Gold Canyon III

Our third winter in Gold Canyon (2014-15)

Superbowl Sunday

We got up at 7 and started watching ‘Sunday Morning’ on CBS. We switched over to Fareed on CNN at 8 o’clock. The sun was shining — we’d not seen that for a few days. After breakfast I cycled across the road and hit a few balls on the driving range. I went back home for lunch. Susan, the homeowner, stopped by to drop off a suitcase of her clothes — she’s heading home tonight because of a sick grandmother.

Shortly after 12 we drove across the street to Gold Canyon Golf Course. We registered and then went to the driving range for a bit. Dave was there early too. We asked and were permitted to head to the tee blocks about 15 minutes early. The group ahead really never kept us waiting and we felt that we were making great time. We would probably have preferred to make great shots, but you can’t have everything.

Sue and Dave on the Golf CourseDave was hitting the ball really well. And even though I was not golfing as well as I’d hoped, we had a very good time. The sunshine, the temperature, the pace. By 4 o’clock we were finishing up the last few holes on the back nine. A coyote ran across the fairway — I tried to get a photo of that — the first time we’d seen that here this year. We finished up on 18, tallied up our scores, and then hurried back to our house to watch the Superbowl on TV.

We missed the first five minutes of the game. No score. I didn’t really like either the Seahawks or the Patriots, but I we decided to cheer for Seattle. The score was tied at 2 touchdowns apiece at halftime. I hurried outside to barbecue the pork chops while Sue made rice, corn on the cob, and broccoli and cauliflower. Delicious. We watched Katy Perry’s halftime show while we ate.

Another great supper by SueThe second half of the game was more of the same — a good, penalty-free, close game. The Pats pulled ahead halfway through the final quarter. But Seattle came back, just like they did 2 weeks ago against the Packers. Then, just when it looked like the Seahawks were going to win the game with a last-minute score, THEY LOST! Most people would blame Pete Carroll’s asinine call for a PASS when they could have easily scored a running touchdown, but I knew the Seahawks’ fate was sealed when I decided to cheer for them! Oh well, two weeks ago the Packers GAVE the Seahawks a win; today the Seahawks ‘paid it forward’.

We didn’t waste any time switching over to PBS and another episode of “Downton Abbey” after the Superbowl. The highlight of that show was the chocolate-peanut-butter ice cream we had for snack during the hour. Then the CBC News. Sue sat on the couch and played Scrabble on her iPad while I wrote my journal entry.

A Day to Recover

Not really a day to recover. We went to bed early last night and we didn’t wake up until 7:30 this morning. But when I checked my email I got a note from Redbox (the DVD rental kiosks) asking me if I “NEED HELP RECOVERING FROM LAST NIGHT’S GAME AND GUAC FEST?” And with the special promo code I got a FREE movie rental. My lucky day.

Sue and I went for a long walk — first to Mountain Brook Golf, and from there to Walgreens to pick up my free movie, and home again. I spent most of the rest of the day working at my computer, trying to get ‘pagination’ on my photo gallery script. Sue read at the pool — finished the book she’d borrowed from Marylou and started on the next one. At 3:30 I took a few clubs and cycled across the road to the driving range at Gold Canyon. The sun was warm, the drives were mostly straight. When I got back I had a shower and then we had happy hour. Sue made another great meal: shrimp and pasta and a salad, while I tried calling my folks — no answer, no surprise — they’re always going out for birthday parties or funerals.

After supper we watched our ‘free’ movie rental, “Calvary”, which had pretty good ratings on RottenTomatoes. It was okay. We switched to the News after that, and the late night comedy/talk shows after that. Then, after Sue went to bed, I went back to my computer project and wrecked and fixed it about ten times until it was WAY too late and I too headed off to bed.

More great weather ahead

It’s getting busy at the golf courses now. Great weather today, and the forecast for the next week is more of the same. Sue and I thought we’d maybe like to go to Mountain Brook and walk nine holes late this afternoon. Last time we did that we teed off at 3 o’clock but ended up waiting for golfers ahead of us at every hole. So today, when I called in to make a reservation, the earliest I could get was 3:45. Well, that’s okay — the days are getting longer and that way we’ll probably be the LAST ones on the course and we’ll finish at about the same time as if we started at 3. Oh no, not today. We were paired up with another couple and there were golfers ahead and behind us, waiting to tee off. So it was NOT a fast round. In fact, we had to text Dave and Marylou that we’d be LATE for our own dinner tonight. We’d invited the Driedgers and the Neufelds to come for supper at 6. We didn’t get home until 6:20. But they were good sports about it and we had a fine evening with them. Sue had prepped all the food in the afternoon while I went to the driving range. Not that I actually practiced — no, an old guy next to me wanted to visit the whole time, telling me all about his various vacations. So I went home without even taking out my driver. Sue and I went for a bike ride ‘around our loop’ this morning, stopping at Bashas so Sue could pick up some things for her dinner tonight. I stopped at the driving range on our way back and said hello to Ed and Brian, who were about to golf Dinosaur. Brian’s going home late today, leaving behind some pretty fine weather. Speaking of which, today was ‘Groundhog Day’ so now we all know what to expect weather-wise. I guess a rodent’s forecast is probably about as accurate as that Yahoo weather app on Sue’s iPad. Well, that’s probably enough rambling for one day. Tomorrow I’ll work on that crazy photo gallery script for my website again — so that will be fun. And that’s the news from here. Adios.

Bluegrass at the Handlebar

String 'Em Up Band
String ‘Em Up Band

We had a late breakfast. After skyping with JP, Sue and I went for a long walk out on Sleepy Hollow behind our place. After lunch I worked on my photo website while Sue went to the pool to read. At around 2pm I headed to the driving range across the road. Ed Peters was already there. I hit a few drives and then it was time for us to get to Mountain Brook to make our 2:52 tee time. Dave, Ed, and I teed off pretty much right on time. Then on the second hole the group ahead of us waved us onto the green so we could play through. Nice! Now there was no one ahead of us, and no pressure from behind us. And although it was warm, I didn’t think it was uncomfortably warm. We had a great nine holes, finishing in 90 minutes. Dave had a great game, finishing with one over par. I parred a couple of holes too and finished with a 42. Ed and Dave came over to our place for drinks after the golf. Then we all headed into Apache Junction to the Handlebar Pub & Grill, where we met Hans and Chris. They’d made a reservation there a couple of weeks ago already — and a good thing, because it was a full house for ‘Bluegrass’ night and the “String ‘Em Up Band” was already in full stride. We ordered our burgers and drafts and enjoyed the music, even singing along (loudly!) with the band at times. By 8pm we were satisfied and tired and headed home. Back at the ranch Sue and I did our best to stay awake for another episode of “Suits” and even started watching one of my cued up documentaries. I believe we had some ice cream for ‘dessert’ at some point in the evening, but that was about as much fun as a guy like me can take in one day, and I have no idea how I made into bed, but that’s where I found myself when I woke up (for the first time) at around 2am.

