Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wickenburg, AZ

Today, with our group of friends, we set off to explore a new to us part of AZ.

Wickenburg is located about 30 miles Northwest of us on Hwy. 60.  It’s a smooth drive on a divided 4 lane road through mostly desert.  Wickenburg was known as the dude ranch capitol of AZ in the 50s & 60s and has kept its cowboy image alive in the small downtown.  It was founded 1863 by, guess who, Henry Wickenburg.  He came to the area in search of gold, discovered it, and soon everybody around came for quick riches.  Henry founded the Vulture Mine, and over the years, $30 million dollars in gold was mined there.  Today it relies on tourism for most of it jobs.

We began by visiting a pottery store owned by our good friend Phyllis Beebe’s cousin, where many good purchases started the day.  Next we wandered around the small downtown.  There’s a good brochure with a walking tour of the town that I used to explore.  The first stop was the famous Jail Tree.IMG_1564 It seems that the small town couldn’t afford a real jail, so the bad guys were chained to this stout tree instead.  There was as many as 18 people chained to the tree at one time.  And their families would come and visit them and bring picnics to feed the prisoners.  There is a tape recording explaining the history of the tree by pressing a button.

All around town were similar  figures with recordings.  Here’s the arrival of the new school teacher just getting off the train. IMG_1572

And of course I had to take a picture of the train and depot.IMG_1571 IMG_1575 We saw all of the sites in town.  If you want to see all of the pictures, click here:

We had lunch at a combination sandwich shop and ice cream parlor.  Linda & I shared a pastrami sandwich and a cup of homemade mint chip ice cream.  Both were really good.  We plan on coming back some time soon to see the Desert Caballeros Museum, Vulture Gold Mine and Ghost Town, and the Hassayampa River Wildlife Preserve.  Check back for a report on that visit.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Helping Friends and Geocaching

Saturday turned out to be another beautiful day.  We started the day meeting Bob & Maggie at the Goodyear Marketplace.  They had an appointment to have new seat covers installed on their tow vehicle, a Toyota Landcruiser.  So we thought we would pick them up and have a nice brunch instead of having them wait.

We wanted to try a local restaurant (sorry Donna) so we choose Bill Johnson’s Big Apple.  It’s known for its steaks and BBQ, but also has a great cowboy style breakfast.  I had a sausage & cheddar cheese omelet, and Linda had a short stack of pancakes.  Both were large portions and delicious.  And the fellowship made it special.

When we got back to the Marketplace the car was done and the seats looked like new.  We wandered around the stands looking for good buys, but we didn’t buy anything.

We headed back to the MoHo, and gathered up our geocaching gear and hit the road looking for adventure.  We looked for 3 caches, and found all 3.  But it took us a while.  We’re out of practice, but it started the juices flowing for finding more caches.  One of the caches was a 2 part, where you find the original spot and then it gives you the coordinates of the cache’s hiding place.  Here’s what we found at the original spot.IMG_0142 There’s a lot of caches around us, but most of them are micro or small, there’s very few large ones where we can leave some good stuff.

For those of you who don’t know about geocaching, here’s a link to explain it:

If you want to try it, call or email us and we’ll arrange a meeting place to go caching.  It’s great fun, and you can do it all over the world.  And it gets you outside and away from the TV and the computer.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Week Goes By

Monday was a cleaning day after all the rains, and Linda had her Beading Club.  She’s turning out some great projects, and learning a lot from the group.  I just ran some errands, restocked the food, and did some small projects.

On Tuesday we went on a long bike ride, which is a first for me after my hip surgery.  It was fun riding along the golf course and the adjacent housing development, Arizona Traditions.  And after the ride my hip felt OK.

Wednesday was pizza and a movie day with our friends.  We went to the local UltraStar Cinema.  We saw It’s Complicated, starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin.  It was a light and funny.  It’s more of chick flick, but it was Senior day and we even got free popcorn.  After the movie, we stopped at Papa Murphy’s for some take and bake pizzas.  Ron & Ethyl were nice to let us use their oven and house for the dinner.  It’s always fun when we get together.

Thursday was laundry day.  I also went to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls.  I haven’t tried golf since I injured my hip so I thought I would get back into it.  As you can expect, I didn’t hit the ball well, but it was fun to try the game again.  My hip did OK, but I could tell I was doing some unusual twisting.  My plan is to try the range a couple of times a week to check how the hip does, and to see if I can start to hit the ball better, or at least off the ground.

