Sunday, March 29, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, March 29, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

The weather is absolutely beautiful, running 15-17 degrees above normal.  It’s been 95 to 97 degrees this week.  Today the humidity was 5%.
We wore out the seat covers we bought back in 2010 and the black seats on the bike get pretty hot.  Couldn’t find the same type of covers so we got this fuzzy wool one – pretty comfortable.

On Thursday morning we had to go pick up my new glasses and we decided to stop in to see whether or not the “Hoosier CafĂ©” referred to Indiana Hoosiers.

We found out that the owner is from Fort Wayne and the waitress who served us was also from Fort Wayne.  Lots of Indiana memorabilia was on the walls.  I didn’t feel right snapping pictures over the heads of diners so this was the only picture I got.

Our (Greg’s) project for the weekend was getting the dimmer switches to work for the LED bulbs we installed to replace the conventional bulbs.  Conventional dimmer switches and LED bulbs don’t work well together, after a while the lights can start to flicker.  We saw the type of LED switch we needed at the Good Sam rally but the vender didn’t have any stock with him.  After a lot of muttering, Greg got it all back together and working right – I’m so lucky he is a handy man.

Instead of the table on the bed, the workbench this weekend was the dining room table.

This week is a big celebration week, lots of people getting ready to head back home.  Thursday was the Managers Happy Hour.  Free food, free beer and free wine and two bands really packed them in.  We went up an hour before the festivities were supposed to start and couldn’t find a seat.  The courtyard was full.

And the ballroom was full.

Lots of nautical and pirate decorations all around.
The couple standing up are Jodi and Kerry, the resort managers.  There were lots of pirates and their wenches, they were definitely the best looking ones.
Everyone is waving at a drone going over – never heard if it belonged to someone in the resort or if someone outside was snooping.  All they found out was that old people can really party J.
On Friday there was a big pool party.  These people are participating in a “frozen t-shirt contest”.  T-shirts were wadded up and frozen in water.  Each person on a team of four had to thaw out their t-shirt using only body parts and then put it on.  The first team to have all four members in t-shirts was the winner.  Too bad they had to use body parts because if they could have laid the shirts on the concrete they would have thawed right away.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, March 22, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Temperatures have been into the high 80’s and low 90’s this week.  Humidity is below 20%, right now it is 12%.  In my opinion “dry heat” is still very hot!
The heat is bringing out the cactus blooms.
I think this is a hibiscus, there are several of them around the courtyard where we work.
Wednesday afternoon I finished up my sampler quilt, it has its flaws but overall I’m pretty proud of it.  I certainly learned a lot.  I’ve bought some supplies to have at home so I might be able to do another quilting project on my own as we travel this summer.

I finished it up by embroidering my name and the date in the corner.
Our project this weekend was recovering the dining room chairs.  They originally had a vinyl “faux leather” covering which was ok until we bumped the edge of one and tore a small hole in it.

We redid them in some of the upholstery material we had left after doing the valances.

On Thursday we had our eyes checked, it had been a couple of years since we last had them tested.  I have some new glasses coming in next week.  Greg will be having cataract surgery on both eyes when we get back here in November.  We decided this would be the best place to have it done since we are right across the street from a grocery store.  He won’t be able to lift anything heavy for at least a couple of weeks after the surgery so that cancels out going anywhere on the motorcycle.

On Friday we updated our shorts and t-shirts wardrobe a bit and then went through our current things for Goodwill donations.  We still have more clothes with us than we need.  We’ve gotten “dressed up” (wearing something other than shorts and t-shirts) once since the beginning of the year – I love being retired.
On Saturday we treated ourselves to lunch at Olive Garden, I don’t think I’ve been to Olive Garden since we left Indiana last September.  We were out looking at inversion tables at Dicks Sporting Goods.  The chiropractor said that using one would be the best thing for Greg’s back but we needed to have some idea how big one would be so we could think about where to store it.  I think I could probably benefit from one also since there are times I feel like my neck and shoulders would feel better if I could “skin the cat” on the sidebar of a swing set like I used to when I was little.  Unfortunately, if I tried that now, the bar would probably break and I’d fall on my head.  And I know for sure I couldn’t get up once I got down.

Greg couldn’t be happier since college wrestling championships, NCAA basketball tournaments and NASCAR are all being televised this week.
I’ve tried some new recipes – an apple cranberry crisp turned out really good.  The pizza crust I made today turned out good, but I ended up having to knead it by hand.  The bread hooks on my hand mixer aren’t real efficient.  I tried them and the dough promptly climbed all the way up the hooks and into the mixer – took lots of Q-tips to clean out that mess.  A new shrimp and pasta dish is on the menu for this evening.

I found someone here at the resort to fire those ceramic candleholders I brought with me.  I’m working on painting them, if they turn out well, I’ll post pictures later.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, March 15, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Well I’m disappointed – as I started to write this blog I found out that the pictures I took earlier this week of some beautiful cactus blossoms and the pictures I took today at the NASCAR race at the Phoenix Motor Speedway aren’t any good L.  I don’t know what the problem was unless it was too much sunshine, it’s beautiful and in the high 80s here.

Our seats today were great, we were 10 rows up right between turns one and two.  Harvick’s pit box was right across from us.  Our favorites, Dale Jr. and Tony Stewart, were taken out by crashes, Harvick was next on my list so when he won I was happy.  The Budweiser horses were there and I thought I had some good pictures of them coming around the track – nope.

