Thursday, February 25, 2016

February 22 - 28, 2016, AZ

Thursday, February 25.  
Almost through the week already, so I'm just going to write about the highlights.  Monday - a walk with Connie through the desert path not far from home and a soothing soak in the pool.  A woman driving by my house noticed the for sale sign and me at the mailbox, so she came in for a look around. I had the feeling that she really liked the house, spent an hour with me, very curious, and even a bit of negotiating.  Unfortunately, I haven't heard from her since - Darn!

On Tuesday, the local Wisconsinites - Pat, Rog, Jim, Sue, Norm, Chris and Gerry and Jeannie (from Minnesot) all met at the Val Vista Village shuffleboard courts and patio for happy hour. We had a great time, storytelling and laughing, then it started to cool off and we had to start moving to stay warm.  We did that by playing a game of shuffleboard with Pat and Rog being the trainers.  In fact, Pat won the gold medal in the Senior Olympics today in ladies singles shuffleboard.  You go, girl!

Wednesday morning, I had a cleaning job then came home and took a little nap - so sleepy after a restless night.  In the evening, several folks from my community rode the bus to the Golden Sun Community to see a Jersey Boy's tribute band.  It was very entertaining, good singers and performers and a very enjoyable evening with friends.

This morning I stayed home and enjoyed it until I had to go have my teeth cleaned.  My student hygienist, Paige, worked hard to clean the stain and tartar from my teeth and she did an excellent job.  I am very impressed with her work starting with the X-rays taken at my last visit, her thoroughness and gentle touch.  Her dentist instructor had great things to say about her work too.  I have had nothing but good experiences going to Carrington College Hygiene School for this work, I get great service and not pay a dime.

Friday, February 26.  Sue and I walked the nature trail this morning, so peaceful and quiet except for the chattering of birds and the occasional barking of dogs.  When I got back here me, I got ambitious and oiled and polished all of the wood furniture and treated the leather chair seats and backs - a job that feels good to be done with and in this climate, much needed.

I discovered that my Octopus Agave is going to bloom - it kind of makes me excited to see the flower but sad because that means the end of the parent plant.  I plan to take photos as it progresses.  At this point the flower stalk is about a foot over the top of the plant which is about 4 feet tall.

This evening, we drove to the Mesa Drive Metro parking lot and took the light rail to Mill Ave. a crazy guy with a bike got on and was talking rather heatedly to some of the passengers until Security showed up and escorted him off the train - a bit uncomfortable for us small town Wisconsinites.  

We then walked to Rula Bula Irish Pub and Restaurant, got a nice table in the outdoor courtyard, ordered a round of beers and talked, laughed, and ate through the evening.  The setting is so nice and the food was excellent too.  Rog said it was the best fish he has had in Arizona - and they have tried many.

Sunday, February 28.  I felt like crap all day yesterday, a major allergy attack, sinus headache and feeling really under the weather.  I felt a little better this morning, so I followed through with my plan to go see Monica and Loren's new pool, then go on a hike.  Loren was called in to work this morning, but he finished and was able to go with us.  We went to Thunderbird Park and hiked about a 2.5 mile trail, then stopped for breakfast at a nice little neighborhood I'd restaurant. It was so nice to hangs out with Monica and Loren. Hiking probably wasn't the best thing for me to do, as I felt even worse when I got back home.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 15 - 21, 2016, AZ

Monday, February 15.  I jumped the gun this morning and wished my son, Ben, a happy 39th birthday, a day early.  Oh well.

Jim and Sue picked me up this morning and we headed to Saguaro Lake to take the Deset Belle cruise.  We met Jill's parents, Lois and Dennis and her aunt and uncle Kathy and Dave there.  It was so nice to see those guys again and we picked right up where we left off the last time we saw each other. The boat cruise was very educational and informative and the beauty was endless.  We did spot some Bighorn sheep on the side of the mountain and on our way back home we saw several wild horses.  A stop at Red, White, and Brew for lunch topped off that part of the day.

