Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 29 - 31, 2014, AZ

Tuesday, December 30.  When I took my job at Mesa Spirit, I didn't bargain for what I've gotten the last 2 days.  Yesterday, a meeting was held, introducing us to the new management and we were given applications and forms to sign for our employment with Equity Lifestyles Properties. In the afternoon, they met with the workcampers - folks who work in exchange for their site - they don't get a paycheck.  They were told that they would be employees, collect a salary, and pay for their sites at 1/2 the regular rate (about $360.00/month).  Many of them did not go along with this and decided to leave the park.  So that leaves 3 of us receptionists who draw a paycheck and a mass exodus of workcampers.

Today, we were unable to make any changes in the computer, had to manually track money, and there is a huge volume of people coming in between now and January 1 or shortly thereafter.  I don't know how these changes will affect me, I am not willing to give many more hours than what I originally agreed to.  Right now, nobody has answers to the many, many questions that employees and guests have.  We shall see.  

I went for a nice walk this afternoon with Frisco and stopped to talk with a few friends along the way.  We have had a few cold nights that dropped close to freezing, now a few that are more moderate, and then they are predicting below freezing temperatures for New Years Eve and the next night.  I'll have to cover up my plants again tomorrow night to protect them from possible frost.

Wednesday, December 31.  Another work day and I agreed to give them an extra couple of hours until closing time at 3:00.  It was a busy day and tomorrow will be another one, with 50 or so scheduled to arrive.

I made myself a nice dinner of Filet Mignon, sautéed mushrooms, salad, and a glass of wine.  

Happy New Year to me!

was planning on going to the party at the clubhouse tonight, but at the last minute, I put my PJs on and settled in for the night.  I know it would have been a great time, I just didn't feel like going.  I kind of feel like I may be coming down with something - I sure hope not!  I never even saw midnight.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 22 - 28, 2014, AZ

Thursday, December 25.  I can't believe that I haven't written before today.  It has been a busy week, having to put in a few extra hours at work and then a required Christmas lunch yesterday.  I grumbled and complained about them setting something like that up on short notice and I was so looking forward to my work week ending.  I did go to the lunch and it was very nice.  We got a big surprise - the General Manager, Mat, handed out Christmas cards and I was quite surprised to see a $100 bill in it.  Very nice.

I am dog sitting for Louie for a few days - Pat and Roger took a bus trip to Las Vegas with their community.  He's a good guy and they are both getting along well.

Yesterday, was my older sister, Rita's, 70th birthday.  It is hard to believe that we are getting so old.  I wanted it to be special for her, so I made her a lacey Angora scarf - it turned out nice, and she called to thank me and loved it.

I've talked with both sons several times in the last few days.  I spent Christmas Eve with Arlene and her family, Connie, Betty and James, and some other friends.  We played games, had some wine, and lots of good eats.  It was lots of fun.

A beautiful Arizona Christmas morning sunrise looking out at the Superstition Mountains.

This morning, I got to see the grandkids opening some of their gifts and I opened my gift from them.  It is a beautiful photo book of me and the kids' last year.  It is something I will treasure for a long time.  Naturally, it drew tears, as did all of the holiday music and memories. 

Grandkids with their gifts.

Going through the holidays has made me even more convinced that it is time for me to move back closer to family.  I feel that I need to be involved in their lives more and to be closer to family if something happens to me.  I've always said that I don't want to leave a mess for my sons to settle up and getting rid of a house that is 2,000 miles away from them is the first step.  Now, to get that all coordinated and to happen is not going to be a fun task.

I spent the evening with Nan, Dale, Monica, Loren, Dylan, and Loren's Mom, Lindsay.  We had a great visit and a delicious prime rib dinner with all of their traditional compliments - twice baked potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans with bacon and mushrooms, Caesar salad and lots of cookies.  Monica made me this beautiful wreath - what a nice gift.

Sunday, December 28.  The rest of the weekend has been nice, most of it spent at home.  The exception to that was some shopping, as my coffee pot has been slowly declining, I set out on Friday to find a replacement.  I had already decided that I wanted to replace it with the exact same pot - guess what - it must be the old version because I couldn't find it anywhere.  After about 6 stores, I decided that Amazon was the way to go.  I should have just done that from the beginning.

Allan and Sharon came by and delivered a gift - a still life painting that Sharon made of some of my antique bottles.  It is beautiful and I will proudly hang it on my wall.  In fact, I rearranged some art that I currently have so it could have a good place.  After visiting for a while, we went to Vito's for some lunch.  Thanks, friends, I always enjoy our time together.

Today I decided that it was time to give my wood furniture a good coating of Liquid Gold and the leather backs and seats on my dining room chairs needed to be conditioned.  Everything was looking a little bit dull and it hadn't been done in a while.

The other day, I took all of the knickknacks and glassware out of the cabinet and cleaned it (a new lightbulb showed a covering of dust).  Today, I was rearranging something and knocked one of Grandma Bridge's lemonade glasses down, and it broke in lots of pieces.  Yes, I yelled out "F*%K"!  I feel terrible - have coddled and carried and packed carefully since Mike's parents gave it to me back years ago - and it survived many years before it was handed over to me.  I think it belonged to her mother.  Well, I now have an incomplete set with only 3 glasses.  Let it go, Rose.

I also cleaned out the Gargoyle shelves since I posted it on Craig's List to sell.  I'm hoping that since several Auto auctions are going on during January that it might sell.  It is a rare and unique piece but it is also big and bulky and masculine - I'm ready to part with it.  Hope it sells.

