December 25. 2009

Merry Christmas! This is our first Christmas since we retired, and it’s been a pretty good one.

Yesterday we were invited to an open house at our neighbors John and Janet, so we went over there for dinner. Janet is a good cook – she made chili, appetizers, cookies and a soup with potatoes, hamburger and dumplings. Some of the other guests had spent a few years in Alaska so we talked with them about what we can expect there.

In the evening we joined almost everyone else in the Park at the Christmas service. We really enjoyed most of the service – someone read the Christmas story from the Bible, and everyone sang well-known Christmas carols. But there were also some guest singers who didn’t seem to know how to stay on key, and we could have done without that part!

This morning there was frost on the car, which was a surprise to me. I didn’t expect Arizona to get cold enough for that. But it did warm up a bit later in the day and it’s a lot better than the weather in the Midwest right now. We and 6 other couples met together for brunch, with everyone bringing a couple of dishes. Randy made smoked salmon and bagels, Bloody Marys and individual bacon, egg and cheese quiches. Other folks brought ham, biscuits and gravy, fresh berries, egg casseroles, monkey bread, and a lot of other great food. Everyone also brought a $5 gift for a gift exchange. I picked up an envelope with a $5 lottery ticket in it, which had the potential to win up to $500,000 - but unfortunately it wasn’t a winner! The gift package Randy selected had a 6 pack of beer in it, so although my gift had more potential, his gift will be enjoyed a little longer. We tried not to overeat at the brunch but we wanted to try a little of everything, so we decided we didn’t need to have the big prime rib dinner that Randy had planned for tonight. Instead of dinner, we played pool with our next door neighbors. And now he is practicing his new Guitar Hero!

December 22, 2009

Hey, it's all the way down to 51 degrees here. Might have to change from sandels to shoes!

December 20, 2009

Not much happening today. It is a little laid back. Went to church this morning here at the park. There is a group called Resort Ministries that provide ministers to parks through the season. They do a non-denominational service for the park community.

This afternoon was spent doing some cleaning and candy making. It seems like this place is always a mess. When you live in a small place anything out of place creates a mess. We are still trying to fit into this coach. Sometimes it feel like we will make it and then we buy something, oh say maybe a piece of gum, then you have to rearrange everything. (I may exaggerate some but it does not feel like much).

Tonight was the Workamper's Christmas party. We had a nice dinner of Salad, Spaghetti, Bread Sticks and Dessert. Jeannie, the park manager was the sponsor. We played a few games, had a visit from Santa and all in all had a good time.

December 19, 2009 Arizona Desert Museum

Today we went to the Arizona Desert Museum, a little west of Tucson. It's mostly an outside museum and is well worth the trip! It has a huge variety of cactus. These photos are of a pipe organ cactus, the heart-shaped beaver cactus, a living and dead saguaro cactus, and a view across the plains.

Birds are and important part of the desert eco system. The outside museum includes several areas where you can see local birds, including owls, hawks and hummingbirds.

There are separate areas where larger desert predators, such as cougars and wolves, are visible.

We had such a great time at the museum that we skipped lunch, so we were really ready for dinner by the end of the day. A friend had recommended the Pikachu Steakhouse. When we got there it looked a bit like a dive, but since it was recommended, we decided to try it. That was the right decision because the food was really good - baked potato, Texas toast, side salad and a big steak, cooked on the outside grill. Well worth stopping for, although afterwards I felt a bit like this big boy!

Friday December 18, 2009

Wow, only one week to Christmas. The time is sure going fast. The Ole RV Park is all lit up with Christmas lights. There is a contest for the best dressed Park model and RV. There is a $100 at stake and many are vying for it. We have done some decoration but not enough to be in the running. I really don't care who wins because we all win by how the Park looks for the season.

Last night we did a tag-a-long out to dinner and to see Christmas lights. We had a total of 18 go to dinner and 14 continue on to the lights. Dinner was at a place called "Heart Attack Grill". They serve burgers, fries, soda and beer. What is unique about them is the size of the burgers, the fact that the fries are cooked in Lard, the soda is the full sugar type from yester year and there is no light beer in sight. They name the burgers; "Single Bypass", "Double Bypass", "Triple Bypass" and "Quadaruple Bypass". No question "Health Food" is not allowed. Each patty is at least 4 ounces and comes with a thick slice of American Cheese on it.

