Monday, December 25, 2006

And a Very Merry Christmas It Was

What a beautiful Christmas Day!! Lots of friends out and about shouting Holiday Greetings. I think we fed Christmas chicken to most of the pets in the park. It has long been a standing tradition that we keep fresh chicken in our frig for whenever folks stop by with their pets. The puppies come running toward our house if they should see us outside cause they know there's a treat waiting for them. These cute pics were all taken today as guests stopped by.
First guests were Gigi and Murphy.
Rally, the wonder dog.
And Macey wearing her "Who's Your Doggie?" t-shirt and sporting a collar of jingle bells.

This afternoon we headed up to the ballroom for a Christmas feast. I didn't think the park crew could possibly be as successful as they were in preparing our Thanksgiving meal, but they did it again. They managed to serve over 400 people in just 20 minutes and each table received hot delicious home cooked food. It was great! Thank you to all the volunteers and kitchen elves who made it possible. We had a happy hour at 3:00 with dinner following at 4 and lots of laughter
through the whole afternoon.

Even the weather cooperated to give us a great day with temps in the high 60s and plenty of Arizona sunshine. Folks were out golfing, playing pickleball, riding bikes, playing tennis, and just having a fun time.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Approaches

Tis the season to be Jolly......and we are! My Dad once told me a story: "When I was a lad, my mother said when she was young Christmas came but once every 10 years but now it seems to come 10 times a year. I can now understand what she meant." Thanks, Dad....I now understand it too. Wow, does time ever pass quickly. To quote another saying: "Time flies when you're having fun!"

Bev and Mike Connolly hosted their famous "Love Thy Neighbor" Christmas party last weekend. What a great time! This year's bash was held in the San Tan card room here at the resort so we could eat, drink, and be merry indoors. We all brought a nice gift to place at the front table. After a delicious potluck happy hour, we opened the packages via drawing numbers from the hat. When your number was drawn, you could open a gift from the table or steal one from someone who had already opened theirs. What a riot! Highly envied gifts like booze, vibrating chair cushions, beverage blenders, etc. got traded back and forth like hot potatoes! Lots of raucous laughter emerged as some folks chased after coveted stolen gifts. Bev finally had to limit the number of trades so the party could continue. I'm sure we all went home with a plethora of happy memories. Thank you, Bev and Mike, for a wonderful time.

We not only celebrate the Christmas season at this time of year, but some of us have wedding anniversaries to honor as well. Bob and Bev Carte celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on December 18 plus Don and I hit our 38th on December 21. We joined forces and went out to dinner at Picacho Steakhouse for a super evening of good food, great friendships, and awards for putting up with each other so many years. I'm posting some casual photos of the happy couples.

Bob and Bev received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from their daughter, Susan.

Algadonas, Mexico
This blurb about Mexico isn't really related to Christmas, but I neglected to post this earlier so you get the info today. Better late than never.
Don and I are avid Mexico shoppers when it comes to dentistry, drugs, eye glasses, etc. as the service, prices, and adventures are well worth the trip. If any of our Palm Creek friends are interested in going and want detailed information or recommendations for specific doctors, etc., give us a call. Just a word of advice for visiting south of the border during winter season: Be prepared to face a long line when returning through customs...and be sure to have your passport handy as new regulations are effective January 2007. Just allow yourself some extra time when planning to leave as the line will be long but moves along rather quickly. We usually start up a friendly conversation with other folks in line and before you know it, you have new stories to share and have met some great friendly people from other parts of the country (or Canada!). Here are some pics of the exit line on our last trip.

Remember the story I posted about Donna and Larry Kraft and their new puppy named Blanco? They were here for a nice visit yesterday so, of course, we have updated photos of our "godpuppy". This was Blanco's first real experience at "socializing" with so many different people and other dogs. She did really well and as you can see, she wasn't intimidated by Rally's large size.

Our little godpuppy loves shoestrings so be careful when you get up to walk around.

Here's Donna proudly showing her newest family addition to Bob and Bev.

It was so nice to see our cluster of friends together again.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Blog Format

This blogger website has an updated version so you will notice a new format. Nice work. Thanks Blogger! (Google)

You'll notice some icons at the bottom of each update. You can post a message at each one to say hello or to add your two cents to my comments. (Be kind!) Feel free to post a message.

By clicking on the email icon, you can email the blog to a friend. Please feel free to share this blog with any other Palm Creek friends.