I talked with both of my sons today - and got to see Norah and Camille playing on Facebook.  They are getting better about that - and show me things, blow kisses, and are just so cute. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 15 - 21, 2014

Monday, December 15.  It's a good thing I checked the work schedule yesterday because I learned that I am working Tuesday-Thursday this week.  I had told Arlene that I would take her shopping on Thursday but she was good with changing to Monday.  She wanted to get some gifts for her daughter and that is who usually takes her shopping.  I picked up a couple of tops for myself, didn't try them on and they didn't fit right when I did try them on.  Back to Kohls I go.  

I got a lot done this morning before heading out shopping - my reservation for the family reunion is made, my office is cleaned up from the Christmas wrap and gifts, bathrooms are cleaned, and I even got the back yard cleaned up a bit.  Last week, I bought a new battery for my blower but when I charged it up and put it in, I wasn't able to get it back out.  I got a rubber gripper and still couldn't pull it out.  I took it over to Chuck and he couldn't get it out.  So I took it back to Home Depot and they thought that the specs for the new battery are just a tiny bit larger and that is why it got stuck.  I got my money back and now I'm without a blower again.  Darn, that makes the job of cleaning up the patio, carport, and yard so much easier.  Arlene said I could use hers any time, so I might have to take her up on it.

When I went to bed tonight, I found Frisco all nestled in among the pillows.  I haven't posted a photo of him for a while, so here goes.

Thursday, December 18.  It has been a year since Mom Bridge passed away.  It's sad, but she lived a good, long life, 95 years long.  The last few that were spent in the nursing home weren't the greatest, but she was loved and got good care.  I miss her - even just writing her notes to keep her informed of the family news - phone calls got too difficult in the last year or so.  Sweet, sweet woman!

I called Sharon, just to chat, and heard Dan's voice on the recording - I love hearing his voice, but it sure made me feel sad too.  Then I got tears in my eyes when I saw a video of Charlotte's first ever recital. She is only 3.  It was so cute!  

Connie came over for a drink and we caught up with the happenings of the last week.

I just finished dinner.  I splurged and spent a whole $8.00 on a tender, juicy, melt in your mouth filet mignon, sautéed some mushrooms, and a piece of cake.  And I topped it off with a glass of wine.  Still, it would be so much more enjoyable if Mike were here to share it with me.  I really miss him at meal time - we always sat together at the dining room table for meals and they just aren't as enjoyable these days.

At work this week, we learned that the park has been sold to Equity Lifestyle Properties - the company that owns the community where I live. There is a lot of speculation abou how this will affect the employees and the park.  Judging by how they operate my park, I don't have real positive feelings about it all.  Regardless, it won't have a serious effect on me - I only work there and collect my paycheck - it is NOT a career.

Sunday, December 21.  On Friday night, I picked up Pat and Roger and we headed to Craig and Diane's (friends from Wisconsin that Mike and I both worked with at Hazleton Labs) where we had a drink (Diane makes a yummy Cosmopolitan) before heading to the American Legion for fish fry.  It doesn't matter that I haven't seen them in almost 2 years, the conversation just picks up where we left off and it seems like only yesterday.  We had lots of good talk and laughter.  The Legion hall is huge and the food was good too.

On Saturday, I did a little bit of shopping and then I prepped for tonight's Chrismas dinner with the Hooveys.  We had grilled lobster, garlic potatoes, pineapple salad, and pumpkin pie - unfortunately, the whipped cream bottle broke when Rog opened it, so no cream for our pie.  We had a very nice dinner and exchanged gifts - I got a cute little retro trailer soap dispenser.  I love it!

The week was topped off with a London bus tour of local Christmas lights, starting at the Mormon Temple in Mesa, then moving on to neighborhoods in Gilbert and Chandler.  Pat and I rode in the front seat at the top of the bus and had a great view.  We stopped at 2 of the neighborhoods and walked around, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps - yumm!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 8 - 14, 2014 - AZ

Wednesday, December 10.  There hasn't been much to write about yet this week, as it has been all about working.  They asked if I could work a full day yesterday, but it was a slow one, so I left at 3:00.  This afternoon, just before I left, they called a meeting with the receptionists and all 3 managers.  A disgruntled customer that had checked in this morning was not happy and he wrote a lengthy email to the manager.  It wasn't me at the desk, and from what I could hear from the next room, he was treated with respect, but he didn't appreciate a comment that he was given (in a joking manner) about his aggressive behavior.  His wife was ready to count out the cash for their payment of $600 and he grabbed the money from her hand and started to count it and slap it very angrily on the counter.  The meeting was just to tell us that we should call a manager to deal with this type of person if we feel uncomfortable at all.  In my eyes, no wrong was done and the customer was definitely not nice.  I feel sorry for his wife.

I am struggling with the 4th of 6 mittens, Christmas gifts for the grandkids.  Darn!  I have had to restart, correct, and rip out this one several times over the last week and I just can't get it right.  I had it finished but it was slightly smaller than the last one - an unmatched pair just won't do.  Now I'm feeling under pressure because I just have to get that package in the mail by the 15th at the latest.  Tomorrow is the day!

We have finalized our decision on when and where to have our family reunion.  The consensus was for the weekend of July 10-12 at Basswood Resort in Platte City, MO - a nice central location for family that will travel from Stoughton, Minneapolis, Wichita, Cedar Rapids (maybe), and southern Missouri.  The place looks very nice and several of us have already made reservations.