When you arrive you are seated at a counter, similar to an old diner, then a "Nurse" comes around and puts a hospital gown on you.
Jackie Lambert, Randy Lambert
The nurse then takes you order and give you a French Fry boat. The French Fries are all you can eat so you can fill your boat as much as you want. Your burger is cooked by the "Doctor" with the assistance of another nurse. When you receive your burger you can take it to the condiment bar and dress it as you wish. It should be noted that if you order either a Triple or a Quadruple and eat all of it then you will be shuttled to your car in a wheel chair by one of the nurses. The food was great, the atmosphere was unique and the entire group had a wonderful time at the Heart Attack Grill. And yes we did have one guy eat a triple and yours truly did eat a double (I won't do that again).

After dinner we went to Glendale Glitters in Glendale, Arizona.

This is a Christmas light display that begins in Murphy Park and covers many of the streets of downtown Glendale. There are some where in the neighborhood of 1 1/2 millions lights. Needless to say it was beautiful. There was one tree that had lights that looked like each was about 12 inches long and contained a string of chasing lights. The tree looked like a shower of falling stars. It was very unique and beautiful. On some of the palm trees they wrapped the trunk and then on the under side of each leaf they strung lights along the entire leaf spine. It made for a great display if you stood at the base of the tree and looked straight up. We spent about an hour looking at lights and started back home.

We made it as far as the Cold Stone Creamery in Casa Grande and inspite of the huge meal we had all eaten we decided to indulge in Ice Cream. I know that those young ladies working there will never be the same after having to put up with ten rowdy RVers. Once again the food was great. I don't have any idea what the calorie intake was yesterday but I can say with confidence "It was TOO Much".

December 12, 2009

While I was in Missouri and Illinois it never occurred to me to look at the stars. But here I am usually out after dark and I am amazed all over again at how beautiful the stars are in the clear Arizona sky.

Last evening we played pool with our neighbors. Randy and Harry beat Judy and I five games in a row! At least by the 5th game we made it into a fight down to the last ball. I’ve got to get in some practice!

Tonight the RV Park hosted a 50’s Sock Hop. I recall some early 60s Sock Hops, and they were nothing like this. The “live band” was a couple who, I think, usually do country music, because there tended to be a twang to their music. The guy made a kazoo sound that he used in almost every song, under the impression that it sounded like a horn section. They couldn’t keep a steady rhythm, even though they were using recorded music. And they had a very odd idea of what music was played at a Sock Hop - they played everything from Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” to “Something” by George Harrison. . . although it took us awhile identify the Harrison song, since they sang it as a country ballad. Fortunately we sat at a table with friends so we were well entertained. It was a BYOB party, which that helped a lot! I participated in a hula hoop contest but it didn’t take me long to drop out.

December 11. 2009

Here is something I learned in Arizona. . . around here birds often build nests in cactus. I am not sure if they create a hole in the cactus or if they enlarge an existing flaw, but they hollow out an area large enough for their nest. Because they are workiing with a living plant, the area around the nest sort of scabs over and becomes a separate piece of the cactus. After the cactus dies sometimes the hollowed out part can be found. Randy found one of these recently - everything around the nest area has fallen away, leaving just the nest cavity.

The opening to the nest is smaller than the rest of it, and makes it look like a crumpled paper bag. And it's about as lightweight as a paper bag.

December 10, 2009

New update from Jackie – I had a wonderful trip to see my family. The Southwest flight only went to St. Louis but I needed to get to the Peoria area, so my sister Ruth drove 150 miles to pick me up and then drove me back. That was a long drive but there was a definite upside for me – after my plane landed and before we left I had a chance to visit some of my friends at Enterprise. I have only been gone since early September, but it feels like I’ve been gone a year! It was great to visit with friends and catch up on things. I do love those Enterprise folks!

