A Satisfied Mind

A Satisfied MindJust listening to Bob Dylan’s “Satisfied Mind” (from the underrated “Saved” album) as I write this. Reading about how Steve Jobs loved Dylan’s music and met with him on several occasions in the Steve Jobs biography made me put together a Dylan playlist on iTunes and that’s what I’ve been listening to for the past couple of days.
Today is “Black Friday”, the biggest shopping day in the U.S. It’s called ‘black’ because retailers are ‘in the black’ after big sales today (as compared to ‘in the red’). We did NOT go shopping today. We went for a long walk (to Walgreen’s to return a movie rental and to rent another) in the morning. It had rained yesterday so we walked on the shoulder of the highway. The sun was shining. The temperature was comfortable (shorts and t-shirt).
After lunch I continued tweaking the new MIT website — got a little into WordPress. Then, before we knew it, and long before I got into my book and Sue got to finish her’s, it was 3pm and time to go golfing.
We tried to start on the back nine but there was a foursome teeing off (slowly) and soon another cart came roaring up and complained that we were ‘butting in’. So we went back to hole number one and did our usual round. A bit better today than last time — I shot 16 over (on nine) and Sue was 25 over. No waits, no one behind us. Great scenery. Great shadows on Superstition Mountain as we finished the last hole. Still, none too early — it was pretty much dark by the time we got home and sat down for supper. Sue made pizza.
After supper we watched our movie, “A Better Life“, about a Mexican illegal immigrant father in Los Angeles. No big-name actors, but a good story.
After that we watched some CBC shows (live-streaming and podcasts): Lang and O’Leary Exchange, the At Issue Panel, Rex Murphey, and even a short TED talk. It’s cool that we can do this — got the computer hooked up to the big Sony TV and sound coming through the Bose sound system — so it’s just like at home. After TV I wrote my journal, Sue played some iPad scrabble. It was the end of another perfect day in paradise — and I went to bed with ‘A Satisfied Mind’.


Had a problem with the ensuite toilet this morning — for a while now the water has kept on running a bit long after a flush. So I took the tank apart, looked up a couple of youtube videos on how to fix it.
We decided to go on a bit of a road trip after lunch. So I put my Steve Jobs book aside and we got in the van after 1pm. Sue had a shopping list for Walmart. And we wanted to see the Maricopa area, about an hour southwest of Gold Canyon.
cotton-picking-sueWe had a nice drive down to Maricopa. Once we got there we drove around in a few of the neighborhoods there — and both of us were pleasantly surprised! Instead of a dilapidated dying community we found nice homes, nice yards, not very many ‘for sale’ signs, and lots of families. Children playing outside. Parks. Malls. Nothing like the long barren stretch of (litter-filled) desert we drove through to get there.
We visited the Walmart in Maricopa. Not too crowded with Saturday shoppers. Sue got most of the things she had on her list. Next we went to the ACE hardware store. Again, a nice surprise. Incredibly helpful salespeople, friendly, knowledgable. So I asked all my questions about how to fix the sprinkler system, the outside tap, the toilet. Got the right parts.
On our way home we stopped in Chandler at a couple of discount clothing stores. I looked for sandals (and didn’t buy any). We got home just before sunset. Enough time for me to replace the filler valve on the toilet. All fixed, works great. Then we had our gin and tonics and barbecued a couple of steaks. Sue made some great rice and snow peas and tomato and avocado salad. A very fine supper.
After supper I finished my book. Then we watched the (Redbox) movie “Lincoln Lawyer”. I felt like I might have seen it before, but we both enjoyed it. After the movie a bit of late night TV, iPad Scrabble for Sue, journal for me. Tomorrow? NFL on TV all day. Yes!

Grey Cup Sunday

Watched our regular Sunday morning TV shows this morning. Then Sue went for a bike ride (and returned our movie rental) and I repaired the tap for the front yard garden hose with parts we bought at the hardware store yesterday. Then it was time to watch some NFL. Sue sat outside in the sun and read while I watched a couple of football games.
At around 4:30 I started watching the big Grey Cup game. It was showing on ESPN3, streaming on the internet. We watched the BC Lions win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on my computer, and kept an eye on the Denver – San Diego game on the Sony.
Watching the Grey Cup on my computerAfter watching 60 Minutes Sue got busy in the kitchen and whipped up (another!) delicious meal — shrimp and rice and a salad. Then we watched the Sunday Night Football game. Evening ended with a bit of ice cream for night snack, some more TV, and to bed. Tomorrow we’ll probably go hiking up to the hieroglyphics in Superstition Mountain.