Foxcatcher at Talking Sticks

This morning we went for an hour and a half long walk, out to the Fairway Grill on the highway, just to check it out. It wasn’t open yet.

After lunch Sue went to the pool and I worked on the computer. At 3 o’clock the Driedgers were here to pick us up to go see a movie. We had one last ‘big’ movie with lots of Oscar nominations left to see, but ‘Foxcatcher’ was only playing in a few theatres and none of them close to our place. So we had to drive out to the theatre at Talking Sticks. The theatre was very nice, and very empty. Right up until the actual start of the movie (so that’s about 30 minutes of previews and advertising first) we were the ONLY ones there. And the movie was pretty good — eerie story with great performances by the actors. After the movie there was some question about whether we should stay and have supper at the ‘pavilions’ and watch another movie. The Driedgers hadn’t seen ‘Whiplash’ and really wanted to see it, but Sue did not — and anyway, I have it downloaded and we could watch it at our house.

So we headed back to our house. That was good too, since we had a fridge full of leftovers and this way we could start fresh on Friday. Sue warmed up supper. After supper I decided NOT to watch ‘Whiplash’ again, but rather force the Driedgers to watch that ‘Letter to Zachary’ movie that Sue and I had enjoyed a few days ago on Netflix. Which we did. So we sat there sobbing away and eating cookies and grapes. After the Driedgers left we watched the CBC News and went to bed.

A Long Hot Afternoon at Apache Creek Golf

A lazy morning today, especially after my personal trainer decreed that we’d forego the morning hike so that we wouldn’t be too tired to golf in the afternoon. Okay. Dave had booked us for a 1:45 tee time at Apache Creek Golf Course, a course that Sue and I had golfed a few years ago when we were just learning how to golf — and all we remember about it is that it is one huge gopher patch where we lost quite a few golf balls. Dave had golfed there a couple of weeks ago and his review of the experience was about the same as ours. While Sue sat at the pool and read, I went out to the driving range just before lunch — and who shows up? Ed. He’d manage to cancel his tee time at Gold Canyon and had booked the fourth slot at 1:45 at Apache Creek. He tells me that when he had mentioned where he was golfing to his neighbour earlier that morning, the neighbour had said that course was one of the few on his list that he should never golf again. Oh oh. Looks like we’re in for a long afternoon.

Sue and Rudy at the Apache Creek Golf CourseAfter lunch we picked up Dave and Ed and Val (who’d arrived in AZ last night and would come along for the ride while the rest of us scattered golf balls among the gopher holes) and headed to the golf course, just down road on Hwy 60. Our first sign that the game would not be a quick one (like we’d had a few days ago at Mountain Brook) was when the four old guys ahead of us on Hole #1 all took two shots off the tee — from the Professional/Black tees, no less! and then drove their carts 80 yards, down just past the red tees, and circled around the thorn bushes looking for their balls. We’d be spending a good part of the afternoon sitting in 80 degree heat waiting for them at every tee.

But Dave gave us a little lecture about patience on the golf course, and once we’d “adjusted” our attitudes, we had a fun afternoon in spite of the long waits. The weather was beautiful. The views of Superstition Mountain were unobstructed. The greens on the course were as well maintained as they were tough. The gophers did their best to stay out of our way. What’s not to like about that?

Ed and Val at the Apache Creek Golf CourseSue and I didn’t play all that well, but we had a fun. Somehow my ball managed to find water (WATER?) on the first hole, and on my worst hole I whacked the ball back and forth ACROSS the green, scoring 8 on a par 3. Sue got into a rhythm on the back nine, shooting a six on EVERY hole! By the time we finally arrived at Hole 18 it was ten minutes after six and the sunset on the mountain was already fading. Quite a few golf carts passed us on their way back to the clubhouse — they would not finish today. But we did. And then we piled our golf bags back into the van and headed back to Gold Canyon.

After dropping everyone off, Sue and I went back to Bashas, the grocery store, to pick up a couple of steaks. We barbecued them and had a late supper. After Sue had cleaned up the dishes we poured ourselves another glass of wine and sat down to watch TV. I cued up another episode of “Suits” and fell asleep. Probably I’d had a little too much sun. Too much fun.

Saturday Duathlon

I got up at 7:00, Sue at 8:00. I made coffee and then Alex and Max skyped us. The first thing he asked when Sue answered was, “Where’s Farmer Ed?” (The last time we skyped Ed and Dave were here after our golf game, and I guess it made quite an impression on Max that ‘Farmer Ed’ was here with us in Phoenix!) I gave Max a virtual ‘tour’ around the house, and he showed us how he can ride his strider bike downstairs. After we said goodbye, Sue made bacon and eggs for breakfast. Because of our ‘day off’ from the exercise regime yesterday, my personal trainer had something special lined up for us today. A Gold Canyon ‘Duathlon’: a bike ride on either side of a mountain hike. We were just about to leave when Sue noticed her front tire was flat. So I had to get out my toolkit and patch the tube. That delayed the official start time by about half an hour.

Silly Mountain Hike - 2We finally got on our bikes and headed out around ‘our loop’. Just as we were coming down the big hill a big black truck whizzed by, and the occupants shouted some naughty words at us. Too bad for them there were a number of cars ahead of them and they were all stopping at the stop sign at the next intersection. That gave me a chance to catch up to the truck and pull up beside. The driver did his best to crowd the curb, but by now I was staring at him through the passenger door window. “You got something to say to me?” He rolls down the window, answers that he has no idea what I’m talking about. I encouraged him to be nice to people, to drive carefully when daddy let’s him take the family car out for a spin on a glorious Saturday morning. By now the young juvenile passenger in the truck is bending over and covering his face with embarrassment. And then the traffic ahead clears and they’re off. So are we. We cycle up to one of the trail heads, park our bikes on the road, and start our hike up Silly Mountain.

Silly Mountain Hike - 1There were quite a few other people who thought a morning hike might be a good idea today. We trudged up the rocky pathway until we reached the main trail. Halfway through the hike there were a number of volunteers building a footing and mixing cement for the pad for a park bench. Once that’s done, we’ll be able to sit down and rest and gaze out across the valley, all the way to Mesa. Nice.

When we got back to our bikes we took the gravel trail over a hill into Mountain Brook. Quite a few garage sales and open houses in the neighbourhood this morning. Lots of people out and about. Highway 60 is a parade of cars heading east to the Renaissance Festival which takes place just about 3 miles from Gold Canyon and will take place every weekend from now until the end of March.

