Yeah, we’ve been on vacation for weeks — can’t you tell? Upon arriving at Towerpoint Resort in Mesa, AZ, our life suddenly took a busy turn. So busy, in fact, we quickly resorted to Google Calendar to organize and track our plans. We still get Sundays off after church service, although it’s fun to play ping-pong Sunday evenings at the resort pavilion. The other eight days a week we are playing tennis, hiking, walking, touring the area — almost anything except sitting around.
We’re sightseeing more than we anticipated in our short visit to this area. We thought a month would pass so quickly we would just get a little orientation to Mesa and not really spread our wings at all. Close to true but we’ve done more than we expected. First, we extended our stay from four weeks to six weeks. Second, Jim’s brother, Chuck, flew in from North Carolina and invited us to join him and our nephew, Tom, for our first visit to Taliesen. I’ll talk more about this in a minute.
Same day we joined Chuck and Tom for a visit to In-N-Out Burger, a sort of southwest hamburger chain with maybe two hundred locations. We are proud of them, they only do hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, pop, and shakes. No extended menus here — way to go! A big however, however, we were disappointed they don’t even talk chili (did you ask for chili peppers, ma’am?) and slaw (slaw? what?). Okay, we’re still from back east or, as they say around here, “out east”.
Debbie outside Los Olivos Restaurant
We next toured downtown old Scottsdale. Old is a funny term for something invented in the 1950’s, don’t you think? I know, I know, Scottsdale was supposedly founded by Hohokam as early as 800 AD. They left around 600 years later, and Frank Lloyd Wright next showed up in the nearby McDowell Mountains almost 530 years later. And still Scottsdale was almost nothing before the 1950s.
The Sugar Bowl
One “early” institution of Scottsdale is The Sugar Bowl. We had scarcely exhausted our burgers and fries but had to treat ourselves to a visit to The Sugar Bowl. If you’re like us you’ve been introduced to The Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale without realizing it. Bil Keane somewhat regularly includes it in his comic strip, Family Circus. We enjoyed sundaes and a great cup of coffee before striking out again for our walking tour of “old Scottsdale”. But we could have spent this time writing on our blog, eh?
Canyon Lakes hike
We’ve had two great hikes in the Superstition Mountains area with another planned for this weekend. Towerpoint Resort has several hiking clubs and it’s easy to hook up with a group for one day or another of hikes. We appreciate Bill and Diana leading the hikes on Saturdays, we wouldn’t know where to go without them. The hikes have been approximately seven miles at a fairly easy pace, and the weather has been fabulous.
Our visit to Taliesen was so nice we decided to go again a few days ago. We took a longer tour, for three hours, for more details on the campus, the architectural school, and the history. This was fabulous for us. Some of the information was a repeat of our “Insights” 90 minute tour. The “Behind The Scenes” tour was better all around. We like our tour leader’s presentation better. She seemed to understand her information and deliver it better. And we enjoyed sitting in the Taliesen dining room for tea and pastries as we listened to a Taliesen Senior Fellow, Polly, describe life and work under Frank Lloyd Wright’s direction.
When we’re sitting around, not reading, we’re playing home designer. Our second visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West included a fun and lengthy visit to the bookstore. We pored for two hours over the large array of books and awarded ourselves an early Christmas present of the Frank Lloyd Wright Companion in cd format. This is perfect for us in several ways.
The book is a collection of a huge number of FLLW’s works. His works are described in text, portrayed in pictures, and defined in graphic floorplan. We sit for hours sifting through many of his house plans.
“What do you like about this one?” ”
Could we build this one, and with what changes?”
“Do you like anything about this one?”
“Is this one too large?”
We’re enjoying pretending we’re designing our home, and enjoying the amazing possibilities for a 1,000 SF home. But we could have spent this time writing on our blog, eh?
Who knew George Vanderbilt had a hotel in Arizona? Actually he didn’t, but it is named the Biltmore nonetheless. We had a nice time visiting one evening on our own. Pretty nice place, even if you aren’t spending any money. Frank Lloyd Wright was the consulting architect on this project, and his influence shines through delightfully. It was fun to learn of his use of Sprites in some projects, and we enjoyed a relaxing evening walking the grounds and the lobbies.
Clayton Homes has recently added an iHouse model in Mesa, AZ. You may remember we wrote two months ago about our first visit to an iHouse, in Everett, Washington. We could have described it as “the house we’re looking for, if we’re looking for one.” But we’re not ready to buy a house since we don’t know where to put it. Shopping is all the fun anyway, and we had a lot of fun visiting the iHouse in Mesa a few weeks ago and again yesterday.
What else have we been up to? We had a great Thanksgiving with Jim’s brother’s brother-in-law. David put on a huge spread for family and friends and we are fortunate we could celebrate Thanksgiving with them. We left David’s to drive back to our home and couldn’t find a single game on television. You already know this but we didn’t realize Monday night football (and Thanksgiving football too, it seemed) aren’t on network broadcast television any longer. Is this correct? And if it is, why is it right? Okay, I’m done ranting.
Finally, we’re catching up on our periodicals, a little, in between visits to the tennis courts. You can never really get ahead of them. Hundreds of people are at work all day and night, somewhere, putting together and publishing magazines full of junk. We pay to have almost a dozen magazines sent to us every month. Read one every two days and we’re staying even. But it takes us each a day or two, at least, to get through them because we don’t read magazines for more than a couple of hours a day. Every week we read the entire Sunday newspaper after church and don’t even get to a magazine. And we were behind to start with — so we’re packing a couple dozen magazines at all times around here.
As Barry pointed out in a comment yesterday, we’ve obviously not been putting the needed time into writing. And not because there is a dearth of material here. We could write two times a day, there’s so much to tell. We could write about the variety of Christmas decorations going up on the little park models (mobile homes) throughout the Resort. We can write about the sharp increase in population in the resort as December starts. Or we could write about our resistance to the holiday music starting already at the Resort’s pavilion since Thanksgiving.
Better, we could write about the sweet sights and sounds of life in Paradise. The sun is setting and from our house we can see pink clouds and skies all around us, punctuated with fifty feet tall palm trees softly swaying in the breeze. We have an almost constant symphony of small aircraft softly humming their distinctive notes overhead enroute to or from Falcon Field nearby. Throughout every day we have the clearly sensible temperature rise, peak, and decline as the temperature follows closely the sun’s effect on our little neighborhood.
No promises about any writing. Although we greatly enjoy writing and have a lot of fun reading your comments, we’ve hit a temporary new Mesa mode. We’re thoroughly sucked into the Resort’s tennis club and enjoying every minute of it. We’re enjoying fantastic (if very dry — can you spell dewpoint of 7 degrees F?) weather and new friends, and a very different place. We’re tasting some new foods, or perhaps just old foods much hotter than we’ve experienced before. And we’re making the most of this before we head back east for Christmas and then down to south Florida for Q1 2010.
Sunny greetings from Mesa — We’re on Holiday, and will write when we return. Thanks for waiting patiently as we think about (and experience) what to write. Or, maybe we’re just on the tennis courts . . .
See you down the blog!
Jim and Debbie
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