Gorgeous Day

11/5/16 (Saturday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

Finally, the temperatures will be in the 80’s instead of the 90’s. Woohoo! So what do I do on this glorious morning? I spent it working on this blog writing. I think John watched TV. He’s not swimming because he’s thinking a recent rash he’s developed may have come from that activity.

For lunch I had fun making a dish from frozen chicken, mushroom soup and mushrooms in our Instant Pot. It turned out well and will last for several days. I love not having to plan a meal for a while.

Our adventure today was shopping for groceries. We also went to Costco where I got the Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 software. It was on sale & will work with a new computer if I buy one.

Then we relaxed (nap for me, reading and TV for both). We really enjoyed the movie “This Boy’s Life” that John had taped previously. Unfortunately, the tape ended before the story did! Sheesh.

Visiting Our Neighbors

11/6/16 (Sunday)

Before church we cooked up a big batch of pancakes. Then we freeze them in packets of 4 for use on the following Sundays. Making them is such a big production (need to use such a big pan), that we like to get it done in one effort. Leftover shredded chicken in mushroom sauce was our dinner. I worked on reviewing our finances/bills, then we visited with our Canadian neighbors Cyndy and Jim. Lovely way to spend a day. Just before bed, I started to get symptoms of a UTI. Crud.

UTI Strikes

11/7/16 (Monday)

Sure enough, I barely slept throughout the night, needing to go to the bathroom often. It got worse in the morning, so I skipped Core/Balance class and called Group Health. The Doctor called in my prescription to Walmart where I got my pills. Whew! SO glad to get those pills. Now I’m gulping down water like crazy. Since I didn’t feel like doing much we spent our day reviewing our trip heading north for the summer. Funny thing, today I noticed that the left pocket on my shorts (that I’ve been wearing for a few months now) had been mostly sewn up. I just thought I didn’t have a pocket on that side. So I got to be a seamstress, ripping out the seam, then hand sewing the parts left unsewn from that.

At 3 we enjoyed listening to the Rambling Rose band play, getting to visit with Kathy (from aerobics class), her hubby and met Rod and Jo. They have a 5th wheel and are workcampers. This is just their second year here. They fell in love with the place and applied for jobs for this year before they left last year.

We finished our evening watching DWTS and the Seahawks.

Election Day!

11/8/16 (Tuesday)

I didn’t sleep so well last night. Still not feeling so well so I didn’t do any exercise classes. John and I walked to Val Vista Customer Service to check some things out. Speaking of checking things out, I want to share how the people here prefer bikes to get to their activities (over golf carts). Here they gathered at the Val Vista courtyard to listen to the band that day. They have several tennis and pickleball courts in another place.

I did take my computer to Hank in the afternoon, so he can work on it tomorrow.

After dinner I napped, then read. We watched the election results until bedtime. Things were not looking good for Hillary.

Post Election Day

11/9/16 (Wednesday)

We woke up to the news that Trump is our President Elect. Wow, that was a shock. Personally, his words showed immaturity and a bullying personality. I feel concerned and scared. I sincerely hope he will listen to the more mature voices that may be near him. He has the power he’s wanted, hopefully he’ll understand the responsibility that entails. He also has a Republican Congress to help him along, an entity that seemed to obstruct Obama in everything he tried to do, so he has a great opportunity to affect change. He’s made a lot of promises, so it will be interesting which he’ll be able to keep. Hopefully he’ll consider all the consequences to our American freedoms (especially Freedom of Speech) and American safety (threats of war) from his actions.

I managed to do the Core/Balance class this morning. Then I went to the Computer Club to ask Hank about my computer’s prognosis. First another shock: good and bad news regarding the Computer Club. They will end their “dues” requirement: I get my $20 dues refunded. Unfortunately, to get technical assistance, we will need to pay Hank, or Milt or others specifically for that job. Okay, fair enough. Just glad I wouldn’t have to find someone at someplace near Mesa. Next, Hank said his manual program to get the Windows updates accomplished got 188 updates and then went to a “failure” mode, where it was reverting it all back to where he’d started. That revision was still going on as we waited, then Hank had to leave. Thankfully, it finished okay before noon, so I could take my “sick” computer home. Hank suggested that there must be some corruption on the hard drive and considering this is a 5 year old computer, he’d buy a new one if he was me. So it goes, nothing lasts forever. Guess we’ll be researching and shopping now.

