Fellow West Kelowna Snowbirds

For those of you from our hometown who are spending their winters down South, you may have heard that they have called a Provincial by-election for our riding on Feb 14. Other than physically being home to vote we have few other options to mark our ballot.

Elections BC will send you a ballot by courier if you fill out the following form. It has to be back at Elections BC by the 14th, so I am thinking it needs to be couriered back if we don’t get on this right away.

I am a bit annoyed that they waited until January (when a significant portion of our riding is out of the province) to call the Election as the seat has been vacant since August. But that’s a topic for another day.

https://eregister.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/sform/general/Forms/alt_absentee_voting_request.asp

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We Gots A Permit!

In the seemingly never ending Saga of our addition here in Gold Canyon, we received some good news on Wednesday. Our permit was finally approved and was delivered to us this morning. Now we await the beginning of the Construction (next week?) and I have to get busy finding more places to store the stuff we have placed in our ‘soon to be gone’ Laundry and Workshop.

About time!

It’s Not Always Sunny in the Desert.

I have been accused (jokingly I hope) of doctoring my blog pictures in the past to showcase the brilliant Blue Skies we often see here in Arizona. Today was an abrupt change from all the sunshine we’ve seen this winter, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last week our club scheduled two hikes on Friday. A bunch of folks went on a hike along the base of the local mountains, but about 20 of us took a drive to Scottsdale to hike to Sunrise Peak. It’s about a 45 minute drive away but there was no way we wanted to get there early enough to see the actual Sunrise although someone in our group suggested it.

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One of the oddest Barrel Cacti we’ve ever seen.

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From the trail we could see far across the valley. This is Weaver’s Needle and the Superstition Mountains in front of our RV Park.

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We had views of almost the entire Phoenix area. This is Scottsdale in the foreground.

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A very nice little arch was above the trail.

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This Saguaro can’t quite decide if it’s living or dying.

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We weren’t far from Fountain Hills and saw the fountain a few times in our hours on the hillside.

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Once we were done we drove past Saguaro Lake and stopped for lunch at the waterside restaurant. It was a very good day with more of the brilliant blue skies we are accustomed to.

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A couple of days after the hike we celebrated Sylvia’s birthday with friends. It was the first party we have held at our Park Model and was a good time. We had room for 10, and should have even more room when we get our deck rearranged.

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This is a Chiffon Cake and is Sylvia’s go-to for her Birthday. Since we haven’t been home to use an Electric Oven since 2010 it’s been that long since she’s been able to celebrate with her favorite cake. I’d like to take the credit for baking it, but I had a lot of help and supervision. It turned out great if you ask me.

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And that brings us to today’s rather different type of hike. It started to rain last evening, and kept up most of the night. The forecast was for the rain to end by 8:00 so we decided to carry on with the hike to Fremont Saddle which is one of our Club’s favorites. Despite the weather not looking so good at the start we had 28 hikers show up, and started in cloudy, but dry weather.

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The clouds kept on rolling in, and the overnight rainfall changed the colour of the hillsides quite a bit. It’s been pretty dry and dusty the year, as they haven’t had any decent amount of rainfall here since August.

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We think this fella got hit by lightning, as there were huge arms fallen all around this stump. The 3 living arms were quite a surprise to see on a very dead looking skeleton.

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We soon found ourselves walking in a fine mist and this soon became a steady shower, so eventually Sylvia and I put on our Rain Ponchos. The theory I used is just like when I wash my car. It’s guaranteed to rain as soon as I wash the car, so I figured it would stop raining as soon as we donned our ponchos.

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Sure enough the rain soon stopped and by the time we reached the top we had repacked our ponchos. (they never seem to go back in their pouches properly)

I always take pictures of this ‘Dinosaur Head’ near the top of the trail. Recently a Saguaro has grown up behind the rock  and given it a green eye.

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We reached the end of the trail and got a nice view of Weaver’s Needle. It was dry and comfortable when we arrived but that soon changed as a steady rain began. We put our ponchos back on, and were encouraged to not take them off for the rest of the trip back by our fellow hikers. They subscribe to the same theory I do, and figured they could ensure the rain would stay away as long as we wore them.

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We were not alone in wearing Rain Gear, but I didn’t manage to get a picture of a hiker we ran across who was wearing the latest in fashionable rain gear…..a garbage bag. Whatever works I guess.

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Sure enough before we got too far Blue skies started to show themselves but we obeyed and kept our raingear on all the way back to the parking lot.

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And that was our Non-Blue Skies hike for this year. Or at least we hope that’s our last one. I don’t think our raingear will survive being folded and unfolded another time.

Happy New Year!

We’re off to the party hosted by our RV Park this evening. (Sylvia has this odd idea that we might just do some dancing)

We hope you all have a great time whatever you choose to do.

Ok, So I’m Just a Bit Behind

First of all we hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did. We were invited for a Traditional Turkey Dinner at Jim and Cheryl’s this year. Actually we’ve been invited for a couple of years, but never had the chance to get there due to other obligations but we were treated to a wonderful dinner where we had a chance to spend time with new and old friends. It was a great evening.

Some of you might not be aware that a Turkey Dinner for Christmas is not exactly a tradition here in the Excited States. More often than not the meal of choice is a Prime Rib dinner and Turkeys are hard to come by at Christmas time. Cheryl purchased her 22lb bird in November as they’re more plentiful for Thanksgiving and stuffed it in her little freezer until she could pull it out for Christmas.

