Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Day in May

April and May just have to be two of the best months Arizona has to offer. Yes, it gets quite warm in the afternoons in May, but it still cools down to the 60s at night making for fantastic evenings and great sleeping. Even when the thermometer reads 100, we’re still comfortable enough to sit in the shade and enjoy a few cocktails at happy hour around 4:00. Then its home for dinner….and then down to the pool for a great refreshing swim and perhaps a spell in the hot tub. I was swimming tonight and watched the full moon come up behind the palm trees. I had the whole pool to myself while two couples quietly chatted over in the hot tub. I sure do like living here!!! Have I ever mentioned that before?

The pickleball folks play mornings and evenings. There were several courts going strong when I rode home from the pool tonight.

We went to McMasher’s with Char and Terry for dinner last night to enjoy the great hamburgers served there. Don and I had never eaten there before. We walked in a couple times in the past but turned around and left again because it was so blue with cigarette smoke. Now with Arizona’s new non-smoking laws, we can go in and enjoy the place. It’s really very nice with numerous TV screens on every wall, a couple pool tables, and a friendly atmosphere. Don and Terry (shy guys that they are after a few beers) started chatting with a table of six men seated next to us. It turns out that the guys are all from New Zealand and are here as contractors to harvest wheat. It was a real surprise to find out that Arizona (and Casa Grande) had that much wheat that they would bring in contractors for harvest. It was fun to chat with the “bloaks” and listen to their Aussie accents. You never know who you’ll meet these days…..it’s a small small world.

Construction at the north doggie park is progressing slowly. They’ve poured footings and have started a nice brick wall to enclose the area. I’ll get some pictures soon. The new maintenance shed is nearing completion over by the woodworking shop. The big white tent is due to be replaced sometime in the next year. The new building to be erected in that spot will house a new mail room and a new exercise facility. It may be another year before that starts though so don’t look for it this coming season.

Do you recognize these two colorful characters? It’s Bob and Kelly taking GiGi and Miss Murphy out for their morning constitution. Many a morning, the puppies will bring Bob and Kelly over to our house so Don can give them a chicken treat. The dogs actually drag the guys here as our house is a regular stop on their route. Kelly’s new park model home is coming along nicely and they should be able to move in this summer. Will keep you posted.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Busy Few Days

Okay….too much fun in too little time. I thought this was supposed to be a quiet time for our activities and things would wind down to a dull roar. It seems we’ve been on the go every day again. Not that I’m complaining you understand….but I’m soooo tired and can’t wait for bedtime tonight. It’s 8:45 and I hate to surrender until at least 9:30.

Friday my boss, Vicki, was out of town so I had to work a full day 8-5. As soon as I got home, we left again and picked up Terry and Char to go to Francisco Grande for Friday night fish fry. Delicious!!! Highly recommended. I took a few pictures to share since so many folks have never gone out there to eat. It’s quite nice and the food is terrific thanks to their new Chef, Ed. You’ll notice that Char is her ever bashful, ever quiet, ever sophisticated self in these photos….bless her fun-filled heart. Terry turned his better side to the camera.

Service got a little slow for a while during our meal and the table next to us was anxious for some service too so on a dare, Char let out with an ear splitting whistle that turned every head in the restaurant. Needless to say we had prompt attention and lots of laughs from staff and customers alike. The head Chef even came out to say hello and personally brought Char a sample bowl of his special lobster bisque to taste. It was a fun evening. So much fun that we made a date to return the next morning for brunch. We wanted to come in when Kim Kimberly was on duty as bartender so she could serve up some of her famous bloody mary drinks. They’re hot and spicy with her own special blend of goodies. Brunch was awesome so we’ve been well fed several days in a row.

Saturday night I went down to the pool for a swim. There were just four people there and they left after a few minutes so I had the whole place to myself. What a wonderful experience. I swam a few laps and then leaned back on my raft and just floated around the pool while watching the pretty sun set behind the palm trees. It was a very memorable moment as I reflected about how fortunate we are to live in such good times and in such a beautiful park. Every day is a treasure in these golden years.

This morning (Sunday) Don and I joined the group of pickleball folks out on the courts. We had 12 players so held a fun round robin of games. Don and I haven’t played since my last knee injury so we’re both quite out of shape but we managed to survive the morning. Advil is a wonderful drug. After a quick shower, Char and I took off for the Ak-Chin casino to play bingo. I was sooooo darned close to winning about five different games. It was exciting….but no cigar. Sure was fun though.