A special thank you to those who do send comments. It's much appreciated and keeps me motivated to do more updates!

Local News and Tidbits

Ho Ho Ho.....the Holidays are rapidly approaching and the park looks lovely with all the lights and activity. Folks back east will envy us as we decorate in short sleeves in the bright sunshine.

Neighbors assist with the decorating. That's George helping Mike...and Don keeping Frank in line.

The biggest chuckle this week came from my friend Char. We were invited over to Jan's for a "girls night" to just goof off, relax, and have a good time watching a DVD of Desperate Housewives. Char topped the cake, however, when she showed up in her finest regalia.

Construction around Casa Grande continues at a rapid pace. The bulldozers and construction equipment at the new mall location are busy and active.

An article appeared in the local paper about the location for the new high school. It will be located on the southeast corner of Cottonwood and Arizola. Rumor used to be that it would be adjacent to our Palm Creek but now we can lay that rumor to rest.

The city is going to build its first dog park and hopes to have it open by August of 2007. It will be located on approxmately four acres at Ed Hooper Rodeo Park located at the northwest corner of Rodeo Road and Pinal Avenue with an initial budget of $60,000. Should be interesting to see and a fun place to visit with our pets. Our community continues to expand.

No other big news this week. Just getting ready for all the upcoming holiday parties and festivities plus scurrying around with Christmas shopping. If the resort's Christmas dinner turns out half as good as the Thanksgiving party, we'll have another wonderful event.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thank you, Jan

We have a new contributor to the blog. Thank you, Jan Waters for bringing home some pictures of the electric light parade. I didn't realize that the parade would be that special until I saw the Palm Creek float drive down Cole Circle on a practice run Friday night. The volunteers who built the float deserve a true "atta boy/girl" for doing such a great job. Mark that event on your calendars for next year as it's quite a spectacle to see. It drew big crowds for Casa Grande.

I must also share an email I got from Jan this morning. Our weather has been windy and cold the last three days. Well...cold for Arizona anyway. The rest of the country is in low teens with ice and snow so a cold day for us means 40-50. Anyway....the pet owners are bundled up and shivering as they walk their puppies in the brisk mornings. Thus this email from Jan today: "Must tell you about my morning. Went to walk Rally for his morning constitution. It was really chilly and windy out!! He pooped and when I picked it up in a little plastic baggie, it was nice and warm and kinda squishy. I thought to myself, "You might be a redneck if you use dog poop as a hand warmer."

Thank you, Jan for a good laugh. You should send that one to Jeff Foxworthy on Comedy Central. P.S. Jan is also famous for winning the hula hoop contest on stage at the Welcome Back dinner this fall.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Okay....that had to be one of the best Thanksgiving events ever to be held at Palm Creek!! First of all, the meal was absolutely delicious!! I can't imagine how the cooks and volunteers managed to cook up that much food for so many people and have it turn out that scrumptuous. We had tender moist turkey all finely carved, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, dressing, gravy, cranberries, and fresh dinner rolls followed by awesome pumpkin or pecan pie. Every one of the dishes was just as delicious as home cooking. Most puzzling of all was how they managed to serve each table so fast and keep the food hot. My heartiest congratulations to the cooking staff. That was a fantastic meal. Thank you ever so much from all of us. Every attendee was delighted with the dinner. I must mention that the decorations and table settings were very nice too.

The event was well coordinated and organized so everyone had a reserved table that was clearly marked for easy seating. There was plenty of room between tables which allowed us to mingle and socialize with other guests before dinner. We had access to the tables an hour before serving time so we had the opportunity to have a glass of wine and chat before the meal. Diane did a fantastic job as hostess to the event and kept us entertained and on time. I believe her specific title is "Special Events Coordinator" and she does a terrific job. Thank you, Diane. Your friendship and enthusiasm is appreciated by all.

After dinner we had an option of watching football with the big screen TV or playing games or bingo. Quite a few people did opt to stay for more social time which proved to be a lot of fun. Those of us who stayed for bingo and managed to win got to take home one of the nice table decorations or potted plants. They made for some very nice prizes. After bingo some of us stayed to play a fun round of Mad Gab. What a crazy game! It was really fun and I may have to go out and buy a game to keep around for some hilarious happy hours.