Friday was Happy Hour at Bob & Maggies, and then dinner at the local Chinese restaurant.  To much food, and to much good conversation and laughter.  It’s tough over here at Happy Trails.  We hope everyone else is having a good time also.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Nice Weekend

On Saturday we decided to do some shopping in the Scottsdale area.  We were driving down the 101, and Linda noticed a huge JoAnn’s craft store.  It was the size of a Costco, so we had to check it out.  She also had a 50% off coupon on one item.  Luckily there was also a Barnes & Noble close by, so the time went by quickly.

After about 2 hours, we met up to have lunch.  There was a 5 & Diner close by so we thought we would try it.  It was like stepping back into the 50s with juke boxes on the tables, and good hamburgers.

Across the street at another mall, there was a classic car show going on.  It seems to be our nostalgia weekend.  There was some great cars, including corvettes, GTOs, and other muscle cars.  Here’s Linda’s favorites.IMG_0134 IMG_0135 There was also a classic GMC motorhome.IMG_0138 It was really sharp.  After the car show, we stopped at a couple of other stores and then headed back to Happy Trails.

On Sunday we went to visit our daughter Jeni.  We had a couple of quilts that Linda found on Craig’s List and bought for her guest room.  If you don’t know about Craig’s List, it’s an online local classified ad website.  You can buy or sell almost anything.  Like a lot of places on the web you have to be very careful about what you’re buying.  Luckily it’s all local, so you can inspect the goods before you spend any money.  We use it a lot, and have been pleased with our purchases.  It’s in most major cities.

We then went out to lunch at Kokopelli Bistro in Chandler for lunch, and the lunch was as good as the dinner last week.  Then it was off to Costco to use some coupons that were expiring that day.  By that time we had to head for the MoHo to feed Pearl and get our own dinner.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Someone Call Noah


We came home Wednesday to avoid the bad weather that was forecast.  We left in nice warm sunshine, took the shortcut by the fire station, and hit I-10 about 10:30.  We made a quick stop at Zip’s Truck Stop to top off our diesel, then headed for Exit 109, the Sun Valley Parkway.  I’ve missed this exit a couple of times, but I think I have it memorized now.  It’s the back way to Surprise and Happy Trails.  We made good time, and got the MoHo backed in with no problems.  Then we hooked up the electric, water, and sewer.  We didn’t extend the awnings because of the bad weather that was forecasted, but got everything else up and covered (screens and tires). 

Pearl seemed very happy to be back to concrete instead of rocks.  The day was so nice, we thought the weatherman got it wrong.  Boy, was I wrong.  That night the rain started, and we didn’t think it was going to stop.  The official rainfall total was almost 6 inches.  And the water was everywhere.  You would think in the desert that it would just soak in, but no, it creates instant rivers over the dry washes.  So on Thursday we just stayed in and enjoyed some TV, books and Linda beaded.

On Friday we went out to check out the neighborhood and there was a lot of mud on the roadways, water running down the streets, and lakes where there used to be sand traps.  We visited our friend Maxine who was in the hospital after gall bladder surgery.  She looked much better, and we’re hoping she gets better soon.  We had dinner at Ron & Ethyl’s house and the golf course fairway in their backyard is now a lake.  They had a pump working to try to drain it, but it didn’t seem to be doing much good.  Hopefully the worst of the rain is behind us.  The news stated that they haven’t had this much winter rain since 1962.  I guess it all this climate change.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quartzsite Again

On our second full day at Q, we started the day by going out to lunch with Bob & Maggie, Ron & Dona, and Joe & Phyllis at the Mountain Quail Cafe, one of our regular stops when we’re in Quartzsite.  They serve all of the different types of comfort food, including large traditional breakfasts.  Ron & Dona ordered Ham & Eggs, and the ham was served on separate large plate with about a pound of ham.  They had enough leftover for dinner that night.  A lot of food cooked just the way everyone likes it.

We then all split up.  We wanted to go back to the show to check out a couple of items that we were still debating (not the kayak).  We also stopped to look at some of the newer motorhomes, but there was nothing we would trade MoHo for.  Then it started to rain.

