Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fun Day!

And yes, it was fun! The day began with the parade. Jack and I, along with 20 others, were dressed up to hike, and we represented the Hiking Club. The parade took us all around the Village, and we had a very good time waving at people and hiking around in circles or serpentine patterns.

After the parade, we went to claim our coffee and donuts. Those of us who were early enough got apple fritters!

After a little time with email, we were back to the clubhouse where there were games. These were games like ring toss, bean bag toss, basketball toss, dart toss... do I see a pattern here? LOL .. but there were other games too. Our favorite one was the blind driver game. We were put into a golf cart and the driver was blindfolded. The passenger had to guide the driver around, using just voice commands. Here are Jane and Chuck getting set to go. Lois and Ted are helping them to get set up:

As a driver, I did not do very well, because Jack kept saying, "Turn this way," or "straighten it out." Of course, being blindfolded, I didn't know "this way" from "that way," and "straighten it out" was equally meaningless. Jack did better as a driver, though. ;)

Lunch was hotdogs and chips or potato salad and soda pop, all for $3 or $4 per person. We enjoyed that.

Next, we got to listen and sing along with Bright and Childers, half of my favorite local Tucson band, None too Soon. They did some of my favorite songs. Loved it!

We went home and rested a bit before we got ready to go out to dinner with a large group at Li'l Abner's, way over on the northwest side of town. I ordered ribs, and Jack ordered a T-bone, rare. When my ribs arrived, they were woody, brawny, overcooked. They offered to remake them for me, and I agreed. Time passed. Way too much time passed.

Finally, about the time that everyone else was done eating, I got my food. Good ribs, but.. puhleeze! Then, when they brought the bill, they confused mine with another couple's and it took them another 10 minutes to clear that up. Sheesh. I was not enchanted. They added 18% tip to the bill, and the total for us was over $70. Double-sheesh. At least it was lots of fun to be out with nice people. We sat with Chuck & Jane, Jan & Gary, and Donna and Al... and the other 12 people too. ;)

The cool thing is that this place had a great trio playing western music. Some was real western music -- cowboy music, Western Swing -- Bob Wills. That part of the evening was terrific. This guy said that they had played there at this restaurant every Friday and Saturday for 50 years!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Beef Barley Soup

This soup was great and was a huge hit at our church Soup Supper a couple of weeks ago. One of you wrote to me for this recipe so here it is. This has been slightly changed from a recipe that we found in Taste of Home:

Beef Barley Soup
(12 servings)

Cook till meat is cooked through. Then drain:

1.3 lb ground beef
1 chopped onion
3 stalks celery, sliced

Add all of these:

3 cans (10.5 oz ea) condensed beef consomme
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can ( 28 oz) diced tomatoes
4 carrots, sliced
2 C water
1/2 C medium pearl barley

Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours.

Enjoy this! We did!

This day was good for us. We began it with a breakfast of cereal with strawberries, assembled our laundry, and took it over to the laundry room. After we started it, we went to the "Show and Tell" in the Fiesta Room. This is an event featuring the arts and crafts of some very talented and busy people here in our Village. I was particularly intrigued by the turned wooden bowls, but we escaped without buying anything.

We finished the laundry and got it home and put away. Then we worked on plans for the spice rack that we're building into one of our very small cabinets in the kitchen. We went to Lowe's and looked at materials and left there with some neat little wire racks and wood to put it all together. We'd have the job done, except that the wood shop is closed, and .. they can't get the lock unlocked! I'll have photos when we have something photographable.

Then tonight, we went over to John's, where his wife MaryAnn fixed us all a fabulous dinner of chicken parmesan, spaghetti, salad, and strawberry shortcake. Yummy! Before dinner, we had margaritas and beer, and a nice Riesling went with dinner. Then we all watched "Click." I'd loved the movie before and we all loved it this time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hunting & Gathering

Today was our errand day, punctuated by park things that we had to do. We began by going over to the west side, where we found Cracker Barrel and went in for breakfast. To my short-lived delight, they had crisp new paper menus for us. Why new? Well, probably a price increase, which I didn't notice. What I did notice, however, is that their syrup, previously described as 100% pure maple syrup, is now described as "natural syrup."

What? I loved their pure maple syrup! While it was my niece Michelle who originally got me into real maple syrup, it was Cracker Barrel which fed my new passion. And now I just won't even eat that Log Cabin stuff that every other restaurant (and now Cracker Barrel pushes. *sigh* I got a muffin and fried apples. I'll bring my own syrup from now on, if we decide to go back.

While we were over on the far northwest side, we went to Woodcraft to pick up a 12" drawer slide, so that Jack and I can make a spice slide-out for the kitchen. Our spice cupboard now is .. uh.. ridiculous. I'll come up with photos when there's something worth photographing.

We got back to the east side in time for Harold's ice cream party by the pool -- great ice cream and awesome chocolate sauce. I had the cherry chocolate chip ice cream and the Hershey's Special Dark syrup. Yum!

Next it was off to the mall and to Wal*Mart. Then ... zoom back to the park for Foto Fun. Then ... out we went again to dinner and then to Fry's for groceries and gasoline. And now it's almost 10 pm! LOL how do people have time to go to work?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Busy Days

Yesterday was hiking day and 7 of us went to Bear Canyon. That's a pretty mellow hike which, while 7 miles long, has little elevation gain and beautiful scenery. The flowers were blooming, and we even saw some cacti with blooms!

There was water in the Seven Falls, and the stream through the canyon was flowing powerfully.

Look at this cute little fellow we encountered on a rock. He was just about 5" long:

I did fine with the hike, though my ankle was quite sore after our lunch break.

Today we got started early (for me) with working on the Entertainers' costume shed. Along with John, Ken, and Chuck, we built a 14' rack with hanging bars and a shelf. We also drywalled over an unused window and reworked the lighting that was in there. I had fun with it, making myself useful with running back and forth for tools and doing two Lowe's errands. I also got to do some measuring and marking. Hey.. with all those guys, did you really think that they'd let me work with power tools? ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

A bit cooler

Today brought a welcome change in our weather, with highs in the upper 60's and a sweet breeze. Not a cloud marred the sky, making the "severe clear" forecast come true!

This morning, we went to Health Nuts, where we discussed getting better sleep. It was interesting!

Then I went out to lunch with Julie while Jack went bike riding to and around Saguaro East. He loves the sort of almost competitive riding that the real power riders of the park like to do, so it was right up his alley. Me.. I like to ride my bike but not drive it like a damned car. If I'm going to ride, I don't want to kill myself either with cardiovascular workout or in traffic. Anyway, he loved it and I loved my lunch with Julie. We went to Sweet Tomatoes, one of my favorite places!

Tonight for dinner, I made a delicious chicken curry which I served over rice. We walked over to Fry's earlier to get broccoli, golden raisins, and green onions for it. Yummy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chihuly Exhibit in Phoenix

The Chihuly Glass Exhibit in Phoenix was awesome! This is a display at the Botanical Gardens, and the glass sculptures are interspersed among the plants. Here are some photos that I took of the exhibit and of the gardens in general:

This frog was probably 7" long, not counting his legs:

Here's Jack:

I just love the way cacti bloom. I wonder if I will ever get used to seeing these:

We visited the Butterfly Pavillion too:

Did you know that the French word for butterfly is papillon? And the Spanish word for butterfly is maricopa? I think that both of those names are prettier than "butterfly."

I love your comments on my photos! Tell me what kinds of pics you like. And tell me which ones you think could be better.