December 2012
As you might guess, December brought a whirlwind of activity at Palm Creek.  We had all the usual things on our schedule, but the coming of the Christmas holidays brought a
celebration of some sort or other to many of our gatherings, plus several groups invited us to a special get together.       To get us started on the Christmas Spirit, Mary attended
a luncheon for all of the Activities Office volunteer workers on December 1st.   That same evening we were off to downtown Casa Grande to attend the annual Electric Light
Christmas Parade.  There were about 85 entries in the parade and the float from Palm Creek was awarded the second place ribbon in the "People's Choice" category.  We picked
up a "pizza-to-go" and had a picnic supper on the curb while we watched (while wearing our shorts and t-shirts!)
Santa arrived on a fire engine disguised as a sleigh....
pulled by the firemen dressed as reindeer.
Our neighbors at Mission Royale honored the 100th birthday
of the State of Arizona on their float.
The Activities Office Volunteers celebrated with lunch.
The palm trees around the pool are decked out in lights.
Our neighbor Mary Duncan built a reindeer for neighbor
Peter Nichita's patio holiday decorations.
Aside from our normal tennis, golf, bridge and volunteer activities, we attended a seminar designed to teach "us old people" how to better navigate Facebook, spent an
evening playing "Pegs and Jokers" with a lively group of friends, gathered with our neighborhood for an "indoor Happy Hour" and chicken dinner,  and went to a "grand
re-opening" of the Palm Creek Tennis Center.  Our "Hosts and Rangers" volunteers and spouses were invited to a holiday dinner and Mary's sewing group had a holiday
buffet.  Tom's bridge group invited non-playing spouses to join them for dinner and then had them perform a Christmas song and asked them to leave so the card games
could begin :-).......all fun occasions.  On a "day-trip" we attended an open house at a local alpaca farm and enjoyed learning about the animals and how they are cared for here
in the desert.
The Alpacas ate carrots from our hand.  And we learned that the males
and females are kept in separate pens except at breeding time.
The females are pregnant for a year before delivering a baby.  The
animals are sheered in the spring and kept in misted pens in the
summer in Arizona.
OK, folks, don't be afraid to click here!  Now we're all "friends."
We enjoyed an evening playing Pegs and Jokers that we'd learned a few
years ago in Texas.
Wouldn't you know...the first cold winter day occurred when we were
scheduled to have the grand re-opening of the Tennis
Center...Plan B...lunch inside.
Tom's tennis buddy, Gar, followed the dress code by wearing navy and
white but adapted for the weather.
We shared our table at the Hosts and Rangers dinner with neighbors,
Harry and Marilou and friends, Jeff and Elaine.
The Palm Creek Sewing Guild has some great cooks as well as talented
quilters...the buffet was a long one.
Our friend Barb got all the non-playing spouses up to sing... then asked
us to move along so we wouldn't disturb the card games.
Before we knew it, it was time for Christmas.  We packed up the car and drove to Abilene, Texas...making the 850 mile trip in about 13 hours.  The next day, our son Reid and
Mary's mom flew in from Michigan and we all gathered at the home of our daughter Ann, her husband, Matt and our three granddaughters (and dog, Sibby, too)  It was the first
Christmas in Matt and Ann's newly built home and we enjoyed having the whole family together.  There was lots to eat and lots of card and game playing.  Luckily choosing the
best weather day of our visit, Tom, Reid and Matt enjoyed an afternoon of golf while the ladies did some baking and wrapping.
Coffey and Great-Grandma made the cinnamon rolls.
Tom made the "overnight French toast"
Juicing a bushel of oranges was a family project...and we were ready for
Christmas breakfast.
Coffey, Merrick and Close left food for the reindeer on the lawn, as well as
cookies and milk for Santa.
Coffey read us the traditional "Night Before Christmas."
We were all ready for Santa to come.
A gift bag made a cute hat
for Close.
Merrick, Coffey and Close were pretty happy with their "loot."
We had quite a few rounds of a game called "Awkward Family
Photos" thanks to Uncle Reid.
And, there were plenty of card and domino games.
We had a great time being together with the whole family.  That happens far less often than we would like and it would be nice to extend the family circle a little further, but
with us spread out across the US it just doesn't come together.  Several days after Christmas we spread out once again, with Reid and Mary's mom returning to snowy
Michigan and we headed back to Arizona with lots of fun memories.  We finished out the year 2012 with some cold (by Arizona standards) and breezy mornings and a quiet
New Year's Eve.  Here's hoping that the year 2013 brings good things to all our friends and family.
The annual family Christmas Eve photo....Tom, Mary, Matt, Great Grandma, Ann,
Close, Coffey, Merrick and Reid.
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