Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12/31/08 2008 What a Year It Was!

What a great year 2008 was! We made some wonderful friends, saw some beautiful sights and tried a few things we've never done before.

January found us in Quail Run in Arizona in the middle of a workamper commitment, making lifelong friends and enjoying the desert in winter. We had friends we made in Florida, Dale and Karen, join us for a visit and the thrill of watching cars being auctioned at ridiculous prices at Barrett-Jackson.

February brought us our first Winter Olympics, oh alright, our first Senior Winter Olympics and we both came out medal winners, Bob for pool and me for Ladder Golf.

March found me jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

April was bittersweet as we had to leave friends we made over the winter. We made our first trip into California and stayed in a military FamCamp in El Centro. We saw the famous London Bridge when we made it back to Arizona.

May took us to Vegas and to a tour of the Hoover Dam. We found ourselves in Utah for the wonder of Bryce Canyon and then Zion National Park. We ended the month back in Arizona once again for the trip of a lifetime to the Grand Canyon with Quail Run friends, Bonnie and John.

In June we visited quite a few states, Arizona for the Painted Desert, Colorado for the Rocky Mountain National Park, Wyoming for the Escapees Escapade and South Dakota we took in the sight of Mount Rushmore. We covered a lot of miles and diesel fuel was sky high!

July found us in Yellowstone and the best trip of all,,,,we went HOME to Delaware. We spent six wonderful weeks with family and friends, eating cheese steaks and subs and corn on the cob. Lots of corn on the cob.

August was the time for us to visit family and friends as were home for the whole month.

September we took a plane ride to Salt Lake City to get back to our Wheel Estate to continue our dream. We saw everything from a copper mine to the amazing Arches in Moab, Utah. From Utah we went to Idaho to spend some time with Don & Billee and they took us to see the Grand Tetons. We passed through Colorado and New Mexico again on our way back to Arizona. On the 28th we found ourselves back in Quail Run for the winter.

October brought some changes to the plans as I went from Activities helper to Activities Coordinator in a matter of minutes. We met the team members as they arrived, renewed friendships from last year and just got settled in. The best thing this month? I quit smoking!

November brought us some great weather, more team members but things were still kind of slow.

December was here before we knew it and the holidays were upon us. Things got busier for me, Bob got the truck of his dreams and here we are this night saying Goodbye 08 and Hello 09!

What a year its been!

12/31/08 We Welcome 2009!

Looks like not only is the year going to turn, the counter
is too.
You know what to do if its you.
Will catch up the blog in the next day or two.

12/31/08 New Year's Eve


This day was so long it feels like it started at 4 a.m. instead of the nine that it did. Every one was working today and all hands were definitely needed. We had so much food to finish making. We got a good start on it yesterday but a lot had to wait until today to be finished up.

All the work was well worth it because we got rave reviews from every single person that attended our New Year's Eve Party. This year we had 144 in attendance.

Here's Gayle getting a platter of veggie pizza ready. We made all kinds of appetizers and sweets to eat.


While half the team was in the kitchen, the other half was transforming the Carnaval Room into party central.



Our party started at nine with the doors opening at 8:30 but the party animals of Quail Run were in line waiting for the doors to open at 8:05. They must have known it was going to be the blast that it was and couldn't wait to get started.

As each winter resident came in we stamped their hand so that there would be no question as to whether someone bought a ticket. Bob didn't want his hand stamped. He offered this area instead.

Each team member couple had 1/2 hour that they were responsible for in making sure that there was ice, no empty plates on the serving tables, plenty of soda for set ups and anything else that needed replenishing. In the kitchen was a team couple that kept the kitchen running and the food coming. I told you previously that Ann and Ed owned a restaurant/bar in their previous life and were extremely comfortable there. They aren't really party-ers or dancers so they volunteered to man the kitchen. She is so organized in the kitchen and everything just ran beautifully. Thank YOU so much ANN! It all ran so well that I have to send a huge THANK YOU out to the whole darn team! You guys rock!

This was one of the best New Year's Eve parties I've ever been to. We had so much fun! Bob danced with every woman he knows in the park. Here he is with Jeannie.

