Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year...Revised

For some reason, my original version didn't download correctly. So I downloaded it again here Tuesday morning.

It has been my experience that when prairie folks from western Canada travel during the winter months to the USA, the weather is often the main topic of conversation. To that end, the Phoenix area is dealing with their version of "winter", which generally means temperatures in the 60's. The breeze can cool things down, and with the shorter days this time of year, it really cools down in the late afternoon and evening.

But, in comparison to cold and snowy conditions back home, we'll gladly live with wearing long sleeves down here instead of our short and t-shirts.

The past week has been primarily about R&R down here, but the real pleasure has been re-connecting with some of the people we are very fortunate to have in our lives.

Hanging out with Dean & Jacquie Heck was a blast, our good friends from the Edmonton area. It's amazing how quickly their boys are growing up. We spent New Years Eve in Tempe on Mill Avenue, where the party was pretty lively. The early evening is all about family activities, culminating with fireworks at 9:00pm. That's when most of the families began to call it a night, just when the night owls arrive to whoop it up into the wee hours. The light rail transit system down here made things pretty easy for us to get around.

We played one round of golf, west of Phoenix at The Wigwam. What started out as kind of a crummy day due to high winds actually wound up being a pretty nice afternoon. The last time I stood over a golf ball, I weighed about 195 pounds and felt pretty confident I could control every shot. But on  this day, checking in at 175 pounds after 3 1/2 months of no golf, I was tentative and not confident at all. What an uneasy feeling!

On a whim, we called Lil and Reg Miller over in Apache Junction, and they happened to be home and welcomed us for a quick visit. Then Dan and Marg Hunden popped by, which made for a great bull session. Lil and Marg chip in quite a bit around Shannon Lake during golf season...they're a pretty good team. Sounds like Lil and Reg have some fun planned at the end of January when Steve Nash returns to Phoenix wearing a LA Lakers uniform! And you gotta know that there will be fireworks and festivities when a few of Dan's pals from back home show up for a few rounds of golf and the accompanying wagers!

Bruce and Lise Haralson hosted us at their new home in Goodyear, and it was a hoot. Bruce scouts for the Detroit Red Wings, so he has been somewhat inactive for awhile due to the NHL lockout. I always enjoy talking hockey with Bruce, as he has an amazing sense of recall. Some of the names from the past we exchange certainly keeps us sharp from the neck up. And I finally had a chance to connect a little more with Lise. What a wonderful sense of humour! We'll be looking forward to seeing them both back in Westbank during the summer.

We have seen plenty of Saskatchewan licence plates down here, and that was the case when we met with Scott Matheson and Theresa Kirkpatrick for lunch. Scotty and I have chummed around plenty in recent years and share many common interests. He helps greatly in keeping me connected to the crew back in Saskatoon. Scotty and Tess are enjoying Phoenix often these days, and like I've said about my entire circle of friends, I am thankful for how many of these folks are really able to enjoy life!

A trip over to see Bob McMurchy and Marney Huck was usual. Bob and Marney were invaluable to us early in treatment as they provided transportation into Kelowna for my radiation treatments prior to their departure for Mesa. What this did is buy time for Gay, who was able to wait until late in my treatment schedule before leaving work for a couple of weeks. We caught up on some Shannon Lake GC history, which is always entertaining, and Marney kept our bellies full with some snacks recipes we will most certainly steal! And, on the entertainment side, I watched the three of them enjoy plenty of red wine! Indeed, I have become quite a reliable designated driver in recent weeks!

For now, I'll keep a few things under wraps. We have had a few incidents here...the body lotion episode at the airport in Kelowna, a jalapeno scare on New Year's Eve, and we are still not sure how Gay's curious "concrete Quail" situation will resolve itself. More to come on these adventures...

We're off to Palm Springs on Tuesday morning for a few days, but admittedly we are also looking forward to getting back home to Westbank. We'll catch up with some family in Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert, which means our dance card has all but filled up.

On the health side these days, I continue to experience irritation in my throat, but it is not preventing me in anyway from eating and drinking. It is a bit frustrating. I am not yet putting on a ton of weight and actually bought a pair of jeans down here with a 33" waist. And yes, they are a bit loose! I also seem to be able to grow facial hair in a few more places, which is a bit unexpected. Overall, I do feel good, but I have noticed a reduced energy while down here...just feeling kind of tired in the afternoons. Certainly not a big deal in my mind, but noticeable.

The real battle right now seems to be finding a way to convince myself to listen to my body, rather than just assume all systems are "go" in terms of a return to what used to be normal. An exercise in patience for sure!

Happy New Year again, everyone!

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