We had planned a potluck dinner for the evening.  Well, with everyone from the Northwest, we weren’t going to let a little rain (really a lot of rain) stop us.  We used two of the motorhomes for cooking and serving the meal, and then moved to other motorhomes to eat.  The meal, as always, was fantastic.  Barbequed tri-tip, and lots of sides and deserts.  Ron & Dona graciously offered their motorhome for dining.  Here’s part of the group.IMG_0129With full stomachs and many leftovers we retired to our MoHo.  Since the weather is so iffy, we have decided to leave tomorrow as it’s the last day of good weather.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The “Q” RV Show

On Monday morning we went into town to the annual RV show inside of the “big tent”.RV show tentWe thought going on Monday after the opening weekend would mean a smaller crowd.  WRONG. crowds  The tent looks big, it is big, but really not big enough.  Because of the tent poles, the outside walkways are narrow, and the middle is nice and wide.  Unless there’s some presentation going on, then even it’s crowded.  Then there’s all of the vendors outside.  We walked every aisle, looked at every booth, and only bought water filters.  We did good.  Here’s Bob, Maggie, and Linda talking with an outside vendor.IMG_0125 The outside wasn’t as crowded because it was cold and threatening rain.  Here’s the inflatable kayaks that John is investigating.IMG_0127We think it would be fun to have a boat while we’re traveling, and these go into a large canvas bag weighting 45 pounds.  I’m going to try to find a place to try these on the water soon.

We ended the day with, what else, a Happy Hour.  Everyone brought goodies to eat, and the usual libations.  We had a great time.  We don’t know how long we’re going to stay this year, because the weather forecast is bad, and we don’t want to get stuck in the desert sand.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

After Linda’s birthday, we spent Friday & Saturday cleaning up the rest of MoHo, putting the wheel covers away, taking down the windshield screens, and generally getting ready to go.

If you’re wondering where we going, well, it’s back to Quartzsite to meet up with our Monaco friends, shop all of the RV vendors, and have a really good time.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Quartzsite, it’s a small town of 500 residents' about 20 miles east of the CA border.  And every winter it explodes with about 250,000 RVs of every type.  quartzsite, AZThere are two basic areas where everyone camps.  All of the land outside of the city is BLM and there’s 2 areas for camping.  The long term area is on the south side of I-10, and for about $180 you can camp there all winter.  They have a central waste dump, water fill, and dumpsters for trash.  On the north side of I-10 is the short term camping area where you’re allowed to camp for 14 days for free.Quartzsite-blm-mapWe camp in the top area off Hwy 95.  Now camping here is called boondocking.  The reason is you’re completely off the grid.  Our electricity comes from our onboard batteries, which we charge when needed with our diesel generator.  We always arrive with a full fresh water tank, about 105 gallons, and empty grey & black water holding tanks.  I’ll let you try to figure out what each tank holds.  Usually we can stay about 7 to 10 days without dumping our tanks and refilling our fresh water.  We camp with our Northwest Monaco friends, with our MoHo facing the distance mountains to enjoy the mountain views and sunsets.  Here’s a picture of how some campers arrange their the RV A lot of them circle the wagons and then meet and eat in the middle.  Kind of like the old wagon trains!

So on Sunday we pulled out of spot at Happy Trails for a quick side trip.  We arrived and greeted everyone.  It was great since some of our friends we haven’t seen since last time we were in Q.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Linda


Now many of you know that Linda sometimes walks to a different beat.  Since we went out to dinner last night, I asked Linda what she wanted to do on her actual  birth day.  She decided to wash the MoHo while I ran some directed errands.  Not my idea of fun, but it was her day.

To make the day a little special, I grilled a Porterhouse steak and made baked potatoes for dinner, one of Linda’s favorites.  The steak was very good.  Most of the meat available here in Surprise is USDA Choice, which is hard to find in Laguna Woods.  And you can really tell the difference.

After dinner, we watched a Leverage marathon.  If you’ve missed this new show, it on TNT.  It’s a group of con men who steals from the bad guys to help the people who were taken.  It stars Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton.  You can watch it on Wednesdays at 10:00pm, with repeat airings during the week.  You can also catch up on old episodes on line.  It’s a fun show.

If you’re wondering how old Linda is this year, I’m not going to tell.  A women’s age is a secret!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Day After and the Day Before

Some of you know that Linda’s birthday is 2 days after mine.  Hence the title of this posting.

