Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy 2010

  Happy Holidays to all our friends and family! I hope yours is as nice as ours will be.  We've had a great start to our Christmas Season.  Casa Grande has an Electric Light Parade every year to kick off the season.  Our park entered this year for the first time.  There were 81 entries all together and they estimate over 33,000 lined the streets.  Gary's truck was the float, with our theme, "Christmas at the Coop" (Co-Op).  We had the truck decked out with lights and two people dressed up as Mrs. Claus and a Rooster, sitting on the tool box.  They'd built a coop on the back  and we had a Motor Home (about 2 ft x 1/2 ft on the top).  We had about a dozen other Skp's dressed as Chicken walking along side the truck and the music was, of course, the Chicken Dance.  As we went by the announcer's stand, she said that this is what your grandparents do when they leave town!  People loved it and we won 2nd place for the most amusing entry!!! Over
20 people were involved one way or another and we all had a great time doing it.
    My Quilt Guild celebrated Christmas at the Holiday Inn.  We had a super speaker that day from Ladyhawk designs and then an Alpaca Rancher joined us for lunch to share new products they're making for quilters.  Kokopelli's where I'm still working one day a week, had our holiday party last week.  Sandy fixed a turkey, dressing, and gravy, while the rest of us chipped in with pot luck sides and desserts.  There were 11 of us all together.  It was a fun and festive evening.  I chaired the SKP Christmas Party Sat night here at the park.  We had a committee with 8 others to help, and had about 100 attend.  There will also be a Christmas Eve party and Christmas Dinner with the group. 
     One of our goals this winter was to go dancing more often.  We were going to try a bar in Coolidge, about 30 miles from here, but instead we were at a Senior Center Dance and invited to a dance at one of the larger RV parks here in Casa Grande.  They have dances every Friday night that are open to the public.  There's a live band (usually country, but also some old style rock from the 50's and 60's), and a great dance floor, about 75 by 100 feet, with tables around it and a stage for the band.  Last Fri night there were about 120 people there with about half dancing at any one time.  There's lots of room and probably about 75% of the people actually know how to two step and waltz.  (There's not a lot of swing and line dancing centers around the electric slide.)  It costs $6 in advance or $7 per person at the door.  Everybody brings their own drinks and they have water and huge bowls of chips.  No smoking and no drunks, although alcohol
is allowed. They start at 7 and go till 10.  (Some of the oldsters have to get home and to bed early you know).  The only thing missing is all our dancing friends from Evanston!!!
     Our families are all doing well.  The newest member, Bowdie, hit the scale yesterday at 8 pounds 15 ounces and will be 6 months old on Christmas Day.  He's still on oxygen and a heart monitor, but getting along nicely and his family is loving having him at home! 
     We got our Christmas present today, when Social Security deposited my first check in our bank account!!!!!  This was also my last day at Kokopelli's.  We are both officially unemployed, except for four months next summer, when we manage our campgrounds again.
     May you too be in the best time of your life, when your family become friends and your friends become family.
     Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2010!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fall 2009 Happenings with the Smiths

    Thanksgiving starts with something very special for us. Our youngest grandson, Bowdie Smith, born June 25th, at 1 lb 1 oz went home with his very excited parents on Nov 12th!!!!!  He weighs an even 7 pounds and is doing well.  He went home on oxygen and with heart and breathing monitors that he’ll have for the next few months at least.  Their little family is homebound with orders not to take him out in any crowds or around young children, but that’s OK, they’re just thrilled to be at home, after 4 ½ months of daily hospital visits.
    We’ve gotten into the swing of our winter routine.  I’m only working one day a week this year, and loving the extra time.  My quilt classes have restarted and we’re working on interesting projects.  There are also some exciting workshops coming up to look forward to.  Gary is enjoying being a man of leisure and pleased to be unemployed for the winter.  He’s not too leisure though, between billiards and golf.  He even went bowling for the first time in 9 ½  years, with a group from our park.  His pool league and twice monthly Sunday tournaments have restarted as well.  He usually golfs twice a week with friends and with the park. 
            Gary and I celebrated by 62nd birthday by spending the day at one of my favorite places, the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson.  Then we went to Saguaro National Park and got my Senior Access, (Golden Age), Pass.  My first socal security check is scheduled to be direct deposited on December 23rd.  That will be exciting!!!
