Saturday, December 08, 2007

Holiday Shopping

Michael usually did all our holiday shopping, but this year... tada! It was I who did it! I enjoyed the online shopping experience at both Harry & David and Mrs. Beasley's. Now I see why Michael liked to do it. I did have some sticker shock with regard to shipping charges, though. Zow!

I've decided to send out cards with holiday letters AFTER the holidays, because I don't have our list. That was in Michael's computer, and I didn't bring it. When people send me a card, I'll add their address to my file and then they'll get a card from me! If you want to get on my holiday card list, send me a card! :) You can get my snail mail addy from my Contact Page.

I discovered the fun of Mah Jong today. I got a game online and played it a bunch today. Great fun and one of those minute-to-learn-lifetime-to-master games. I don't know how to play it with other people, but I could learn that. There is a Mah Jong group here in the park, I know.

I went out to dinner with Rob, Ione, Harold, Kathy, Lee, and Jill tonight to celebrate Ione's birthday. We went to a great Italian place called Corleone's. I had the best lasagne I've ever had, an excellent Caesar salad, wine, a chocolate dessert, and we started with hors d'oevres too. Man, was it good. And of course the company made the whole evening a delight!

Ione's birthday was mostly good, but they did spend part of the day dealing with unpleasantness. Their bikes, cute little fold-up models all tricked out with extras, were both stolen from under their patio awning during the night last night. I really do hope that they get them back, but chances are they won't. What a lame thing, though.

We had some cool weather today and some rain. It's supposed to do that again tomorrow too.

Everyone says that I should just go on and have my work done on my site without worrying about getting approval. "It's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission." That's just never been my style, though. I am just hopeful that I get my permission before I'm too old to care about doing the work.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Package of Packages

I finally opened my package last evening, and it was full of .. packages! Thank you, Robert and Molly, for these prezzies! The only one that I opened is the rice krispie treats, and I've already eaten half of them. The wrapped presents are under my little tree till Christmas. :)

I walked early this morning, before Computer Club. I told the group that I have decided not to chair the club's fund-raising dinner, and felt very relieved that I got out of that.

I rode my bike around the park, checking on some people, and enjoyed that. It was a little cooler today, with a high of around 72.

I asked at the office about my site plan. I think that "the man" may come tomorrow, and I'll get to see him and make my pitch for my plan. So continue to keep your fingers crossed for me!

I got an email yesterday from a book publisher. The editor was writing to see if I were interested in doing a book. :) I think I will, but there are more details to be discussed, of course. And I'll probably have to sign a confidentiality agreement which would preclude my further discussion of all of this. I will let you know if I do get the gig!

John and I did some shopping today and I was looking for a watch with a movable bezel. I had no joy in my search, but we did have a good time with the crowds. ;)

I went to Harold & Kathy's, where nearly the whole "Rodeo Drive" neighborhood was enjoying cocktails and snacks. Then most of us went to the movie at the clubhouse -- Hairspray. It was funny and good and I enjoyed it.

I spent the rest of my Friday evening paying bills with my online bill paying while watching HGTV. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy Thursday

Today was a really fun day. I started with an early walk in the Pantano River Park. I rode around the park a few times on my new bike, pausing to talk to people I know, and I always love doing that. I took my trash and recycling. I did not vacuum my house. I did not work on the computer. I did not do laundry.

This afternoon, I did more riding around, this time getting the mail. There was a note that I had a package at the gate! So I grabbed my backpack (since I don't have baskets for my bike yet) and rode up to the gate. JoAnn was there, and told me that George had already taken my package to deliver to me!

I stopped and talked to Debbie and Richard, a couple of self-described hippies, who were parked on Entrada, near where Michael and I were our first time here. (It feels funny to talk to people who never knew Michael. I feel like I have to tell them everything about him, since they didn't know him.) By the time I got home, my package was on my deck!

And, before I could even open the package, it was time for me to get ready to go!
We sort of dressed up a bit to go to the dinner/theater. Rob, Ione, Harold, Kathy, Vicky, Earl, and I went to the Gaslight Theater where they were doing Scrooge, along with another musical comedy production about a redneck Christmas. We had pizza and ice cream, and we laughed and laughed!

Oh, and did I mention that we had a high of 77 today? (That is 11° above normal.)

I didn't get my expected look at my site plan today, because the park owner didn't make it to town. I'm hoping for tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hiking up Tanque Verde Ridge

I have always loved hiking, and hiking the Tanque Verde Ridge trail has always been challenging, but fun. Today, though, it was less fun because the leader of our group went too fast. I'm not famous for being very strong, but I can do a difficult hike if I do it with "slow and steady" pacing.

I'm going to keep hiking, but I think that I'll go on my own hikes or with friends, and not try to fit myself into the club's pace. There. I feel better now.

