Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
October, 2017 - Mexico

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Kevin and I want to wish all of our family and friends the merriest of Christmases. Although, we are not joining our family this year in person, you are all in our hearts on this special day. We go back to Wisconsin every other year to spend the holidays with family; this is our year to stay in Arizona. I must say I am missing my kids a bit, but it's wonderful to be able to speak to them on the phone.

The weather up north is the coldest of the season, so I am definitely not missing the cold and snow. We had a bit of a cold spell in Yuma the past few days with highs of only about 60 and lows near 40 with strong winds. However, starting today, we're back in the 70s for highs and about 50 for lows. Can't beat that.


We continue to stay busy here at the resort. While Kevin was back in Wisconsin a few weeks ago, I went hiking with the hiking group. Here's a picture of me hiking in an area called the Painted Desert. It was beautiful.


Last Monday Kevin and I both joined the hiking group on an expedition to the Valley of  Names. It was about a thirty minute drive from Yuma to a desert area in California. There are several explanations online of how this area got started. It seems at least sixty years ago people started spelling out their names with rocks. The area has grown to over 10,000 names covering several miles. It's an amazing site to see. Here's part of our group getting started walking around and looking at some of the names.


Some people have gone to great lengths to recognize their family. All of these rocks are brought in from the outside. Large plots are outlined with whole families of names. Some have generations of family members recognized.


There are names much farther than the eye can see.



In addition to hiking, we've been golfing a few times a week. We've joined a scramble group on Friday afternoons and a couples group on Wednesday mornings. It's a great way to meet new people.

I join the quilting group once a week to sew together. Starting in January we will be working on a mystery quilt project as a group. That should be fun. They're a nice group. We also play bocce ball on Thursdays when the weather cooperates. The last two Thursdays it was quite cold and windy so we didn't play.

January through March are the busiest times for the snowbird resorts. Lots of people don't arrive until after Christmas. Our resort is supposedly pretty much fully booked, so there should be lots of units rolling in during the next week or two. I have to say that I really enjoy it during this fall season when it's not so busy.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Happy Birthday Kevin

We will not be celebrating together this year. Kevin is celebrating in Wisconsin where it is quite cold. The reason for this all started almost a year ago.

During the early months of 2017, Kevin noticed some blood in his urine every few weeks. He thought it would go away; but when it was still happening in spring, he visited our primary care doctor when we arrived back in Wisconsin. He was referred to a urologist who ordered a CT scan. That was the start of a long and stressful summer.

He was diagnosed with a bladder tumor which was most likely cancerous. He had a surgery in August to have it scraped out. After the surgery, they put chemo drugs in the bladder to kill any cancer cells that may be floating around. He was passing a great deal of blood through the catheter, which required a second surgery on the same day to cauterize the bleeders. That meant two surgeries with full anesthesia in one day. Needless to say, after the second surgery he wasn't in the best of shape. He had lost a lot of blood, his blood pressure was doing crazy stuff, so they kept him over night.

At the office appointment a week later to get the pathology results, he found out the type of cancer cells he had were the worst of two types. The doctor recommended another surgery to scrape even further down to make sure all cancer was removed. In September, Kevin had that second surgery with the chemo drugs in the bladder again. This time things went much better, and he was able to come home the same day.

The follow up of that surgery was excellent. He has been declared cancer free!!! However, he must go in for a scope test every three to four months to make sure it doesn't come back. There is a chance it will return within three to five years.

Because of the lousy insurance choices in this country, it was cheaper for him to fly back to Wisconsin to see his doctor in the HMO we are in for that test, than to go to a doctor in Yuma. Once he is old enough for Medicare, he will be able to see a doctor anywhere in the country.

I did not post about Kevin's health scare before now because I wanted to see how it all played out, and I just wasn't ready to do so. One thing I really would like everyone to take away from this experience is that over 90% of bladder cancer occurs in smokers or former smokers. Please let this be a wake up call to anyone who still smokes.

He is staying with our son Eric while he is there. They have plans every day until he returns on Wednesday. I think it will be a great guys visit. Today they are going to a friend's house to watch the Packer Game and play cards with a group of guys they have been playing cards with for years.

Since Thanksgiving we have been enjoying ourselves in Yuma. We continue to golf, play bocce ball and lots of other activities. One day we went to Mexico with friends Brad and Martha. I bought a nice small leather back pack and a new ankle bracelet. We also stocked up on some booze, and enjoyed a delicious lunch with tasty margaritas. My shrimp tacos were very good.

On December 3rd there was a full moon. The night before it rose while still light outside. Here are a few pictures of it coming over the foothills.



On Sunday, the actual full moon night, the resort hosted a "Howl at the Moon" party. There was a bonfire and a band playing. Lots of people attended, and it looked like everyone had a great time.