          We’ve also been doing more dancing, both with the Senior Center and at another RV park in Casa Grande.  A local husband and wife singing duo invited friends over to a house party where we heard an amazing country singer named Tom Hiatt.  He writes his own music and reminded both of us of Chris LeDoux in voice and style. 
           Our park decided to participate in the Casa Grande Electric Light parade to be held on Dec. 5th, so we’ve been busy getting ready for that.  The theme is “Christmas at the Coop,” a play on words for our Co-Op.  Gary’s truck is the float and a coop has been designed for it.  Mrs. Claus and a rooster will ride on the float, while chickens  will walk, cluck and dance along side.  The music is “The Chicken Dance, ” of course.   It’s been a lot of fun.
    This morning a group of us went to the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Farm.  We’ve been there before, but never taken the Monster Truck Ride and Tour.  It was a blast.  We learned a lot about the ostriches and more about the desert and Picacho Peak.  We also took a wild ride over hills and bumps in the truck and finished it off by fishing for Ostrich.  We held a pole with a chain at the end and a large screw.  You stab half an orange through the peel with the screw and extend it out on a platform for the ostriches.  They grab it off the chain, swallow it whole, on then you can watch it move down their throat.  The feathers at the base of their long neck, flutter up as it goes by.   After that we fed the ostriches, deer, goats burros, and then the colorful Lorikeets. 
    Once again the post office has changed the zip code here, so it is now 85193 instead of 85293.  For those who need the entire address, it is:
3241 S. Montgomery Road
Casa Grande, AZ 85193

    You can tell we have much to be thankful for this year and we wish all of you the best through out the holiday season.  Have a great Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!  May you have a healthy and prosperous 2010. 
    Busily dancing in AZ........................... Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty, and Spicy     

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Grand Canyon Adventure 2009

    Most of you know my girlfriend Kay and I hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim last year.  We hiked down the North Kaibab trail, spent 2 nights in the dorms at Phantom Ranch, and hiked up the Bright Angel Trail, spending an unscheduled night at Indian Gardens, when Kay got sick.  This year the husbands and Kay’s brother wanted to hike with us, so we hiked from the South Rim (no one to drive the rigs from north to south).  Also, the south rim has a kennel for our dogs. We got to the East section of the Grand Canyon and stayed at Desert Watchtower Campground for two nights.  Since we were limited to 7 days at the main campground, this gave us a chance to explore the east section more thoroughly.  We revisited all the east view points, along with the Tusayan museum and ruins.  The Canyon is splendid & always different from each of its many viewpoints.
    On Sep 26, we moved over to Mather Campground by the main section of the South Rim and Grand Canyon Village.  We checked out the kennels and did the preliminary paperwork, stopped by the Backcountry Information Office to check the latest weather reports, and visited the rim for ice cream at Bright Angel Lodge, while looking over where we were headed. On the 27th we delivered the dogs to their doggie hotel for the next four nights and met our friends at Bright Angel Lodge to go over our plans and pick up radios for communication with them.  We also confirmed our reservations for meals at Phantom Ranch, while at the bottom of the canyon.
    Finally Sep. 28th was here!  I was excited and awake at about 2:30am and by 3:30am checked with Gary who was also awake.  We had been going to take the 6am Hiker’s shuttle and decided to move it up to the 5am shuttle.  Temps were predicted to be hot, so we decided an early start would serve us well.  Boy, were we right about that.  We drove over to the parking area at 4:30am and by the time the bus picked us up, there were about 40 hikers there.  We were bused directly to the South Kaibab trailhead, where we used the restrooms one last time, put our backpacks on, and rechecked our supply of water.  I carried 3 liters and Gary had 3 ½ liters of water.  There is no additional water available on this trail until the river, so we had to make sure we had an adequate supply for the duration of hike, considering the hot temps. Since we were camping this time, that also meant we had to pack our tent, mats, sleeping covers, clothes, water, food (except for
the two purchased dinners) etc. in our backpacks.  We weighed our packs before leaving and found Gary’s weighed about 30 pounds and mine about 24 pounds.
