Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two days to Christmas

Life is great!

Thanksgiving at Ed’s. Even though I ‘worked’ at the park on Thanksgiving morning, I enjoyed a family Thanksgiving dinner at Ed and Debby’s (brother and wife) home in Tempe, Arizona. It was delicious – and so were the leftovers they generously sent with me.

I ended November with a 6-mile hike, being the ‘tail-ender’ on one of Ranger Jim’s park events. Our destination was Apache Springs, a riparian area outside the park that is visited by local wildlife as a source of water. About 22 folks (including two well-behaved dogs) came along. Here are a couple photos I took:

In early December I spent three days at my home in Prescott Valley, including one day of snow and below-freezing nights. The weather provided lazy days for reading and puttering around the house. Cat, who usually spends time outside when we are at our “big, non-rolling” house, went out after a night of snow (just an inch or so of snow), took a couple dozen steps, looked around and came back in.

Thanks to garage sales, thrift stores and second-hand book stores, I keep supplied with a variety of books to read. And nearly all of them are non-fiction and mostly autobiographies and biographies. Recently I read “Lindbergh Alone” by Brendan Gill. The book is about Charles A. Lindbergh who is described as “shy, bold-hearted and firm of purpose” and “whose intelligence and strength of will enabled him, through a single, superb act, to become perhaps the most celebrated figure of his time.” The book includes 96 photographs, many of which have never been published before. I’m now motivated to read “The Spirit of St. Louis,” the book Lindbergh wrote after his famous New York to Paris flight in 1927.

December 10 was the park volunteer’s Christmas party – delicious food and gift exchange.

Three friends and fellow park volunteers – Essie and Richard McClosky and Carol Rayburn – and I went to the annual Phoenix Electric Christmas parade. Anticipating a cold evening, we dressed appropriately, brought chairs and blankets for warmth. Every float and entry in the hour-long parade (even the marching bands) was lit up!

The County parks headquarters decided to have a Christmas decorating competition between the parks that have an entrance station – and that includes us. The two rules were that decorating would be done by volunteers (not staff) and no park money could be spent. Volunteers pooled their creative efforts and energy to turn the entrance station into a gingerbread house, complete with gingerbread cowboys out front, and more. Check out the photos below. Our entry took second place.

The weather has been awesome! Nights in the 40s and days pushing 70; long sleeves in the morning and switching to short sleeved shirts by 9 a.m. It is great sleeping weather with at least one window open. And I have a ring-side seat for Arizona’s well-known gorgeous sunsets!

I’m finishing this at my Prescott Valley home. I made a hasty decision to uninstall the latest version of Verizon’s data card software (that gets me on the Internet) because I didn’t like it. Silly me! I thought the older version would magically appear! After a call to Verizon’s tech help (based in the USA and speaking ‘real’ English) I found out that I needed my old installation disk – which was at my home. (I since found out that I could have also downloaded the program at a WiFi hotspot.) Obviously I’m back on the Internet.

Yesterday I arrived in PV about 1 p.m. and just an hour later it was snowing – huge flakes. We only got about an inch, although Prescott got more. Tomorrow Cat and I drive back to Cave Creek Park.

I do wish you all a very Merry Christmas!