Upon returning home, we found Jan and George Waters. They came to town to pick up a few items from their home here and will return to Show Low in the morning. Back in the car and off to Francisco Grande again for another great meal. Jan says the salmon is wonderful!!

Now I’m tired, full of good food, and ready for a good night’s sleep so I’m fresh and ready for work again in the morning. Hasta Luego. (see you later)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Hour Conversation

Don and I went to happy hour at Char and Terry’s tonight. Orla joined us there as well. I just have to laugh sometimes at the plethora of odd subjects we can come up with to discuss at these “sessions”. Here are some of the topics we discussed tonight:

A Wal-Mart bag came floating overhead, hit an updraft of air, and soared above us at an ever increasing altitude until it was gone. Then Char and Orla had to discuss….was the bag really “gone” or merely out of sight.

While this controversy was happening, Don and Terry were discussing the effects of Flomax and the wonders of modern medicine for male enhancement. I shall spare you the details since this site is rated PG…….ha! for mature audiences.

Since we were all donned with either sandals or were barefoot, we then discussed toes. Don’s toes are long, straight, and “pretty” while mine are curled under and ugly. Char, on the other hand, has short stubby toes. Terry says it looks like she ran into a wall toes first.

Orla and Char argued for about 15 minutes about the difference between an aspen tree and a poplar tree. It ended with Char promising to do an internet study on the subject.

We discussed Molly’s new haircut…..or summer shave. Molly is Char’s puppy dog who just got a very short summer haircut. Char vows never to clip her that short again as she misses Molly’s cute furry ears and long fluffy tail. I personally think Molly is happy to be free of a warm fur coat in this Arizona heat. Granted she may look cuter with a little more fur….but….ya de ya de ya de.

I told the group about the birthday cake we had at work today for one of the ladies there. After revealing ages, we discovered that I was by far the oldest employee. In fact, the next oldest woman is the same age as my son! After that brought a nice friendly laugh, one of the girls piped up and said she was young enough to be my grand daughter. Ha Ha. Darned kids anyway.

While refreshing drinks, Terry placed a large block of ice in the middle of the patio table between us. We watched to see how fast it would melt in the near 100 degree temp we were pleasantly enduring. Then the fun began while we took turns splashing in the melting water with our bare feet.

I relayed to the group my success story about making baked potatoes in my new microwave potato bag. That brought us to a food topic so we had to decide where to have dinner tomorrow night. The evening ended with a promise to have fish fry at Francisco Grande tomorrow and sample their delicious bloody mary drinks.

There were many more topics that were hashed about but have now eluded my memory due to their total lack of importance. Just thought I’d share a bit of our evening.

I later went for a bike ride and came across Char, Jack, Penny, and Joe out on the tennis court in a heated tournament. It was more fun than watching television!

NEWS FLASH: Election day brings Bob Jackson as the new Mayor of Casa Grande in a very heated race between the top two contenders.

A big article in tonight’s paper is about a huge airport project. A 13-acre property will be home to an airpark that will house 26 business condos, with light industrial zoning, eight airplane hangars, a restaurant, and a grassy park with ramadas and picnic tables. Construction is still in a huge flurry around here.

Other headlines state that the Salvation Army store will move into the now deserted Osco Drug store as they believe that location will increase their business. They plan to hire 15 more employees to staff the store.

That’s it for today’s blurb, blog, or whatever.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I saved a special pet story to help celebrate Mother’s Day. Our pets are like our children. We love them, nurture them, take great pride in them, put up with them at difficult times, tolerate them at their worst, but most of all flourish in the ever loyal unquestioning love they return. A standard joke here in the pet section of the park is that we’d someday like to come back to life as a pet at Palm Creek. Talk about a pampered life!

The newest addition to the park is Barney….whose proud parents are Frank and Joan Cichon in Site 1705. Barney was recently adopted from the local Humane Society and has found a wonderful home with Frank and Joanie. Barney is a bundle of energy and is as cute as a button with his fresh haircut and curly tail. He likes to take himself for a walk by carrying his own leash and bringing a big smile to everyone he meets. Of course, we all spoil him with treats so going for a walk means numerous stops at neighbors along the way.