    The S. Kaibab trail is 6.3 miles to the river and another ½ mile to the Bright Angel Campground, where we were staying two nights.  Don’t let the short distance fool you, it’s a vertical descent from 7,200 ft to 2,400 ft at the Kaibab Suspension Bridge.  We can both verify that going down almost 5,000 feet in that distance is very hard on all parts of the legs - ankles, calves, knees, and thighs!!!  The upside is that for most of the hike, it follows a ridge line, so that you’re out in the open and have fantastic views of the canyon all the way down.  While it was cool when we started, with jackets, gloves, pants, etc., by the time we got to Cedar Ridge, 1 ½ miles down we had our jackets off and the lower sections of our pants came off soon after.  At what’s called the tip-off ( 4.6 miles down), you can see the Colorado River 1,500 feet below you along with the bridge.  They continue to remain in sight most of the way.  We could also see
several rafts at the boat beach.  While we had been told to expect no shade on this route, there were actually shady spots intermittently the last mile down.  Believe me, they were welcome and we took advantage of all of them for short rests!!!  Another plus this year, is they’ve diverted all mule traffic to the Bright Angel Trail, while refurbishing the S. Kaibab trail, so we didn’t have any mules to contend with on our way down.  While we probably won’t ever hike that route again, we were both glad we had taken it this time, as we’d heard so many wonderful things about it. They were all true!!!
    We arrived at the campground about 1pm, totally exhausted, but also feeling good we had made it down.  The heat was overwhelming, and we found out it was 104 degrees at Phantom Ranch that day. We chose our campsite, based on the first one we came to with shade.  It felt so gooooood to take our packs off for a couple days.  Gary checked out Bright Angel Creek and within 15 minutes, while he soaked his feet, I was laying down in the creek.  I had felt the heat more than Gary and while I thought I was drinking enough, had drank about 1 liter less than Gary.  As a result I was feeling a little dizzy and nauseated when we arrived.  The creek was cold and cooled my core temperature down quickly.  It  felt amazingly refreshing.  We set up our tent, mats, etc. and laid down for a short and warm nap.  We left the rainfly off our tent while at Phantom and enjoyed the few breezes that came through, as well as being able to see the stars through the netting at
top.  A great sight in the middle of the night.
     Our friends arrived later that afternoon, having left about an hour later and hiked down the longer Bright Angel Trail. There were more visits to the creek and feet soaking all around.  It's funny to watch the hikers hobble around at Phantom Ranch, as many had sore legs like us.  It's nice to have that extra day to rest up before starting out.
     Gary and I had hiker’s stew dinners reserved at Phantom Ranch he first night and headed over about 6pm.   Dinners at Phantom Ranch are all reserved and served family style.  You’re assigned a table when you come in by the single server and there are 46 persons at each meal.  Steak is served at 5pm and stew at 6:30pm each night.  Along with that is a huge bowl of fresh salad with all sorts of fresh vegies, artichokes, pickles, etc.  The stew was plentiful and all you could eat.  There was fresh cornbread and huge pieces of chocolate cake for dessert.  Ice tea, water, and coffee were the beverages included and you could purchase beer and wine.
       The air conditioned dining hall reopens from 8-10pm as a beer hall for all to enjoy and is also open from 8am to 4pm as a canteen.   Everything that is served and sold at Phantom Ranch has to be brought down by mule and all trash is taken our the same way.  The employees at Phantom work 10 days on and four days off.  They must hike out and back in, if they leave the canyon during their days off.
       The next morning, I hiked alone to “the Box.”  This is a 3 ½ mile stretch of canyon at the bottom of the N. Kaibab trail.  It’s narrow walls go upwards of 1,000 feet, as the trail goes along Bright Angel Creek.  There are several bridges going back and forth over the creek.  This is the section that Kay and I did after dark last year when we went rim to rim, so I hadn’t seen it in the daylight.  It was beautiful to see and hard to believe we had done this in the dark.  I only went a couple miles up and turned back.  I met the others at the dining hall and enjoyed some air conditioning.  The high was only 101 degrees that day.  We enjoyed a relaxing day, with time in the creek and exploring the bottom of the canyon.  We all went to a ranger program at 4pm, for a program about the history of the river and various explorers.  A fantastic steak dinner at 5pm followed, with huge New York strip steaks, baked potatoes, vegies, biscuits, fresh
salad and the same wonderful chocolate cake for desert.  Nighttime comes early when it gets dark, as we were starting our hike out early the next morning.  Sleeping was a little more difficult as it was still very warm.
