Thursday, February 24, 2011

Update for this week. Monday was the Aloe Vera Farm tour. It was very interesting but sad because the aloe vera plants were severely damaged or killed by the freezing temperatures this February. It will take the plants 8 to 9 months to come back for the leaves to be harvested again - if they survive. There was a 45 minute outdoor tour on a haywagon done by a retired teacher who owned a citrus farm next door. Then we had a 45 minute indoor tour by an 88 year old lady - with a wonderful dry sense of humour - a little like Betty Whyte. She and her 89 year old husband help one of their sons manage the place. These presentations were followed by a chicken dinner lunch in their diningroom which they turn into a dance hall on the weekends. Plus they have made a golf course inbetween the aloe vera fields. And they are selling house lots around the place too.

So on to more of the week and it has been golf tournaments on our little Par 3 - 9 hole golf course on the property of this RV Park. Wednesday was the Canada-USA challenge and the Tropy went to USA this year. Today was a lady's scramble followed by the ladies luncheon and tomorrow is a Breast Cancer Fundraiser Scramble.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Been back in Texas for almost a week and can't say I have accomplished much? Been out on the golf course here a few times to get back in the swing of things (pun intended), taught my exercise class on Tuesday and Friday morning - suffered from that with those 2 weeks off routine in Arizona.
Did get out of the park with Maureen (cousin Don's wife) and Gail (another Manitoba friend) to visit the nearby town of Pharr. There was a 45 minute Trolley ride to see its historic buildings, followed by a chicken dinner and then a "Senior Cinderella Play". This was put on by the Pharr Literacy Program - a grass roots organization that started several years ago to bring ESL classes to the hispanic population (97% of their population) and now they run a nursery, their classes in English, Spanish, sewing, computer, business are all free with the students having to do volunteer service for their classes. This county is one of the poorest in the USA so they are giving these people a chance to better themselves. The evening cost us $15 each and was enjoyable.

Today we had a block potluck lunch party with about 40 people of our street participating. The food was great and I conducted a icebreaker game - each person had to write on a little paper - 2 unusual, unknown things about themselves and I read them out and people had to guess which person they came from. The things you find out???