We started the day a little slow.  Linda & Maggie walked, I read the paper and checked the email.  It was overcast with a chance of rain.  And then it all blew over, the sun came out, and we decided to run errands.  I dropped Linda at Arrowhead Mall in Glendale, then I went to the car wash to clean up all of the grit we accumulated on our way back from SoCal.  Then I stopped at the Honda dealer to have a rattle checked.  Not a good idea, after 15 minutes of waiting for them to look at I left.  Maybe another day.  By then Linda was done, so I picked her up and we headed back to the MoHo.

We had previously decided to celebrate our birthdays with a good dinner today, the in between day.  We narrowed down our choices down to 3 different venues, Amuse Bouche, a small French restaurant, Bayrischer Hof, a new German restaurant, and the Kokopelli Winery Bistro.  Guess which one we choose????? Well, the French restaurant was very small in a strip mall, and it was very expensive for dinner, so we’re going to save it a good lunch.  The German restaurant is new, and it doesn’t have a lot of ambience, so we’ll save it for a less important day.  That left the Kokopelli Bistro.

The Kokopelli Bistro is part of the largest winery in AZ.  They have an outlet in Chandler where Jeni lives, and a smaller outlet here in Surprise.  We invited our good friends Bob & Maggie to join us.  The bistro was decorated very nicely.  And it was wine Wednesday, $5 off all bottles of wine, & $3 off all glasses.  So we started off with a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon for us to share.  It was surprisingly good.  A touch of oak, lower alcohol, smooth finish.  Nice wine.

The restaurant is know for its slow cooked entrees.  Pot Roast, Pork Roast, and Garlic Chicken.  Everyone ordered the pot roast with mashed potatoes, except me.  I ordered the crab cakes appetizer.  It was all very good.  And we had no room left for desert.  We plan to revisit this fine restaurant to try other entrees in the future.

So that was our in between day.  Pretty neat!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another Year Gone

Yep, today’s my birthday.  I was born in 1947, so you do the math if you’re interested in how old I am.

The day started nicely with lunch with some new friends, Ken & Peggy.  They stayed at the lot across the street from us, but left on 12/31 to move into their new duplex in Sun City West.  They suggested a restaurant in nearby Glendale call Sweet Tomatoes.

This is a chain restaurant covering the Western US.  In California they’re called Souplantation.  They offer fresh salad, soup, pasta, bread, and baked potato buffet.  Everything was very clean, fresh, and good.  It was a very enjoyable lunch with our new friends.  It turned out that they managed a campground in Eugene, OR, and he helped build the original Leisure World where my Mother lived back in the 60s.  They have led very interesting lives.

After lunch it was back to Surprise for…..wait for it…….dental appointments.  That’s right, we scheduled teeth cleaning on my birthday.  Not real smart, but I was driving the MoHo when they called back in November and I agreed without thinking.  Linda got an A+ from her hygienist, but I have to go back to have an old filling worked on.  Happy Birthday.

We stopped at a couple of stores on our way back to the Happy Trails.  Since we had such a large lunch, we settled for home cooked tacos for dinner, then a quiet evening at home.  Now I’m set for another year.  And this will be a great year.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Time to Say Goodbye

We had a busy day.  Linda started the day off with her morning walk with Maggie.  Then she had her beading club at Happy Trails.  She’s getting very creative with her jewelry making.

While she was busy, I went over to Ron & Ethyl’s house to work with Allan & Sharri showing them Picasa on their computer.  If you haven’t tried Picasa yet for your digital photography needs, you’re missing something good.  It’s a free download from Google here:

It’s very easy to use and it keeps getting better with free upgrades.  If you have any questions or need some help, send me an email or phone me.  Here’s Allan & Sharri hard at work.IMG_1558 And here’s Ron & Ethyl enjoying the 70 degree weather.


Around 4:00, it time for-guess what-HAPPY HOUR!  It was the goodbye edition, just beverages and good conversation.  And it was a little subdued because we were saying goodbye to our good friends until who know when.  We hope they will consider coming down in March for a visit, or maybe we’ll have to go North this summer to visit them in Mossy Rock, WA.  Whatever happens, it won’t be soon enough.  Safe travels, friends.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jeni Gets Some Wheels

We spent a fun day with our daughter Jeni.  At Christmas, Matt & Suzanne, and Linda & I gave Jeni an empty box.  It was a bicycle box, and after Christmas we started looking for the perfect bike for Jeni.  For those of you who have met Jeni, you know she’s height challenged at 4"’11”.  So we needed a special bike that would fit her well, and the best way to do that is to try riding different bikes around parking lots.