      Gary and I got up about 5am and were hiking by 5:45am.   We crossed the silver bridge and headed for Bright Angel Trail.  We hiked 4.8 miles and arrived at  Indian Gardens in early afternoon.  While our legs were still sore when we left in the morning, after our uphill hike the kinks seemed to be worked out and they felt much better.  Our friends left and arrived about an hour after us.  We set up camp there, had lunch, and enjoyed some cooler temperatures.  Late afternoon Buzz (Kay’s brother) and I hiked the three miles round trip to Plateau Point.  It’s a very beautiful panoramic spot overlooking the Colorado River, from about 1,000 feet up.   What a weather change, as it dipped to about 40 degrees that night.  We slept in our clothes, had the rainfly on the tent to help keep heat in, and shared the single blanket we had brought.  Since we were awake, we headed out early again and started the last of the climb out.  While we hiked about 4.8
miles each of the 2 days we hiked out, we only climbed 1,300 feet the first day, leaving 3,100 feet to climb UP the second day.  It is also a beautiful trail with magnificent scenery all the way.  We arrived on the rim at 11am and after a picture taken of our exhausted, but victorious smiles, we left to pick up the doggies.  Needless to say, they were thrilled to see us and we all headed back to our wonderful home at the campground.  We enjoyed wonderful hot showers and an equally wonderful bed as we relaxed that afternoon and evening, very tired, but also feeling good about our accomplishment.  The next day we went back to the rim for ice cream, souvenirs and mainly to gaze below again, to where we had been.  It was a wonderful time and as Gary has reminded me a ONCE in a lifetime experience. The last morning there, I went out to witness a very beautiful sunrise at the rim.  It's always different as the light changes, so it never gets old.
      We followed our trip with a visit with friends in Kingman, a stop at a SKP park near Wickenberg, and a projected return to our winter home at RoVer’s Roost in Casa Grande, AZ.  Our winter address will be 3241 S. Montgomery Road, Casa Grande, AZ 85293, until about mid-March.  If you’re within a hundred miles or so, let us know and we can get together.
     Dancing from the Canyon........................ Hugs, Katy Gary, Rust and Spicy

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Winding Down - 2009

      It's been a busy summer and a
> travelog is far overdue.  By neccesity it will be
> quick, but update you on what we've been doing.  Summer
> started cold and rainy from most of June, but has been
> glorious since then, with lots of sunshine and warm days
> (high 70"s) and cool nights (40"s mostly).
>      Hard as it is to believe, we only
> have 4 1/2 weeks left in the mountains.    We'll
> be leaving Evanston and heading for the Grand Canyon on
> 20Sep.  Please don't send any mail to our daughter's
> address (401 Twin Ridge Ave.  Evanston, WY 82930) after
> September 10th.  You can use our winter address (3241
> S. Montgomery Road Casa Grande, AZ 85293) from then
> on.  They'll hold our mail, as we don't expect to
> arrive until mid-October.  Of course our South Dakota
> address (3213 W. Main St. #115 Rapid City, SD 57702) will
> always get to us.  It just takes a little longer.
>      We had two weddings this summer as
> Gary's oldest daughter, Neila, and his son, Curtis both
> remarried wonderful people that are a pleasure to have in
> the family.  Curtis and his wife, April, welcomed their
> new son, Bowdie much earlier than expected, on June
> 25th.  He weighed in at ONE lb. ONE oz. and was 12
> inches long.  He was born and remains in the NICU at
> University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.  We're
> able to get down to see him every couple of weeks and it's
> amazing how tiny he is, but perfectly formed and quite
> handsome, of course!  The latest update is that he
> finally hit the TWO pound mark and is now 2 lbs 1 1/2
> oz.  So far the problems he's had have all been
> overcome, but of course it's one day at a time.
> They're hopeful he'll be able to come home by October 8th,
> his original due date.
>      Gary continue to play billiards
> and won a Bronze medal in the Wy Sr. Olympics in
> doubles.  Busy campgrounds didn't allow for him to
> enter singles or golf.  He golfs every Mon. evening in
> his old league and plays billiards at the Sr. Center in
> Evanston at least once a week. 
>      I've loved using my new (1936)
> Featherweight sewing machine while in the forest.  I've
> completed 3 quilts and some small projects using it.  I
> look forward to using my Bernina again this winter, but this
> has been a great solution for sewing in the forest.  I
> entered 7 items in the Uinta Co. Fair in Evanston, WY and
> took 6 blue ribbons and one red ribbon.  I also won the
> Reserve Grand Champion for a Christmas Tree Skirt I'd made
> at Quilt Camp. 