Unfortunately, right before the moon rose over the foothills, a large cloud moved in. There was still plenty of howling going on. The moon rose between two palm trees. The picture isn't the best, but it was still an amazing site. The event was such a success, the resort is already planning for the next full moon party.


Several times since we've been here three or four ultralights have flown over the resort. They are sure interesting to see. I don't think I'd have the guts to do that!


Yesterday the Yuma Orchestra String Ambassadors put on a Christmas concert at the resort. They are a group of young people who enjoy sharing their musical talents with others. I went by myself, and really enjoyed the show.


Tomorrow I'm going hiking with the hiking group. The rest of the time Kevin is gone, I plan to do lots of sewing. We've been so busy, I haven't had much time for that. There is a quilting group in the park, and I have been trying to get down there once a week and sew with the group. They are a fun group of people, and I enjoy sewing with them and sharing ideas.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving to all. We are so thankful for our family and friends, as well as our health and enjoyable lifestyle.


We celebrated with a delicious Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by the resort last Saturday. The park provides the turkey and gravy, all other dishes are pot luck style provided by the people at the table. Tables are 20 people. We were invited to join a table by the people parked next to us from Minnesota. This year we didn't know anyone in the park when we got here, so it was nice of them to include us. We had a great meal and met some nice new people. The main hall was packed full of tables, and there were even some tables set up outside to accommodate everyone.


The park is much busier this time of year compared to previous years we've been here. Rumor has it this is due to the storms in Florida and Texas this past summer, which damaged many RV parks. When we left for our trip to Mexico on October 25th, there was no one around us. When we got back on the 31st, we had neighbors on both sides of us. A few days later, we got neighbors behind us. Two of them are from Quebec, which is a long ways from Arizona. I must say I liked it better in previous years when the area we are in didn't get busy until January, and we had open spaces around us during the fall.

The weather in November has been hotter than average. In fact, yesterday, today and tomorrow are forecast to be 90 degrees. Record breaking heat. We've had to run the air more than normal this time of year. I hear Wisconsin temperatures have been below normal for November, so no complaints from us. We have had some amazingly beautiful sunrises and sunsets the last few weeks. Here are two of the sunrises.



And a sunset. The entire sky was pink. Pictures cannot come close to showing the beauty of it!!


We've been keeping quite busy. We joined a golf group on Friday afternoons. It is co-ed, and you are paired with a different group of four people each week. You pay $2 extra per person, and then play a scramble round. The only rule is each person must use at least one drive. Top teams win prize money. The first week there were 15 teams. Kevin won $2.50 and I won $4.50. My team had a guy that was really good. The next week there were 16 teams. Kevin won $2.50 again. My team had a score of par, and were not in the prize money. It's been a lot of fun, and the people are very nice. We are thinking of joining the couples group on Wednesdays, as well.

We've also been playing some pickle ball, but it's been too hot for the most part. We'll play more when it cools off. We joined a group that plays bocce ball on Thursdays at 4 pm. Everyone brings an appetizer to share. We eat and visit and then play three games of bocce ball. The losing teams move over a court, so a great way to meet more nice people.

Last Monday was the first hike for the hiking group. We've hiked with this group each year we've come to the resort. It's led to Everett and his wife Nancy from Idaho who are in their 70s. Such a nice couple, and you'd never guess they are that age. It was a great beginning hike with about 20 people. The group will double in size in a few months when lots of snowbirds arrive.


It was one of the cooler days this months, so a great day for a hike in the desert.

I did a little Christmas shopping this morning. Amazon has the Kindle Fire 7 for $29.99, half price. We bought one last year, and I use it a lot for reading books and watching Netflix. The new one will be for Kevin to read books on, too. Verizon has the Galaxy S8 phones at half price, so I'll probably head out on Saturday to get a new phone. I've been waiting for them to go on sale. No way am I going anywhere near the mall tomorrow. I could order it online, but I like to get it in store so they can set it up for me.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mexican Vacation, Part 3

One afternoon we rented two wave runners for a half hour each. Cathryn and I had never been on one, and we were excited to try it.


Kevin had no desire to ride, so Eric was kind enough to give me a ride without scaring me.


After he drove me around for a bit, I tried being the driver. I didn't like driving. Each wave made me feel like I was turning without wanting to. I was probably going too slow, and the waves were pushing me. I rode with Eric for about ten minutes, and then I told him go out there and have a blast. He did.



Cathryn had an opportunity to drive, too. She enjoyed her first time on a wave runner.



Kevin and I really enjoy vacationing with our grown children. We have many wonderful memories of trips with them as children. Adult trips are just as fun. I know they appreciate these experiences we are giving them. As Eric said, "I'd rather spend time with you now than when you're dead." Makes a lot of sense. Ha,  ha!! They are such awesome people.




