Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Wednesday, December 31, 2014 - New Year's Eve

I’m not sure I’ll be able to see the New Year in – it’s only 8:30 here in Arizona and I’m already falling asleep on the couch.  Tomorrow I plan to spend some time going back over posts from the past year to reminisce over all we did in 2014.  This is the 7th New Year we’ve seen together, seems like just yesterday that Greg and his wonderful family came into my life – what a beautiful blessing that was.

Here at the resort they are having a Black and White Masquerade Ball to celebrate the New Year.  It’s a very formal affair, not exactly our cup of tea.  I think Greg left his tuxedo in storage along with all my ball gowns (or maybe not J).  But, I was curious to see the ballroom so we walked up to take some pictures and Pam, the Activities Director here was kind enough to unlock the doors so we could get a sneak peak at the most beautiful party set up I’ve ever seen.  The events crew here really knows what they are doing.  I'm not sure where they got all of this black and white stuff or who decided where it would all go, but it was inspired.  I understand that tomorrow they have 160 to 185 more RVs coming into the resort, that ought to be a day long parade, hope the staff doesn't party too much.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Thursday, December 25, 2014 - Christmas Day

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and took time today to remember the reason for the season.
We checked in with all the grandkids by phone or facetime today.  It appears Santa was very generous this year.  We knew they were all wonderful kids (no prejudice here), but we had no idea they were all that good J.  The social media available today does make it a little easier for us fulltimers who are away from home for the holidays.

We came to Arizona for the supposed warm winters with no rain.  Seems this year is an exception, we have had several days of rain and right now the temperature is only getting into the 60’s during the day and right now they say it will be in the mid 30’s at night for a couple of nights.  Got to admit that is better than Indiana, but not quite what we were expecting here.  All the locals say wait just a couple more weeks and “winter” will be over here.

We celebrated a candlelight Christmas dinner in style here at the Jones’s rolling estate.

Grilled lobster tails with roasted garlic butter and lemon

Baked potatoes with butter, sour cream and green onions

Spinach and mushroom salad with bacon and homemade celery seed dressing

Rolls and Ballatori sparkling wine
The lemons were a gift from one of our neighbors, fresh from the tree.  What a difference from the ones you buy in the store!  They smell wonderful and the juice just flowed from it when I cut it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - Christmas Eve Services

This evening we went to Christmas Eve services at Central Christian Church with our new friends and neighbors, Lee and Edie.  We were very glad they invited us to join them.  The service was a bit less traditional than we were used to, but it was very enjoyable and we were glad we went.
Back at home I put some stuffed mushrooms in the oven that I had put together earlier in the day.  We were discussing earlier how glad we were that we weren’t the ones putting together last minute bikes, kitchens and trampolines like we did in our past.  Loved the past, but love the present also.
We are so blessed with such wonderful children, grandchildren and a great grandson.  Not sure how we got so lucky, but we thank God for them every day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Wishing our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  We were going to wear our hats to work, but they got a little warm.
We went to Christmas dinner here at the resort this evening.  Baked turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad, rolls and apple pie and it was all good.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, December 21, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We are going to the gym every day plus we are doing the stretching exercises that the chiropractor prescribed for Greg.  Our plan is to go to the gym in the morning before we go to work, we’ll see how that works out.
I spent the weekend cooking.  On Saturday I made things to put in goodie bags for the 17 people we work with at the grill.  We included Chex Mix, Ranch crackers, no-bake chocolate cookies and banana muffins.

Today I spent cooking for us.  I made a recipe of spiced nuts, I hope we can be sensible about eating these, but they are so good for the holidays.  Greg had a choice of one special dessert – carrot cake, pumpkin cake roll or apple dumplings and he picked the pumpkin cake roll, so I made that today.  Also put together a container of marinated shrimp, made celery seed dressing for spinach salad we will have on Christmas Day and cooked some hamburger seasoned with taco mix for enchiladas later in the week.

