November 2011
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November started out pretty quiet for us.  Not too many of our neighbors had arrived at Palm Creek yet, but we were slowly getting into our normal "winter routine."  The
"front nine" on the golf course opened just in time for the first "Ladies' Day" and Mary enjoyed getting out on the course, but will be glad when the grass has had a chance
to grow-in.  Tom's afternoons as a "starter" got a little busier as more residents arrived and 'got to work' on their golf game.  We entertained ourselves and a few neighbors
one afternoon practicing the art of parallel parking and demonstrating how our new Ford Escape can park itself...a handy but 'weird' amenity.  We ventured over to the local
mall early on several mornings to the "Chick-Fill-A" restaurant.  The franchise graciously offers a free breakfast to all Palm Creek residents every Thursday morning (and to
residents of other parks on other days).  The menu has quite a few tasty options.  By the end of the month, though, we decided we'd had our turn and passed on the long
line created as more residents returned to town.
Early in the month, we ventured one day down to Tucson.  We had been invited to take a tour of the Parkinson's Disease Research Center at the University of Arizona
Medical Center.  It was a very interesting day which included presentations by three of the researchers, a tour of the laboratories and research facilities, and a discussion
session with the doctors over a tasty lunch provided by the University.  The research has revealed some interesting theories and it's great to see the directions it is
sending the doctors.  Since we were already in Tucson, when the tour was over we continued a bit further south to Green Valley and a great visit with former Palm Creek
neighbors, Art and June Nelson.  They showed us the updates they've made to their home since the last time we visited and we continued our 'gab-fest' over dinner at a
local Mexican restaurant.  
Summer weather always brings dust and windstorms to the Arizona desert.  The more violent ones are called "haboobs."  There were several big haboobs in Casa Grande this
past summer - plus several just plain big dust/windstorms.  We were "lucky" enough to be here for one of the duststorms during the first week of November.  It was bright and
sunny in the morning and we enjoyed a great tennis match.  By noon it was quite breezy, and by mid-afternoon we could hardly see across the street because of the blowing
sand.  The freeways were closed for a time and there was blowing debris all over the place.  A tree on the golf course was uprooted and there was some other damages in the
park.  All we got was lots of sand all over everything outside and a layer of sand in all our window frames.  It took days for workers to clean up the park and residents to do the
same to their cars and homes.
What sort of events do we seem to attend the most?  Anything with food involved!  To keep the reputation going, we joined in the fun at the new site of our former neighbors,
Jim and Paula Jones.  Old and new neighbors got together to welcome Jim and Paula to their new neighborhood and show that they aren't really that far away from the 'old
place'!  Mary and some of the neighbor ladies had a 'girls only' lunch at a local restaurant one day.  We had a fun dinner with Pennsylvanians Jeff and Elaine Spencer at their RV
one evening and enjoyed the chance to compare and share our summer adventures.
By mid-month the park had become more populated.  We had to make reservations to use the tennis courts.  Mary had attended several sewing meetings and there was not
much elbow room around the sewing room work tables.  Mary worked several busy afternoons as a "host" greeting rigs as they arrived in the park and helping to get them
registered.  The park threw its annual "Welcome Home" party on a Saturday afternoon.  It was a "hoe-down" theme with pulled pork sandwiches on the menu along with the
usual chips, beer and wine and ice cream.  There was a live band and fun and games for all.
We set up "stuff" to simulate a parking space, then you push the
button, put the car in reverse, and take your hands off the wheel!
Cathy and Peter Nichita joined us at "Chick-Fill-A for the
Palm Creek Day breakfast.
The Parkinson's Disease Research Center at the University of
Arizona Medical Research Center was opened in 2005.
We miss our former Palm Creek neighbors, June and Art...and
think they miss Palm Creek a little, too!
There was quite a gang at Paula and Jim's.
Even after the pool had been cleaned once already,
Tom was able to write his name in the sand in the
water at the bottom of the pool.
Some of the "lunch ladies"...Connie, Paula, Mary D.,
and Cathy N.
Good hosts, good friends, good chefs... Jeff and Elaine.
Our Welcome Home Party was an "entertainment
extravaganza"....It was a picnic, and a dance party...
...a road race...(yes, those are tricycles!)...
...and a basketball  contest.
Our son Reid arrived from West Virginia late on Sunday, November 20 to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy a little R&R in the Arizona sun.  He "jumped right in" to
the activities here in the park and we enjoyed his company for a week.  First off, we went on a park sponsored trip to a local cotton farm.  One of the "Five C's of Arizona,"
cotton has been a cash crop in the state since 1910 and produces much of the cotton for the US.  The crop depends largely on irrigation but grows well in the state's climate
(another of the 5 C's, with the others being cattle, citrus and copper).  The farm we visited has suffered from drought conditions but had a small plot of growing cotton to show
us and presented an amazing tour of their farm, procedures and escorted us to the local cotton gin.         Rather than shopping on Black Friday, we headed into Queen Creek
and toured the Queen Creek Olive Mill.  A couple from Michigan started a "hobby farm" about fifteen years ago and now have a fantastic and growing business producing extra
virgin olive oil.  Again, Arizona's climate is perfect for the crop.
In between agricultural tours, Reid managed some golf "tours."  Tom and Reid played a local regulation course a couple of times and all three of us played the course here in
the park as well.  On Thanksgiving Day we joined some of our neighbors for dinner served by the Palm Creek kitchen.  We were disappointed to not have our traditional, tasty
neighborhood potluck this year, but plans change and we ended up with less than a dozen planning to be here for dinner so the remaining friends joined in with the park
community.  Thanks to his I-phone and computer, Reid was able to also get a lot of work done while he was here and flew from here to Dallas to attend meetings on his way
home.  It was great to have him here and we are also looking forward to seeing him again over Christmas.
By the end of the month anticipation was growing among the ladies of the sewing group.  The quilters and sewers have outgrown their facilities in the activities center and a
"pre-fabricated" building had been ordered by the park to provide a new sewing room.   There were many delays, but the three sections of the room arrived in the middle of
the month and were parked in an unused area next to the ball diamond.  Finally, after Thanksgiving weekend, the sections were jockeyed into place and work was begun to
connect the utilities.  There's excitement among the ladies!
Now its time to get ready for Christmas...shopping to do, plans to make and a little travel is on the horizon.
At the Caywood Farms we saw a
demonstration of a big 2-row-cotton
picker and the adjacent module maker.
After the cotton is picked and packed into
15,000 pound modules, it is taken to the
"gin" where it is sucked into the
separator.  Every part of the plant is used
somehow.
After separating all the parts of the cotton
boll, one module turns into one 500
pound yellow-wrapped bale of fiber for
cotton.  The rest is used for feed, oil,
explosives, insulation and other things.
At the Queen Creek Olive Mill one can enjoy a meal,  wine
and occasionally some music among some of the olive
trees.
A tour at the mill begins among the trees and ends in the
pressing room where all of the farm's olives are
cold-pressed into Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  (Of course, there is
also a large gift shop.)
Reid, Dad and Mom had a great time playing golf during his
visit to Palm Creek.
After 18 holes of golf, we headed to Thanksgiving dinner.
We shared our table with a few of our neighbors...Mary and
Tedd, Mac, and Peter and Cathy. (We were the
foreigners...they're all from Canada!)
Here comes one section of our new sewing room.
The ladies hope to be moved in around Dec. 15.
They got all three lined up in the proper space.
Then the work began...removing the straps, wrapping,
wheels and connecting the utilities.