I, myself, didn't do much dancing. I'm still dealing with this pain in my leg. I know, I know, I've got to get an appointment with a doctor. When that old standby Electric Slide played I did get up for that but only made it 3/4 way through and I had to sit down.

Now Jeannie has a rule that if you are working on New Year's Eve then you are only allowed one drink. One of our team members, Dona, didn't have a problem with that at all!

When the clock struck twelve.....


....everyone hugged and kissed everyone within reach.


2009 had arrived!

We ended the year with our DJ's, (Carol Power) trademark ending to an evening by singing God Bless the USA.

When everyone had left we looked at the food we had left. OMG...did we ever make too much! The thing about making appetizers is that you don't know if your party guests went out to dinner, had a big or late dinner at home or if they have eaten nothing since lunch and are starving. When you have 144 to prepare for you plan BIG! The last thing you want to do is run out of food. But to have this much left, oh my. What are we going to do with it all? All of a sudden a collective light bulb went off within the activities team. We'll feed em' again tomorrow!

We cleaned up and the team members went home.

Bob and I were invited to our friends, Wilf and Marilyn's house for an after party, party, so we didn't get home until three a.m. The bed looked mighty good when we finally got home.

Family, friends......HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12/30/08 He Called Me Hon, Everything is A-OK

I woke this morning wondering how the day was going to go in light of the truck and the boo-boo yesterday. Within the first few sentences we exchanged he called me hon so I knew all was going to be OK. Whew.

I went up to the Activities Building to get ready for what was going to be a busy day. We have two days to make tons of food. Activity Staff members who weren't even scheduled to work today came in to give a helping a hand. I just have the best team!

Ann, and her husband Ed, owned a bar/restaurant in their previous life and she was the leader of all that had to take place today. With everything running smoothly in the kitchen I headed back to the office to catch up on some things there and because it was best that I stay off my feet. I'm having a great deal of pain in my left leg now and I'm walking with an obvious limp. Everyone I talk to suggests a trip to the doctor and I tell them I'll make an appointment, that I think I have time in March. I'm going to give this a few more days.....

Refrigerator space is at a premium around here and Jeannie was kind enough to open up a park model for us so we could use the fridge and countertops.

A short list of the foods that have to be prepared follows: Meatballs, chicken wings, wieners wrapped in crescent rolls, water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, several dips, dipping oil, 6 loaves of beer bread, vegetable trays, trays of desserts, hot artichoke dip, veggie pizzas, turkey salad sandwiches, ham salad sandwiches and the list goes on and on. We had so much food! I had been told time and time again, "DON'T ever run out of food! I took that advice to heart and I was assured we had enough.

It's so hard to determine how much to make when you don't know if the ones coming to the party have been out to dinner and aren't really hungry or if they only had a late lunch and are showing up starving. Its already been determined that next year a dinner will be served and tickets sold accordingly, dinner and party or just party. This is two years in a row with appetizers so its time for a change anyway.

By the end of the day everything that could be made today was done and the refrigerators are groaning! The teams have just been great! Everyone pitching in wherever needed and staying till the end. The best part? I didn't hear once, "Hey Snookie, we need such and such from the store." Our shopping was complete, a thorough list was made.

One more day to go before we usher in a new year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

12/29/08 OOPS! Truck Has a Boo-Boo!

Oh today was NOT my day! Ann, of the Red Team, and I started out at 10 a.m. to go shopping at Fry's grocery store for the remainder of the foodstuffs we needed for our New Years Eve celebration. I had tons of dollar bills, fives and tens and decided to stop at the bank just outside of the park to trade them in for 20's and 50's. I just don't understand having to have a bank account in a BANK for trading twenty one dollar bills for a twenty dollar bill. Isn't that what they are there for? Would my dollar bills not be real ones if I didn't have an account there? Luckily, Quail Run does have an account and I could trade up all the smaller bills for big ones. In the end I went from a huge wad of money to a slim packet of just six bills. That done, me and the Thomas J's, which were secured deep in my pocket, jumped in the truck and headed for Casa Grande.