When I got back home, I had to go to the clubhouse to get setup for the Maggie Mae concert, reserving seats for my 12 guests, many Wisconsin supporters.  As usual, she and Stevie Ray put on an excellent 2-hour concert that had folks tapping toes, clapping, and singing along.

Thanks, Mike R for the photo.

Tuesday, February 16.  Happy Birthday to my youngest son, Ben who turns 39 today - dang, time flies.

Today's big event was a home safety seminar at the clubhouse with a free lunch.  I learned a lot but a a few major takeaways.  First is the storage of 9-volt batteries-they should never be stored where the contacts can be touching any type of metal.  They should be stored in the original packages or else held together and a piece of tape placed over the contacts.  She demonstrated how quickly sparks can be generated if they just touch a piece of metal - coins, paper clips, steel wool or something in your junk drawer.  The second biggie is timing - you have less than 2 minutes to escape once a fire breaks out - mostly due to the materials your home is constructed from and the fabrics and products in your home are made of - mostly petroleum and synthetic based materials.  Thirdly - your smoke detector may not go off if the cause is a smoldering fire (most are these days because of electronics that we use in our homes). 

Naturally, they were selling their alarm systems and Arlene and I had them come to our homes for the sales pitch afterward.  Yes, they appear to be incredible products but the cost is $1,800 for 3 alarms and $899 for 2 - way beyond my budget so I just have to take my chances.  I did get a free extinguisher and fire bat for listening to the sales pitch plus I won the drawing for a $25 gift card to Olive Garden.

Thursday, February 18.  A good news day!  A breathing test and follow up appointment with a pulmonary specialist this afternoon had me leaving there feeling really good.  The x-ray that I had last week showed my lungs were clear and the breathing test today showed minor obstruction - that, after more than 30 years as a cigarette smoker is good with me.  So...the breathing problems that I'm having are allergy and environment related and can be treated with medication and not treated when I'm away from here.

I stayed home yesterday except for a trip to Costco - walked 2.5 times around the park and went to the pool - the first time I've done so, since last fall.  It felt so good and I'm going to try to do that more often.
Friday, February 19.  A hiking we will go, a hiking we will go.  I picked Jim and Sue and Pat up this morning and we headed to the McDowell mountain preserve in Scottsdale to meet up with Lois, Dennis, Dave, and Kathy to hike the Lost Dog Wash Trail, a 2.5-mile upward climb to the Taliesen Overlook.  As usual, the views were gorgeous, especially at the summit, with Scottsdale surrounded by mountains in clear view.  Going back down was easy and quick.  We spotted a few Desert Poppies and Lupine along the trail - spring is coming.

We asked a gal to take a group photo, I'm not sure how she captured this one, but it's funny.

Beers and fish-fry at Simpletons resulted in lots of good conversation, some even political, and of course, much laughter.  I acquired a new nickname of Alacarte (since. I'm solo) from the waitress, Malicia.  Us girls got the giggles again on the way home - it feels so good to laugh so hard that you get tears in your eyes.  We sat in the patio and had an after dinner drink of Peppermint - more good conversation and laughter.  Life is good.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

February 8 - 14, 2016, AZ

Saturday, February 13.  Today marks 3 years since I lost the love of my life, when he lost his ability to breathe on his own.  It is amazing how the mind works when it comes to grief and living without someone who you have shared so many years with.  I have come to the point where I usually remember things that do not include the last week of his life when he struggled so hard to catch a breath and was so drugged to relieve the pain.  I consider this to be monumental - he is with me in my memories in a good way and I have been able to live my life and still be happy.  But there are times that the sadness is so overwhelming and the last few days have been like that.  

I had dinner with some of our closest friends last night, Pat and Roger and Jim and Sue and we had a toast to Mike and shared some memories.  He was a fun guy to be around, coming up with silly jokes and one-liners, and interesting stories and a memory that just didn't quit.  We all miss him so much.

