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One More Special Day

One thing about having a Birthday is that having them is way better than not getting a chance to have them anymore. Sylvia turned #%%$#—%^€¥₩÷ years old last week, and we decided to keep it a low key affair after our busy Christmas and New Years. She didn’t even want a Cake, but I did manage to get some Cupcakes made for her.

The day actually turned out a bit different than we anticipated as both of the restaurants I scoped out to celebrate at were closed on Monday so we ended up tagging along with some friends at our old standby, Los Gringos Locos. Always a good time. Dinner out was put off until later in the week.

Over the rest of the week she managed to find a few more items to decorate our home, so once again I was let off the hook in regard to getting her a present.

First up was a piece made by a friend of ours here in the Park. Karen makes attractive and interesting Mixed Media pieces that we have always been intrigued by. We are quite pleased how it looks.

Then came another shopping trip to Mesa Market and she came home with these:

There will be more shopping trips to fill the vase and find something to place the Yellow flowers into. It seems the Birthday Gift season goes on and on this year.

We managed to get in a hike as well, and ended up at San Tan Mountain Park. We have been there before a couple of times and didn’t really enjoy the trails as they were soft and sandy which is rather more difficult to walk on than rocks for some reason. This time the trail chosen was a different one, so we thought we’d give it a try along with 40 other hikers.

The trail was called Goldmine, and while I have no idea if anyone found or even looked for Gold there, but we did come across a couple of Graves of notable residents from the area.

It wasn’t a sunny day, and the Views weren’t terrific, but we did enjoy the hike.

This week we are heading back to BC for a few days to visit family. Hopefully the weather there stays nice.

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First Hike of 2019

Despite the temps dipping below freezing overnight 27 of us geared up and headed for the trails today. Personally I had 2 long sleeve shirts on as well as 2 jackets, but I was far from the only one looking like the Michelin Man.

First thing though I had to deal with a couple of impromptu fountains here in the park. Luckily the temperatures don’t dip below freezing very often here, but when they do, it’s always interesting to see how many of the water stands for the RV sites break overnight. In front of our Park Model is the short term RV parking and the site in the very middle of the circle had a 20 foot fountain as a ‘feature’. I ended up shutting that one off, but not before the unit behind us also let go, and the back of our home was sprayed with water. Once that was dealt with we packed up and headed to the trail.

A lot of the snow on the South Side of the mountain in front of our place had gone away, but we were hiking on the North side of the same mountain, and it still had quite a bit of snow on it.

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Lots of our views were of the 4 Peaks area, and while the sun wasn’t cooperating all that well, we did get some nice pics.

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The views definitely got better as the day went along.

Did I mention that it was Cccold? On thing we don’t see that often in the desert is ICE. IMG_5920

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This last pic is a location called Massacre Falls. It usually is just a trickle of water, but the cold weather has kept the ice in place nicely.

The rest of the hike was crisp and cold, but the views were nice.

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This last one is of Mistletoe, which we often see hanging in the desert trees. It usually looks dry and dead. This is the first time I recall seeing what looks like flowers on the plant.

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And that’s it for another 5.5 mile jaunt through the rocks.

Don’t let the toque fool you, Laurie is from Michigan, but we would welcome her anytime.

Happy New Year

Well, 2019 has now come, and unless your Crystal Ball is better than mine, we’ll all come together in 364 days and wonder how all this crazy stuff happened, just as we are doing this year.

2018 was an eventful year for us, with the various construction projects we took on here in Arizona and at home in BC. We are finally finished all the seasonal busyness that comes with Christmas and New Years, and we hope to get more involved in our regular activities here in Gold Canyon. Neither of us has hiked in a couple of weeks, nor have we had a chance to play any pickleball for even longer. Time for that to change.

First though, we had to finish off New Year’s. There is a party/dinner/dance held here by the park every year, and we’ve been several times since we started coming down earlier, but this year we decided to host a group of 18 in our new home. Our first Party! And those of you who know Sylvia well, know that she was nervous about it. For weeks!

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The evening began with the TV tuned to the Canada/Russia Junior Hockey game, and while it was disappointing not to see a victory by Canada it was a fun game to watch. Of course there were several folks who didn’t care about hockey (yep, they were Americans) and one who was recording the game to watch the next day so we banished the non-Hockey personnel to the deck and the kitchen while we cheered and moaned over the results. It was pouring rain outside, and very cool, but hey, at least I left a couple of propane heaters on to keep them warm.

The evening went by quickly, with lots of silly games and plenty of laughter. A few folks even told us it was the first time they’d been able to stay up until Midnight in several years. As a friend of ours put it recently, 60 may be the new 40, but 9:00 PM is the new Midnight..

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We woke up (late) this morning to a day with out rain, but due to the cool temps we were treated to a rare sight here. Snow on the mountains.

There wasn’t very much snow, and most of it was gone by the late afternoon, but interestingly, the last time we saw snow here was Jan 1, 2015. Must be some sort of a New Year’s thing. The mountain ranges behind the Superstitions were very pretty though, and here’s a photo I stole from a friend’s Facebook post. Thanks Hans.

We are intending to go hiking on Wednesday, but it is supposed to be several degrees below freezing, so we might just we wimping out… If this keeps up, we just might have to give up our Canadian Citizenship as we are turning into wimpy sun and heat loving southerners. We’ll let you know.

 

Fun Part 3

First off, I have to correct a grievous error on the previous post. According to Sylvia’s Aunt in Ireland I made a horrible mistake not including this picture in the post. So Finola, this one’s for you! Who doesn’t love Meerkats after all?

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Our next day in San Diego was spent exploring the USS Midway, a retired Aircraft Carrier first commissioned in 1945 right after the Second World War ended. It stayed on active duty until 1993 and was the US Flagship during the Desert Storm kerfuffle in 1991.