When I put the truck in reverse little did I know it would be more than an hour before I would get out of the parking lot. I checked the mirrors and satisfied that no car or truck was behind me I proceeded to back out of my spot, the rear end of the truck turning to the left. And then................IT HAPPENED! Oh My God ! What was that? What happened? I threw it up in the park and looked out the side view mirror. I saw this HUGE BOULDER, well, ok it was about 2.5 feet high but it looked freakin' HUGE in the mirror! Alls I could say was....OH SH_T! OH SH_T! I got out of the truck sure that I was going to see a huge dent in the bumper, the rear fender, the tailgate, the diamond plated tool box and possibly even the driver's side door. Well, maybe the driver's side door is an exaggeration but I knew it was gonna be bad! Much to surprise and delight(!) there wasn't a scratch on the truck but something just didn't look right. It took me a few seconds to really understand what I was seeing and more so understanding how the hell I did this! Oh I wish I had had the camera with me. I bent down beside the side of the truck near the rear wheels to really get an understanding of the damage. Somehow, someway, the mud flap on the rear driver's side wheel got caught between the tires and the curb and RIPPED OUT the entire innards of the wheel well. All I could see was this metal rod that hooked somewhere up there in the wheel well and it looked like it was poking INTO the tire. I tried to move it so see if it was in fact loose and not lodged in the fairly NEW tire and I couldn't budge it! Then I see the fiberglass piece that was RIPPED from the rear quarter panel. It just keeps getting worse and worse. I stand up and face the reality that I have to tell Bob, there's no way I can hide this. There's no way I can play innocent and tell him it was like that when I came out of the bank and no, Ann didn't see or feel a thing. This kind man comes over to see if he can help and offers his cell phone. I took a deep breath and started dialing. I just hate having to tell Bob that the truck we are getting ready to sell, the one he has pampered and babied for the past eight years, the one that rates a 9 on a scale of 10 for looks, has a boo boo. A boo boo I caused.

The phone started ringing and I was praying that he wouldn't answer, that I would find out that he took off in the new truck for parts unknown, never to return. At least that way I wouldn't have to tell him what happened. My luck just doesn't run that way. He answered. "Hello",,,Hi, its me, I kinda sorta had an incident with the truck. "OHHHH SNOOOKIIIIEEEEE! Not, are you ok? Are you hurt? Did you kill anyone? Just OHHHH, SNOOOKIIIIEEEE! It spoke volumes, believe me. I never felt so bad having to tell him this. He's taken such good care of this truck as he does all of our things and I gave it a boo boo. I told him where I was and he said he was on his way. He was not a happy camper.

Soon he arrived and all I could do was stand there. There's no sense in repeating what he said because all you would read is.... #*&$^)%&#^#%!@!

He finally was able to get the innards of the wheel well complete free and I was on my way. By the way, the metal rod was not sticking in the tire.

So off Ann and I go to Fry's. Much later than we figured on getting started and we had tons of stuff to buy. When I reached the store, a good 15 miles from Arizona City, (its the new Fry's out on Pinal) I realized I didn't have my 10% off coupon that they gave out to residents of the RV parks in honor of their grand opening. What do I do now? We're going to spend several hundred dollars here and I want that discount! I asked for the manager and she understood my dilemma and said to ask for her when we were ready for checkout, that she would make sure we got it. Finally! Something is going right today!

So Ann and I shopped and shopped and shopped until we had everything on a our two page, typewritten, single spaced list. We had two overflowing carts and we couldn't put another thing on the racks on the bottom. No one even bothered to get in line behind us, everyone knew we were going to be there a long time.

It took us three carts to get it all outside to the truck and 15 minutes to load into the truck cab, the tool boxes in the back and the front passenger seat floor. Then we were on our way to Walmart for the rest of the items.

We spent a fortune but we have everything we need. No one will go away New Years Eve hungry.

When I finally got home things were a little "cool" shall we say. I kept to myself and certainly didn't want to push any buttons this night. I was informed that a new fender would be in our future but I really had my doubts about that. My thought was make the passenger side match the driver side and all is well. Of course I didn't say that out loud.