Friday, December 12. Well, I got my house cleaned and finally finished knitting mittens.  Now, the box of gifts is packed and ready to be shipped - ahead of schedule by 2 days.  They turned out really cute.

Pat, Roger, and I tried the Black Bear Diner for fish fry tonight and I don't believe that I will return.  It is another place that gives you generous portions of not the greatest food.  I saw more obese people there and figured that might be an indicator. You just don't know until you try.

Sunday, December 14.  Yesterday, I got all of the Christmas packages for the grandkids wrapped and packaged up for shipping.  Then, later on, I got it shipped off.  Today, I finished working on the annual family birthday calendar and Christmas cards done.  Yay!

 I woke up this morning thinking that it was my last day off before going back to work, but then looking at my schedule, I realized that I work Tuesday - Thursday this week.  Patty and I are planning to go to an art fair in downtown Mesa but it was chilly this morning so we decided on 
IKEA instead - Pat had never been there before.  So, despite the fact that we both took only short walks with our dogs this morning, we got a good walk in at Ikea - that place is huge - like a football field and we walked both floors.  I don't know what it is about the store, but I like it.

I helped Arlene out up some Christmas lights this afternoon and they look nice.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 1 - 7, 2014 - AZ

Thursday, December 4. Today is my youngest brother, Russell's 50th birthday and nobody in the family knows his whereabouts.  We do know that he is struggling with alcoholism and homelessness somewhere in Cedar Rapids, IA..  It is so sad, that after so many attempts to help him get his life together, he just can't do it.  I hope that he is finding a way to stay warm.

Guess what?  It's raining and it has been for most of the night.  My timing is impeccable - I'm going camping for the weekend.  The weather channel says that it should stop by noon and it might not even be raining where we are going.  Me and Connie, my next door neighbor, Tom, Chris and Norm and their friends Gary and Jeannie, Pat and Roger all have campsites together at Usery Mountain Regional Park.  Each party will provide 1 meal.  I'm so looking forward to it - we might even get to see water in some of the washes - that would be a first for me and I've lived here for 5 years now.

What a crappy night for sleeping.  I have been awake since about 2:00.  I woke up with pains in my left hip and shoulder and just couldn't settle down.  I read, then I surfed the Internet, took an 
Advil, knitted, and nothing worked.  Finally, at 6 am, I got up.

Rita and I are working on arranging a family reunion for next summer.  Rita called yesterday to see if the Basswood Resort in Platte City, MO had weekends already booked and learned that there were only 3 weekends available for a group our size.  Dang - now we have to Fastrack and get reservations made quickly.  The place looks very nice, wooded, with several lakes, family activities, and a lodge, cabins, RV sites and tent sites - something to fit every budget.

Sunday, December 7.  My weekend of camping was a good time.  I was a little concerned on 
Thursday, when it had rained most of the night and continued all morning until about 11:30.  I called the park and they said there was no problems there and possibly a little trickle of water running in some of the washes - that sounded good to me - I'd like to see that some time.  

Running man Cholla

Chris and Norm, Jeanie and Gary, and Connie and I arrived on Thursday, got settled in, and Chris and Norm provided dinner that night - sloppy Joes, potato salad, etc.  Jeanie made a breakfast casserole and coffee cake for the next morning and we had it after attending a talk about wild birds of the area.  

Pat and Rog and my neighbor, Tom, got there on Friday.  I made dinner that night - beef stew.  We took a few short hikes, sat around the fire, and told stories - lots of laughs.  The next morning, Tom made us a burrito breakfast and in the evening, Pat provided the ingredients for us each to make our own zip pack (foil wrapped dinner) that we cooked on the open fire.

Norm, Roger, Jeannie, Pat, Connie, Chris, Chris, and Tom

Some of us took a ranger led Full Moon Hike on Saturday night.  It was enjoyable for some of us, but the trail was rocky and we had to look down at the ground to keep from stumbling and the pace was a little fast for us.  We packed up and left fairly early the next morning.

The mountain looked a lot different when the sun came out paste in the afternoon on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November 24 - 30, 2014 - AZ

Tuesday, November 25.  Happy Birthday to my daughter-in-law Tracey!  

The last 2 days have been work days so there is not a lot of exciting stuff going on.  I did get a surprise FaceTime call from Charlotte on Sunday but, wouldn't you know there was a customer at the counter and I couldn't hear what she was saying - I did catch something about snow monsters.  So cute!

My internal clock has got me waking up in the 4:30 range and I'm not really fond of that.  I've always loved the morning, but that is way too early.

Last night, when I took Frisco out for his last potty break, I looked up at the sky and the first thing that I saw was a shooting star.  I immediately thought of Mike, somehow little things like that are reminders that his spirit is still out there and a part of my universe.

Thursday, November 27.  Thanksgiving Day.  So this is my first Thanksgiving with no family around and it has been a bit emotional.  I am not alone, though and I'm thankful for that.  It was my choice to live away from family, and it is so expensive to travel around the holidays, so I'm dealing with it - also, it was a lot different when it was Mike and I because we had each other.  I did have Facetime conversations with Pat, Ben, and Bob and Penny this morning and later in the afternoon I got to see the grandkids.  Charlotte told me a story about the camping trip that she and I had and the twins were running around looking cute as could be.  