Cycling (and hiking) to the Hieroglyphics

Whew! What a busy day we had today.

Rudy and Sue hiking at Superstition MountainWe got our cycling shorts on and wore our regular shorts over them. We put on our hiking boots and strapped Sue’s hiking pole to the bike carrier. Then we cycled the 8 or 9 kms to the parking lot from where you can hike the trail up to the hieroglyphics up on Superstition Mountain. The last time we did this was last March when Tim and Carmen joined us for the hike. The day was lovely — about 75 degrees with a slight breeze. We met a couple of other hikers along the way but mostly we just enjoyed the quiet and the beauty on our own. The hike up to the hieroglyphics took us about 45 minutes. We took a few photos. Then half an hour to hike back. The complete trip, including biking there and back, took us 2.5 hours.

Rudy and Sue at the hieroglyphics up on Superstition MountainAfter lunch Sue sat outside and visited on the phone while I worked on the MIT website a bit more — making a few new banners which rotated on a sort of slideshow. Because of our late lunch we didn’t have that much time before our 3 o’clock tee time at Mountain Brook. Again, the afternoon was just ideal for us. No pressure from golfers behind us, great temperature, great scenery. And we both made some pretty good shots and felt like however slow, we are making progress. We’ll probably go again!

Stopped at Bashas’ to pick up a few groceries before heading home for supper (baked spaghetti) and then Monday Night Football. Unfortunately my New York Giants look like they’ve cooked their season by losing (yet again!) — Drew Brees and the Saints posted 577 yards of offense and beat the Giants 49-24.

After the game I undid most of my banner work on the MIT site — when Sue showed me how ugly it looked on the iPad. Nothing like ‘user-testing’ when you’re doing web work!

Working hard

I spent the morning working on the MIT website, trying to make the banner work. Then I got a logo job from Tim — and spent at least an hour looking for the font I needed to convert the jpg to a vector, without luck. Finally, thoroughly frustrated, Sue and I went for a morning walk. We walked through the MountainBrook golf course on our way to Walgreen’s. There we picked up a movie and some chocolate. We walked back the same way. Had lunch at home at around 12:30.

After lunch Sue read and I continued working on computer jobs. At 4:30 we went to the driving range and scattered a bucket of balls. We stopped at Chen’s Bistro, the Chinese restaurant here at our corner, and ordered a couple of dishes for take-out.

Supper was pretty good, although perhaps not as tasty as the Chinese take-out we had a week or two ago from the other Chinese restaurant. We watched a bit of local news and then I put in the DVD and we watched “Crazy, Stupid, Love”. We liked it — it reminded me of the movie “Sideways”. After the movie (and after having a bit of chocolate for a snack) we watched some TV and then went to bed early. Tired. Can’t keep my eyes open any longer. Good-night.

Sue at the tee blocks on hole number seven

Bike & golf & movie

Okay, by now you know the routine. Another perfect day in paradise. Morning: bike ride. Returned our movie rental and picked up a new one. Doodled around some new neighborhoods that we’d never been in before and saw some really amazing homes. Got home for lunch at 12:30. Sue read a bit. I sent a few emails and then started the latest Miriam Toews novel.

Rudy all set to tee off at hole number seven.Then at 3pm we were off to the golf course. Good times again. Had a slow foursome ahead of us and just barely finished 9 holes before darkness set in. Of course, the red hues of the setting sun lighting up Superstition Mountain made the scenery spectacular (again). With cooler weather forecast for the the next week today may be the last afternoon golf game for a few days.

Whoa! almost getting too dark to golf.Got back to the house and had warmed up Chinese leftovers for supper — and they were better than they were yesterday! Skyped with Jim a bit. Watched yesterday’s Daily Show before watching tonight’s Redbox feature: Beginners.


Household chores

Cold and cloudy today. Quite a difference from what we’ve experienced here before. And the forecast is more of the same for the next few days.

After breakfast I fiddled around on the computer for most of the morning. Sue did some laundry. Sue wanted to ‘clean up’ our Arizona photos from last spring. After lunch Sue began culling photos, whittling down the 630 photos to about 250. I read another couple of chapters in “Irma Voth”, the Miriam Toews novel. Then I had a short nap.

