Thursday, December 24, 2020

So, here we are, it's Christmas Eve and we're enjoying a couple of days 'off' from work.
James is studying for his next 30-hour appraiser-assistant exam, and I'm listening to the never ending Christmas songs on one of the holiday TV music-channels, while writing this blog.

It's been a busy week. Our helpers, the high-school-boys, were off from school and worked here for three days in a row.
And because of that, we got a lot done!
Let's see .. the yard is finally sufficiently 'prepped' for the pool company to come in and start digging! Yeah! The guys are very happy about that because it was a lot of hard work ..

This tree-stomp took them hours of sawing and chipping!
In the end they actually got some help from the guys that showed up to remove the cobblestones from the sidewalk, where a small bobcat has to fit through to start the digging.


One of the guys was a real Paul Bunyan and finally got the bloody thing to give up the ghost!
As I said, they were here to dig up the cobble-stones, which they did in record-time:

The next day, another guy showed up, to spray-paint the contours of where the pool, and the hot-tub, will go.

This is how it eventually will look like:


And while that was going on outside, inside the work on the master bathroom has started. A half-wall was build ..

And a floor was poured ..


It turned out that we needed a lot more mortar and cement than we thought, so we had to do another Home-Depot run:

And than the boys had way to much fun mixing the stuff up ..

You can say they really got 'into' the job!

They also filled the holes where they took out the old rosemary bushes a while ago. One of those areas is going to house the new BBQ and the other will be part of the patio. 


Well, I think that was more than enough for this week, don't you think? They actually did a little more work on the den/office too, but I'll save that for the next post.

And what did she do? Well, 'she' finally did some Christmas baking:

I'm a little later than usual, and you would think I would be all over that beautiful big kitchen right after Thanksgiving, but somehow the days got away from me ..
I also experimented with a few new recipes, but I'm not too happy with how these came out, so I think I'll be back to my old favorites next year.
But, 'you never know until you try', they say, so .. I tried. And they're good. Just not super-good ..


They were good enough though to give the guys some 'goody-bags', as you might know .. teenage-boys .. they eat everything!
I also dropped one of to Nancy, our neighbor, only to get a similar gift back within the hour. She had the same idea! (I think hers are better)(Oh, well).

I also have an apple pie in the oven, as we speak, and it's starting to smell really nice in here!

By the way, last Monday, the winter solstice, we apparently could see the ‘Solstice Star', which is when Jupiter and Saturn appear to be just 0.1ยบ from each other, something that hadn’t happened since the 17th century!
It was visible with the naked eye, 45 minutes after sunset where you were, looking to the southwestern skies, but although I tried, I couldn't find it.

It is believed to have been a similar situation in 7 BC, when a bright star guided the shepherds to Bethlehem!
Well, it looks like my pie is ready, I better rescue it from the oven, and than it's time for happy hour, which I will turn into an easy dinner by the way of adding one of our famous 'pu-pu' (basically some hors-d'oeuvre) platters to it! Easy peasy!
After that we're going to 'do' a Christmas-lights drive-through-the-neighborhood kind of thing.
They're supposed to be really good this year, people had some time on their hands I guess!

PS. So .. I have to brag a little about that pie, it came out beautifully and it was absolutely delicious! Seriously, the best apple pie I ever made .. 

And here's a few pics of the Christmas lights:

Some people went all out this year! Can you say .. 'over the top'?!

Thursday, December 17, 2020


Sadly this little Anna's Hummingbird has lost a big part of 'her' territory! Or rather, of the vegetation, in his territory. We cut down several trees and removed others, all in preparation for the pool!

One of the Mexican Birds of Paradise shrubs/trees was moved to the front yard. It took all of the guys quite a while, to maneuver the whole thing through the narrow corridor on the side of the house to the front .. 

Than the guys had to jackhammer the rest of the concrete bench out of the ground ..


After which all the rubbish and a whole lot of tree and shrub branches were removed, and than picked up by a guy who hauls trash away with his pick-up (for a flat fee of $50 per load). Good deal!

The house was equally 'trashed'. Remember this nice looking bathroom from when we moved in?

Well ... it now looks like this:

James and Jeron 'went to town' as they say, and demolished the whole thing (And let's not talk about the dust everywhere!! And I mean everywhere!! Gawd!

I guess this happens when you let 'trailer-trash' into your house!๐Ÿ˜

And than all the cabinets were picked up by a lady who wanted them all (for free, yeah).
Oops, one of them wasn't removed yet, so ...

Soon, this little wine cabinet in the dining room looked like this ...


Well, actually it wasn't so soon since those tiles of the back-splash didn't really want to cooperate, and it took a while before they hammered and chiseled them of the wall so the granite slab could be removed!

