Thursday, January 31, 2013


In another life, many years ago, when I took my first job as a hospital administrator, there was this wonderful woman at the Washington State Hospital Association who became my friend and mentor. Victoria, along with CEO Leo, ran the Association. She's a VERY intelligent lady that I greatly admire.

Now, several years later, Vic is retired -- and in Arizona with Bill. They're going to be here for a couple of weeks and we are looking forward to spending some quality time with them both.

This afternoon, they drove up in their Sea Breeze Class C RV to spend the afternoon with us. We spent a few hours visiting; walked their dog Belle; and went out this evening to Waldo's for barbecued ribs. We will be getting together tomorrow evening to go for a Nite Hike at  Usery Mountain Regional Park. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Night at BJ's

Another day of book work, but we're on the final stretch. All we left to input into the computer is the month of December. And we have to wait for the mail on Friday before we can do it as we need the December bank statement. It feels good to have that much done even though there are a few things we're going to have to discuss with our CPA.

We went out for a bike/trike ride when we finished with the paperwork. We planned to drop off Juni's soup containers on our way by. Their car was gone, so we set the containers on one of the lawn chairs and were going to ride on. But, it turned out Tom was at home, so I ended up leaving Forry behind to bs while I rode on for a while. I rode around the perimeter and as I went by the gate, I saw Juni driving in, so I followed her home.

There was time for a bottle of water and a bit of a puppy fix, then Juni suggested we all go over to BJ's for supper. What a good idea that turned out to be. Forry had a pizza, I had some flat bread with goat cheese and vegetables, Juni had a jalapeno burger and Tom had Marsala chicken. Not a bad way at all to finish off the day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Disappointment...

I was on a roll this morning. I got five months of the ranch books into QuickBooks. I would have kept going, but my partner in crime? pooped out on me. Another day should see the ranch part of the job done.

I even got busy and went through the stack of papers which has piled up on my desk. Like what happens most times, the biggest share of them were outdated, and I could just take them directly to the recycle bin.

But, I did find the brochure we got when we checked in about the Superstition View development. This is another CalAm project that looked really good in the brochure. It looked like they were building stucco Southwestern style buildings with adjacent parking for RVs and with "Margarita Roofs".  We thought they looked like some of the units we had seen in Washington State where the building was actually an addition -- perhaps a living room and bathroom -- to the RV. So we drove out to Gold Canyon to check them out.

I should have been suspicious when I read on the web-site that the units were 800 square feet... There are only actually a few of them built so far, the rest are just platted. What they actually are are nothing more than fancy park models with car or RV ports attached to them. They are just small houses. Not exactly what we are looking for...

I took this picture this evening looking EAST from Auntie Violet this evening. The gorgeous sunset was a reflection from the setting sun over on the west side.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's That Time

Every year I say that I'm going to do the book work every month. And every year I don't. One year I kept up our personal account books for a good six months before I relapsed...

2012 was a normal year for us. We have the whole year of entries to do...

The first task is always to purchase a file box that we use to transfer files into as they are finished. This year, the boxes weren't just plain ordinary colors --

The inside file folders were labeled with letters and all kinds of categories. So out came the label machine to put months on those dividers.

These are the monthly files we are working from. This small file drawer has all of the ranch records. We are very good about putting all the paperwork for each month in its proper hanging file, at least.

This morning we got through January, February and March of the ranch files and got them entered into the Quicken software. I do all of the entries into the computer while Forry figures out what it was he paid for with that American Express or Citibank card. Once all of the months are done, I'll do our personal ones in Quickbook, then the whole caboodle will go to Cleon, our accountant and the guy who gets to make sense of it all.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Quiet Rainy Sunday

It was a fairly overcast day again today, with showers that came and went. It rained, but nothing like it did yesterday. There was a lot more activity around the park with people walking and riding bikes between showers.

We had a first at church this morning. As many churches do, Trinity has a time shortly after the opening where people turn and greet each other. Just as the leader was about to announce the greeting, Pastor Hal came bouncing out with a face mask and gloves on, shouting "STOP!" He said that because of all the flu going around, people should just greet each other and NOT hug nor shake hands. I was sort of glad as I still think that church is where we picked up the bug in the first place...

This afternoon, Ed and Diane D. stopped by. They were out riding on their bikes, saw our Alpine and stopped to visit. They had just arrived from Quartzite in their Alpine Apex and will be at this resort for the next couple of months. They said the Desert Rat Alpine Rally had been a huge success with a very organized  program.

Then this evening, Tom and Juni came over with a couple of containers of chicken soup that Juni had made. I had shut my phone off at church and hadn't remembered to turn it back on. Juni had tried to call me a couple of times and when I didn't answer, they were concerned about us and came over to visit for a while.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


As we got ready for bed last night, we could hear an occasional rain drop hit Auntie Violet's roof. Later there was hard enough rain that it woke us up. That happened a couple of times during the night. Then about six AM, it really began to pour. It rained very hard for two to three hours before it let up a bit. Of course, it wasn't long before it was really coming down hard again.