We visited about 6 different shops carrying a number of different brands.  We found the perfect bike for Jeni at Performance Bicycles.  This is a regional chain that carries a number of different brands.  When we were looking in Orange County, Jeni had liked the Schwinn Searcher.searcherBut we had trouble finding one in the Phoenix area.  But we did want to look at other Schwinns.  That why we went to Performance Bikes, as they carried Schwinn.  And we found a XS Schwinn Voyager.BikeIt’s very similar to the Searcher, but one class up.  It has a better derailleur, stronger frames, and a more comfortable seat.  Jeni’s is white, which was the only drawback.  But she loves the bike, so she’s back in business as far as commuting.  She plans to take the bus to the light rail station, and then on to the campus.  Our only concern is about after dark, but she promises not to ride it when she has to stay late at school.

So the day was successful, our Christmas promise fulfilled.  Now I only have to wait for Matt to pay his share.

Oh, there was a football game in AZ today.  I understand it was pretty good,  but I saw the highlights, and it was more fun to spend the day with Jeni & Linda.  Sort of.  

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Birthday Party 2010

The main reason Allan & Sharri came down to visit everyone was to celebrate her milestone birthday.  And since Linda & my birthdays are close to Sharri’s, we got the benefits of a joint party!

Ron & Ethyl were our gracious hosts.  They are renting a nice house on the golf course at Sun City Grand.  Here’s the view from their back patio:IMG_1539 They cooked a fine Pork Roast dinner with all of the trimmings.  Naturally we started the evening with cocktails & appetizers.IMG_1542  Then we had the great meal.IMG_1548IMG_1549  After dinner we had Red Velvet Cake.IMG_1557 A great evening with all of our Northwest friends.  To much to eat and drink, but a special time together. 

Friday, January 08, 2010

Vendor Day Again

The first Friday of every month here at Happy Trails is Vendor Day.  This edition was about twice as big as the one in December.  And attendance was huge.  Some of the vendors said that Happy Trails has the biggest attendance of any of the RV parks.

We met our Northwest friends there at 10:00am.   In a surprise happening, the women split up and shopped together, and the men kind of stood around and talk and watched the crowd.  I did buy a small bag of fresh popcorn, but that was it.  After every booth was visited, and purchases debated, we decided to go to lunch.  I know more food.  What can I say, retired people eat, drink, & talk a lot.

We went to JB’s restaurant inside of Sun City Grand.  We ate on the patio, with a beautiful view of one of the four golf courses in the development.  They have a diner style menu, with a very nice soup and salad bar.  Linda & I shared a beef dip sandwich with a trip to the salad bar.  Perfect, with a great setting and great friends.

Later in the afternoon we visited the couple who used to stay in the lot across from us.  They bought a nice duplex in Sun City West.  They are so excited with their new house.  They bought all new furniture and appliances.  We hope they have many happy years in their new house.

There are four Sun City’s here in the Surprise area.  The original Sun City, which is 50 years old this year.  This is the first planned active adult community by Del Webb.  When it opened in 1960, they expected maybe a thousand people would show up.  They were overwhelmed when 100,000 people arrived to look at the houses and facilities. And that was just the beginning.  After building out Sun City, he built Sun City West, and then Sun City Grand.  And now the company is building Sun City Festival.  And they have built many other Sun Cities and active adult communities all over the country.  All of the communities have golf course, tennis, clubhouses, and many crafts facilities. In 2005 the company was sold to Pulte Homes.  You can click on the links to find our more information.

And that finished the day.  Tomorrow we’re going to a birthday party for Sharri who is hitting a milestone birthday.  Any we’ll also celebrate Linda’s & my birthday with our Northwest friends.  It should be fun.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Road Trip!

Since Allan & Sharri are in town, we decided to head south to Casa Grande to visit our mutual friends Joe & Phyllis Beebe.  The spend the winter at Palm Creek RV Resort.  They have a lot for their Monaco Dynasty that includes a nice shed & patio.  IMG_1528We carpooled with Bob & Maggie, and Allan & Sharri carpooled with Ron & Ethyl.  We left about 11:00, and stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel in Chandler, close to where Jeni lives.  They serve old fashion comfort food, and no, Donna, they don’t have any outlets in CA.  Come visit us  and we’ll treat you.

After that, it was another 45 minutes to Palm Creek.  Casa Grande is about 2 hours from Happy Trails.  We sat around the patio and caught up with each other since last year.  Joe & Phyllis have two wonderful dogs that decided that Linda was their new best friend.  What a surprise!