This race is our last planned event while we are here in Arizona.  We’ll be leaving on April 18 to get back out on the road.  We’ll be headed south to Texas to visit some friends just outside of Dallas, then on to North Carolina for a rally the last week in May, we also plan on visiting with some friends in North Carolina while we are there.  We’ve enjoyed our time here and have signed up to be workampers here again next year.

The only picture that turned out well is of the bathroom sign I redid.
This is the before picture with lots of little dings in it.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, March 8, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

The project for this weekend was putting a swivel mount on the TV in the outside entertainment center.  The stationary mount it came with was good but the way we are parked now means the sun shines on the TV in the afternoon – not good if we want to enjoy the wonderful weather we are having here now.  Since there is a limited amount of space in the entertainment center area Greg had to find a mount that didn’t stick out very far.  However, even though the mount was slim the TV was still too fat.  Off to Wal-Mart to get a skinny TV.  We probably got a lot of funny looks coming back home on the motorcycle with me on the back holding a 32” TV in front of me.  I couldn’t see over the box so I was oblivious to any stares.
The area under the table is where my spice rack is usually.  That had to come out so he could get to the TV works.
The new mount works great and the whole thing fits in the space with a little room to spare.

On Friday we had tickets to watch a Cubs spring training game.  The weather was windy but in the high 70’s.  This is the entry drive to Sloan Park.

We were able to park up close.

The park opened last year and is really nice.


I didn’t realize there had been so many Cubs logo changes since 1908.
This was just the second game but a big crowd was anxious to get in.
The wind was pretty fierce in the upper level, but down where our seats were we didn’t notice it much.  They made an announcement that it was 75 degrees in Phoenix and 25 degrees in Chicago.

Our seats were three rows up from the third base line.  It was a good thing we didn’t have first row seats, we would have been trampled by autograph seekers before the game started.

The Cubs were playing the Reds.
The new mascot “Clark” was moving around pretty quickly so it was hard to get a good picture.

Our seats were just seven seats from the Cubs dugout, looked like they had everyone present for the game.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, March 1, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

It’s been a busy week.  We were back to our regular work schedule of Monday thru Wednesday from 10 to 2:00.  On Wednesday evening we met our friends Michael and Susan from Indiana at the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix for dinner.  They were starving by the time we got there at 6:00, their Indiana stomachs thought it was 8:00.  We ate at the District restaurant there at the Sheraton.  Sometimes high priced meals don’t quite meet my high expectations, not this time – it was amazing.  Susan and I had cedar plank grilled salmon with parmesan asparagus risotto and the guys had steaks with chimichurri (not sure I spelled that right, its herb sauce) on top of sweet potato hash.  We had stuffed dates and crab cakes for appetizers.  Everyone but me finished up with bread pudding and whiskey sauce, I had some kind of wonderful chocolate thing.
Michael and Susan, their sons and their families are in Phoenix for a few days attending an agricultural convention.  Michael is receiving a distinguished award from the Corn Growers Association.  It was so good to see them again.

On Thursday we attended the Good Sam Rally in Phoenix.  We have attended these rallies in Syracuse, New York and Louisville, KY.  I think Louisville has been the best venue yet.
We checked out the new motor coaches.  We found one this year that we could definitely go for, the Winnebago Itasca Ellipse Ultra 42HL is gorgeous and they have managed to maintain that all important storage space.  However, we’ll still stick with what we have, we love it and its home.

I’ve been looking for bamboo sheets, they are advertised to be cooler than most other sheets.  Have you priced nice king sized sheet sets lately?  Talk about sticker shock.  A vendor at the Rally had bamboo sheet sets, blankets, etc. for sale.  The sheet sets were normally $99, still a pretty good buy for some I have seen.  Just before we got to their booth their charge card machine went down and they were going to have to get another one sent in from somewhere.  I guess they thought they were going to lose a lot of sales so they started offering the sheet sets for $30 if you could pay cash.  I was a little leery but I’ve probably wasted $30 on some other poor decisions so I went for it.  I love them, they are so soft and luxurious looking.
On Friday our big project was to dismantle the bed so we could redo the bed skirt.  When we sold our house the bed skirt I decided to bring with me was the one from our queen sized guest room bed, I liked it because it was black satin.  But, since we have a king sized bed in the motor coach it never fit exactly right.  After redoing it, it fits great but it’s kind of hard to get pictures.  We are done with all of the issues I had with the bed, now I just have to get some more pretty pillows made.

I left Greg on his own for most of the day Saturday, he didn’t mind since NASCAR had two races that day.  I spent the day at the Fiber Arts Center here at the resort finishing up the top for my sampler quilt.  Here it is up on the display board so I can decide where I want each of the twelve blocks.  It might look a little off because none of the strips and small squares between the blocks are sewn together, they are just clinging to the flannel on the wall.
Since I had my camera to take a picture of the quilt, as I was walking over to the Fiber Arts Center I took some pictures of the beautiful flowers here at the resort.

Today we made a grocery run.  This is the first time we have had to buy much meat since we got out here.  Sons David and A.J. made sure we had a nice supply of beef and pork when we visited with them.  We got lucky, they had a buy one, get one sale today so we are stocked up again.  I’ve got pork chops in the crock pot and apple crisp is ready to come out of the oven.  I’m probably not going to do much else the rest of the day.