Showing posts from January, 2009

Take a Walk With Us

Tom & I have been trying to walk every day for about an hour.  We have taken a different route many times and we're really exploring the area around here.
I'll take you with us today.  I do wish you could be here with us for the fun.
Here is Tom coming down from Kristen's apartment.  Did I tell you she lives on the third floor?  We get exercise just coming home each day.

Behind Kristen's apartment is a farm pasture that we admire every morning as the cows come out to graze.  So today we are walking around the fields trying to find out more about the farm.  
Here is the view looking from the other side of the field.  You can see Kristen's apartment complex in the background-just barely.  This part of the field is not irrigated so the grass is very sparse.  We are thinking it might have been an orange grove at one time because the street is named Grove and it is a huge field.  It is unusual that it is right in town with busy city streets on all sides.  Also, we saw a…

FBR Open

Yesterday Tom and I attended a PGA Tournament in Scottsdale thanks to tickets from Amy.  The tickets included entrance to the tourney and many food venues.
We have no pictures because cameras weren't allowed and we are such rule followers.  There were thousands of people there-even former president Bush (41).  We didn't see him either.
It was a great experience.  It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine but not too hot.  We arrived in to a large parking area and rode a shuttle bus to the entrance.   Then we wound around until we reached the entrance, went through inspection for cameras, cell phones etc..
We were there on the first day of tournament play so the crowds weren't what they will be this weekend.  This allowed us to get good viewing spots at several holes.  Our favorite spot was right next to the green on the 17th hole where we were up front and personal with the players.
The food was great and we enjoyed every part of the day.  This tournament is known for their…

A Day with the Comptons

Wednesday was a full day for us visiting in Sun City West.  We spent the day the Glenn and Glenda Compton, former teachers from Caledonia High School.  Glenn was Tom's first football coach in 9th grade.  Glenda was his U.S. history teacher.  They live a very active fun life here, making the most of the retirement community life.
The Comptons live in Sun City West with is an age restricted community with all kinds of activities and recreation opportunities.  After having coffee and catching up, we took off for line dancing.  The Comptons are really good and we struggled to keep up but it was great fun.

We don't look nearly so nimble as Glenn and Glenda but Tom definitely did well.
This is the Compton's home in Sun City West.

After a quick lunch, we were out minature golfing.  Glenn is a great athlete and beat all of us.  
I had the shot of the day however.  I had to stand on this obstacle but made the shot!
While at my grandmother's funeral a few weeks ago, I had learned that…

Lunch with Amy & Kristen

Tom & I met our niece, Amy Edwards, today for lunch.  It was our first chance to see her since we arrived here.  Amy & her husband, Alex, live in Peroria but Amy works on the same side of town as Kristen.  Unfortunately Alex wasn't able to drive across town for lunch with us.  We hope to get together with Alex and Amy after Super Bowl weekend.

Amy is expecting her first baby in May.  Amy's father is Jack (Tom's brother) and she was raised in Minneapolis.  She and Kristen were born just 9 weeks apart but never lived near each other until Kristen moved out here.
Kristen joined us and we had a great time but we retirees stretched the girl's lunch hour out a bit.
It was a cool day but nice enough to eat outdoors.

Our Furnace Works

This is the view from Kristen's balcony.
It is a cold morning here today.  Got down to 38 degrees last night-actually early this morning but the high will be in the 60's today.  But it may be even colder tonight.
Kristen's furnace actually came on during the night and I'm glad it did.  
We are just making our plans for the day so I will have to fill you in later what we finally decided to do.
More to follow later.

Sunday's Report

We had a great day yesterday.  We attended church with Kristen.  Again, I learned some new worship songs.  I had never heard any that they did but really liked several of them.  My favorite was Voice of the Savior.  When I did some research I found it had been done by Mandisa, an American Idol 9th place winner.  You can click on the title and hear her sing it.
After resting in the afternoon from our big day on Saturday, we had a delicious dinner prepared  by Chris & Kristen.  We had steaks and potatoes grilled by Chris.  Kristen made a seafood soup and steamed summer squash.  We ended with pecan pie from Rock Springs Cafe and ice cream.
Today, I connected with a cousin of mine from Minnesota.  I just thought about her and wondered if she might have a Facebook page.  I did a Facebook search and thought I had found her so I  sent a friend request. (If you aren't on Facebook, none of that made sense).  Within 30 minutes I had heard back.  She is currently in Grand Rapids because he…

Saturday Road Trip

Kristen and Chris love to take road trips around Arizona.  One of their first dates was a trip to Prescott.  They took us there yesterday.  Prescott is about 1 1/2 hours north of Phoenix but it really is a different world.  The town has a rich history from the Wild West and it is reflected in the sights and businesses there.  When we first got there, it was really cool- in the 50's.