Sunday, March 14.  I sent out a few valentines wishes today, but I never have liked this holiday that profits the card, flower, and candy companies - not necessary when you share your love and appreciation for people daily.

I didn't write much earlier in the week but it was filled with the usual, although I have had some activity and interest in my house with calls and a couple who stopped by to see it.  

Connie and I joined the folks at Val Vista Village for Happy Hour and to listed to the Dakota Kid's music and ended up ordering pizza and hanging out at Jim n Sue's motor home afterwards.  Had a fun evening with great friends.

Today, we all went to Gold Canyon and hiked the Heiroglyohic Trail that took us back into a beautiful canyon where Native Americans once lived, evidenced by their grinding bowls (we didn't see, but Connie had seen them in the past) and the petroglyphs on the rocks.  There were also several pools of water.  The trail was level until we got higher in elevation and then there were lots of boulders to climb over.  It's a popular trail so there were lots of folks at the end of the line.  We made it and we're happy for that.

Another good day, topped off with a barbecue at Jan and Jim's with lots of Hghlands friends.

Friday, February 5, 2016

February 1 - 7, 2016, AZ

Friday, February 5.  I wrote in the blog earlier this week, but I must have not saved it.  So ... What did I write about back then.  I'll see if I can backtrack.

My friends, Jim and Sue from Wisconsin were planning to come here from Tucson on Monday, but there were wind advisories out and it was an ugly night.  Pat said that she saw hail early in the morning.  Sunday night, the wind picked up and blew through here, rattling the windows and sending debris everywhere.  Frisco never even got a walk that day, other than short potty breaks in the back yard.

Tuesday was a little better and I made Chicken and Dumplings to share with Pat, Rog, Jim and Sue.  I was a little disappointed in the recipe that I chose - it didn't call for enough veggies and was way too thin.  Other than that, the flavor and the dumplings were yummy and I didn't get any complaints from my guests.  It was great to be together again - we've been friends for a long, long time.

Wednesday afternoon, we all took a walk through the Gilbert Riparian area and saw lots of cool birds and water birds.

Of course, it's Happy Hour when we finish our walk - time for a reward at Casa Ramos.

I cleaned 2 houses on Thursday and wasn't much good for anything else after that.  It whips my butt.

Today, Jim, Sue, Pat and I went to Lost Dutchman to hike the Treasure Loop Trail and we left the dogs at home.  Pat and I just did that last week, so we started on the north side of the loop today and went in the opposite direction.  The views were quite different and the slope was more gradual.  None of us realized it was going to be so windy and it really had a bite to it.  We carried on and made the 3-mile trek, in spite of the wind, climbing to about 2600 feet.  Sue's Fitbit told her we had climbed 31 floors.

Dinner tonight at Painted Mountain was delicious, as was the company and the conversation.

Saturday, February 6.  I rolled over and looked at my phone to see what time it is, 6:30 - ok, I've slept enough.  So I get in the shower, come out to the kitchen to get the coffee going and I hear the clock chime 6 times.  I guess my vision isn't that great so early in the morning.  There is no doubt that I can make it to the clubhouse for coffee this morning.

This afternoon, Pat, Rog, Jim, Sue, Connie and I played a round of golf.  Connie didn't golf but coached and caddied.  It was fun - we didn't keep score but had a lot of fun laughing at each other.

Sunday, February 7.  We all headed over to Papago Park for a hike around the Twin Buttes. As we came around the south side, we noticed a man rappelling down the side of the mountain, two others up on top, and a fire department crew on the ground.  I'm thinking it was probably a rescue training effort, it was fun to watch.  After our hike, we stopped at the Devil's Advocate for a bite to eat and a Bloody Mary. 

Break time at the ampitheater on the north side of Twin Buttes.

I got busy and finished my crochet project for the grandkid's Valentine gifts - headbands with pink hearts and custom cards.  They turned out cute, now I just hope they fit alright.