It really is quite impressive to see how large these ships are, as the Flight Deck is 4 acres in size. By comparison, the newly commissioned USS Gerald Ford has 6.4 acres of deck space, bigger than many Hobby Farms. Mind you I still wouldn’t like to land a plane or jet on it when it is moving 30 MPH and pitching up and down 30 feet or so in the middle of the ocean.

This exhibit was definitely one of the things our Son wanted to do, as he’s been a sucker for airplanes since he was a little kid, and seeing the Corsair and Intruder on the ship made his day. He has a Remote Control Corsair with a 5 foot wingspan squirreled away in storage somewhere, and has wanted to fly an Intruder since I gave him the Vietnam War book, Flight of the Intruder, when he was a teenager.

It was a nice day in San Diego! The vessels in the distance are newer and larger Aircraft Carriers undergoing refit.

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Gotta love the Intruder. I believe they can carry thirty-two 500 pound bombs at a time.

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And then there was the Corsair on the Hanger Deck.

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The immense size and surprisingly cramped living spaces and stairwells were interesting to see. I only banged my head once….right after I was told to watch my head going down the stairs. Normally I’m not tall enough to hit my head on anything, so I can’t imagine they tried very hard to recruit 6 foot tall sailors.

Our last full day in SD was spent at Seaworld. This was another site that we’d been to in the distant past, and it has many features that were familiar, and several new ones.

The massive video screen at the rear of the Orca pool was one of the improvements. It kept up a running dialogue to inform and educate the audience.

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The Dolphin enclosure seems to be larger than I remember, but the Dolphins were just as entertaining.

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The Sea Lion was probably the most entertaining show in the whole place, just like it was almost 30 years ago. The first time we were here, a Walrus was part of the show, but this time it was a very precocious little Otter.

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The Penguin enclosure was massive, and the Tuxedo Wearing critters had quite a large audience to entertain.

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They have added several fast and twisty Roller Coasters to the park, and Jason and I rode the Electric Eel and the Manta. The Eel is very fast and so sharp and twisty that they don’t even allow riders to wear Eyeglasses for fear of them falling off. So, even though I was half-blind I really enjoyed the ride. I even kept my lunch down. They take pictures of all the riders, and we could have bought one of us smiling from Ear to Ear, but the $40 price tag was a bit steep.

The following day we drove back to Gold Canyon, spent Christmas Eve visiting with friends in the park. On Christmas Day we prepared a traditional Turkey Dinner and invited Jim and Cheryl to spend the Holiday with us. Jason and Diana prepared a couple of special dishes to treat us with, and we all ended up eating too much. That didn’t stop us from filling up on desserts though.

The Kids flew back to Calgary the following day, and we got down to business preparing for hosting a New Year’s Eve party. More on that later.

That Was Fun – Part 2

After the long drive to from Phoenix we got gussied up and checked out one of the trendy restaurants in San Diego. We had a large selection to choose from, and the one Diana chose for us was right next to Balboa Park, so after dinner we explored the park (in the Dark) to see where we might like to spend our time and cash.

Our first full day in San Diego was spent at the San Diego Zoo. We had taken our to kids there when they were actually kids, some 27{?} years ago. Needless to say, it has changed a bit. Many of the buildings and animal enclosures had a dedication plaque on them from the mid 90’s and newer, so we never saw them on our first visit.

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The Leopards have a walkway right over out heads. I think they like looking down and dreaming about dinnertime…

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Two of the strangest animals we saw……

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Like most zoos we’ve visited, many of the animals were lethargic and disinterested, but this Cheetah was always looking around and seeing what was going on outside the cage. What I found most intriguing was that they also housed a Yellow Labrador Retriever in the enclosure along with the Cheetah. It seems they are great friends.

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The Pandas seem to be the highlight of the Zoo, judging by the crowds lining up to see them. Lots of Oohing and Awwing went on in front of the cage, but the solitary Panda that we could see didn’t move a muscle while we were there. Cute Pose though.20181221_135558

After a full day, we wandered back to our Beachside lodgings and enjoyed the sunset.

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That Was Fun–Part 1

As our Christmas Present this year, our son and his Fiance (yep, that’s new news) were able to come visit us in Arizona for Christmas. They have been a couple for several years, but Jason finally managed to get her to sit still long enough to propose. They haven’t set a date, and he mentioned something about the Ring buying him another 6 years before they get married, but I have a feeling that isn’t going to be the case.

We have no pictures to share of the Happy Couple, but maybe we’ll be able to post some Wedding pics sometime in the next 6 years or so.

We managed to take them to explore a couple of places near us before heading to San Diego for 4 days. First up on the list was the Boyce Thompson Arboretum just down the highway from us. We haven’t been there for a few years, but the flowers and shrubbery are quite special this year due to the cooler temps and rain since summer.

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This home, Picket Post Mansion, is part of the complex and was occupied by a Mining Magnate while they were developing the Arboretum almost 100 years ago.

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This is one of the few pictures of the flowers that I took that was in focus. I need to retire my phone as a camera it seems.

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That evening we attended the Hale Theatre to see A Christmas Carol. We always enjoy the plays there and while we’ve seen this particular play 3 or 4 times, it never gets old, as they change it up every year.

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The following Morning we took off for San Diego but as check-in for our AirBnb home was 4PM we weren’t in too much of a hurry. We were hardly out of Phoenix when we got a text message that the place was ready for us. Oh Well.

The location was right next to the water both in Mission Bay and the Open Pacific. It was fun to see the surfers running into the water to catch a few waves before the sun disappeared for the day.

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Gotta Love the Beach. Our on going adventures in San Diego will be in the next post.