Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Devastating Dust Cloud

I believe Casa Grande made national news yesterday when gusty winds stirred up our Arizona dust into devastating "brown outs" that made driving a disaster. Don and I were on our way to the mall when the huge dust cloud blew through dramatically reducing visibility. We commented that we were glad not to be out on 10 at the time as it would be dangerous. The crash must have occurred at that exact time. As we were crossing the overpass, we could hear multiple sirens and saw police cars headed down the ramp toward Highway 10 but couldn't see any farther because of the dust. About an hour later, we left the mall to head back home. Traffic was backed up solid in all directions. When we got to the overpass, we could see that everything on 10 was backed up for miles in both directions. West to Phoenix wasn't moving at all and east bound was crawling slowly with many trying to get off at the 194 exit ramp. We still didn't know exactly what had occurred till we got home and turned on the news.

Oh my gosh...I just found these videos of the fire on youtube. click on the links below:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Activity

I would put this blog "on vacation" for the season except for the fact that so many people keep asking for updates and I don't want to lose my avid readers. Life at Palm Creek during season requires a bigger calendar and a sharper pencil to write in all the activities that are occurring.

This week 56 casino fans hopped on the bus to Fort McDowell again for our monthly trip. We arrive in time for breakfast, have time to hit the slots for a while, and then head to the wonderful smoke free bingo hall. It only costs $35 to get a machine and a few cards for dobbing but the jackpots are nice and big. It's a fun day for us plus we always enjoy the entertainment provided by our gracious bus hostess....Marilyn. Thanks again, Marilyn. If you would like to go on one of these excursions, be sure to sign up early as the bus definitely fills up. I registered yesterday for the January 19 trip and there were already 30+ people signed up.

Someday I'll have to ask Marilyn for her last name. That's another quirky thing about Palm Creek. I probably know hundreds of people here by now as many return year after year......but it's amazing how many I only know by their first name. I age....I become even more grateful for Palm Creek's rule about wearing name tags. When memory fails upon seeing a familiar face, it is sooooo nice to glance at the name tag for assistance. My son teases me about being forgetful and directionally challenged so says I should write my site number on the name tag so I'm sure to find my way back home again. Bless his young heart and sharp mind.

I'm so excited about joining the Computer Club this year. Now that I'm only working part time, I can finally get involved in more activities. We've had two meetings so far this season and thanks to the direction of our President Peggy Fetzer, we have had some fun and informative sessions. I volunteered to maintain the blog for the computer club and will work at keeping it updated with our projects and classes. The members are a great cross section of talented people. We have everyone from the raw beginners to folks who have used computers for years. There is ALWAYS something new to learn about a computer so please come join us. We meet on Wednesdays at 9:30 in the San Tan room. (No need to bring a computer). See the link on the right side of this page to get to the computer club blog.

There isn't a formal "club" or scheduled activity for my other hobby, but there is certainly enough to keep me happily entertained. There are many of us "beaders" at Palm Creek who enjoy getting together for classes or just fun times to share our hobbies. We have two wonderfully talented instructors that give classes as well. If you're interested in more information or would like to get started, send me an email and I'll put you in touch with either Sharon Marchant or BJ Rasmussen. We also make occasional trips to Ruthie's Gingerbread House downtown behind Wendy's Restaurant as Ruthie gives classes numerous times during the week.

Okay...between the computer club blog, this blog, and answering my email, it's time to get ready to scurry down to the baseball field and cheer for the good folks on the Palm Creek softball team. I love to watch them play and have a good time. PLUS the hard working folks in the concession stand serve up some awesome hamburgers.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with our two sons, Anton and Kevin, who (at least temporarily) are residing here in Casa Grande. Don and Anton did the cooking with the typical delicious turkey with all the trimmings. Being the only photography aficionado of the family has its drawbacks, however, as I always want some family photos to remember an occasion. If you know my family, you can only imagine how difficult it is to get them to pose for a serious family photo. Here are the results of family photo day. Reluctantly they came outside for a "quick" photo.....but then had to figure out how they would pose. First we went through their "Heisman" trophy routine.

