Giants win the Super Bowl

Giants Win the Super Bowl


Kyle Stanley wins the Phoenix OpenBefore turning our full attention to the Super Bowl we watched the final day of the Phoenix Open where Kyle Stanley, who last week blew a seemingly sure victory at Torrey Pines, came from eight shots back to overtake a stumbling Spencer Levin and win.

Golf, Golf, and more Golf

Saturday: Woke up and Sue made bacon and eggs for us and the Driedgers. We watched a bit more of the Phoenix Open this morning. It was exciting to see the thousands of fans cheering on the golfers at the sixteenth hole. Sue and MaryLou went shopping for supplies for tonight’s barbecue with Dave’s brother and sister-in-law.

After lunch the other Driedgers arrived from their place in Scottsdale. Paul and Shirley Driedger live in Leamington. They’re here in Phoenix for a few weeks and Dave and MaryLou plan to spend some time with them later this month. We sat around for a while and then the Driedger foursome was off to Mountain Brook for an afternoon of golf. Sue talked to Alex on the phone for a bit until it was time for us to also head off to the golf course. Hit a small bucket of balls before going for nine holes. We finished at around 5:15 and went home to prepare supper for the visitors. The Phoenix Open third day was done so no more golf on TV tonight.

The Driedgers stopped to do a bit of shopping before coming here after their 18 holes of golf. The sun was setting. It was Saturday Night!

We had crackers and cheese and drinks and visited for a while. I barbecued and Sue and MaryLou got potatoes and salad ready. Then we sat around the dinner table and sang the Doxology. Supper was good. Visit was good too. We drank about half the half case of wine that Dave bought at Bashas. At around 10:30 Paul and Shirley said goodbye and left for their place in Scottsdale. We cleaned up the table and watched a bit of Saturday Night Live before crashing for the night.


If it’s Friday it must be pizza night

Friday: Started out as a not-so-good day but it sure picked up as it went along. I woke up at around 7, had breakfast, and tried to track Dave and MaryLou’s flight from Honolulu to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Looked like they might be here early, but that didn’t stop us from farting around all morning and leaving later than we probably should have. The guy  across the street from our house was standing at the end of his driveway, shivering in the morning cold, golf bag at his side, waiting to be picked up by someone. Asks me where I’m off to. The airport. Traffic will be terrible because of the Phoenix Open up in Scottsdale. I’ll be late for sure. We drive Dave’s car to the airport, no GPS, and when I get there I’m there just in time — Dave and MaryLou are there with their luggage, waiting. We discuss whether or not to go to north Scottsdale to watch the Phoenix Open — MaryLou is not really interested but will go if I say so. I know Sue doesn’t really care to. I defer and we decide to go back to our house, have a second breakfast, lie around, do laundry, wait for our 3:00pm tee time at Mountain Brook.

We have lunch at 1 because we had that late breakfast. I’m tired, think I need a nap, maybe I should read that book that’s barely half read, but in the end I watch some Phoenix Open on the Golf Channel (hey, I didn’t know we got that channel!) and then when 3:00pm rolls around we have to hurry to get to the golf course. Ed Peters still has our van (went to Camelback to golf) so we all pile into Dave’s car (okay, here it is, it has a stone chip on the windshield from our trip to the airport this morning) and unload our clubs at the course and it’s time to go tee off and we do that and my shot is okay, second shot even better, and I friggin birdie the first hole! Well, it’s one step forward, two steps back; but overall, I’m playing pretty good and sure am having fun. At the ninth hole up walks Ed Peters, delivering our van to us (it’s on the parking lot).

After golf the girls go home and Dave and I go to pick up pizzas at the Firehouse Bar & Grill. We watch the finish of Day 2 at the Phoenix Open on the TV there while we wait. Bring home two slightly burnt pizzas. Have supper. Then, just as we are finishing watching the Daily Show and Colbert Report reruns, the doorbell rings and it’s Ed and Val and Shirl and Mark come for a visit. We all stand around and drink wine and talk loudly. Some of us laugh from time to time. Not too much. Good times. Just like old times. Review the highlights of the day — some of us were golfing here, some were golfing fancier courses, some were shopping, some were reading. Some were doing a good job of holding off the effects of jet lag.

By 10 the company has left. We sit at our respective computing devices and ‘do some Facebook’. Okay, probably not Facebook. MaryLou’s computer dies. But it recovers, so that’s good news. A little talk about the benefits of backing up. Okay, now it’s time to go to bed. It’s after 10:30pm, a respectable hour to go to bed. Finally. I was getting tired of ‘hanging in there’.

Yep, another perfect day in paradise. Welcome home, Dave and MaryLou.