IMG_1532 IMG_1529

The white & black one is Tea Cup, and the black on is Bear.

Here’s a picture of our friends Joe & Phyllis:IMG_1527

They really love Palm Creek.  Phyllis sings in the choir and volunteers at the office, Joe plays golf 3 times a week, races RC cars with a group.  A very active lifestyle.

We had a very enjoyable visit, and a nice trip back to Happy Trails with Bob & Maggie.  This is just the start of many road trips to explore Arizona while we’re here.  There’s a lot of places we missed last year, and we have less time this year, so we’ll have to plan our trips better.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Happy Hour With Northwest Friends & a Surprise!

Since we got our Patio Heater, we decided to host a Happy Hour for our Northwest friends.  You know, any excuse for a party.

Linda suggested a new pizza dip, you can find the recipe here: .  It contains cream cheese, pepperoni, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella cheese, and Italian seasoning.  It’s baked for a half hour, then spread on fresh sourdough baguettes.  I thought it would interesting to try some fresh chicken sausages.  We have a grocery here called Sprouts Farmer’s Market that makes many different flavors created right in the store.  I settled on basil, AZ mild peppers, bratwurst, parmesan, & Italian.  We also had some endive with a blue cheese, walnut, & dried cranberry mixture. Our guests bought more goodies.  Here’s the spread after the first tour through the line and our new patio heater:

IMG_1517 IMG_1515

And here’s some of the guest, starting with Ethyl, Max, and Linda:IMG_1514 And here’s our surprise, Allan & Sharri:IMG_1520 IMG_1523

It was great fun, and it lasted later into the night because everyone was warm from our new heater.  What a great night.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Late Christmas Present

We got a surprise today when they delivered our Christmas present from Jeni & Matt.  It’s a nice patio heater that runs on propane that you’ve probably seen in some restaurant patios.455676f Of course it came in a box, and required SOME assembly.  You all know how I like a challenges, so I emptied the box, laid out the pieces, and separated all of the bolts.  I got out the instruction sheet, eventually found the English page, and started in.  Surprisingly it went together fairly easy.  I know you don’t believe it, but Linda will verify it!  Of course there were some bolts left over, but it seems pretty solid.

It requires a propane tank, purchased separately.  So we went off to Sam’s Club to get a tank.  We normally would have gone to Costco, but it’s 10 miles away and Sam’s is right here by Happy Trails.  Besides, I saved a lot of money by not going to Costco because I would have bought a lot of other stuff.

Then we had to find a propane supplier to fill the tank.  On the way Linda found a new consignment store, but there wasn't anything worth buying.  Then on to fill the propane tank, and back to the MoHo.  We got back a little late, so we just cooked some hamburger steaks and sweet potatoes fries that I had picked up at Trader Joes.  If you’ve never tried, they’re great.  They come frozen, and you bake them.  Try them dipped in Honey Mustard salad dressing.  Really great.

We’re going to have Happy Hour tomorrow to try out the new heater, so check back for the results.  I know, you’ll be sitting on pins & needles waiting for the posting. 

Monday, January 04, 2010

It’s Monday Again & Y2K Thoughts

We have to keep reminding ourselves what day it is, especially with the Holidays and traveling back and forth to SoCal.  So today is Monday.  That means it’s a busy day for Linda.

She started the day with her walk with Maggie at 8:00am.  The second day is easier than the first.  Then at 1:00pm she went to the beading club here at Happy Trails.  I made a major shopping trip to Trader Joe’s and Albertson to restock the pantry. 

We had apple almond stuffed pork chops and 4 cheese au gratin potatoes, one of the best home cooked meals we’ve had in a while.

It came to my mind today that it’s been 10 years since Y2K.  For those of our age, it was a very stressful time.  With the decade changing from the 1900s to the 2000s, millions of computers and systems were in danger of quitting.  Many thought that the banking industry would collapse (that didn’t happen for another 8 years), that the power grid would go dark, and anarchy would prevail.  In fact many people took their money out of the banks, hoarded food & water, and some moved to remote areas and dug in.

