Friday, January 30, 2015


Tonight, there will be a sock hop at our resort. If you know us, you won't be surprised that we aren't going. But it was fun to look at the decorations this morning. If you remember Betty Boop and James Dean, you will get a kick out of looking at them, too.

Betty appears more than once around the ballroom.

Everything was in pink and ruffles.

But, I wondered where the poodle skirts were. If you don't know what I am talking about, you were born years after I was.

Monday, January 26, 2015

See Us Now

Finally, we have it all together--our two homes, that is.

This is why we bought this house. We have a full-hookup RV pad right next to the house. We now have a guest house. And we can easily move things back and forth between the two. Two weeks ago, the last of the concrete in our yard was poured. We had to wait a week to park our truck here. And today, two weeks out, we were told we could park our RV here. At 8:15 this morning, we had our truck hooked up to the RV, then drove around the block and parked it here. We are very happy.

We have been doing a few things other than equipping the house and looking at the concrete. We have visited with blogger friends Jim and Gayle and Art and Connie. We attended a pancake breakfast as guests of Bob and Marcia, who had come to see our new house several days earlier. We do weight training and walking. In addition to church services on Sunday, we attended the spaghetti dinner at Epiphany, as well. And we have both endured through colds.

Two Saturdays in a row, I have been to the wood shop here in Canyon Vistas, learning how to turn a piece of wood on the lathe. I really enjoy working with wood and one of the residents is in the wood shop to help people learn this skill on Saturday mornings. Here is what I have made so far, a small vase. It is made of mesquite wood.

Using the lathe is something like using a potter's wheel to shape clay. As the wood spins, I use a metal tool to start removing wood. As I do, the square piece of wood turns into a round object. How wonderful! I hope to make some bowls and some pens.
John has been carving and writing a book about his ancestors.

We certainly enjoy our life here in the Arizona winter.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Our Granddaughter, the Swimmer

Both of our Colorado grandchildren are great swimmers. They are members of the Foothills Recreation Center swim team. Earlier this month, they each swam laps for 1.5 hours to raise money for their swim team.  Almost every weekend, the family attends one or more swim meets.  Here is a photo of the two--aren't they beautiful/handsome?

Kylie is a freshman at Heritage High School in Littleton and she also swims on that team.  John has practice after school several days a week.  Kylie practices with both teams, each day at 5:30 am before school, as well as after school.  They have both competed at the state level for the recreational league.  Kylie also went to the multi-state Zone meet last summer.

Last weekend, her high school team competed in the Smokey Hill Invitational Meet in Aurora.  The meet was covered in a newspaper article in the Aurora Sentinel and it talked mostly about the Smokey Hill team.  However, Kylie had done such an outstanding job at the meet, her name is mentioned several times.  She is obviously a real force to be reckoned with in the high school swimming area.  We can't wait to see where she goes in the future.

Here is a copy of the newspaper story.  I have highlighted Kylie's name in red.