Back home, we changed into golf shirts and went across the road to the driving range. Both of us. And we hit balls for about 45 minutes. Then we came back to the house and had a late lunch. Then, for about an hour, I diddled around with the satellite dish in our backyard, trying to recalibrate it. Some of the channels we used to get now report ‘Receiver has lost satellite signal’. So while Sue stood by the patio door, watching the TV signal meter and shouting the numbers out to me, I was in the corner of the backyard, turning and tightening and loosening that dish. In the end we were lucky to get back to where we started. Oh well. We showered and changed. It was time for us to hurry out for our afternoon matinee. We arrived at the Harkins 25 at Superstition Springs just in time for the 3 o’clock showing of “A Most Violent Year”. Nice. Sue reserved seats while I got popcorn. The movie was excellent. Great story, good performance. And a nice way to get out of the heat for 2 hours.

After the movie we zipped around the block to the Costco on Sossaman Road. We picked up coffee, wine, beer, and pork tenderloin — the necessities of life. That’s how we roll. Grabbed a hotdog and slice of pizza on the way out and headed for home. That sure is a LONG string of headlights coming back into Phoenix from the Renaissance Festival! I sure am glad we’re heading in the opposite direction.

Back at the house Sue put away the groceries. Then at around 7:30 it was time for us to get back to our stations to see to see how many episodes of ‘Suits’ we could stay awake for. Answer: three.

A Beautiful Sunday in GC

Crepes and bacon for breakfast — so it was a special day right from the start. We watched our Sunday morning shows and then Sue went outside to read while I played on the computer. After lunch I took a few clubs to the driving range while Sue went to the pool to read. I called Mountain Brook to see if there was a chance for us to go golfing. Yep, come just before 3 o’clock. So that’s what we did.

Sue next to a tree in bloom.
Sue next to a tree in bloom at the golf course. The rains we had a couple of weeks ago and now the heat of the last few days have really revived the plants here.

The group ahead of us were beginners and we had to wait for them for the first couple of holes — but then they ‘skipped’ a hole and after that we moved along at a nice pace. We finished by 5 o’clock. Rudy on hole 9 at Mountain BrookBack at home we had ‘fake crab’ and crackers with our G&Ts (well, I had crab; Sue won’t eat that). Sue made a great stir-fry for supper. I watched 60 Minutes while Sue talked on the phone with Alex. Then we made one last attempt to make it through the 3-hour movie “Inherent Vice”. Sue gave up and went to the bedroom to watch another episode of “Downton Abbey”. I persevered, although in the end I had no idea what it was all about. At 10pm we switched to The National, followed by The Fifth Estate. Then, to bed.

From Steinbach to Chicago

We got up at seven and I made some great coffee (fresh French roasted coffee beans). Because it was supposed to be a hot day today, Sue and I decided to go for an early walk. Sue had lost her reading glasses so we headed to Walgreens to see if they had replacements. Sue decided that none of the choices there were fashionable enough to frame her beautiful eyes. When we got home we selected a couple of golf clubs and walked across the road to the driving range to practice for 45 minutes. Then home for lunch.

Ed, Val, Linda, Rich, Rudy, and Sue at the top of Vista PointAfter lunch Sue went to the pool to read. I talked on the phone with Koop for a while and worked on my computer. Then I got a text from Val saying that they and Rich & Linda were on a boat cruise on Canyon Lake but would be happy to come to our place for happy hour at around five. Which they did. Rich and Linda are visiting Ed & Val for the week. So we had happy hour in our backyard and as the sun was about to set, we took a walk up to the top of Vista Point, the hill behind our place. Another beautiful Gold Canyon sunset.

Upon our return the Peters(es) invited us to join them for supper. And so we all hopped into Ed & Val’s van and headed out to Chicago Pizza at Superstition Springs. Good pizza, good fun, great friends. And Rich paid (thanks Rich).

We got back home at around 9 o’clock, just in time to watch the news. And then I fell asleep.

The best part of the day…

We had a skype call from Max this morning — he wanted to ask Opa if I would take him to Tinkertown. I would if I could. After breakfast I tried once again to ‘fix’ the bird perch under the eaves in front of the garage — and used up just about all the rest of my roll of duct tape to do it. Now if I see a fresh pile of bird shit on the driveway tomorrow I may have to put aside my dislike for the NRA and invest in a more ‘Arizonian’ solution to my bird problem. Oh, and while I was out there ‘fixing things’, I got out the rake and pulled some of the weeds that have sprung up on our ‘gravel yard’ because of the recent rains. And then Sue came out and we pruned the tree in the front yard until our neighbour across the street came out and told us we that what we were doing sure looked like ‘work’. So we put away our tools.

We got on our cycling shorts and took a spin into Apache Junction, down to the Dollar Store next to Ace Hardware. Now THAT is a great combination of stores! Hardware and cheap dishwashing detergent! Yikes, a couple of ‘retirees’ like us could spend a full hour in that strip mall. But we found what we came for: new snazzy reading glasses for Sue. Six bucks. And a nice 30km bike ride to boot.

Back at the house I was going to go to the driving range but frittered away the next hour until Sue said it was time for lunch. After lunch she went to sit at the pool and read while I tried (once again!) to get google maps to ‘redraw’ in a hidden div on my website. Still no luck. I know, most of you have no idea what I just said, but Werner, if you’re reading this…

Sue and my G&TFinally at about 3:30 I gave up and cycled across the street to pound balls at the driving range for an hour. Man, if only I could golf half as good on the real course. When I got back I took a shower and then Sue got back from the pool and made us each a nice G&T. Now THAT is the best part of the day, especially these days, when the weather is SO nice and a cool drink tastes SO good.

I decided we should start watching one of my movies before supper — that way I might not fall asleep watching it. We’re getting down to the bottom of our ‘Oscar’ list and so neither of us really had all that much interest in today’s movie. But we are determined. ‘Interstellar’ is nominated for 3 awards. It’s a sci-fi movie that’s almost 3 hours long. It’s very much like the movie ‘Gravity’. Too much like it. We paused halfway through and had supper. Then we paused it again about 20 minutes from the end and switched to “Frontline” on PBS — a report on how doctors deal with terminal patients. Not an easy job for them. And then I switched back to my movie and watched the last part of that. And then the news, and then the Letterman show. Wow! we stayed up late tonight! Without coffee!

Taking the high road…

silly mtn with rich linda ed val - 3I slept in this morning — woke up after 8 o’clock. We had breakfast and then went to Ed & Val’s to pick up the gang for a hike up Silly Mountain. Another nice day here in Gold Canyon. We parked the van in the parking lot and trudged up to the highest point. We were not alone up there — and immediately appointed a fellow hiker to take a group photo of us up there.

haircut-for-MaxWe got back to our house at noon and Sue made lunch. Sue did a bit of laundry and then went to the pool to read her book. She finished “Orphan Train”, a book she borrowed from Marylou. I sat at my computer and tried to ‘organize’ our Danube cycling photos into a gallery. Just before we were about to leave for Ed and Val’s for dinner, we had a Skype call from Max — proud to show us his new haircut! Nice.

