Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25 - 30, 2016, AZ

ITuesday, April 26.  My birthday week started out just fine.  The big news is that my house MIGHT be sold.  After talking with a real estate agent last week, I decided to drop my price.  I then contacted a couple who looked at it a few weeks ago, liked the house and the convenient location (directly behind her sister), to see if they were still interested. So...if we can come to an agreement where they will pay half up front and the remainder a year from now (when they are ready to retire), it will be a deal.

My community Manager suggested that we actually sign the titles over with them as owners and me as leinholder, to bind them to the deal, protect me, and allow them to purchase a homeowners warranty to cover any large expense like appliances going out between now and then.  Makes sense, so I'm waiting to hear what they have to say.  I heard back from Scott - were moving right along.

Wednesday, April 27.  Today is the 68th anniversary of my birth Happy Birthday to me!

Connie dropped off this cute headband this morning, I just had to post a selfie.  And here is the darling card that I got in the mail from Charlotte - Dad, Mom, Charlotte, Norah, and Camille - all walking roly poly bugs.

And then, my friends took me to Postino's for a fun lunch celebration.

What a great day, lots of phone calls, FaceTime, texts, emails, and birthday cards.  I'm fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends.

Thursday, April 28.  I went to Costco this morning to get new tires on my car, but the guy checked them and said that I should have another 5-6,000 miles on them so I'm going to hold off for now and maybe get them in Wisconsin or Minnesota.

 My birthday treat to myself was to get tickets to see Dale Watson at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix.  Connie and Loretta joined me on this "out of the box" kind of adventure tonight - going to see a show that didn't start until 8:00, were usually settled in our jammie's for the night.  I'm so glad that we went, the place was kind of a dive bar that didn't hold too many people and the show was sold out,  We were lucky to get seats with a decent view of the stage.  Trailer Queen opened the show and she had quite a group of followers, dancing jitterbug style (a few even dressed in 49s style clothing and hairdos) to her loud and lively music.

Dale's set was about 2 hours, he sang lots of requests and interacted with the crowd a lot, slurping down shots from the crowd - posing for photos and selfies and a few kisses too, and several of his ads for Lone Star Beer.  They are branding his music as Ameripolitan, along with the likes of Merle haggard, George Jones, and outlaw music - just what I like.  It was great, I'm so glad that we ventured out - got home at midnight.

Saturday, May 30.  It's raining, it's pouring (not), but the air smells clean and I love the litter patter on the metal roof of my patio - it sounds much better than the pounding and drilling sounds that are coming from the remodel next door - every weekend.

I did my last house-cleaning job yesterday, after a late night and very little sleep the night before. I survived it and have been asked to open up and continue cleaning for all 4 of my clients - guess they are happy with the job I've done.

Connie and I went to a few sales this morning and I got a good bargain - a pair of Bose multimedia speakers for $5, they can hook up to my tv, iPhone or iPad. It pays off to be a scrounger some times.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 18 - 24, 2016, AZ

Monday, April 18.  Connie left right after coffee this morning and I just relaxed and finished my coffee, enjoying the quiet of the morning.  I loaded up and was heading home by 11:00.  It was a nice weekend, too bad that Chuck and Kathy couldn't make it but hopefully, we can plan another getaway before too long.

Arlene and Sharka treated me to dinner at Lo-Lo's and a play at the Hale theater tonight.  We saw the Andrews Brothers - a comedy spin on a USO show, 1945, where the Andrews Sisters canceled so the 3 stage hands and a female guest singer did the show.  All of the plays I've seen at this theatre are great, the actors are talented and beautiful singers.  I bought a ticket to see "Diary of Ann Frank" in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, April 19.  The high winds over the weekend sure made a mess of my patio and carport, so that was my project for today.

I spoke with a real estate agent today, a gal who turns a lot of properties in my community, and she felt that my price was too high ($14,000) and that the going rate for a house like mine is about $11,000, so I'm thinking I might just hold off again through the summer.  I had some interest from a couple who will retire in about a year and may be interested then - the sister to the people who live right behind me - they thought it would be nice to have adjacent properties, although they weren't ready to commit.

I heard from my dear friends, Rudy and Sonja that they will be coming to Las Vegas and would like me to join them at their timeshare hotel.  I quickly replied, Yes, since I won't be going to either Florida or Switzerland this year to visit them.  I'm so glad this will work out - I really don't like Las Vegas but will go just to see them.  Now, I have to find someone to keep my dog for a few days.  That all worked out fine, Kerry is willing to keep him for a few days, he and Princess are good buddies.

