Friday, December 30, 2016

December 19 - 31, 2016, AZ

Thursday, December 29.  For the first time in eleven years, I have missed an entire week plus almost another week of writing in this journal.  I'm not even going to try to reconstruct the happenings of the past 2 weeks.  Last week happened to be the week leading up to Christmas and it was pretty social and definitely busy.  I also cleaned 3 houses that week - the money came in handy, as December is a rough month for me financially, just because there is a longer spread between SS checks.

Several of my close friends met at Tom's BBQ for happy hour and dinner on Friday night and had a fun time.  I managed to talk with most of my siblings and my sons to wish them happy holidays.  I'm thankful that I'm not as busy as some people are and yet, I sometimes get to missing the family connection.

Christmas Eve was a rainy, rainy and windy day.  Pat, Roger, and Connie joined me for dinner. Roger bought a prime rib roast and Connie made Shrimp Scampi.  It was a nice evening with great friends.

I learned that my brother-in-law, Hobe is now in hospice care and is not expected to live very long.  He has been on the decline for the last couple of years due to diabetes, a curse that he has had to live with his entire life.  I feel so bad for them.
My friend, Karen, from SC flew in on Christmas Day and we had a nice dinner and conversation catching up on the last year or so since we saw each other.  Her husband, Tom, passed away in October of 2015, so she has purchased a house here in my community and will be relocating some time later this year.  Most of her stay was related to the new house, although we did take a drive out to Tortilla Flat, had pizza at Organ Stop, and happy hour with Pat and Rog at Val Vista Village.  Tuesday was busy with house stuff.  When we did get into the house, she quickly decided that she is happy with her decision to buy, but will definitely do some work on it before she moves in - like painting everything, remodeling the master bathroom, and installing new flooring. She will leave the kitchen as is until she decides exactly what she wants to do with it. I guess I will be the coordinator for some of that work, but she plans another trip out here before I leave in the spring.

Karen, enjoying Organ Stop.

After taking her to the airport this morning, I hooked up the camper and have been getting ready for this week's camping trip with a bunch of friends.  There will be 11 of us and all have campsites pretty close together.  

Saturday, December 31.  We all arrived at McDowell Mountain Regional Park at about the same time on Friday afternoon and it wasn't long before we were sitting in a circle at Chris and Norm's camper.  Since a couple of folks have pizza ovens, frozen pizza was in order for dinner that first night - it was easy and convenient.  Norm got a good campfire going and we sat around until it started to rain at about 8:30 and it has continued to rain off and on throughout the weekend.  I don't believe that I have ever seen 3 continuous days of rain here in Arizona during the 7 years that I have lived here.  And it just happens to come on a weekend of camping.

I made biscuits and gravy for breakfast this morning and we all gathered at Gerry and Jeannie's motor home to eat - we had all eleven of us in there at one time.  It brought back fond memories of entertaining when we had ours.

We have managed to get a few dog walks and a nice hike in between raindrops today.  In spite of the weather and during a dry period this afternoon, we pulled off a delicious lobster tail feast and all managed to dine together.  Some had lobster and steak and we all brought side dishes - au gratin potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower salad, bread, and desserts.  Once the mess was cleaned up,  sat around for a couple of hours before folks started drifting off and calling it a night. The rain started again around 10:30 and continued throughout the night.