We sat outside at Ed & Val’s and watched the sunset. Val and Linda had made a delicious supper. Ed lit the patio heater and we ate outside, and after dinner we sat around the table and visited. Lots of fine conversation. Some very smart people said some very smart things. Too bad the rest of the world can’t get things figured out like we seem to have done. And then to complete the evening, we had some delicious Schwann’s ice cream for dessert.

It was almost 10 o’clock when we got home. Sue watched the CBC News while I wrote my journal entry.

Thursday

I went to bed at around 1:00 last night — Sue had already been sleeping for a few hours but had the TV on. PBS. “Return to the Wild” — the story about the FAMILY left behind by the kid who dies all alone up in an old bus in Alaska. We’d read “Into the Wild”, the book by Jon Krakauer, and we’d seen the movie too. Now here was a documentary about the parents and siblings of the main character. I found it very interesting, but I only watched the first 20 minutes and then fell asleep. Well, apparently Sue woke up when I went to sleep and watched the last part of the show. And couldn’t fall asleep again until 5:00. Not because of the show; just ‘because’. So this morning I made coffee and looked up the show online, found it on the PBS site, and the two of us sat there and watched the 1-hour documentary again.

After breakfast we were going to go for a walk. But then my accountant and financial advisor decided it was time for us to do ‘year end’. Yikes! Talk about wasting a perfectly good morning looking at spreadsheets. I’m not joking! The good news was that we can carry on for a while yet. The bad news was that we wouldn’t have lunch until after 1 o’clock. Whew!

So after lunch Sue went to the pool to read. I worked on our Danube journal and photos. We finally did go for that walk in the late afternoon. Then happy hour.

Sue made a delicious curried chicken dish for supper. Then we sat down to try to finish up a few odds and ends on our ‘Oscar’ movie list. First, “Into the Woods”, which is nominated for 3 awards, including Meryl Streep for Best Supporting Actress. Really? A Disney musical medley of three classic fairy tales? Sue and I caught each other yawning regularly through the first half hour. We ended up ‘speed-watching’ the rest of it, just so we could say we’ve seen it. Well, that was the last of the ‘major’ movies on our list. We still have a few ‘onesies’ to watch. A couple of documentaries and foreign films. Speaking of which, we watched “Leviathan”,  a Russian movie nominated for Best Foreign Film. It’s nearly two and a half hours long. And it’s quite depressing — a story of power and corruption, basically the story of Job in the Bible, but set in a decaying fishing village in Russia. The movie already won the Golden Globe for best foreign film.

After the movie we switched to The National and the ‘At Issue’ panel for something more uplifting.

Another perfect day in paradise

After breakfast Suzie Homemaker baked another delicious batch of monster cookies. We also finalized our plans for our summer trip to Europe and Sue booked flights. At 11 o’clock we were at the Peters’s house. Sue was going shopping to Santan Village with the girls. Ed and Rich threw their golf clubs into the van and we headed up to Longbow Golf Course.

Golf Longbow w Rich and Ed - 2Our tee time was for 12 noon, but things were running about 15 minutes late so we had plenty of time to have a hotdog and a beverage at the clubhouse before heading out to the course. It was going to be a warm sunny afternoon — perfect for golf. Perfect as a sendoff for Rich and Linda who are heading back to 40 below weather in Manitoba tomorrow. This would be the third day of golf for Rich, who was being a great sport about it all. At home in the summertime, Rich would rather meet and greet people at a company golf tournament than swing a club. But when in Rome…

Golf Longbow w Rich and Ed - 3
Ed shows Rich how to just barely miss a putt

We were lucky to golf as a threesome; the course was busy and backed up a bit. Next Tuesday it will shut down for a week so it can host a major LPGA tournament. We had to wait for the group ahead at every hole, and they in turn were waiting for the group ahead of them, etc. Still, as Ed was fond of saying, there really isn’t anything we’d rather do on such a pleasant afternoon than enjoy the sunshine on a golf course. Well, for Ed at least, no matter how many times he insisted “he was happy with that,” he’d surely have enjoyed things more if he hadn’t missed putts by a fraction of an inch on the first 6 or 7 holes. But on the golf course, attitude is at least as important as skill — maybe more so.

Golf Longbow w Rich and Ed - 4
It’s got a chance…

And it was hot. And three thirsty golfers couldn’t figure out where that beer cart was staying. What a business opportunity missed! And then, just when we’d about given up hope, there she came. A mirage in the desert? No sir. And to top it off, if you’re going to be thirsty on the back nine too, here’s a deal for you: buy 5 drinks and get one free! Oh yeah? Well, let’s see what else you have in that cart. And she gives us the line of the day: “The reason I’m so late is that everyone wants to look in my drawers!”

As good as I played on the front nine (44), the heat (and the drink deals) caught up with me on the back nine, adding a stroke per hole to my score. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Rich played a steady, consistent game, making most of his long putts. And Ed’s luck came around eventually and those near-misses started finding the cup. It was a very fun afternoon.

We got back to Gold Canyon around 5:30 — plenty of time for the Peters boys to shower and get themselves to their 6:30 dinner reservation. And I went home and got all the lowdown on the day’s shopping expedition. When there was nothing left to tell and we’d had our little happy hour and watched the evening news, Sue and I took the flashlight and walked across the road to the Gold Canyon Golf Resort. A warm evening out on the restaurant’s deck. Fireplaces and patio heaters going, lanterns lit up around the railing, guitar player plucking Pachelbel’s Canon in the corner, a pretty good barbecued chicken pizza to go with a glass of merlot and a cold brew, a pretty lady and a sun-soaked but happy golfer enjoying an evening in beautiful Arizona together. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Nothin’ wrong with this picture.

Ah, the weekend

We had bacon and eggs for breakfast. Then we put on our cycling shorts and went for a bike ride. We popped in at Bashas’ to pick up some bread and sandwich meat. We stopped by at Ed and Val’s to return Ed’s phone which he’d forgotten in my van yesterday. Then we cycled home — just in time for lunch.

After lunch Sue went to the pool to read and I worked on the computer for a while. Shortly before 4pm I headed out to the driving range for an hour. When I got back we had a Skype call from Alex and Max.

Sue got supper going and I barbecued the steaks. After supper I did some computer work while Sue watched TV. By eleven Sue was in bed; I stayed up for another hour to watch Austin City Limits.

Golfing at Painted Mountain

Nothin’ special for breakfast this morning — just fruit and toast! How is that a Sunday? Where’s the french toast and sausages? Things are starting to slip here in Gold Canyon.

We watched CBS Sunday Morning. Had a call and a skype from Alex and Max. I wanted to go golfing today — it looked like it would be a perfect day for it, not too hot, a bit cloudy, a bit of a breeze. So I went on GolfNow and got a tee time at Painted Mountain for 12 noon. Someone we’d golfed with a while ago recommended that course to us. So Sue packed us a couple of sandwiches and an apple and off we were.