And the visit with my family was a very good one. Mom recently broke her shoulder but she is recovering, and she visibly improved every day I was there. I also got to spend time with my sisters and one of Randy’s sisters. And on Monday my friend Dezina picked me up and drove me back to the St. Louis area to spend the night at her place so we could have a long visit before my Tuesday flight! It feels wonderful to have friends and family who will go out of their way for me! And just as an added perk it was cold and snowing there so I could also appreciate coming back to Arizona. Unfortunately it's cold here too, but at least it's not as cold as Illinois.

Back home I found that Randy was very busy in my absence. Not only had he kept up the Blog, but he also cleaned out the kitchen grout and waxed the shower door. This area has very hard water and it has been spotting the shower door, but waxing it fixed that problem.

We are continuing to decorate the RV. Here's the latest look...

Tonight we went over to one of the Park’s common rooms to play Bingo. They use a few rules here I'm not familiar with…for example, they say that a “regular” bingo is a row up, down or across (which I expected) as well as “postage stamp” and “four corners". And the one time we actually got Bingo, we were disqualified because we called it after the caller had moved on to another bingo ball. Apparently here Bingo only counts if it’s called immediately after the call that concludes the pattern – you can’t call it if another ball has already been called. I may not be cut out to be a Bingo champion...

Wednesday December 9, 2009

I picked Jackie up from the airport last night. Unfortunately her plane was about 45 minutes late. She had a good flight back with a couples of delays, one in St. Louis and one in Phoenix. Apparently when they landed in Phoenix there was a plane still at the gate so they had to wait on the tarmac. It is good to have her home.

Today was a great day as far as weather is concerned. The sky was clear and the temperature was cool but not really cold.

We had the second cooking class today in the cantina. It was Italian Cooking. We made and Italian Salad, pasta, Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine and Zabagloine Sauce over Strawberries. We only had 3 in attendance but it was still fun.

Monday December 7, 2009

Let's remember the soldiers who served in WWII and especially those that served and were unfortunate enough to be at Pearl Harbor this date so many years ago. My hat is off to all who have served in the military or who are currently serving.

Today is Sugarbaby's birthday. He is 8 years old. Man it seems to going fast. I don't know how long Pekinese dogs live but I know it won't be long enough.

There isn't much going on at the ole RV park today. It is overcast and looks like it will rain at any moment. Judy and Harry next door invited me over for Dinner. We had a homemade soup, corn bread muffins and a gooey butter type of cake. It was all very good.

The weather this evening has been awful. It is rainy, cold and very windy. Our electrical power went off at least 3 times. Thank goodness for battery backup and a big generator. All through the night it rained off and on and was very windy. I know there has been some damage in the park.

Well tomorrow I go to pick up Jackie from the airport.

Note: I am actually writing this on a different day because I didn't think to do it the other day.

Sunday December 6, 2009

Last night I went to a comedy show here at the park. There were 3 comedians. One guy played a guitar and tried to do some funny songs. He was not very good. Second was a black lady who was ok but not all that funny. The best part was a guy named Bob, he was very funny. All in all a pretty good event at the ole park. After the show I stopped over at Clyde and Nancy for a drink.

Today has been a day of work. I went to Home Depot this morning and got a Dremel tool to help me cut out the floor tile grout. It helped quite a bit even so it was a lot of work. I think tomorrow I will grout the floor.

Tonight I need to get ready for the next cooking class. It will be Italian food. We will make some basic pasta, probably vegetable lasagna, an Italian style salad and zabaglione. I think this should be a fun class.

Saturday December 5, 2009

Last night got cold. It was around 38 degrees or so. I have decided you can tell it is winter in Arizona when you turn on the Cold water and it actually is a different temperature than the Hot water. Today the temperature has been around 60 all day.

Today I went to the Mesa Swap meet to sell the extra tow bar we had. I was successful. I then spent some time checking out the different vendors. I do believe you can find some pretty good bargains there if you want.

The rest of the day was spent doing some maintenance on the MotorHome. I did some work on the battery straps and a little bit of rearranging. I also did some searching for some jeans and again I was successful.

