Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12/26-12/31/2014 Last Week of the Year

(Arizona City, AZ)

On the 26th we were still waiting for packages to be delivered to Kentucky.  One was delivered which leaves one still out there.  It’s the one that the tracking left off at leaving Casa Grande, AZ.  Who knows where it is!

We had a package delivered for us today.  Timmy and Shannon sent us Tastykakes!  We love Tastykakes and can’t get them out here.  They also sent gift cards for Olive Garden.  Jonathan and Brandi sent us a gift card for Cracker Barrel.  We like both places very much.  This is really the best thing we could have been gifted because we have enough clothes and anything else if we want or need it we go get it.

Timmy says to limit ourselves to one a day.  Yeah, like that’s gonna happen!

We didn’t do a whole lot this week.  It was a resting week for me and since it was a little chilly and windy Bob played a lot of golf on the computer.

On Saturday the errant package showed up in Kentucky.  I’m so glad it got there today because that one held Jonathan’s birthday gifts and it was his birthday.  Thirty nine years old!  I remember 39.  Vaguely.

I did go shopping on the 26th.  I either got there (Kohls) way late or there just wasn’t much left to begin with.  I did score on my wrapping paper for next year.  I was really hoping to snag some decorations for the park model for next Christmas.  I was lucky enough to get one thing and I made quite a buy.  This was originally marked at $44.99 and I got it for less than $15.00.  Oh I was very happy with this!  And its pretty!  It changes from blue to red to green to white.


Bob and I have decided not to go to the New Year’s Eve party again this year.  Its just so crowded in the Carnaval Room.  They put in as many tables and chairs as they can,,,and they should,,,but its just too crowded.

We’re getting ready for the influx of RV’s that will be hitting the gates soon.  Right after the 1st the second wave should come in.  The snowbirds will arrive and the area population will swell once again.'s been a good year.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

12/25/2014 Merry Christmas Readers

Bob & I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12/22-12/24/2014 Tracking Packages

(Arizona City, AZ)

I wish I had a dollar for every time that I typed in the numbers to track the packages we have out there for delivery to the kids.  So many times that I knew two of the four 20 digit numbers by heart!

The larger one to Delaware arrived.  The flat rate package arrived.  The Delaware kids are set, they have all their packages.

The Kentucky kids, not so much.  Their flat rate box arrived thanks to Shannon’s niece and one box arrived on Wednesday.  That means two boxes are still out there and one of them only shows that it left Casa Grande.  So two of theirs will arrive after Christmas.

I happen to see Pastor Carole and told her that I had gotten the boxes mixed up and sent the wrong box to each of the boys.  She looked at me and said, “Snookie, I told you I would pray for the boxes to get there on time and they did.  However, I didn’t pray for accuracy on your part.”  That just cracked me up.

I’m still fighting the bronchial infection and taking my medications.  They make my food taste bad, I’ll be glad when this is done.

Bob has been to the driving range and played golf once.  Its still nice out so he has his daily meeting of the minds with the fellows in the neighborhood.

There are lots of RV’s and park models all decorated for the holidays but its so warm it just doesn’t feel like Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

12/21/2014 The Cantata

(Arizona City, AZ)

Today at five o’clock everyone in the park is invited to meet in the Carnaval Room for the cantata that is being performed.

noun: cantata; plural noun: cantatas
  1. a medium-length narrative piece of music for voices with instrumental accompaniment, typically with solos, chorus, and orchestra.   
Today our church group, with some welcomed guests, is  performing a cantata.  I’ll be honest with you, I’d never heard this term before and didn’t know what it was other than there was singing,  Mary, Joseph, three wise men, a couple of shepherds and a baby.

I had been asked some time ago to photograph the performance and I readily agreed.  I hadn’t planned on spending half the night in the hospital though and I couldn’t let that get in the way.  Much to Bob’s dismay I went to the Carnaval Room to take the pictures.  I didn’t want to miss this.

I got there about 45 minutes early so that I could get some candid shots.  This cantata has been a long time coming.  It was supposed to have taken place last year but our director took ill and it had to be called off.  Nothing was going to stop it this year.  Everyone worked so hard at it, learning the songs, Joseph learning his part because the whole story was told by him.  Timing was so important because music had to be cued for the instrumental parts, the chorus and the solos.

A wise “man” checking out a menu from a local restaurant.

Mary getting finishing touches.

The “set”.



At 5 o’clock the Cantata started.

And the chorus lifted their voices in song.  Beautiful notes reached and floated through the hall.  They were perfect.


Joseph started his story.

The timing of speech, music and song was perfect.