Hold it! Not so fast. The drive to the course is half an hour. We’ve got an hour. But wait, what’s with all the traffic? We can’t even get out of Gold Canyon! Is this because of the Renaissance Festival down the road? Can’t be. This is crazy. The line-up at the corner will take us 15 minutes just to get onto Hwy 60. So I do a U-turn and go back around the loop — 10 kms to get to the ‘other’ corner. Oh yeah, now we realize there’s a MARATHON taking place here today. Lots of cops. Lots of cars. Lots of pylons on the highway.

Luckily the marathon was just over and we were only slightly delayed. We got to the course with about 15 minutes to spare. We were paired up with two single golfers: Bruce (from Calgary) and Jay (from Phoenix). We had high hopes for a good game and a fun time. Jay tees off — long ball flight, clears the water to the right, lands in the middle of the fairway, halfway to the par 5 hole. Bruce tees off — straight down the middle. Rudy’s turn: Splash. Mulligan. Second try just misses the bunker on the LEFT side of the fairway. Still a LONG way to go. Sue tees off. Into the same bunker. Second shot: into the NEXT bunker. I scored a snowman on the first hole! Well, not an auspicious start to the afternoon, to say the least.

BUT, things got better. And we had fun. Jay finished with a score of 72. Bruce broke 90 for the first time this year. Sue had a 93, and even though my drives let me down today, my putts were good enough for me to finish with an 84. (I hope you’re all keeping track of those stats at home.)

We drove home and barbecued hotdogs. Watched 60 Minutes, and then the SNL 40th Anniversary show, which went on till 10:30. Fifth Estate after that. Great chocolate-peanut butter ice cream for night snack. A pretty good Sunday after all.

They’ve Come From Alabama with…

Busy morning here in Gold Canyon today. Right after breakfast I hauled out the Dirt Devil and vacuumed the house. I swept the walk and took out the garbage. Sue got her shopping list and gathered up her reusable grocery bags and went to the fruit market and the grocery store. When she got back it was time for lunch. I went to the driving range for about an hour while Sue made a big tortilla dish for supper. When I got back I got a text from Millie — they are an hour away, in Globe, and expect to be here for happy hour at 4:40.

Ed & Millie on Vista PointAnd so it was. Ed and Millie have spent the last several weeks in northern Alabama, on a ‘work-away’. Sanding and painting a house. From the tales they tell, it sounds like it was quite a bit more fun than what comes to MY mind when I think about sanding and painting. I’m sure it was, although I’ve come to see that the Hildebrands have a positive view of most things and seem to enjoy whatever they do, and they’re game to try just about anything. So they moved their luggage into the guest bedroom and we had our little happy hour in the back yard. Sunset on Vista PointAround 6pm we took them for a little walk up the hill behind our house to see the sunset and to get up close and personal with a couple of cacti. We meandered back down before dark and came back to the house to eat that big tortilla dish Sue was working on this afternoon.

There was some talk of card games and TV shows and movies after supper — but just talk. So that’s what we did tonight — just talk. And talk. And start to catch up a bit on what’s all gone right and wrong with the world since we last visited like this (on our Danube cycling trip last September). And before you know it, it’s midnight. Time to go to bed. Agree to get up around 7, have some coffee, and probably go for a hike before lunch. We’ll see.

Very superstitious, writings on the wall

The big activity of the day today: a hike to the petroglyphs at Superstition Mountain with Ed and Millie. We left soon after breakfast and joined about a million other hikers on a trek into the mountains to see some aboriginal(?) graffiti, known here as the ‘hieroglyphic trail’. Still, a very comfortable day, and a nice bit of exercise for a couple of hours. Obligatory photos, lots of interesting plants along the way, and back home in time for lunch.


After lunch I went to the driving range for about an hour — gotta stay sharp! — while the rest of the gang sat at the pool and read/talked. When I got back I showered and then around 4:30 the four of us got on our bikes and cycled over to Ed & Val’s for happy hour. They are entertaining Val’s sister and brother-in-law, the Foxes, and the eight of us sat outside on the patio and enjoyed some special chips and salsa while the sun set. We cycled back at 6:30, quickly before it got too dark to cycle. At home, Sue got a salmon dish going and soon we were sitting around the table for supper.

After supper we watched “Rosewater”, the movie produced by Jon Stewart about a journalist imprisoned in Iran. Pretty good. In honour of our band-teacher guest, we watched the first third of “Whiplash” next. But it was eleven o’clock, time to go to bed and get some rest. Tomorrow will be another ‘busy’ day.

It’s a party

IMG_1429This morning the four of us did a bit of cycling. First we went back behind our place, on a short ride through the “Deerfield” area of Gold Canyon. We continued on around “our loop” all the way to Bashas, where Ed treated us to doughnuts and coffee. That helped give us the energy to cycle back UP the hill on the way back to our house.



IMG_1431

Millie baking piesWe’d invited Dave and Marylou, and Dave’s brother Paul and his wife Shirley (who have a condo in Scottsdale), to come to our house for supper. The Hildebrands and the Driedgers all grew up in Leamington and are friends from way back. After lunch Sue and Millie got their grocery list organized and headed back to Bashas. Ed and I took a drive out to the ‘TotalWine’ store in Santan. We went for a little stroll around the shopping village, and peeked into the Apple Store too. By the time we’d driven back home, the girls had packed away the groceries and Millie had baked a couple of apple pies. We were ready for our company.

We were sitting in our backyard, enjoying our happy hour, when Dave called. Paul and Shirley had missed a turn on the drive down from Scottsdale and would be delayed a bit. So it was around 5:30 when the Driedger clan arrived. Dave had made a big pot of chilli and Shirley brought a salad. We all sat in the backyard and had some crackers and guacamole and visited. I turned on the propane heater (the first time we’ve used it) and we managed to sit outside in the cool of the evening until it was time for supper at around 7pm.

The eight of us squeezed around our little dining table and enjoyed the dinner and the company. We’d just finished our dessert (pie with ice cream and coffee) when the doorbell rang. It was Joel, Karen, and little Henri! Dave and Marylou’s kids and grandson have been staying with Dave and Marylou for the past week and a half. The three of them had been out for the day, visiting friends in Scottsdale, but made it back here in time for them to see Joel’s uncle and aunt and to give us a chance to Henri, who will be 3 years old in April. It was great to see them.

By around 9pm the party was over. We cleaned up the dishes and sat around in the living room until around eleven. Then to bed.

Hike, movie, hockey, and cards

Ed and Millie on the summit of Silly MountainThis morning Ed made us crepes for breakfast. That provided enough energy for us to hike Silly Mountain. Coincidentally, we were near the top when we ran into Ed & Val and the Foxes. We took a photo at the summit, planted a flag and claimed the land for our God and King, and then hiked back down the long way around. We got home at noon, just in time for lunch, which we had outside on the patio.