Friday, April 22.  I've spent 2 mornings this week cutting down my Octopus Agave that bloomed (the flower stem was about 15' tall, way higher than my roof) and then started to die.  This happens because all of the plant's energy goes to produce that flower.  It's hard to believe how big that thing grew in just 5 years.  After cutting all of the leaves from the trunk, it measured about 20" at the base.  The nice thing about that Agave is that it doesn't have any sharp edges on the leaves, only on the very tips.  After beating my body up from cutting, carrying, trashing, and digging, I had to go to the pool to sit in the hot tub - that really helped by body to feel better.

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11 - 17, 2016, AZ

Monday, April 11.  In celebration of my friend, Jan's birthday and a "time to get out of Dodge" feeling, Connie, Jan, and I took off this morning on a road trip to Wickenburg, a true western town.  On the road, we saw a sign telling us that the road was going to be closed due to an event, and while paying our admission at the Desert Caballero Museum of the West, we learned that over one hundred caballero's (Cowboys) would be riding through town on the 67th annual Desert Caballeros Ride - the last point-to-point ride of its nature in the country, the men spend five days riding incredible mountain and desert trails and camping out.  We found a table at an outdoor cafe, ordered Bloody Mary's, toasted Jan's birthday, and watched lots of cowboys ride past us on their way to their adventure.

The reason we went to Wickenburg was to see the Cowgirl Up exhibit - art from the other half of the west - the women artists.  I really liked the sculptures, but also enjoyed seeing the varied talents of many great painters.  The permanent gallery had some paintings by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and George Catlin, gorgeous sculptures, a historic town and lots of other interesting things to see.

After a nice lunch, we took the short drive to Yarnell where Connie had heard years ago that there was a shrine that she should see.  We found it - the Shrine of St Joseph of the Mountains.  This quote taken from the description of their website. "The Shrine starts at the foot of St. Joseph, the patron saint of Happy Homes. The statue depicts Joseph returning home from his work. Still carrying some of his tools, he has lifted the Holy Child into his arms. Through his fine example of faithfulness and devotion to those in his care as head of the Holy Family in Nazareth, St. Joseph is the perfect model for all parents. The Shrine stands as an appeal to all people to promote spiritual peace, harmony and love in their own homes. Beyond the statue of St. Joseph, a beautiful rustic path beckons you to walk with Jesus through His last days on earth."

Wednesday, April 13.  What a pleasant day - I just sat down for a breather and it is 3:00.  I walked with Frisco 1.5 times around the community this morning and stopped to chat with Connie before heading have me.  She reminded me that we were going to walk with Rosemary this morning on the nature paths by Dreamland Villa, so I hurried he me, had a quick breakfast, and headed out to pick them up.

Our walk was very pleasant, Rosemary was thrilled to learn about the place - she has lived here for years and didn't know it even existed.  We saw a few critter, a squirrel - that was a surprise, 2 different kinds of lizards, and lots of birds.  Many of the cactus are in bloom right now, so I put some photos together in a collage.  Note the heart shaped Prickly Pear - a reminder that Mike is with me wherever I go.


So when we got back home, Rosemary, who is an artist, invited us to see her gallery and then she offered us each a painting to take with us.  I chose an abstract oil painting and Connie chose a watercolor. And then we both purchased a watercolor - the one that I chose was one that I had my eye on at our craft sale last November, but talked myself out of it because I didn't need to spend the money.  Now that I have come to know Rosemary better, I could justify the spending and will cherish them both and remember her when I see them.

And then, I did laundry and made a Costco run to stock up for myself, Arlene, and also the clubhouse - $182 worth - glad it's not all mine.  Getting ready for a weekend of camping at Usery Mountain.

Friday, April 15.  Camping weekend, yay!  We had high winds all day, but for the most part, it made it very comfortable.  I got to the Usery Park campground and got settled right in - only 3 attempts to back in this time.  Jan and Jim showed up a little later and had to change sites - the way it was set up, the connections wouldn't work.  We were waiting for Chuck and Kathy to show up so we could celebrate her birthday but unfortunately, Chuck wasn't feeling well and they never did make it.  Chuck recently had a tumor removed from the top of his head and is facing a long summer of radiation and chemotherapy treatments.  We are all praying that our dear friend comes out of this all right.

What a view!

The winds were gusting, sometimes at 40-50 mph.  Jan and I sat out for a while but it just got to be too much, so we ate our dinner and spent the evening indoors - not what we came here for.  The stew recipe I used was one of those "never again" ones - most of the Martha Stewart recipes I've housed have been keepers.  Jeannie came out after work and we sat around and played Pass the Pigs after dinner, retired for a cool night of sleep.

Before I turned in for the night, I sat and enjoyed the stars and the view of a distant campfire up near the top of Usery Mountain, I think probably at Wind Cave.  Those folks had a gorgeous view of the lights of the valley.

Saturday, April 16.  We're still here - the wind didn't carry us away.  The night was cool and very comfortable sleeping and I probably got the best nights sleep that I've had in a while.  Might have had something to do with the nightcap, though.