Besides all that, we had two other dentist appointments this week. Two, yeah!
We'd set up a second-opinion-exam at our local dentist, right here in Sun City, to see if they came to the same conclusion as the one at the Aspen Dental clinic, which actually turned out to be the case. We also wanted to compare prices, and they happen to come out slightly cheaper . OK, that was one.


That same afternoon, we drove all the way to Glendale for a visit to the Midwestern (University) Dental School.
Their prices are supposedly about half of what a regular dentists charge, but, like the hygienist school, work is slow and done be students.
First we had to be seen, to determine if we were eligible candidates. The work to be done needs to be not too difficult, but also not to easy, for the students to practice on.


Well, we were both approved, which means we now have to go back for our official exam, after which a treatment is going to be agreed upon.
Talking about a slow process! Oh well, if we can save a couple of thousand dollars, it will be well worth it!
Fortunately, we also had some fun times this week. We did some golfing, my first time at Poston Butte, the course we live on, and last Saturday we 'attended' the Poston Butte Golf Cart Christmas Parade!

All the local, big, parades have been cancelled of course, due to Covid, but since this one was 'parading' over the paths of the golf course itself, it was allowed.

Also, as luck would have it, they came right by our backyard, so we didn't have to go anywhere! Sweet!

James even set out a chair, and regally waved at all the carts that came by. It wasn't a long parade by all means, but all in all a very respectable number of 50 carts or so showed up!

It was a lot of fun and really nice to have so many people call out a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to us. 

It served the purpose to, despite everything, get us 'into the spirit'!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Another beautiful round of golf at the Golf Club at Johnston Ranch!

Last week we golfed at Johnston Ranch again, which was my first full round there, and therefore the first time I played the 'back' nine. They're laid out in a beautiful desert setting, basically circling and climbing a small hill in the back of the course.

    It makes for beautiful views, almost 360 around!

Look at this house, it has half a basketball- and a full putting- course in the back yard!


We golfed in the afternoon and by the time we reached the last holes, we had to share the tees with a gazillion of rabbits! They weren't very shy either, and barely went out of the way for a bit to let us tee off ..

Apparently you also have to 'share' the course with these guys!
And if that's not wild enough, there's these prickly giants you better keep an eye out for!

You don't want to get too close to them and trying to collect your ball when one of them has 'claimed' it, is not a good idea!
By the way, that enormous Saguaro on the right will look like the one below when it dies. Their 'bones', if you will, are hard like tree branches.

Fortunately there's also some cuteness in this harsh environment. What about this pretty little Vermilion Flycatcher?


Normally flycatchers are rather drab, but the male Vermilion Flycatcher is a brilliant exception!

As you can see we cut it rather close to dark to finish the round. The sun had set and the moon was already out when we arrived at the 18th hole!


I think this course is going to be my 'go-to' course. It's challenging but not too difficult and absolutely beautiful!
It reminds us, especially the back nine, of Lahitas, where we stayed 8 years ago.

Eight years! Can you believe it? I remember it like it was yesterday ..

10/19 2012

Work-wise not much was done this week, we were too busy 'running around', organizing and ordering things, and getting a second, or actually 'first' opinion on our dental work.
We have an appointment at the dental school in Glendale for next week, but decided to get a few other opinions on the matter, one of which was at Aspen Dental in Casa Grande this week.

David Sung, DMD Casa Grande, AZ | Aspen Dental
Dr. Sung, very nice guy!

They, Dr. Sung that is, basically confirmed what the hygienists already came up with.
James needs two molars pulled and two crowned, and I need one crown and, at my request, a new filling in my tooth to replace the old, yellowing one. Total cost .. are you sitting down .. $5000!!
They also suggested James would see an orthodontist to see if his 'bite' can be improved. He might need braces. Ka-Ching!

Like I said, this is a first opinion, we booked another one at a local dentist here in Florence for next week, and that same day we'll go to the dental school in Glendale. The latter one should be a lot cheaper! Let's hope so ..


As I said, we didn't do too much in the house, but James worked a little on a leak in the sprinkler system ..


He also re-routed a whole bunch of electricity in the house, but I forgot to take pictures. Oh well ..

I only did a little baking. I was going to start on some Christmas-cookie-baking but realized that the cutters for those are in the RV, so guess where we have to go again this weekend? Fortunately it's only 5 minutes away!
It's too funny, but slow but sure everything in the rig is being moved into the house!
Any-who .. since I had some pumpkin leftover, from I don't know when, I decided to make a pumpkin-spice cake:


I'm not too wild about how it came out, it could have used more 'oomph', aka spices, but it was OK I guess.

In the meantime .. the neighborhood is starting to look a lot like Christmas!


All very cute, but I think this next one took the [spice]-cake!

This Grinch was literary 'larger than life', but than again ...
who knows how big a Grinch really is?