After lunch I went to the driving range for an hour. The girls went to the pool. Ed stayed home and finished watching the movie “Whiplash”. That’s where I found him when I got back from the driving range. When the girls came home we had G&Ts and watched another Oscar-nominated film, a documentary called “Finding Vivian Maier”. Okay. When that ended it was 5 o’clock — time to tune in the Jets game on TSN.

While Millie and I watched hockey, Ed took a little nap and Sue started supper. The Jets really weren’t ever in the game, but we waited until there were only a couple of minutes left and the score was 5-1 for the Capitals, before putting the chicken on the barbecue.

After supper we (finally!) got out the cards and the crib board. We sat at the table until 11pm, looking for scoring cards in Sue’s hand in order to help the girls add up enough points for them to win a couple of games. A little chocolate peanut butter ice cream and it was time for the CBC National and the ‘At Issue’ panel. That about did it for this Thursday.

Friday at Dinosaur

Dave, Ed, Rudy, and Sue -- at Dinosaur
Leftover crepes for breakfast. The plan was for the Hildebrands to go visit the Mesa market and maybe tour the Boyce Thompson Arboretum while Sue and I joined Ed Peters and Dave Driedger for a golf game at Dinosaur. We left at around 11:30, hit a few balls at the driving range, and then teed off at 12:20. The first hole is pretty tough; I’d played this course once in November and that time I think I shot a 10 there. Today I shot a five. So far so good.

Unfortunately, that’s where my luck ended. Hole #2: I criss-crossed the green, chipping the ball from bunker to bunker to bunker. I decided NOT to mark my score — no point in recording my misery — and just enjoy the scenery.

Sue, on the other hand, played an ‘okay’ game, and Ed and Dave were making most of their shots. Dinosaur Golf Course is famous for its panoramic mountain views. Today, even though my game was going down the toilet, not all was lost; the weather was comfortably warm, the beer was refreshingly cold, each tee box presented spectacular vistas, and the company was _____ (find your own adjective) great. So, all in all, a fine way to fritter away an afternoon.

Happy Hour with the HildebrandsEd sets the 'auto-timer' on the cameraWe were done and back at home by around five. Time for happy hour in the backyard. The Hildebrands had done a bit of shopping but had opted not to go to the park. Now, the four of us had some chips and salsa with our drinks, sat and visited in the backyard, and waited for ‘supper time’. Ed read a few excerpts from the diary of Noel Coward (a playwright who was famous in the mid-1900s) while the girls drank wine. Finally, a little after 7 o’clock, we were hungry enough to go for supper.

The Hildebrands were taking us out. We hopped into our van and headed out to Apache Junction, to the Handlebar Pub. Unlike the last time we were there, the evening was warm enough for us to sit at an outside table (under a propane heater). We could just barely hear the live band that was playing in the bar over the sizzle from the outdoor grille. The smoke and aroma of frying burgers wafted over us. Good food and good conversation managed to erase any remaining negative thoughts I had about what a crappy golf game I’d had that afternoon.

Back at the ranch, there was some discussion about the possibility of another crib game — but I quashed that and forced our visitors to watch yet another ‘documentary’ on TV. Sue slept through most of it, and my head bobbed a few times as well. I ended up fast-forwarding through the last half of ‘Man on Wire’ before finally releasing everyone to their bedrooms.

Good-bye Hildebrands, Hello Hildebrands

Well, the Hildebrands’ time in the sun is about done. They’re heading north today, scheduled to be back in the frozen tundra that is home for all of us by next weekend.

Sue rustled up some bacon and eggs for breakfast. (No break from the Nikkel routine, even for visitors!) A second pot of coffee. Ed and Millie pored over their devices, trying to figure out a route that would take them home by way of one more work-away connection in South Dakota. What’s the weather look like in Denver? Oh oh, snow in the forecast. How about in Kansas City? Hmmm… Oh well, we’ll be okay. We’ll just ‘wing it’. They packed up their stuff, we said our goodbyes, and they were on the road by about 10.

Sue did the laundry. I vacuumed. We have company coming for dinner tonight, and then tomorrow we’ll pick up the ‘other Ed Hildebrand’ (and his wife Jessie) who will stay with us for the coming week.

We had ONE LAST film to watch before tomorrow’s Oscars. “Citizenfour” is a two-hour documentary about Edward Snowden. We watched that this afternoon. We’d seen much of the story on various news and documentary shows — but this one gave us a pretty good glimpse of who Snowden is.

Sue went outside to read. I texted Ed Peters who came over right away to ‘re-calibrate’ the satellite dish for our TV.

At around 5:30 the Peters and Foxes came over. We had drinks outside. Then I barbecued the pork and we had dinner and sat and visited around the table for a few hours. The Jets were playing the Maple Leafs on TV — and ultimately lost in overtime. We moved to the living room and had dessert and coffee. I fun evening.

By 10:30 our company had left; we watched a bit of TV and then went to bed.

 

 

The “Other” Hildebrands Arrive

Sunday morning. Sue made a nice omelette for me for breakfast and we watched our Sunday morning shows. We even got to watch Fareed on CNN this morning. After our shows were over, Sue took the van to Bashas to pick up some groceries. I watched more TV. In the afternoon, after we’d had lunch, we watched Codebreaker on Netflix. It’s the story that the movie “The Imitation Game” is based on –- the story of Alan Turing, who invented the computer. Sue and I both thought it was better than the movie which is nominated for an Academy award tonight.

I was about to watch another Netflix show when we got a Skype call from the kids. They were just back from a weekend with friends in Thief River Falls. They’d had a great time. As soon as I hung up the Skype call, I had a text from Ed Peters wondering if I would like to join him golfing Sidewinder at 3 o’clock. You bet! I was there in a flash.

What a great decision! There was no one ahead of us and no one behind us. We had a fun game and both played well. I think we both shot a 42 on the front nine. Ed played a very good back nine and while I didn’t play as well, I ended up with a 95. And I got back to our house by 6 o’clock, just in time to change and head out to the Sky Harbor airport to pick up our guests. We got there in plenty of time and I sat in the cell phone parking lot and wrote in my journal while waiting for the Hildebrand’s to get their baggage. It was after 8 o’clock when finally we loaded their luggage and golf clubs into the van and headed for our house.

Lucky for Jessie, the big final curling game on TSN still had two ends to go when we got home. We put off sitting down for “faspa” until Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones had won the tournament. Then, after we’d eaten, we watched highlights of today’s golf final on TV before heading to bed at around 11:30.

50% Chance of Rain

It’s too bad I booked tee times for the four of us today on GolfNow on a ‘Hot Deal’ — that means it’s ‘non-refundable’. That means we gotta pay even if it rains and we can’t go golfing.

The sun was shining when we woke up at around 7:30. We had breakfast. It looked pretty good outside, even if the temperature was a bit cooler than it was for the past few weeks. Sue and Jessie went into Apache Junction to buy a few bags (i.e. about $20 worth!) of fresh fruits and vegetables. Ed and I practiced putting on our backyard putting green.