Hiking to the Hieroglyphics and Afternoon Matinees

Ed & Val, Rudy & Sue, Shirl & Mark

Thursday: Ed and Val and the Foxes picked us up at 10 and we headed out to the parking lot. Took a group photo and then off we were.
The day was just right; not too cold, not too hot. Once we got up there we took a couple more photos, including another ‘timer’ special where I didn’t quite make it up to the group in time for the camera ‘click’.
After lunch at home Sue and I hurried off to the IMAX cinema on Signal Butte — and watched two more ‘oscar-nominated’ films: first, “War Horse”, a 2.5 hour WWI movie which we thought was ‘okay’, not ‘great’; second: “The Descendants”, starring George Clooney, a movie we both really liked.
Almost a group photo Filled up with gas on the way home. Got home at around 7pm, Sue quickly made a salad and we had spaghetti with meat sauce for supper. Then I called Ed and invited him and Val over for coffee. I watched the overtime win by the Jets and then Ed and Val were here. We got the latest updates from them, had a nice visit. Ed borrowed our van for going golfing tomorrow. We won’t be needing it because we are getting up early to pick up Dave and MaryLou from the Sky Harbor Airport.

Haircuts and Golf

Wednesday: Read my “Art of Fielding” book in the morning. Sue went to Basha’s after breakfast to take advantage of the monthly (first Wednesday of the month) seniors’ sale day. She came home just in time for an early lunch. At 12 she had a haircut appointment. Meanwhile, I sat down in the garage and cleaned all our clubs and sorted out our hodgepodge of golf balls. When Sue came back from her haircut it was time for my own haircut (by my favourite hairdresser — Sue).

Sue tees off at hole #16By 3:00pm we were off to Mountain Brook for our 3:20 tee time. We had thought we’d hit a bucket of balls first, but when we got there they said we were up next. First hole: bogies for both of us. Not bad. Second hole: same. Third hole: the foursome ahead of us let us play through (so we immediately shanked our shots and piddled our way down the fairway). But after that? Clear sailing. I think I parred hole #4, and birdied hole #5! And there was no one ahead of us for the rest of our game. In fact, after finishing #9 we decided to run across the road and see how far we could get on the second nine. And we both shot well on hole number 10. At some point the guy comes around and starts collecting the flags, but we pretty much played 8 of the back 9 holes. The weather was great. The sky was pink. We holed out number 18 just after 6pm and still had enough daylight to see what we were doing.

We drove by Walgreen’s on our way home and returned last night’s movie and picked up tonight’s: Drive, starring Ryan Gosling. Once home we started up the barbecue and had cheeseburgers and corn-on-the-cob and fruit salad for supper. Watched our Daily and Colbert reruns at 7 and then settled in for our movie at 8pm. Another perfect day in paradise!

Oscar Count-down

Tuesday: Read a bit after breakfast, and then went for a bike ride at 11. Went to Walgreens to return our DVD (50/50) and pick up my next one (Contagion). Home for lunch. After a quick shower we hopped into our van and headed into Mesa. First stop: a golf shop where I got my old hybrid utility club regripped. Then we went to a shoe store and Sue bought some new running shoes. Then Target for some cosmetics (while Rudy enjoyed popcorn and Coke). Then at 3:20 we were in the big Harkins 25 Theatre, sitting there with our 3D glasses, watching Martin Scorcese’s “Hugo”. Not bad, not great, but it’s got 11 nominations for the Academy Awards at the end of February and we have to work our way through about 10 must-see movies before then. We were back home just as the sun was painting Superstition Mountain pink. Supper was a great salad and leftover enchiladas. Then Daily Show and Colbert reruns. Skyped with Alex re haircut (bangs). Watched our “Contagion” video — so-so. A bit of schlocky news channel bla-bla-bla about the Florida Republican Primary. Late night TV and to bed. Whew!

Better than 50/50

Monday: Title reference to the movie we watched tonight, which was better than its title suggested. So was this Monday.

Breakfast, followed by our annual “Nikkel State of the Finances” update. Got out the old spreadsheets, looked up our credit union accounts, and tried to get a picture of our ‘net worth’. Well, it’s a whole lot less complicated than it used to be! At least on the ‘income’ side. Still, all-in-all, we’re doing okay — the secret is to spend less than you ‘earn’ and to be content.

A hard-core hike up and around Silly Mountain followed. Good work-out followed by (another) great lunch (sandwiches, what else?)

We had an email from Ed Peters asking if he could join us for our 9 holes of golf. So Ed and Mark Fox joined us at Mountain Brook at 3:15 — Mark walked the course while the rest of us blasted balls in various directions. Lovely warm day; not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Drinks at Ed’s after the game — Val is still feeling crappy but now has new medication and is hoping to salvage the last few days of her 2-week ‘vacation’ in Gold Canyon. We talked about maybe hiking up to the hieroglyphics on Friday.

