Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Wow...This year has really gone by fast! We are at Sunscape RV Resort and we were invited to Desert Shadows to spend some time with Rod and Jean at their motorhome for New Years Eve. Bob and Marlene joined us as we drank, ate, played Pegs and Jokers and drank......Did I say that twice? :-)

I think we made it to midnight (at least by east coast standards). It was a fun night. Peg and I are moving over to Desert Shadows tomorrow (January 1st) for a two week stay before we all travel to one of my favorite places, Indio, California.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Death of a Friend

As we previously posted, our friend Gary Coleman was in the hospital in Phoenix after undergoing two brain surgeries within 12 hours of each other. He seemed to be doing better and the day before Christmas was transferred to a hospice care facility after being taken off the ventilator at the hospital. About 4:45pm today we received the call I dreaded to hear. Gary had passed away at 4:20pm.

The doctors felt that he had had another stroke within the last 12 hours since his responses to stimuli had sharply decreased and his breathing and heart rhythm had gotten labored. This was not a positive sign and, shortly after 4pm, he was no longer with us.

He and Patsy were/are great friends and we will miss Gary, his sense of humor and his antics very much. This is especially tough since they have always made us feel like we were part of their family. I am glad we could spend a few precious moments with he and Patsy when they first arrived in Casa Grande...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

I can't believe another Christmas is here! Peg and I opened our presents to each other a day before Christmas (Christmas Eve Day). I decided to get Peg a new recliner so she would not have to sit sideways on the couch to watch TV. we had talked about new recliners but we did not commit to the furniture. I ordered the chair online in hopes it would get here by Christmas. After several calls to the store I ordered it from and to a trucking company delivering it to UPS for local delivery, I finally located the chair. It was delivered right to our motorhome in Sunscape. I assembled it and when Peg came home from work,she was VERY surprised!

Christmas day we traveled down to Tubac, AZ to cousin Cathy and Marshall Geisy's house. They were having a large gathering of friends and family for the Christmas Holiday. As the cars came rolling in, we gathered outside under the warm sun and began telling tales of our travels as well as where we all were from and how we got there.

Food was a big focus and, as you can see, we had many people around the table enjoying a variation on American and Mexican foods. It was fun to meet and visit with Cathy and Marshall's friends and relatives. The table was barely big enough to accommodate all the guests but we all squeezed in and made it happen. The fixings were really tasty and I think we were all hungry!

After dinner we had a secret santa gift giving where everyone had to bring a gift and we let the kids pick a gift for each person. If you did not want to pick a gift, you could take a gift that was already opened from someone else. It took a while to get all the gifts delivered and opened and some of the presents were quite interesting! I think everyone enjoyed the event and getting together for the holiday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Busy Day In Casa Grande

Today we got up, got dressed and went to church here in the Sunscape RV Park with our friends Rod and Jean who are now parked next to us. After the service we couldn't resist having some birthday cake that was provided and even I grabbed a cup cake for the road. Everything was soooo good!

We decided that Peg and I would take Rod and Jean to Eloy and show them the
sky diving facility about three miles away from where we are staying. It was a nice day with little wind, so we figured they would be jumping today.

The training wind tunnel is a very impressive place. This is the second time Peg and I have been there. We were fortunate to see another group of sky divers going through their moves in the encased clear chamber. Another guy that worked at the center was doing some acrobatics in the chamber that almost made me want to join in....I said almost! After we watched the training for a while,
we decided to go outside to the landing field and watch several people jump from perfectly good airplanes!

Some of the jumpers were actually folks that paid their $190 to do a tandem jump with an instructor. There was even a lady in her mid 70's who did a jump and lived to tell about it. We enjoyed watching all the colorful shoots open and hear the stories of those who parachuted.

When we got back, we all were invited to Bob and Marlene's house for a mad
game or two of Pegs and Jokers. It was the boys (Myself, Bob and Rod) against the girls (Peg, Marlene and Jean). The guys triumphed with a win of the first game which, by the way, was probably the longest single game I have ever played! The second game the girls won, but not without a fight!

We all had a great time but we had to get back home since Rod and Jean were leaving our park tomorrow and driving a whopping 20 miles to Desert Shadows, a park across town, for a two week stay. They needed to get some much needed rest to make that journey!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes!

This is probably one of the most difficult posts to have to write about in all our journeys we've encountered the last couple of years.

