Cold in Arizona this morning…Off to see old friends…Tom’s birthday…Wine shopping…

Even those residents with RVs may have fruit trees such as this orange tree in their front yard.

This morning we awoke to 39F (3.9C). The Phoenix and surrounding suburbs are known for warm and sunny winter weather, but it’s not unusual to occasionally see temps as low as this. It only takes a few minutes to heat the entire unit in this tiny house, which we did immediately upon awakening.

After the chill in Minnesota only weeks ago, this is undaunting to us. When we arrived in Minneapolis on November 8th, the temps were well below zero for several days. That was tough to handle, especially when we were still coughing and feeling unwell.
This morning we’ll get on the road by 11:00 am to drive to the Tonto Verde Golf Club in Rio Verde, about an hour’s drive from Apache Junction to meet old friends Vicki and Jerry for lunch at 12:30 pm.

We only met them once in 2015, on the beach in Kauai, Hawaii, while the four of us hit it off so well. We’ve stayed in touch all these years via our posts and email messages sent back and forth. We are looking forward to seeing the two of them.

We are fortunate to have met so many fine people over the past seven years of world travel. Now, it seems everywhere we travel. We have new friends we’ve made on cruises and via our website that we’d like to see face to face. Having the opportunity to visit with these fine people makes our lives all the more meaningful.

I’ve made a grocery list for Tom’s upcoming birthday on December 23rd, one week from today. With the family members attending his party, there will be a total of seven of us. On his birthday, I will post the menu.

Tom’s sisters have lemon and orange trees in their yards. Maybe I’ll make lemon drop martinis for Tom’s birthday!

With this small kitchen, we’ve decided to cook on the grill. He’s asked for one of his favorite cakes, a lemon concoction, an old recipe from my mother’s many moons ago.

As mentioned in the past, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying drinking red wine after a 20-year hiatus during which I didn’t drink at all. There was no particular reason I quit drinking in the ’90s, but somehow I lost the taste for it. Instead, I always drank iced tea on most social occasions.

While on the cruise for 33-nights that circumvented the entire Australian continent, we finally qualified for complimentary drinks during “happy hour” from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

During this period, while socializing with extraordinary Australians and Americans we met aboard the ship, I experimented and had a few glasses of red wine. My tolerance was minimal, and I could barely get through one glass. 

Of course, as time passed, I could pace myself to have two glasses spread over the 3½ hours eventually. After the happy hour ended, I’d switched to mineral water and be perfectly content.

After the open heart surgery, both the cardiologist and the surgeon suggested that drinking red wine in moderation may benefit the cardiovascular system. 

Now, I monitor how much I drink and strive to stay within the criteria. In the process, my taste buds have re-ignited, and I’m on a mission to find the wine I most enjoy.

In this process, organic wine seems to suit me best with little or no sulfites in organic wine, and the fact that no pesticides or chemicals are used in growing the grapes organic wine is particularly appealing.

While in Minnesota, I discovered Total Wine, a national wine superstore, the only location to purchase a variety of organic wines. Although wine is now available in grocery stores in most states, I’ve yet to find more than one or two options for organic wine in any grocery stores we’ve visited in Minnesota, Nevada, or Arizona.

Oranges, ready for the picking, in the RV park.

Last night, I placed an order online for a case of organic wines, and later today or tomorrow, we’ll pick it up in Gilbert, Arizona (only about 20 minutes from here) since it’s ready for pickup. The convenience of placing the order online as opposed to searching through the hundreds of types of bottles of wine in a store is something we appreciate.

This is all new to us. In most countries where we’ve traveled in the remote areas we prefer, such convenience is unavailable. I must admit that amenities such as this, which we’ve only found in the US, are pretty unusual to us. 

A lot has changed in the past seven years. Funnily, it’s almost as if we’re the ones experiencing “culture shock” when we find so many conveniences while in the USA. As we’d done years ago, everyone takes such ease-of-use situations for granted. For us, we’re like “kids in a candy store,” eyes wide in awe of what is now available in the US.

But soon, that will all change again as we head to India, where we’ll adapt to the differences which will be profound in that country. We’re ready for this high level of adaptation over the two months.

That’s it for today, folks. It’s time for us to leave to see Vicki and Jerry. Tomorrow, we’ll share photos of our day with old friends.

Have a fantastic Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2018:

A peculiar-looking bird, isn’t it?  Ostriches are remnants of the prehistoric era. For more photos, please click here.

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