Jessie puttsAfter an ‘early’ lunch, we left for the Apache Creek Golf Course a little after 12 noon. No rain yet. We checked in and were sent out to the first tee as soon as we were ready. Cool! And it was a bit cool. And we had a very fun time golfing eighteen holes over the next 4 hours. Yeah, every once in a while we had a few drops of rain, and yes, the wind was blowing a bit stronger than it usually does, but the Hildebrands hadn’t hit a golf ball for a few months, and today was a real treat for them. And for us, too. Ed had a couple of birdie TWOs. On the ride home he calculated that as a foursome we’d shot a 70, counting the best shot on each hole. So it was a great afternoon.

Jessie and Sue and a rainbowWe were back home at 5 and had a little ‘happy hour’. Then out came the cards. We played a few rubbers of bridge before and after our pasta supper. Coffee and ice cream for dessert. Rudy and Ed even got a ‘slam’. All-in-all, a very fun day. And the forecast for rain proved to be a bit premature. The ‘real’ rain finally fell for about 10 minutes at 10pm while we were watching the CBC News.

Bridge game with Ed, Jessie, and RudyBy 10:30 the effects of all that fresh Arizona air and the exercise we’d had in it got the better of us. Bedtime.

How to stay warm in Gold Canyon

After breakfast the Hildebrands and we went for a little ride in the van — around ‘our loop’. We ended up at one of the trail heads into Silly Mountain. We’d brought along extra jackets and sweaters, but when the sun peaked out from behind the clouds it was nice and warm. And hiking up the trail warmed us up even more.

We ended up making our way down the mountain by way of a poorly marked trail, and had to pick our way through some cacti and prickly plants. We got back to the main path okay, and decided to hike back to the van by another way.

Ed has a snooze in the loungerWe stopped at Bashas for some groceries before going home for lunch. After lunch we all found a corner to ‘relax’ in. Ed had a snooze on the lounger in the sunshine in the backyard. Jessie and Sue read. I watched a feature on “Muscle Shoals” on Netflix.

Jessie and Ed at Mountain BrookAt 3:30 we loaded the pull carts and our golf clubs into the van and went to Mountain Brook for 9 holes of golf. The sky was VERY dark, and the wind picked up and a few drops of rain began to fall. We wondered whether we’d made a bad choice, but decided to give it a try and if it rained too much we’d ask for a rain check and try again another day. But once we were at the first tee the weather quickly improved — the dark clouds disappeared in the eastern sky and the sun came out and warmed everything up again. We took our jackets off and had a great time golfing 9 holes. Quite a few pars, too.

We got home by 6 pm and had happy hour and played a few hands of bridge. Then the ladies got the salmon and rice on the table and we had a delicious supper. More bridge after supper. We called it a draw at around 10pm. Time to watch the news and go to bed.

Mountain Brook — Round Two

After breakfast, Ed, Sue, and I went for a short bike ride around the neighbourhood. Jessie wasn’t feeling well — she’s been fighting a cold for over a week. We made a pitstop at Walgreen’s to pick up some water and a pop for Jessie. When we got back to the house, Sue and I decided to get back on the bikes and do an extra circuit, just to get a bit more exercise. We doodled around in the east section of the Mountain Brook community. An hour later we were back at the house. It was 1 o’clock, high time for lunch.

After lunch I went to the driving range while the others went to the pool to read. By 3:15 I was back and it was time for all of us to get over to the Mountain Brook Golf Course — we had a 3:45 tee time.

A road-runner on the golf course
A road-runner on the golf course
Sue at the tee
Sue at the tee

Golf was great (again!). The sun was shining, and it was comfortably warm outside. No wind to speak of. The group ahead rarely kept us waiting. The group behind didn’t ‘push’ us. Not too many pars on the course today but, as Ed said, we made quite a few good shots. And we had fun.


Jessie & Ed
Jessie & Ed

We were back at the house by 5:30 — time for crackers and crab and drinks. We played a few hands of bridge and then got supper on the table — barbecued cheeseburgers, etc. We followed that up with some more bridge, including a slam by Ed and Rudy. Dessert was a slice of homemade apple pie (courtesy of Millie) with ice cream and coffee. More bridge.

At around 10 we called it a day. CBC News and off to bed.

Golfing Sidewinder

Nice purple flowersAfter breakfast we decided to go for a walk. We headed up to the little hill behind our house, Vista Point, to take a look at the view. (And for the second day in a row, we saw a roadrunner, squawking his ‘meep, meep’, and running around the top of the hill — crazy! When Ed and Millie were here they looked for roadrunners but never saw one.) On the way down from the hill, Sue insisted on a photo next to one of the many blooming bushes that are making Arizona look ‘greener’ than we’ve ever seen it before. We walked to the Mountain Brook corner and back — not a very strenuous bit of exercise, but exercise nonetheless. When we got back to the house it was time for lunch.

Rudy & Sue at SidewinderAfter lunch we played a few hands of bridge. Then each of us went off to our own corner and did our own thing — reading, snoozing, listening to music. At 2:30 we hopped into the van and drove across the road to the Gold Canyon Golf Resort. We met Dave D and Ed P there — they had a tee time right after our 3:06 time. We got on the first tee right on time. Things were going pretty good — in fact, Jessie had a TWO on the par 3 Hole #2. Then, when we got to Hole #4 things got a bit backed up. I guess a couple of foursomes, all part of the same organization, were bunching up and slowing things down. They were ‘partying’ and playing their music loudly. There was NO way we’d finish more than 9 holes behind these guys. So at hole #5 we decided to zip back to the first tee and replay the first 4 holes. Which we did. Good move! Now we had no one behind us, no one ahead. And by the time we got back to the tee at #5 the holdup was long done. We continued golfing, finished the front nine, and then golfed another 3 holes on the back nine.

It was 6:15. The temperature was still nice and comfortable, although it was starting to cool off. We probably could have played one more hole, but we opted to call it quits for today. We phoned the ‘Great Wall’ Chinese restaurant and ordered take-out. We had a fine evening meal together and then picked up our bridge game where we’d left off earlier in the day. Once again, the boys managed to win the rubber. At 9 o’clock we put the cards aside and watched the CBC News before going to bed. I stayed up for the Daily Show and went to bed after that.

Ed gets (another) two

Poor Jess! She’s been fighting a cold all week — and just when it looks like she’s getting better, she feels worse again.

We had a visit from the Driedgers this morning — they are getting ready to leave. They have to be out of their rented home by tomorrow noon, and will probably be on the road heading for home this Sunday. So they cleaned out their fridge and brought over a big laundry basket of food things. We’ve enjoyed their company here for the last couple of months and we’ll miss them.

After breakfast Ed and Jessie went for a walk in the neighbourhood. They were just back when Sue and I got on our bikes and cycled over to Bashas to buy some bread. We got back at noon — just in time to have sandwiches with that ‘new’ bread.