Be sure to welcome Barney to the neighborhood the next time you see him…and congratulate Frank and Joan on a great find!

Don and I went to the Ak-Chin casino today. Don headed to the poker room and I went to bingo. We were lucky to come home with the pretty white carnation I received free as a mother’s day gift. I got two great phone calls from our sons which were the real highlights of the day. Kevin is on his way to New York with his first truckload for Sitton Trucking out of Joplin, Missouri. He is “on the road again” and seems very happy with his big truck. Will post pictures as soon as I can download them as he sent them via cell phone and I have no idea how to do that yet. Hope you all had a great Mom’s Day!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A May Saturday

It’s a funny thing about our cat Hiway….and I suppose all pets….but they do like to rise at dawn when the sun comes up….whatever time that may be. Here in sunny Arizona in the merry month of May, that means 5:30 a.m. and Hiway says its time to get up and enjoy the beautiful morning. She’s right even though it is one of my precious days off work. We still get up at that hour, grab a cup of fresh coffee and head for the patio. Mornings are just beautiful in May. By noon we head indoors as the temperatures rise. Temps are forecasted to reach 100 for the next few days but it still cools to the 60s at night leaving us with great weather. We love it here!!

There are still enough avid pickleballers that head to the courts in the morning (and/or evenings). Don, Bob Carte, and neighbor Denny played the back nine holes of golf this morning.

I drove around the resort in our golf cart to inspect the homes I’m watching. I give Ruthie in Site 1724 the prize for raising the most doves of anyone. She has cute little planters under each window and each box seems to house a nest. Today I spotted another one under the driveway awning who has taken up residence in a small flower pot.

Jan Water’s hibiscus tree is doing really well and has new blooms on every day when I ride by. Can you see all the buds on this photo? And to George: I’m still watching that HUGE tomato bush and patiently waiting for the fruit to ripen.

I volunteered to watch over the library at the clubhouse for the summer. Little did I know that it would be so heavily used. I go up there a couple times during the week and find piles of new books being donated. There’s some great reading material in there but now I can’t find the time to read! We really have a great library reading room for our residents to enjoy. I'm also amazed at the intricate jigsaw puzzles that people assemble. One table is entirely devoted to the latest puzzle. It seems to be a teamwork type of activity. Whoever wanders in, sits and puts together a few pieces until in a day or so the whole thing is done and another puzzle hits the table.

Tonight we headed out to dinner with Char and Terry. We drove to the little Mexican restaurant in Eloy….can never remember the name of it….but it’s where we celebrated Donna Kraft’s surprise birthday party last year. The place has been redecorated and looks really nice. The food and margaritas were GREAT! We definitely recommend the place and had a very nice evening.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Update

It may have been 98 degrees this afternoon but we still had a nice happy hour on Eichers' patio. Terry laughed and said the needle on Dick Stone’s electric meter looks like a buzz saw now that he has run an extension cord to Dick’s meter and is running the RV air conditioning from there. Ha!! Char mentioned that they turned Dick’s thermostat down to a nice cool 70 degrees just to watch the meter go into high gear. (Sorry Dick. They made me promise to type that!)

Ideal swimming weather has descended upon us. Our “bobber club” is starting in full swing now and we head up to the pool each evening around 6:30 to watch the lovely Arizona sunsets behind the palm trees.

I’ve been busy at my job these past few weeks and have been working full-time hours. With graduation, mother’s day, and June weddings on the horizon, we have a busy place with all the customers coming in for invitations, photographic gifts for mom, last minute shipping, etc. The longer I work at Print and Pack, the more I enjoy it there. It’s also fascinating to see the huge rolls of blueprints that come in from the numerous contractors working in the area. We get to copy plans for many of the new stores coming to the Promenade Mall.

Don is glad to have enough people still coming to the clubhouse a couple times a week for their Texas Hold’em poker games. He came home with a first place win the other night which makes him even happier.