After chicken enchiladas for supper (YUM!) I Skyped a bit with Tim (a little tutorial on Illustrator) and watched the rerun of Colbert Report before popping in tonight’s DVD: 50/50. Started out as a nice little movie, but I did not see then end of it. I’ll watch the parts I slept through tomorrow morning before breakfast.

Dramatic Conclusions

Sunday: Woke up at around 4 this morning, and finally got out of bed at around 5. Turned on ESPN and lucked into the final 2 sets of the Australian Open Men’s Tennis Final. Ultimately Djokovic beat Nadal in five sets to win his fifth Grand Slam title. It was the longest Grand Slam singles final in the history of professional tennis, lasting nearly 6 hours. It was over at exactly 8:00am our time, just in time to watch Fareed on CNN!

After watching our CNN morning news shows we had French toast with strawberries and blueberries for breakfast. After breakfast we went for a walk to Walgreen’s to pick up a movie. We stopped at Bashas on the way home to pick up sandwich meat for our lunch when we got home. We skyped with Tim and Alex and then Sue sat outside and read (finishing her book) while I sat inside with a book on my lap, “watching” golf. Actually we had tried to book tee times at Mountain Brook today, but they were hosting a tournament and so we couldn’t get on (we booked for tomorrow). I woke up from my nap just in time to watch Kyle Stanley make a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole to wipe out what once was a seven-shot lead and then lose a playoff to Brandt Snedeker! The second dramatic sports program today!

After supper (leftovers) we watched 60 minutes and then the movie “The Help”, our DVD rental. Another film to check off our “Oscars” list. We had a bit of chocolate and a cup of coffee as we watched the CBC “At Issue” program on the computer. Sue went to bed while I updated my journal and watched a movie on TV.

Farewell to the Hildebrands

Saturday: Our final breakfast with Ed and Jess was bacon and eggs. Then they packed their things and loaded up the van. By noon we were off. First stop: the big Mesa Marketplace Swap Meet. Today was the warmest and sunniest day so far, and the marketplace was packed. Ed and I wandered around the outside aisles and Sue and Jess did their own thing. We’d agreed to meet at the center food court for hotdogs and beer, but it was too noisy and crowded and when we finally met there at 1pm we decided to go somewhere else for lunch. We ended up driving to the Apache Junction Fruit Market first. We loaded up with fresh fruits and vegetables (the Hildebrands were buying supplies for their next week) and then headed all the way to Gilbert for another shopping stop at Trader Joe’s. But first, a quick stop at the Peter Piper Pizza Parlour, a ‘Chuck-E-Cheese’-style restaurant, for lunch.

After Trader Joe’s we drove along Baseline Road all the way past Tempe out to just north of South Mountain, where Ed and Jess are staying for another week, sharing a rented house together with 3 other couples. We made one final shopping stop at a nearby Fry’s grocery store. It was about 4:30 by the time we got to the Legacy Golf Resort where the Hildebrand’s house was. We unloaded their groceries and luggage. The home was very nice; 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a great view of the 16th fairway and the South Mountains. We had planned to go for a hike in those mountains, but it was quite warm and probably getting a bit too late for that. We were just having a drink on the patio when one of the other couples who were staying at the house arrived. They joined us for a drink and then left to go out for supper. Ed ordered Chinese food for us. We picked it up and had a last supper together at the house. Then we said our goodbyes and headed back to our place — a 50-minute drive. It had been a very fine week spent together with the Hildebrands; but it was also good to have our house back to ourselves. We poured a glass of wine and watched some crappy TV. By 10pm we were tired and went to bed.

18 Holes at Mountain Brook

Friday: This morning Sue and I went for a quick bike ride to Walgreen’s and back while Ed and Jessie went for a hike up Silly Mountain. Showered and had lunch. Not a lot of time until our 1:45pm tee time. It was a busy day at Mountain Brook but the group ahead of us moved along at a steady pace and the group behind stayed well behind and didn’t give us any pressure. The warm sunny day never materialized. But the day was fantastic. Our golf was a lot of fun. We just barely managed to finish the 18th hole before 6pm — and it was getting quite dark. But we finished!

On the way home we stopped at Basha’s and Ed bought some steaks for supper. Sue got an appetizer going and prepared the steaks. I barbecued. Supper was great. We’d had a phone call from Ed and Val, and they dropped by just as we were finishing our meal. We had a nice visit. Val had a terrible cold and was not feeling all that great. They’re picking up the Foxes tomorrow and we’re taking the Hildebrands to another house in Phoenix then too. After Ed and Val left we dealt the cards and played one last rubber of bridge. Lost to the girls. Then off to bed.