Smoky Hill's Gaby Antunez, left, Melanie Vasina, center, and Jianna Walker react after they teamed with anchor leg Julia Song to set a meet record in the 200 yard freestyle relay at the 24th annual Smoky Hill Invitational on Jan. 17, 2015, at Smoky Hill High School. The foursome clocked a team of 1 minute, 41.27 seconds, to beat the standard of 1:41.48 set last year by Song, Vasina, Antunez and graduated Kelsey Gaul. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Smoky Hill’s Gaby Antunez, left, Melanie Vasina, center, and Jianna Walker react after they teamed with anchor leg Julia Song to set a meet record in the 200 yard freestyle relay at the 24th annual Smoky Hill Invitational on Jan. 17, 2015, at Smoky Hill High School. The foursome clocked a time of 1 minute, 41.27 seconds, to beat the standard of 1:41.48 set last year by Song, Vasina, Antunez and graduated Kelsey Gaul. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
AURORA | With a disqualification in the opening event of the night, things could have gone south fast for the Smoky Hill girls swim team at Saturday’s Smoky Hill Invitational.
But coach Scott Cohen’s Buffaloes left the slow start in the dust and packed plenty of fast on their way to second place in the 24th annual event.
Senior Julia Song and sophomore Jordyn Richey each won events individually and the 200 yard freestyle relay team of Song, fellow senior Melanie Vasina, junior Gaby Antunez and sophomore Jianna Walker broke Smoky Hill’s own meet record in the event to help Smoky Hill rack up 377 points. Heritage, which saw freshman Kylie Andrews have a big day, won the meet with 460.
“I’m real proud of the kids, they kept swimming tough despite a little setback,” said Cohen, whose team finished third last season and seventh in 2013. “It was a good lesson. We could have shut it down a little bit, but we stepped it up instead. …We swam a lot better than we were seeded.”
One of a few seniors on a pretty young team, Song came away proud of how the Buffs rebounded.
“It was a rough start, but we didn’t let it affect us too much,” Song said. “We were a little sad about it, but we moved past it and swam really well the rest of the meet.”
Song played a big role in Smoky Hill’s performance, as she won the 50 freestyle in 24.63, finished as the runner-up in the 100 freestyle to Andrews — who set the meet record in the event with a blazing time of 52.33 seconds — anchored on the record-setting 200 free relay team the fourth-place 400 free relay.
Andrews’ performance certainly caught the attention of Song, who is likely to see her again in the 100 freestyle at the Class 5A state meet Feb. 13-14 in Fort Collins.
“That girl did so well, she’s so fast,” Song said. “It’s going to be cool to see how fast she goes by the time she gets to her senior year. …I did well and we’re not tapered yet, so I’m excited for state.”
Richey’s phenomenal day included the 100 breaststroke championship, which came with a time of 1:08.74, nearly two seconds faster than her prelim time in the morning. The sophomore also finished second in the 200 individual medley in a 2-3 finish with freshman Natalie Rotondo for a strong early boost for Smoky Hill.
After she touched the wall and saw her win on the scoreboard, Richey thrust her arms in the air in celebration. She hugged just about everybody she could find once she got out of the water as her time put her in range of the 1:06 she hopes to reach in the coming weeks.
“I was jumping around in the hallway after; I’d never won anything before, so I was so excited,” said Richey, who was also pleased with a five-second drop in her IM time before upcoming taper.
“I was exhausted all week last week and rolling my muscles out every day, then came to this week just ready to go,” she added.
Walker subbed in for graduated Kelsey Gaul on the record-setting relay and also earned her Class 5A state cut in the 100 freestyle, while freshman Vickie Liu punched her state ticket in the 500 freestyle.
Paced by sophomore Elma Spahic’s fourth-place individual finish in the 50 freestyle and a fourth-place 200 freestyle relay team, Cherokee Trail earned 115 points to finish in 10th place, while diver Indiya Williams’ fourth-place finish boosted Eaglecrest to a 13th-place total of 51 points.
Heritage won the meet-opening 200 medley relay — the event Smoky Hill was disqualified from for a swimmer deemed to have left the blocks early — and led from start to finish.
Andrews set meet records in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke and swam on the Eagles’ winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. Sophomore Katherine Harston also won twice for Heritage and Chaparral placed third with 325 points despite not winning a single event.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

This is Better

We aren't really aware of the little conveniences of life until they aren't there. That has been the case in our new house. Neither the living room nor the bedroom had overhead lights or outlets that are switch-controlled. Since both rooms had a set of two switches that are tied into an overhead covered outlet, it was possible to install a ceiling fan/light combination. Some of the other model homes already had them, but ours didn't.

We planned to buy two ceiling fan/lights and have someone install them for us. Two friends assured John he could do it himself. He decided to try. Thankfully, an electrician was wiring our RV hookup when we reached the place where the assembled fan needed to be connected to the wires in the ceiling. The instruction book described what to do, but added the caution that if the wires from the ceiling were different colors that what is described in the instructions, it was important to have a professional electrician do the wiring. John asked him to take a look, he quickly told John what to do, and we were able to complete the job.

Today, he attached the light fixture and put in the final screws.

And look, we have a light and a fan on our ceiling. We can now walk in the dark room, reach to our left and turn on the ceiling light. It does a much better job of providing light to the entire room than the two bedside table lamps had been doing. And it is convenient to get to the switch.