Once again the forecasts were wrong. We were supposed to have sunshine today with some cloudiness and an occasional shower by mid-week...

Looking out the windows, you could actually see water running down the street. The few cars that were out and about splashed water two to three feet high -- depending on how fast they were going -- as they came up the street.

Both of our cell phones kept buzzing as the Weather Channel was broadcasting "flood warnings." Most of the messages had warnings about staying out of the arroyos and low-lying road areas. We've basically had rain showers, many of them quite hard, until about six PM this evening.

I went outside a few minutes ago to put some paper stuff in the recycle bin. It's amazing how quickly the water dissipates in this country. Where there were large puddles alongside our patio, there is now just wet gravel. Even the paved roads, which were streaming water, are now just wet and without puddles.

I am certainly glad the Mobile RV Service that we hired soon after we arrived, did such a good job sealing the roof !

Friday, January 25, 2013

Usery Mountain Regional Park

After a false start or two, we headed out this afternoon northeast of Mesa on Ellsworth Road. We had seen the Usery Mountain Regional Park on a map and thought we should check it out. What a gem we discovered! They charged us $6 for a day pass (though there is an annual pass available). The park is run by Maricopa County.

One of the nice things about Phoenix is that you can drive just twenty miles or so and be out in some beautiful desert --

This park has an incredible variety of prickly, spiny plants --

Usery  Mountain looms colorfully against the desert lowland --

With the Goldfield Mountains purple behind --

We didn't see many birds today. I don't think they liked the showery, overcast day either. We did see the Gila Woodpecker perched on a saguaro.

The park has some incredible saguaros.  When you think that they are usually a hundred years old or so before they sprout arms...

These Thrashers were a long way away. Too far to identify which kind they might be --


This directional sign is just outside the park boundaries --

I got a chuckle out of this cute little budding arm on this nice plump saguaro --

It was starting to get dark as we finished the loop around the park. We are definitely going to have to come back here again. Maybe we'll even get out on some of the trails.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Taste of Home

It's funny how all roads end up in Arizona.

Last week we were able to spend time with our friends Colleen and Dennis from Ritzville who were selling their lovely jewelry in Casa Grande. Yesterday I got a text message from Madeline wondering if we could get together for dinner tonight as they were here in Phoenix. Madeline grew up on a farm a few miles down the road from Forry. She recently retired from her many years as a teacher in Moses Lake. Her husband Bernie had been attending irrigation meetings near the airport while Madeline had been enjoying some shopping.

Anyhow, Bernie finished up with his meetings and we arranged to meet them at Rancho del Tia Rosa, our favorite Mexican restaurant. They were on their way back to their rental at Lake Havasu where they are spending the winter.

We not only had a wonderful early dinner, but also got caught up on the news about each other's families and mutual friends.

Like me, Madeline is tired of cold weather and snow. We commiserated with each other over arthritic joints and how much better we feel in the sunshine. (Though today was not a good example as we woke up to rain showers.) It will be nice to see if more of our friends and relatives end up wintering in this part of the world...

I had a nice phone visit today with Sister Sherry. In spite of having a visitor who came down with the flu, Sherry luckily seems to have avoided it. I would NOT wish that nasty stuff on anyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Around the Neighborhood...

It was a beautiful day today. It was 83 degrees with gorgeous sunshine. We went out for a long bike/trike ride this afternoon. There are several pots of red geraniums around and our neighbors have some lovely ones --

On down the street a little ways is this park model that has some lovely desert foliage --

This is the other side of their driveway. They probably have the most varied selection of cacti of anyone in the resort --

We rode around for almost an hour, then stopped by Juni and Tom's for a bottle of water and a puppy fix. Tom suggested that we go out to Outback Steakhouse for supper. Home, a quick shower and ready to go. Gotta love their Bloomin' Onion!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another Tuesday

Laundry and groceries -- how mundane can it get?

But that's how life goes. Two loads of dirty clothes, then off to Safeway. The only different thing we ended up doing was finding an Office Max store over in the Superstition Mall in order to pick up a storage file box for the 2012 ranch papers. I do need to get started getting the books caught up for the year so that our accountant can start having fun.

It was another delightfully warm day here in Phoenix. After the last couple of weeks of miserably cold weather -- and nasty flu -- we are very much enjoying our time here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

VDO Has a Gathering

Valle del Oro threw a party this afternoon. They have a monthly get-to-gather for people who have not been residents here at the Resort before. We were invited to the gathering last month, but didn't make it. Nicely enough, they invited us to this month's party. They laid out quite a feast of snacks and other goodies along with pop, wine and beer.