Then came "Captain Morgan".

Then we decided to look off into the future.....but Father didn't participate.

Then we had to have a group huddle and a lecture from me to get serious.

This is the final result and the best we could do. It may not be a professional posed result, but it certainly brings back happy memories for me and I'll cherish the series.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fall Activities

Thank you one and all for the compliments this blog has received. I've had so many people come up to introduce themselves and chat about how much they enjoy reading the updates. It's really nice to hear your comments and it keeps me motivated to keep on writing. Now, however, I feel guilty for not writing more often!! I keep thinking that once the season starts, no one will have time to read the blog but then I receive an email from those who come much later in the season and learn that they're still very interested in reading the latest news.

I'm having soooooo much fun this season that I negotiated with my boss at Print & Pack where I work and we agreed on much shorter hours for me during "season". Vicki has been very gracious in allowing me to cut back and still keep the job. This is also her busiest season of the year so she will probably hire another part timer to fill in for my absence. Thank you, Vicki!!! For those who aren't familiar with Print & Pack Express, stay tuned for this informal commercial.

The shop is located on Florence Blvd just west of Trekell....across the street from Pizza Hut & Kentucky Fried Chicken. Vicki Stonebraker started the store 15 years ago. Her husband, Jack, is the Edward Jones advisor and has his office in the same building. You may see Jack on the local television channel as he gives the stock market update on TV every day.

At Print & Pack, we make color copies....enlargements, reductions, etc. We can print up to 36" wide. We do blueprints and can enlarge patterns for woodworking and stained glass and quilting. We package and ship for both FedEx and UPS. We make keys, print on T-shirts, typeset and print business forms, business cards, letterhead, raffle tickets, vinyl lettering, street signs, and street banners. We have a good number of artists who ask us to create custom Christmas cards and/or note cards to display their art work. These are some of the primary things that our winter visitors may find useful. So if you need any of the above services, come on down to see Vicki or any of the gang that works there. There are 7 of us on staff and it's like a little family of friends. Be sure to tell them that Sue sent you. While walking across the golf course the other day, I saw a funny catastrophe in action. There was a large gathering of folks for a happy hour enjoying the sunny sky and pretty view of the golf course. They were comfy in their lawn chairs with food and drink in hand, when suddenly the golf course sprinklers came to life and immediately blasted them with cold water. We heard screams and yells erupt as folks scrambled to get out of the line of fire from the jet spray. I had my cell phone with me so tried to grab a quick photo. The host and guests may have been uncomfortably interrupted from their fun, but I assume they will laugh and reminese about it at future events.

Once a month the resort has a bus trip to a local casino. This year we are traveling to Fort McDowell. What fun!! You must register in Activities and pay $10 to reserve your seat. When we arrive at the casino, we receive $10 in slot money on our player cards, a ticket for discounted breakfast, and extra discount for bingo games. We had a full bus load in November and had a great time. This was my first experience at Fort McDowell and I really liked it. Being an avid bingo player, I can attest that they have challenging bingo and nice jackpots....and even a separate non-smoking room which I truly appreciate and don't find at any other casino. I didn't win prize money, but would surely like to do so! Marilyn is our hostess on these trips and she does a GREAT job of getting everyone organized, accounted for, and entertained. She always has some fun jokes to share and some door prize giveaways. Thank you, Marilyn!! I'm looking forward to the next trip already.

That's my update for now. To those of you who aren't here yet............I'll soak up some extra sun for you this afternoon.
P.S. I received an email from Bill Murr who has started a great blog about his winter home here at Palm Creek. Visit his blog also for even better updates!! Thanks, Bill.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I'm certain you've all seen this charming statue located along side Bill Wrightson's home at Site 1535. He originally bought this up at the Mesa flea market and has received a multitude of compliments from folks as they pass by.