This  photo is at the county court house.  I saw a similar sculpture in the new president's office.  
We are lunch in Hotel St. Michael, an old restaurant and hotel from the 1800's.  It still has many of the original features from 1903 when it was rebuild after a fire.The lobby is like stepping back in time.
Teddy Roosevelt stayed there during the dedication of the statue you saw in the first picture.
They have a thriving artist community in Prescott and we saw beautiful work in several galleries but didn't purchase anything to bring home.  We took a liking to a life-size bear sculpture that we…

Day of Writing

Friday was a work day for me.  You might think that I don't have any work to do but I do.  I would like to be a writer 'when I grow up' and so that is what I am working on.
I do a weekly column for a NASCAR website at  I am the Saturday columnist and my work is always due in on Friday morning.  This is the off-season for NASCAR and so writing the column takes a little more research right now.  You can get to my column directly at Insider Racing
I am also working on a novel for middle-school age kids and one of my goals for this trip is to finish that book.  Friday was very productive as I finished off three chapters.  When you write, you are never actually done with the writing.  You can always improve a piece of writing.  So the chapters are finished off for right now.
My novel is the story of Jane Johnston who really lived in Sault Ste. Marie in the early 1800's.  If you come to the Soo and visit during the summer, you can visit the…

New Library & Hard Times

Phoenix Library where we visited.

Kristen took me to a different library last night that is closer to us.  It is a branch of the Phoenix Library.  I was looking for The Invention of Air,  a new book about the life of Joseph Priestly.  I was told that the Phoenix Library has no funds for new books and hasn't ordered anything in the last 6 months.  My request was published in December so there was no hope of finding it in the library.  How sad!
The Phoenix area is suffering from economic hardtimes but not as significant as Michigan's troubles.
So many people here have moved from either the Midwest or the East Coast.  In Michigan we are always talking about the weather.  Because every day is pretty much the same here-warm and sunny, I haven't heard much talk about it.  What people do talk about is the weather back 'home' either with their kids or their parents.
Yesterday was a different story.  There were clouds and rain.  I was at a beauty shop for a hair cut and the emp…

Trip to the Library

Yesterday's fun included a trip to the Scottsdale Library.  They have 4 branches and we went to what we thought was the closest.  The library was well-equipped with computers and they were in use and most of the patrons were 'old' people.  Of course, it was in the morning but that does seem to be true of Scottsdale-lots of gray haired people around here.

This is the cactus garden outside the library.  These saguaro cactus are beautiful and in abundance around here.
Kristen tells me there is a closer library which she is going to take me to tonight.
We actually had rain during the night.  The locals are delighted and there is more rain predicted tonight.  It is nice of them to have the rain come after dark.  
Our morning walk this morning ended at Dunkin Donuts.  They are running a special -if you bring in a competitor's cup, you get  a free cup of coffee.  We had Tom's cup from Starbucks yesterday so that worked well.    We resisted temptation to have anything sweet.  …

Home Depot

This morning we had a Skype call with Tommy, Sherry, Anna and Jack.  What a treat to be able to see them as well as talk to them.  Jack seemed amazed that we are within walking distance to Home Depot.  I think that is his favorite store.  
We had to go to Home Depot this morning to get the fasteners Tom needed to finish the dishwasher project so I took some pictures to show just how close we are to HD.  
This first picture is taken from the entrance to Kristen's apartment complex.  Home Depot is up at the light on the right side of the picture, behind the balloons.