Connie and I went to spend the afternoon with Chuck and Kathy at Usery Park campground.  What a beautiful setting - many of the campers there had visitors.  Frisco and Bear got along well and we had a wonderful dinner together, a few walks, and a beautiful 80 degree day for it.  I'm really looking forward to camping out there next weekend.

Kathy, Connie, and Chuck
Thanksgiving Sunset

Friday, November 29.  I actually slept in this morning and was having my coffee when Patty texted to see if we were going for a hike.  So I got ready, picked them up and we headed to San Tan Mountain Regional Park.  If you head straight south from my house, you go about 17 miles until you come to the mountain.  We decided to take the San Loop trail that was about 4.5 miles but ended up missing a turn and going out and back, doing about 5.2 miles.  The dogs did well, although Louie was panting pretty hard and both were exhausted when we got to the car.  

We stopped for lunch at Uncle Bear's (a nice dog-friendly spot in Queen Creek) for lunch and had a beer and a burger.

Saturday, Movember 29.  What started out to be a day at home, decorating for the holidays, turned out to be an afternoon of shopping and I came back home empty handed.  A waste of time.  I did get a pot of turkey soup base made, some crocheting done, and I organized my filing system so the day wasn't a complete bust.

I got a video of Ben and his family sledding back in Minnesota.  They sure were bundled up, but I heard lots of laughter and saw Charlotte rolling down the hill while Mom, Dad, and Twins rode the sled.  That made me chuckle.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 17 - 23, 2014 - AZ

Thursday, November 20.  The highlight of this week is that I got together with two of my nieces for dinner last night.  Ashley (from Kansas City) was in Scottsdale for training and she and Monica hadn't seen each other for 11 years.  We met at Olive and Ivy and had a great dinner together with lots of good conversation.

I don't have plans for the weekend, but I know that my days will fill up and there will be plenty to do.  I'm still working on hats and mittens for the grandkids and the thought just crossed my mind that I have only about 3 weeks before I will need to get them shipped so they arrive by Christmas.  

Friday, November 21.  My last statement that I don't have weekend plans wasn't right.  My Friday plans were for Connie and I to join the Hooveys, Chris and Norm, Carl (Norm's brother) and two other couples for happy hour at Val Vista Village and that started at 3:00 this afternoon.  We were entertained by a couple from Campbellsport, WI, a husband and wife who provided us with some good country music and some dancing too.    We had lots of fun and that is such a beautiful place. They tore down a building last summer and expanded the patio and dance floor.  Happy hours are pretty popular around here.

Saturday, November 22.  Whew!  Today was a busy day, starting with my morning walk, as usual.  I then picked Pat up and we headed out to some garage sales, but they were sporadic and by 10:00 we had both had enough.  After I dropped her off, I went to the grocery store, since I had a hankering for s pot of chili.

I was making chili when Connie stopped by to see if I was able to go to Chuck and Kathy's at 2:00 to talk about Thanksgiving dinner (I am having family dinner with Monica and her family on 
Wednesday night).  At 4:00 when we left there, I was feeling pretty good from that large glass of wine that Kathy poured me and I went home and enjoyed a bowl of chili before having to get ready to be at the clubhouse by 5:00.

Ten of us piled into a van and headed to the Gilbert Observatory that is located by the Riparian Preserve.  Several men from the Astronomy Society showed up, two of them operating the large telescope in the observatory and one outside with his own, very large, telescope.  We started by looking at The Owl, a collection of stars in Cassiopeia in the northern sky.  As it got darker and we went back to it, you could actually see the shape of a stick man, complete with two bright eyes, arms and legs.  We also looked at the planets Uranus and Neptune and two stars that revolve around each other - the space between them looks like a half-inch when looking through the telescope but the actual distance in space is something like 83 billion miles apart.  

The discussion about the distance from us is overwhelming and I can't remember any of the numbers that he gave, but they were in billions of light years.  We looked at starts that exploded back when Christ was born and they are still floating around out there.  He told us of a place just east of here (Picket Post Road, just east of The Boyce Thompson Arboretum) where you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye.  He described the place as a bowl, where the temperature at your head is 20 degrees warmer than at your feet - and people go there to watch the stars because there is no light pollution.  Some of us were very interested in doing that some time.  

I learned a lot on this outing.  It was a full, busy day and I was tired and ready for bed when I got back home.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 10 - 16. 2014, AZ

Tuesday, November 11.  After Frisco's walk and about 2.5 miles on my bike, I quickly changed clothes and headed to the clubhouse for the Veterans Day program.  I hesitated to go, since I knew it would be an emotional program and it was, but I'm thankful that I chose to go. To honor Mike's service, I wore his Vietnam Veterans of America pin.  

The program was excellent, with the Young Marines (boys that were about 12 years old) doing the color guard, and then a speaker who had served in the Marines.  The point of his talk was to encourage veterans to talk about their experiences to their family and friends, so they are remembered by future generations.  He also reminded them that, no matter what their job was while serving, they gave their country a blank check for their life and it was a sacrifice even if they did not see combat.  He felt that Veterans Day is to honor the vets that are still living and that Memorial Day is to honor those who have passed on.  

The next part of the program took place on the stage, where a small table was set with a white tablecloth, a place setting for one, a vase with a single red rose, a candle, and an empty chair.  One of the boys told the significance of each item while another pointed them out.  Here is the story to honor POWs and MIAs:
The table is round -- to show our everlasting concern for our missing men.

The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.

The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of the missing, and the[ir] loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.

The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.

