A page from my parents wedding album given to me by my aunt who visited last week. Mom and Dad were 23!
A strange thing happened during my aunt’s visit. I glanced over at the sofa and Olive the cat was sitting next to my aunt licking her fingers! Now this is a first. Olive has never let a guest touch her or vice versa. Olive does sleep with my daughter, but that doesn’t count because she was my daughter’s cat until college took my daughter away.
My aunt and I did most of the things on my list and we found ourselves very compatible. We both got hungry at the same time, wanted quiet time in the afternoons to ourselves and went to bed early to read. Having a house guest doesn’t get much better than that!
It cooled down considerably, we lit the outdoor fireplace and cooked s’mores. We hiked in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. We went to the farmer’s market in Carefree and explored consignment stores in Cave Creek. We had some delicious lunches and dinners out, plus I cooked. We visited the Musical Instrument Museum and to my delight, they changed up a few exhibits so there were new things for me to enjoy.
You might wonder what would be exciting about visiting a museum of musical instruments.
From the MIM, here’s the Artists’s Gallery experience:
Celebrate music’s most influential artists.
In every time and place, there are musicians whose art deeply touches the lives of many. MIM’s Artist Gallery highlights these personalities with ever-changing exhibits that span sound, style, and era. Through generous partnerships, MIM features historic instruments owned, played, and loved by the musicians who have created a shared soundtrack to our lives for generations.
Nearly 40 displays showcase instruments and artifacts from some of the greatest musicians in the world. See and hear instruments played by icons such as Elvis Presley®, Tito Puente, the Carter Family and Johnny Cash, Roberta Flack, Glen Campbell, Joan Baez, Maroon 5, and many others.
The exhibits not only have the artists’s grammy awards, gold records, costumes and instruments, they have a large screen that plays selections of their songs on the headsets you wear. I think my favorite was “Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison. On display is his hand written lyrics on a yellow legal pad. So not only do you get to sing along with Roy, you get to see how he wrote it, along with a photo of him and his pretty woman. There are many other galleries from all over the world. I haven’t touched the whole of MIM yet.
Here are a few photos from my aunt’s visit:
What is your idea of a perfect house guest? What do you like to do when entertaining company?
A photo I grabbed online of Dove Valley Ranch golf course.
I golfed yesterday with a friend from my neighborhood. It’s the first time I’ve golfed in years. I think I went once or twice after my ski accident and ACL replacement surgery in 2018. But never since COVID. So it’s safe to say four years without golfing? Actually, my neighbor and I went to practice at a driving range twice since April, but that’s not the same thing as going out on the course.
My friend had knee surgery a year ago and this is her first time she’s golfed in two years.
I was unbelievably nervous, wondering if I could still play. In fact, I woke up several times during the night worrying. I tried to visualize what my swing would feel like during my drive hitting a perfect shot. It helped me fall back to sleep. When I finally got out of bed, I thought, “It’s just a stupid game. What was I worrying about?”
At the first tee, I was shaking nervous. We were paired with two men. I knew that would happen and dreaded it. There are way more men playing than women, so it would be rare to find ourselves playing with other women. I apologized to the men in advance, explaining that I hadn’t played in years.
They teed off first on the men’s tees. Their drives didn’t make it to the women’s tees a mere yards in front of them. They took mulligans which sprayed out of bounds.
My friend whispered “This is going to be a long day!”
I teed off and hit a perfect drive. So did my friend. Then our fairway woods were amazing, too. We chipped onto the green and were set to putt for par. Meanwhile, our guys playing with us were all over the place, cursing.
My neighbor said, “I think we’re making you nervous!”
One guy muttered, “I’ve never played with women before.”
I settled down nerve-wise, realizing the men were probably as scared as I was, or more so!
Eventually they relaxed and outplayed us. I started to fall apart the hotter it got and the more tired I became. When I used to play golf with two girlfriends in Palm Springs, I always hit the longest drives. But now, my neighbor was outdriving me by 20 to 40 yards. I felt a competitive twitch and realized I didn’t like to be outdriven. Especially not consistently!
We stopped after 10 holes, tired and hot and not wanting to push it further. Our scores were close — my neighbor beat me by one stroke.
My bad knee was tired and hurting. I iced and elevated off and on for the next few hours. I’m happy I got back on the golf course and with zero expectations, I did pretty well after all.
What sports do you like to do or outside activities? Do you surprise yourself with a competitive spirit — or are you already aware of that personality trait?
Outside of Mexico, we haven’t been thrilled with the Mexican restaurants in our new area. There is one that is pretty good, but it’s a 45-minute drive away. In California, we had several favorites within walking distance. I think we get used to a certain flavor and anything else doesn’t satisfy the craving for Mexican food.
We tried a restaurant in Cave Creek for lunch Saturday called El Encanto and I was thrilled with the setting. It was built around a lake (man-made) that was teeming with ducklings, turtles and koi. They have indoor and outdoor seating with most of the tables with fabulous views. We had a window seat and I could have stayed there for hours!