We are now up at the corner of Bell Road and 49th Street.  This is the corner in the first picture.  Tom is standing by the sign for Kristen's apartment and you can see Home Depot in the background.  See Jack-it is really close to us.
Now just across the street from Home Depot is Starbucks where I am sitting.  We had 2 coffees and a muffin and it came to over $10 so next time we might try Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds, bot…

Not Much to Report

I don't have much to tell you today.  Yesterday was devoted to watching the Inauguration.  Because we are two hours behind the Eastern Time Zone, coverage started very early and lasted well into the night.  
We didn't sit in front of the TV all day.  In the afternoon, we spent time at the pool and Tom even went in the water for a refreshing swim.  The weather is unusally warm here right now with temps near 80 everyday.  We are loving it.
We went out to dinner last night to Boston Market.  We always liked the one in Cascade and were disappointed when it closed.  But there are many Boston Markets here.  With the help of the GPS, we found one 3 miles from here.  I don't know of any restaurant that isn't close by.  I'm trying to convince Tom that 3 miles is within walking distance.
We also found a Starbucks that is even closer than Dunkin Donuts.  We haven't tried it yet but will soon I'm sure.
This town is Super Bowl crazy.  There was a funny story on the news las…

Let Us Pray-LUP

Rick Warren just gave the invocation for Obama's inauguration.  He began his prayer by saying, "Let us pray."  I was taking notes and wrote down LUP even before he began because that is always the phrase used to begin a public prayer.  
I think that LUP should be the watchword for our lives both in important events and the everyday events.  
We can only pray that Obama and his leadership will always depend on prayer for guidance and that he will begin each day with LUP.

Inauguration Day

I am encouraged as I sit here  watching Inauguration Day coverage on TV.  The Obamas and Bidens are attending worship services before they begin their day's activities.  I pray that they will  be aware of God's leading in their lives and are willing to follow it.
I am reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin right now.  This is a biography of Abraham Lincoln's political life.  I am so impressed by how Lincoln treated others especially those who treated him badly.  Lincoln's antislavery beliefs were strong but he still treated those against him with respect.
"Rather than upbraid slaveowners, Lincoln sought to comprehend their position through empathy.  More than a decade earlier, he had employed a similar approach when he advised temperance advocats to refrain from denouncing drinkers in thundering tones of anathema and denunciation, for denunciation would inevitably be met with denunciation, crimination with crimination and anathema with anathema.  In a passag…

Our Team is Going to the Superbowl

We spent a fun afternoon watching the Arizona Cardinals play the Philadelphia Eagles in football.  This entire town is crazy for football right now.   The pastor said this morning that the early service that we were at was as full as the second service usually is.  He asked how many people came to the early service so they could watch the football game. ( Remember we are two hours behind Eastern Standard Time.)  Lots of people had.

Now we are watching the Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens.  Chris, Kristen's boyfriend, is a big Steelers fan because he went to school in Pittsburgh.
Lots of goodies to snack on during the games Kristen's big screen TV All decked out for the Steelers game -Kristen had to change out of her Cardinals shirt after the Cardinals won their game.

Church Today

Good morning dear friends.  We just returned from morning worship services at Christ's Church of Scottsdale.  The church was planted by Christ Church of the Valley where we attended with Kristen last year.  CCS recently became independent of the mother church.  We were blessed by the singing and the preaching.  I learned a new song this morning called Glorious One and loved it.
The pastor spoke on Moses and how God used Moses' time in the desert to strip him of his pride and make it possible for him to be used by God.  My prayer is that God would use my time in this desert to teach me about Him. 

Saturday Fun

Today Kristen didn't have to work so we had lots of fun activities.  After getting her a new bed because we have her queen size bed, we went out in the desert to see Chris, her boyfriend.  He has a quad for riding in the desert.  He let Tom ride and Tom loved it and took to it like a duck to water. (If you heard Jeff Manion's sermon last week, you will understand my use of a proverb.)

We also got to see where Kristen works-at Kahala.  When Kahala bought Coldstone Creamery a few years ago, they moved into Coldstone's corporate headquarters, so everything is still labled Coldstone, although it is actually Kahala.

I think the following pictures shows our motto for life.

We also stopped at a collector car show that was a baby boomer's dream.  They were playing lots of good rock and roll music with all kinds of cars from our younger days.  It was just great being in the outdoors.