>      We've been hiking 3-6 miles at
> least once a week on some challenging trails, as we prepare
> to hike the Grand Canyon again next month.  We wear
> close to full packs while we hike and are usually at 10,000
> + feet in elevation, so it's a workout.  Our husbands
> are joining Kay and I this year as we hike to the bottom of
> the Canyon.  Gary and I are hiking down the South
> Kaibab trail on Sep 28th.  We'll meet Dick and Kay at
> the bottom and stay two nights at Bright Angel
> Campground.  On the 30th we'll hike to Indian Gardens
> on the Bright Angel Trail and spend one night there, then
> hike out to the rim on Oct. 1st.  We're excited and
> looking forward to another Canyon adventure. 
>      That's it for now.  Take care
> everyone and I'll write again after we arrive in Casa
> Grande, AZ

>      Dancing and winding down the
> Summer,
>      Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty, and
> Spicy

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dancing thru Sun and Snow 2009

April 7, 2009
Dear Friends,
    It’s time to update you on our whereabouts and summer doings. 
            Just before we left Arizona, we attended the Senior Center’s Spring dance, called,  (what else?) The Senior Prom!  A 6 member group called the Keepsakes sang songs from the late 50's and 60's all night long. It was hard to sit down and take a break, the music was soooooooo good! We really enjoyed it! 
    On our way North, we tried to a permit to hike the Wave, a beautiful red rock formation along the Arizona/Utah border by hiway 89.  They only give out permits for 20 people per day.  10 are by applying by mail through a lottery system and 10 are given out by a drawing in the morning for the next day.  The morning we were there, 58 others also decided to try.  We didn’t get drawn out, but will try again on one of our trips north or south.  At least we learned more about it and how the system works. 
           We faxed our backcountry permit to the Grand Canyon last Friday and are hoping to get a permit for September.  It’s also done by lottery.  We hope to hike down the South Kaibab trail, spend 2 nights at Bright Angel Campground, and hike up the Bright Angel Trail, spending 1 night at Indian Garden Campground.  Gary is going with me this time, as is Kay (the girlfriend who hiked with me last year), and her husband.  We’re going down and up the South side, as we won’t have anyone to drive us or the trailers around and there is a kennel on the South side, where we can leave the dogs.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.  We should know by the end of May, if we’re drawn out. 
    Gary’s pool team finished their league in second place and were very happy for that.  Now they’re aiming for first next year.  Gary wound up fifth in the average (missing fourth by one one/hundredth of a point).  All together there were about 100 in the league, so that’s a pretty good finish.  He won an award for high average on his team.   Now he’s playing at the local Senior Center and continues to place in the top 3 in the local tournaments.
    In the past month, I’ve finished some quilting projects, by doing the machine quilting and binding.  I also took a class in Urie, WY (about 35 miles east of Evanston).  It was to make a cool hot plate holder.  I made two in class and have since made two more for gifts.   I also got a new old machine for Mother’s Day.  It’s a 1936 Singer Featherweight.  I’ve been wanting one ever since I was working while there was a FW workshop going on at Kokopelli’s.  The most intriguing thing to me was they were constructed for the owner to be able to service and maintain them.  Quite a change from today’s computerized machines.  (Yes, I still love my Bernina!!!)  The Bernina tech told me to get an AC line stabilizer to use mine with a generator and/or inverter, to make sure the computer wasn’t damaged by varying electrical loads.  I discovered I could get a FW for about the same price, so with my daughter’s help, bought one on E-Bay.  It arrived on
Monday and it’s great.  I was really nervous about buying it on E-bay, but the seller had a great reputation, so decided to try it.  My machine was born (or issued it’s serial number), on November 5, 1936.  Everything works and it stitches beautifully.  I’m putting some effort into restoring it more fully, so although it looks good now and is clean, it will look even better.
    We’ve hired all our campground hosts and are just waiting for the snow to melt.  The road is open to the Ranger station and our campground is only one mile further, so we hope to get up there by next week some time.  They’re supposed to take more trees out of our campground, along the river, where they couldn’t spray last year.  We may need to stay at the Ranger station until that’s done.  It again depends on the snow level and if the tree cutters can get in okay.