So that was my day,,,,how was yours?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

12/28/08 The Rest of the Weekend

This is part 2 of a post on this date. Scroll down to read the first part and then back up to read this.

In the early afternoon Kim and I went shopping. We caught the after Christmas sales at Penney's. Oh boy, did I clean up! I got a very nice quilt on sale, something I've been looking for for some time now. Getting $60 off the original price made the find all the sweeter! I got two pairs of jeans on sale. A blouse that was originally $46 on sale for $12.00! A lightweight jean jacket that was originally $58 for $16.00 Yep, I did pretty good!

The hardest part of shopping was getting around. I'm having a lot pain in my left leg. I first though sciatica but after reading the symptoms online I'm not so sure now. With that, the pain goes down the back of the leg and I'm experiencing pain down the front from where the leg bends to the knee. The pain feels "deep" like its near the bone. I don't have a clue what is wrong but three Aleve take care of it. If this doesn't work itself out in a few days then I'm going to have to see someone. Getting in and out of cars/trucks is murder!

Friday evening we joined two other couples Kim and Bill, Ginny and Paul, for dinner at the local golf course restaurant. They were having their Friday night seafood buffet and the five of them were just in heaven. Me? I had a rib eye steak with a baked potato, thank you very much. The five of them raved about their dinners so I'm sure we'll be going back again a time or two or three or four. While the food was good the company was great!

We called it a night after dinner and went home. It felt better for me to lay down, for awhile anyway.

Saturday brought a sunshiny day but it was a little on the cool side. In fact, it was warmer in Delaware than it was here.

We had a "spa day" here in the park. Well, I don't know if spa day is really the right term but its what we called it. A local salon, Shear Gossip, sent two nail technicians to us to give manicures and pedicures. We set them up in the library room of the Oasis and they went to town.

Here's lovely April getting a manicure. She is such a sweet lady.


Marge getting a pedicure. She was in heaven!


If these feet were wearing ugly socks you'd know who this is!


I've never had a pedicure and can't even imagine doing that. My feet, especially my toes, are ticklish so I don't think I could sit still for one. Now a manicure is something different. I've had over two hundred of those over the last twenty years as that's a once a month thing for me.

When we announced we were doing this our appointment book filled fast! This is something we will definitely do again. We're looking at Valentine's Day and the possibility of three techs coming out next time. With the response we had this time with such short notice that it was going to take place, well, three techs next time are a must.

New people are pulling in every day now. Over the next two weeks or so I imagine the park will really fill up. Maybe not to the max like it was last year because attendance is down all over the place, but at least we won't see big empty spaces.

We have a real busy January coming up and I'm still booking acts where ever I can. I had a lady talk to me in the laundry room the other day and she asked me if I was still looking for people to entertain. Thinking she played an instrument or something I asked what she did. She chuckled and said no that it wasn't her but that she had a friend who is a member of 9 piece band and they play for gas money. The band members are all retired and just like to play to keep their skills up. Some are even former professional musicians. They like to play for sing a longs and they play big band music too. Hey, for gas money I can book them for an afternoon gig and tie it in with a lunch and charge a few bucks and everyone is happy.

We also have a taco night in the plans complete with a Mariachi band! I hope that one works out because I think that would be a fun dinner.

For those who have been following since at least last year,,,,,I'm even thinking about doing a spaghetti dinner. OMG, I can't believe I just typed that! But I am all the same.

So we're up to Sunday. Today I hung around in my robe until 1 p.m. and then got dressed only because there was a knock at the door and it was the lady who owns a park model we wanted to see. She had come to visit a friend here, they moved to a regular mobile home park nearby, and she heard that Bob and I had been by to see it on Friday. Well, she stopped to ask if we were still interested and if so she would be around for the next hour or so. Needless to say I got dressed immediately and within ten minutes we were knocking on the door. It's a park model that is on a very nice lot, has its own orange tree which was just loaded today with bright orange orbs and and a brick patio in the back. It is an older model and needs some work which makes Bob a very, very happy camper. This carpenter has been idle too long and I just know he misses having a hammer in his hand and the buzz of a saw in his ear. The structure is sound, the mechanics of the rig are new or fairly new and a roof was installed two years ago with 30 year tiles. The interior needs updating with new carpet, it needs painting and I would like new cabinets and countertops eventually. Its all cosmetic and wouldn't cost an arm and leg to get updated. Oh yeah, its also unfurnished which I find to be a good thing! Its on the short list.