But the government & industry saw this coming way in advance and rewrote all of the critical programs, updated all of the computers, and not much happened.  But it took millions of hours of meetings, planning, and working to make it a non event.  For those of us in the middle of it, it was a time of long hours and double checking all of the fixes.  Then we stayed up all night on New Years Eve and waited, watching the TV reports from around the world.  And the day dawned normally, and the world was stable and lights worked.  And we let out a big sigh of relief.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sunday Means Pro Football

I took a break from the college bowl games, but, surprise, and final week in the NFL season was on, and there was still some playoff slots left to be decided, so I had to watch.  It’s the only way to know who to root for during the playoffs.  Since we wander around the US, we don’t have a home team, so I just had to watch to make an educational decision.

Linda & Maggie started their daily walking at 8:00am, way before I would want to be out in the cold.  I don’t know if Linda enjoys the walking, or the fellowship with Maggie, or just getting away from me for an hour.  Whatever the reason, she is working hard on improving her health.

We finished the day by having a nice dinner with Bob & Maggie.  We wanted to eat at a French restaurant called Amuse Bouche.  But we were disappointed that it was closed on Sunday.  So we went back to NYPD Pizza.  Not for pizza, but to try their pasta and other Italian dishes.  I had the Chicken Parmesan, and Linda had a bowl of their homemade Minestrone soup.  Bob had the Linguini with red clam sauce, and Maggie had the house salad.  My chicken was very good, the soup & salad were good, but Bob’s linguini was a little dry.  We went to dinner at early at 5:00pm, but when we left around 6:00 the place was full with some patrons waiting.  It’s a very popular place.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

More Football and Another Happy Hour

John started the day watching another bowl game, but Linda had a different agenda.

We had some Christmas presents we needed to return, and Linda though this was a good day to do it.  So off we went with our receipts in our hand.  We had to go to TJ Maxx, Linda’s favorite store, and Target.  After these chores, we stopped at Lowes to pick up a new hummingbird feeder for our window.  The legs where the birds stand while they drink have broken off, so we wanted to replace them.

IMG_1501  We’ve had a lot of hummingbirds here at Happy Trails, and it fun to sit inside the MoHo and still watch their antics.  I also bough a 20 LB bag of bird seed for the other birds.  When we hung the bird feeder when we first got here we didn’t get any birds.  We though it was because we are in a different lot this year.  Well, we were wrong.  When I hung the feeder, I forgot to open the little holes to give the birds access to the seed-DUH.IMG_1500 After I twisted open the feeders, we have had a ton of birds, including these beautiful birds.

IMG_15121 IMG_1503

We even had a furry visitor.  IMG_1510

About 4:00pm we headed over to Bob & Maggie’s lot for Happy Hour.  We drove over in our golf cart! Our neighbor’s across from us, Ken & Peggy, bought a house in Sun City West.  They also bought a new golf cart.  So they left their old one for us to use and try to sell for them while we’re here.  How very nice! That’s the kind of people we meet here in Happy Trails.

We had a great time at Happy Hour, with great stories and good food and drinks.  As it got dark, it got chilly, so we headed for home for a nice bowl of soup for dinner.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years Day, 2009

We awoke early enough to catch the last half of the Rose Parade on the local television station in HD.  We only HD over the air, since Direct TV requires a new antenna that view 5 different satellites at the same time to see HD.  The antenna is $2200 and we don’t think it’s worth the money.  We get the local Phoenix stations well with our regular antenna.

Anyway, we watched the parts we missed on Direct TV KTLA channel 5 in L.A.  The same couple have been doing the broadcast for many years, and they seemed a little snippy at each other during the broadcast.  The good thing is there are no commercials so you see every part of the parade including the equestrian units.  You don’t see them on the national channels.  We though the floats were nice this year.  We especially liked the dogs snowboarding down the hill(surprise) and the Cal Poly float.  We didn’t care to much for the Lutheran Laymen’s League float.  That’s the one we used to work on, and the design just didn’t seem to work well.

After the parade I settled in for the college bowl games.  After being bored for awhile, Linda decided to check out the special sale at Dillard's.  We really like Dillard's, it reminds us of the old May Co. stores.  They’re mostly in the East, with only a couple of stores in CA.

I was disappointed in the Oregon loss in the Rose Bowl, but other than that the games were pretty good.  And Linda even bought me a couple of shirts at Dillard's. 

When Linda finally got home about 7:00pm, I cooked a nice Porterhouse Steak that we picked up at Fry’s Marketplace.  It’s interesting that a lot of the grocery stores here carry USDA Choice beef.  Back in Laguna Woods, all of the chains carried the lower grade of USDA Select.  The steak was perfect.  A nice way to start the new year.