    Rusty gave us a scare when he hurt his back.  We think it was most likely a pinched nerve and all seems to be well now.  He and Spicy had their birthdays in April, turning 11 and 6 respectively.  Like us, they’ve slowed down a bit, or at least Rusty has, but are great travelers and wonderful companions.
    We were able to watch Ameray compete in the WY State Tumbling and Gymnastics Championships and take 2 firsts and a third for her age/ability group.  Meghan had one of the starring roles in her middle school musical last night and was awesome.  We have more music recitals and school and athletic competitions to attend and always enjoy seeing the grandkids shine.  
    We’ll be at Stillwater Campground on Hiway 150 between Evanston, WY and Kamas, UT, until the week after Labor Day.  Our mailing address for the summer is at our daughter’s, 401 Twin Ridge Ave. Evanston, WY 82930.  We don’t have good cell phone reception, but are usually in an area where we can get messages almost every day.  If you’re doing to be traveling though, please give us a call and let us know.  Even if you’re going to be in Salt Lake City, let us know too and we can meet you for a chance to chat.  It’s only about 100 miles from us.
      Dancing between the snow flakes and sunshine, Gary, Katy, Rusty, and Spicy

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Winter Sunshine - 2009

   I didn’t realize it’s been so long since I’ve written.  Ethel, a dear friend of my Mom’s,  just sent us a postcard, because she hadn’t heard from us lately and I checked to see when our last travelog was sent.  I couldn’t believe it was Nov. 1st., four months ago.  Time has flown by this winter.   We’ve kept busy working our part-time jobs, Gary at the golf course and me at Kokopelli Quilts.  I was also Secretary of our Board of Directors here at the Co-Op.  While still on the Board for another year, after two years as Secretary, I turned over that job to another Board member.  It just seemed to be a little overwhelming this year, with working and trying to find time to quilt.  We both feel it’s been the nicest weather of any winter we’ve spent in Arizona with minimal rain and days in the 70's.  We had a few weeks of 60's of course and nights in the 30's, as the desert cools down.  We’re so lucky to be able to spend winters here..       
    On of the highlights, was our daughter Riki and her family coming to Arizona for Christmas.  It was the first time since 2004 that we’ve been with family for the holiday.  Once again we were grateful for our shed, as everyone stayed here.  It was the coolest week of the year for us, but everything is relative, and the kids thought weather in the 50's and 60's was great compared to Wyoming winter.   They played golf one day and we did some sightseeing as well as just relaxing and enjoying each other.  They got to enjoy a SKP Christmas dinner and see that while we miss family, we also enjoy our SKP family during the holidays.
    Gary has enjoyed his pool league in town and has been slowly climbing the ladder with his average.  He’s been going between 4th and 5th place, out of about 60 guys, the last few weeks.  They play every Tue. evening, and he usually plays in a tournament once or twice a month on Sunday.  He also plays every Tue and Thur morning at the Senior Center, as well as many evenings here at the park. 
    We went to a Geocaching event at a beautiful desert park in Casa Grande last month.  While there, we found our 600th geocache!  We did a poker run and found all the new caches that had been placed for the day, as well as visiting with, and meeting area cachers.  We had gorgeous weather that day with just enough cloud cover to keep it from getting too hot.
    My running has been nonexistent this winter due to injuries for the first four months and laziness the past month.  I just recovered from a pulled groin muscle, when I severely pulled my hamstring.  After a month I was able to start a walking program.  Our exercise group here at the park, does power walking with tapes every morning from 7-8am and I attend those most mornings.  I had preregistered for the Phoenix Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon and decided with a four hour time limit I could walk the 13.1 miles.   I made it in 3 hours and 44 minutes and 39 seconds.  I finished in 20, 808th place out of about 23,000.  Add another 10,000 for the Marathon and it was quilt a crowd, but a lot of fun too.  What no one counted on, was the Arizona Cardinals playing at home, in the playoffs the same day.  I’m sure the Phoenix police had their hands full that day.  It was fun having a home team to root for in the Superbowl and they did great, even if they didn’t
win.  They sure made it an exciting game.  We were glad to see Kurt Warner (the Cardinals quarterback), win the NFL humanitarian award too.  He does so much for the kids in the Phoenix area. 