Occasionally, a few sly friends like to decorate the display. This one is truly great! Check it out.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Good Morning Readers,'s 56 degrees this morning so I'm sitting inside for morning coffee until the sun gets up to warm us back to our normal 80+ temps. I actually slept with a blanket last night and turned off the ceiling fan. The cool temps feel great after our scorching summer....but I guess my blood is still thin.

Our winter visitors are returning in droves now so activity has certainly increased. My calendar is getting crowded with all the fun stuff being scheduled. Love it! I figured with so many people returning that the blog would become idle but when I checked in this morning, I found there were 380 hits this past week. Yipe. That means folks have been checking in and I'm not writing.

Attached is a copy of a flyer that came in our mailboxes this week. The front 9 is so pretty with the new green grass and the lawn bowling area is gorgeous. It always looks so fresh and immaculate with the way it gets mowed.

I had to laugh with our neighbor, Don Blair, this week. Carrie wanted a shepherd's hook in the yard so she could hang a hummingbird feeder. Ha!! Have you ever tried to dig a hole in this desert ground?? We loaned Don a foot long concrete drill bit for the project. It is no easy task!

And.....I've heard the saying several times already that if there is such a thing as reincarnation, it would be nice to come back as a pet at Palm Creek. We do love our little furry pets! Benny here is getting up in years and has a heart murmur so doesn't get around much on his own but certainly enjoys his daily stroller walk with Mom Lana.

Community rumor has it that the Room Store is going to open a location here in the old Wal-Mart building on Florence Blvd. Ashley Furniture has also recently opened a store here.

Asbestos Cancer
Asbestos Cancer

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Photos compliments of Bill Wrightson. Thanks, Bill!!!
Ah So Steak and Sushi restaurant has closed!! Sad news for those of us who loved their teppan menu and fun entertainment. It was also a nice place to stop for a cocktail or two before or/and after a movie. Bummer. The same company also owned the adjacent Berrygood frozen yogurt store so that closed as well. Hopefully, someone new will occupy those spaces soon. I'm quite surprised that they chose to close just as the season is beginning. Guess they had their reasons.
The Gym Bar and Grill on Florence Blvd is open and seems to be doing well so far. Don and I have tried it a couple do I say this....we're not the proper age for that place. Hard metal music and boisterous young people seem to inhabit the establishment.
Ruthie's bead store is doing some aggressive advertising via an email newsletter. She's hosting a big open house next weekend and is starting some cool classes with guest instructors, etc. etc. A group of us plan to attend some upcoming classes. I've had several gals asking if the park would start a beading group but this sounds like a better idea. Let's support Ruthie! She's a terrific lady and is dedicated to the art of beading.
The front nine of our golf course is turning it's gorgeous shade of velvety green. It's such a miracle to watch how it changes and grows daily. The work really seemed to go fast this year and we're hearing all sorts of good things about the new landscape guy....Jeff. I haven't met him yet, but we're looking forward to the fruits of his labor as he beautifies the resort for us this year.
Our residents are streaming in on a daily basis this month. I see more and more cars at the park model homes and the RVs are coming in too. We hear that reservations have really increased over last season so let's all hope the economy is regaining its health! See ya soon.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Welcome to the beautiful month of October! The weather forecast calls for highs in the 80s this week.....not even 90s and especially not triple digits. Yahoo!! Do you notice a direct correlation between the beautiful outdoor weather and my sudden absence from updating the blog?? That's what happens as people start returning to the park, the weather calls us outdoors, happy hours start up and we greet returning friends.

I took a few pictures with my new cell phone. It comes in handy because it's so easy to carry with me all the time. All the crews are out feverishly working to get the resort looking its best before the snowbird migration. I took a nice long bike ride around the park this morning...Saturday morning....and it is definitely a busy work day for all the landscape and maintenance crews plus outside contractors. Here's a road crew patching the black top around the park.

Repainting all the striping on the roads.
The golf course is getting its annual deep haircut and reseeding. With such a dry summer, the dirt and dust is really thick during this process.

