Friday, March 31, 2017

March 27 - 31, 2017, AZ

Friday, March 31.  This week has been a whirlwind - busy, busy, busy.  The time I have had a home has been spent packing, cleaning, sorting, organizing and a bit of yard work.  The rest of the time,  I cleaned 2 condos, worked 2.5 hours on Tuesday on the community directory, had Jim and Sue over for a drink, joined them for music on the patio and a drink, chatted and read a story to Arlene, the usual walks with Frisco and that all led up to today.

Jim, Sue, Tom and I went to Gold Canyon this morning and hiked the Heiroglyohic Trail, a total of about 3.5 miles out and back.  A front came through her yesterday and brought some high winds and a drop in temperatures (65-70 degrees) making for a comfortable hike.  The scenery is just so pretty as the Trail takes you up in elevation and into a canyon that was home to early settlers.  The evidence is on the walls and there are huge boulders and some good sized pools of water.  I was surprised to see many families with little kids hopping around on the rocks, I guess it makes sense to get them started early in life in hopes of giving them an appreciation for our natural world.

And then tonight, we all went to Simpletons for dinner.  Jim and Sue came in for a glass of peppermint and then we said our goodbyes - until we meet again back in Wisconsin some time this summer.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 20 - 26, 2017, AZ

Monday, March 20.  Happy first day of spring! Here in AZ, we have beat the record and reached 96 degrees - pretty early for that.  And - not too welcome when you are camping for a few days.  We got packed up and headed out for Picacho Peak State Park where we met up with Chris and Norm, Gerry and Jeanie, and Mike and Judy (the same group that camped together over New Years weekend). So we have gone from one extreme to another - cold and rainy then and hot, hot, hot now.  There is a really nice breeze most of the time and if you can find a shady spot, life is good.

I was hoping to see lots of wild flowers, but they seem to have dried up - more so than I expected.  Some of the cactus are in bloom now, though.

I took another fall, tripping over a rock that was holding down my rug. My left knee has a few scrapes, one is pretty deep, and the palm of my right hand landed on a good sized pebble, so that's a pretty deep one too. It hurt like hell - but not for too long.  I cleaned them up good, smothered them with triple antibiotic cream and carried on.  I'm beginning to question the stumbles - is something going on?

     My hiking buddies; Roger, Chris, Norm, and Pat
     Mama Cactus Wren was busy feeding her chattering brood in this unique nest.
     The inside of a dried out Prickly Pear pod.

     The Cactus bloom has started.

Friday, March 24.  I camped until Wednesday morning and then headed back home. Pat and Roger started their trek back to Wisconsin that morning after we had a nice walk around the park with the dogs.  I had a lot less to pack up, since it has been so windy that the awning had to come down after the first night of flopping around in the wind - it sounded and felt like I might just fly away.  The wind was a blessing though, as the days have been hot - as long as you could find a spot of shade to sit in.

Frisco had his checkup at the vet this week and all is good with him - he got an updated Bordatella shot in case I have to board him and we refilled his heart worm medication too.  There is a new bacteria in the area (spread by infected dog's urine) that is causing dogs to get an extreme intestinal illness, so we got the vaccination for that also.

I had my annual eye exam today and all checked out there - a very minor change to my prescription, so all is good.

I had a nice chat with Ben the other night and he said the kids are all excited about my moving there.  I also learned from Randy that he and Julie will be squeezing in a visit starting on April 2nd. That news led me to move up the date for the U-BOX to April 6 - and they will be helping me to get it loaded and it will now be ready for pickup in Minneapolis by May 1. 

I've been packing and cleaning and the pile is getting bigger and bigger.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 13 - 19, 2016, AZ

Friday, March 17. I got visitors again on Wednesday. Pat and Rog have settled in until Sunday, as they were scheduled to leave Val Vista Village that day but could not get a reservation elsewhere until Sunday when we head to Picacho Peak for a couple of days.  Chris and Norm will already be there and we will all hang out together for a few days of camping.  I'm looking forward to it, although the temps around here have been in the 90s this week.  We have been hanging out at the pool and enjoying our time together.  Roger has a bad cold - I sure hope it bypasses me.

I invited Jim and Sue, Arlene, Tom, and Connie for corned beef and cabbage dinner tonight.  We sure had a good time, with lots of laughter, conversation, and good food. A fun St. Patrick's Day with good friends.