Our friends from Montana, Gary and Patsy, who we stayed with at their home near Missoula last august, drove into Casa Grande so we could be near each other for a few weeks and reconnect. They were staying at the Western Horizons Park, Desert Shadows. We got together a couple of days ago (on Friday) and brought them to our RV Park in the evening for the Christmas Dinner here. We visited for a while afterwords and they headed home.

On Saturday, We went out to lunch at a Mexican Restaurant in town and then back to their coach to watch the Montana Grizzleys play a football game. They got interested in the football team this fall when Gary had a shunt put in his head to help the fluid drain from his brain. He was laid up for a while, so football kept him occupied. He recently got the go ahead from the doctor to be able to travel in the motorhome, so they headed out. While at their coach, Peg got a call from work that they needed her to come in, so she left, went to our motorhome to change, and came back. Gary, Patsy and I had a nice visit while the game was on. I stayed into the evening for a while.

We did not see them on Sunday since Peg had to work and I had some work to do for clients as well.

Monday night we got a call from Patsy explaining that Gary was admitted to St. Josephs Hospital in Phoenix and was having brain surgery! What!! She said they had gone to the hospital to see if they could get his shunt adjusted since he was having headaches. The hospital wanted them to call for an appointment and Patsy knew he needed help, so she suggested they walk around the corner to the emergency room. Gary was immediately admitted because it was their policy if a person with a shunt was having headaches, they go to the top of the list!

The doctor at the ER adjusted the shunt electronically and then sent him to have a CT scan. They discovered that the opposite side of his head had pooling blood in the brain. A tube was inserted to try and drain the blood, but it kept clogging up and the doctor decided to open him up and see what was going on and to try to stop the bleeding. That operation took place late at night. Another CT scan was done at 5am the next morning and there was more bleeding so another operation was scheduled for 7:30am. Two surgeries in about 12 hours!!

This time, they did stop the bleeding, but Gary was not responding well to stimuli. We knew this was going to be a long process now.

Since this unexpected trail of events, we have been up to the hospital in Phoenix a few times and each day, and each time, he seems better. He is still having a difficult time waking up, moving his limbs and breathing, but we have faith that he WILL get better. All his family flew into Phoenix, we got the motorhome moved closer to the hospital so everyone has a place to stay, and prayers are being said 24 hours a day.

I hope to look back on this blog entry one day and remember what I felt when I wrote this as the uncertainly of Gary's health loomed over me. I also hope I am sitting with a healthy, happy guy named Gary as we look back in amazement at those days when things were touch and go, but everything turned around and he got back to better than normal. Gary, Patsy and their family are like family to Peg and I. Family needs to look out for family.....What more can I say!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dinner and a Game!!!

Bob and Marlene invited Peg and I, Rod and Jean and Hank and Lillie to their house for dinner and a few hands of Pegs and Jokers. I guess this is fast becoming THE GAME for all of us. I guess it is one of the games I understand and like to play (along with dominos).

After a really great meal of Halibut, which Rod caught while he and Jean were in Alaska this summer RVing, and some wonderful side dishes and of course dessert, we all settled in for a night of card playing.

Since there were eight of us, we divided into two groups. After the first
game, the losers played the losers and the winners played the winners of the opposite table. It was a challenging night for Jean and I. We won one game (I think)! Peg and Rod did really well and won most of their games.

As usual, we all had a good time. We thank Bob and Marlene for buying a house so we can all congregate there!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Climbing To The Top...Picacho Peak!

I should really ask Peg to write this blog entry but I will try to transfer her excitement to the written page!

Today Peg climbed to the top of Picacho Peak! She has climbed to the "saddle" of the mountain a few times before, but today, she, Chuck, Conrad, Elaine and Ray completed the journey to the summit.

The climb went well except for a few bumps and bruises and at one point Peg and Elaine get stuck on one of the steepest parts of the trail as they were climbing using the provided cables. Pegs fanny pack got hooked into the cable and she could not go forward. Fortunately, Chuck was behind her and managed to unhook the pack so she could continue. Elaine got her backpack stuck between the two cables but managed to dislodge it and kept on climbing!

