20/20 Hindsight

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Carol and I played in a pickleball tournament on Tuesday.


We had fun, but we didn’t play particularly well. While neither of us mind losing at all, we get pretty frustrated when we don’t play well.

And the bad thing was that we each struggled during different matches. That allowed our opponents to constantly hit to the struggling twin…

No, we didn’t pull a Serena and smash our paddles, but we did talk a lot about things we could have, should have, and would have done differently.


So yesterday we played some more games at our RV park. And as we played we realized what we had done wrong on Tuesday.

Even better we were able to put our advice to ourselves into practice…


Hindsight is always 20/20. 🙂

Awesome Arboretum

Gold Canyon, Arizona

We went for a stroll through Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park yesterday afternoon. It’s a short 30 mile drive from where we are staying.


An arboretum is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants intended at least partly for scientific study.

This arboretum focuses on desert plants and trees with a wide variety of flora from the U.S., Mexico, South America, and Australia.

We saw lots of hummingbirds and other birds. We think the hummers are Costa’s Hummingbirds. You can just see one eating in the picture below.


We saw too many varieties of cacti to count. They are, amazing but their needles scare me.


Lots of gum and eucalyptus trees including Mr. Big who was planted in 1926 and is HUGE!



There were lots of stunning view points along the trails.




The trails have sponsored benches. Love the signs…



The trails were fun, and I wondered if the snake signage was effective at keeping people on the trails…



We saw several Agave americana, also known as Century Plants. They don’t really live 100 years. Generally they live 10 to 30 years, and they die right after their first and only bloom.


A labyrinth kept Sophie entertained.


There are lots of shady spots with seats where it would be great to enjoy some dolce far niente.


A good time was had by all!


Gold Canyon, Arizona

Over the last two days, Carol and I have gone grocery shopping in two different stores: Winco and Sprouts.

We had never been to Sprouts Farmers Market. Mona, our RV back yard neighbor, recommended it. Other than Mona’s recommendation, we knew nothing about it.


Think a hybrid cross between Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Prices ranged between both of those stores as well.

I did buy a couple of things including aromatherapy shower tablets


and bath bomb cupcakes.


It’s a fun store to visit and shop for fun gifts, but I won’t be shopping for food there.

My favorite place to grocery shop by far is Winco. There’s no place like Winco!


Both Sprouts and Winco have bulk foods which I like to buy, and they carry many of the same items. But the prices at Winco are at least half those of Sprouts.

I love buying in bulk. Sometimes I only want a quarter cup of Jordan Almonds. And I feel so much better than buying a whole 12 ounce bag and polishing them all off… 🙂

Sore Cheeks

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Carol came down yesterday for a visit and some pickleball play. We are signed up for a tournament and will play on Tuesday.


I am also playing with Bill, a man I met at Flathead Lake in Montana. When Bill heard that I would be staying in Phoenix near his winter home, he asked me to play with him at a couple of tourneys.

He came to our resort so we could practice a bit together. I played with Bill, and Carol played with Jimmy–one of the better players here.

We had a blast! So much fun, great competition, and hundreds of calories expended.

Carol said that our cheek muscles got the most sore from all the smiling and laughing we did while playing!


Bill is by far the best player among the four of us, and he gave us all great tips and hints. By the time we were done, I felt like I had had a lesson.


And I can’t wait to practice all the things I learned next time I play!

La Dolce Far Niente

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Yesterday, during our street’s nightly “let’s watch the sun set on the Superstition Mountains” session, we all got to talking about fabulous places we have been.

Several of us mentioned the beauty, magnitude, and diversity of Yellowstone National Park.

One couple, Jan and Wayne, went just about a year ago. While Wayne had been there multiple times, primarily to fly fish, this was Jan’s first visit. Talking about her visit to the park brought tears to her eyes.

During their visit they stayed a couple of nights at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel.

Lake_Yellowstone_Hotel_(8047185425)Jan, who is Italian, talked about La Dolce Far Niente–the sweetness of doing nothing.

She sat in the sun room at the hotel and did exactly that for several hours.