Rudy vacuuming the kitchenWe went for a quick hike on Silly Mountain. I wore jeans. It was cool at first, and we even had some raindrops towards the end of the hike. When we got home I vacuumed and then we sat down to watch the news. The kids skyped us. At around 7pm we left for the Firehouse Bar for Thursday Night Football.

We ordered a medium supreme pizza and watched the Seahawks defeat the Eagles (and thereby remove all hopes for playoff football in Philly). There were a few other people in the bar but really it was surprisingly quiet. When we got home Sue watched some crap TV and I wrote my journal.

Shopping in Mesa

This morning I finished what Sue started: I culled and captioned our Arizona photos from last spring and uploaded them to our travel gallery website. It took me all morning. We ordered some books and some Christmas gifts from Amazon — they are supposed to arrive here just before we leave for home on the 15th.

arizona-web-screenshotI had the leftover pizza for lunch. Then we got into the van and headed out to the Superstition Springs shopping center. We went to a big sporting goods box store and looked at some golf clubs (a birthday gift for Sue). The salesman was quite good and we may go back there to make a purchase. He even suggested that we check out another shop that specialized in consignments — maybe we can find a good deal on some used clubs.

We spent some time at the big Macy’s in the mall looking for bedding for Sue’s mom. Didn’t buy anything here either. I DID manage to have an ice cream cone while Sue shopped. We left the mall and headed for a Trader Joe’s grocery store not far from there — and at least there we had some success: Sue came out with two bags of groceries! The used golf equipment store had oodles of men’s golf clubs but not much for ladies. The only way we’ll go back there is if Dave Driedger comes with us and advises us on what’s a good deal and what’s a rip-off.

It was Friday rush-hour traffic all the way back home. When we got home I booked a Redbox movie online and went to Walgreen’s to pick it up while Sue started supper. I barbecued some sausages. Then we settled down to watch our movie: “Submarine”. Hmmm… so-so, although the popcorn was good. After the movie we watched some CBC news from home. Then to bed.

Rainy Saturday

It was cold and rainy all day. At first I thought we would go golfing this afternoon — maybe even 18 holes, since few golfers would be out today. But Sue thought it would be too cold and as it turned out it was raining all day. But that did NOT dampen our day at all.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast after we skyped with Ed Peters. Then I read a few more chapters in my (boring) Miriam Toews book, Irma Voth.

Screenshot of the web page for our Utah photosAfter lunch I decided to continue with my travel web updates. I sorted through our photos from our drive down to Arizona. I made a new banner. I captioned (sort of) the photos. I even tried writing an Applescript to help me insert the capture date into each caption. I finally uploaded the finished site at around 5:30.

Sue returned our movie rental and went to Bashas to pick up a roasted chicken. She started supper and then we sat down to watch one of the movies in the big coffee table in our house. First movie: The Family Stone. Supper: mashed potatoes with cream gravy, corn, salad, and roasted chicken — outstanding!

We finished the first movie after supper, then watched a second one, Slow Burn. Chocolate-covered cherries (and blueberries) were the movie snack. All-in-all a pretty good start to the weekend. Weather forecast for tomorrow (and for the beginning of the week) looks like lots more cool temps. We’ll see.

Lose, Lose, Lose

All my teams lost today.

The morning began with a great pancake and fruit breakfast. My morning news shows were good as usual. The weather looked sunnier than what was forecast (although still quite cool).

A day of NFL losses for RudyThen it was time for NFL Sunday. And that’s where things went wrong. In the first game the Vikings lost to Tim Tebow and the Broncos! In the second games the Green Bay (undefeated) just barely beat my NY Giants. And Arizona beat Dallas! And the Colts almost overcame the Patriots’ big lead (but not quite, and so they are still without a win).

Sue went for a run and picked up a few groceries. We barbecued burgers. At least THAT was turning out right!

In the Sunday Night game the Lions had far too many penalties to have any chance of beating the Saints. And so I lost all my games! And Sue, who has a knack of picking the winners, won all her games. Oh well, at least we’re not both losers!

Back on (the) course

Today, finally, after far too long being stuck indoors, the Nikkels headed back out to Mountain Brook for 9 holes of golf. It was great. It was a bit cool, but the sun was shining and we had a fun time. No waiting. No one ahead of or behind us. And we finished in record time, home by just after 5pm. Our score for nine holes wasn’t anything great, but we are not without hope. (And tonight I read that the weather just a bit east of us here isn’t NEARLY as nice as it is here — see the photo from the Winnipeg Free Press.)