We don't live on the golf course though so we called friendly, hard working Mr. Maldonado to get our house washed after the summer dirt storms. What a difference!!! When he got done, it looked like a fresh new coat of paint. He washed all our patio furniture, grill, golf cart, car, and steam cleaned Don's big easy chair. We highly recommend his services.

I'm posting the sign from the side of his truck in case you're interested in calling him. He really gets busy this time of year so call ahead.

I rode my bike around the non-pet section this morning and was really surprised and amazed at the size of that new hotel going up. I've seen it from the road (Florence Blvd) but seeing it from the back made me realize how big of a unit it really is. I also didn't visualize how close it is to the wall. The folks who rent those sites are going to be quite surprised to come back and see a huge building on the other side of the wall. They'll be able to wave at the hotel guests on the upper floors.

How things have changed on the other side of that wall. This photo shows the LA Fitness center on he far right, the Sleepy 8 Motel, and now this huge motel..... not sure of its name yet.

That's my news for today. Must go back outside and find some fun thing to do instead of being indoors.

Friday, September 25, 2009

This is Hilarious!

Arizona Ice Cream Truck

I received this in an email from Nikki Rainha this morning. Thanks, Nikki!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Palm Creek Wildlife

No....this blog entry isn't about wild happy hour parties....but is about the birds and four legged critters that reside here. Everyone knows about our owls, but there are other visitors to brag about as well.

The grand trophy for bird photos goes to Bill Wrightson for these great shots of a nesting nighthawk. As a lifelong avid bird watcher, I LOVE these photos and eagerly want to see a nest like this for myself. Thank you, Bill, for sharing!!

Here Mom is sunning herself in the nice warm gravel. Nighthawks are great insect hunters and catch most of their food in flight. They're awesome to watch in early morning or at dusk as they swoop through the air in pursuit of a juicy bug. They nest on the ground in gravel areas so Bill was lucky enough to come across a nest. Their camouflage is amazing at how they blend into their surroundings.

Will Updyke (Palm Creek Maintenance Manager) was recently called upon to investigate a furry critter seen lurking among the village homes. He set a live trap and wound up with this adorable little gray fox. After a short photo session, Will lovingly released the little guy back into the desert where he will be safer.

Being the nature buff that I am, I had to look up some internet info on the fox:
The Gray Fox is the only member of the dog family that can climb trees, usually to seek refuge or in search of roosting birds. It can reach a speed of 28 mph for short distances and has lived for up to 10 years in captivity; longevity in the wild is probably much shorter.The Gray Fox is smaller in size than the Coyote -- usually 32 to 45 inches long, and weighs 7 to 11 pounds. Its coloration is grizzled gray on top, with a white throat extending underneath; it is rusty-red along the sides. The tail usually has a black mane along the top, with a dark-gray or black tip. Gray Foxes have elongated muzzles and forward-pointing ears.Although primarily nocturnal, The Gray Fox may sometimes be seen foraging during the day, seeking primarily small mammals, but being an omnivore, it will also eat eggs, insects, birds, fruits, acorns and berries. If not using a hollow tree, the vixen (female) may dig her den into soil or enlarge the burrow of another animal. This den may be as much as 75 feet long and can have 10 or more exits. There are also numerous side chambers used for food storage and for the transfer of young, once a chamber becomes too soiled to inhabit.
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This has been a good season for our burrowing owl population! You can regularly see four of the cute feathered creatures at the entrance to their burrow right outside the front Palm Creek entrance. They're especially visible in the early morning or toward dusk when the temperatures are cooler.

Bill Wrightson captured this fantastic photo near the RV storage area. He said he frequently spots this little guy peering over a mound of dirt in that area. Perhaps there is another nest in the vicinity. Since Bill is out in the early morning chasing his golf ball around the course, he has great opportunity to come home with some trophy photographs.

There are four more owls usually perched on top the park model along the north wall. They must have a burrow right outside the wall or across Cottonwood Lane.

Visit Site 1160 along the north wall in the early morning. The little critters will be waiting and are quite patient while you ready your camera.
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