January 2016
New Year's Day found us waking up in Ohio, having spent the night before celebrating with our good friends, Kathy and Dennie.  They are always wonderful hosts and we
appreciate them allowing us to share their house when we're in town.  As we headed back to Michigan we stopped for a fast visit with our former next door neighbors Dick and Liz,
and a short visit once again with Mary's Mom.  Our daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters joined us in Jackson as we all went out to dinner. Back in Kalamazoo, where
we'd spent the last week,  we had one last evening with Reid, Kathleen and baby Evelyn as well as the McCurdys, who'd also spent the week with us.  The next day, The McCurdys
drove back to Chicago to catch their flight home toTexas and we made our way to Grand Rapids for our flight to Phoenix. With all of us gone, Reid and Kathleen likely enjoyed the
peace and quiet, but we'd had a fantastic time with all of us together!
Back in Arizona we were greeted with rain and more rain....pretty yucky for golf and tennis!  However, we had plenty of things to keep us busy.  All the neighbors got together to
share stories of their holiday adventures, have some pizza and play our now infamous dice game. That is always a fun and noisy evening!  Mary spent some time helping her
sewing buddies preparing fabric and putting together some kits for their "Quilt Till U Wilt" night.  Later in the month the Quilt Guild gathered for dinner and a sewing
spree....making 110 recieving blankets to be donated to the local pregnancy center and the local hospital.  She has also spent time working on projects of her own.
We did have some sunny days and one Saturday we went out to the rodeo grounds to watch a regional Calf Roping competition.  Winding our way through the sea of horse
trailers to get to the grandstand, we noticed license plates from all over the US and Canada.  There are quite a few Canadians who bring their horses down to Arizona for the
winter so they can enjoy riding and being cowboys (and cowgirls!) year-round.   Another sunny Saturday was the day for the park's annual "Welcome Home" party - this year with a
"fiesta" theme.  Park residents had a picnic of Mexican food and lively entertainment by a local dance troup.  Most of the park's 93 clubs and organizations had a display of their
activities so that residents could have a chance to see what goes on in the park.
Our usual "bridge" and "pegs and jokers" games kept us busy throughout the month and Mary got in a few rounds of golf.  The Quilt Guild group had several "F.A.R.T. Trips.
(That's what the ladies call their "Fabric Accumulation Road Trips")  One day they visited quilt shops in Surprise, AZ and another day they spent at the Phoenix Sewing and Craft
Festival at the State Fairgrounds.  Lots of inspiration!     We checked out the park's Photo Art Show.....lots of wonderful talent on display.  The community of Casa Grande
sponsored a "Senior Expo" in our ballroom that had booths from organizations offering services to "us seniors."  One of the highlights of the month took us back to our teenage
years, proving we're not totally "old folks" as we enjoyed a great performance called "December '63" by a Frankie Valli tribute band.  There was dancing in the aisles!

The last two days of January brought us the best weather yet of the month so we decided to take a short "road trip."  Enjoying the sun and beauty of the southern Arizona desert,
we drove south and into the foothills of the Catalina Mountains, then through Tucson and ended up down in Green Valley.  We called our former Palm Creek neighbors, Art and
June and had a great visit with them over pizza.
January was one of those months when the weatherman kept saying "this has been some very unusual weather!"  He was right!  We did have some gorgeous days, but for the
most part we've been unusually cold (by Arizona standards, anyway), had lots of rain (again, by Arizona standards), lots of clouds and some wind.  Along with that, we've had some
wonderous sunset and sunrise views.  We've been promised a better February!
We had about 30 people munching pizza before we rolled out
the dice with the neighborhood gang.
Don from Calgary was our first jackpot winner of the night.
Larry from the Denver area was our second winner.
There were cutters, sewers and pressers at
work in the sewing room.
110 flannel receiving blankets were sewn for donation to
the hospital.
Its an "Arizona Zamboni" working in the rodeo arena.
Here they come....2 ropers on horseback chasing the calf.
The first cowboy ropes the head, the second
goes for the heels.
And in the parking lot this offers practice opportunities.
The dance troup included all ages and lots
of colorful costumes
It was a "picnic in the park" for our
Welcome Home Fiesta.
Our neighbor Susan was one of the exhibitors at the
Phot Art Show.  She had some great photos to share.
We surely miss having Art and June as neighbors and it
was great to visit with them in Green Valley.
Our park photographer got this shot by the pool on one of several nights of glorious sunsets.
And of course, we get lots of photos from Michigan and make visits there via Skype.
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