This is a 1961 Chevy Impala.  I had one when I was in high school except mine was white.
Tonight we …

Arizona Happenings

I read Sharon Mortensen's comment on Facebook about her intention to exercise.  She said that overcame her inner sloth and was on the treadmill.  That will be my intention for the next days. I haven't been accomplishing too much.   I think I was really tired out from my last 2 weeks.  Kristen and I were talking and I realized that within 2 weeks we had driven  from Caledonia to the Soo and back, to North Carolina and then to Phoenix.  Anyway, that is my excuse for totally relaxing yesterday.
Tom got up early to go to the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction.  This is the collector car auction shown on SPEED-TV.  What an experience.  I didn't go because it cost $40 just to get it to watch.  Tom loved it but didn't come home with a new car.
I spent the day getting settled.  The apartment complex has a fitness center so I worked out and then finished unpacking.  Really, I would work for a while and then sit and read or play Scramble on Facebook.  I couldn't resist the temptation…

First Day in Arizona

One highlight of our driving yesterday was stopping in El Paso, Texas for lunch.  We used the book, USA On the Road, that we received last Christmas from Eric and Jess, to locate an authentic Mexican resturant.  Leo's gave us a look at life in El Paso and a great taste of Mexican food.

We got to bed early last night but woke this morning ready to go.  After breakfast, we got in the car (something we said we never wanted to do again last night) and went out to get our bearings.  Kristen has an unique apartment.  On the south side of the complex is Bell Road, the 28th Street of this area.  On the north side is a farm field with cows grazing.  We have the best of both worlds.

We were looking for a coffee shop within walking distance.  So far, we have found a Dunkin Donuts.  We'll look for more tomorrow.  We also went to Home Depot, Walmart and Fryes-the grocery store.  We realized that all of these are within walking distance for us.
Kristen had some jobs for her dad such as fixing …

Wednesday at 7 PM

We have safely arrived at Kristen's apartment in Phoenix.  We've traveled 2900 miles since last Friday.  We are praising God for a trouble-free trip.  We saw many beautiful sights but we are so happy to be here in the Valley of the Sun. 
Even though it is only 8:30 PM here, I am beat tired and will be heading to bed.  More writing tomorrow!


We are in Big Spring Texas right now.   We stayed here last Feb. but not at the same hotel.  We learned our lesson then and got a better place now.  We pushed hard today but saw some beautiful country.
We crossed the Mississippi River early and although it doesn't compare to the St. Marys River, it was quite a sight.

I know that isn't a good picture but we were surprised by the river and by the time I got my camera out we were almost past.  
We skirted around the south end of Dallas and were glad we weren't closer.  It looked great from the distance.
We also played chicken with a semi driver but no one was harmed in this stunt.  More about thislater in the blog.

We met a couple of interesting people today.  First, at a Dairy Queen, we struck up a conversation with a police officer.  After leaving, he came back in and brought us a Texas map.  What a nice gesture.
Then our waitress at dinner started telling us about life in west Texas and actually sat down at the table to talk wit…

What We Are Looking Forward to

I was just checking out our travel weather and it looks good today.  The Phoenix National Weather Service forecast is something special.  You might enjoy looking at it.  Sunny everyday.  As a sun-deprived Michigander, it looks great.
We will be on the road soon and hope to make it far into Texas today.  
I just watched the Today Show and I am really looking forward to the Inauguration next week.  But I don't know what the fuss is about Michelle Obama's mother moving into the White House.  As a mother-in-law, I might be a little sensitive about the jokes being made about it.  What do you think?

In the Deep South

We left Jen's house this morning and headed south.  We decided to take a southern route to avoid the possibility of winter weather.  We have heard about the pending storm coming to the Midwest.
Our first stop was about 5 miles from Jen's house at a Waffle House.  Tom has long wanted to go to Waffle House but I have always been leary because I heard they weren't too clean.  Jen had been to this one and said it was great.  We had a delicious breakfast and that was our last full meal of the day.We traveled out of North Carolina, across the northwest corner of South Carolina and into Georgia.  We passed through Atlanta about noon and the traffic wasn't too bad.

Later we traveled through Alabama and stopped at Talledaga Superspeedway-one of the premier NASCAR tracks.  We couldn't get into the track but enjoyed seeing the area.
We have stopped for the night in Clinton, Mississippi.  We are close to the Louisiana border.  I have never been in Louisiana before and I'm look…

Carolina Raptor Center

"Red sky in morning, sailors take warning."
This is the beautiful sunrise we saw when leaving Michigan on Friday.  But the warning certainly came true because they received about a foot of snow that day.

Today we visited the Carolina Raptor Center with Jennifer.  As a high school biology teacher she is really intersted in the birds and may even start to volunteer there.  It was a very interesting and fun afternoon.  We got up close and personal with the birds.  The birds are so well suited for their hunting.  God's creation is always amazing-down to the smallest details.
Later, Jen's good friend, Kim, came over to visit.  She is a bundle of energy and always fun to be around.