I’ll try to get out with the camera this weekend to post some photos and brighten up the blog. Stay tuned. Sure do enjoy hearing from folks who take a minute to jot me an email after reading the latest update.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Haboob #3

You might tire of me talking about Haboobs so frequently, but they truly are an awesome weather phenomenon. We had #3 for the month this afternoon and the monsoon season isn’t even here yet. Don and I were downtown running errands when we could see the western sky turn yellow with huge dust clouds. The weird part was that there was very little wind so it was hard to grasp that a haboob was truly on the way. About 15 minutes later, we arrived home when the winds came roaring in and the dust hit us. I have another photo, but pictures just don’t do it justice. I think the storms are so exciting…mysterious…and awesome to watch. There was zero rain with this one which is quite frequently the case. It is now a half hour later and the sun is shining, sky is clear, winds have eased. I’ll hop in the cart right after dinner and tour all the houses I’m watching to make sure there was no damage. I doubt there was because Don’s handy dandy professional weather station says winds only reached gusts of 26 mph and that’s not enough to do substantial damage. (Can’t begin to imagine what the 200+ mph winds were like during the storms in Kansas last week!!!) The thermometer hit 99 today so the triple digits won’t be far behind. This has been a lucky week for me!! Char and I went to the casino Sunday to play bingo and we BOTH bingo’d. How about that!! There were other lucky winners too so both Char and I had to share the jackpots we won. I won a $200 game, had to split three ways so won $67. Char hit a $1,000 pot and had to split three ways so still went home with over $300. Then we went across the street to the main casino where we scanned our player cards for potential instant winnings. Char won $5. I put $5 in a dollar slot machine and walked away with $60. We should have bought lottery tickets while we were at it cause we were sure on a lucky streak. So much fun!!!

I volunteered to be a librarian for the park library during this summer. I thought it would be easy since there weren’t very many people here, but evidently the ones who do stay are avid readers. The return and donated items shelves are filled each time I go up there. The fun part is that I get to pick through all the new books to see which one I want to read next.

Don cleaned out his closet this week (wonder of wonders!) and brought out a huge pile of computer “stuff” that he no longer wanted. He is such a gadget freak so always wants the latest and greatest computer gear. We put up a number of items on eBay and made out quite well. He sold a motherboard, two video cards, and a sound blaster. All the pieces looked the same to me so he had to sort it all out into individual bags so I would know what to send the auction winners. PayPal and eBay have really teamed up and do a wonderful job. They make buying and selling very easy. It’s really fun to watch an auction each day and see how many people bid. We sold tons of stuff when we got ready to sell our home in Ohio. In fact, we even sold a semi truck for $80,000. A guy from Pennsylvania showed up with a cashiers check and drove it away.

Summer season is obviously on the way. The landscaping crew pulled out all the pretty flowers at the front entrance and at the four way stop. It looks so barren now without the vibrant colorful flowers to greet us. Flowers are just too fragile to survive the summer temperatures though so it makes sense to pull them out and conserve the water.

I met Greg Barton the other day while I was working in the library. He’s the Special Projects person who authored the resident letter I posted last week. He seems very nice and explained that he is a friend of Ashton’s and accepted a job here to help out. He has been in the resort business for 30+ years….including stints at Disneyland and Encore parks. Since Greg and his wife have a 10 year old son, they bought a house in the family section at Mission Royale. He let me know that the Neighborhood Watch program will be meeting the first week of next month. The police officer in charge of the program is not available until then.

That’s my news for the day. Come back again for further updates.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

In the News

Palm Creek News:
We received a flyer in our mailboxes here today. It reads as follows: "Many of you have heard by now rumors about thefts around our property. This letter is intended to get the facts out to everyone and to also let you know what our plans are for the future.

Last week, some of our company-owned golf carts were taken from the parking lot outside the Sales Office. The Casa Grande Police found the two large carts the next day in a nearby subdivision under construction. It is their belief that local kids were playing games. Then, later that same week we had reports filed for two missing bikes and a tub filled with tools.

We hope that these are isolated incidents but we must face the facts. It is the off-season at Palm Creek Resort and we don't have as many people on property to report suspicious behavior. We have decided to establish patrols in the resort today who you will see wearing YELLOW RANGER shirts. If you see someone you do not recognize and they are not wearing a yellow ranger shirt; please call the Gatehouse immediately at extension 8960.

We are also working with the local authorities to set up a "Neighborhood Watch" program in our Resort. If you have interest in being a part of the program or just want to attend a meeting, please call the main office at extension 7000 for more details.