I knew we had good singers in our park but to hear them all together, singing their hearts out, putting every bit of feeling in their beings into the performance was just simply amazing.  So much so that at one point the music was so sweet, so true, that it literally brought tears to my eyes.

I had heard the story of Joseph and Mary many times but this night, it was like hearing it for the first time.  Al Winters, as Joseph, was wonderful.  He took full command of this role and led us through the story with the audience hanging on every word.  Since this story was told by Joseph, Al had the only speaking part.  He was simply marvelous.

Sue, our Activities Directory, played Mary.

More pictures of the chorus.



The lady who pulled it all together, my dear friend Helen McGuire.

The young woman on the right of Pastor Carole who is in the forefront, is the McGuires daughter who flew in from Washington to perform in this cantata.  A strong voice was needed in this section and being her mother’s daughter she hopped on the plane to help out.

Now here’s  MR. McGuire doing a solo part.  This really was a family affair.

Gifts being delivered to the newborn child.



Wise (WO)Men

Joseph & Mary

What an incredible performance this was.

At the end, during a standing ovation and applause that went on and on, Helen was given these well deserved, job well done, flowers.

All I can say is….Cast and Chorus, BRAVO!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

12/20/2014 A Trip to the Hospital

(Arizona City, AZ)

I received a phone call today from son, Jonathan, in Kentucky.  As soon as I answered I heard, “Hey, I got a box today!”  Ahhh, the flat rate one arrived in two days, not bad I thought.  Then I heard, “It has packages with Shannon’s and Briana’s names on them.”  Uh-oh, oh heck, I didn’t say Uh-oh I said, “OH SH_ _!”  I put the wrong label on the wrong box.  That means in awhile I’ll get a call from Delaware and Tim will tell me he got the wrong box.  I called him first to let him know what happened and that I needed him to mail it out to Jon on Monday.  He told me this was going to be a problem because he’s in big moving van as a passenger.  I asked if Shannon could take it.  He explained she’s working long hours on Monday and the post office would be closed when she got out and there wasn’t enough time on her half hour lunch break.  What was I going to do?  Running out of time here doesn’t even begin to explain it.

Jon said that he would have no problem mailing it so at least I knew Shannon and Briana would get some of the their gifts.

Later in the day I talked with Shannon and she said that on Sunday she was going to bake cookies with her sister-in-law and would ask her to take care of it.  I am so hoping she has time.

I tracked the big box that went to Delaware and it was on its way east.  Would it get there in time?  I’m hoping so.

One of the packages that was supposed to go to Kentucky was in California for some reason.  Another one was in Cincinnati, Ohio and the other one was not listed as even leaving Arizona City post office.  I was so wishing I could have found another large box like I sent to Delaware instead of having to keep tabs on three smaller ones.

I have hardly any voice left.  This has all moved down to my chest and I’m having a really hard time breathing.  As soon as I get time I’m going to have to go to a doctor.  I’ve had pneumonia twice now.  Yeah, as soon as I get time I’ll go.

In addition to not having a whole of time with all I’m doing I’m not sleeping well.  I haven’t been sleeping through the night for the last month.  I wake up at 2 or thereabouts and I’m wide awake until 5 or 5:30.  I can then go back to sleep but then I’m sleeping until 9:30 or 10 and I don’t like that at all.  I’m getting my hours all messed up and I don’t know why this is happening or how to fix it.

I turned in early because I’m so tired and took some Nyquill, nasty tasting stuff, in hope I would get a good nights sleep.

I woke up at 3:20 and could not breathe.  I panicked.  That is such a scary feeling.  I noticed the living room TV was on which meant Bob was up too.  What I found was Bob sound asleep in his recliner the remote still in his hand.  I stood on the step trying to get a breath and he must have sensed I was there or my gasping woke him.  He jumped up and asked what was wrong.  He could see I was having trouble and asked if I wanted to go to the hospital.  All I could do was nod.

Within ten minutes we were dressed and walking out the door.  Luckily, there was very little traffic and we made good time.  We did get a little disoriented and we made a wrong turn and ended up in the wrong medical complex.  My breathing is even more labored now and he stopped for a red light.  There was NO ONE around.  I pushed his arm to get his attention and to motion TO GO!  He came back with, “Do you want me to get a ticket?”  He must have felt my glare because he pulled out and we went through it.  Had we been stopped the cop would have understood, especially when he shined his flashlight in my face and saw my eyes crossed and and my skin a pretty shade of blue.

Bob dropped me off at the Emergency Room door and went to park the car.  I walked in slowly, because that’s all I could do.  Thankfully there was no one there.  I walked up to the desk and they could see I was in distress and told me they would get the information later or from Bob.

