Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cactus Blooms & Chat

Cactus Blooms:

Had to get my camera out again this morning to capture some of the beautiful and unusual cactus blooms that you snowbirds never get to see. The cactus plants themselves are so varied and very defensive as they certainly don't allow you to reach out and caress their soft petals!

These red beauties are at Site 1121. I don't know the owners so can't provide a name but they certainly have a beautiful plant. I have no idea how you would ever plant one of these prickly monsters, but they certainly have beautiful flowers.

This unusual critter resides behind Site 1705 at Frank and Joanie's house. Beautiful!!


Thanks for the words of encouragement from all our avid readers of this blog. Your response has been so rewarding. We had over 100 hits this past week. I even received a voice mail from a resident who called all the way from Winnipeg Canada to say how much she enjoyed reading the postings. Thank you, Ann. I certainly look forward to meeting you when you return this fall.

To help pass the hours while we cower inside avoiding the mid-day heat, I joyfully spend time at various computer games too. I used to think of computer games as just a waste of time with shoot-em-up games or racing cars....until I discovered a game site called "Big Fish Games". They have all sorts of games but by far my favorite genre is the Hidden Object games. A detailed photo emerges with a list of hidden objects to find plus many of the games have challenging puzzles to solve as well. I've gotten a good number of friends hooked into my addiction and I really laugh when they call long distance cause they're stuck in a game and need some guidance. If you have time to kill, look over the site and see if you're interested. I read an article in AARP magazine that says we "seniors" need to keep our brains stimulated. These games are a fun cure and I guarantee you'll enjoy sharing them with your grandchildren as well. If you want some recommendations, send me an email and I'll send you a list of the ones i've found to be fun. You can download the games and play one hour for free. If you like the game, it costs $6.99 to purchase on line. Here's a link to a particular game I enjoy.

With this being the end of another month, we watched a number of rigs pulling out again this morning. Jim and Diane Reese also left for cooler temperatures this morning. Don and I were the lucky beneficiaries of their leftover groceries from their refrigerator before they left. I always volunteer to take leftovers when folks leave. It's a great way to sample new foods....especially salad dressings, jellies, and occasionally BEER. Diane left us a jar of Italian Antipasto olives with fresh garlic, herbs & Napa Valley Chardonnay. Fantastic!! I can't wait to chop some up in my salad plus I know they'll really add zing to my next bloody mary if I can avoid sneaking them out of the jar as snacks till then. Thank you, Diane!


Do any of you keep a website or blog about your travels? Please send me a link if you do and I'll add it on the sidebar of this blog.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday Night Bunco

Sandi Feller started a Bunco group that meets on Tuesday nights for the summer. What a riot! We've had three tables playing and tonight was a blast. At the ringing of the bell, we start playing until the lead table hits a Bunco or a team at their table scores 21. The other tables are struggling and shaking dice as rapidly as we can to gather points before the bell rings. If you hit a Bunco, the coveted Bunco teddy bear comes flying across the room and you get to hold him till the next Bunco is reached. Many of the rounds come down to the last seconds so there's plenty of yelling and high fives at the end.

We gathered at the end of the evening for some group shots and pictures of the triumphant winners. We had each contributed $1 to the kitty so the winners could have a cash prize to celebrate. Thank you, Sandi, for bringing another entertaining evening to us summer residents.

And the winners were:

Linda Berry - Most Buncos $4

Sue Hepler - Most Wins $3

Sandi Feller - Last Bunco $2

Nikki & Marion had a "roll off" tie breaker for most losses. - $2

Marion won the prize money but I don't know if she was real proud of the title!

Pat won the consolation
prize so at least got her dollar back.

Lots of laughs, lots of fun, and lots of new friends.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Celebration

We had a lovely Memorial Day picnic/party and I found it surprising to see so many in attendance. Folks must be staying here longer this year. Most everyone was decked out in red, white, and blue along with the decorations making things quite festive.

Sandi Feller was our emcee hostess for the day (filling in for Diane Gaines) confirming the grapevine news posted earlier. Sandi will be Diane's assistant, Ann Lykens (sp?) will move into Alice's position as Activities Director. I think the threesome will make a great team to keep us active and organized next season!

Special "thank you" to Alice Herinck for her past dedication as Activities Director. Three cheers to Alice & fond hopes for fun-filled retirement.

Festivities started with Mike Kirsch leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence. Jane Mikesell read a great poem she had written to honor all veterans which was very touching and most appropriate for this event. Thank you, Jane, for sharing your poetic talent.

This was a potluck dinner with the park providing hamburgers, all the condiments, beverages, and table service. These potlucks are fantastic! So much GOOD food!!

I took quite a few photos to share on the blog, but (duh) had the camera on the wrong setting for a large room so many didn't turn out. Sorry. I did get a good picture of some of the "colorful" characters in the crowd. Aren't they cute??