We have spent the rest of the Season watching movies and specials that we’ve recorded to help us get in the mood for Christmas. We still have quite a few to catch up on. Oh, and we’ve spent a fair bit of time eating our way through the special goodies that Sylvia baked for us. IMG_4527

Christmas Day here was warm and sunny, but we seemed to spend most of it sitting in our Kitchen glued to a screen as we Skyped or Face-Timed with various members of our family right up until we got ready to head out for dinner. Everyone seems to have survived the Holiday, and our Grandkids seem to have made out like Bandits in the Presents department. There are lots of Video Games to be played, and Lego structures to be built in the next few months, or at least until they’re bored with them all.

We’ve also managed to get out on a couple of hikes with the club. Last week 27 of us took off for the White Canyon Wilderness, about an hour’s drive from our park. This is a hike down a narrow cut in the hillside that would have lots of water running through it in the Monsoon season, but was very dry this time of year. We’ve been here before but while I remember the rocks and boulders being very smooth before, they were full of sand and gravel this year as the flood waters do something a little different every year. We even had to park in a different location, as the regular parking area was full of debris this year.

IMG_4467Lots of shade to start the hike, but like usual, the skies were Brilliant.

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There was lots of colour in the cut, and several of our fellow hikers took far better pictures of it than I did.

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Many of us were trying to figure out which cartoon Bear from our Childhood this particular rock reminded us of. It wasn’t Yogi or Barney.

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You can see all the gravel around Sylvia’s feet. The whole route was full of this, which made it a bit difficult to walk on in places.

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And here’s the heroes in our group trying to keep the mountain from falling down.

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I’d like to see them try and stop this one from falling when it decides it’s time.

After the hike, Debbie and Dana took us on an excursion to see The Boulders which are in the middle of a flat plain near Florence AZ. We’ve been there before and enjoy wandering around and climbing the rocks, but it’s a bit disheartening to see how much graffiti and garbage was spread over what should be a pristine formation. Part of the reason for this is that the county recently paved the road all the way up to the Boulders and it’s much more accessible to those who don’t particularly care about the environment.

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Today there were 38 of us wandering in the desert on a new trail for the club. It is called the Maricopa Trail, and isn’t far from our home. It’s a pretty easy walk in the park compared to some of our hikes, as the trail is quite flat and smooth, but we had to share the track with a few horses (including some wild ones that I didn’t get a chance to see) and lots of Mountain Bikes.

The skies were pretty clear again today, and we had great views of the various mountains around us.

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In the middle of the pictures above is Red Mountain. It’s quite noticeable from most areas around Mesa, but it lies on Native Land, and they do not allow any access to it as it is a sacred place.

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There were lots of Dead Soldiers all along the trail

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We think this poor fella was hit by lightning. The bottom was quite burnt, and there were huge arms laying around that had been blown off the trunk.

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And right around the corner there were some healthy (and slightly odd looking) Saguaro to compare it with.

We think we’re finally ready to get back in our regular routine and play some pickleball as our shopping is just about done for the Park Model….for now at least.

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Merry Christmas One and All.

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This is normally the one post per year that Sylvia gets to create all by herself. The reason for this, is that while I am best at being ‘Just a Bit’ sarcastic and hopefully Funny, she’s far better at putting her Sentimental side down on Paper, or on a Keyboard if we admit to finally being in the 21st Century.

I just went back and read what she posted last year. It focused on what we might be considering as a Normal Christmas. In all honesty we can’t remember when we might have had anything close to a Normal Christmas. Not that many of them haven’t been Good Times, they’re just not what we considered Normal as we were growing up with lots of family, food and frivolity involved. We again find ourselves far away from Sylvia’s Parents and our Kids and Grandkids, and while we will have a chance to call or Video Chat with most of them, nothing feels better than a great big Hug from a loved one. We do have some baking done this year though, as Sylvia has enjoyed having an Electric Oven now that we’re in the Park Model.

We won’t have a chance to see our Grandkids open presents once again, although this year we decided to be a bit too practical and treat our Daughter in Law and the two boys to a trip to the Dentist as it’s been a few years since they’ve been able to afford to go. I keep wondering what a 10 and 11 year old think of that particular kind of ‘present’?? They’ll thank me when they’re older, won’t they??

We’ve had some mostly emotional setbacks this year in regards to our extended family (who hasn’t though) but for the most part we are a healthy and happy group. Sylvia’s parents are doing well as they edge well past 80, we are as busy and active as we’ve ever been, our grandsons are growing like weeds and seem to enjoy school, and our two sons are still in our hearts and prayers every day. They are boys after all.

Our ongoing travails with our Park Model Addition have been quite time consuming, and part of the reason why Sylvia hasn’t had time to put together a Blog. Nothing much is happening with the construction process yet, but we’re always hopeful and it hasn’t stopped us from shopping for ‘stuff’ to fill the place up and make it ours. She’s also managed to get herself involved in the Church Choir here and has volunteered for several speaking parts in the Christmas Presentations where she’s been able to exercise both her vocal cords and her creative writing talents.

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Yes, that’s her on the left singing her heart out.

We have lots of friends to keep us busy here in Arizona, and we’ve filled our time with hiking, dinners, Softball, and excursions (the trip to see StarWars was excellent) and are planning to do much more of the same in the New Year. Many of these friends are in very similar situations to ours, and the New Normal for all of us seems to be spending as much time as possible with Friends, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Just today our Twins arrived in the park, and we’re looking forward to hearing of their new adventures as they are planning on relocating from the Great Lakes area to Southern Idaho to be closer to family.

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(A very nice housewarming gift we received from Deb and Dana. It’s one of the few Christmassy things we have in the place)

Life goes on for us Abnormal Folks, and we hope that no matter what your Christmas brings you, it will be full of Joy and Laughter with your friends and/or Family. Merry Christmas to you All.

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PS: There’s nothing wrong with the view from our Patio either.

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