I walked with Frisco before I even had coffee this morning, it was so nice out.  Connie showed up and we had breakfast with Jan, Jim, and Jeannie. Jody and Montana (Jim and Jans daughter) came out and hung out and played some word rummy and when they left, we played 500 rummy.  The combination of Bloody Mary's, sun, wind, and the concrete picnic table forced us all into some much needed quiet and R and R time.

Connie, Me, Jan, Montana, Jeannie, and Jody - poor Jim was stuck with all of us women - again.

Some of Jeannie's friends, out for an afternoon motorcycle ride, stopped by for a short visit and a beer.  Jan's dinner of chili with cheese, sour cream, and Fritos was delicious and really hit the spot.  A campfire kept us up until about 9:00 and then it was time to retire for the night.

Sunday, April 17.  Connie made us all breakfast burritos this morning. Food tastes so good when you are camping.  She and Jeannie went to the shooting range and Jan and I took a walk and then 
went to the gift shop.  I wanted to see if they had any of the cute little girl's ball caps like the one that I bought for Charlotte ot year, all 3 girls like it and want to wear it.  Unfortunately, there were no girlie hats in stock.

It was a quiet afternoon and the McD's decided to leave this afternoon instead of staying another night.  Connie and I played cards and just relaxed, enjoying the birds and breezes.  The temps have been perfect this weekend, expected to increase over the next few days again.  We didn't even have dinner tonight, but a light snack in the evening.  I only got PBS channels on my TV, so that's what we watched.

Friday, April 8, 2016

April 4 - 10, 2016, AZ

Thursday, April 7.  This week's big (and not good) news is that my brother-in-law, Tom, was found to have several blockages in his arteries, so will need to have angioplasty and some stints.  This all came on because of an inflamed and painful big toe that had been misdiagnosed as gout, but actually has a blood clot and will now have to be amputated.  I'm praying that all goes well with him.

I cleaned 3 houses this week and then went back to Carl's to spot clean his carpet.  Carl is 90 years old, very clean and tidy, but has tried to clean spots on the carpet up with a foam cleaner and blots it with a dirty cloth, resulting in a dark path where he walks the most.  I think it cleaned up pretty well and he can hold off on commercial cleaning until the fall when he returns.  When I clean 2 in one day, it knocks me down and I really need a nap on those days.  Guess my age is showing a bit.  My cleaning jobs are running out for the season, I have 2 more this month and then I'm done.

I found the strangest thing in my front bathroom today.  I saw something black on the floor, a rectangle shaped cube that was about 2 inches long, that was partly under the door.  When I touched it, it disintegrated and was powdery.  I got some paper towels and couldn't pick it up in one piece because it didn't hold together - kind of like charcoal from a fire, although it didn't smell like it was burned.  I have no idea what it was or where it came from. Strange!

Friday, April 8.  I had a rough night of sleep last night.  Got to sleep just fine, but it started to rain and it got real windy around 11:00, then I tossed and turned the rest of the night and was awake at 5:00 this morning.  It smells so nice now, the birds are flitting around, happy as can be.

Arlene and I went to the Red Mountain Cafe for dinner tonight and I spotted this rainbow as we were leaving.  Gorgeous!

We then went to Castillo Nuevo for an Elvis Tribute show, thanks to Chris for the invite.  The show was good, Elvis was looking pretty good, and he definitely had a voice and some of the moves.  His 17 year old daughter also sang a couple of tunes, and she has some talent too.

Sunday, April 10.  Happy birthday to my dear friend, Susan - the first in my circle of classmate friends to turn 68 this year. I hope we all have many more to celebrate.

Last night was my community's last fling for the winter - things slow down to a crawl around here during the summer.  We had an excellent Mexican Fiesta.  Joe made chicken tortilla casserole to serve 90 people, Mary made Tacos,  Lois made a huge salad, Kathy and I made Spanish Rice, and we all pitched in to chop onions, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers for the tacos and dinner was a giant success.  We did kind of overestimate on the food, as ther was a lot left over and we will have another dinner to share with a small group in the future.  The band, 2 young guys playing mostly current country music were great musicians but not the best at the dance tunes that we all like so much.  Regardless, I did quite a bit of dancing and got on the floor for my first ever electric slide and it was sure lots of fun.  A very good night.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April 1 - 3, 2016, AZ

Sunday, April 3.  My brother, Ray, would be 57 years old today, may he rest in peace.

And happy anniversary to Rita and Denny, they fooled us all when they married on April 1, 1967 and are still married today - love you guys!

Connie and I went to a few sales yesterday and on the way home me, she had me turn into this parking lot of a rustic, kind of run down apartment complex that had a citrus grove next to it and Peacocks wandering around the property.  Kind of a cool, out of the way spot.

This must be how Peacocks flirt.

I like the old stump.