Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the eve of Christmas Eve.

It rained a lot overnight but by morning the rain had stopped. The sun came out from behind the clouds periodically during the day. We attended the resort's weekly activities meeting, then went for our daily morning walk around the park. After lunch, David went looking for three people to make a foursome for golf. I took the suitcases out of the basement and did some laundry to get ready for our trip. We did most of our packing tonight and just have the last minute stuff to pack tomorrow. Only two more sleeps left before we see Liam as he will be fast asleep when we arrive tomorrow night.

We are very excited! It will be fun to again see Christmas through the eyes of a child.

Have a safe and happy Christmas everyone! Please, don't drink and drive!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Only three more sleeps to Christmas..

I can't believe how quickly Christmas has come. It might have something to do with the fact that we didn't have any Christmas shopping to do because we did it all in Chilliwack. You don't think about it so it just sneeks up on you.

David left around 8 am to go golfing and about an hour later, I went for my daily walk around the park. After that I got on the computer until he came home around 11:15 am. We ate lunch then we drove to the mall to pick up a little special something for our grandson. That took a while because I couldn't make up my mind about what to get. I'm not a very good shopper when I don't have something specific in mind. Then we went for supper at a restaurant close to the mall.

We are very excited because we are going home for Christmas and we get to see our little Liam whom we haven't seen since July. And of course we also get to spend Christmas with our daughter Renee and son-in-law Marc and our extended family. Tomorrow is laundry and packing day. Only two more sleeps before we leave...

I'm cheating. This picture was taken last year and the Santa hats were borrowed so we couldn't repeat it this year. Maybe we should buy our own hats...

David and I would like to wish everyone, family, friends and our readers, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Didn't do much of anything.

We thought we might go for an easy hike today so we looked through our book on hikes around Superstition Mountain and picked a trail. But then I decided that since we had spent a lot of time in the car yesterday, I would rather stay home and do nothing today. But first, we took a 30-minute walk around the park to get in our daily exercise. It was a beautiful sunny day although it was a little on the cool side. I think the temperature went up to 64F (18C). We sat outside anyway to read and to just enjoy being.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A drive to Casa Grande.

We decided to go for a drive this morning so after breakfast, we jumped in the car and headed for Casa Grande. We always take East US60 then south on N. Pinal Pkwy (AZ-79) which goes through Florence. It's a more scenic route than the alternative which is to go west on US60 to I-10. From Florence we follow highway 287 which goes through Coolidge and brings us directly into Casa Grande. We had no other plans than to eat lunch there, walk around some of the stores and drive back home.

Florence is home to a State prison which opened in 1908 after being built by the inmates. You can see this very large complex from the road. We didn't stop... but we did take a drive down main street and there are a lot of empty old buildings. I would say business is not booming there.

We had to get home early enough to get ready for our night out on the town. We had tickets to Barleen's Arizona Opry for dinner and a show. This is a family-owned theatre and they provide a very good meal and a great musical show afterwards. This is the second year in a row that we have attended their "Christmas" show and we were not disappointed. There were a few Christmas songs and even an appearance from Willie Nelson and Elvis. It was great for an evening of entertainment. We were home by 10 pm.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hiking day!!!

Because of rain, Wednesday's hike was rescheduled to Friday so today was hiking day. Our hike today took us to Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. It's a bit of a drive to get there but well worth it. David had hiked Camelback Mountain trail last year but this was my first time. This hike is only 1.2 miles but it's all uphill with an elevation of approx. 1,300 feet from the bottom to the top. It's very challenging but also very exciting to climb. It made me feel like a kid climbing a play structure only a lot more fun.

The hike begins with these steps...

Looking back towards the parking lot and view of Phoenix.

Then it's just rocks... step carefully!

This is almost like a rock wall... they added a railing so you can pull yourself up.

Those dots down there in the middle of the picture.. are people working their way up.

Challenging but a lot of fun.

The view looking back & down.

And we made it to the top.

