My plan was to spend 4 days at one of my timeshares in Scottsdale, run a half marathon, visit some wineries in the Prescott region, maybe spend an afternoon in old Scottsdale, but jury duty took a bite out of that plan. I received a jury summons for the day that I should have been hitting the road to head to Scottsdale. This was definitely that proverbial "monkey wrench."
I served my duty - got empaneled, was juror #2 and was sure I'd be serving on the 6-member jury, but then got eliminated as the lawyers made their respective peremptory challenges. This freed me for the rest of the day, but it was too late to salvage my original plan to get to Scottsdale in time to run the half marathon. So I decided, instead, to cancel my hotel room for the race and wait until Saturday to drive to Scottsdale, arrive there on Sunday afternoon to check into my timeshare. I also decided to cut one day off the end of my Scottsdale stay and get to my son's house a day early. The best laid plans, and all that....
But I did have a very nice 3 days in Scottsdale, got up to my favorite winery - Page Springs Cellars - and bought a case of mixed red and white wines, half for me and half for my son and daughter-in-law as their Christmas present from me. My favorite restaurant on Cornville Rd near the wineries - Harry's Hideaway - was closed so I had lunch at another little place across the street called G's Burger and had a very good hamburger, fries, and slice of pecan cranberry pie!
Wednesday morning I checked out of Villa Mirage and got on the road heading west toward San Diego. The drive around the north and west side of Phoenix was surprisingly painless and free of traffic and I was soon on I-10 heading for Rte 85, the shortcut down to I-8.
I've driven this stretch of road only once before, on my motorcycle, and was again impressed by the huge Imperial Sand Dunes that surround the interstate on both sides for miles. It was a little windy this day and the sand was blowing across the roadway a little bit. Tumbleweeds earlier, now sand.
I stopped in El Centro for a quick lunch then had only a few more miles to go before I was pulling up in front of my son's house around 2 PM. Grand-kids hugged, car unloaded, and I settled in for an enjoyable next few days with my son and family.
Lots of great family time! On Thursday we dropped the kids off at school and then had a relaxing and enjoyable visit over coffee and bagels at Einstein's. We went grocery shopping for items for our Christmas dinner. On Friday we attended grandson Trevor's awards breakfast at his school.
|Trevor accepting his Academic Excellence award from the school principal|
|Trevor and his award|
On the grandkids' last day of school before Christmas break, we walked to the school about 1/2 mile away and picked them up at the end of the school day, much to the granddaughter's dismay. But we made it home with only minor complaining, whining and drama. My son was released from work early and was there by the time we got home.
Saturday morning I joined my son, who is a cubmaster, and grandson on a 1+ mile hike with their cub scout den. It was so much fun to participate and to watch my son leading these youngsters through an educational hike, one which will earn them two cub scout Wolf award belt loops, Paws On the Path and Finding Your Way. The kids all seemed to really enjoy the outing and to learn a few things.
|Cub Scout den hike - 1+ mile hike, learning about wildlife,|
orienteering, hiking safety.
|Eager little cub scouts|
|One of several pauses along the hike for a short lecture on nature and hiking safety|
|Talking about hiking safety and what to do if lost|
|Showing a scout how to use a compass. My son hid little candy canes|
in an open amphitheater area and had each scout head off to find one.
|Talking about the hike and the buddy system before hitting the trail|
|Learning about maps, what a compass rose is, and using a|
food item to learn about where it came from
|Talking about the six hiking essentials|
After we got home from the hike, I went with my son to drop off a bunch of recyclables at the recycle center and he and I had lunch at a new little Mexican place near their house that they'd been wanting to try. We stepped next door into the hippie organic grocery store to pick up a couple of things needed for dinner and also selected a number of different locally brewed beers to bring back to the house and try. We played cards, we played Mario Karts on the Wii, we snitched cookies and candy throughout the afternoon, we tried a couple of the beers. It was a very relaxing Saturday afternoon.
We had what my son calls our "arbitrary Christmas" this weekend, since they will be going up to Modesto the day before Christmas to spend with Christina's family. So Saturday we had Christmas dinner of ham, roasted artichokes, and for dessert Christmas cookies that granddaughter Mimi and I baked, and peppermint bark and ribbon candy that I brought with me from Texas.
My son pulled out a new puzzle and we set it up and started work on it. Mimi helped me find all of the edge pieces, an important first step to getting a puzzle underway.
|Getting that first edge of the puzzle started and doing a great job of it|
|Sunday afternoon and the puzzle is complete!|
Sunday was our arbitrary Christmas morning. I walked down to Einstein bagels to get myself a cappuccino and when I returned we made Sunday breakfast of gooey cinnamon rolls, pancakes and then we opened our presents.
|Jeremy's Christmas present from Christina|
|Mimi with her nesting kitty cats, a gift from grandma|
|Mimi's ballerina jewelry box from grandma|
|Panda in a purse - gift from Trevor|
|Trevor got what he asked for - a chemistry molecule set from grandma|
|Silly book from Grandma - The Encyclopedia of Immaturity, or|
How to never grow up.
That afternoon, my son pulled out a Wii dance game and everyone had a go at it. We finished the puzzle, letting Mimi put the last piece in place.
|Jeremy and Trevor showing their dance moves to Wii|
|Mimi out-dancing her dad in front of the Wii|
What a wonderful way to finish out the year!
Next up is the Texas Metalsaw marathon to bring in the New Year. My first full marathon in 12 years.