Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday at the Cactus Garden

Friday started off rather chilly here in the valley and almost convinced me that I should stay warm and cuddly in our little condo. Jim's wisdom prevailed and I got myself ready for an outing to Ethel M's Chocolates and Cactus Garden. It was a little chilly, but the sun was shining brightly and I was soon feeling warm and happy. I guess the fact that I had just read the paper and found that the temperature back home in New York was 21 degrees, made the 60 degrees here in the desert seem much warmer.

Thanks to our friend, Gunther (Garmen) we soon arrived at Ethel M's. We were disappointed in the factory tour as they were done making candy for the day. We did, however, get the free chocolate samples....YUMMY! Jim had decided before we left the condo that he was buying some candy and purchased their chocolate covered brittle.

The Cactus garden is spectacular. I decided rather than post individual pictures of all the species of cactus I saw, I would do a collage. It was such fun looking at all these different cacti. I plan to make a cactus scrapbook....maybe as early as tomorrow.
As you can see, mixed in among the cactus were a few flowering plants. The color here and there added to the beauty of the cactus.
Prior to leaving for this fun tour, Jim had read in the newspaper that Herman's Hermits with Peter Noone would be appearing at a local casino tomorrow evening. We had seen Peter a few years ago and loved the show. So, off we went to the South Point to purchase tickets for tomorrow evening. The price was right and we are really looking forward to being highly entertained tomorrow.
Feeling so happy with ourselves, we decided to go out lunch at one of my favorites, Balboa's Pizza at the District in Green Valley. It was delicious, as usual.
To proved that we aren't all evil, we did take a two mile walk upon arriving back at the condo.
Jim has opted to stay at home tonight watching NCAA basketball while I grabbed Gretchen and went off to LUSH to shop for goodies. That is such a luscious store and it is so hard not to overspend. We don't have anything like it at home which makes it all the more tempting.
Gretchen made a wonderful pasta and squash dish for us for dinner. Now she's doing school work and I'm just having a wonderful time on my computer.
Until next time,
~Hippo Hugs~

P.S. Once again, Blogger won't allow me to double space between some of my paragraphs. Doesn anyone else have this problem?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Catching Up.....Again!

The last time I posted, we had just arrived here in the desert. I know I posted a couple of photos of our trip westward, but here are a few more. In Chicago, we had hoped to see our little buddy, Liam, wrestle, but alas, he was over weight. Now, I ask you, how can a little bean like him be over weight. We did, however, see the match and see him in his wrestling garb. As usual, we were welcomed by Boomer, the Great Dane who rules over their house. We played Bonanza in honor and memory Paige's dear grandmother. It was a short, but fun visit with our precious oldest daughter. Soon after our arrival here in Henderson Bruce and Shelly came for a short visit. It sure was great showing them some of our favorite places. They have been to Vegas many times, but we showed them some of our haunts. So good to see Bruce doing so much better.

We had a week in between their visit and the visit of Rick and Sandi. This was their first visit to Las Vegas, so we had a great time playing tour guide. I knew Sandi would love the flora of the desert, and I wasn't disappointed.

We did a lot of walking and hiking while they were here. Each day, we walked a mile to the Senior Center nearby, had coffee and a cookie and walked back to the condo. The weather cooperated fully so we could be outside and enjoy the warmth, sunshine and blue skies. We always managed to find some good coffee for Sandy and me.

We did the fountains at the Bellagio, the Flamingo gardens and the canal shops at the Venetian. The gelato at the Venetian was really yummy.

The time went so quickly we could hardly believe it was time for them to fly back to the cold and frozen tundra of Upstate NY.

This past few days were spent in California with Brian and Gretchen. It seems that last year while we were in San Diego, I said, "We should go to Disneyland." And being the spoiled creature that I am, my kids made that happen.

We left early Monday morning following Brian and Gretchen's tradition of breakfast at Jack in the Box, followed by my newly minted tradition of donuts from Dunkin's. Once again, because I am spoiled, we drove to the beach. It was a beautiful, sunny day, if a bit chilly. Jim helped Brian and Gretchen fly their kite while I just enjoyed the ocean. I especially enjoyed the pelican.

After checking into our hotel and having a short rest, we were off to explore the area of Anaheim around Disneyland. We found a cute little mall called Garden Walk where we had a most unique dinner at Fire and Ice Grille. It was a one price meal. There was a green salad bar and then a buffet where you could choose vegetables, pasta, meat or seafood and a sauce. You then took those things to a grill where the cooks put it all together and cooked it, adding the sauce at the very end. It was truly delicious. In my two visits to the buffet, I had a shrimp, scallop, veggie and bow tie pasta combo with an Alfredo sauce. The second was much the same except I switched the seafood for chicken and tried a lemon garlic sauce. It was good, but I think I liked the first the best.

Disneyland. What a fun, fun day. The park was very crowded, but with the help of the Fast Pass everyone was able to ride their favorites. Jim actually rode the Matterhorn and Thunder Mountain Railway with us. Let me tell you, it was way better than riding alone like I did six years ago.
We ended a beautiful day with watching the fabulous fireworks over the Magic Kingdom and pizza in Downtown Disney.
Wednesday found us in Disney's California Adventure Park. We started out at It's a Bug's Life, my favorite. I didn't ride much that day, but had a lot of fun people watching. Wednesday evening ended with Disney's World of Color, a water and laser light show in the Adventure park and then a quick run over to the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks, once again.The laser light show was fabulous, but the fireworks are our all time favorite.
As the kids were staying in the park to ride the Tower of Terror, we went our separate ways for dinner. Jim and found a little steak restaurant on the way back to the hotel and had a quiet dinner after a fun-filled day.

I slept most of the way home from Anaheim, most of the evening at the condo, all night and had a morning nap. I think I may be rested. I don't think I mentioned that I had a cold and lived on DayQuil and NyQuil during the trip.
In between all our crazy comings and goings we have managed to walk quite a bit, read quite a bit, play a lot of Skip-Bo, relax and enjoy our surroundings.
In the next four weeks, we plan to do more of that along with seeing the kids, trying to eat sensibly and enjoy the beautiful desert weather.
If you are pray(ers) please pray for Gretchen who has made it through one interview in the process for a National Park Service job at Death Valley. This appears to be her dream job. We'll see what God has to say.
~Hippo Hugs~