Thanks again to Palm Creek for a great day of beautiful sunshine, great food, fun entertainment, and most of all for the warm friendships.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fantastic Weather

To my children back in Ohio....I send my sympathies for your cold chilling weather as we here in sunny Arizona are enjoying beautiful sunny skies and warm 80 degree temps every day this month. It's awesome!! I spent yesterday afternoon at the pool just basking in the sunshine, reading a good book, and occasionally taking a quick swim to cool off from the warm sun. It was just wonderful. Sometimes I actually feel guilty for having such a great time day after day. Life is pretty darn good right now.

Today Don and I drove up to Sun City to visit Donna and Larry Kraft. I put up some darling photos of their new puppy on my "Hepler Journal" website for you to view if you're interested. The puppy is just adorable at the ripe old age of 6 weeks and she's a full two pounds of pure love. It was so good to see the Kraft's with smiling faces once again.

As we approached Interstate 10 coming from Casa Grande, I snapped a few quick photos of the beginning of the new mall. There are scads of bulldozers, tractors, and various digging machines out there in the field. The ground is all plowed up and is being prepped for the new mall. How exciting! I'll try to get a picture every few weeks so you can watch the progress. New stores anticipated are Dillards, Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, a 14 theater complex, Applebees, Michaels, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc etc etc. It will be awesome! All you can see in these pics is open dirt so the progress will be great to watch.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Family Visit

Bob and Bev Carte had a great visit with their daughter, Susan, who flew down to see them for a few days this week. It was wonderful to meet the daughter that they brag about so frequently. Have a safe trip back home, Susan. It was a pleasure to meet you!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Busy Busy Busy

It is now November and "the season" seems to be in full swing. The calendar is full of times, dates, events, and the days pass ever so quickly. Each week is just a blur of activity. Monday night was Bingo (no, I haven't won YET but I'm usually quite lucky), and today was our first craft fair of the season. There were lots of Palm Creek people who had booths to display and sell some of their handicrafts and many other vendors peddling their wares. It's always fun to go shopping for "stuff". I stocked up on several new sun visors to ward off that bright, beautiful, glowing, warm Arizona sunshine. Folks back your heart out! The weather has been fantastic with lots of sunshine and temps in the 80s by day and cool clear nights for great sleeping. Winter is almost upon us, however, as when the sun goes down it turns cool in a hurry and we scurry to put on a light jacket.

Saturday was the first "patio sale" day of the season where everyone can put out those white elephants for sale, clean out the closets, or sell those no longer needed items. Since Don and I are planning to sell our new Class C RV, we cleaned out a lot of items. I even put out some of my beaded jewelry items I've been making as I seem to have created more than I'll ever wear. While George got stuck staffing our booth, Bev, Jan and I scurried about the resort visiting everyone's patio sale to see if we could find new goodies or great bargains. See the next photo for our great results! Folks said we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies with our cart full of junk as we drove around. One family was even handing out free Mimosa drinks (orange juice and champagne) in fancy fluted glasses to anyone who bought something from their booth. Couldn't pass up that offer so I purchased a box of nails as my contribution. How fun!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Tribute to Chi

Someone please help me with the words to describe our sorrow at the loss of a very dear, sweet, cute, lovable, cuddly, adorable little dog. Chi was the four-year old cherished long-hair Chihuahua owned by Larry and Donna Kraft. It was one of those freaky things of nature when Chi somehow managed to sneak outdoors to play and perhaps chase a furry rabbit but wandered too close to a neighboring golf course. A coyote sprung out of nowhere and ended Chi’s life instantly. People on the golf course saw the attack and chased after the coyote in an attempt to save the little dog, but it was too late. By the time the coyote dropped Chi, she was already gone. From the golfer’s description, she never knew what happened and never even had time to be frightened. I’m sure she never dreamed anything or anyone would hurt her since she lived such a warm and well-loved life.
Larry and Donna bought a lovely home and moved to Sun City this fall, leaving Palm Creek after five seasons here. They are conveniently located in a beautiful subdivision near several golf courses which, unfortunately, are occasionally frequented by wild coyotes.