We had an ice cream social today and the Red Team handled things without a hitch. While that was going on I did a load of laundry and visited the ice cream eaters.

One other thing I did this weekend was go to look at the lights in the neighborhood outside the park with Steve and Carol, the couple we stayed with in Salt Lake City this summer. We were surprised at how few homes were decorated.

I was checking the stats for the month and noticed that we have a new reader from Ottawa, Canada. I know this because he/she read 117 pages just today. Welcome Ottawa!

After dinner I finished what you are reading now and watched TV and read some of Barbara Walters book Audition.

12/28/08 Ahhhh,,,,It's Over!

Oh, the weeks we spent shopping, the days we spent decorating, the hours of baking and cooking we did and now its over. Thank Heaven!

Next week bathing suits and shorts will be in the stores and and a few weeks after that Halloween costumes will be back out and it will start all over.

For me, the Christmas season is much too long. I liked it much better back when I was a kid and the stores didn't decorate until November and a TV commercial having anything to do with Christmas was unheard of in October, unlike this year.

So let me bring you up to date on what we've been doing the past few days. Christmas Eve brought us the evening service that Bob and I attended. Once again, winter residents Lenny and Ginny portrayed Joseph and Mary for us.


Ginny made it quite clear that this is the LAST year they are going to do this for the Christmas Eve service so next year we'll be looking for a new Mary and Joseph. I wonder if Bob will grow a beard by then?

We had a wonderful chorus to sing for us this year. As Steve, the leader of the group liked to say, "The members of this chorus have been imported from all over the United States". And they have!


We had a very nice service and everyone seems to have enjoyed it. Afterwards there was punch and cookies and a chance to visit.

Christmas Day dawned on the chilly side and the Activities Staff was in full swing by 9:30 getting the turkeys and hams in the roasters. Of course, as George here is demonstrating, we don't do anything without our gloves on!


These are members of the Red Team and I'm wondering if they are dressed for the day or if they are taking their team designation just a tad too seriously.


While these workampers were busy getting our dinner ready there were others who were turning the Carnaval Room from this setting....


to a sea of tables and chairs so it could be transformed into this when the winter residents got done decorating their holiday dinner tables.


There may not have been more than two matching plates at any of the tables but it didn't matter. The tables were just beautiful.




Meanwhile, our turkey/ham carvers wait patiently for the bells to go off signaling its time to start carving.


Its soon time for the winter residents to arrive for dinner.


Just before dinner, much to her surprise, I called Jeannie up to the stage so I could present her with gifts from all the workampers. A collection was taken and we bought her one pair of ugly socks! I'm sorry, the woman has penchant for ugly socks and I bought these orange, yellow and pinks ones I found. In addition we gave her a decorative wall plaque and gift cards to Dillards, Olive Garden and Kohl's. No sooner had I presented this to Jeannie then Steve from the Activities Staff presented me with a card with a gift card to Olive Garden and cash inside. I was just as surprised as Jeannie was. Neither one of us saw this coming.

Once again, the turkeys were moist, the hams just dee-lish(!) and the dishes brought by everyone....well, let's just say we ate like kings and queens.

When we finished stuffing ourselves Jeannie announced the winners of the site decorating contest. The prize for this year is $100.00 each for the best decorated park model and the best decorated RV. Jeannie said that there was a hard time picking the park model because so many of them were nicely done. She's right, I too, would have had a hard time picking the winner of the park model this year. As it was there was a runner up and four honorable mentions. I'd like to mention now that the judges for this contest are people who are from outside the park. They don't know any of the residents who are here and they weren't the same judges as last year.

The winner of the park model division is ......drum roll please......



This picture truly doesn't do their decorations justice. There are many blinking lights and things you can't see in this picture. What makes this all the more special is that Jerry is in his 80's and I believe he did this all by himself.