    Gary had a minor mishap on Thanksgiving. Because of a downpour the day before, he had to go in an finish some mowing at the golf course.  While there, he knelt down and felt a pop in his left knee.  It was immediately very painful.  After Urgentcare the next day (impossible to get into a Dr. the day after Thanksgiving), and the expected referral to an Orthopedist the next week, we found out it was a bruised hamstring.  He went through several weeks of physical therapy, and light duty (off his knees) at work, but all is well now.  It really makes us thankful for our good health and mobility.
    Our park had wonderful February Follies this year.  It’s our annual time to raise money for the Co-Op and have fun too.  Gary ran the pool tournament and won the Men’s Division.  We had a casino night, skits, great meals and we tried to help as we could around our other busy schedule.  The week concluded with a dance and drawing names for the raffle prizes that had been donated.  I had donated a tablerunner I’d quilted.  We won two tickets to one of my favorite places, the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and Botanical Garden in Tucson, donated by another leaseholder.  That’s always a fun day. 
    One of the reasons I’m always anxious to find time for quilting, is my new sewing machine.  Bernina Connection from Phoenix came to Kokopelli’s to do a truck show on their machines in Nov, Dec, and again in Feb.  With Gary’s generous blessing I bought a new Aurora 440 Quilter’s Edition.  It’s a wonderful machine that has done so much to improve my quilting, (with a lot of practice of course).  It’s my Xmas, birthday, anniversary, etc. present for the next several years and that’s fine with me.  I love it!  They also came to Casa Grande to give the free Mastery classes to those of us who bought new machines.  They were great, but another gal and myself are also going to Phoenix this month to take some more classes, so we can get the most out of our machines.  There is only one problem with it.  When I’m using it, something seems to go wrong with the clocks and the time speeds up.  Yesterday I sat down at 1:30pm to sew for an hour and the
next time I looked at my watch it was 3:45.  How does that happen?  While I’m on the subject of quilting, I just attended my first Quilt Camp.  It was held at a YMCA camp in the mountains north of Tucson; a beautiful area, with great views, good food, superb company, and time to quilt all day and into the night.  It was three days and the leader presented us with a couple small new projects.  We also took whatever we wanted to work on.  There were 18 of us, with 3 to a room.  While I only quilted from 6am to midnight, a couple gals went to 2:30am.  Did I mention we didn’t have to cook or clean up?  Only toss a blanket over our bed in the morning and head for the quilting room.   I completed 3 projects and worked on 2 others as well.  I hope we can make it an annual event.
     This past week we made our annual trek to Yuma and Algadones, Mexico.  It’s hard to believe how much cheaper meds and drugs of all kinds are.  Even toothpaste, a large tube of Crest for 61 cents.  Of course we had lunch at La Fonda’s Gary’s favorite Mexican restaurant and took five dozen rolled Sonoran Tacos home with us.  On the way home we stopped at Dateland for wonderful Date Shakes and some dates to take home too.  We also found 10 geocaches from Yuma to Dateland. 
    Now, hard as it is to believe, we’re getting ready to head north in another four weeks.  We expect to be back in Evanston, WY by tax time.  A reminder to everyone that we no longer have pocketmail, so please continue to use this yahoo address for e-mail, (   Once we leave here, I’ll no longer have WIFI access on a regular basis and will need to go to my daughter’s or the library to check our e-mail.  That means I won’t get it as often, so as much as we enjoy them, I’d also like to ask everyone to please take us off their automatic forwarding lists, whether it’s a joke, cute picture, or prayers.  I just won’t be able to sort through all of them when only checking the e-mail once or twice a week.  I don’t want to miss something important from  you or accidently delete something.  We really appreciate it. 
    Please don’t mail anything to our Casa Grande address after March 25th.  You can use our summer address at Riki’s: 401 Twin Ridge Ave.  Evanston, WY 82930.  She’ll keep it until we arrive in April.  That is also the address to use for the rest of the Summer.
    Take care everyone and to all our SKP friends, travel safely this summer.  Don’t forget to stop and see us if you’re in Northern Utah.  As soon as the snow melts, we’ll be at Stillwater Campground on Hiway 150, about 30 miles south of Evanston, WY.   We should definitely be out there by Memorial Day weekend.
    Dancing to the beautiful Winter Arizona Sunshine.......................................
Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty, and Spicy