This is a real Christmas tree someone brought to the top... and decorated it.

We found this 'cave' off the trail. It has two openings.

Inside of the cave - very roomy and what a view.

Sign at the beginning of the trail.

If you like a challenging hike and you're ever in the Phoenix area, I recommend you do this one. It's a lot of fun even if you're legs feel like jello when you get back to the bottom. We were back home by mid afternoon but what a great day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Golf for David and housework for me...

Doesn't seem fair does it? We had more rain overnight but we woke up to sunny skies and it was warmer today. Thursday is David's normal golf day so he was out the door just as I was sitting down to eat breakfast. After breakfast, I decided to clean the bathroom and wash the floors before going out for my walk. After my 45-minute walk, I got on the computer and paid some bills; David came home and we went to the restaurant for lunch. We are getting into the very bad habit of eating out. It just seems so much easier. At 2:00 pm he went golfing for the second time today; this time to a different golf course and with a different bunch of guys. I grabbed a couple loads of laundry and headed to the laundry room. That only took about 1 hour & 1/2. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading my book and put more time on the computer. David came home around 5 pm and we had supper at home.

After supper, I called Renee and talked on the phone for about an hour. It sure is nice having this land line with unlimited long distance calling to Canada. Unlike the cell phone, I don't have to worry about 'using' too many minutes on one call and I have a nice relaxing conversation. Then I called Adam and we got on the webcam and talked to our little grandson David. He was pretty excited because he's been opening Christmas presents for the past two days. They will be out of town for Christmas so they have been having an early Christmas with family and friends at home before they leave. We also got to see the baby, Dylan. He has changed a lot. He has lost that 'newborn look' and is starting to look more like his big brother. He just kept staring into the camera. There must have been something on the computer that was interesting to him. Us. LOL Thank goodness for webcams.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good food and good friends.

It rained all through the night so when we got up this morning, the ground was wet and the sky was cloudy. The sun did come out most of the day but the temperature was only as high as the mid-50s. After breakfast, David and I went for a walk around the park. After about 25 minutes David went home and I caught up with my friend Micheline who was also out walking. We finally realized that we had been walking around for an hour & a half; I think we were starting to wear out the pavement... LOL.. so we both headed home. Just before lunch, David and I decided to go to the bookstore. There was a book that I wanted to check out for our grandson Liam. Since it was close to lunch time, our first stop was the Kokobelli Cafe on Power Road for a bagel sandwich and coffee. Then we went to Borders, the bookstore at the mall also on Power Road. The book wasn't what I was looking for so we left empty-handed. Unfortunately, this seemed to be one of those days where you go store to store like you are on a milk-run. We stopped at Sprouts for licorice for David and a dessert for the potluck supper tonight. Then we stopped at Goodwill as I'm looking for a used tennis racket. I'm hoping to join a couple of ladies to play tennis (for fun & exercise). They had an old wooden racket which was in good shape but I think that would be too heavy. So we left empty-handed there too. Then we stopped at Safeway for a couple of grocery items that we couldn't get a Sprouts... and finally headed home. As I mentioned, tonight was family potluck on the patio so we headed there around 4:30 pm. and enjoyed good food and good company. Our friends Gary & Karen from the Northwest Territories who had just arrived the day before invited us over to their rig for a nightcap which topped off a very nice evening.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A rainy day and a movie.

Well we had a light rain falling most of the day. It started after lunch but it was cold and windy all day. I don't think the temperature went much above 50F (10C). Our morning started with the weekly activities meeting at 9 am. Hey.. I won first prize for my colouring of the Christmas stocking. The prize... a 2 inch high silver cup (not real silver of course) with a green crayon in it. I wonder how much I can hawk that for at the pawn shop. LOL After the meeting, David and I walked around the park for our daily exercise. We had lunch early, just after 11 am. He was supposed to play golf at 2:00 pm but with the rain, that didn't happen. A bunch of us ladies were going to the theatre to see "The Secret Life of Bees" and we were leaving at noon. We were 15 who carpooled to the theatre. After the movie, we went to the Paradise Bakery & Cafe at the Gateway Plaza for coffee, goodies and to discuss the movie. Their 'cream cheese brownie' is to die for. I liked the movie. It was sad it some places but it is well presented. It was about 4 pm when I got back. and since neither one of us felt like cooking, we went out for pizza for supper. The rest of the evening was spent reading and watching TV.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Golf and doing nothing.