The winner of the RV division is ........drum roll...............




This is Bob's second year in a row winning. Like last year he will donate his winnings to the Activities Fund for the luau in March. (This year we're getting roasted pigs for the luau so that will come in very handy.)

After announcements it was time for singing some Christmas carols. It seems like after every meal is eaten everyone just gets up and goes home. We didn't want that to happen this year so we sang songs to keep people longer and it worked.

By the time the kitchen was cleaned up we were all glad the day was over.

In the evening Bingo was played but I was too tired to play and just stayed home as did Bob because there was no poker this evening.

So there it is, our Christmas Day.

This brings us to Friday. Hmmmm...what did we do Friday? Oh I remember, we went looking at the park models for sale in Quail Run. I went to the office and got the keys for six that are up for grabs. Out of the six we found three that are worth a second look. I wrote down the site numbers and in a week or so we'll go back again and narrow it down even more. There are a few more for sale that we didn't get a chance to look at because the owners have gone back home for the holidays. We'll check those out too when they return in early January. There is one problem with us buying a park model. There is a rule that you can't own a park model and work in a workamper position too. Jeannie is going to go to bat for me to have that rule bent a bit because I do enjoy working in Activities and want to continue to do so. That may be a factor in whether or not we buy this year. What will we do with the RV you are wondering? Well, whatever state we're in when its time to return to Arizona for the winter we'll find a military base and put it in storage for the winter and just drive the truck back. We have given this some thought.

I'll catch up the rest of our weekend on another post.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12/24/08 Christmas Eve

Tonight Bob and I will join others here in the park for our Christmas Eve Service. I'm sure it will prove to be a special time with our friends here.


I'd like to share the following with you.












Tuesday, December 23, 2008

12/23/08 Fifty Six Years and Counting

First things first, Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Today they celebrate fifty six years of marriage. Amazing isn't it? Well TODAY it would be amazing. In the days when my parents married they married forever, those of their generation worked through the problems, worked through hard financial times, sick children, lost jobs and whatever else came their way. I'm glad my brother and I have them as an example as we're both married closer to thirty years than twenty.

Time had gotten away from me and I realized this past Saturday that their anniversary was on Tuesday, just a few days away. Oh My! What was I going to do, it wasn't enough time for the mail to get anything there in time, especially with all the holiday mail. I called my sister-in-law Michelle to find out what she and my brother were doing for them and she told me that they were sending them the Christmas dinner table centerpiece. They are so hard to buy for, they have everything they want and need. Here I had been hoping it was something I could pay half for and have them add our names to it. No such luck, it was already ordered. Then I knew what I could do. I called Cindy, my dear friend back in Delaware and asked if she would run an errand for me. She assured me it would be no problem as she lives close to my parents. My next call was to one of my parent's favorite restaurants for a gift certificate, also close by. Cindy picked it up and delivered it for me. Thank you my friend, I owe you one! Whew, got through that one.

There's a chill in the air today. Not enough for a heavy jacket but chill enough that you notice it, a damp chill. The weather man says rain is coming, of course we hear that so often and it never happens. I hope he's wrong again.

We've got one more day to sell tickets for News Years Eve. So far we've sold 134 tickets which is pretty good considering the size of this park and how many went home for the holidays. We're were counting on a hundred so our expectations have been surpassed already.

Monday, December 22, 2008

12/22/08 The Countdown Begins

This is going to be a busy next week or so for the Activities Department. We have Christmas Eve services, Christmas Dinner, New Year's Eve, a Main Office open house and the individual get together's were each taking part in. Oh, the calories!

We're in crunch time now getting the newsletter written for January. We have so many activities coming up in the month of January and of course a blurb or short article has to be written about each one. In addition to this we're having a SPA DAY here in the park on the 27th so we're making reservations for the ladies for manicures and pedicures in between selling last minute tickets for News Years Eve on top of every other normal every day thing. Whew!

I know one thing I forgot to mention about our new truck. It still has that new truck smell. Not as strong as the day it was driven off the showroom floor but evidently the previous owner was not a smoker or traveled with a dog and you can still smell that special smell a new car/truck has. Its one of my favorite fragrances!

