Appliance Envy

Gold Canyon, Arizona

I talked a bit about Happy Hour in a previous post. We haven’t had it in our neighborhood for a while because it’s been a bit chilly.

Well, that’s really only part of the reason. Another part is because Wayne and Jan started our neighborhood practice of “church” every evening at four o’clock to watch the effects of the sun’s setting on the Superstition Mountains. Jan loved to sit out in the street because it afforded the best view.

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But last week Jan and Wayne moved into their new permanent home–a park model  in this resort with perfect views of the Superstitions.

They’ve been busy getting moved from their 5th wheel into the park model.

Last night was the first night “the street people” met for happy hour since their move. We had a wonderful visit, laughing and telling each other great stories.

At one point, Jan mentioned that she recently bought a standing rib roast. When I asked her how she was going cook it, she smiled proudly and said, “I now have an oven.”

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That might not sound like much to you, but to those of us living in an RV it’s huge. We all have connection/microwave oven combinations. While they are okay, they are a D- compared to a standard oven for baking and roasting.

Six people turned towards Jan and said in stereo-like unison, “You have an oven?”

She smiled and nodded yes.

Debbie hesitantly asked, “Do you have a dishwasher, too?”

images (2)The rest of us sighed with appliance envy as Jan nodded yes.

Cupcakes!

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Pretty quiet here, so I thought I’d talk about Melissa’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

She and her best friend, Kassi, are baking cupcakes for friends and family. They’ve been doing it off and on for most of this year.

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But now that Melissa has HUGE medical bills to pay for her appendectomy, she and Kassi have been baking up a storm and holding bake sales at Melissa’s school.

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Over the last four weeks, they’ve baked and sold over four hundred cupcakes!

Visit their Web site: calico street cupcakes.

These aren’t just ordinary cupcakes. Yes, I’m biased because I’m the mom. But these cupcakes are incredible–in flavor sophistication and in texture!

Here are a few samples just of their seasonal offerings…

christmas-sugar-cookiechristmas sugar cookie

sweet sugar cookie cake, filled with very vanilla frosting, topped with more very vanilla frosting and christmas sprinkles

 

Candy-Cane-Cookies-and-Creamcandy cane cookies & cream

an oreo cookie on the bottom, candy cane oreo cookies & cream cake, filled with peppermint cream, topped with peppermint cookies & cream frosting

 

Cranberry-Orangecranberry orange

cranberry orange cake, filled and topped with white chocolate cream cheese frosting

 

Pumpkinpumpkin

pumpkin cake filled and topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

 

And some of their standard offerings…

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lemon cake, filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon buttercream frosting

 

blueberry-pancakeblueberry pancakes

white cake with lots of delicious blueberries, topped with maple cream cheese frosting

 

cpcaramel and peanut

white cake topped with caramel frosting, peanuts and a caramel drizzle

 

madness-squarechocolate peanut butter

rich chocolate cake, filled with peanut butter cream cheese, topped with peanut butter frosting and a chocolate drizzle

 

As you drool over these, you can see why I’m anxious to get home to my new job: Official Taste Tester!

It’s a Small World

Gold Canyon, Arizona

We’ve been in Gold Canyon since October 31, and a couple of times we’ve experienced how small the world actually is.

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Story #1

The first happened not that long after we got here.

Rich went over to the clubhouse to surf the Internet and drink coffee one morning. He noticed a guy wearing a T-shirt that said, “Neibauer Drag Racing”. 

Rich had recently met someone at a drag race in Idaho who was named Neibauer, so Rich asked the guy wearing the shirt, “Do you know the Neibauers?”

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His answer, “I AM a Neibauer!” Turns out that Wally is the racer’s uncle. Rich had met the racer and his dad in October at Firebird Raceway’s Halloween Classic.

Since then, Wally and Rich have been hiking a couple of times and attended a car show. I’ve played pickbleball with and against Wally multiple times. Wally’s a great guy, and I’m happy we’ve gotten the chance to know him.

Story #2

About three weeks after we got here, I was walking in the clubhouse to meet Rich for Tuesday hot dogs.

