Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier
Salmon Glacier, BC, Canada

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Keeping the pace up and Christmas in AZ

We continue to maintain our active lifestyle here in AZ with Pickleball, Line Dancing and visiting with friends. Of course we always try to get some hiking in too.

We recently got together with our friends Ron and Patsy and did a hike at the Usery Regional Park to the Wind Cave. It's a steady uphill trail with great views of the Phoenix area. The cave isn't really much of a cave, more like an overhang of rock but still scenic.

Stairway to Heaven?

The Wind Cave

It was a nice cool sunny day for our hike and we had a great time getting some outdoor air exercise.

We stopped at the Wind Cave to have some snacks when we noticed a lot of chipmunks around us. They seemed to swarm as they became bolder and bolder and closer and closer as we ate. IT almost got a little creepy but it was still fun to see them running around.

The little black specks are all chipmunks

They like apples

Our views were amazing and we could even see some of the Phoenix downtown skyline in the distance.

Another fun day of hiking with friends. OF course we always end our hikes with lunch somewhere and this was no exception. Once we got back to the truck we headed to an great Mexican restaurant.

We haven't had a chance to be with our son, Chris for Christmas for about 5 years wince he had moved to Nashville, TN and then on to Mesa, AZ so this was a wonderful opportunity to get together. He has a very nice house and plenty of room to cook and have a gift exchange and dinner. We had already enjoyed time with him and his girlfriend, Audrey at Thanksgiving so this was a special treat.

We had the usual turkey, mash potatoes, Jello salad, green beans and rolls. Of course we stuffed ourselves. Very happy we could spend quality time together.

After dinner we watched some football and I think I may have even dozed off a little. Good food will do that to me. We made sure to call the daughters and my Dad to wish them a Merry Christmas. This has been a very good year and we've seen a lot of places and shares some incredible times with family and friends. Still loving this lifestyle. We only have 2 more months here in AZ before we hitch up and begin moving slowly east trying to stay far enough south until the weather gets warmer up north. We're beginning to put some plans together for that trek and once we fully work it out you'll be the first to know. Thanks for following along. So hard to keep up on the blog when we're having so much fun. I'll keep working on it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Keeping busy at our winter home

Time does sure fly when having fun and that's what we're doing now that we've been back in AZ after our visit with family and friends in IL. I can't believe it's been over a month since we left AZ to watch our grandson, Aiden and just under a month that we've been back. I've neglected the blog but for good reason. We've been keeping busy.

One of the first things we did was have Thanksgiving dinner with our son, Chris and his girlfriend, Audrey. They cooked a wonderful ham, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. We brought some veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, marshmallow fluff, sweet potatoes and of course, pumpkin pie. What a thankful, delicious dinner and time we had. And what goes better with Thanksgiving than Football? We definitely watched that too. :-)

What a spread

Happy faces after dinner

The amenities here in the RV park are so many there just isn't time to do everything so Glenda and I tend to concentrate on what we like best. For Glenda that's line dancing. She goes to classes twice a week and learns new dances. This is probably the most popular activity at the park.

 And for me, it's Pickleball. I try to play 3-4 times each week and get into a round robin tournament on Saturday mornings. Great exercise and good for the reflexes.

Photo from the web

However both of us enjoy hiking with our friends Ron and Patsy.

Picketpost in the background

Picketpost Mountain

Saguaro cactus and the mountain

Once or twice and week we try to get out for some hiking with our friends. Picketpost Mtn is about 25 miles further east of our park near Superior, AZ. Going to the top of Picketpost is a very challenging hike but none of us were ready for something like that right now so we did out hike about half way up the mountain to get some great views of the surrounding desert.

This was our first hike after coming back to the SW. We had a great hike and had some lunch in Superior after. We recently did another hike on the Coffee Flats trail near Peralta trailhead. It's a nice up and down trail with mild elevation changes but great landscape.

Trail leading to Coffee Flats

Miner's Needle

Grasses growing in a wash

The magnificent Saguaro cactus

Looking out over Coffee Flats

Lush color

Follow the leader?

We never get tired of the desert and the beauty that we find. Some may look at it as just rocks and sand but if you look really close you'll find life in every fashion. Can't get enough.

