Thursday, December 27, 2012

A belated Merry Christmas to y'all!
We had the Christmas potluck of the campground a couple of days before Christmas. With 50 people attending we had a great turnout and an enormous amount of delicious food!
There was ham and turkey provided by the park and cooked by friends of Ray and Linda so we really didn't have much to do this time other than setting up the tables. The trees were already up since the beginning of December so we just added some table decorations and we were done.
Everybody had a great time although I ate too much again and was uncomfortable all night because of it. It's just soooo hard to know when to stop and than when you thought you did good this time they bring out the deserts....!

The owners of the park surprised us with a nice Christmas present in the form of this box with assorted goodies (olives, cheese and crackers, nuts and cookies, etc. ). Very nice!

On Christmas day we had to watch the park since Ray and Linda were visiting family in L.A.
The office was closed but we just had to be there in case of emergencies.
We had a very relaxed day that we spent mostly indoors since it was freezing cold outside.
We only ventured out for a brisk walk with Sadie in the afternoon when things had warmed up a little but were happy to get back in for some hot (and spiked-up) eggnog!

But not before finally getting a shot from a bird that until now had managed to literary outrun me every time I tried to snap a picture of him (or her)!
The elusive Roadrunner !

They're all over the place around here but like I said, they move fast or I forget to bring my camera when I go out for a walk.
They're such interesting, almost prehistoric looking animals don't you think?

A fast running long legged bird in the cuckoo family also known as chaparral cock, ground cuckoo, and snake killer.
It can run at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h). Cases where roadrunners have run as fast as 26 miles per hour (42 km/h) have been reported. This is the fastest running speed ever clocked for flying birds!
The name "roadrunner" comes from the bird's habit of racing down roads in front of moving vehicles and then darting to safety in the brush.
The Greater Roadrunner is the basis of the cartoon character Road Runner, in which the bird uses his speed and cunning to outmaneuver his antagonist, Wile E. Coyote.

Beep beep.....! 
And since I'm at the topic here a few more:
The left one is a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, a cute little fella that you'll see flicking it's tale actually sideways instead of up and down or straight up when he feels you're invading his territory. Something I obviously was guilty of! (giving you 'the tail' instead of 'the finger'?:)
The one on the right is a Say's Phoebe, a bird in the flycatcher family. Between the flycatchers and the gnatcatchers we shouldn't have too many bugs flying around here:)
I always get a chuckle out of my bird book's description of a birds 'voice'. According to one this Phoebe's song is a fast whistled pit-tsear and according to another one it's definitely a falling peeur :)
Cotton tails we have too! These also don't want to 'pose' for me, biggest problem is Sadie who still, after all these years, thinks she will someday catch one of them.
This is the best I could do so far ..
OK, I'll leave you with this link of a very funny but informative video I found when reading the dutch newspaper, the Telegraaf, the other day.
People ask me very often if it is 'The Netherlands' or 'Holland', where I'm from.
Well, here's the answer in case you want to know, I couldn't have possibly explained it any better :)
I have to admit, I didn't know half of it myself.....!
Better pay close attention though, this guy is very fast.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

After a rather boring week of nothing much going on we decided to drive to Lake Havasu, about 45 minutes south of us, for a look at what was supposed to be a fabulous display of Christmas lights at the London Bridge (trying for that 'Christmas Spirit' again).
We'd been to Lake Havasu a couple of years ago while visiting James brother who owned a house there so we were somewhat familiar with the area.
It's a big snowbird destination and because of the lake, despite the high temperatures, also a very busy summer vacationing place, a 'hot spot' for the young and reckless to boat, water ski and party (think 'spring brake').
But now, in winter, it belongs to the retired crowd who's 'wildest' behavior consists of reeling in a big fish or go crazy at playing bingo :)

This bridge is actually the real relocated 1831 London Bridge that spanned the River Thames in London, England until it was dismantled in 1967. It was bought by Robert P. McCulloch from the City of London for $2.500.00 and transported, all granite blocks numbered, to America, to construct the present bridge in Lake Havasu City, a planned community he established in 1964 on the shore of Lake Havasu. The bridge was completed in 1971 (along with a canal), and links a peninsula, turned into an island in the lake, with the main part of Lake Havasu City.

There's a small 'english village' style shopping area build under one end of the bridge and although it might have been rather cute once upon a time most of the shops are out of business now which makes it look rather run down.
We strolled along the water's edge and through the 2 souvenir shops that are left and than hurried to grab a bite to eat at Chillies before returning at dark for the Christmas Lights.
There was a hard wind blowing and it was freezing cold!

The bridge was nicely lit up with Christmas trees and wreaths.

And yes, this actually is the bridge from the nursery rhyme/song 'London bridge is falling down' although it is only the latest bridge in a line of 4 or 5 who were build at the same spot over the Thames in about 2000 years. 

The 500.000 lights that light up one small part of the village provided a little light show, changing colors at the tune of Christmas carols.

Cute, but in itself not really worth the drive down here I'm afraid. At least we got a nice drive and dinner out of it and it got us 'out of the house' for a while.

Other than that we've not done very much as I said. We played golf a couple of times but it has been very cold and windy lately (at night it gets close to freezing, around 30F!) so we're not going as often as when we just arrived.

Oh, and guess what? They're right! Wouldn't you know it? He is not dead, he lives........!