(Every Tuesday we can buy a hot dog, chips, and a drink for lunch at the bargain price of $2.50. It’s a fundraiser for Activities section of the RV resort.)

I heard someone call my name, “Kathy, is that you?”

Turns out that Fred, a pickleball buddy from Boise, is a long-time winter resident here. I had no idea that Fred wintered in Phoenix.

We’ve had a blast playing pickleball. Rich and Fred met for the first time, and we both met Fred’s lovely wife Hope.

That’s Fred on the left.

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 Story #3

Then yesterday afternoon, I wandered over to the pickleball courts to see if anyone was playing. Four people were playing. Two I knew already, and I met two new players.

Turns out they are from Eagle, Idaho. They are new to pickleball and new to this RV resort. In fact, they are new to wintering in Phoenix.

So we have lots in common. I’m sure we will get to know each other more while we’re all here together.

And hopefully, we’ll meet often enough for me to remember their names because I sure as heck can’t after only one meeting. 🙂

Name

 

The Fabric of Our Lives

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Rich and I went for a drive yesterday in the lovely rain to explore the area a bit south of Gold Canyon.

Wedownload (2) toured the cities of Florence and Casa Grande and drove through miles and miles of cotton fields.

I had no idea that there were so many cotton fields in Arizona, but there are. In fact, cotton is one of Arizona’s Five C’s which contribute mightily to the state’s economy. The “5 C’s” of Arizona are cattle, climate, cotton, copper and citrus.

A bit of Arizona cotton history from ArizonaExperience.org.

About 900 cotton farms produce an average total of 600,000 bales and supplied approximately $362 million in cash to the state economy in 2011. That’s enough cotton for at least one pair of jeans for every person in the United States.

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Arizona is the birth place for Pima Cotton, a long-fiber variety (known as long staple cotton) named for the Pima Indians who helped cultivate it. This crop was responsible for Arizona’s cotton boom during World War I. Extra-long fibers make it both extremely durable and luxuriously soft, thus excellent for industrial and trade goods. Once bred for its durability, today, its brand, “Supima,” is popular with designers and high-end linen manufacturers.

In 1917, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company bought land to cultivate long staple cotton for airplane tires, leading to the eventual founding of Goodyear, Arizona.

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Also from the same site, some information on how insects that target cotton are managed:

Many insects love to eat cotton plants. Historically, farmers have battled these pests, and the devastation of their crop, by spraying insecticides. Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, but too much pesticide can pollute fields and water sources.

Crop management changed when some cotton seeds were genetically modified to include Bt, a natural insecticide. This cotton actually kills boll weevils trying to feed on it, so farmers spray less.

(Fun song sung by Tex Ritter about boll weevils.)

Arizona farmers have developed another weapon in their pest-control arsenal: a moth factory. This enterprise targets the pink bollworm, a moth that lays its eggs in cotton buds and produces tiny striped worms that eat their way through the crop.

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To fight this persistent pest, agricultural specialists are taking drastic action. They are making more of them.

A 69,000 square foot warehouse located in the vicinity of Sky Harbor Airport churns out 22 million adult pink bollworm moths per day. But there is something special about these moths. A few minutes in a radiation chamber has taken away their ability to reproduce.

Of course, the moths don’t know that. When they are released on area cotton farms, they mate with naturally born adults. However, no babies are produced by these moths. The next generation of moths remains at a manageable size, ensuring the next generation of cotton.

Talk about effective birth control! 🙂

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Five Minutes

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Faced some fears yesterday and made some cold calls to two real estate offices trying to sell them felted soap.

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Actually they weren’t technically cold calls because cold calls are usually done over the phone.

But I HATE talking on the phone. The thought of cold calling over the phone can make me hyperventilate.

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So I decided to visit a few (emphasis on few) real estate offices in person.

As I drove up to the first real estate office, I was a nervous wreck.

But I gave myself a lecture and told myself that I could make it through the next five minutes.

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I survived.

And I told myself that I could make it through another five minutes at the second real estate office.

And I did.