I was taken back immediately and my nurse Kathy went right to work.  I have to say, she was simply wonderful.  Explained everything as it was being done and understood my needle phobia and treated me accordingly.

I had six nebulizer treatments, antibiotics via IV, a chest x-ray and blood drawn.  My oxygen level was very low when I arrived and it was having a hard time getting back up there and staying.  It would rise to a 94 and fall back to 89.  They wouldn’t let me leave until it was a consistent 94.

It finally stabilized and armed with a handful of prescriptions I was released around eight.

Before I left I had texted Bonnie to let her know where I was and asked her to let the Pastors know that in all likelihood  I would not be available to photograph the program that was being put on that evening.

We stopped to get the prescriptions filled and we headed home.  We both talked about going to bed but when we got there we were both wide awake.  Naps, we’ll take naps this afternoon.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

12/18/2014 Angel Tree Gifts Delivered

(Arizona City, AZ)

Today the Angel Tree gifts were picked up by Jackie Henkel, the coordinator of this project along with some helpers she brought with her.

Here is what our tree looked like with all the gifts around it.

Look at the picture above.  See the big square thing on the left hand side, towards the back?  That box holds a headboard and behind it is a twin mattress.  You see, one of the little girls asked for a bed for Christmas.  A bed.  Because of the generosity of our park, this little girl will now have a bed to sleep in.  I never did find out who bought this or if a few people pooled their money and bought it.  When its all said and done it really doesn’t matter, what matters is that a basic need, a bed, was provided.  Is this great or what?

You can see that some little girl is getting a new pink bike.

It was decided the easiest way to get the gifts, plus all the filled bags that are also waiting, into their vehicles is to pull up outside the window and hand everything through that way.

I was absolutely no help as I can hardly breathe and am just exhausted.  This job was going to take forever with handful of people available.  Suddenly there was a light bulb moment.  I recalled seeing several tables filled with ladies playing cards in another part of the building.    I walked over and asked them to take a 10 minute break from their game and give us a hand.  I thought I was going to get run over as they rushed past me to go help.






…..and then the bags.




It’s over.  Quail Run has done all it can to insure these children have some kind of Christmas.  Between you and me, these kids are going to have a great Christmas!

So here it is Thursday.  One week to Christmas and I still have six boxes to get in the mail to Delaware and Kentucky within six days.  Five if the post office isn’t shipping or working on Sunday.  I think I’m in trouble.  I happen to see Pastor Carole in the building and told her in our conversation that I hadn’t shipped my boxes yet and that I was afraid they wouldn’t get there in time.  She looked at me and said. “Snookie, you were doing God’s work.  He put that thought in your mind that you had to do something to help these families and rose to the call.  He will make sure boxes get delivered in time.  Besides, I’ll pray that they do too.”  I thanked her and went on my way.  I had to get to the post office.

At home I printed out the labels, got everything taped up and off I went.  I had two flat rate boxes that I knew would get to the eastern states in time.  I’m most appreciative of that flat rate.  It doesn’t matter how much it weighs it’s a flat rate.  Good thing because I asked much the heavier one would have cost if I was paying by weight and distance.  Sixty six big ones and change!  Oh yes, I am most appreciative!  The lady told me that she wouldn’t guarantee  they would all get there in time but it could happen.  I walked out of the post office feeling hopeful.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/17/2014 The Last of the Shopping

(Arizona City, AZ)

Today is the last day we have to get everything done for our Angel Tree families.  Jodee and her husband are going home for the holidays and she needed today to prepare for their flight tomorrow morning.  So that left me and Bonnie.

We had heard that our local grocery store had eggs on sale for 97 cents a dozen and that another had 10 lb bags of potatoes on for $2.97.  I called Jackie the coordinator and asked if these items would be appreciated.  She gave us a thumbs up so we bought enough for each family.  Jackie also said that mac & cheese, and tortillas  would be appreciated also.  In fact she said that anything we bought would be appreciated.  So we shopped.  We bought Jello because all it took was water to make this treat for the kids.  Each family got a couple of boxes.  We also bought each family a cake mix and icing because everybody needs a treat once in awhile.  We roamed the aisles and picked out things that weren’t necessarily expensive but things that someone with limited means may forgo.

While in the store I asked for the manager and told him what we were doing and asked if he would donate paper bags since we could put so much more in the paper bags than plastic.  He gladly handed over plenty of the bags for this project.  He also gave us three cases of water.  We knew a family that was going to be very glad to get those cases of water.

Collection envelope empty, Bonnie and I headed home.


We had help unloading and when Lois walked by on her way to get mail she asked what all this was.  We explained and she asked if we needed help.  We never refuse help!  So we put her to work lining stuff up getting ready to fill the bags.