So what I did today was to stop about 15 minutes before I'd have gotten to the dome (where everyone else had lunch and then turned back). Then I turned back, babying my knees down the hill. And my knees didn't hurt then or now. So yay, me!

It was great to talk to Dave today after I got back from hiking. No matter how disturbed I am by whatever happens, Dave always understands and lets me talk. :)

Hey! I got a bike! George had a bike that he didn't want or need and he gave it to me! It's blue and one-speed, coaster brakes, and it'll be perfect for running around the park to get mail, etc.. I wonder if a person has to wear a helmet when riding a one-speed bike with coaster brakes? I don't think so. I never wore a helmet the last time I rode a blue one-speed with coaster brakes! (Annette, remember the bike hikes to Clinton Falls?) I think that I'll have baskets put on and write my name on the bike with pink nail polish.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Errand Day

After staying up last night till about 2am, I got up relatively early today to go and have breakfast with Leatha and Bob at the Good Egg. Yum! I've discovered that I go nuts for their pancakes!

Today I did a bunch of business and errands. I even combined my walk with errands, going to pay my electric bill and mail a letter (at the gate house 1/2 mile from my cottage) and going to PetSmart with Maddy (another mile from the gate house). I finished my walk with some ups and downs on the roads through the park. The weird thing about this walk is that Dave was in his car and didn't want to talk, so I had only Maddy to talk with.

I took Maddy home and then went to the clubhouse. I had to tell BJ that I'd decided NOT to sell my Garmin (to upgrade to the newest model) right now. She was fine with that. I also turned in my site plan for the improvements that I am hoping to make in my landscaping.

I went then to get some things at Ace and Wal*mart. I got a shutoff for my shower head to save hot water. And I got some caulk to do some little trimming around the joints between the horizontals and verticals in the cottage.

And I went and got one of those air brush things that Lynell suggested! YAY! Tomorrow I get to try it out and I'm stoked.

I served leftover bbq beef brisket on cinnamon raisin bread for supper, and it was surprisingly delicious! The raisins and cinnamon provided a delightful counterbalance to the spicy beef, and the textures combined to create interest and excitement.... Well, ok, so it wasn't the best, but I did use the leftovers!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunny Sunday

What a beautiful day it was today! I awoke just before the sun rose, to see tiny orange-bottomed and purple-topped clouds in the east. Tucson often supplies us with some clouds in the early morning and late afternoon, just for the purpose of giving us a pretty sunrise and sunset.

It was chilly for my early-morning walk, but I did it. I've been enjoying walking at the Pantano River Park, particularly after it rains, because it's cleaner and drier there than other places.

After my walk, I picked up my friend John and we went to the Outdoor Patio and Spa Show. On the way there, I stopped for gas -- easy errand, right?

I started the fuel going in and then checked my oil. It was fine. I closed the hood and, just then, a man comes up and yells, "Ma'am! your gas!" and, to my horror, the gas was pumping itself down the side of my car and all over the pavement! The pump had not shut off!

The fellow kindly stopped the pump, as if by some manly instinct. He and his wife then guided me in to tell the attendant, and advised me to get a free car wash, since there was now gas all over the side of my car.

Once I realized that the car would not burst into flames, all was cool. I actually had needed a car wash anyway, since the rain, and the $5 value more than made up for the extra gas I paid to have pumped onto the asphalt. The downside was that we had to wait while 3 others got their cars washed before us, but that was easy. The whole affair did make an exciting beginning to our adventure!

The outdoors show was much less exciting. There were spas, to be sure, but there were no fancy paved patios, no clever desert landscaping, and no tiles to be seen. I did enjoy looking at a treadmill-style pool which has rapidly moving water, and you can swim in it without going anywhere. I always thought that those would be quite the thing. $30K for this one with stereo system, a light show, and seats to relax in after a workout.

So we looked at each other and decided to go over to the Sonoran Desert Museum. I have a membership there, and a few extra Guest Passes, so we were off! We had a nice time, but the javelinas were nowhere to be found. :( We had lunch at the Ironwood Terrace.

I took a few pictures there. Here's one of John with a flowering agave. These plants live for many years before sending up one of these massive flowering spires. After the spire is up and its seeds are spent, the plant dies:

Here's the flower part of the agave:

And here is a palo verde leaf. I love this shot and think it would make a pretty painting, for when I decide to get creative again. :)

And here, at long last, is a photo of my new hair. This was actually taken at the salon. While I got some pics today, the midday sun was not as flattering as salon lighting. ;)

Here is a "before" photo of my cottage. This is the front of the cottage, where I'm going to be putting in the walled patio faced in tile. This is a north-facing patio, and it faces the Catalina mountains.