While I didn’t sell any soap, I found out how to try to set up an appointment so that I can meet with all the agents at an office during their monthly meetings. I didn’t know that they had monthly meetings or that I could request a few minutes to pitch a sale to them.

So I consider the morning a half success even though I didn’t sell any soap.
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I harvested necessary information and I survived two five minute sessions of uncomfortableness…

Hieroglyphic Petroglyphs

Gold Canyon, Arizona

We decided yesterday morning to take a hike.

1215140921When Sophie heard us say the word “walk” early in the morning, she was suddenly wide awake. Well, awake enough to climb out from under the covers.

We decided to go on a hike called the Hieroglyphic Trail.

At a bit over three miles round trip, it’s a relatively short hike with a little less than 600 feet in total elevation gain. However, it’s very rocky in places and has a few challenging climbs.

There are actually three hikes at the trail head including the Lost Goldmine Trail. We’ll save that one for another day. (But I loved the signage enough to include it today.)

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We walked through a gate to get into the Superstition Wilderness in Tonto National Park.

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No matter what angle they are shot from, the Superstitions are simply stunning.

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Last week’s rain was just enough to germinate new growth.

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Parts of the trail were very rocky and there was an amazing amount of shrubbery considering we’re in the desert.

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Near the top of the trail, we saw lots of people studying the hieroglyphs.

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On our hike we wondered… What is the difference between a hieroglyph and a petroglyph? We had no clue, so I turned to Google.

A hieroglyph is a picture or symbol used in a system of writing.

A petroglyph is a pictogram (a pictorial symbol for a word or phrase) created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading.

So the hieroglyph is the symbol that becomes a petroglyph when it is inscribed in rock. At least that’s what I deciphered from everything I read on a Google search…

Here are some pictures of the hieroglyphic petroglyphs at the top of the trail.

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We also saw an amazing balancing rock at the top of the canyon walls.

1215141036It was a great hike!

Are You My Mother?

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Bear with me, Gentle Blog Reader, because it is going to take me a few minutes to set the scene for this post.

For one of my business classes, I had to read a book by F. Scott Fitzgerald called “The Last Tycoon”. I don’t remember much about the book other than it was about a Los Angeles-based business man who had a college-aged daughter.

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She unexpectedly saw her father on a sidewalk in New York City, but she didn’t recognize him at first because he acted and behaved so differently than she was used to. It startled her to realize that she really didn’t know her father as well as she thought she did.

On Saturday night we went to a Christmas dinner dance here at the RV resort. We had a great time visiting with wonderful people, eating delicious food, and enjoying fun music!

At one point during the evening, Debbie asked me, “Are your kids ever surprised by what you’re doing in your life right now?” My answer, “Yes!” Hers are, too. (Heck, Rich and I are surprised by what we’re doing, but that’s a subject for another post… 🙂 )

So like the Last Tycoon’s daughter, our children may not know us as well as they thought they did.

As the evening wore on, more wine was consumed. Laughter and voices grew louder and louder. Faster songs started getting more dancers than slow songs. And couples started swapping dance partners.

Debbie’s question got me to start wondering what our kids and others’ kids would think if they had attended the event. Would they have asked in disbelief: Are You My Mother (or Father)?

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Later I texted Melissa that Rich and I “just got home from a Christmas dinner-dance, and we even danced!”

Her exact response:dance

“You danced?!?!

Both of you?!?

Together?!”

It was a legitimate response. Rich and I aren’t known for our gregariousness, and I think it’s been at least two decades since we last danced.

Rose, a woman who I’ve come to know through pickleball, danced nearly every song. Most often she danced with her husband Dean, but when he wanted to rest, it didn’t matter who she danced with or even if she had a partner. She was a dancing fiend the entire night long.

The funny thing was that Rose dances a lot like Elaine Benes in Seinfeld. Not quite as dramatically, but definitely to a different drummer’s beat than the rest of us. 🙂

Rose and Dean attended the dance with Delores and Tim. Rose told me the next day that until that night, Tim hadn’t danced in over 30 years.

I asked, “Well?”