My Norwex order came yesterday but I haven’t had time to try them out.  I’m anxious to try the floor mop, I’ve been disappointed with the Swiffer Sweeper results.  That will have to be on tomorrow’s list, I’m tired this evening J

Friday, December 19, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Friday, December 19, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

The weather has remained cool this week, mid 40’s at night, mid 60’s during the day.  It is supposed to get back into the 70’s next week.  I’ve inquired of some of the people who live around here full time and they tell me that December is the “coldest” month, it starts to warm up in January and goes to hot from there.
We worked Monday thru Wednesday.  On Monday after work I went to a Norwex products party put on by one of our neighbors.  I’m sure I can’t explain it correctly, their microfiber products are made to use only water to clean most surfaces, relying on the product to do the cleaning.  For specialized cleaning such as showers, drains etc. they have enzyme and microbe products that clean without odors rather than using chemicals.  I’m interested in this because Greg has allergies and in our small space using chemicals to clean really bothers him.  I bought a couple of things to try, if they work out I will get some other things.  The products are expensive, but if you don’t have to buy chemicals to work with them I think we will save money and space in the long run – we’ll see.  I followed the party with an hour of line dancing.

On Wednesday I was supposed to go to a quilting meeting and to take some kind of “goodie” to share.  I had a cheese spread and crackers ready to go but by the time the meeting came around I was too tired to go.  Greg didn’t mind standing in for the quilting ladies to sample the cheese spread J.
Thursday afternoon we had our session with a trainer at the new fitness facility.  We didn’t get as much out of it as we were expecting.  Maybe we were expecting too much.  Today we went back and worked out on our own using the knowledge we had from past experiences at fitness centers, I’m feeling it this evening.

We’ve found a chiropractor that a lot of the people here at the resort swear by.  He has sponsored a couple of our Thursday coffee and donut meetings and after he spoke people around us were talking about how good he is so we decided to check him out.  When Greg was working it was just too hard for him to go through a regimen of adjustments to get his back in better shape.  And then, when we were traveling it still didn’t work out.  But, since we are going to be here for a good while we can fit it in.  He had x-rays done today which confirmed disc compression in his lower back.  We picked a moderate plan of treatment which we will combine with exercises we can do at the fitness center.  We talked to the chiropractor today about one exercise stand in particular and a stretching station, he was pleased that those were available.  He also suggested that an inversion table would be good.  Not sure where we would put one of those.  We’ll try out the one daughter Amanda has back in Indiana before we commit to buying one.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, December 14, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

It rained again Friday night and Saturday.  The temperatures have been a little cooler this weekend, in the 60s and are supposed to stay that way for the next week.  After that they are supposed to go back up to the 70s again.  Saturday night everything looked pink because the sky was so pink (and black).
We’ve got the Christmas potpourri working now.  We have a small crock pot that we use for hot dips that is just right for this also.  I save orange rinds when I peel them for breakfast and put them in the freezer so I have enough for the potpourri.

Saturday was cleaning day, it’s amazing how much dust gets in.  But, when you think about it even though Greg seals up as much as he can there are still going to be cracks we miss when four of our walls move in an out. 

I use suit and dress bags in the closet and those plastic shoulder covers to keep dust off the clothes.  I haven’t been able to find enough of the shoulder covers and I noticed that some of the clothes we hadn’t worn in a year or so had some dust on the shoulders so I decided to take all the clothes out of the closet and wash them so they would all be nice and fresh again.  That’s not going to happen again for a while, we were washing clothes all day Saturday while we were cleaning.  Thank goodness for having a washer and dryer in the coach or this wouldn’t have happened at all.
We have a double recliner on one side of the living area and a single recliner across from it.  Greg was sitting in the double recliner with the footrest up and I happened to notice there was quite a bit of dust under it.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed it in a living room where I was 15 to 20 feet away, but since this is closer quarters, it was pretty evident.  So, Greg got out the vacuum and started cleaning underneath it when he noticed that there was an area that was wearing out.  We spent an hour or so adding some stuffing and repairing the worn area before it got any worse, looks pretty good.