It was a perfect day for this trek and, as you can see by
the photos, a clear day as well. Not sure if Peg will go on up to the pinnacle again, but at least she can now say she did it once! Notice you do not see anywhere in this accounting that I attempted to climb that beast. I know better!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Weekend With Our Cousins

We wanted to visit Peg's cousins Cathy and Marshall last week, but Peg and I were feeling under the weather so we waited until this weekend to drive down to Tubac, Arizona for a visit. It took us about two hours from Casa Grande south, down I-10 and then transferring to I-19 in Tucson.

Cathy and Marshall own a touring company, Fiesta Tours International, and they take folks into Mexico, Central America, South America and several other destinations. They were off this weekend so it was perfect timing.

They live in an adobe style home that they built themselves. It is a really unique house that reminds me of a castle. It is a large home with several rooms. So many things carry the southwest theme as well as some Mexican influence in the house. It is not completed as yet, so I look forward to visiting to see what new portion of the house has been finished since our last meeting. Here is a picture of the kitchen, as an example, to show some of the style.

They have two very large dogs. Luna, who has been with them for several years now and a new comer, Flynn who has been there just a few months. When you drive into the parking area and the dogs run out to meet you, their size will startle you at first. I was used to Luna, but I did not know about Flynn. I thought Flynn was Luna when we arrived and I guess he did not take well to me calling him by the wrong name! I realized what I had done when I went inside and saw Luna. I think they both forgave me!

Saturday evening we got together with several of Cathy and Marshall's friends. It was an
evening of food, drink and conversation. There were eight of us there and fortunately, the kitchen table was up to the task. As a matter of fact, we could have fit four to six more people around that huge table, seen in this picture.

After dinner a round of dominoes was started. Little did we know that we would be playing until the late evening hours. I started out doing great and I even won a hand. Let me tell you, it was all down hill after the 5th or 6th round! Peg started out losing with high numbers until about the 5th or 6th round and my luck must have reverted to her, since she began to win. I guess when it was all over, we both came in in the middle of the pack. I think everyone was ready to quit by the time we hit the 12th round and that included me! It was a lot of fun and we got our domino "fix" for a while.

Since we combined two sets of dominoes, we now had to separate the sets and here is a picture of that fiasco. I think it took almost as long to separate the pieces as it did to play the entire game. Well, maybe not quite as long! We said goodnight to our new friends Gwynn and Gunther and Russell and Barbara. We hope we see them again sometime.

On Sunday after a southwestern breakfast, Peg headed out with Cathy,
in Cathy's relatively new (to her) Miata (which I got to drive the day before), to the 39th annual La Fiesta de Tumacácori being held on the grounds of the local mission. They had dancers, food, and a Mariachi Band (see photo) playing for the crowds. As Peg and Cathy enjoyed the festival, Marshall and I worked on getting their e-mail program set-up and working for several e-mail accounts. About three hours later when the wives returned, we had just finished the process! At least they brought us back some food.

We had a fun weekend and I even got to watch some TV shows on their new Sony 46" flat screen with surround sound. That was a treat! We'll see them again at Christmas time...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dinner Theatre at the Arizona Opry

This evening we went to Apache Junction to see the Arizona Opry. We have heard from several people how good the show was, so when our new friends and neighbors here at Sunscape, Stan and Betty Jo, asked us if we wanted to go see it with them, we said sure! So they made the reservations and around 5pm we jumped in their new diesel Ford truck and headed for the highway.

Stan and Betty Jo just traded in their fifth wheel on a new 2008 fifth wheel. Of course since the RV is bigger and heaver than the previous one, they had to trade in their gas truck for a 2006 diesel pickup. They seem pretty happy with the upgrade to their living quarters as well as with their truck.

The Arizona Opry included a dinner AND a show. We were seated about 6pm and was served a meal of sliced chicken with gravy, potatoes with gravy, mixed vegetables and coleslaw. For desert, there was a large piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting waiting for us! Everything was quite good and, of course, we ate it all.

Around 7:30 the performance began. There were nine performers that played a vast amount of instruments each. Everyone sang and they were all highlighted in different ways. For example, the two women in the picture (above) did an opera duet together...They are also twin sisters. One of the guys dressed up like Willie Nelson and sang a few of his songs. Another one of the performers dressed up like Elvis and gyrated across the stage as he sang! The main performer, George Staerkel, was formally with the Tokens, a 60's recording group. He has a five octave vocal range! He also played most of the 50 or so instruments surrounding the stage. We enjoyed their performance and the company with Stan and Betty Jo.

If you are in the Apache Junction, Arizona area from November to May, check them out!