Often, it is the little things that make the biggest difference in our daily lives.  Next week, we will install the second fan/light.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bragging Rights

I hate to brag, but I will,anyway. John and I have been wearing pedometers every days for many years. It helps keep us accountable for how active we are. Over a year ago, we began using the fitbit, a really cool, small pedometer that almost always stays on when you put it on. Every day, I sync it with the fitbit app on the phone, so I can keep a record of what I do.

This week, a received an email totaling how much I had walked last year. The report says I walked 3,347,044 steps during 2014, which is 1,473 miles. (I tried to copy the graphic report from email to here, but the numbers don't come across. I guess you will just have to believe me.) I think 1,473 miles is pretty impressive and something to brag about, don't you?

Monday, January 12, 2015

They Finished!

This is the finished concrete pad in front of our winter home.  We are so happy to have this in place.  In a week, we can drive our car on the driveway.  In two weeks, we can move our RV onto the site.  That was a major reason we moved here.

It rained overnight. At 5 am, John heard someone outside. It turns out, Rich, the owner of the construction company that is putting in our cement, was checking to see if they could still pour today. He shoveled out the water and cancelled the cement delivery. Soon, he decided to go ahead. The cement company was able to put us back on the schedule and the first truck arrived at 9:30. By then, the workers had covered the adjoining dried concrete with paper, protected our house and put down the wire to strengthen the RV pad area. They had to put down plywood so the truck could back on our site.

They used small amounts of the cement to hold the wire in place and support the thin pieces of wood that serve as spacers between some of the sections of the driveway.

We brought a dozen donuts to treat the workers. They have all been so friendly and helpful and fun to have around.

Soon, they were filling the RV pad area with wet cement, while one man began smoothing out what had been poured.

The first truck arrived with only 6 yards of cement on board. When that truck was empty, another arrive to pour the rest of the area.

The pad and driveway have to slope down to the street level. It was interesting to see how they marked where the slope began and used the long board to keep things level from side to side.

All the cement was laid by 10:15. That part of the job goes quickly. But the last worker didn't finish picking up and stowing away all their equipment, after smoothing and smoothing the concrete, until sometime after 1:30. At times, there were two people smoothing out the concrete and pushing away the excess water. Either today's load of cement was wetter or last night's rain made it dry more slowly.

After spreading the salt on the surface, he used a roller, with a long handle, to make sure it settled into the wet cement.

By the way, why does a cement truck deliver cement for a concrete driveway? Obviously, I am not clear on the two terms and have used them interchangeably in these posts.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

More Concrete Poured

Yesterday afternoon, while some of the workers watched the concrete that had been poured and continued to smooth the surface, they began preparing the area for today's concrete pour. They had to level the carport area, as well as the RV pad space.  By the time they left, the forms on the concrete posts for the carport and around the floor of the workshop had been removed, as well.

The last event yesterday was the arrival of the Zip Zap termite control man. He heavily spayed all the area that would receive concrete today. This is the first time we have had to deal with termites. It is standard procedure here. We don't have to do anything--the contractor calls Zip Zap to prepare the soil before they put in the concrete.

Some folks arrived a little after 7 am today to complete the forms. The cement truck pulled in just after 7:30.

A barrier had to be placed between the solid concrete and today's new pour. They used a wheel-barrow of concrete to hold the barrier in place. They had masked the surface of the workshop floor so no wet cement got on it today.

The next step was to pour the area behind the workshop.

Then they moved on to the rear section of the RV pad. Notice the wire mesh that provides a backing for the thicker RV pad. As they filled in that large area, it was impressive to see how well the crew chief communicated with the cement truck driver, using only small arm and hand signals to tell him to direct the shoot right or left, to pull forward or back up, and when to let cement pour out and when to stop. If John and I could communicate that well when he is backing up the RV, life would be much easier.

Finally, they poured the carport floor.

While that work was going on, one man continued to smooth the first section.

Notice how many people it takes to make sure the entire form is evenly filled with cement.

About half an hour after arriving, the cement truck pulled out while they continued to work on the last bit of cement poured.

We had workers here for several hours, smoothing the cement, marking the seam lines, and sprinkling the surface with rock salt. The seams are there to help control future cracks. The salt makes small holes in the surface to improve the appearance of our driveway.
Doesn't this look good? We can hardly wait till they finish up on Monday.