Jim & Diane Reese

Steve & Sandy

Jim & Carol Gairo

Bob & Bev Carte
Lots of good food and good friends!

Monday, May 25, 2009

June Newsletter

I thought you might like to read the current June newsletter. If this is too slow to load, please send me an email and I'll take it down. I know some of you are on cell phone service, so I don't want to bog you down. I need your feedback please. Click on each individual page and they'll pop up larger so you can read everything. Then hit your back button to get back to the main blog.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009


We had an unfortunate incident here last week when some kids went on a lark and broke into several cars and sheds in the park. No homes were entered that I'm aware of, but cars, sheds, and bicycles seemed to be their target. One resident lost all his remote control cars from his shed which is really sad. Some tools were missing too. I feel the intruders were kids as they stole bikes, then rode around in the park and would leave them in random places while they hopped on another bike and took off again. They were discovered by a woman who was out walking her dog around 4:30 a.m. She saw them riding a three-wheeled motorized bike that she may have recognized as not belonging to them. She notified security and police were soon on the scene. They found miscellaneous items thrown over the wall of the park that hadn't yet been retrieved. No culprits were apprehended, however.

After hearing the news the next morning, Don and I hopped in our golf cart and immediately toured all our housewatch homes to check for damage. I'm happy to report that all were safe and secure. We did find an abandoned bicycle on one of the sites and reported it to the front gate. It was indeed one that had been stolen.

Our June "Happenings" newsletter came out soon after with an article by Wendell Johnson regarding Crime Prevention. Along with some suggestions for further security, he announced that we're having a meeting to discuss better security on June 17 at 10 a.m. in the SanTan room. We'll be there for sure and will report any announcements made at that time.


Whew! Don't let anyone tell you that watching park model homes is an easy way to make some cash! Don and I made our monthly rounds this morning and were truly ready to hit the showers upon our return. We started early in the morning to beat the heat, but it's still a hot job. Don tours the outside and turns on the water while I go inside the home to flush all the drains, refill water buckets, etc. We then check to make sure the AC is working, refrigerator is running (if left on), no sign of insects or uninvited guests, some request we check air filters and golf carts, etc. We check all windows and doors, then lock up, turn off the water, and go to the next house. We have a good routine now which makes the job easier.

The part I really enjoy is the follow up to send emails to each homeowner and confirm that we have "done our duty" and checked their home as promised. We haven't had any storms or strong winds lately so this monthly check is important. I still go for a leisurely evening or morning ride now and then in the golf cart or my bike and go past each home which is really more than promised, but it makes me feel good to know that we're watching as much as possible.

I like to take my camera along to record anything of interest along the route. We frequently find a nest of baby doves tucked away in a flower pot, light fixture, or a cozy spot on someone's patio. I know the birds are a pest because of the mess they leave behind, but they are still cute and are definitely devoted to procreation of their species.

This mama dove is claiming squatters rights at Sandy and Dan's house at 1270. We could walk right up to her and she wouldn't budge. Sorry Sandy, but we didn't have the heart to chase her away.

This mama found a lovely decorative spot on the back porch by Marilyn Howiseys at 1725. I'm afraid the geranium has died, however, as we couldn't very well drown the nest by watering. Marilyn will just have to get another plant when she returns this fall.
This little cactus was so pretty that I just had to Kodak the moment as they say. I emailed it to Janet and Gary Miller (Site 1867) so they could enjoy it. Janet wrote back that she'd never seen the plant in bloom and thought it just stood there. The blossoms are gorgeous.

Mary Lessard (1866) planted a new grapefruit tree this season and was excited that it had little small fruits starting when she left. So each time we visit her house, we take a photo so she can monitor the progress. It should be fun to see the final photo before she returns.

The housewatch operation has been very rewarding as we've met long-term park residents that we never had occasion to socialize with before. It gives us a project that we work on together which is important in these quieter summer months. I say "quieter" but we still manage to stay quite busy with all the fun events the park has planned for us.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rainy Day

Thought I'd post this photo of what it looks like when we have a light spring rain in Arizona. Few people get to see it....including those of us who live here full time! It felt wonderful to sit on the patio for morning coffee, listen to the soft raindrops falling, the pretty song of the finches singing to lure a mate, the ever present cooing of the doves, and feel the COOL breeze with the temperature hovering around 68-70. Awesome morning! It is quite uncanny how the few rainy days we have always seem to correspond with all the graduation ceremonies at the schools. Just when plans are underway to hold those huge commencement ceremonies in the outdoors, the schools wind up scrambling to change locations due to rain. My sympathies reach out to them as that was one of my responsibilities as senior advisor when I was teaching many moons ago. Now I get to sit back and just enjoy the rain.