Winter blast hits New Mexico
Stranded travellers consider their options during the closure of westbound I-40 at Nine Mile Hill in Albuquerque, N.M. Monday. A severe winter blast struck most of New Mexico on Monday, closing hundreds of schools and shutting down I-40 from Albuquerque to Gallup that forced motorists to seek emergency shelter.

We read in the morning — and I finally finished the “Irma Voth” book. Not that much fun of a read. Sue is about 200 pages into the Steve Jobs book. And tonight we got another Amazon box delivered — more books!

After another great supper (leftover cheeseburgers from yesterday, with potatoes and a fruit salad, YUM), we watched Monday Night Football. The game wasn’t all that exciting, so in between I switched to the 7pm repeats of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.We ended the evening by watching the CBC National (Live Streaming).

‘Ping’-makers and a ‘sing’-maker

Wow, what a great day (again)! Cool but sunny morning. Had to hurry to get breakfast and shower done before heading out to the golf course for a 10 o’clock group lesson. For $20 each, we joined 16 other golfers in the cool of the morning and headed out to the practice range. Our teacher, Jack, was a 74-year-old pro who had recently had back surgery. The 90-minute lesson was divided into 3 sections. Instruction, practice, instruction, practice, instruction, practice. And the instruction was very helpful. Right off the bat I felt like I was making headway. Although I hadn’t been using my #1 driver, I decided I should see if with a bit of help from the pro I could get it working for me. And in each of the 3 parts of the lesson I learned how to make the club work for me. I certainly wasn’t hitting the ball as straight and as far as I’d like to, but at least not every shot was veering off to the right. And Sue too was feeling good about her progress — getting some good lift on the ball and more distance than before. After the lesson the instructor and his sidekick (Mark, an airline pilot and neighbor to Jack) gave us some tips about shopping for the right clubs for Sue. They recommended that we go to the Ping factory in Phoenix and get fitted, then bring the results back to the golf club and give the owner/manager (Dale) a chance to quote on the set. Which is what we then did.
Sue at the Ping factory getting a fittingWe went home for lunch and then hopped into the van and drove the 1-hour drive out to the Ping factory. We signed up to have a specialist measure us and analyze our swing — and then recommend some custom-made clubs for us. It was fast and efficient, and Sue especially felt that the girl who worked with her really helped her find something that will work for Sue.

A 'sing'-maker at the Superstition Center mall in MesaAfter our visit to the Ping factory we stopped at the Superstition Center for a bit of shopping. Again, lots of success. Sue managed to find some slippers for herself. We had a nice cup of coffee in the mall. On our way out we had to stop and take a photo of a small shop offering custom-made “sings” which a guy was making by carving your name into a piece of wood with a router. Then we headed to a Fry’s store where Sue got some sheets for her mom and I rented a Redbox movie.
It was late (after 6:30) by the time we got home. We barbecued chicken and Sue made ‘cheesy rice’ and salad for supper. Then we watched the Daily Show and Colbert. We watched a bit more TV and then watched our DVD, “Water for Elephants”.

Don’t listen to those weather reports

The forecasters proved that they’re no better at guessing the weather in Phoenix than they are in Steinbach. This cold and cloudy day turned out to be a little cool and quite sunny.
Still, we spent most of the day inside. Sue went to do a big grocery shop at Bashas in the morning (in order to cash in on the once-a-month “Senior’s Day”).
After lunch we decided NOT to go for a bike ride and NOT to go golfing because it was too cold outside. Instead, we went for a long walk to Walgreen’s to return our movie rental. On the way there we stopped in at the golf course and talked to the owner (Dale) to get a price on golf clubs for Sue. He gave us a good price on ordering the Ping clubs that Sue got fitted for yesterday. But he also asked us to consider the Callaways he has in stock. We’ll probably go for the Callaways.
After we dropped off the movie we walked back home along the highway. Looking at the beauty of the green golf course and the setting sun reflected in Superstition Mountain, we knew we had made the wrong call about golfing today — it was another very nice afternoon.
Sue making manicottiSupper was the usual — that is, absolutely fantastic! Sue was hungry for manicotti. Although she said it was a lot of work to make it she is rarely happier than when she’s got a bunch of food to prepare.
Wow! and it tastes as good as it looks!After supper we watched our TV shows. After The Colbert Report I picked one of the movies here in the coffee table and we watched that. It turned out that “Mr Brooks” was a pretty good movie — entertaining, at least. After that a bit of TV and then to bed.