With a beautiful view of Lake Yellowstone and the stunning ambiance of the room, who wouldn’t enjoy just sitting and embracing La Dolce Far Niente?


That got me thinking about how we rush so much that we forget to just enjoy moments.

So . . .

to honor Sunday, I wish you all at least part of the day enjoying . . .


The Sweetness of Doing Nothing!

Custom Therapy

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Rich and I each had a bit of customized therapy yesterday.

He washed Homer from top to bottom and had washed the Jeep the day before. He loves washing vehicles almost as much as he loves having washed vehicles. 🙂


And Sophie and I went for an extra long walk at the base of the Superstition Mountains.

Here’s a view what the foothills look like. I’m continually surprised at how green the Phoenix area is.

1113141055And the diversity of the cacti is mind boggling. As soon as we get Internet at Homer, I’m going to take some pictures around the park and label what each kind is.

1113141134There’s a bird that I can’t figure out building a nest in this cactus. Ouch! I’m hoping to see the bird while Carol’s here for a pickleball visit next week so she can tell me what it is. 1113141133In our RV park, I’ve seen lots of gila woodpeckers and bazillions of broad tailed hummingbirds. The woodpeckers are quite vocal and make amazing sounds.  (Bird photos are not mine.)gila-wpbrdtailI love to look at lichen on rocks. This lime green shows up bright here in the desert heat but in the Boise area it needs water to make it ‘bloom’. 1113141116a 1113141116And once we get Internet and Google, I’m hoping to find some horticultural pages so that I can figure out some of the flora…

1113141146This tree has the most amazing green colored bark I’ve ever seen. Stunning!


It’s a Zen Thing

Gold Canyon, Arizona

First gentle blog reader, I must apologize for yesterday’s rant. I was so cranky that I would have found fault with Mother Theresa…

I woke up to clouds yesterday morning, and thankfully I woke up in a much better mood.

1113140940So that got me thinking about why it is that the presence (and absence) of clouds affects my cerebral, emotional, spiritual, and physical state so much.

And here’s what I came up with…

Clouds make me feel sheltered and self-contained and whole. Sunshine makes me feel exposed and bombarded and disjointed.

So I’m thinking that clouds help me achieve a zen-like state.

Here’s part of the definition of zen from urban dictionary:

One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind.

When I go for a trail run in full cloud cover, I run faster and father than in full sunshine. My energy level at least doubles and sometimes triples in clouds. And that “total togetherness of body and mind” is achieved. (Well, at least as much of it as can be in a nearly 60 year old woman…)

So given the absence of clouds while we are living in The Valley of the Sun for the next two months, I need to figure out a way to achieve zen other than waiting for clouds to magically appear.


I thought about ways to come closer to zen, and here’s my daily to do list starting tomorrow:

  • Listen to music at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Meditate at least fifteen minutes per day.

I can combine the meditating and the music sometimes, but I don’t want to do it all the time because each activity will generate unique benefits.


Too Many Q-Tips

Gold Canyon, Arizona

I usually write these posts sometime during the day before they appear on the Internet. I pretend I’m writing it at one in the morning and talking about yesterday…

It’s important to note that for today’s post because I’m going to come across as cranky. And I certainly am cranky, but I don’t want you to think that I’m this cranky early in the morning. I’m not. It takes a while to get to this level.

Yesterday we got up early and went for a walk/hike just after dawn. (None of the pictures in this post are my own photos.)

unnamed It was beautiful! It was the best part of the day!

Later that morning, we went to a resort-wide meeting about the switch from MediaCom to DISH for television and Internet. There’s nothing like going through a mass technological change with a group of retired people who are change averse.

bitchangWhat a fiasco. Three hundred people mad and grumpy and scared. Random people asked questions and about every fifth question was a repeat of a previous question.

We left the meeting early after listening to a canuck state he couldn’t go with Internet for even an hour because his alarm system at home couldn’t let him know his pipes were frozen.

frozen-valveRich and I then went to Costco where all the other snowbirds in the area shop. I have a difficult time with what I call ‘solitary shoppers’–shoppers who stand in the middle of the aisle and refuse to acknowledge that they aren’t the only person in the store shopping. (I told you I was cranky!)