The second photo above also gives you a nice view of the rows of palm trees. Many of you may never get to see wide open spaces in the resort because when you come back, there are already so many RVs to block the full view.

Don and I were also discussing the palm trees and how they change throughout a year. In this photo, you can see the start of the bottom branches as they start to die off. By the end of summer, they get more and more shaggy. Then comes season pre-prep time when the park sends the landscapers out to trim the palms and make them pretty and fresh again for your return. In the fall, you folks back east will be raking we trim the palms. Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baseball Vote

Yesterday was voting day here in Casa Grande with the most heated controversial subject on the ballet: Should we increase city sales tax to 9.6 percent to raise money to build a Major League baseball training center.

The voters have spoken with a resounding NO vote. 78% voted NO, 22% voted yes. Yahoo....we won that one. (Guess which side I was on.) I did find it surprising that only 21.96 percent of registered voters turned out to cast their ballot. This was a big decision that directly affected everyone here so I would have expected a larger turn out.

P.S. In case you didn't know, the current sales tax here is 8.7%.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ah-So Steak & Sushi

We had an evening of fun, entertainment, and GREAT food last night at Ah-So Steak & Sushi out at the Promenade Mall. For those of you who haven't dined there yet, I highly recommend it. Go with a group of friends to make it a fun-filled evening. Last night's Chef was part of the entertainment as he had a fun personality and could manage to put up with Don and Jim with all their antics.

We enjoyed the "flash fire" when he cranked up the grill and the entertaining egg tricks and onion volcano.

Food is excellent and huge portions so you can bet I'll be enjoying the leftovers today. Teppan dining at its best!

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Here we are with a group of Don's poker comrads....Jim & Diane Reese, and Jim & Carol Gairo.Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grapevine News

GRAPEVINE NEWS: The “grapevine” says that the Activities Office will close for the summer. All of our summer events have already been scheduled and organized so the office can close for the quiet season. All inquiries, tickets, etc will be handled at the front desk through Gary and Valerie as they’ll be the only two on fulltime staff. Hearsay has it that the Sales Office will move into the Activities office to avoid air conditioning their separate building. Sounds like an economically wise decision. Mind you…….this is all grapevine news as there hasn’t been any kind of formal announcement.

Alice has cut back her hours and is going to retire! She has truly been a hard-working dedicated person in that Activities Office! She and hubby, Bob, have certainly devoted themselves to Palm Creek and assuring that residents have a great time. I personally say….THANK YOU, ALICE for all your long hours and assistance. (This I heard from Alice herself.)

Next item of grapevine news is that Ann (Diane Gaines’ assistant) will step up to fill Alice’s shoes. Ann will bring all the organizational skills she has developed while working in Special Events so will make a great candidate for the Activities position. I hear that Sandy Feller will move into Ann’s desk and will be assisting Diane. Sandy’s energetic and charismatic appeal will be a great fit. Pat Mitchell will transfer from part time in the mail room to full time as kitchen assistant with Marilyn. I guess these moves will take place late summer or fall. Chuck Heiser and Pacho have left the Palm Creek staff. I haven’t heard about possible replacements but will keep you posted. News spreads pretty fast here on campus.

CASA GRANDE NEWS: The new public library to be in joint use with Vista Grande High School at Cottonwood Lane and Arizola Road, will open soon and the school is nearing completion. Widening of Cottonwood between Trekell and Henness Roads is an ongoing project due to be completed in August. Construction of a new sports complex at Francisco Grande Hotel & Golf Resort will begin soon.

There is a new building behind the Wells Fargo bank out at the Promenade Mall. The new building is a dentist office called “Promenade Smiles” and features new equipment where a small camera scans the mouth and can be watched on a monitor as the dentist explores your teeth. I’ve seen these in use in Algodones and always wondered why we didn’t have that technology available here. Finally we do.

**….and a bit of NATIONAL news….Hope you purchased “forever stamps” cause the price of mailing a letter increased to 44 cents as of this Monday and a postcard now costs 28 cents. I’m sure that means we’ll have better service, correct??

BLOG NEWS: Notice that I've added a couple new links to the right side of the blog page. Tom and Mary Williams keep a great journal/website of their travels and have lots of photos and stories from Palm Creek as well. Jerry & Judy MacDonald have recently started a webpage of their travels. Dave Shannon has created a separate website for the softball teams and will be posting the game schedules next season. Rosemary Reese has worked hard on maintaining the pickleball website. Remember Chris and Jim Gould with their classes and seminars called "Geeks on Tour"?? They have an awesome website with loads of computer information and helpful classes. Check it out sometime.....and tell them Sue sent you.