We've been watching the weather around the country and we're very thankful we're in Arizona! True, we're in jeans and sweatshirts or light jackets (and some brave souls are still in shorts) but I'll take this any day over living in two feet of snow!

That's about it for today. Keep warm you northern readers.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12/21/08 Oh, I forgot!

I wrote the post for yesterday and forgot the most important thing of the day! Yesterday was the Arizona City Children's Christmas Party. I didn't get to the party itself, I woke up and was like a slug! I just couldn't move to get out of my own way. I guess every once in awhile things just catch up with you and you have to let yourself rest and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, for me, it was yesterday. I did make it time for the group picture being taken of Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves and of course Val, the lady we all give our time to to pull this off for the kids. What a special people these folks are!


When Bob and I arrived at the golf course restaurant for the appreciation luncheon the above picture was being taken by Santa's real life wife, Carol. Everyone wanted one taken with their camera! How many cameras can you count?


This is the tree that Quail Run made arrangements for through Lowe's Home Improvement store. I swear they picked the prettiest shaped tree out for us. It doesn't look like it here but this tree is about 8 - 9 feet tall!


The sad part about the whole thing. Only half of the children that registered for the party showed up. Only half! It was a beautiful day so it wasn't the weather keeping them away. No one knew of anything going on in the area that parents would take their kids to instead so it was quite a puzzle as to why this happened. To say that Val was hugely disappointed would be an understatement, but Val being Val looked at it with a positive note telling me that she was way ahead of the game for next year! Yep, that's Val, her glass is always two thirds full.

So what did we do today? Today Bob hung out with his truck some more and I went shopping at Sam's Club with Jeannie. We got a large portion of the New Year's Eve shopping out of the way. The stuff I was buying in bulk anyway. We had some major full carts I hope to tell you! Jeannie pushed one and pulled another and I had the super loaded one to push. I was afraid we weren't going to be able to get it all in the car. We did, barely. From there it was off to Joann's Fabrics. Oh the sales they had on Christmas stuff! The coolest decorations and I have no place to put/store them. I really think we should go back the day after Christmas and get new things for the park. After our shopping spree we went for a very nice lunch in one of her favorite restaurants. I think it was Macaroni Grill and it was good! One problem though, the bread was too good. By the time we finished our meals we were stuffed!

Luckily for us the camp-hosts were in the Cantina when we arrived back at the park and they helped us unload the nearly bursting at the seams car. All of a sudden I realized that we brought back a lot of stuff that has to be refrigerated and put in the freezer and I already have 6 hams and 7 turkeys in there! Well, the turkeys were taken out because they were ready for thawing anyway. We rearranged things in all three appliances and then rearranged again....and again....and again until we finally got everything in and could close the doors. I'll be glad when Christmas gets here and we can empty these refrigerators!

When I got home for the evening I was still feeling a little full from our late lunch but had to cook for Bob..... so I ate again. When I finally waddled off to bed I vowed that no food would pass my lips the next day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

12/20/09 Would You Be Surprised?

Would you be surprised if I told you Bob spent the entire day outside checking out the new truck? We got so many buttons and gadgets on this thing that we have to figure out what they go to. Of course he didn't get too much done today because of all the passerby stopping to ohh and ahh over our new vehicle.

We have figured out that we have Pressure Pro on this truck. This is a system that monitors the tire pressure at all times. Read more about it here.

We also have a really nice hitch in this truck. Its an air ride hitch that is supposed to give us a really smooth ride. The hitch is a TrailSaver and you can read more about it here.

I've also learned that our seats are heated, all electric and oh so comfortable with the lumbar support in them. I could almost go to sleep sitting there so maybe that isn't a good thing!

It will take us a while to figure it all out.

Last night we had our Christmas Carol Sing-a-long in the Carnaval Room. Last year we went caroling, you know, actually walking from street to street within the park. This year we sat all warm and comfy inside at tables with drinks and snacks. Admission fee to get into the caroling tonight was an item for the food bank and most people brought way more than just the one required.

The team on duty today baked cookies all day and the place just smelled so good! The cookies were our gift to the winter residents.