While we were eating a yummy Costco hotdog, I guessed that 40% of the shoppers were retired. Rich guessed at least 75%. That tells me that he was held up in aisles by ‘solitary shoppers’ more than I was. So now he’s crankier than I am.  🙂

Same situation at Wal-Mart a bit later in the day.

By now you’re probably wondering what the heck this has to do with Q-tips…

Mike, our new neighbor, told Rich that snowbirds in Florida are called Q-tips by those younger than them because all you can see in their cars as they are driving down the road is their white hair.

q tips squadI get that for the men, but 90% of the women dye their white hair. So because I’m so cranky, I’m go to start calling them Crayons!

crayons2Rich and I need a trip to the mountains to get away from both Q-tips and Crayons.

I think we will go on Friday when the conversion from MediaCom to DISH is scheduled. So look forward to a less cranky post on Saturday full of pictures of mountains, cacti, and birds. 🙂

What Brings You Comfort?

Gold Canyon, Arizonak

Our RV neighbors have decided to make this area their permanent home.

Wayne and Jan have been full timers for three years since moving from their home in Illinois. Wayne has been recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and he feels much better in the dry Arizona heat. So they are selling their rig and looking into park models.

sell-my-rv-1Jan’ s sister Linda and her husband recently decided to make the Phoenix area their only residence, so they have to pare down two residences into one.

Linda’s Michigan residence has all her special and memory filled items, and her Scottsdale residence has all southwestern-themed furniture and decorations.

SWWhile Linda likes southwestern decor, it doesn’t feel like HER home. She wants to redo this house with her things from her formerly permanent home to make it HERS.

Jan doesn’t understand Linda’s feelings; she says home is in your heart and it shouldn’t matter what you’re surrounded by.

Who’s right? Jan who lives in her heart and mind? Linda who is affected by her surroundings?

Both. Each is honoring her own wants and needs. (We’re all just different and thank goodness for that! Wouldn’t life be boring if we all wanted the same thing. 🙂 )

I’m similar to,Linda. I’m greatly affected by the colors, textures, and shapes I’m surrounded by.

For example, given a choice between these two colors, I’ll take the sage even if it costs 1000 times more. Mauve makes me physically ill, literally.

colors-1Jan’s sentimental about family photos and only packed photos and other keepsakes when they moved out of their house three years ago.

I’m like Jan, too. I packed photos. But once we move back into a house, I’m scanning them into a digital scrapbook before I toss them. I know that neither of my kids want to deal with the actual photos, but if they are available in electronic file they can peruse them when they want from the comfort of their own couches on whatever electronic wizard contraption comes down the technological highway in the next 30 years… The actual photos don’t mean anything to me; it’s more about the feelings and the memories looking at them elicit.

What brings me comfort are the textures and the colors of my surroundings combined with the ambiance of the situation, the people,  and the music that surrounds me…

I’m not overly sentimental about keepsakes, but there are a few I treasure like the Getto brand that belongs to Rich’s dad.

How about you? What brings you comfort?

Oh Mohs

Gold Canyon, Arizona

I spent yesterday morning at a doctor’s office getting a small basal cell carcinoma removed from the side of my forehead.

It was a minor procedure for the most common kind of skin cancer. The procedure, called MOHS (named after the doctor who invented it), is a micrographic surgery that most effectively removes the cancer with the least amount of invasion.

The doctor removes a section of skin and subcutaneous tissue which is then immediately tested to make sure that no cancer is at the boundaries of the removed section. If cancer is at the edge, a subsequent procedure is done and tested. This is repeated until no cancer is at the edge. The patient waits in a room until the pathology report comes back perfect.


I have no idea what my results look like because I’m all bandaged up, but I’m guessing it’s similar to this photo except my hole is further up my forehead.

recon-5The cool thing is that I might get a black eye! This depends on if the blood pools under my eye. If it does, I’ll post an update. 🙂

Here’s my face the morning after.


The bad thing is that I’m not supposed to exercise for a week. A WEEK!

I might have to locate an infrared sauna and sit in it so that I can sweat. There’s something so cleansing about a great sweat session…