A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted -- to symbolize their inability to share this evening's [morning’s/day’s] toast.

The chair is empty -- they are missing.


I wasn't able to see the 2nd part of the program and its too bad.  It was 3 women, dressed in 40s style, that did a USO style show.  They had beautiful voices, as I was able to see them sing the National Anthems of the US and Canada.

Frisco had his annual checkup today and all is well with him, except that the price tag was $170.00.  Dang, the money is just flowing through my account faster than I want it to be.

Friday, November 14.  My work week is over, and today, I need to get everything ready for the patio sale tomorrow.  I sure hope that I get rid of some of these things that I don't need to have cluttering up what little storage space I have.  

Yesterday was kind of rough, starting the first time that I wrote the date down.  Mike has been gone for a year and 9 months and there are still times that I feel it was just yesterday that we were surrounding him at the hospital, hopeful that he might just pull through that terrible episode and that his sick lungs would be able to support his body.  These days, I stare at his picture for long moments, just studying and remembering those beautiful brown eyes and his crooked toothed smile.  He was my life and is now missing in action.

Sunday, November 16.  The garage sale yesterday went well, but I didn't profit a whole lot - ended up with $48 in my pocket.  Nan and Dale brought over a few things to get rid of and they didn't have too much to load back up in the car.  They had some beautiful Amish baskets that they bought in Wisconsin and thought they would be able to peddle here - they had lots of admiring looks and comments but no sales.  It really wasn't worth the time or effort and I don't think I will do it again.  When the gates were locked again, I headed to the donation box at the nearest thrift store.  It was quite the social event, as the neighbors who weren't having sales were shopping.  A fun time.

Connie and I went to the Gilbert Riparian Preserve this morning and had a nice walk.  Lots of people were thinking the same thing we were, so it was pretty busy.

I heard from Pat when I got back home and learned that he and Ben had breakfast together this morning in Madison and that always makes me feel good.  Ben had gone there to watch the Badgers play Nebraska with his friend Mike on Saturday.  When he got back home, he called me on Fadetime and I got to say hello to the kids too.  Here are the latest pictures of them.

It was a cold day here - well, relatively speaking, that is.  The wind picked up and the temperature dropped while I was sitting out on the patio knitting this morning. I spent the rest of the day in the house, ended up shutting the windows and changing into long pants and a long sleeved shirt.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 3 - 9, 2014, AZ

TWednesday, November 5.  I only had 2 days scheduled to work this week, because some of the newer people need time to get trained, so I agreed to work this Sunday for a few hours.  Today, I actually did training with one of the work campers - and I thought I still needed training.

I picked my bike up this afternoon, after taking in on Tuesday to have the shifter fixed.  I'm sure that I had it repaired last spring because it locked up.  Today, they told me it was the cable and some gears brackets needed adjusting and lubricating.  After dinner, I took it out for a couple of laps around the park and it seems to be working just fine.

I'm not much for TV, but I have been watching a BBC series that I found on Netflix called "The Land Girls".  It takes place in England during World War II and is about the women that go to work on farms because the men are fighting the war.  It keeps my attention and I'm enjoying the story - a bit of drama,  tragedy and romance too.

Friday, November 7.  I got my house cleaned up and worked on and finished the first of the hats that I'm making for the grandkids for Christmas.  The second time around was much better, as I tore out the first one and started over again.  I was ready to get going on the first pair of mittens but found that I don't have the right size needles and that means another trip to the store, which I really didn't feel like doing at the time.

Pat and Roger and I tried a new place for fish fry tonight - the Sunland Village Golf Course and it was very good.  The pieces of cod were huge, the 2-piece dinner filled the plate and was way too much to eat.  If I go back there again, it will be the 1-piece dinner.  We had s nice table on the deck overlooking the golf course, so it was a nice evening.

I just couldn't go to sleep last night, the last time I heard the clock chime, it was midnight.  What's up with that?

Yesterday, Connie and I went for a drive to check out the Fort McDowell Mountain Regional Park campground because I'm getting the itch to go camping and am planning an outing with Chris and Norm the first weekend in December.  The GPS led us astray and we were up in Scottsdale before idealized that just couldn't be right, so we turned around and followed it again and we ended up at a dead end street in Fountain Hills - closer this time, but not quite close enough.  We finally got there and the park is beautiful and the campsites are very nice, well kept and the facilities are clean too.  The views are beautiful with Red Mountain to the south and Four Peaks to the north.

Today, I drove to Usery Mountain Regional Park to check out their campground and it too has beautiful sites, similar amenities and great views.  I think we are going there for the first time out, it is a lot closer.

Saturday, November 8.  I stayed home today and got a lot done around the house, including washing the front windows and screens - they needed it, especially since a bird somehow managed to deposit some droppings that were running down the screen - yuck!  

I also talked to several family members today, as it is my brother-in-law, Dan's birthday and I knew everyone would be thinking of him.  So Sharon and Tom were at the top of my list. I also talked to my sister, Rita, and sister-in-law, Penny.

I went to an 80th birthday party at the clubhouse for Dan this afternoon and there were so many people there, that all couldn't sit at one time.  He and Marion ar pretty active, so they have a lot of friends and many of their own family including 3 baby boys that were all born this last August.  They were so cute!

Before I remembered about the birthday party, I had invited Pat and Rog for dinner - so I grilled up some sausage and peppers and made an apple crumble for dessert.  It was a nice time, always good to hang out with them.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 1 - 2, 2014, AZ

OSaturday, November 1.   I was so tired today, after a police helicopter, circling overhead, woke me up and I wasn't able to get back to sleep for at least 3 hours.  

