January 2009
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New Years Day dawned right on time - after our celebration the night before in Waterville, OH.  After a great breakfast with our good friends and hosts, Kathy and Dennie Dew, we were on the road....first to the Detroit airport to return our rental car and catch a plane.  In Phoenix four hours later, we were met by neighbors, Cathy and Peter Nichita.  We stopped for dinner on the way back to Casa Grande and found our "home on wheels" waiting for us.  Mary had been gone for almost 6 weeks, and Tom, two.  It felt good to be home. It didn't take long for us to get "back into the swing of things."  Once we got caught up on laundry we were off to a regular schedule of golf, tennis, bridge games and get-togethers with friends.
 
 

We're either ready for a nursing home, or it was a little chilly for some of our happy hours this month.

There had been a similar one in November, but management at Palm Creek decided that since it was a success and there were lots of new arrivals over the holidays, that another "Welcome Back Party" was in order.  We feasted on hot dogs and beer and enjoyed a sunny afternoon.  Another celebration was held for friends celebrating their 75th birthdays.  The wives threw a great party with friends and family members sharing great memories and tributes.  The tennis club had their monthly social gathering - more good food - and we made certain that our playing pals knew we were back in town and ready to join them on the courts.  We also attended a wonderful Memorial Service for one of our tennis friends, Bill Howisey, who passed away unexpectedly last summer.  Mary attended a fashion show afternoon with Marilynn Reynolds, a Bounder buddy from Pennsylvania who has arrived in the park, and we welcomed another Bounder buddy couple, Judy and Ed Lichtenberg, when they arrived from Ohio.  Closer to home, our neighborhood group decided that since we finally had all returned  to our little corner of the park, we should have a barbecue.  We fired up the grills and brought a dish to share and enjoyed catching up with everyone's news.
 
 

Glenn is one of our tennis buddies and Dave went on the Grand Canyon rafting trip with us last April.
Bean bag baseball is one of our neighborhood games.  The ladies won this time!
Peter, Tedd, Linda and Tom watched over steaks on the BBQ for our neighborhood dinner.
Connie always keeps us laughing - and always knows how to keep warm.

There were also a few "maintenance" items to be looked after.  Mary made the rounds of doctor appointments having the "annual" things taken care of.  Meanwhile, Tom supervised the work of "Miracle Touch Painting" when they arrived to take care of the "boo-boos" that we got on the driver's side of the Dutch Star last summer.  They did an excellent job over several days doing some sanding, smoothing, matching paint and applying color and clear coat.     To spice things up a little we went with a group of friends up to Apache Junction to attend the dinner theater production at the "Arizona Opry."  We enjoyed a tasty roast beef dinner and fun evening of "Branson" type music and comedy.  The theater is owned and operated by twin sisters who are also two of the performers.
 
 

Once they removed the plastic and tape, we had a shiny, bright RV once again.
There were too many instruments to count in the personal collection of    - many of which used to belong to famous musicians.
 The performers played most of the instruments on the stage at least one time during the evening.

Many years ago we went on a Toro sponsored trip to Spain.  One of the couples we spent time with on that trip now live in California.  At the time, Gale was the Toro factory representative that called on the Toledo office.  We have kept in touch with them over the years but had not seen each other since a meeting in Las Vegas, also many years ago.  We got a call from them one day saying they were in Phoenix as vendors at the P.F. Chang Rock 'n Roll Marathon.  We arranged to meet for breakfast on a Sunday morning - and had a great visit.     Several days later we had guests for dinner at our place.  Howard and Linda Payne have a fantastic website all about full-time RVing. (www dot RV-Dreams dot com)   We have been following their site for several years and have corresponded via e-mail often, even though we had never met them.  They were staying at the Picacho Peak State Park near us, so we invited them to stop by.  We had a great evening exchanging adventures and comparing our full-time lifestyles.  Hopefully we'll cross paths with both couples again.
 
 

Gale and Tom Hertensteiner with Tom after our visit with them in Phoenix.
Linda and Howard Payne were living in Louisville before they became full-time RVers

Before we knew it, January had come to an end.  It had started out a little on the cool side, but by the end of the month we were having temperatures "a little above normal" to quote the weather man.  We'll take sunshine any day...and appreciate the misery of our friends and family back east as they have endured lots of ice, cold and snow.