After dinner we shopped for groceries and checked out computers at Best Buy, where there would be some technical assistance when we leave Val Vista. At night we watched our tape of the Country Music Awards, a soothing experience for a rough day.

Lost Dutchman State Park

11/10/16 (Thursday)

I decided not to do the exercise classes today, although I could handle the laundry. I also worked at getting my computer files ready for the big switch. John went to a meeting and got a nice walk in.

After dinner we drove to Lost Dutchman State Park to check out getting to the hike we’ll be taking in the dark tomorrow night. Nice place. We even enjoyed walking the very short Native Plant trail near our parking lot.


Chain Fruit Cholla With Superstition Mts 




For our evening entertainment we watched TV. I’ve been soaking up several (4 so far) Lee Child books (Jack Reacher) since I got them from the library (onto my Kindle) at the end of October. His books remind me of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christi and MacGyver.

Veteran’s Day and Lost Dutchman State Park Moonlight Hike

11/11/16 (Friday)

Special thanks to all our veterans for their service and courage.

I felt well enough to try the Core/Balance and Yoga classes today. There were moments when I felt maybe this wasn’t a good idea, but I got through okay. When they were both done, I felt it was a good idea and as the day progressed I felt much more like my old self. Yay!

I got to relax (well with more laundry and reading about Jack Reacher) while John was gone golfing from 10:30 until 2:30. He had a great time with the same Val Vista guys he went with last Friday.

Since Red Robin was offering a free burger for Veteran’s, we went there for an early (to beat the crowds) supper. Mmmm Mmmm good, a great treat. Since Costco was nearby we stopped to check out their computers. We left just in time to get to the State Park for our 7pm moonlight hike.

Because we’d scouted the route yesterday, we had no problems finding our parking spot. The big surprise is that because it was Veteran’s Day, our car was allowed in for our “day use” hike without their $7 fee! Now the truly full moon won’t happen until November 14th, but it will be at 2am that morning! That’s why we didn’t get to hike with a full moon. Heck but that meant we landed on Veteran’s Day! We had a great time. It’s a 2 mile, easy hike (some rocks scattered along the path) and amazingly visible in the moonlight. In fact, some people’s flashlights created such a bright light that it was hard on my eyes and made darker shadows on the path that fell around that light. Still, it was fun learning about the Lost Dutchman Mine and the Superstition Mountains. The Dutchman (Jacob Waltz) came from “Deutschland”, he was German and he was never lost. He was a mining engineer in Germany before he came to take part in the American gold rush in California, then Arizona. Two of his mines yielded high quality gold. Then the story goes that he found a mine with the finest quality gold ever (some was found under his bed). He never told anyone about it until he’d fallen sick with pneumonia after surviving a flash flood clinging to a mesquite (short) tree for two days. He was “out of his mind”, making many maps, giving clues about this mine before he died. Some of his clues have been found to be true, others not so much. Thus the hope lives that the mine exists in the Superstition Mountains. These, by the way are the tallest point in this area. If any of the 3 dams on the Salt River (where the Phoenix area gets its water) are destroyed (earthquake or attack) than this whole area will go under water, except for the Superstition Mountains. The Apache Indians called them the “Crooked Mountains” and had a story similar to the biblical story of Noah. Guess where the “good people” went. Yes, into the Superstition Mountains. The finale to our hike was some time at a campfire to roast marshmallows – the giant variety. Whoa – that was a LOT of marshmallow but I was thrilled at how well we brought ours to melt in your mouth perfection, even with a very hot fire.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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