Music was provided by one of the Activity Team members, Jim D.. I don't know if what he has is a portable Karaoke machine or a program on his laptop computer but regardless of how he got it there he did a great job picking out the songs to sing.

We ended with the Twelve Days Of Christmas and since we had six rows of tables each set of tables had to two verses to sing. It was great fun and everyone I've talked to since said they had a really good time.

I wasn't sure how the indoor carol singing was going to go over but from what I've heard the winter residents liked the sharing of snacks and having drinks available and being warm all evening. So it seemed to work and for that I'm glad.

Well, in case you haven't read the comments that were posted recently, I found out who Bean6904 is. This is the reader that signed on when the counter turned to 45,000. Bean6904 is our niece! I didn't know her screen name and was surprised when I found out it was Gina. But hey, its nice to know she's following along.

Friday, December 19, 2008

12/19/08 Its That Time Again

Look and see what number the counter is on. If it has a bunch zeroes in it, leave a comment to let us know that you are the one who turned the counter over the next thousand.

Bean6904 was our reader for the turning of the counter to # 45,000! That's all I know about him/her, don't have a clue how he/she found us, where he/she is from just that Bean hit the magic number. Thank you for letting us know it was you.

I've updated the blog and you have scroll down in order to read it because I'm keeping it in chronological order.

Again, Thanks Bean6904 for dropping us a line.

12/19/08 I Borrowed This....

....from a friend and fellow blogger that I follow. I think the message is meaningful and I wanted to share it with it you.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning


My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me.. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed a round, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide) . We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Thursday, December 18, 2008

12/18/08 TODAY IS THE DAY!

Today is the day I've been waiting all week to write about!

I took off for the day at noon and Bob and I got in the truck and headed to Tucson. Destination? Beaudry RV. No, we didn't get a new rig, but we did buy something!


That sign is in the windshield of this.


We bought that truck that Bob was drooling over last week when Beaudry came to Quail Run for donuts and coffee. It's a 2006 Ford F-550.


I've got pictures from all sides.



Even the inside.



This truck is just about perfect! Very low mileage, no rust, interior like new and every option and addition you can think of.

We took care of the financial end with Tracy....


....and then our salesman, Marty Lopez handed over the keys to Bob.


On the way to dealership I asked Bob which one of us was going to drive the new truck home. He told me we could flip for it and that the coin was in the glove box that we would use. Heads on both sides and he would call it! I knew there was no sense in arguing this one with him.

We decided not to trade our F-350 because of the ridiculous amount they were going to give us for it. We know we can sell it for more on our own. So both of these trucks are ours for right now. Know anybody in the market for a well taken care of Ford F-350 diesel with all the bells and whistles for towing with only 85,000 miles on it? Its a 2000 model and we have all the documentation of oil changes, the few repairs its needed and other maintenance records.  There is no rust, no dents and it is mechanically sound.  Someone is going to get a very nice truck!  If you know anyone in the market, send them our way!


We took a ride in the area before we actually took possession of the truck and saw this sign.


Kilometers? In America? I'd like to know the story behind this one!

So we finally took off for home. Me in the 350 and him in the 550.  I snapped this picture as we were driving down the highway.


This is one Happy Camper!  That's a THUMBS UP he's giving me.


He headed straight home and I headed to the new grocery store in Casa Grande. My first stop was at a grocery store where I had to get a refund for the price difference in the hams I bought for Christmas dinner. I saw the same thing advertised for thirty cents a pound cheaper at another store the day after I bought these and the store agreed to refund the difference to me.  If this was just a nine pound ham it would be no big deal but I had 59 pounds of ham to get a refund on.  You do the math.

From there it was on to Fry's new grocery store. They were having lots of specials and double, triple and quadruple coupons plus 10% off the entire order. I had the list of things we need for New Years Eve with me and I went shopping! I finally ended with a bill of $107.53 and after specials, coupons and 10% off I paid $56 and change. I got some strange looks when I put 30 boxes of cream cheese on the counter next to 10 pounds of brown sugar. I ended up crossing several items off the massive shopping list I have but its a start, a cheap start at that.