It was cold again when we got up this morning. But not too cold for David to go play golf. I ate breakfast then I went for a one hour walk, starting in the park, then walked to a residential area outside the park. At the start, I could have used gloves but I was too lazy to look for them in the basement. By the time I got back, I was carrying my jacket but still felt hot with my fleece on. It's not that the temperature was warmer, I was just hot after all that walking.

Other than going out for coffee, we just spent the rest of the day at home. We spent a bit of time on the computer answering emails, read our books and watched TV.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weather is getting colder.

We woke up to a temperature of 48F (13C) and a cloudy sky this morning. This weather is supposed to stay this cold for a few days with a 50% chance of rain for three days. David noticed his watch had stopped last night and it still wasn't working this morning. He thought it needed a new battery so after breakfast, we went to the Superstition Springs mall up on Power Road. It's about a 20-minute drive. We left the watch at a watch repair store and walked around the mall for about half an hour until the watch was ready. I expected the mall to be much more busy since we are only two weeks away from Christmas. But it wasn't much busier than a normal weekend. I expect the recession has something to do with it. After picking up David's watch, we stopped for coffee before heading back home. We didn't get any rain so we were able to barbeque some chicken for supper. Then we spent a decadent evening of TV watching. LOL

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flea market.

We went out for breakfast again then came back home. About an hour later, we decided to check out the Mesa flea market for waist packs and a suitcase. We are going to Ottawa for Christmas and as we only have one suitcase, we had to buy another one. Bingo... we found the waist pack with water bottles that we were looking for and the price of $11.99 was perfect. We also bought a really nice quality suitcase for $36.99. We had what we came for so we left the flea market and stopped at Paradise Bakery & Café in the mall next door where we had a coffee and shared a very good chicken & walnut sandwich for lunch.

A few hours later, David and I went for a walk around the park. We came across Tina & Terry who were going for a walk outside of the park. Tina had mentioned to me earlier about her walks in a nearby residential area so I tagged along because I wanted to know where she went. Somewhere else to walk if I got bored walking around the park. David's knee was acting up so he just went home.

Didn't do much for the rest of the day except stay home, read and watch TV.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The driving range and Happy Hour!

Friday morning after breakfast David and I both walked around the park for our 45 minutes of exercise. At 10 am, I went to the activities room where a bunch of ladies had gathered to colour. Yes, like you do in grade 1. We had a choice of three different pictures. I first coloured a Christmas stocking then I coloured an elf with a teddy bear. On Tuesday, during the activities meeting, we will find out which pictures get the prizes. It's all for fun and very silly and I guess that's why I participated. I like doing silly things sometimes plus I have to practice my colouring so I can keep up with my grandsons. While I was colouring, David checked out Walmart for those waist packs we are still looking for. Although they had some, he didn't buy them. They were not quite the quality we were looking for.

After lunch, we went to the driving range to hit some golf balls. It was cloudy but there was no rain in the forecast. The afternoon temperature was again in the mid-60sF (around 18C). We shared a large bag of balls and the pain in my right elbow flared up again. I think I might has strained some muscles around the elbow using weight machines at the YMCA in Chilliwack back in October. And it just won't go away. It's not really bad pain but just enough to be a bother once in a while.

