Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 23 - 30, 2013 - AZ

Monday, December 23.  Christmas is coming up too quickly and I wish I could just blink and it would be 2014.  Although I am looking forward to Sharon, Becky, Ron, Brooke, and Elizabeth's arrival on Christmas Day.  

I’ve started to pick away at getting the house ready for guests and got the lasagna for Christmas dinner assembled.

Frisco has been digging at his ear and yipped when I touched it yesterday, so we were off to see the vet today.  His left ear is fine, but the right has a bacterial infection.  The treatment is cleaning with a solution, putting in drops, and Benadryl.  Poor guy.  As I was leaving, they were bringing a big Golden Retriever that had been attacked by a Pitbull.  The poor thing couldn't walk, so it was wheeled in on a gurney and it's whole front shoulders and chest were covered in blood and cuts.  I hope the outcome was good.

Tuesday, December 24.  The sadness crept in last night and I couldn't stop crying.  This season is supposed to be filled with joy and happiness, but instead, it is filled with grief and sadness for so many lost family members this year.  I think I will find some time to look through photos of past Christmases and remember those joyful and hectic times.

Thursday, December 26.  Yesterday morning, after a nice Christmas conversation with Pat and Tracey, I got to open gifts with the Bridge family in SF on FaceTime.  Charlotte was all about the presents and it took several conversations to let her know that all of the gifts were not for her - that we not only received gifts but we gave some too.  And that there were gifts for everyone.  It was the next best thing to being there.

My 3 little elves.

Sharon, Becky, Ron, Brooke, and Elizabeth arrived from Wisconsin around 1:00.  After the grand tour of my little box, we shared a nice lasagna dinner together, went for a walk to see the Christmas lights in Brentwood, and we all retired early.

Today, we drove to the Grand Canyon because Sharon had never seen it.  There was snow up there, from Sedona north to the canyon.  The weather was actually pretty nice, mid 50's and sunny and the views were worth the drive - the long, long drive.

Friday, December 27.  Ron surprised his family yesterday morning with a hot air balloon ride and I got to go along.  We left the house at 6 am and headed to Deer Valley where we all piled into a van and headed to state land trust property, where there were about 10 other balloon crews getting ready to take off at sunrise.  Our crew was very efficient and we were the 2nd ballon to lift off.  The flight was as enjoyable as I could ever imagine with beautiful views, a smooth ride and just high enough (about 1700 feet) to give us great views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, the entire valley, and desert.  The ride was about 90 minutes long. I'm so glad that I went along - I thoroughly enjoyed it - one of those bucket list items that got checked off.  Many thanks to Ron for including me.

When we got back home, we packed up Lizzie and dropped her off at Becky's friend, Deena's house where she will stay with her friend for a few days.  We then headed to the Mesa Marketplace Flea Market for some shopping.

I went to the clubhouse tonight to cut up grocery bags for making crocheted sleeping mats for the homeless.  About 10 people showed up and we cut the base and handles off the bags, then cut the bags in strips that will be joined together to make the yarn, then crocheted.  We have been told by the Salvation Army that these mats provide a comfortable cushion, are good insulators against the heat and cold and also are somewhat water proof.

Saturday, December 28.  We all slept in this morning and it sure felt good.  Once we were all showered, had a good breakfast, and were ready for the day, we went to Goldfield Ghost Town and strolled around, watched a cowboy gunfight in the streets, and had a beer and burger on the patio that overlooked the Superstition Mountains.  Gorgeous!  It is truly the Wild West, as folks come there by horseback - there were at least a dozen horses tied to the rail in the parking lot.  A man looking a lot like Sam Elliott was having a beer right next to us.

Later on, my guests all went to see the Christmas lights at Glendale and at the Mormon Temple in Mesa.  I opted to stay at home and enjoy the quiet - and I did just that.

Sunday, December 29.  The Green Bay Packers were playing the Chicago Bears today and Ron and Sharon wanted to see the game and Pat and Roger invited them to Val Vista Village to watch it with them.   Becky and I went to Usery Mountain Regional Park to hike with Deena.  I knew  that we were going on about a 3-hour hike, but I didn't know that it was a 7.5 mile hike - a bit more than I am used to hiking.  I trucked along, we stopped and rested, and I was able to make it the entire distance.  I couldn't quite keep up with Deena's pace (a quite ambitious gal, my age, who is training for the upcoming Phoenix Marathon) so we slowed a bit, took a few breaks, and we made it in 4-hours.  The views were spectacular and the trail was not difficult, just long.  From the north side of the mountain, you could see the fountain at Fountain Hills.

Dena and Becky

Me and Becky