Bittersweet

El Mirage, Arizona

We had an impromptu, leisurely, and lovely visit with Dean and Lil last night.

As we ate a scrumptious dinner, we were rewarded with the loveliest sunset I’ve ever seen…

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While the desert  sunset was amazing, even more awesome was visiting with our wonderful friends again.

Felt like being home again like all those years we were next door neighbors.

Very bittersweet to feel such love at the same time as much sadness because we can’t do it more often.

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FitBit Fanatic

El Mirage, Arizona

Like bazillions is other people, I recently bought/received a FitBit.

I’m using it for motivation to move more and hopefully lose weight.

As of now, I’m moving more, but apparently part of my movement is toward the refrigerator because I’m not losing weight. 🙂

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It has been fascinating to see how many steps and miles I put on my FitBit on a given day.

A goal of at least 10,000 steps isn’t too hard to reach if I take Sophie for a couple of extra long walks each day.

Playing pickleball adds steps exponentially. The other day I had over 7.5 miles logged during nine games played. And then I crashed… 🙂

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My highest daily total: 21,014 for 9.49 miles. My lowest: 4,399 for 1.99 miles.

Carol recently had the flu and logged a whopping 700 steps on a sick day. One of these days, I’m go to see how low I can go. 🙂

I have no idea how accurate my FitBit is, but for a data geek like me it’s a lot of fun…

For those of you who are FitBit fanatics like I am, you might want to read this tongue-in-cheek essay in The New Yorker by David Sedaris: Stepping Out. (It’s long, but it’s hilarious!)

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Dorothy’s Shoes

El Mirage, Arizona

Remember this scene towards the end of The Wizard of Oz?

The tethers that hold the balloon in place are broken, and the wizard sails away in his balloon without Dorothy.

Once more, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, comes to the rescue in her shiny pink bubble.   Dorothy explains to her that the wizard was going to take her home, but that he is gone, and she will never be able to get back to Kansas.  That’s when Glinda points with her wand to the ruby slippers, which have been on Dorothy’s feet the whole time she’s been in Oz.

“You had the power all along, my dear,” she tells Dorothy.

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The shoes that Dorothy had taken from the wicked witch’s sister had the power to take her home whenever she wanted…

Recently I found out that I was like Dorothy. I had the power to connect both of us all along to the Internet at the same time, but I had no idea until a tech wizard at Walmart told me.

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Last week I went to Wal-Mart to look into a Wi-Fi hotspot and talked with a wonderful salesman. I didn’t have my phone with me, but he could tell what type of Verizon plan I had based on how much I paid per month for a specific amount of data.

Turns out that my cell phone and plan have the power to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot and will allow other devices to connect to the Internet through it via tethering.

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So, like Dorothy I had the power all along.

Well, actually my phone and plan had the power all along.

I just needed to hit the right buttons and throw some money at the problem. 🙂

Illumination

El Mirage, Arizona

Wow! Saw some again last night:

Illuminating and decorative lights projected against an RV, trees, cacti, streets, patios. . .

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To learn more about them, I did a  Google search for “illuminating and decorative lights”. Sounded good to me because I had no idea who makes them or what they are called.

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Since coming to Phoenix, I have seen different patterns in blue, green, and red.

The patterns rotate and appear to dance across whatever they are projected on.

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There’s a small projecter that can send the pattern up to about 25′ square before they lose clarity.

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There are a couple of companies I have discovered that make lights that do this including SparkleMagic and BlissLights.

I still need to do some research on where and what to buy, but I know this is one of the first things I’ll buy when we get a home again especially if we buy a place with large trees. I’d use it throughout the year.

Here’s a video from one of the companies that shows how they work:

Mr. Christ

El Mirage, Arizona

Yesterday Carol and I played in a pickleball tournament together.

We had a blast! Won two matches; lost two. Met some wonderful people that I’d love to go to lunch with, and one or two I’d rather not.

Setting the scene for the rest of this post…

There’s a Netflix show called “Orange is the New Black.”

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It’s about a group of women in prison.

Piper, the main character, was being bullied by Pennsatucky who is a religious zealot.

Pennsatucky forces Piper to pray an apology for her wrong doings. Pennsatucky watches Piper closely because she knows Piper has no relationship with God.

Piper: Dear Jesus… 

Pennsatucky: That’s awfully familiar for somebody that doesn’t give Him the time of day. 

Piper: Um… Dear Mr. Christ? 

Pennsatucky nods her approval for the change in greeting. 

Piper: Dear Mr. Christ…  

I laughed and laughed when I heard that. 🙂

Back to today’s post…

Carol posted this picture of us on Facebook.

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I was shocked at how old we looked and commented, “Jesus Christ! I can’t believe how old we look, Carol.”

Carol, who knows my lack of religious connection with Jesus responded, “That’s Mr. Christ to you, Kathy.”

I’m in Love with Simon

El Mirage, Arizona

There’s a new man in my life, and his name is Simon.

I just met him for the first time yesterday, but it was love at first sight! At least on my side…

Here’s a picture of Simon.