At 4:30 we went to Happy Hour on the park patio. Today the park was serving a homemade turkey soup and hot turkey sandwiches with gravy as a thank you to everyone for being there. I think it's the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving but it was all very good. There was also some live country music by J.R. & Diane, also provided courtesy of the park owner. After we had eaten a bunch of us sat around the gas fire pit listening to the music and chatting while some people were inside dancing. After a very enjoyable evening, we finally came home around 9 pm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not doing much these days.

On Thursday, the temperature was still somewhat cool where it's around the mid 50sF (around 13C) in the morning and warms up to the mid-60sF (around 18C) by the afternoon. I haven't been to the water aerobics again this week. I'm just looking for a change in my routine. Don't want to be doing the same thing every day but I'm still going for my 45 minute walk around the park to exercise.

David left around 8 am to play golf; when he got back I was sitting outside on the patio reading my book. Last Monday, we went to the library so I could apply for a library card. I've finally realized that it's much cheaper to borrow books from the library then to always buy new. I was permitted to take out three books until I bring some correspondence with my name and Arizona address on it. In the meantime, the librarian kept my library card. When I take back the books we borrowed, I will bring our electrical bill from here and I will be given my library card.

We decided to go to Denny's restaurant for lunch then we went to Sports Authority, a store very similar to Sports Chek in Canada. We are looking for waist packs with bottle holders for hiking. We think they would be more comfortable for hiking than a back pack. Anyway, they didn't have the kind we were looking for so we came back home. We spent the rest of the day at home reading or watching TV.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Catching up on the last four days.

On Sunday morning, we went golfing with friends Jim & Linda at Fiesta Lakes golf course. It’s the same golf course we went to last Sunday. We all enjoy this get-together so we are thinking of making this a weekly event. After the game, we went to Applebee’s restaurant for lunch.

David took a picture of the start of a beautiful sunset.

Monday morning is usually golf for David but it had rained overnight so golf was cancelled as it was thought that the grass would probably be too wet. So we spent the day around the motor home and the park, only going out for coffee in the afternoon.

Tuesday morning we woke up to a beautiful blue sky, and after attending the weekly activities meeting, we decided to go for a hike just the two of us. We drove north up Meridian Road to the Meridian trailhead. We wanted to go up Wind Cave trail, which David hadn’t been on yet. Only we didn’t realize that we should have driven to the Usery Mountain recreational park on Usery Pass Road. It would have saved us walking for an hour and a half on Meridian trail before coming to the Wind Cave trailhead. This trail has a steep elevation and is quite challenging. Once we went to the top of the trail and came back to the trailhead, we still had to walk an hour and half on the Meridian trail to get back to the car. We made it back to the car by 3:00 pm and we had started out from the car at 10:30 am. A long day and the feet were getting pretty tired! We went home to relax and since neither one of us felt like cooking, we went to Applebee’s restaurant for supper. That’s two days in a row; there goes our ‘dining out’ budget for the month. ;-)

We walked up to that patch of light colour you can see below the peak.

David coming up behind me.

The top of Wind Cave trail.

A great view on the way back down the trail.

Wednesday is hiking day and at 9:30 am, 16 people in four vehicles left the park and drove to the First Water trailhead on the Old West highway (US 88). We went from First Water up to Second Water trail and later branched off on the Black Mesa trail. The total distance we walked was 6 miles. It was a good day for hiking with the temperature up around 68F or 20C. David and I had been on Second Water trail last year but had never gone as far as the Black Mesa trail. There is some talk of adding a couple of extra hikes to the weekly hikes. We sure hope so because we love it. It really gives you a sense of accomplishment when you’re done. When we got home, we took off the hiking boots, strapped on our sandals and went for coffee. After we sat out on the patio to read and enjoy the rest of the sun before it started to go down. It was getting cool so we went inside and started to think about making supper. Ohhh… this life of leisure – is there anything else like it!

Some parts of the trail were challenging!

Stopping for a bite and some relaxation before going back.

Everyone up and ready to return.

The Black Mesa trail marker.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lazy Saturday.