Asbestos Cancer
Asbestos Cancer

Moms Day & Water Aerobics

Thank you Linda and Julie Ann for starting a water aerobics class in the mornings at the north pool!! Since I've cut back my work hours, I'm now free in the mornings to join this group and I love it. With these warm spring/summer temps, mornings are ideal for a swim and the water is definitely the only way to exercise in the heat. Notice the pretty oleanders in full bloom all around the pool and all around the park. They're gorgeous.
We celebrated Mothers day by having Sunday sundaes! Each person brought a banana and this chain gang of eager volunteers set to work at their assembly line to create our delicious treats. We had a good turn out of residents so it was a great social time as well.
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Another Motel in Town

The old thermometer almost touched the triple digits today so it was a good day to stay inside or at least hunker down in the shade for a while. Tonight I headed for the big swimming pool to celebrate the heat. I wasn’t the only one by any means. There were at least 10-12 of us up there enjoying a dip under the full moon.

Most of the folks were chatting about the Cinco de Mayo party we enjoyed in the ballroom yesterday. Talk about great food! We were all to bring a Mexican dish to feed four people. I think we all brought enough to feed twice that many so there was plenty to go around even for those of us who were at the end of the line. We were also treated to delicious fried ice cream for dessert. Sure wish I could have gotten some of those recipes so Don could recreate a couple of those tasty dishes. (Just a reminder that I don’t cook but I collect recipes for Don and leave them out in convenient places for him to find. It works quite well.)

Latest Casa Grande construction news: They’re going to build another big motel in town behind the Dairy Queen by Highway 10 intersection. It is going to be a LaQuinta Inn. I can’t imagine how all those motels can stay in business and compete against each other but construction is scheduled to start soon as we’re making blueprint copies at the print shop where I work. Will keep you posted with the progress.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Welcome to Off Season

Since moving to Arizona, I can no longer detect four distinct seasons. For me life goes on as either “in season” or “off season”….depending on the frequency of activities and the number of people here in the resort. Based on the view from my patio this morning, this is definitely the beginning of “off season” as I have a full open view, traffic is definitely reduced, and the singing of birds is louder than any human voices I can hear. April is my favorite month of the entire year as far as weather is concerned. Beautiful sunny skies, warm daytime temperatures, and lovely cool nights. Awesome!

I went up to the Activities Office yesterday and picked up my free tickets for upcoming events. We have a Cinco De Mayo party May 5. Bring your favorite Mexican dish. May 10 is a Mother’s Day banana split party..just bring a banana. May 19 is movie night and May 25 is a big Memorial Day BBQ potluck. I LOVE having all these summer activities to keep us entertained. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people because the crowd size is smaller.

The local Casa Grande Dispatch has had some interesting news this past week. Of course, the biggest controversy is with the upcoming election to determine if the County will raise the sales tax to pay for a possible baseball stadium. The editorial page is filled daily with comments from both sides. I’ll refrain from posting my opinion but I bet you can guess how I feel about increasing my taxes to support a stadium for multi-million dollar baseball players and team owners when they refuse to pay any part of the construction.

Big headlines yesterday: “Nursing home to bring 120 jobs”. This is a facility desperately needed in the Casa Grande area as families in this part of the state have to travel to Phoenix or Tucson to visit hospitalized family members. The article also announces that the facility (Oasis Pavilion Nursing and Rehabilitation Center) will start taking job applications in September for average pay of $20 to $25 per hour. They anticipate opening in January. Construction is at 161 W. Rodeo Road just east of Pinal Avenue with roughly 50,000 square feet and 134 beds. Sounds really nice.

Remember our favorite band….the Keepsakes? Christine Deaton is on today’s front page announcing that her family is taking over the Paramount Theater in old town Casa Grande. Daughters Emily and Ashley will be teaching several dance classes and our friendly Elizabeth that used to work at the front desk here will be keeping up the website. It sounds like Chris has many plans to bring culture and entertainment to town. Visit their website at

We have a new restaurant downtown! I’m excited about this one because they’ll be serving fresh sandwiches and they’re located in the building right next to where I work at Print and Pack. We won’t have to cross the street any more to get to a restaurant for lunch. Crossing Florence Boulevard on foot is like playing the arcade game “Frogger” to see if you can cross without getting splattered on the road. The place is called Wild West Hotdogs & Grill. Their specialty will be New York style hot dogs, Chicago-style hot dogs, Polish hot dogs, deep fried hot dogs (yuck??), chili dogs, and Italian sausage. They’ll also sell numerous hot and cold sandwiches. Sounds like they’ll have quite a varied menu.

Red Brick Pizza is now open out at the Promenade Mall. Haven’t eaten there yet so will report more after visiting the place.

My own personal news is that I’ve cut back my working hours at the Print Shop and LOVE having my mornings here at home to do fun stuff. Perhaps you’ll see the results on my blog this summer. Adios for now….and have a GREAT day!!

Asbestos Cancer
Asbestos Cancer