Continuing on with our activities, our friends Ron and Patsy had company come for a few days and they invited us to go with them to Organ Stop Pizza. This was a first for their company but we've been before and jumped at the chance to go back. If you CLICK ON THIS LINK I did a full write up of our first visit there in 2014. The history is certainly something to learn about, the pizza is very tasty and the music is something you should not miss. If you're ever in Mesa, AZ you need to go.

 Last weekend we had the opportunity to see Chris in a Holiday parade. His class in lineman school had a float(truck) in the Chandler-Gilbert Holiday Parade and Festival. Chris dressed in a Coyote costume and was on top of the float waving to the crowd of people.

Coyote Chris

Every parade has horses

And dogs?

It was a festive parade and tons of people lined the streets. After Chris's float got to the end of the route he headed back to where were watching the parade pass by and we decided to see what they had for food at the festival.

Nothing like a festival with Deep Fried Klondike Bars and Bacon Lemonade

Chris and Audrey

After we taste tested some OTHER foods, we parted ways and headed home. It's so nice to be able to spend time with Chris leading into the Christmas season. I noted in my last post, we won't be going back to IL and IN this year. We'll certainly miss everyone back there but not the weather they're getting right now.

We love the activities here at the RV park and have made so many great friends. We love the weather here and are so happy we tried AZ after we retired. Such a beautiful state. Tomorrow we plan to go on another hike with our friends. Keeping busy in AZ. Thanks for following along.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Golf, Watching our grandson Aiden and quick Christmas visits

I forgot to mention that I had the opportunity to get in a round of golf with our son, Chris, after we got to AZ. This is something we had not been able to do the last 2 years we were in the area for the winter. He's going to lineman school and has Fridays off so I made a tee time and he picked me up and off we went to Mountain Brook golf course. The fairways were pretty wide but it's built in a housing community so we still had to make sure our drives off the tee were straight. Something very difficult for me. I typically hit my one iron when in a tight fairway. Chris was hitting lights out. We had made a little wager but I regretted it as the round went on. He was hitting great drives and shots to the green then he was really on with his putts too. He ended up only 7 over par for the whole, well I was a little more over than that. OK, a lot over that. Anyway it was a fun day and so happy to have the opportunity to play with my son.

Teeing it up's gone.

Father and Son

Well now it's time to let our daughter and SIL have some time to themselves. We had gotten a call a few months back from our daughter, Heather, with a request. She would be celebrating her 40th birthday in Oct this year and her and Paul, SIL, would be celebrating their 5th anniversary in Dec. She asked if we could travel back to IL in November and watch our 3 year old grandson for a week so they could go to Cabo San Lucas with friends and have some away time. We couldn't pass up that opportunity and said yes. Glenda and I flew back on Nov 3rd and landed in Peoria, IL. As luck would have it the flight was delayed 5 hours due to changing planes, pilots and some weather and maintenance issues. I called the rental company and asked the attendant to stay late. He said he would however neither of us knew it would be so late. We finally got to Peoria at 1:30 am a full  3 1/2 hours after the rental car desk was supposed to close. He stuck it out and I gave him a nice tip for his efforts. We decided to only drive to Bloomington./Normal instead of trying to make it all the way to the Chicago area. My brother opened his home to us for the night. The next morning we headed to Bartlett, IL where our daughter lives.

So great to finally be at their house. Aiden was happy to see us and immediately wanted to play. This was going to be an active week. We had ordered a few presents for Aiden and had them sent to their house. After dinner we opened the presents and had a very informal Christmas.

This year we mainly gave money but had some presents for Aiden to open. Paul and Heather had an early flight so we didn't stay up too late and we were still a little jet lagged. I got up early with Paul and Heather and drove them to the airport.

By the time I got back Aiden and Glenda were up and Aiden was having breakfast. It was Saturday so it was a nice relaxing day playing with Aiden. We decided to take him to McDonalds for lunch so he could play in the Playland area. I think we spent about 2 hours there. He definitely worked up a sweat. Once home we watched some shows on TV and later had dinner and time for bed. First day a success. Heather and Paul have two little dogs that are like family members. Their names and Zeus and Izzy. They came from the same mother and father but different litters. They don't really look like brother and sister. They really love to cuddle and they slept with us each night.

Izzy is black and Zeus is gray and black

We thought we would put some photos on Facebook so Heather and Paul could see how we were doing. Aiden was a big help in posing for the photos. We thought we would make them wonder if they had done the right thing in having grandpa and grandma watch Aiden.