We had nothing planned today. We got up and went out for breakfast. The park was hosting a yard and craft sale today so when we got back, we walked around the park to see what people were selling. But there wasn't anything of interest to us. We spent the rest of the day puttering around the motorhome and just relaxing. It was a beautiful sunny day and the temperature was 73F (23C) today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hiking day.

After breakfast, I packed a lunch for both David and I. Around 9:15 am we went outside to meet up with the folks going hiking. We were 11 people so we drove had to take two vehicles. We drove to Saguaro Lake, about 30 minute drive which is off Bush highway in the Tonto National Forest. We hiked this trail three times last year. It's a nice hike but can be difficult for someone who is not in good shape. It's not a high elevation but it goes up and down a lot. There isn't much shade on this trail and it was warm today. The temperature went up to 75F (24C). When we got home, we threw some meatballs in the slow cooker to bring to the 5 o'clock Happy Hour. They were already cooked; we just had to warm them up. After everyone had eaten, there was music and a bunch of us sat around the fire pit (gas). We finally came home at 9 o'clock.

The group taking a break with Saguaro Lake in the background.

Looking back at the trail (it's only wide enough for one person).

The mountain in the background is called Four Peaks. In January, the peak will probably be white.

We went off the trail and went down to the lakeshore.

Beautiful sunset.

It was a little cooler this morning when I went for my daily walk. It was cloudy although there was no rain in the forecast. David left around 8 o'clock to go play golf. After my walk, I went to the water aerobics. When David got back around 11 am, we went to the restaurant for an early lunch because we were both hungry. On the way home we gassed up the car at $1.759 a gallon. Those gas prices are sure coming down nicely. It's about time too! We spent the rest of the day just sitting at home reading and/or watching TV.

And around 5:15 pm, we had the most beautiful sunset I've seen in a long time. The sun was reflecting on this huge cloud formation and it made a really wide sunset.

As the sun was going down, the clouds were getting darker. David was outside putting garlic bread on the barbeque.

This pictures were all taken at about 1 minute intervals. The sun sinks pretty fast.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wasting time waiting for the telephone man.

Today is my baby sister Margot's birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARGOT. Hope you had a great day! You deserve it. Love you lots.

Wednesday is usually hiking day but it was postponed to Friday. Another activity organized for today took precedence. After breakfast, I put oven porcupines in the crock pot then went to the 9 o'clock water aerobics. We'd been invited by some friends to a happy hour at their home at 4 o'clock this afternoon. We were also expecting the telephone company some time between 2 and 6 pm and we're hoping the installer would be here sooner than later. We were getting a land line installed because our cell phone plan doesn't give us enough minutes to call all of our kids and other family members. David and I went to the Village Inn restaurant for lunch then just hung around home sitting outside most of the afternoon waiting for the installer.

Well wouldn't you know it. It was almost 5 o'clock when he finally arrived so we had to phone our friends to say we wouldn't be able to make it to the happy hour. It was 6 o'clock by the time he was done. So I cooked some potatoes and we had those porcupines with the potatoes for supper. I made them with ground turkey instead of beef and it tasted good. We pretty much have replaced ground beef with ground turkey in all our recipes, even for chili and spaghetti sauce. We like it; it tastes very good.

Well, I finished reading the book World Without End by Ken Follett this afternoon. The setting is 14th century England. It's such a great story that I didn't want the book to end. Now I'm reading The heart is a lonely hunter by Carson McCullers. It's an old book; the first printing was in 1940. I picked it up in Chilliwack at a fundraising book sale and paid $1.00 for it. The setting is the old south; it's not the usual type of book that I normally read. I'm not quite sure what it's about yet; it's a little slow moving but just interesting enough to keep me reading.

We had a nice day again today. The temperature was around 74F (23C).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our first bicycle ride this winter.