Jan and I went to some yard sales this morning and neither of us found much.   Back at home, the temps have dropped and it was a beautiful afternoon.  I was able to take a short nap but mostly I just enjoyed the day.

It took an hour to get ready for our Halloween dance tonight, several of us girls are going as a Band of 
Gypsies.  It was a lot of fun, some great costumes, a good band, and I did a lot of dancing.  We even took 5th prize and $20 gift cards for McDonalds.

Sunday, November 2.  I got to see Ben and Charlotee this morning, although they called from a cafe and couldn't hear me very well.  Still, it was nice to see them.  Later on, Ben called and I got to watch Norah and Camille playing.  Norah took a few steps but Camille was determined to just get on and off her little car.  They are soooooo cute and it really made my day.

I finally got to working on the finishing touches of my bathroom that I remodeled last spring.  The baseboard trim was left to do and I got it done today.  My measuring skills are not the best and cutting angles really had me puzzled, but I finally got it all done.  Now, I'm not totally satisfied with the wall color that I chose, but will live with it the way it is for a while - at least until I make a decision.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 27 - 31, 2014, AZ

Tuesday, October 28.  Yesterday was a normal workday, and I started at 8:00, so I was up at the crack of dawn in order to get enough coffee drinking time in, get Frisco walked, and get myself ready.  It is nice to get back home at 2:00.  On my way home, I got to thinking that I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday, so I called to remind my boss of the arrangement that we had made, I would work on Thursday instead.

Today started out strange, because I realized during the night that my dentist appointment is next week.  So I called work and told them I would be in at 10, as scheduled.  She had gotten someone else to fill in for me, so I made up booklets for guests, did some filing, and sat with another trainee and worked through reservations together. When she left for the day, I finished up.

Kathy arranged a ladies night out tonight at the Grandview at the Painted Mountain Golf Club and we met up with some of Connie's friends that she line dances with, so there ended up being 12 of us.  Harry Mathews was quite entertaining, interacting with the crowd, teaching line dances, and just plain being crazy.  It was a fun night out, full of dancing and hanging out with friends, and a great workout too.

Friday, October 31.  This is weird.  I am typing but the letters on my keyboard are not visible (ipad) - something spooky is going on here.  I am having my coffee, looking out the window, and the sky is gorgeous.  

Hey, my keyboard is back, it must be a problem with the app that I'm using.  Yesterday was my day off and I spent most of it at home, just trying to get a few things done.  I cleaned up the carport where Pat and Roger's car has been stored and that led to rearranging the shed.  I have to find a way to store the garden tools so I don't have to move several of them every time I need one.  Guess I'll have to check Pinterest out.  I did manage to get organized and set aside a few things for our community's upcoming patio sales.

I had a nice conversation with Jill while the kids were napping and got to see a rug that she just bought and the fence that they had installed between the house and the garage.  Ben has been working hard on the back yard and has it all leveled and seeded, ready for beautiful grass next spring.

Connie and I went over to Pat and Rogers for happy hour, had a nice chat and a good Old Fashioned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 20 - 26, 2014, AZ

I Wednesday, October 22.  It is 5:30 and I'm up having my coffee and catching up on the news before heading off to work.  I'm still in training mode, but actually took and entered 4 reservations yesterday by myself with only a few questions.  Today, I am starting at 8:00 and will be sitting up front at the reception desk.  Processes haven't really changed much, it's just the computer system that has been updated and seems to be pretty user friendly, but not as flexible where fixing errors is concerned.

Connie loaned me her electric hedge trimmers and I got most of my shrubs trimmed in less than half  the time it usually takes.  Hopefully, she will sell it to me, as I don't think she has a use for it.  Being a master gardener, I have always liked the more natural pruning and shaping methods over the more formal shapes that you get with this, but it really saves time and energy.

At work today, I took a reservation from a guy named Charles.  I had trouble with the reservation and had to call him back 3 more times to ask questions or get additional information.  I explained that I was in training and we had some laughs and all was good.  The phone rang and it was Charles.  He asked me if I ever watched Two and a Half Men. Did I know Charlie?  Did I know Rose?  He said, "I go by Charlie - your name is Rose - are you stalking me?"  We laughed again and ended the call. So ... the job is kind of fun at times - especially when people are happy and not so serious.

Friday, October 24.  The last 2 days have been busy with appointments.  My annual wellness checkup was yesterday and all is good.  My only followup is to have a mammogram.

My car had a checkup too.  I took it to AAA for an oil change and everything checked out with that.  I was struggling with making a decision on where to take my car for maintenance, then I got a coupon from AAA for a $14.99 oil change and decided to go there.  I have no regrets, I feel I was treated fairly and the offered a good price for what was included and I will definitely go back there again.  Thanks to Randy & Julie for the birthday gift membership.  

Today, I had it in to the local dealer for some recall work, there were actually 3 recalls - nothing serious, but all were taken care of and I left there without paying a cent.  They replaced a fuse and washed it too.  

I finally finished the collage of the camping trip that I took with Charlotte.  What great memories!

Saturday, September 25.  Right after my walk with Frisco this morning, Connie and I headed out to community sales at Palmas del Sol.  We both found some good deals and enjoyed the search.

I had an appointment for a haircut with Kelli this afternoon - really needed it and it was nice to see her again and catch up with the news of the summer.

