forced labor for a munition factory, and to expand the camp. It was used as a training center for SS guards and was a model for other concentration camps. The camp was about 300 m × 600 m (1,000 ft × 2,000 ft) in rectangular shape. The prisoner's entrance was secured by an iron gate with the motto “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will make you free”). This reflected Nazi propaganda which trivialized concentration camps as labor and re-education camps, when in fact forced labor was used as a method of torture.

Jonathan, these are fabulous pictures......your artistic bent certainly comes through in these.

These are very hard pictures to look at as we remember the incredible evil that took place.  So hard to
imagine that humanity could be so cruel, but we see this kind of brutality even today.  

This is quite a history lesson through the pictures that Jonathan took.  I am so glad he got the opportunity to tour Dachau as he is stationed in Germany at this time.