Korey and Cathryn were blessed to find each other. They have been married for four years, and I so enjoy watching them together. They have such a wonderful relationship.



The resort has a show every night at 9:30 pm. They frequently had live music before and after the show, as well. The first night we saw fire dancers. Amazing.


We also saw an acrobatic show, singers, Caribbean music, an Elvis impersonator and this Michael Jackson impersonator. All of the shows were enjoyable. The Michael Jackson performer sounded very much like him, and had the moves down perfectly. It was hard to get a picture because he was dancing the whole time.


We saw some unusual wildlife at the resort. These guys are called Coati. They look like a raccoon, only their noses are long like an anteater. They were not at all shy, and several unsuspecting people had food stolen right off their plate at the pool and the beach.



We also saw a raccoon, deer, lots of birds and several iguana. This was the granddaddy of them all. Eric was nice enough to pose with him for size perspective.



I know there are bigger iguana, but this was the largest ones we've ever seen.

That pretty much wraps up our all-inclusive vacation to Mexico. We enjoyed the all-inclusive format, but all agreed that next time we'll probably cruise again. We think cruising has more choices of things to do for everyone, and costs about the same or maybe even a little less. We did some dreaming of future trips we would like to take. Time will tell as to what family vacation we come up with next.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mexican Vacation, Part 2

The Ocean Maya Royale all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen had so much to offer that we never left the resort in the four full days that we were there.

There were plenty of choices of places to eat and drink. There were two pools, one activities pool (party place) and another more quiet pool. They also had one person kayaks and sailboats to use for free. Other water activities were available for a fee.

We spent a lot of time lounging at the beach in the provided recliners. This was the shoulder season, so not that busy. We were able to find chairs at the beach each day for the five of us, but just barely. Most of them had towels on them, but the people were hardly ever there. This is a problem at nearly every resort and even on cruise ships. I understand people want a place to hang out, but it is just rude to hog them all day and not be there.

Cathryn had some fun in the sand. Here is her artwork.




The activity pool had lots going on every day. Twice a week they have a foam party. They have a large cannon that shoots foam into the pool. Cathryn and Eric had a great time. I joined them for a while. It was great seeing so many people letting lose and enjoying themselves.





Drinks were included in our stay. There were lots of tropical drinks to try. Waiters circulated around the beach area taking orders, so we didn't even have to get up to enjoy them. What a life.



Another family photo at a sculpture on the grounds.


As you can see, we had a great time. More to come tomorrow.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Ocean Maya Resort Mexico

Kevin and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on June 11, 2017. We decided we would like to celebrate by taking our family on a vacation. We all agreed we would like to try an all-inclusive resort. October was the best time for all of us to get away, so we booked the trip with our travel agent at Fox World Travel for October 26-31. I'll be writing three posts about the trip to break it up into shorter parts.

The trip started off a little rough for Kevin and myself. Our plane from Phoenix to Cancun had mechanical problems, so they moved us to a different plane at a different gate. We were told we would still be leaving close to on time. There were many announcements saying another 15 minutes. It ended up we left over two hours late. We were not happy with how American Airlines handled this. Just tell us the truth right off the bat. Here was the view of Cancun from the plane.


The kids ended up waiting for us for about an hour at the airport in Cancun. Our representative from Apple Vacations was there waiting, and we were on a van to the resort pretty quickly.

Here was our first view of the resort. Korey and Cathryn posing at the sign.


We were very happy with the resort. The buildings are smaller bungalow style with only two stories. Our rooms were spacious, modern, comfortable and very nice. We had a patio door to a small patio with a table, two chairs and a hanging chair. I really enjoyed swinging in the hanging chair every morning before the rest of the family was up. It was such a peaceful and beautiful atmosphere.


The resort has five restaurants on site. We ate at the Mexican one our first and last night. It was definitely our favorite.


We also ate at the Italian, Romantic, Japanese and buffet restaurants. The food was very good at all of them. One thing I did notice was that Mexican bakery seems to be rather dry. I wonder if anyone else has had this experience.

Kevin, Eric and I had never eaten at a Japanese restaurant. The guys weren't sure they would like the food, but were willing to give it a try. We all were very pleased with the experience. We tried the sushi, and were not that impressed; but at least we tried it. The chef was hilarious and put on quite a show for us. The main meal he cooked was fried rice and a mixture of vegetables with beef, chicken, shrimp and salmon. It was quite good.  Here he is fooling around with fire. He was quite funny. I love the look on his face.


Here he is cooking some of our food.


His antics were as much fun as eating the food.

The resort was beautifully landscaped. We asked someone to take a family picture of us by the Mexico sculpture.


More to come tomorrow!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!