When I got back home, I started to prep for dinner, as I invited Chuck and Kathy and Connie for Ben's pasta, Italian sausage, Caesar salad, and pumpkin pie.  Chuck brought his yummy peppered dinner rolls and we had a great time, drinking a cocktai, talking and eating.  It really felt good to cook and to share a meal.  We're watching the KC Royals play the SF Giants in the 4th game of the World Series.  It looks like they will be tied 2/2 after this one - 11-4, SF at the bottom of the 8th and I'm going to bed.  Exciting stuff.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 13 - 19, 2014 - AZ

Wednesday, October 15.  It has been a busy week and I am getting back into the "home in Arizona" routine.  My morning walks include meeting up with the other regular walkers and their dogs in the cool part of the day.

I had my annual vision checkup on Monday and learned some ways to keep my eyes lubricated and also learned that I have cataracts forming, the right eye is worse because of the location of the cataract, but it still doesn't require surgery.  I am sick and tired of the frames that I have, so will be shopping for new glasses soon.  I am definitely returning to Costco for glasses as I have been 100% satisfied with my last prescription and frame.

Yesterday, I started training for my part-time job at Mesa Spirit RV Resort.  They are willing to give me the hours that I want (Monday-Wednesday, 6 hours/day), although I will be paid minimum wage.  The convenient location makes it worthwhile in my eyes.  Training went well and I think I will be able to learn the new reservation program fairly quickly.

Connie called me this morning to see if I was interested in going to see the movie, "The Judge", with Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall.  Five of us went and it was a good but very sad story about a successful lawyer who returns to his hometown when his mother dies, and he discovers that his estranged father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. He reconnects with his brothers that he walked away from years before, although the relationship with his father is pretty sad.

After the movie, Arlene and I went to Costco so I could look at glasses frames and restock the club house supplies.  We had a cocktail together when we got back home.

Friday, October 17.  This month is flying by, I guess it helps that I have been staying busy.  I went in for more training on Thursday, but they didn't have a lot of actually reservations for us to work with and the training module wasn't cooperating either.  I think that after a few "hands-on" entries, it will come back to me, even though the program is a little different.  We have talked about a lot of familiar things.

I went to a few estate sales this morning, got a few things done around the house, and then went to TGIF to socialize with neighbors.  As usual, it was a good time.

Saturday, October 18.  This evening, I joined Nan and Dale for dinner and then we all went to see "1964: A Tribute to the Beatles" at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix.  It's good to see them again, after a long summer away.  As we were going to our seats, Nan slipped on something and fell - she seemed ok but was getting stiff and sore as the night went on.  Our seats were good, as was the show, with the stage in continuous rotation.  I'm usually not a big fan of tribute bands but these guys have been doing this for 31 years and weren't bad.  It definitely brought back memories of my late teen years.

Sunday, October 19.  When I passed the clubhouse this morning, I went in and stood on the scale - it is truly time to get serious about taking some weight off.  I have been really good about not eating bread, pasta, or sugars but more has to be done.  So, when I finished my walk, I did a half- mile Walk Away The Pounds.  It's a start.

Diane invited me to her house in Queen Creek for a brunch/Packer party, so I headed out there.  She lives right at the base of a mountain (not sure which one) but it is a beautiful setting.  I met several of her friends, had a great breakfast burrito and chatted for a while before heading back home to get some things done around the house. 

Diane, her granddaughter Ava, and horse, Tiana.

When Connie called to say that she and a few other folks were heading to the pool, I went to join them.  It was nice to just hang out and relax in the pool for a while and chat with Connie, Jeannie, Bill, Vicki, and Kathy.

The sky has clouded over and was rumbling with thunder, but I don't think it brought us any rain.  I was having a phone conversation with Ben while the thunder was going on, then there was a show of fireworks off in the distance, so Frisco was adding his sound effects to the evening.  The sky was gorgeous!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 6 - 12, 2014, AZ

Wednesday, October 8.  It's raining here this morning!  It feels good.  The windows are open and I've spent the morning cleaning to remove the light covering of dust on everything.  I'm thankful that I got all of my yard waste taken to the dumpster.  I've been working on trimming the Palo Verde trees that grew so much over the summer that they looked like Weeping Willows.  I never thought they would grow so prolifically in this climate.  Next year, I think I will not provide supplemental water and see what happens.  There was a lot rain here, so I'm sure that has had an effect.

Norah and Camille had their first birthday yesterday and I attended the party via FaceTime and had tears in my eyes the whole time.  Wow! A year old and what a year it has been.  I'm so thankful to have  been involved in their first year.

Connie and I are heading to Mt. Lemmon tomorrow to camp with Jim and Jan who are hosting at the Whitetail campground for the season.  We are just going for one night.  Since they were predicting rain today, I hooked up the Pipsqueak this morning, rather than in the mud tommorow - gotta admit that I'm getting pretty good at it.

Sunday, October 11.  Connie and I had a really nice time visiting Jan and Jim at their beautiful campsite on top of Mt. Lemmon.  It was a 4-hour drive to get there, hitting some rain along the way.  Then as we climbed to about 7,000 feet, it was sunny and nice - after that, we hit rain and it continued until late afternoon.  It had rained there since Monday, so there were waterfalls coming off the rocks and little riverlets everywhere.  They work at the Whitetail Campground - with 5 group campsites, all of them have a firepit and ramada and tent sites for 40-90 people.  Weekdays are quiet but weekends fill up.  We stayed Thursday night and came back home on Friday afternoon.

