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.