About the Author

As a young girl, I loved Tucson, and I hated it! Tucson is lovingly nestled in a valley, surrounded on four sides by gloriously picturesque mountains. The sunsets can take your breath away, and I spent many an evening gazing in awe at the splendid hues painted grandly in the Western sky. As a child, gradeschool field trips took us to historical wonders such as the San Xavier Mission and instructional locations like the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

Tom and Cheryl
For recreation we visited Sabino Canyon and Mount Lemmon, and were awed by the wonders of Colossal Cave. So how, you say, could anyone find anything to hate about Tucson?

Well, with all the beauty of the desert, her wildlife, her cacti and wildflowers, it was rare to find trees. My father was an avid fisherman and hunter, and we spent many vacations in the White Mountains of Northern Arizona. Camping was ahappy time for me because I was able to see trees and streams and all the things the desert lacks. I wished for years to live in a place where there were many trees and lots of water.

My friend, be careful what you wish for. You may one day get it!

My life took many twists and turns, and I eventually arrived in Lake Charles, Lousiana. There I pursued a degree in Instrumentation which would gain me the skills to work in one of the many processing plants in the area. I attended Sowela Tech during the day and worked at a local Truck Stop, Fuel Stop 36 in the evenings. It was there I met my husband, Tom Cholley. Ironically, Tom was an arborist. In layman's terms, he cut trees! There it was, I found myself immersed in trees. Iwas surrounded by trees, I ate and drank trees. Tom used to joke about the Sahara Forest....in other words he cut so many trees there it became the Sahara Desert...get it?

Well, trees in Lousiana have Poison sumach regularly growing on them. I am severely allergic to Sumach, and was subjected to regular outbreaks of the stuff brought to me by what we lovingly referred to as the "tree boys". Our employees, and Tom himself, would bring it to our house and by default, to me. Anytime they touched a door, countertop, or chair, there was a chance it would transfer sumach to me.

The heavy rainfall and thick vegetation in Louisiana also supplied me with regular doses of pollen that accelerated my newfound allergies (which I never had in Tucson). So, I got what I wished for, and began to wish for Tucson and the desert more and more. However, a few turns of fate is all it takes to change lives.

Tom is an avid businessman, and he had grown several businesses and accumulated quite a bit of rental property in the 45 or so years he has spent in Lousiana. I had long ago resigned myself to living out my life here.

The Tree Service itself was so intertwined in our lives, that each time I mentioned to Tom that he should retire and stop cutting trees, it fell by the wayside as an impossible solution. The work was so strenuous that as Tom began to age,it became progressively harder on him to keep up the pace. But the community was so dependent on our service that we could see no graceful way out. A dozen men and their families depended on us for a livelihood, and the customers called day and night, willing to trust nobody else with their trees.

Then Fate stepped in and ground our world to an abrupt halt. Tom contracted a nerve disease called Guillian Barre', and soon went from vibrantly healthy to fully paralyzed in a wheelchair. There was simply no way to continue cutting trees as dealing with the disease took all of our time and effort.

Happily, Guillian Barre' is a disease that runs its course and leaves a majority of its victims with no major lasting damage.

Nearly three years later, Tom now walks with a cane and often forgets it. The disease will one day be a distant memory, and our lives are intact. The Tree Service and it's sister company Tom Cholley's Crane Service, are gone.

While visiting my family in Northern Arizona, near Las Vegas, Nevada, Tom one day mentioned retirement. We still have two of the businesses, and rental property, but he set in motion the process of selling everything off and moving us to the Southwest. So there you have it! While visiting Tucson, where we eventually decided to move, the idea for Southwestern Dream Home was born.

As we create our Southwestern Dream Home, I'll keep you updated on our progress. I'll also show you hundreds of great ideas so you can create your own Southwestern Dream Home when it's your turn. If that time is now, thank you for dropping by, and be sure to bookmark this site so you can learn of all the great things I will be showing you.

This site is for you, just as it is for me. I'd like to encourage you to send me your comments, your stories, your suggestions, and of course your pictures.

Contact Me here. In this way we can all share our journey to the Southwestern Dream Home.

Take care!

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