Our camp hosts, Jan and Jim.

This point was on top of the mountain, overlooking the Tucson Valley.

It is beautiful up there - hard to believe that it is Arizona.

Yesterday, I went to Arlene's in the afternoon to help celebrate her birthday.  The gathering was originally to be a picnic at Riverview Park, but she decided to have it at her house instead.  The food was great and the company was full of stories and laughter.  

This morning, I started my day with Ben and the kids over breakfast.  It was great to see them all.

After that, I got busy cleaning the patio from top to bottom.  It smells so much better out there now - I can relax and enjoy.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October 1 - 5, 2014, OK, TX, NM, AZ

Wednesday, October 1.  As I was disconnecting this morning, a friendly woman named Marla (also recently widowed) came by to let me know about an organization called rvingwomen.org, and she handed me her card.  She is also traveling solo (in a 40' motorhome) and recently learned about the group and went to one of their rallies and found it to be a good experience.  It turns out that she is headed to Albuquerque to the hot air balloon rally and I beyond there and we will both be stopping at the same RV park for the evening.

Once we got settled in our sites, she joined me at the picnic table for a cocktail and some good conversation.  Yes, we had the recent loss of our husbands in common, but also the traveling bug, a fondness for travel and driving, a familiarity with Florida, Standard Poodles, and an interest in plants and gardening - so we had lots to talk about.  We watched a steady stream of RVs coming in for the night and the place is filling up.

I am getting close to home now, at least I am in the right time zone.  The weather is perfect as I sit and enjoy the evening, in the low 70s with a light breeze.  My only complaint is the roar of traffic on the interstate, as most of these places are located with convenient access from the interstate.  I've learned in the past that it is good to keep a fan running during the night and it blocks out the highway noise.

Thursday, October 3.  I didn't sleep very good and was awake by 6 am, so I was on the road by 8. The first thing I did was stop for guess and to check my mileage - 13.7 mpg!  Yay!  I'm not sure why I didn't think of it beforehand, but as I was driving yesterday afternoon, I realized the engine was racing at 4,000 rpm while I was using cruise control and I was only getting 10-11 mpg.  After my last fill-up of the day, I consciously watched the tachometer and tried to keep it around 2,500 (it is usually 1,500 without the trailer).  It worked!  I have Mike to thank for teaching me about that and myself to kick in the butt for not thinking of it before this.

At first, I had only planned to go as far as Grants, NM, about 250 miles.  I wasn't too tired, so I decided to push on to Gallup (another 65 miles).  I pulled into a nice RV park where Mike and I had stayed previously, and they had no sites available -  they were full because of the Balloon Rally in Albuquerque.  They were very nice and accommodating - even calling ahead to the OK RV park in Holbrook (another 85 miles) for me, so I made a reservation and that is where I landed for the night.  It's a nice, clean park and it is filling up quickly.  In most of the places I have stopped, I am the only little guy - tonight there is a Scamp, a popup, and an A-Liner behind me and a tiny teardrop next to me.  Pipsqueak gets attention wherever we go.  Tomorrow's drive is about 4 hours and then we will be home.

Friday, October 3.  The drive today was relaxing and took me through beautiful country.  As I was getting into the White Mountains, I kept seeing signs to watch for Elk and I finally saw one.  Unfortunately, it was road kill and I feel bad for the poor guy that hit it - that is a large animal to run into.  When I saw the road to Four Peaks, it wasn't long before Red Mountain (my favorite landmark that is only about 15 miles from me) came into view and I was almost home.  

My community looks good and I was happy to see a new roof on the clubhouse and the paint has been spruced up too.  Connie stopped by for a hug as she was heading out and shortly after that, Arlene came over to welcome me home too.  I got things unpacked and put away, then had to just sit back and enjoy.

Home Sweet Home!  Since my birthday on April 27, I have covered 5,700 miles traveling through fourteen states, and spending quality time with lots of family and friends.  I picked up my trailer and have been loving it and learning about it ever since - I did the right thing!  I am so happy with how easy it is to hookup, tow, and setup and take down. I envision good trips and good times in the future with it.  It was a great summer but it sure feels good to be back home. I know I'm going to miss my grandkids but will just have to use Facetime more often.

For all of my readers who I visited with over the summer - thanks for being there for me and I appreciate the time we had together.  For some, I'm sorry I wasn't able to spend more time with you.    Whenever you are ready, come on down for a visit!

Sunday, October 5.  The weekend has been busy with trying to get my house and yard back in order.  I've mostly been working on the patio and yard because that is why I live in Arizona - so I can be outdoors a lot.  Everything is covered with dust from the summer storms and needs a good cleaning.  The cover on Roger's car (in my carport) came off, the car was covered with dust, so I washed it down and had Arlene help me to get it back on.  Connie returned my blower, so I was able to get some of the dust off.

I got a lot done today - cleaned up the Century plants in my front yard, picked reeks, removed the dead part of my Barrel cactus, did some pruning in the Palo Verde trees, and got my car washed.  I don't know if the Barrel cactus will survive - the entire center of the plant was dead and the mounds that surrounded and were attached to it became separated from it.  I think that might be the parent plant.  There are very few roots and I'm hoping that they are healthy.

I invited Connie to join me for grilled peppers and Italian sausage (the yummy stuff that Bob sent home with me) and we had a nice evening.

Hey, it's good to be back home again!