12/19/16 – 12/30/16 in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

Our days have continued, enjoying the activities that Val Vista has to offer. Besides the exercise classes/treadmill and walking, the line dance classes and hot tub time, we received fresh-off-the trees ripe pink grapefruit from Nancy/Gary, who have a tree on their lot. So delicious, a yummy addition to my breakfast routine.

With help from Gary, the Computer Club and time I feel very comfortable with my new computer now. The only thing left is getting the “My Passport” external hard drive backup program to work. Meanwhile, I’ve used other ways to get my programs and files to the new computer, so I can continue these manual methods until I get home to Justin.

John bought a special tank cleaning hose and applied it to our black, even (sort of) to the gray tank, to knock off the crud and hard water deposits in those tanks that disturb our sensors.

On December 20th we joined the hiking club for a trip on the Willow Springs hike, near the Superstition Mountains. We met at a large parking lot in Val Vista at 7:45 am. There we all got the directions to our starting point and figured out who was carpooling and who was driving. John drove with 3 passengers in the back. It was a tight squeeze, but we had a good visit on the way. It was a cold, windy morning, but we were comfortable by the end of our hike. They had someone at the front and the end, so no one got lost. We were warned about the prickly defenses of most desert plants. Joe (our leader) said to be sure to tell him if we had any encounters because he had the forceps to handle it. Sure enough, one person, trying to get down a big drop put her hand on a dry buckhorn cactus stem. Joe whipped out his forceps and pulled it off before he reached 1..2..3. Then he put some antiseptic hand cleaner on her “good” hand, telling her to rub it onto both her hands.  Beautiful country with great challenges getting over and through certain large boulders. I was grateful someone had suggested I bring my hiking stick, for the loose rocks along the trail. We stopped several times for water breaks and once for snacks. Our hike took about 2 hours (3.5 miles). Perfect pace and wonderful help when we needed it!

After the hike I cut John’s hair, just to complete our lovely day.

Christmas Eve was really special this year. Our parish, St. Bridget’s, had a Jazz Mass at 10pm. Not only that, they had an hour of Jazz before. We both truly enjoyed listening as well as singing along. Different, singing Christmas songs to a Jazz beat. We haven’t been up until midnight for ages, but we managed to participate in that unique Mass until time to go home.

Christmas is hard when you’re away from family. It helps to have our RV family, in this case Nancy and Gary, joining us at the Christmas potluck. We brought deviled eggs, brownies and pumpkin pie. Nancy/Gary brought scalloped potatoes and green beans that went perfectly with our ham, pineapple and rolls that the hosts brought. Another couple brought a tasty spinach salad. We played “Fast Track” with Nancy and Gary for the afternoon. Best of all, we were able to visit with our children and grandchildren in the evening.

A cold bug is trying to get the best of me, but I’m putting up a good fight. Thus I haven’t done much exercising (John seems to be following my example even though the cold has not reached him). We did work at cutting out sections of sunscreen material to eventually fit with our suction cups and attach on the outside of our windows on very hot days.

Rain is predicted for our travel day, Sunday. Bummer. It will be what it will be.


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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