The weather temperature is nice and warm - 80 degrees today but there is a strong wind - which isn't helping my golf game much. Someone told me that the wind is good to have - with no wind - little pesky bugs come out.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Last day in Arizona for this trip - to fly back tomorrow to Texas to rejoin Don in the Trophy Garden fun.
Yesterday Lynn and I spent the morning on a Historical Tour of Florence - travelling around in a trolley and stopping to tour homes or public buildings in that town. For lunch we had enciladas and tacos at an old Inn and listened to a man talk about a gunfight that took place in Florence between the sheriff and his deputy for unknown reasons. After lunch we went to the Casa Grande Ruins for a Native American Music Festival - featuring flute music. The weather has been sunny and 80 degrees so it was a pleasure to be outside for these events.
Tom, Lynn and I went to the movies to see the new "True Grit" movie with Jeff Bridges and then we had to rent the old "True Grit" with John Wayne. The new one is more sophisticated but the old one has its charms too.
That is it for Arizona.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Still in Arizona and what is happening now you ask? Well .....
1) Sally and Barb very much enjoyed their 4 days at the Casa Grande Gourdfest. They learned new techniques, bought a few items and conversed with gourders from all over.
2) Sally, Russell, Barb and I did take in a movie one night - "The King's Speech" starring Colin Firth - good movie that should get some Oscar awards?
3) On Monday, with Gourdfest over, we had a day to do touristry things before our time together was over so we first visited the Casa Grande Ruins. Casa Grande means Great House in Spanish. It is a structure built in the middle of the desert by the Hohokam Indians 700 years ago. It consists of 11 rooms and is 4 stories high (picture to follow when I return to Texas). It was situated in a community of thousands of Indians and they are not sure of the function the building had but it may have been an observatory because there are openings in the building that align specifically with the sun and moon at specific times - like solstices. To researchers' best knowledge, the Great House was abandoned around 1450 by the Sonoran Desert people who then inhabited the area and who have been credited with the extensive canal system left behind. Why did they leave -disappear? No one knows for sure but the theory is that it was because of years of drought, the Indians could no longer farm. For many years, the ruins were subject to vandalism, extreme weather and general wear. In 1892, it became the first prehistoric and cultural preserve in the US. In 1903, a roof was built over the structure to give it protection from the elements. Since 1918 it has been under the National Park Service.
We moved on to have lunch in historic Florence - mexican fare at the L&B restaurant -on their outdoor patio. This spot was recommended by the park ranger at the Casa Grande Ruins.
We then did a short walking tour of Florence - highlighting all the different architectural styles of buidings there. These range from the earliest Spanish Colonial/Mexican Sonoran adobe vernacular, through at least 2 distinct phases of hybrid, or Anglo-Sonoran Territorial and finally through a rapid succession of purely Anglo-American brick and frame styles imported from Eastern, Midwestern and Californian cities during the closing years of the Territory and early years of statehood.
We made it back home for a wonderful pizza supper - dough made by Russell.
4) Changeover day on Tuesday. Russell, Sally and Barbara were all packed up and on the road to Phoenix by 10:30 AM. Barb was dropped off at the Phoenix Airport to catch her flight back to Buffalo to dig out her car and drive back to Lakefield. Sally and Russell motored on north, passing through Sedona and on to the Grand Canyon area for the night and then make their way over the highways back to the cold of the north.
Tom and Lynn arrived at Phoenix Airport at 3 PM and glad to be back to the warmth of Arizona and with all their pets - and I am happy to report that my little charges survived!
5) So I have a few more days to spend with Tom and Lynn before flying back to Don in Texas on Monday - Valentines Day - how sweet is that? Hope Don is busy cleaning up the trailer for my homecoming?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Well just a few days later again. Since arriving in Casa Grande todate, we have:
1) learned how to care for dotty - Tom and Lynn's dog - chihuahua and jack russell terrier mix - 1 1/2 years old, their 3 cats - who don't like the dog, 2 geckos, indoor and outdoor fish. We are staying in Tom and Lynn's house while they went from Thursday to Tuesday to Wisconsin to celebrate Lynn's mother's 90th birthday.
2) We visited exhibits of the Gem and Mineral Show in Tuscon 2 X - an amazing show with tents all over Tuscon for 2 weeks in February.
3) Spent 3 hours at the Desert Museum in Museum - great place - not to be missed if you are in the area.
4) Picked up Barbara Bellchambers (from Lakefield) at Phoenix Airport when she arrived from Buffalo on Tuesday - just got out before the snowstorm hit - Chicago was closed for 2 days and a severe cold front claimed the USA - we had 3 nights below freezing in Casa Grande and Don had freezing rain in southern Texas. Sally, Russell and I greeted Barb with a big sign, matching ponchos and big hats - we got alot of comments and smiles.
5) Russell and I drove Lynn and Tom to Phoenix airport at 4:30 AM on Thursday morning. They were diverted to Detroit to change planes for Green Bay since Chicago was still digging out.
6) Sally and Barbara started gourd classes at Gourdfest on Thursday and will finish tomorrow. Great show again this year. Russell and I were out today to see Arizona Skydiving at Eloy airpot and hiked in Picacho Peak State Park.
This is all I can think of for now and there are no pictures posted since my camera cord is back in Texas with my computer. More later.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sorry for so long to get this message posted. I am in Casa Grande, Arizona so I have a few days to fill in.
First of all before leaving Alamo Texas, I should mention that a fluke thing happened last Thursday morning at Ladies Golf. This was the second morning that I played in the Ladies Golf Tournament at the park and I played lousy except for a "Hole In One" on the 6th hole - 80 yards with a 7 iron? The 4 other ladies and I that were on my team did not even know it went in until we got to the pin and one of the ladies golfing off the 7th tee witnessed it - we had thought it rolled behind. It was a big surprise considering I had never even parred that hole before. It was lucky to get the hole in one at the tournament because we pay $1 to play and getting a hole in one pays $20!!!! I will get a certificate, had to save the ball and will get my name on a plaque in the golf clubhouse - plus I was a celebrity for awhile.
Also of note was that Don went to see a Killer Bee Hockey Game at the State Farm Arena outside of Hildago. It was Winter Texan night so the hotdogs and drinks were just $1!
On Friday, Jan 28th, Sally and Russell Rood from Lakefield arrived to pick me up and take me to Arizona so Sally could attend CasaGrande's Gourdfest because she is a gourd crafter. Don and I had to show them around our area a little before we left on Sunday morning. Saturday we started the day with a sunrise golf game followed by a biscuit and sausage gravy breakfast - a fundraiser for the Pool Hall Babes at the park. We then drove down to Port Isabel to climb the lighthouse and have lunch at the Pirate's Landing Restaurant on the Lagona Madre - salty waterway between the mainland and South Padre Island. After lunch we crossed over the bridge to South Padre Island and visited the Birding and Nature Centre, walked on the beach and had dinner at the lovely Sea Ranch restaurant before driving back to Alamo for the night.
Sally, Russell and I took off at 6:30 AM on Sunday morning and by suppertime we were at the Cattleman's Steakhouse outside El Paso Texas. We bypassed the Cowboy (2 lb T-bone steak) and the Cowgirl (1 1/2 lb T-bone steak) and Sally opted for the Quartermaster (1 1/4 lb t-bone steak) since she is a beef lover. Russell and I opted for beef kabobs. We spent the night in El Paso and drove into Arizona on Monday. More updates tomorrow.