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Simon is “The Perfect, Portable, Practical Pickleball Partner”. (If you remove “Pickleball” from the tag line, Simon sounds like a vibrator. 🙂 )

Carol and I went to a training at our resort yesterday and were introduced to Simon for specific practice drills.

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What a blast!

Simon is the best! He pitches lobs, dinks, and drops to us so we can perfect our shots.

I felt like a nearly professional athlete as I played against Simon.

Too much fun!

What Number Are You?

El Mirage, Arizona

There is a lot of “round robin” pickleball play at this resort.

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What that means is that we are all assigned a number and then paired off with different partners to play different teams for each game.

Round robins are a great way to get lots of varied play, but they can get a bit confusing because we have to match up with our different playing partners and opponents.

We are continually asking each other, “What number are you?”

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That reminds me of a true story of when Melissa was babysitting our friends’ child Teddy…

Teddy grew up on a dairy ranch and loved everything to do with the cows and ranching, so much so that it was hard for him to go school. He’d rather have been at home with the cows than wasting time at school.

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Teddy hated kindergarten so much that he ran to the chain link fence, clung to it, and screamed, “Don’t leave me here!” after his mother dropped him off each morning.

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When Melissa was babysitting him, they were talking about school.

Teddy asked Melissa, “What number are you?”

“What?” Melissa asked, unsure what he meant.

“What number are you?” Teddy repeated. “You know, I’m a zero. Next year, I’ll be a one. What number are you?”

Finally Melissa realized that Teddy was asking what grade she was in.

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“Oh,” she said, “I’m a ten,” indicating that she was a sophomore in tenth grade. “Next year, I’ll be an eleven, and then the year after I’ll finally be a twelve.”

Teddy looked at Melissa with a horrified look and wailed, “You mean it goes ALL the way to TWELVE?”

PS I’m happy to report that Teddy not only made it through twelve, he also complete college and is working with his beloved cows as a dairy farmer. 🙂

What the Duck?

El Mirage, Arizona

It rained yesterday.

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No, not that much. 🙂

But enough to make people crabby; especially snow birds who come to the area to escape any semblance of winter weather.

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I, of course, loved it. I had just finished playing two hours of pickleball when it started.

Thirty sprinkles turned into a downpour within minutes.

I helped pick up equipment and was drenched immediately.

I slowly started riding my bike back home so that I could enjoy it.  One of the other players stopped to tell me how awful the rain was.

I told her that I actually liked it.

She said, “Then move to Oregon! That’s why we’re called The Ducks!

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Not sure how much of her anger was at the rain and how much was disappointment over the college football national championship. 🙂

A Tale of Two Resorts

El Mirage, Arizona

We are at this resort in El Mirage for another 18 days before we return to the resort in Gold Canyon for the month of February.

Both resorts are owned by Roberts Resorts.

bannerlogoThey own several resorts in several states, but we’ve only stayed at these two.

We’ve heard through the rumor mill that each one of these two resorts were ‘given’ to two different Roberts sons.

We have no clue if that’s true, but we’re do know that the resorts are very different in environment, culture, and operations.

Pueblo El Mirage (PEM) is nearly twice the size of Gold Canyon (GC). PEM is more centrally located near more subdivisions and communities.

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But surprisingly GC is closer to our favorite shopping.

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PEM heavily relies on volunteers to ‘monitor’ various activity centers. For example, the computer lab is opened limited hours and you can only use the lab if someone’s there to watch you.

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At GC, the computer lab is open from six in the morning to ten at night. And they apparently trust their residents because there’s no watch dog.

There are lots of activities at both resorts, but GC has more events that are for the community at large. Every Tuesday there’s a hot dog lunch that’s only $3.50 for a Costco-like hot dog, chips, and a soft drink.

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And Friday’s The Buzz is well attended because free coffee and donuts are provided. The manager is brilliant to offer it because resort news is reported during the event as we all munch away… Sure, sometimes we have to listen to a short pitch from an insurance salesman who sponsors the event, but that’s a small price to pay for an apple fritter. 🙂

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We’ve enjoyed our stay at PEM because we’ve been close to our great friends Dean and Lil while they are enjoying their stay in the Valley of the Sun. We would have had to drive 70+ miles to visit them had we stayed at GC.

Our travels this year are helping us figure out what we like. And staying at two very different resorts is helping us figure that out even more.

While we’re very glad we stayed at the two different resorts, we’ve decided that if we come back to Arizona next winter (AFTER CHRISTMAS), we well be staying in Gold Canyon.

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We like the community and activities, we love hiking in the Superstition Mountains, and I’m hoping to score a cabinet in the sewing room so I can quilt lots!

Best Weekend of the Year

El Mirage, Arizona

The second weekend of January is the best weekend of the year…

At least it is for professional football fanatics like me.

There are only four games, but those four games are usually very high quality games because they are theoretically the best eight teams of the year.

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This weekend’s games were all good, very good. No big blowouts. Very few controversial calls.

I don’t really care who wins or loses. I just like for everyone to play well. (Yep, I’m a sports Pollyanna.)

And they did, so that’s what made this weekend’s football so great!