Chi was very popular here at our resort. Many may remember last February when Chi won the award for the cutest dog at our first annual dog show. She was cute as a button and would perform tricks on command. One of our favorite memories is when she would come to our house and eat Hiway’s cat food. She was such a dainty little dog that she would carry two little pieces of cat food over to the carpet and munch it away, then return for two more pieces at a time. Little pieces of chicken were her favorite treat which we always tried to keep in the frig should Chi come for a visit. She was a real sweetheart and will be missed by one and all. Our hearts reach out to Larry and Donna for their loss of a very dear pet.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Dove Story

We have a cute Dove story to share. Everyone who has ever stayed at Palm Creek knows we are inundated with Mourning Doves. In spite of the fact that their "leavings" can be a nuisance, they're still a pretty bird and are very entertaining to watch. Don and I went to get our RV out of storage and discovered that mama dove had made a nest on the top of our awning. Our first intent was just to pull down the nest and throw it away, but lo and behold, the nest contained a baby. Drat! Can't just throw away a baby bird!!! What do we do??

We left the nest in its spot and VERY slowly drove the RV over to our park model so we could get it loaded for our trip to Mexico. When we got here, mama was gone but baby was still in the nest so we very gently took baby and nest and placed them behind a tree across the street where it would be somewhat protected. We anxiously watched from the kitchen window and sure enough, about a half hour later, mama showed up and took care of her baby. Later that day, they both flew away with baby fluttering his best to soar. We don't know for certain that he survived, but our conscience was clear in that we did what we could under the circumstances. End of story.

Speaking of bird stories: Our burrowing owls across the street from the park entrance are still there, alive and doing well. The construction has edged even closer to their burrow, but no one has harmed them or scared them away yet. Linda Balzan and I have been in touch with a Wildlife Foundation that will be in charge of moving the owls should someone buy the land for improvements. The Foundation promises to let us know when moving day comes so we can be there to take pictures. Before the owls can be moved, there is a mountain of paperwork and expenses to be paid by whoever owns the land. It will be interesting to watch and see how things develop. Will keep you posted with any updates.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Season Begins

More and more people are returning daily to our little acreage of heaven on earth at Palm Creek. The RV rigs roll in every day and the streets are more occupied with people greeting old friends with warm embrace. It's fun to watch all the new activity.

The village homes are still the highlight of conversation since so many of them are being installed. Folks are anxious to move in and I hear that sales are strong.

Happy hours abound for furry friends as well as humans. Here are a few shots from yesterday. Don and I sat out on our patio to have a happy hour drink. The fun part of living here is that everyone is out and active at this time of day and it's great when folks stop by to say hello. Good thing we have a lot of extra chairs.

Halloween is in the air and there are some nicely decorated houses for the holiday.

The golf course is in the process of being reseeded and beautiful colored flowers are being planted. It's amazing to watch how the new green grass springs back to life. Golf is closed for now as the new lawn emerges. Sure makes for a pretty sight.

We had a short rain storm a couple weeks back that brought out a beautiful double rainbow for our enjoyment. Unfortunately, the photos sat in my camera as I've been lax at my updates again, but they're still worth posting.

We have more news about the coming mall construction. We're going to have a 14 theater complex, Olive Garden, Applebees, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy....and I can't remember the other stores that were listed but it sounds exciting. Anticipated completion is for late fall of 2007. That remains to be seen, of course, as we all know how construction plans can get delayed along the way, but we'll be waiting with open arms. Especially for that theater!!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Casa Grande Sad News

Sad news for Italian food lovers....the very popular Johnny Carino's restaurant has closed. This was a chain of six outlets in the southern Arizona area and the major holding company went bankrupt. Hopefully, someone from the group will purchase the Casa Grande outlet and restart it under another name. This was a very popular eatery and will definitely be missed.

Casa Grande Good News

Good news for all Casa Grande residents and snowbirds! This article appeared in yesterday's Casa Grande Dispatch. Finally we get news about the big shopping mall heading our way.

Work set on mall next week
Staff Reports, Casa Grande Dispatch
October 21, 2006

The first turning of dirt for The Promenade at Casa Grande regional shopping center should begin next week, one of the developers said.

The million-plus-square-foot center will be at the northeast corner of Florence Boulevard and Interstate 10. It is being constructed as a partnership between The Pederson Group and Westcor Development Partners.

"Our contractor is preparing to pre-water the site and is mobilizing to start moving dirt next week," Gary Pederson, vice president of The Pederson Group, said Friday.

Pederson said a WDP representative would have more details next week.

The initial fact sheet for the project said, "The developer is currently attempting to keep the project on an aggressive schedule to commence construction in the summer of 2006 and open the project in the fall of 2007."

