Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Desert Blooms

It's spring and you really can't beat the Arizona desert in spring.  Desert plants are blooming all over our resort and even on the highway medians.  We love it!

This plant is in the median west of our resort near Basha's grocery store.

The bougainvillea bushes are absolutely stunning this year.

These pink flowers are so pretty.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Perils of Publishing

For many years John has been writing about the people and events of his life.  In January 2016 he joined a class here in Arizona about writing your life story.  The class helped him focus on putting the stories together so they can be published.  What that took was writing a few segments linking the various periods of his life into a coherent story.  Coleen, who mentors the class recommends a self-publishing web site, Create Space, a product of Amazon, as a place to publish life story books.  Over the past 5 days or so, we have been working at uploading the material so it can be published.

            Perhaps the biggest hurdle in that process is the perfectly awful Verizon internet we have here in Gold Canyon.  At times from late morning to late evening, it can take 3 to 5 five minutes for a web site to open.  I rarely have the patience to wait for that happen.  But we have uploaded a PDF file of the book, received feedback from Create Space, fixed the problems and uploaded again—for a total of three times.

            Then there is the book cover.  We worked on it, uploaded content, looked at it, changed it on our end and uploaded it again.  Then we decided we didn’t like that layout.  Today we contacted the web site, someone called us back, we learned we needed another template to do what we wanted, and finally got that uploaded! 

            The next stage is for people at the web site to review the contents and give us feedback.  When we say everything is the way we want it, they will print a proof copy and send it to us.  It everything is OK, we can move forward.  Or we can make changes again.

            I have been blogging for 11 years and publishing a blog is simple compared to this.  Each year I even get a hard cover book of my blogs for the past 12 months.  But publishing a book or stories this way is more complicated, especially when the internet is s-l-o-w to non-existent.  But we are almost done!

            This isn’t going to be on the open market for sale to anyone interested.  We will have copies printed for family, only.  Hopefully John’s brother and sisters, our children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews will be interested in the content, at least sometime in the future.  The people in the class who have put together family histories say their children will read the chapter about them but often not the rest of the book.  But we know from our own experience that these topics aren’t of much interest until we get into at least the last half of our life.  Hopefully, it will be of interest either when we die or even later.

            Oh yes, now I am working on my life story, as well. The title of John’s book is It’s All About People, Dead and Alive. I may call mine I Was There, Too.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Hiking and Eating

Spring has definitely arrived in our part of Arizona.  Friday we walked from our resort to the backside of Silly Mountain.  The poppies are blooming.

We have had above average rain and the desert is really green.  It's not often we see the ground this color here.  It is so nice.

After our walk we met our friend David and Alice and their daughter Teresa (I hope I spelled her name correctly) for lunch at Janie's Burrito Café in Gold Canyon.  We enjoyed the food and the time with friends.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Social Gadabouts

Last weekend we were really social gadabouts--certainly not our normal routine.  Thursday we attended a party next door where our neighbors had just expanded their patio.  Friends offered to provide some music and everyone brought an appetizer to share.  Our neighbor Doug invited us, saying he wanted us to be aware of the party--either so you could come and enjoy it or to warn us it would be kind of loud.  It was both loud and enjoyable.

Saturday morning Deacon Lynn and her husband invited all the clergy and their families at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Tempe to brunch before all of us who are snowbirds left for a few months.  Everything was delicious and we enjoyed time with others ministering in this place.

Saturday evening we attended a birthday party at Buca di Beppo in Chandler for our friend Karen, also a member of Epiphany.  It was a fun evening with excellent Italian food.  What a great evening!

The rest of the week has been quiet and laid-back, also a good way to spend our time.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Water and Frisbee and Sailboats

Since John had a clergy retreat in Prescott this week, we took the trailer and spent a couple of nights in Point of Rocks RV Campground. We were right next to Watson Lake and the Granite Dells.  It is a beautiful place to walk.

In addition to several fishing boats and canoes, we saw this tiny sailboat on the lake.  It is entirely wind-driven but a radio-controlled motor changes the angles of the sails and the rudder to direct where the boat goes.

We see radio-controlled airplanes in a number of the parks we stay in and there is fierce competition with radio-controlled race cars in our resort.  This was our first time to see sailboats like this.

The Prescott park next to Watson Lake also has a Frisbee golf course.  A number of young men and women were playing the day we were down there.

While John attended the retreat, I stayed at the trailer, using my computer and walking. Prescott calls its trail system the mile high trail because of the elevation there. The low Thursday morning when we prepared to return to Gold Canyon was only 28 degrees.  We were glad to get back to a (slightly) warmer part of Arizona.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Last Days of Company

We had been going almost non-stop with our company so Monday, before John and Kendal left, we just sat around and talked.  Family time is so important and we had a good time together.  Mid-afternoon we saw them to the security checkpoint at Phoenix-Gateway Airport for their (fairly) short flight to Colorado Springs.

Cindy was leaving late Tuesday afternoon so we explored one more location she had not seen, the Queen Creek Olive Mill. We had been there but never took a tour. This time we learned a lot from the Olive Oil 101 presentation.

This old olive mill from Italy decorates the grounds.

Our tour guide was friendly, funny and full of all sorts of good information.  We started out in the olive grove.  They have 7,000 olive trees on 25 acres of land.  We learned that if 4% of the spring olive tree blossoms become olives a grove is commercially viable.

Queen Creek has 16 varieties of olive trees.  Olives have no natural threats in Arizona so they have no need for pesticides.  From the grove, we were off to the mill.  We learned a lot about how they make the oil and what makes it high quality.

These vats are where the oil is processed.  They bottle their oil every 3 weeks so what you purchase in their stores is always fresh.

We heard about the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil and about the other kinds of olive oil.

After the tour, we had lunch in their café.  They grow their own produce for many of the dishes they offer.

They also have fresh bread.  Did you know you can substitute olive oil for other fats in breads and cakes?  I didn't.  I had delicious red velvet cake made with chocolate olive oil.

They sell oils and vinegars, as well as breads.  There are tasting stations throughout the store.  A chocolate olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture was my favorite.

After lunch we were off to Sky Harbor Airport where Cindy caught her plane to Denver. We had a great week with family, but we also needed a day or two of rest after they left.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Food and Woodcarving

We did a lot of eating and talking over the weekend with Cindy, Kendal and John.  It included dinner at our house in Gold Canyon

and lunch at Sweet Tomatoes in Tempe,

Sunday morning before worship at Epiphany Episcopal Church in Tempe, we gave our guests a tour of the memorial garden there.

After lunch we were off to the Mesa Woodcarving Show.  There were lots of amazing projects there, including this intricate carved or scroll saw worked box.

I like this unusual bowl with turquoise inserts.

These two segmented bowls were prize-winning for sure.

And this large segmented vase is impressive, too.

We enjoyed this relief carving of horses and a wagon.

This was John and Kendal's first visit to the Phoenix area. Kendal is a multi-talented artist and John does a lot of woodworking so they both enjoyed the two events we visited over the weekend.