This is how we dressed Aiden in the morning

We let Aiden play on the steps...oh, he fell

Then he played on this trampoline...he fell off.

Then he took charge and tied me up

After all the mishaps he decided we didn't know how to take care of him and thought he should get out while he could.

He loved being a part of the charade

Sunday was a carbon copy of Saturday except for the McDonalds trip. Play with Aiden, watch some TV, Aiden played on his IPad and meals and time for bed. Day 2 in the books. We did get a call from our daughter in IN and they asked if they could visit for the day. They hadn't seen Aiden for a while and wanted to get together. We met them at Portillo's Restaurant for lunch and then back to Heather's to visit. We had a great time and so happy they made the trip. We will see them again once Paul and Heather get back from Mexico.

One thing we did have some trouble with is bed time. Aiden just can't wind down very quickly. He will find any excuse not to go to bed and once he is in bed he just won't go to sleep. Heather and Paul have been laying next to the bed in hopes he won't feel afraid. We tried the same routine and after few days we started to make some progress in him going to sleep without an issue. I guess that's just how 3 year olds react.

Now it's Monday and Aiden goes to Daycare(school). So not to mess up his routine, I took him to school at 8:30 am and then picked him up about 4:30 pm. If you have ever taken care of a 3 year old you know we were grateful for Daycare. The break during the day was very helpful. We did laundry and some shopping each day. I made daily stops at Starbucks for coffee and breakfast. We loved being at their home.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were carbon copies each day. We were so fortunate to have some wonderful weather during our stay. Aiden wanted to go with me when I walked the dogs so Glenda would go to and Aiden would ride his  trike. We had a fun time chasing after Aiden and enjoying the fall weather.

Friday we kept Aiden home from school since Mom and Dad would be coming home the next day and we would be leaving to drive to our daughter's home in IN to visit and have an abbreviated Christmas with the family there. Aiden and grandma decided to make some cookies for all the family.

Aiden was a big help

Candy Cane cookies are Glenda's specialty and everyone in the family loves them so Aiden helped.

On Saturday we got donuts for breakfast from Dunkin Donuts. I also got a ham, egg and cheese sandwich. IT ended up Aiden liked the sandwich better than the donut.

Around lunch time we took Aiden back to McDonalds so he play and get some energy out from the sugar in the donut.

We ended up staying for more than 2 hours and he still didn't want to leave.

Later that evening Mom and Dad made it home and Aiden was very happy to have them back. I know they had a wonderful time in Mexico but they also were happy to be home too.

We had so much fun taking care of Aiden over the week. He's such a smart, loving and caring little guy. We were reminded of how much energy kids have at the age and that it was somehow easier to handle a 3 year old when we were younger. Ha-ha. Wouldn't trade the opportunity for anything.

I was really feeling the love from everyone

Aiden selfie

We stayed one more night and left on Sunday morning for IN to see the grandkids there. We only had a couple of days there so we had our abbreviated Christmas with them and I took a few photos with my new selfie stick I got for Christmas. Unfortunately Jazmyne had to work a lot of the time we were there.

Grandpa and Caden

Grandma and Brooklyne and Ryleigh

Todd and me

Sommer and me

We played some Uno with the kids in the evenings and had some delicious meals. We always have a good time there. Our grandkids are growing up and we don't have as much time to spend with them as we have in the past so any opportunity is appreciated. Sommer had some wonderful professional photos taken of the family. We made sure to get a few. I love this one.

Enlarge the photo for better viewing
Brooklyne, Todd, Mason, Ryleigh, Sommer, Caden and Jasmyne

After our quick trip to IN, we headed to B/N in IL to visit my dad. He's 91 now. He has a nice apartment in an assisted living center. We took a meal into him one day and had a great time catching up. We spent as much time as we could in the two days there before our flight back to AZ.

We won't be seeing family until the spring so we tried to make the most of our time each place we went. Our trip back was uneventful compared to leaving two weeks before. Our son, Chris, picked us up and it was over. We had anticipated this trip for so long and then it was over. Time flies when you're having fun.

Found this interesting quote that many times would apply to me. I need to work on this.

I've decided to have some fun while in AZ. What do you think? Good decision?