Today was cooking day so we will have something to eat if I don’t feel like cooking next week after we get off work.  I thawed some of the minute steaks son David sent with us when we were in Kansas.  The beef he raises is so lean and tender I’m looking forward to the steaks in mushroom/onion sauce.  We picked up some individual casseroles when we were out shopping last week.  That was one thing I got rid of when we downsized that I should have kept.  Today I filled them with chicken pot pies, they turned out really good.  My last project was a blueberry cobbler.
After standing all morning cooking I decided to get out the sewing machine this afternoon and quilt the table runner I pieced together last week.  Now I just need to have someone show me how to bind it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Friday, December 12, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

I’m at a loss as to what I did yesterday J.  We walked across the street to get a few groceries and I embroidered a stocking for Greg.  Other than that, I must have wasted a lot of time.
This morning we went to the new fitness facility for a walk through on the equipment.  We’ve scheduled a session with a trainer to make sure we know how to use everything so we don’t get hurt.

There is equipment that will work any part of you that isn’t what it should be.

They say that if you have any type of knee problems this isn’t the machine for you.  I guess there are only 5 of them in the state of Arizona and 2 of them are here.

The screens you see on all of the equipment enable you to connect with the internet, there are hook ups for all of your devices, you can watch TV, play solitaire or take a virtual hike through a lot of places like Paris or London – lots of things to keep you on the machines just a little longer.

Last week we made an upgrade to the bike to make it easier to secure it on the lift when we travel.  The tiedowns go through these which are on both sides instead of over the handlebars, which is supposed to be better for the bike.  We’ve not been out riding just for pleasure yet, seems we are keeping busy though.  The weather is still in the mid to high-70s during the day and into the high 40s to low 50s during the night.  They are predicting we will get some more rain this evening from those same storms that caused such havoc in California.

I took a walk around part of the resort this evening snapping pictures of all the flowers that are in full bloom.  They announced at the resort meeting on Thursday morning that the plantings were done and that over 27,000 new flowers were planted.

There are some plants that are well established and just beautiful.

There isn't much green grass out here so this really stands out.
The citrus trees are loaded with grapefruit, lemons and oranges.

The cactus are getting ready to bloom also.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - Val Vista Village RV Resort

We are working Monday-Wednesday this week.  Monday I was a glutton for punishment.  I went to line dance lessons for an hour after working the hardest day we have had yet.
This evening after work we stuck around to listen to the band and have a steak dinner before heading home to put our feet up.  Lots of people were out line dancing but I was satisfied to just watch today.
Tonight they are having the grand opening of the new fitness center here at the resort.  I’ll post pictures later, it’s a pretty amazing place.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Friday, December 5, 2014 - Our New Wall

We worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.  Those three days we didn’t do too much that was blog worthy, in fact they could be summed up in five words – worked, napped, ate, showered, slept.
When we arrived in Arizona we forgot to mention to these desert dwellers that rain seems to follow us.  It hadn’t rained here for over 40 days before we got here.  We’ve been here less than a month and it rained 3 days this week, not just sprinkles but an overnight easy rain.  Some of the people we work with at the grill who don’t live in the resort were saying, “I can’t believe it, it rained at my house last night, it never does that!”

On Thursday we started work on our new wall.  This was what was bugging me, I could see about six inches of this when I looked at the TV.  I know, some of you would just say “let it go”.  Greg is so understanding and tries to fix these things that bother me and makes my world as close to perfect as possible.

This is what the wall looked like before.  You can see in the background that I was also doing laundry.

This is all the stuff we’ll have to tile around.

This is the strategy counter.  Which tiles need to be trimmed and will we get it right when we turn it over to cut on it?

The ugly tape is gone.

Work is progressing.  We need to make another trip to Lowe’s to get a couple more tiles so we can finish out all the way to the cabinet on the right.

This is the mostly finished wall.  We haven’t grouted it yet and we may not, kind of like it like it is.  I don’t think the wall photographs as pretty as it really is.  When the flash goes off more shine is created than is normally there. 

Greg did so well on the detail, I just couldn’t be more pleased.  He did mention in the progress of doing this wall that he didn’t want to do this for a living.

This morning I went to the Fiber Arts Center and tried my hand at some beginning quilting.  With a lot of help from Colleen who was teaching the class I ended up with this table runner top.  I still have to back it and quilt it then Colleen will show me how to bind it.

I told Greg about the really cool sewing machine I got to use at the center.  He said, “I was afraid of that” and just laughed.