It was quite interesting to listen to people go around and tell how they had decided to come here. There was a nice mix of people, many of them from Canadian provinces.

There was quite a contingent from the Boise, Idaho area and a few from Minnesota --

This woman is one of the couple who are the Resort's managers. They have been on the job for five years and still seemed to be having a good time at what they are doing.

At the gathering, I sat across from a woman who did wool punch rugs. Afterwards I rode my trike over to her Born Free Class C RV to see the kind of rugs she makes. They are a lot like the wool yarn rugs that were popular in the 60s and 70s, only made with wool strips instead of yarn.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Puppy Sitters

I got a rather stressed-out message from our friend Juni last night saying she needed a baby-sitter. When I called her to see what was going on, she said they had a couple who had made an appointment to see their RV (which they've had "For Sale" since they arrived in December) Sunday morning. She had been cleaning and organizing all day -- while we were in Casa Grande.

So about 10:30, Tom brought their three dogs, Tika, Izzie and Cassie over to visit.

Tika spent most of her time with us perched on the front passenger chair where she could keep track of all the traffic going by. Someone needed to bark at any dogs coming by, after all!

Izzie spent most of her time -- after she stopped barking and calmed down -- curled up on her pink blanket right next to my leg or on the blue afghan. But she did have to take turns with Baby Cassie.

Little Cassie decided that maybe if Forry picked her up and cuddled her a bit, she'd be happy.

But, of course, Tika had to have her time on Forry's lap getting a tummy rub as well.

We had a fun couple of hours getting a good puppy fix. It turned out that Tom and Juni had two different couples come to go through their RV, so we had lots of time to play.

After the dogs went home, the people types went over to the Old Country Buffet for a late lunch/early dinner. It was so nice when we got back that we were able to sit out in the sunshine for a couple of hours and just visit -- and play with the dogs some more.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

An Excursion to Casa Grande

Our friends from Ritzville, Dennis and Colleen, are spending the winter in Tucson selling their jewelry at local fairs and shows. They were scheduled to be at the Street Faire in Casa Grande this weekend. Since it is only an hour or so away, we decided to go visit this afternoon.

We found them at their booth on the corner of 4th and Florence Streets --

Dennis and Colleen have a great variety of jewelry and wind chimes made from silver plate --

Serving pieces make great bases for wind chimes --

The different tops, the length of the silver wire holding them, and the number of spoons make for many different sounds --

In a way, it's a real shame that no one wants to deal with polishing silver or washing it by hand. All of these pieces were destined for scrap --

The Street Faire in Casa Grande is a big two-day event. There were over eighty booths lining the downtown streets --

One of shops we went into had turquoise stones from many of the mines in the southwest. I was able to buy several stones that I will be able to use in the silversmith shop here at Valle del Oro.

This is the name of Dennis and Colleen's business -- The Recycled Spoon.

And this is my new treasure. My watch face was pretty badly cracked, so it is a delight to have this new pretty!

After the Street Faire closed for the day at five pm, we went with Dennis and Colleen to Mi Amigo Ricardo, a Mexican restaurant for a good dinner and an even better chat.

Friday, January 18, 2013

It Was a Lovely Day

What a lovely day we've had today! It's finally gotten warm again -- we actually had the windows and door open and the fans running. It actually only got to 75 degrees, but it sure was a lot better than the 50 degrees we've been having lately.

We did go out for a bike ride this afternoon. We checked the mailbox and then stopped by Juni and Tom's to get a puppy fix.

There is still a bit of evidence of freeze damage around the park. It looks like the hardest hit were these beavertail cacti --

It makes you wonder how old those plants actually were. This one looks like it may have been growing for a long while --

I do hope this warm weather continues. We're planning a trip to the Casa Grande Street Fair tomorrow afternoon and it would be nice if it were shirt sleeves weather.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Out on the Apache Trail

We are beginning to have a fairly acute case of cabin fever, so we decided to just take a drive out into the desert today. We drove north of Mesa on the Apache Trail Highway towards the Superstition Mountains.

This is the area of Arizona where the infamous Lost Dutchman mine is supposed to be located.

There are some very ancient and beautiful saquaros --

We saw a Gila Woodpecker working on a cactus skeleton --

A Curve-Billed Thrasher watched us from on top of a sign --

The scenery in this part of the desert is beautiful --

 We saw lots and lots of saguaros --

Some showed the ravages of time --

This male Phainopepla is one of many we saw --

This little Mountain Chickadee was part of a small flock at a trailhead --

These cholla cacti looked to be thriving -- and ready to drop starts for new cacti --

We saw just this one female Phainopepla --

The layers of sedimentary rock sure show on this pillar --

It was 80 degrees and breezy this afternoon. It was a perfect afternoon for a drive.