This morning, after breakfast, we made our preparations for our bicycle ride. We were going to Tempe, approx. a 45-minute drive, because there are no bicycle paths like that around Apache Junction. So, while David was getting the bikes ready, I made us a lunch. We were ready to go when Michel & Micheline drove by in their car at 9 o'clock. Although we were going together, we each had to take our own car. Our starting point was Tempe Beach Park where we parked the cars and left on our bicycles. We crossed the bridge over the Salt River then had to find our way through some construction under the bridge to get on the multi-use path that starts along the river. It eventually heads away from the river and meanders through parks and alongside some golf courses. It has several short hills so you get a pretty good workout. It was another sunny day, great for bicycling as the temperature was only going up to 74F (23C). Otherwise it could be too hot if the temperature was in the mid to high 80sF. David always brings our Garmin Legend GPS which gives us our speed, miles driven, time taken and elevation. So today, we rode our bikes 22.4 miles (36 kilometres) in 3 1/2 hours which includes 1 hour stop time for breaks & lunch. We think that might be the longest bicycle ride we've ever done in one day. On the way home, I have to say it... we stopped for coffee. Since we were driving by Camping World, we decided to stop there too and buy the water softener. We've thougth about it and decided that although expensive it will be worth it in the long run. We do not want to end up with plumbing problems which could be created by hard water; and that's the kind of water we have here. When we got home, I sat outside reading while David installed the water softener. Around 4:30 pm we went inside and stayed home for the rest of the evening.

David, Michel & Micheline smiling for the camera.

Monday, December 1, 2008

We were up to our usual tricks again.

I got up around 7:15 am which I usually do during the week. David and I headed out the door at the same time. He went golfing as he usually does Monday mornings. I started with my 45-minute walk around the resort then changed into my swimsuit for the 9 o'clock water aerobics. After water aerobics, I went into the hot tub for about 10-15 minutes. It was just past 10 o'clock when I got back home. After my shower, I grabbed a bottle of water, something healthy to snack on, and sat outside on our patio to read my book for an hour or two.

When David got home, it was almost lunch time so we went in to eat. Later on, David went to the ice cream social where he gets a bowl of ice cream for $1.00 and I stayed inside to wash the dishes. Then I filled a bucket with soap and water to wash our bicycles. They get greasy when we travel, more so when it rains, and we hadn't cleaned them since we arrived here. We are going for a bike ride tomorrow with another couple from Quebec and I didn't want to ride a dirty bike.

Later on, we went to Starbucks for coffee and stopped at Lowes to see if they sell water softeners for RVs. They don't. We saw some at Camping World for $250.00 but we wanted to check if they were cheaper anywhere else. The resort has hard water and people say if you don't have a water softener, the hard water can eventually cause some damage to your plumbing.

When we got back, we sat on the patio to read until the sun starting to go down and it was getting cool sitting in the shade. The sun starts going down around 5 pm. It was time to make supper anyway. We were having leftovers so we were done in no time. The temperature was up to 74F (23C) today. It was another beautiful sunny day in paradise.

A little bit of golf, a little bit of cards...

We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning again. We ate breakfast at home then just puttered around. At 10 o’clock our friends Jim & Linda picked us up to go golfing. I don’t really golf but I have an old set of clubs that were given to me a few years ago. The golf course we went to is a 9-hole executive course. In my whole life, this is the third time that I have played golf. I golfed one time with David this summer in Chilliwack and once before, about five years ago.

We got home around 1 pm and hadn’t eaten yet so we decided to go out for lunch. From the restaurant we went to the grocery store then came back home again. By then, it was mid-afternoon so we sat outside on our patio to relax and read our books. Jim came over and invited us to play cards with him & Linda and another couple, John & Donna. He said to meet them in the card room in the activities building around 6:00 pm. David and I rarely play cards. He likes to play Crib though. That's his game... he and our son-in-law Marc often play 'best two out of three' when were home. Tonight we played Hand and Foot . It was the guys against the gals and unfortunately, the guys won tonight. But I still enjoyed myself. At 9:00 pm we all headed back to our own motor home. Today the temperature was again in the low 70sF.