She grinned as she said, “He didn’t stand a chance! I would not let him say ‘No’…”

Tim danced and danced and danced. I wondered if Tim got to dance with Dolores or if Rose monopolized him.

I also wondered if Rose’s kids ever watched her at a party and said, “Who are you and what did you do with our mother?”

Freddy’s

Gold Canyon, Arizona

The other day we had a delicious linner (lunch + dinner) at Freddy’s.

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A while ago we had dessert for lunch there. Their specialty is frozen custard. It made for a great lunch. 🙂

“Frozen custard, for those unfamiliar with this midwestern specialty, differs from ice cream in that it is made with eggs in the cream-and-sugar base, which gives the results a particularly smooth texture. Frozen custard is much denser than soft-serve.”

I would describe as soft-serve on steroids. And I would also describe it as yummy!

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It comes in vanilla or chocolate. And you can order it plain or with a plethora of fixings. Those fixings can be placed on top or blended in similar to a Dairy Queen Blizzard only they are called Concretes at Freddy’s.

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After trying dessert for lunch, we decided to try a traditional meal for our linner.

We both had a patty melt. I ordered shoe string fries and Rich went with onion rings.

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I gave my patty melt an 8. Could have used more cheese and I like a really robust rye bread…

But the fries and the onion rings both got a 10! Crispy, firm, and flavorful.

The only bad thing was that we both were too full for a custard.

But we did get something sweet on that visit: this lovely couple sitting side-by-side as they ate their meal. ❤

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Ode to Snow

Gold Canyon, Arizona

I’m really missing snow especially with the recent huge storm along the California coast that’s dumping lots of snow in the Sierras.

Rich and I took a drive to Lake Tahoe many years ago after such a storm so I could take pictures.

These look like they’ve been Photoshopped, but they weren’t. The sun was shining through parts of the clouds and made Tahoe look like it was iced over.

It was a very special day, and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

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Cactus 101

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Sophie and I took a little walk around the RV park yesterday, and I took pictures of the many different types of cacti growing here.

I have no idea of their names, so I’m going to make names up based on their appearance…

1. Mickey + Minnie — Notice the mouse shape on the right side.

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2. Anise Seed Pod — The anise seed pod often has seven ‘arms’ just like this cactus.

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3. Old Monkey Socks — These look exactly like a bunch of bleached out monkey sock dolls .

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4. Ruffles — Because it has both ridges and waves.

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5. Fat Wrinkles — I intend to get fatter as I get older because the fat will fill up my wrinkles.

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6. Frisbee Pancakes — These are flat and damn near Frisbee-sized.

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7. Artichoke — Looks ready to peel and dip into melted garlic butter.

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8. Spike’s Hair — Reminds me of a 1980’s hair cut with lots of Bed Head gel holding it all in place.

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9. Skinny Indian Paintbrush — Same colors as the wild flower, just skinnier.

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10. Sea Anemone — Saw some of these while snorkeling in Alaska but the real ones are way more colorful.

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11. Triceratops — Ever seen these dinosaurs’ scales?

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12. Morphing Octopus — Number of arms can vary from one to twelve.

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13. Sea Urchin — Same explanation as number 10.

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14. O’ Christmas Tree — Flowers gold and silver only during December.

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15. Arizona Skin — This is what all of Arizonians’ skin looks like because it’s so bloody dry here. And the red bumps are from prickly heat rash.

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16. Cactus Wren — The Cactus Wren is a very pretty bird and has lots of stripes and speckles. 
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17. What Are You Doing? — So named because the owner of this cactus came out and grilled me about why I was taking a picture of her home.

1211141455a18. Spaghetti Al Dente — Each arm resembles a piece of uncooked spaghetti. 
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19. Sheriff Woody
 — Each arm is “Reach(ing) for the Sky” as if told to do so in Toy Story.

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20. Faux Cactus — Made out of metal and artificially colored. Too perfect for nature.121114144921. Eiffel Tower — This is growing out of the roof of a park model. We drove by this for over a month before I noticed it. 
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 22. Who Are Their Fathers? — All the babies look suspiciously different from the mother…

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