This is 'the Elvis house', one of the houses along the golf course. Funny!



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Not a very sharp picture but I wanted to show you my Christmas tree and this is the only one that came out decent. I guess it's the window, or rather the light, behind us that's causing the problem.

Aren't we a cozy bunch? We're all gathered for 'coffee time', I just baked some speculaas and I'm knitting the socks that I'm already knitting for over a year now :)

The weather has gotten a little 'nippy' in the nights and mornings which helps a little to get in the Christmas spirit here in Arizona.
We went to the Avi Casino one evening to sing some carols and watch the 'tree lighting ceremony' there.

These local High School students sang a few funny songs at the entrance of the casino where the tree was lit and the whole choir sang (surprisingly well!)  in the ballroom a little later.
There were cookies, hot cider and hot chocolate but unfortunately not too many people although the casino was filled with a big gambling crowd. Weird.
On our way out James took a bite out of this beautiful gingerbread house (just kiddin'), made by the casino's pastry chef.


As I mentioned, I baked some 'speculaas' for St. Nicolas evening, the 5th of December. No presents this time, I know, it's slipping away I'm afraid...(keeping up the tradition, I mean)...

I was out of the typical spices you use for this type of cookie so I sort of made my own (a mix of 5-spice, allspice, cinnamon and ginger). They came out delicious if I say so myself!  Aahhhh, the smells........they bring back memories....
Off course there's no way I can ever reproduce them again, having used 'a little bit' of this and 'a pinch' of that :(

Here at the Moon River Resort we decorated the rec room and the office. There's a snow man at the front door. Makes me wish for snow....... just for a few days....!

Some people made ingenious use of the front stabilizer of their fifth wheel which off course as you know is a tripod. Turns out it makes the perfect Christmas Tree! What a fun idea!
Since we have a skirt that covers the tripod that wouldn't work for us but I attached a string of lights on the awning. Works for us!
Funny to have Christmas lights up, the door open and patio furniture out at the same time!
And another beautiful sunset for the end of this blog......



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Phew! I think I finally got this post up and running!
I know, I always have an excuse for being late so this time I'm blaming the ultra, ultra (did I mention ultra), crawling speed of our WiFi here at the campsite and second I'll blame Blogger for letting me know that "Oops, it looks like you're out of your 1GB storage (for my pics in Picasa), please go to our website and buy some more"! Great! Like I want to buy anything !?
After a lot of googling and research I found out that if I signed up for a (free) Google Plus account I had a lot more storage so that's what I ended up doing.
Anywho, I'm back!
Let's see, what happened in the mean time? Oh, I guess 'Fall' sort of happened, even here in sunny Arizona!
It's definitely getting cooler, especially at night, which brought out some nice fall colours along the path that weaves around the campsite where I walk Sadie every day:


It's very dry though. So far we have not seen any rain here and if you look closely at the soil you see things like this:
Amazing, the resilience of these desert plants!
We had a Thanksgiving potluck     at the campground for all workers and guests together.
My job was to decorate the rec room and set up the tables and James oversaw the food sign-up list.
The owners provided the Turkey and the rest was brought in by the rest of us. As usual at these type of get-together's we ended up with an enormous amount of food!
We had a great turnout, about 40 people, and in the end we were all stuffed, as you should be at Thanksgiving!
Guess who forgot to bring a camera?
So, no pictures of that event but I did take some of our own Thanksgiving. We had lobster (hey, it was on sale!) and left over pumpkin pie from the potluck. Easy!

Merlin ate way too much and had to sleep it off....  
(I can't believe I ate the whole thing)...

Off course we also watched the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Or actually I just have it running in the background (too many bands/noise) but I need to see the Big Guy arrive at the end before I'll allow myself to gear up for Christmas!

                                                  The one and only...!
Instead of watching the Eukanuba dog show afterwards we went golfing that afternoon. 
I guess I've not mentioned yet that James found a payed job, did I?
Well, he went out looking for work one day at around 9am and was back at 10.30, looking all smug and saying something like: "Hey hon, is there any coffee left, and oh.... by the way, I have a job at this golf course and we can play unlimited free golf "!

Needles to say he's really good at talking himself into (almost)anything!
This is the golf course he works at, in maintenance by the way, called Desert Lakes. It's only 5 minutes from us. How convenient!

In my free time from cleaning the restrooms (piece of cake) and cleaning some rental units (Lots of "elbow-grease") I've been working on my hand picked cotton!
This is so much fun!
In the pics below you can see on the top left the cotton fiber that comes from one 'boll'. The dark smudges are seeds. One boll can hold as many as 26!  The bottom left shows one such seed with the cotton that's attached to it and the picture on the right shows each seed after I fluffed up the cotton with a little hand brush. (I use a small dog brush for that)

Than I spun it straight 'from the seed' as this is called. How about that? I made my own cotton yarn! Isn't that the coolest thing you ever saw?
I know, to each his own, but come is quite amazing, no..?


                                    This is what's left. A slightly fuzzy seed.

If I use hand cards (big brushes) I can also make some rollags (made from cotton they're called 'puni's') and spin from those but I didn't make a picture of them so I'll safe that for next time.

OK, what's left for this time around are some pictures of the amazing sunsets we have around here and one of the moon in 'Moon River'.......


(Nope, no photo shopping any of these colours!)

                     (I see.. a bad... moon... rising........)