April 2009
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The first of the month brought us a new microwave/convection oven.  Our old one had quit working in February and had been repaired.  But six weeks later it quit once again.  At that point we decided to invest our money in a new one.  We found the updated version of our old model for sale at Home Depot but learned that none of the local appliance dealers would install anything in an RV.  Fortunately, Tom was able to find an RV service tech that was willing to do the job....if Tom would do the preliminary work and be there to help.  So, Tom dismantled the cabinet above the oven to get at the air-vent, we had the new oven delivered and unpacked and when the service tech arrived, they removed the old oven and installed the new one on the same bracket.  It was definitely a "two-man job" and they had a few 'hairy moments' but they got the job done in short order.  Looks like we had to start cooking at home again!      There are no photos of this adventure because Mary (the photographer)  had managed to pull some muscles in her back and spent the better part of two weeks laying on the bed - not caring much about what else was going on.   (She's all better now, though.)

Our friends, Nancy and Rex Wilsen, invited us to dinner at their home in Sun Lakes one evening.  We went up early and Nancy took us to visit the "Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and Native American Art."  The gallery is located at the corporate headquarters of the Bashas grocery chain in Chandler, AZ and is actually the private collection of artifacts assembled by the current president and chairman of the business, Eddie Basha, Jr.   The gallery is open to the public and there is no admission charge......and what a wonderful place it is!   There is an extensive collection of Native American hand made baskets, intricate Katsinas, jewelry, fetishes, and seed pots as well as paintings, drawings and sculptures.  After our wonderful 'field trip,' we had a tasty dinner and enjoyed our visit with Nancy and Rex.  They will be heading back to their summer place in Lakeside/Marblehead, Ohio within a couple weeks.
 
 

Basha's collection of baskets were mostly made in the late 1800's and early 1900's by the Pima, Apache and Yavapai tribes.  Initially, each was was woven for a specific purpose.
These Katsinas are intricately carved figures representing various "Spirit Gods" of the Hopi.
A visit with Rex and Nancy Wilsen is always fun for us!  It's great to catch up on news of our kids - who went to school together - and mutual friends and neighbors from our old hometown and our Arizona surroundings.

A mass exodus from Palm Creek took place at the first of the month and it has been pretty quiet on our street.  One morning, hearing the noise of what sounded like an RV,  Mary looked out the window to see one of our neighbors, who had left Palm Creek in late March, returning to their spot.  They had been to Yuma for some service work and had gone on a week-long fishing trip but when they looked at the weather in Oregon (cold and wet)  they decided to change their plans of going home, and return to Palm Creek for another week or so.   We were glad to see them!

It was a smaller group than our usual gatherings, but those of us remaining in the neighborhood got together for a delightful Easter dinner.   The weather was perfect and we sat outside well into the evening.  Our host, Tedd Duncan, was still feeling pretty good about the "hole-in-one" he had gotten on Thursday when the PC group played at Robson Ranch.  And, lo and behold, he did it again on the same exact hole, two weeks later.  Way to go, Tedd!
 
 

Connie and Dennis cooked the ham.  It looked and smelled so good, we had to take a photo before 
we ate it!
A smaller population in the neighborhood made for a more "intimate" Easter dinner...just one table and a delicious, relaxing meal.
Connie and Dennis Shafer were looking forward to their trip to Hawaii in a few days.
Bob and Linda Kanable passed up snow and rain in Oregon to come back and join us for a warm and sunny Easter.
"Ranger One", our neighbor Bob Daniel, always adds humor to our gatherings.
Mary and Tedd Duncan were our gracious hosts once again. (They have the largest shady patio!)  Tedd
can be  proud of his two "hole-in-one" efforts...pretty good recovery from his hip-replacement surgery
last October!!
 
We were getting in plenty of golf and tennis and enjoying the gorgeous weather and had quite a time with our schedule ... but we arranged a time to go out to Apache Junction, AZ , east of Phoenix and Mesa, to get together with Dick and Nancy Maxwell, friends from our Michigan Bounder days.   They had stayed in Casa Grande for several weeks in March and while out exploring the area decided to purchase a "park model" at a park in Apache Junction.  It came completely and totally furnished, so they were able to park their RV right next door and move into their new home.  They also bought a shiny new ATV so that they can take advantage of the easy access to the desert at the foot of the Superstition Mountains right at the back of their park.  The ATV holds four passengers and we thoroughly enjoyed several hours riding the trails, taking in views of the majestic mountains, blooming  cactus, a little wildlife and some Indian petroglyphs.  They have headed back to Michigan now, but we hope to repeat the fun next season.
 
 
Just as we were ready to head out into the desert, we realized that the house keys and ATV keys were all locked inside the house.  Dick and Tom removed the bedroom window, got the keys and we were off!
Dick drove the four-seater ATV on just a few of the many trails on BLM land between their RV park and Superstition Mountain.  We were safely belted in and the trails are pretty smooth.
We always enjoy the peace, quiet and gorgeous vistas in the desert...creosote bushes, prickly pear and saguaro cactus and mountains.
The cactus were in bloom.  There were many varieties and colors.  This is a "cholla."   We advise "look but don't touch."
We were on the lookout for wildlife...but all we saw were some range cattle.

After our visit with the Maxwells we stopped to visit with Tom's cousin, Joann Blair, and her husband Don, who live nearby.  Somehow, we hadn't gotten up to see them all this season, so it was a good idea to stop and catch up.  We enjoyed seeing their place - new to them since we last got together - and hope to see them more often next winter.
 
 

Don enjoys doing stained glass projects.....this is his latest, soon to be hanging in their living room...a beauty!
Great smiles from a great visit.....Tom, Joann and Don.

 

Meanwhile, 'back-at-the-ranch,' more and more people were pulling out, our neighborhood "happy hours" were getting quite small, and we were beginning to get our plans together and working down our "to do" list.   We had a few more sessions at our volunteer jobs as a "starter" at the golf course and working in the Activities office, but gave those up as we spent most of our shift reading a book.  There are about 400 occupied units (out of 1850) right now.   We also continued playing cards on Tuesday evenings with our buddies Elaine and Jeff Spencer.  The weather has been absolutely wonderful and we "shuddered' every time we heard from acquaintances who have returned to snow, rain and cold in Alberta, Minnesota, Washington and South Dakota, British Columbia and Oregon.   As it now stands, we plan to leave Palm Creek on May 11 and head east........so stay tuned!
 
 

Taking cleaning to a higher level....Tom scrubbed down the roof and awnings. 
Cactus bloom for only a very short time.  These unusual cactus usually bloom after most of the Palm Creek residents have left for the summer and I managed to ride past one day while there were still a few blossom left.