Ducklings, a Mallard and a turtle resting on a rock outside our window.
The food was decent too. I wouldn’t say the best ever, but very good compared to other places we’ve tried. I found it a bit pricey, but the view made it worth it.
When you go out to eat, what is your favorite type of cuisine?Is the setting or atmosphere as important as the food?
For New Year’s Eve, my husband and I indulged with burgers and fries at Big Earl’s Greasy Eats.
What’s in a name? We’ve driven by Big Earl’s Greasy Eats for two years. Finally, we took the plunge and ordered the Big Earl Burgers and fries to take home.
They were just as delicious as a place named Greasy Eats promised. But then I felt sick for the rest of the day. Too much food (or grease) that I ate too fast. I couldn’t eat again for that day.
This was my burger and fries from Big Earl’s.
While we were celebrating Christmas with the family, we cooked and mostly ate in the VRBO. One of the special dishes I liked was roasted vegetables cooked by one of my son’s fiancee’s sisters. It was so delicious I made it at home.
Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, bell peppers and carrots tossed in olive oil with fresh rosemary. Roasted in the oven at 400 degrees about 45 minutes.
The roasted veggies made me feel so much better than the burger and fries!
What are your favorite things to cook or what do you like most when you dine out?
Today my husband and I went looking for art, stone or something for two 16 by 16 inch spaces at the top of our bar. We found a few things including glass, natural stone and geodes. But we have different ideas of what will work. I want a bright contrasting color like orange or red. He wants green or blue. I like green and blue, but I feel those colors will get lost.
I have a feeling those spaces will remain empty.
It was very hot and humid outside. We walked around our little town of Carefree and then Cave Creek going in and out of consignment stores and art galleries. When I got back home I felt dizzy with vertigo. I have gotten vertigo twice in the past year. Hopefully this time it goes away quickly without having to see the doctor or going on prednisone like the last two times.
I’m sitting in bed typing this and finishing my neighborhood’s newsletter — hoping I don’t fall off!
Have you had vertigo? What has worked for you to get over it? Happy August First!
I’ve been horrible about swimming. The last time I swam was March 3. One reason was we had guests. Another was the temperature got cold for a week. Then I got my hair done — and that means no swimming for a few days — otherwise I’d ruin my “do.”
When we lived in Palm Springs, I was one mile from the pool and I would start and stop — but I was more consistent than I am now. I swam with our Piranha Masters and I had two friends who would text me before practice to make sure I was going. It’s good to have workout partners for motivation.
Our new home is 20 miles from the nearest Scottsdale pool and it takes me 40 minutes with traffic to get there.
It’s easy to NOT go. Especially with gas prices so high. Also, the tiniest bit of wind or cold weather keeps me away.
I feel so much better when I swim. I sleep better, too.
A neighbor suggested I try out the YMCA in Cave Creek. I went last week to check it out and it’s not the greatest pool — it only has three lanes for lap swimming — but it’s only 6 miles from our house. I have a free one-week trial and I reserved a lane Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Monday went swimmingly. I had a lane to myself and the staff and swimmers were friendly and welcoming. Because it’s a beach entry pool and has so few lanes for lap swimming, you have to make an appointment for a lane. Perhaps that will get me to the pool with a set time reserved.
The YMCA has a huge gym with excellent equipment and a ton of classes including yoga, zumba and barre. Who knows, I may expand my workout world and try a few classes, too.
How do you stay motivated to work out? Are you consistent or do you start and stop and begin again?
A neighbor told me about a couple hikes close to home. One is called Seven Springs and the other is a short one-mile jaunt called Sears Kay Ruins.
We left the house yesterday before football began to explore the area. I suggested the one-mile loop because we weren’t wearing hiking boots and what I read about Seven Springs — it was more challenging. Also a much longer hike.
On the hike, we learned about the Hohokom people who built a fortress on a hilltop with 40 homes in 1500 AD.
Sears Kay Ruin offers the visitor a glimpse of a distinctive lifestyle that existed long before Columbus. Self-guided 1-mile loop trail will take you through Hohokom Ruins. The site of Sears Kay Ruin was first occupied about 1500 AD. Point of Interest along the Great Western Trail. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The views were spectacular and I’m sorry the iphone doesn’t do them justice.
I’d like to go back again whenever we have an hour to do a short hike. I love that it’s a quick drive from our house. Next time, I’ll wear hiking boots because the trails is rocky and it’s a steep climb up the hill to the ruins. First, I want to find out more about the Hohokom.
We wondered why the Hohokom would live in such an isolated place on top of a hill. We read the signs and learned that the Seven Springs were close by and the hilltop gave the Hohokom protection from other tribes thanks to the fortress they built around it. Life sure looked hard having to hike down a steep cliff for water and food.
This was a historic site along Great Western Trail — something else I’ve never heard of before.
What have you discovered close to your home that you haven’t seen before?