After lunch Sue went to the pool and I went to the driving range. Jessie had a nap, trying once again to ‘sleep off’ her cold.

I skyped with Alex a bit when I got back from hitting balls, and then Ed and I headed to Mountain Brook for 9 holes of golf at 3:30.

Ed gets a TWO
Ed gets a TWO

So on the first hole we both hit our drives to within about 140 yards of the pin. Ed takes out his nine iron and lines up his shot. He swings his club and the ball sails up in the air, straight for the pin. Good shot. Ed turns and puts his club back in the bag, then looks back at the green just in time to watch that ball land, roll forward, and drop into the cup just in front of the flagstick. Are you kidding me? That’s a TWO on the par four first hole! Wow!

 

Ed ALMOST gets another TWO
Ed ALMOST gets another TWO

But he’s not done yet. On the fourth hole he hits his tee shot, lands on the left fringe of the green, then chips it to within a couple of INCHES from the cup. Nearly a second TWO! Hole number 7 is another par 3 — and again he JUST MISSES with his first putt. Ed finishes the round with a 38, which includes a pair of sixes. Not too bad.

And I shot a 45. Too bad all that work on the driving range didn’t help my with my 6 hybrid, but at least my putting seemed a bit better today.

We came back to the house for happy hour. Jessie had had TWO naps this afternoon — let’s hope she’s feeling better for tomorrow afternoon’s golf game. We played a few hands of bridge and then Sue warmed up the leftover spaghetti that Dave brought us this morning. And the spaghetti sauces was DELICIOUS! Coffee and peanut-butter chocolate ice cream for dessert.

The boys won their share of bridge games tonight (what else is new?). We played bridge until the 10 o’clock news. Nothing really ‘new’ on there tonight. Then to bed.

A Windy Saturday at Poston Butte

Saturday morning: bacon & eggs. I did a bit of computer work in the morning. Max and Alex skyped. Sandwiches for lunch. And now we get to the good part:

Ed, Jessie, and Sue at Poston Butte GolfWe left for our 2:15 tee time at Poston Butte Golf Course (down in Florence) a bit before one o’clock, thinking we’d probably be caught in the traffic between our place and the Renaissance Festival south on Hwy 60. But no, no delays at all. I guess the cooler (17 degrees) weather and the clouds (that looked like they might rain on us) scared off the hundreds of visitors that clog up our highway most weekends. So we actually arrived at the golf course about half an hour early. No problem. We’ll go putt a bit and drive a few balls on the driving range, and then tee off a bit early (because some golfers may not show up due to the weather). And even though we had about 17 drops of rain on our windshield on the way down, that was it for the rain today. Though the temperature wasn’t really at all cold, the wind was blowing pretty hard and made it feel cooler than it was.

Poston Butte Golf at sunsetAfter shooting my tee shot on hole #1 left onto the driving range, most of my subsequent drives were much better. I managed to score a 44 on the front nine, with 3 pars. Not bad for a windy day like today. Ed and Jessie both played well too, while Sue had a few issues with the big sand traps. My pars changed to bogeys on the back nine, and I finished the day with a 92 (to Ed’s 90). The wind died down quite a bit and on the final hole the sun came out and lit up the 18th green. Not that I was ON the green. No, sadly I was in the bunker and was lucky to shoot another bogey on the final par 5. Sue also redeemed what had been a less than stellar day golf-wise, and shot a TWO on the 17th hole, which is an island green! All-in-all it had been a very good day, considering that all week the forecast had been for rain and cold. We’d had to wait for the groups ahead of us at every tee box, so although we’d played a fairly steady pace, we finished our game 4 and a quarter hours after our 2:15 start. The sun was down. We drove the 30 miles back to our house in the dark.

Sue warmed up the leftovers (Chinese and pasta) for supper. We played a few hands of bridge, and (for a change) the ladies won most of the hands tonight. The guys tried to mount a comeback, but fell a bit short when we called it a night at around 10 o’clock. The Hildebrands watched the final ends of a dramatic curling game on TSN and then we switched to the news. Everyone was in bed by eleven.

Adieu to the Hildebrands

We are waking up later and later every morning. Today it was after eight when we finally dragged ourselves out of bed. Ed was already sitting and reading in the living room. I made coffee and soon Sue was busy making crepes.

After breakfast we watched some curling on TV. Sue and I went for a quick walk. It looked like the day would be a warm one — not the cool miserable day forecast for today. I checked the mail and got the ‘parcel’ Marylou Driedger was waiting for — her long-lost camera. I sent Dave a text to let them know — and got an update back: they left for home this morning and were just having breakfast in Gallup, NM. We’ll bring them the camera when we get home in a month.

Today is the Hildebrands’ last day here with us. After they got back from their walk we sat around and watched a little more TV. They packed their suitcases and loaded them into the van. They have booked a hotel in Phoenix for themselves where they will stay for the next few days. On the way there we made a pitstop at the fruit and vegetable market where Sue bought more groceries. Then we headed down to the mall at Santan Village. We had a nice lunch together there. Then, at around three o’clock, we headed to midtown Phoenix. We dropped off our visitors at their hotel, said our goodbyes, and headed back to Gold Canyon.

Before arriving at our house, we stopped at Bashas to get more groceries. I picked up a burger at Jack-in-the-Box for my supper. At home, we watched 60 Minutes and then drove over to Ed and Val’s. We visited and had ice cream. We got back home by ten o’clock, in time to watch the CBC National. The forecast for tomorrow is for rain and cooler temperatures. We’ll see.

March comes in like a — duck?

It’s a grey rainy Monday morning in Gold Canyon. Perfect for sleeping in. When I finally rolled out of bed at around eight o’clock and put the coffee on, Sue had already sorted the laundry into several big piles on the bedroom floor.

IMG_1479.JPG

After reading the Steinbach news online just to make sure the universe was still unfolding as it should, it was time to start up the vacuum cleaner. While I dragged the Dirt Devil around Sue followed with the wet mop. It’s cleaning day at the Nikkel’s’ today. Well, why not? Can’t go golfing in this weather!

Once we had the house clean it was time to take care of our personal appearance — haircut time. Sue exchanged her maid outfit for comb and scissors and soon had me looking presentable.

After lunch Sue got busy in the kitchen, preparing tonight’s supper and baking a blackberry crisp. I stretched out on the couch and started reading the big book Ed H left here for us to read. I may have drifted off a bit as well.

At 4 o’clock our guests arrived. Jim and Bonny left Albuquerque this morning and drove “cross country” through Show-Low to get to our place. They are on their way to Palm Springs for a couple of weeks, and will stay with us for a few days before continuing on to California.

We had a little snack and sat around the table and talked for a while. Then Sue got supper going and we moved to the living room. After we’d eaten we tuned in the curling game on TSN and watched TV and visited. Sue served that crisp she’d made earlier with a scoop of ice cream.

A little after 10 we retired to bed.