No clubs for Sue, free bike for Rudy

Skyped with Dave Driedger for a while this morning — discussion about dates for their visit here in January/February. Then we went for a bike ride. It was cool enough to wear cycling jackets, but otherwise nice and sunny. We talked to a homeowner about the big 35,000 single-family home that is being constructed up on a hill not far from our place.
Cruiser bikeOn our way home we passed a home with a bunch of boxes piled up as garbage — and noticed a ‘broken’ bike sitting there. It looked like it was also being thrown out. I went back and asked the owner about it — she told me I was welcome to have it. So Sue and I went to pick it up with the van. The back wheel had no tube. Back in our garage, I used one of the tubes we bought for our hybrid bikes and pumped up both tires. With a little adjustment, the bike soon looked almost good as new. In fact, the tires look completely new! It’s not really a cruising bike, but we think it will be great for some of our guests to use for cycling around the neighborhoods here.
Hole #11 at Mountain BrookAfter lunch we had to hurry to get to the golf course. We had hoped to buy some new clubs for Sue today, but Dale, the owner, wasn’t in. So we used our regular clubs and headed out for a 2:45 tee-off. Some discouraging holes for both Sue and me — but in the end we both had fun. It turned out that our 9-hole scores were actually about average for us! And with the early start, we ended up running across the road after hole number 9 and golfing a couple of extra holes. Well, hole number 12 had a big water hazard. I splashed 4 balls before finally smacking a shot near the green. Just then the guy came around to collect the flags — we were not really supposed to be there. Now we had to shoot for greens without a pin to mark the hole. Well, it was cooling off quickly and we need to skedaddle to get back to the parking lot before dark.
Bad Moon RisingAn almost full moon was rising above Superstition Mountain. Gorgeous.
Back at home I checked to see what was on tap for Thursday Night Football; and figuring that it would be a Steelers’ blowout over the Browns, we decided NOT to go to the Firehouse Bar. In fact, we didn’t even order pizza. Instead, Sue warmed up some leftover spaghetti and made a salad and we had our own supper at home. We watched NFL online.

Reading, Hiking, Movie

Read in the morning. I’m reading the Dave Bergen book “The Matter with Morris” and Sue’s reading the Steve Jobs biography. After lunch Sue baked some not-so-monster monster cookies. Then we hiked up (to the very top) of Silly Mountain before coming back down and having our cookie snack with a G&T. The day was sunny and probably warmer than any day this week.
After supper (leftover manicotti) we watched our TV shows. Then we watched another of Jill’s movies, “Meet Joe Black”. It was pretty good. It was pretty long! Still, even though Sue was tired and it was already 11pm, we watched the CBC podcasts (At Issue and Rex Murphy), before she went to bed.
Van-Morrison-live-bootlegI had been downloading a collection of 60 Van Morrison bootleg albums all day, and before going to bed (at 2am!) I looked through them and added some of them to my iTunes playlists.

Sue's new golf clubs

Susie Q celebrates a birthday

Saturday morning, so that means bacon and eggs. Followed by some reading. Sue called her mom and Alex. We’re coming home this Thursday and we need winter jackets in the car for the ride home from the airport.
Sue's new golf clubsLunch. Then we went to Mountain Brook Golf Club. Sue got some new Callaway Clubs for her birthday. And the best part is — they work! We went to the driving range and Sue hit a small bucket of balls — and nearly EVERY ONE of her hits were good ones! It was almost unbelievable.
Then we played nine holes. The first hole was a disappointment — what happened? But as we continued to play (not another soul on the course, and the day was beautiful!) it was clear that Sue was striking the ball a lot further and higher than she did before. So that was very encouraging.
We came home and showered and got dressed up to go out for supper. Birthday dinner at House of Tricks in TempeWe had reservations at a restaurant in Tempe: House of Tricks. We sat outside (under the propane heaters and next to a big open fireplace) and had a wonderful meal. It was a fine evening.
We were back home by 9pm. Time to watch a bit of TV. Time to upload a couple of photos and post my journal entry.
Tomorrow is Sue’s sixtieth. Yikes. You’d never know it to look at her. It’s hard enough to keep up with her. She’s younger and healthier and hotter than most 50-year-olds. She’s amazing. I always say that I am one of the luckiest people in the world. And Sue is a big part of that. I am so lucky to have her as my best friend for life. I love her very much.
Tomorrow I will be hanging out with a senior citizen — for real. I’m looking forward to it.