The important thing to do right now is take time to secure your personal belongings and feel comfortable reporting anyone you may think isn't in our Resort for a legitimate reason. In the meantime, please feel free to call me at extension 8983 if you have any questions.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Greg Barton, Special Projects"

I am very grateful to the management (and Greg Barton.....whoever that is) for putting out this flyer. It's nice to hear the facts instead of just rumors. I also plan on signing up for the Neighborhood Watch program. I ride my bike a lot in the cooler summer evenings so maybe I can be of service. I'd make a great spy!

Casa Grande News:

A big article appeared on the front page of today's Casa Grande Dispatch. I quote several sentences as follows: "The Promenade at Casa Grande today announced the addition of six retailers to its growing slate of offerings: Dillard's, Famous Footwear, Lane Bryant, Michaels, PetSmart, and Shoe Pavilion. The open-air center plans to open its first phase this fall with more than a million total square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment. The second phase is due to open in spring of 2008. Previously announced retailers are Best Buy, Harkins Theatres, JCPenney, Kohl's, Staples and Target."

There is a small blueprint of the mall being passed around town as well. It includes the following list of stores and restaurants: Office Max, Pet Smart, Sports Authority, Michaels, Marshalls, Shoe Pavilion, Old Navy, Pier 1, Ross, Linens & Things, Red Lobster, Applebees, Village Inn, Olive Garden, and In & Out Burger.

It's really exciting to see all this coming to town. I'll try to get out there each weekend for a while to get some pictures for you.


A new non-smoking law was passed in Arizona by a large margin of voters and it went into effect on May 1. Smoking is no longer allowed in any public establishment including restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, businesses, industries, etc. No smoking is allowed within 20 feet of any door or entrance to a public building. As a non-smoker, I welcome the law with open arms and rejoicing. We received another notice in our resort mailboxes showing that the resort is complying with the new law. It states: "There will be no smoking in any building in the resort or within 20 feet of any resort building. This includes the main building and tennis pavilion, the "new" north pavilion, all patios and both swimming areas."

That "new" north pavilion I assume is the area where they put up that nice tent top...awning, shelter thingy up by the north pool. I haven't seen any further construction there yet, but I'll keep you posted as it develops.

That's all for today, Folks. Stay tuned for further updates.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A full blown HABOOB!!

How exciting!! We experienced our first true white out (should say "brown out") while driving home from a restaurant in Florence tonight. The evening started out with the usual sunny sky when we left for the Greek restaurant in Florence with Dave and Carolyn Anderson. Dave was driving with his brand new Jeep...nice and clean from a fresh washing. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and headed home about 7:15. The weather was overcast but still calm when we left town.

Suddenly the wind whipped up in galeforce speeds and the dirt came flying across the road. Huge tumbleweeds would hit the car with a heavy whack! We encountered a complete brown out condition as we traveled on a back road back to Casa Grande. We followed the safety rules for driving in a sand storm by pulling off the road and turning out the lights so other cars wouldn't follow us into the ditch. When it cleared somewhat, we pulled back onto the road and proceeded on our way until the sand and wind got even worse. Finally we caught up to a couple cars that were stopped on the road with their flashers on. We couldn't see past or around them so sat there in the line up of cars for about 20 minutes while the wind rocked us and the sand blasted against the car and windows. When we finally started moving again, we came across a police car and another vehicle down in the ditch so it looks like someone missed the road in the storm causing the traffic back up. Everyone had their emergency flashers going as we drove down the road. We were safe and sound all the while but kept oohing and aahing at the ferocity of the wind and debris. It was the most extreme sand storm conditions any of us had ever experienced. It was quite awesome!! It was a tremendous wind with LOTS of desert dust and grit.

Then the rain came. There wasn't much quantity, but it turned all the dirt and grit into a mud that would wash off the windshield when the wipers swished back and forth. I'd love to see Dave's car tomorrow morning when the sun comes up. It will be back to the car wash for Dave and his new Jeep. He said next time Don gets to drive!

We stopped by the security guard at the gate. It was windy here at the resort, but they didn't seem to encounter anything like we met out on the road. We saw some leaves, dirt, and palm fronds on the streets but no damage we're aware of. We'll check out everything in the morning and talk with the neighbors to see what they have to say. Will make another post later.

Here are a couple links that explain a "haboob" or desert storm....also some awesome photos.