It has been interesting trying to keep things cleaned up around here,especially the litter box. It seems that for some strange reason Sugarbaby has decided that the litter box is a good place to poop. This is really not a bad deal except he throws litter all over the place. I guess if he continues to use the box we will have to get one with a top on on it to try to keep the litter in place.

Thursday December 3, 2009

Well this morning I took Jackie to the airport for her trip to visit her mom. We had to leave at 4:00 am to get her there in time. We followed the GPS but it took us to the freight gate and that was a bit frustrating. We were able to find our way, inspite of the GPS without too much trouble.

After dropping Jackie off I went and got some breakfast and went to find a few stores. I was able to locate Penzeys Spices in Scottsdale. That is good for me because I really like the quality of their spices. I also found one of the AJ Fine Food. They have a great deli, a butcher counter, a large cheese selection and fine wines. It really is a neat store.

After that I went to a store called Bev Mo. They advertise low prices and huge selection. I agree they have a huge selection and their prices aren't bad. I did find some Belgian beer, Corsendonk, that I have had before and will now be able to get again.

When I got home I did my monthly RV chores. Things such as run engine, run generator, drain Fresh water tank, battery maintenance, etc.

December 2, 2009

I am really looking forward to Christmas in Arizona! But I also want to spend some time with my family in Illinois, so I'm going to take a few days to visit them now - as sort of a pre-Christmas present for us.

Randy will take over the Blog while I'm gone. I'll let him start by adding the text to go with this!

Last night was party night at the ole RV Park. Our theme was White Trash. Therefore, all the food, drink, costumes, decorations and games had to reflect the theme. I must say it was amazing how well our little group here adapted. One might think that "White Trash" was in their blood.

Many showed up dressed appropriately. That is to say they fit the part well. If you look at the picture behind me you will notice Judy who showed up dressed in her Sunday go to Meetin clothes. We had one guy show up with "New" tatoos and a MoHawk. For the food we had saltines with Velveeta, Beans and weiners, grits, more beans, fried taters, tater tots, fried spam, spam burgers, pork rinds, french onion dip and generic cookies (I am sure I forgot something). Now be truthful, how many of you are watering at the mouth over our vittles!!!

For games we had a pumpkin seed spittin contest and a burpin contest. The pumpkin seed spittin contest was a lot of fun except we didn't get to it until it was dark. So, it was a real mystery as to who really won because we couldn't see the seeds fly. But, we still determined that Gary won First, Frank won second and Julie won third. On the burpin contest there was no doubt Judy won first, Dee won second and Susan won third (obviously we have some classy ladies here). Not only did all the folks have the honor of being the best in their field they also went home with some fine prizes. First place took home a can of Vienna Sausage and a can of potted meat, Second place took heme a can of soup and third received a package of Ramon noodles. Now you see why they practiced so hard to be the best.

So far the RV live has been pretty good. The trip out here was a great adventure and the park here is real nice. The other Workampers are alot of fun to be around and very helpful with information and ideas. It is quite amazing how many friendships we have made already. It has also been good for the dogs. They have been placed in a situation where they can be aclimated to others and they have been doing a great job. Judy, our next door neighbor will be coming over tomorrow to take the dogs out while I take Jackie to the airport. A month ago the dogs would not have allowed that. Now when Judy comes over they both run out to see her.

The weather here is great, though it has been cold a few mornings usually in the afternoon it warms up nicely. We have had a few days of blowing winds which kicks up the dust pretty bad. All in all it is great.

December 1, 2009

December already??! We are putting up Christmas decorations but there are a few challenges. We want to do most of the decorating outside, since it’s easy to make the inside of the RV look cluttered. But right now there are strong winds blowing through the park. We had to bring in the awning so we won’t be able to hang garland on it (at least not for awhile), and the wind keeps knocking down the Christmas tree! Randy tied it with fishing wire and added string ties, but the wind changes directions just enough to find a weak spot, and down it goes. Oh well, we will figure out something.

Yesterday some friends from Texas came for a visit. We went to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and talked for hours. Thank you, Frank and Cathy, for stopping by - we really enjoyed your company!