Sexy Sue turns Sixty

Today is Sue’s 60th. She got a few emails and Facebook messages this morning. And phone calls.
Sue's Birthday BreakfastWe watched our morning CNN news shows and then I went to Basha’s to pick up some breakfast pastries.

Then at 11 the first NFL game of the ‘afternoon’ began. I watched the TV game (Patriots) as well as one on the internet (Minnesota/Detroit).

Rudy tees off Hole #6After lunch we watched a bit more football before going out for our 3pm golf date. Again, Sue’s new clubs seem to be working very well. Although we both scored poorly after decent tee-offs on hole number one, things gradually improved. The afternoon was (once again) perfect for golf — not at all cold.
We finished our game and then went to the Firehouse Bar to finish watching the Green Bay game. We had a couple of beers and ordered a pizza to take home.
We ate our pizza and watched 60 Minutes and the Sunday Night Football game (Giants at Dallas).

Blue Monday (Again!)

Rain, rain, go away…
Well, this is something we’re not used to. A solid day of rain and clouds. Really! So we listened to James Taylor all day. In fact, I downloaded the 2007 album “One Man Band”, a live concert recording, and we listened to that.
After breakfast we sat around and read our books. In fact, today we both finished the books we were reading; I finished the David Bergen book and Sue finished the Steve Jobs biography.
We had leftover pizza for lunch. After lunch we tried to watch Charlie Rose on PBS, but it was boring. Rudy did a logo job for Tim at Oak Leaf. We even got out our rain jackets and tried to go for a walk around the block but had to turn around early and hurry home before the rain again came down hard.
JT - one man bandSue made supper: basa fillets with rice. After that we watched Monday Night Football. The game was boring so we switched to The Daily Show for a while. Then, after the game, we watched the 2-hour special “One Man Band” featuring James Taylor, which I had downloaded (took almost all day). The show was great and even though it was only over at 11pm, we managed to stay awake. In fact we watched about half of the CBC National news after the concert.

This is NOT the Arizona we’ve come to know

Another full day of rain. Cold and rain. Lots of rain.
Sue did laundry in the morning. Read a bit. Messed up a sudoku. Ed H from Lorette called and lined up their dates to visit us at the end of January.
After lunch we headed out to Queen Creek. Had a coffee at Starbucks. Bought more socks at Target. Checked out the booze prices at BevMo.
Then we went to Santan Village. Went to Walmart. Went to the Apple Store where Sue played Bridge on her iPad while she waited for her ‘genius’ appointment. The ‘genius’ diagnosed her iPad — and concluded that the ‘problem’ is with the Bridge game app, not the iPad. Now it was dark, after 6pm.
We went to the big Total Wine store and bought a ton of beer and a few bottles of wine. Drove back to Gold Canyon; stopped at the Chinese restaurant on King’s Ranch Road and ordered takeout. Went home and ate half of it. Stashed our booze.
Vinturi aeratorTried out the Vintura Aerator we’d ordered on Amazon (it was sitting where FedEx had dropped it off — in a plastic bag outside our door) with our wine — yep, makes the wine taste better.
After supper we watched one of Jill’s movies, Desperado. Lame. Well, except that that Salma Hayek is one hot babe. But it would have been nice if the movie had a plot.
Watched a bit of late night TV and retired to bed.

Back on track

After a couple days of cold and rain, today we seemed to get back on track. Sure, the morning still looked cold and wet — although the rain had stopped — but at least the sun was out in the morning. It’s amazing how that makes everything seem more positive.
SlideshowI worked ALL MORNING adding almost 200 photos to the SD camera card for the digital photo frame we’ve bought for my parents for Christmas — lots of photos from our Southeast Asia trip from a couple of years ago, including Japan, and our Buenos Aires photos. It seems these ‘little’ projects always end up consuming the better part of the day.
I also did a small job for Tim at Oak Leaf. I did NOT read my next book. Sue was busy trying to clean the shower door which looks quite stained by hard water — I’ll need to run the softener when we come back in January.
We had lunch. Great (as usual). Last of the chips. Cleaning out the fridge because tomorrow is our last day here until next year.
At 3:00 we were back at Mountain Brook. NOBODY else on the course! But the sun was out for most of the time, and although the course was wet, we didn’t get our feet soaked and had a great time. That doesn’t mean I played great — no, I had some good holes and too many poor ones — lost by 2 strokes on nine holes to Sue and her new clubs. Well, at least I want to blame it on the clubs — it can’t be that I’m just so useless.
When we got back home I reported our intentions to leave for a couple of weeks to our neighbors, Mike and Charlotte, whom we never see otherwise. All good. Sue warmed up the leftover Chinese food from yesterday. We had a gin and tonic, then supper. Watched our comedy channel shows. Then Sue put in one of Jill’s movies, “The Sum of All Fears”. Okay. Sue didn’t really like it and was playing Bridge on her iPad. I dozed off a couple of times. Snacks of grapes and nuts.
Watched a 60 Minutes rerun and some late night TV before heading off to bed — our last night of 2011 here in Gold Canyon.