Ben and Jill shared some photos of Charlotte this morning, as she was chosen Artist of the Week.  She is quite skilled for a 5-year old.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March 6 - 12, 2016, AZ

You Sunday, March 12. Here it is, Sunday morning, and I realize that I haven't written a thing all week.  It's been a good one, a busy one, and here's what's been happening:

     Packing - the dining room cabinets, clothing, extras donated, disassembled patio swing
     My job - only one this week
     A hike - around the Gilbert Riparian Preserve
     Highlands events - meeting, distributed directory update sheets, collected them,
          Omelette breakfast
     Dinner with Chandlers and Hooveys
     FaceTime with the grandkids

And today, it is another hike - the Old Jeep Trail at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve with Jim and Sue and Tom.  Pat has a sinus infection and can't go.

Our hike was very enjoyable, but we all agreed that we should have started out a bit earlier.  It was close to noon when we finished the 4.6 mile trek and it was getting pretty warm by then.  Needless to say, I got right in the shower to wash the grime and sweat off my body and then relaxed and took a little nap.

Firecracker Penstemon all through the wash.

This cluster around a fallen fish-hook cactus had yellow, white, orange, purple, blue, and red.

My hiking buddies, Tom, Jim, and Sue.

This gnarly old Saguaro was only 2 inches thick near the bottom right side.

I had a nice conversation with Rita and then Jill called to talk about their summer calendar so we could coordinate and I can help them with some child care relief and schedule my outings when they have vacation.  

Camille was supposed to be napping, but was sitting next to Jill instead and she wanted to talk and boy, did she talk.  She told me she was excited about my moving there and she would help me do some painting if I needed it and she would help me decorate.  She wanted to know when I was coming, so I told her it would be close to my birthday and maybe we could celebrate together.  She asked what kind of cake I wanted and I told her coconut - she said she liked chocolate and was trying to persuade me that chocolate would be better.  Our work-around was chocolate cake with some coconut on it.  What a doll! Her speaking skills have really improved since I left there last October.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 1 - 5, 2017, AZ

Friday, March 3. We have been busy with house stuff this week. We met up with Pat and Rog this morning for breakfast at Sassy's and then took a drive out Bush Highway so Karen could get a feel for what the desert looks like around here.  It is such a beautiful drive and we lucked out and saw several of the wild horses and even a couple of the newborn foals.  The wildflowers along the roadside are starting to open, but I know there will be lots more.

Tonight, we went to TGIF here in the park and sat with a group of women who I thought would be a good group for her to get to know.  As we walked back to the house, she thanked me again and told me that she was really feeling good about her decision to move here and is excited about all of the cultural and social options that she will have here.  That feeling was reinforced when we met up with an old friend hers, Lois, on Wednesday evening and she was also telling her about the many cultural opportunities that we have in the area.  She was excited to learn that Karen is relocating here.

After dinner, I drove her to a hotel near the airport and she will take a shuttle to catch her early morning flight tomorrow.

Sunday, March 5.  Parties, Parties, Parties.  This weekend, I have been invited to 2 parties with Arlene's family (she says that I am her adopted family) and I have come to know her family pretty well.  Her brother, Larry and his wife, Diane, are here visiting from Nebraska and they are getting together for lots of food and talking.  Arlene is happy as can be when she can prepare food and have people around her.  Good times.

I actually got organized this afternoon and marked off an area of my bedroom that is the size of the U-BOX that I will use for moving.  I cleaned out part of my closet and boxed up some of Mike's clothes that I can't part with. I did get rid of some pants that I know won't fit my sons, but that is about it.  I also went through my clothes and got rid of 2 large bags of things that I haven't worn or can't wear any more and I took them to the textile recycling here in our park - our social club gets money for those donations.  

February 27 - 29, 2017, AZ

Tuesday, February 29.  Karen came in for a visit on the 28th and was delighted to see how nice her house is - freshly painted from floor to ceiling, including the 70s olive green bathtubs and the nice, oak laminate flooring throughout the entire house. Kevin did a wonderful job on the project.  He just happened to stop by on Tuesday, shortly after she arrived and it was nice that they could finally meet.

We returned to the house on Wednesday to take more measurements so she can determine what furniture to bring and what to leave behind.  Now, she will return to her home in SC and prepare for the actual move some time this summer.