A major portion of the work was widening the Florence/I-10 overpass, which city officials said may have caused some delay because of its complexity.

Shortly before the Pederson/WDP announcement of the major center, a group known as Palm Creek Development said it would build a 264,000-square-foot center along Florence Boulevard in front of Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort.

In February 2005, shortly after the Pederson/WDP announcement, Rick Horwitch, principal partner of Palm Creek Development, said his group was not afraid of the competition from a larger project.

"By the time they're ready to operate, we're going to be up and out of the ground and full," Horwitch said.

More than a year and a half later, dirt has not been turned for the Palm Creek project. City officials said they had not heard from Horwitch's group and presume the project is dead.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Slow Update is Donna's Fault

Okay...I got the hint from friends and family that it's time to get back to this blog and post an update. Folks are complaining about the lack of news. To set the record straight, it's not that I'm's all Donna Kraft's fault cause since she has been back in the park, we're having too much fun and there's no time to sit down at the computer!

The monsoon season is officially over so the weather is back to absolute perfection in the 60s at night and high 80s or 90s during the day with clear beautiful sky and very low humidity. The windows are now open and the overworked air conditioners are at rest.

The biggest news in the park is, of course, all the construction of park models and village homes. I heard from a reliable source that they'll be bringing in 30-35 new models. The holes are already being dug and 2-3 homes are arriving daily. About 8 village homes have been sold and there are quite a few smaller two-section park models coming in as spec homes. Folks won't have to wait for construction of add-on rooms cause these models come in two parts and will fit on most RV sites. We're all anxious to see what they look like once the concrete gets poured and awnings go up. I'll be sure to post photos as soon as one is completed. Right now they're all in various stages of basic installation as you can see from photos posted below. Statistics as of today: There are 5 of the smaller two-part park models installed with three more holes dug. There are 16 village homes installed with 26 more holes dug for village homes!! Wow!

At first we thought these new homes were pretty small, but once you go inside and look around, they're really a nice size and very pleasant. Some have two bedrooms or at least one bedroom and a good sized office of spare room.

Here is half of a park model being set in place.

These three spec two-piece park models are new spec homes. Each has a slightly different layout inside. It will be fun to watch the concrete get poured and awnings put in place.

Here is another style with a built-on shed/laundry room.

Look at this!! A whole long street full of village homes! The area will really look nice when all construction is done and owners come down to add the finishing touches. It's really exciting!

Of course...there is a LOT of construction underway and the bulldozers are busy digging holes for more homes every day so some of the area looks like a war zone. Big piles of dirt and gravel abound. The place is buzzing with activity during a work day. Some of the neighbors get kind of crabby about all the noise...especially the early morning beeping of the bulldozer at work every time he backs up but that's the sound of progress and we know it's only temporary.

Here is another recent arrival waiting to be put together. There's lots of work to be done once they arrive as they have to fit together the house itself, the plumbing, wiring, sewer, etc etc.

Here is a model in progress.

Here's a couple village homes with concrete and patio.

I believe some of you saw the very first two village home models that were installed. The house on the left is the first home that was put in as a spec model. Whoops....someone really liked it, bought it, and has already moved in. They installed some sunscreen shading along side their driveway and it looks very nice. These corner lots are really nice with all the pretty landscaping the park installed along Cole Circle. The most activity seems to be centered along Shadow Rock Lane and Mountain Mirage Lane.

And then there are the regular one-piece park models being installed along the golf course on Coyote Trail. Each one is getting a huge stick-built add on room and some of these units look huge when completed. At the end of last season, I think the last house on Coyote trail was just past the north pool. Now, as you can see from these photos, there are homes installed all the way up to the north wall and around the corner right up to Oasis. It's amazing! I heard that the Add-On Guys are booked up through next November.

Although the golf course lots are "rather pricey", they certainly offer a lovely view. I walked out on the course this morning and found the view so peaceful and beautiful. It's very surprising that our landscape crews can keep the course looking so nice during Arizona's blast furnace summer temperatures.

The only other construction I've seen so far has something to do with the old volleyball court. They took out the sand and replaced it with concrete. I haven't heard what the plan is but I would guess perhaps converting it to a basketball court??

That's my post for today. Must hurry off now as we have a big Hand and Foot card game coming up this afternoon. Must get ready. Busy Busy Busy.