Christmas with the Nikkels

Okay, I haven’t really been updating this blog for quite a while. In fact I’m writing this “after the fact”. We had just over 2 weeks at home — with no internet, no TV, and not much to do. Sue helped to move her mom to a new apartment. We had Christmas at Mart’s with the Penners, and again at our house with the Nikkels. Then Tim moved his business to the new location (although I didn’t really help much because I got sick with a bad cold, my first in many years. Then Tim and Alex hosted us for New Year’s Eve and took us to the airport on New Year’s Day for our flight back to Phoenix. Here are some Christmas photos that Walter took at our house.

Oma & OpaStan & TadeoAlex & Rudy play Christmas tunesAdam & Jake

TadeoAdam & Dadgirls in the kitchentim & rudyAlex & JakeOma & Tadeo

Happy New Year!

Looks stormy out there. Snow and wind. Sue’s doing laundry and packing. I’m checking to make sure all my computer stuff is packed. Looks like we are leaving Manitoba just at the right time.
This afternoon our kids are taking us to the Winnipeg airport. Our 4:45 WestJet flight will get us to Phoenix at 6:43 — hopefully we’ll catch the second half of the Giants-Cowboys game.

Anyway, it’s been good to see family and friends here at home this Christmas — but I’m quite looking forward to the desert — cycling, hiking, golfing, reading. See you there.

The Driedgers Arrive

First full day back in Arizona. Welcome to 2012. After breakfast I cleaned up the driveway — swept up all the dead leaves.
Then we went uptown to the big Superstition Ranch Market on Apache Trail — full of shoppers looking for great deals. And we joined right in. We walked out with a grocery cart filled to the top with fresh fruits and vegetables — all for $31.00! Amazing.$31 bill for fruit We bought a few more groceries at Bashas. Then home for lunch.

After lunch we got on our bikes and went for a quick cycle to Walgreen’s and back. We were back just before 3pm — that’s when we expected the Driedgers to arrive. Sue gave me a little haircut and we had a shower. Then, at around 4pm, the company arrived. They’d had two little hiccups in their day: first, Dave had locked the keys into the trunk of the car so they only got going at around 9:00. Then, about half an hour south of our place, they were stalled on the road because there had been an accident ahead of them. But all was okay now.

We had a cool beer and watched the sun set. Sue and Marylou went for a walk. Then Sue got supper going and at around 7:30 we had our barbecued chicken and potatoes. After supper we visited a bit. Dave worked on a crossword.

By 10:30 the Driedgers went to bed. We watched a bit of late night TV and then went to bed too.

Driedger’s Day One in Gold Canyon

Woke up and saw the light was on in the kitchen. Sure enough, there was Marylou sitting at her laptop when I got up. Soon we were all up. Sue made coffee, and later made toast for us all. Dave and I went for a short bike ride out to the swimming pool and back.

At around 10:30 we headed out for a hike up Silly Mountain. Marylou has a sore let and can’t really hike much, so it was a shorter and slower trip than what we’re used to. We got back to our house at noon.

After a great lunch (sandwiches and chips by Sue) we sat around for a bit. Read. Googled stuff. Talked a bit about napping. I booked a 3:00 tee time at Mountain Brook. Got there a bit early and shared a small bucket on the driving range before walking nine holes. Good times. Dave and Sue and Marylou all shot good games. I had fun but my game sucks.

Finished a bit earlier than we did in December so we didn’t really see the beautiful sunset on Superstition on holes 8 and 9. Still, I think we all had fun and I think both Dave and Marylou enjoyed the golf game. I think they liked the course too.

After golf we stopped at Bashas to pick up steaks and caesar mix. When we got home we had a couple of drinks before the Driedgers headed out to Tom Sung’s place on Ironwood to bring him his golf clubs and some other supplies — and to check out his house (where they will be staying later this month). Sue got the potatoes and vegetables going while I blogged. We watched a bit of the Iowa Republican caucus vote on TV.