Now it was time to divide everything up.  Three shampoos, three conditioners, 4 bars of soap, 2 tubes of toothpaste, 8 toothbrushes, 3 body lotions, 3 bottles of hand soap, 3 dish detergents, 2 laundry detergents, four 4-packs of toilet paper and three of this and two of that until each family had two overflowing grocery bags plus a 10 lb of potatoes.

We were done.  All the money spent, everything bagged, ready to go.  We were done.

I sure was glad this was over, this was tiring.  Tiring but a good kind of tired.  But then I was already exhausted because I’m really sick now.  I just needed to go home.

Of course I had to spend a good amount of time getting all the rest of my stuff wrapped.  I just don’t seem to have enough hours in my day this week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12/16/2014 Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

(Arizona City, AZ)

As I’ve mentioned in past posts I have been collecting money from the residents here in Quail Run to help a family that consists of grandparents and four grandchildren who came to them unexpectedly.  And Quail Run gave.  And they gave big.  $670.00 worth of big.

Yesterday I had a chance to talk to the school nurse who is the coordinator for the Angel Tree program.  I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of information back.  I found that the family was getting help from other sources as well as what we had planned.  This changes the whole ball game now.  We can do so much more now.  I went through all the slips from the school and made note of what parents were asking for in addition to the toys and clothes for their children.  I took notice that all of them were asking for hygiene products in addition to other special requests.  They asked for shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper and the list goes on.  These things are not covered under the food stamp program.
The special requests included a space heater, pots and pans and water to name a few.
So today, Bonnie L., Jodee and I went shopping.

Our first stop was Sam’s Club and we bought a space heater for the family that doesn’t have heat.  Next stop was Walmart to buy pots and pans.  While there we bought towels and pillows for a family of six.  On to Big Lots and we bought gallons of water for the family that has to haul their water.  Something you and I certainly take for granted.
Our next stop was at the Dollar Store.  We cleared the shelves of toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotions.  We then moved on to dish detergent and laundry detergent.  We spent just over $300 in the Dollar Store.

These are all our carts.

We fllled the cars and headed back to Quail Run.

We unloaded the vehicles and started lining up the stuff we bought so that it would be easy to fill the bags when the time came.

Lucky for us Kim was walking by and asked if we needed help unloading.  Needless to say we took her up on that.


Now on top of all this I’m getting sick.  It started over the weekend with a sore throat and now its moved to my chest.  I’m having a hard time breathing.  I don’t need pneumonia now.

More money to spend tomorrow!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12/14/2014 Christmas Shopping….Again

(Arizona City, AZ)

Today Bonnie and I went shopping …..again. 

I had my little Angel Tree boy to finish up and I now had a 10 year old to buy for.  A Quail Run resident who isn't in the park yet sent me a check for $100.00 to help out when I put the request out for help.  Well, the residents are being so generous, over $500.00 so far, that I went to the Angel Tree to pick one of the slips that was still hanging.  The boy needed clothes as he had just gone up a size and there was no money for new clothes.  His mom wrote that he is a good boy and never asks for anything.  So I used my 30% off at Kohl’s and bought things on sale and was able to get him 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, sneakers and socks.  I think every kids needs some fun gifts at Christmas so I got him Yahtzee, Sorry, Uno card game and another one that I forget the name of right now.  I hope he’ll be a happy boy on Christmas morning.

Our tree is starting to fill as the residents do their shopping and get their purchases wrapped.

I spent part of the afternoon wrapping gifts for our kids and grandkids.  I only got a few done as I was getting interrupted, in a most delightful way, by people dropping by to give money for the family in need.   The envelope is getting very thick!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12/13/2014 Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen Luncheon

(Arizona City, AZ)

Today the ladies in park celebrated the date.


Forty two women signed up to attend a luncheon at Olive Garden in Casa Grande at noon.

Actually, due to illness, other things that came up unexpectedly and one who just forgot, we had closer to thirty but boy did we have fun!



The waitresses we had were outstanding!  All orders came out as ordered and were timely.  This included serving I don’t know how many different wines and how many bottles we went through.

The best part, separate checks and they were all correct! 

During lunch it was decided that we would do this again next month.  The reason?  Just Because.  That’s right, Just Because.  Just because we can.

So next month I will make up a sign up sheet we shall gather again to feast on all things Italian and we’ll love every minute of it.

We asked our wait staff, Ashley and Paola, if they would do this again for us and they agreed wholeheartedly to serve us again,  I think we have some pretty good tippers in our bunch too.

Ashley with our separate checks.  By the way, we didn’t even ask for separate checks, she just did it.