When the Driedgers get back we’ll barbecue the steaks and have supper. Then we’ll probably sit around and watch a bit of TV and maybe play a game (Smartass — a new game they got for Christmas) before going to bed (early)!

Sunny Wednesday

After breakfast Sue and I went for bike rides. We came home and showered. By the time we were done the Driedgers were back from a big (Seniors’ Day) shopping day at Bashas. Marylou made us sandwiches for lunch.

After lunch I worked on my YFC website — still just setting it up. Dave and Sue read. Marylou worked on her blog. The Driedgers went for a bike ride at 3. The Nikkels stayed home.

Basha High School boys basketball teamWe went to Santan Village later in the afternoon and stopped in at the Apple Store and the big wine store. After a bit of shopping we went to check out the Bash High School Basketball game in Chandler. It was fun watching these high school boys play with talent and skill we don’t often see. The Basha Boys team is number one in the state and handled the opponents easily.

After the game we went to the Firehouse Bar for burgers.

Reading Day

With 16 holes of golf yesterday and another 18 scheduled for tomorrow, today was to be a reading day — a day ‘off’. Started out like that. But not long after breakfast Sue suggested a walk to Walgreens to return yesterday’s movie (Margin Call). So while MaryLou cleaned the inside of her car, the rest of us walked through MountainBrook to Walgreen’s and back. Sandwiches for lunch. Then, a short nap before taking a drive to the Mesa Marketplace. MaryLou bought a shirt, Dave did too, Sue bought some fake Norwex cleaning cloths.

Sue made pizza for supper. After that we watched The Daily Show and Colbert; then we watched 3 episodes of “Friday Night Lights”, a DVD series the Driedgers brought along with them. Ended the night with a bit of NBA and some projections for NFL Wildcard Weekend which begins tomorrow.

Wildcard Weekend

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Queen Valley Golf Course for 18 holes of golf. Beautiful weather, pretty good scenery, semi-interesting course, poor score. But the beer was cold and the experience and time with friends was excellent. After golf we hurried home to watch the last minutes of the Texans beating the Bengels. Then we watched the Detroit Lions lose to the Saints. We had a great spaghetti supper in there somewhere too. Went to bed after watching a bit of SNL. Tired but happy.

This morning we were back on track with our usual Sunday routine: watching Fareed Zakaria and Reliable Sources on CNN, and having french toast for breakfast! Then a bit of NFL.

The first game was the best of the weekend: The Giants blew away the Falcons. The second game saw Tim Tebow once again pull out a miracle finish as the Broncos beat the Steelers in overtime!

We had weenies and potatoes for supper. It’s almost a full moon out there — it will be tomorrow night. The Driedgers watched “The Good Wife” on TV and then the four of us headed out to the Cold Stone Creamery out on Crismon Road for a late-night ice cream snack.

Tomorrow we’ll probably go back to Mountain Brook for 9 holes of golf before the Driedgers go to the airport to pick up Ken and Kaaren.

Ken & Kaaren arrive

Monday: Sue, MaryLou, and Dave went to the Mesa Market to buy fruit and vegetables and then to Bashas for more groceries.

Mountain Brook Golf clubhouseThe four of us golfed 9 holes at Mountain Brook in the afternoon.

The Driedgers picked up Ken and Kaaren from the airport and we all enjoyed the taco casserole that Dave made for supper. We had a long discussion (about religion!) around the dinner table.

Higher Ground?

Tuesday: Rudy, Sue, Ken, and Dave went for a long hike up Silly Mountain – probably not that good for Dave’s hip and Ken’s knees.

MaryLou and the purple bikeKaaren and MaryLou went for a bike ride. They road 20kms! Right to Walgreen’s and back, with MaryLou riding the big purple bike! Very impressive. Dave and Ken golfed nine holes while Rudy and Sue hit a couple of buckets of balls on the driving range. We walked to Walgreen’s to pick up a movie. Ken barbecued salmon for supper. We watched our movie, ‘Higher Ground’. The theme? Religion.

Cycling, Golfing, Eating

Wednesday: Rudy and Sue cycled in the morning. After lunch Dave and Ken went golfing with Tom Sung. The rest of us went for a ride around the neighbourhood, where MaryLou took photos of mailboxes for her blog article.

Sue at sunset on the golf courseWhile the Nikkels golfed nine holes at Mountain Brook, Kaaren and MaryLou made a chicken dinner.