Filed under Arizona, Family
It snowed in Phoenix yesterday! According to one website the last time there was officially measurable snow in Phoenix was in 1937. But as you can see from these picture I took in our backyard big flakes were coming down. It even looked like it was hailing for a time.
The Superstition Mountains behind our house were covered with snow. Cars were stopped all along the streets so people could take pictures of the unusual sight. The snow still covered the mountains in the evening.
This morning we hiked the Hieroglyphic Trail and the snow was still there. It was weird to be hiking and find little patches of snow in amongst the cacti. We’re hoping it won’t snow again during our Phoenix stay because we are here for the warm sunny weather. It did however make for a unique experience to see the now familiar scenery decorated with snow.
If you enjoyed this post you might like…….
It’s Freeeeeeeeezing in Arizona
Hieroglyphics in Arizona
Bits of Christmas in Arizona
Filed under Arizona, Nature
My sister-in-law Shirley and brother-in-law Paul who live in Leamington, Ontario were visiting us here in Arizona for five days last week. We got lots of exercise. One day Shirley and I walked to the grocery store and back together, over 13 kilometers and another day Paul and Shirley and I made a one way walking journey to the store but Dave picked us up for the return trip. We went hiking on Silly Mountain. Here Paul and Shirley chat with some fellow Canadians we met on the mountain trails. The guys golfed four times and Shirley and I joined them for two of the rounds at the Mountain Brook and Sidewinder courses. I was pretty pleased with some of my shots but didn’t hold a candle to Shirley who was just whacking the ball and beat the guys on quite a few holes. On one hole it was hard to concentrate as we teed off because of all the yelping going on. We looked up to see a pack of six coyotes run away through the cacti. They were probably giving chase to one of the many rabbits on the course. Every evening we had happy hour out on the patio behind our house, which gets the warm sun starting at about two o’clock in the afternoon. Check out Shirley’s fashionable hat. Since Paul refused to wear his cool hat I told him I was going to steal it from him. There is a row of saguaros on Dinosaur Mountain behind our house that take on a rustic orange glow every evening as the sun sets. Every evening in between happy hour and supper we played a best of three games euchre tournament with the men against the women. Even though I was a euchre novice, Shirley and I managed to win a third of the games. Paul did accuse us of having too much table talk, and Dave suggested that during some of our pregnant pauses before we made our moves, we were subtly communicating with each other. Shirley and I decided to just ignore their complaints and enjoy the games even when we lost. One night Dave took us to the Handlebar Pub and Grill, his new favorite restaurant in Apache Junction. They specialize in all kinds of hamburgers grilled over a fire and served with a mixed green salad or a blue cheese potato salad. They also have eighteen of kinds of beer on tap and the ceiling features this collection of beer tap handles. We enjoyed our food and the country western music group that was performing. On Valentine’s Day Shirley and I made a special supper for the guys. I meant to take pictures of each course but only remembered to photograph the appetizers- stuffed blue cheese mushroom caps and melon wrapped with prosciutto. We also served a goat cheese, strawberry and arugula salad, steak and baked potatoes and a tuxedo cake for dessert.
Paul and Shirley left on Friday afternoon to move to their own condo in Scottsdale. We will get together again this week after eight more Driedger family members arrive in Arizona for a visit, four at our place and four at Paul and Shirley’s.
If you enjoyed this post you might want to read about our time with Paul and Shirley in Arizona last year……………
Hiking Pinnacle Peak
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Arizona
Golfing in Phoenix
Last week we drove to Scottsdale to have dinner with my Uncle Herb. He was staying at his daughter and son-in-law’s vacation home for ten days or so because he had some appointments in Phoenix. I was so glad we had a short break in house guests and were able to fit in a visit with my uncle. He lives in Arkansas with my Aunt Mary and so we don’t get to see them very often. Last winter Dave and I spent a memorable day with Uncle Herb because our visits to Phoenix coincided just as they did this year. You can read about that here.
Uncle Herb took us to dinner at Cartwright’s. It is named after a large ranch owned for over a century by the Cartwright family. The ranch is located just south of the restaurant and the restaurant’s interior is designed to look like the original Cartwright ranch house.
Next door to the restaurant was the Camarena Art Gallery and before we went into to dinner Dave browsed through the paintings on display outside. As you know from a previous post we’ve been having an ongoing debate about what kind of art work to put on our livingroom wall and Dave proposed that this piece just might work. I wasn’t sure how we would fit it in our car for the trip back to Manitoba.
With Uncle Herb you never run out of conversation topics. He’s interested in all kind of things- Mennonite history, travel and politics. Uncle Herb is a retired surgeon, who practiced in the mid-western United States and he and my aunt have also lived in Asia and Europe. Besides catching up on family news we discussed the differences between Canada and the United States in all kinds of things from gun control to health care to politics. Uncle Herb takes each of his grandchildren on a trip to Europe at some point after they graduate from high school and he told us about his plans for his next adventure with one of his grandkids.
The food and wine were great. Here are the two rather decadent desserts Uncle Herb insisted on ordering for us to share. The guys had steak and I had halibut cooked Sonoran Style with avocado salsa, sweet potatoes, charred tomatoes, yucca root and wood grilled squash. Dave and I also shared a watercress and gorgonzola salad with grilled tart apples and Arizona pecans. It was a memorable meal.
Dave and I do hope to make a trip to Arkansas to visit Uncle Herb and Aunt Mary this coming year, but it was great to catch up with each other last week. Our time in Arizona is giving us lots of opportunities to spend time with family and friends, which is an added vacation bonus.
I immediately thought of Rebekah Enns when I read last week’s Carillon story about a public community forum scheduled for the Steinbach Christian High School on February 24. The forum is being held in response to a proposed amendment to the Manitoba schools act that seeks to establish safe and inclusive schools in our province. The SCHS official statement does not specifically mention the legislation’s requirement that schools support the creation of groups such as a Gay-Straight Alliance on their campuses. However, the Carillon article suggests it is this part of the proposed amendment that may be of concern to SCHS.
The reason I thought of Rebekah Enns while reading the article is that in November of 2011 she received the Sybil Shack Youth Award from the Manitoba and Canadian Human Rights Commissions for starting a Gay-Straight Alliance group at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate where she was a grade eleven student at the time. The school’s counsellor Donna Peters Small nominated Rebekah for the award saying that since the Christian community has varied opinions on the issue of homosexuality Rebekah showed courage and opened herself up to criticism by taking the initiative to start the alliance.
Photo of Rebekah Enns by Simon Fuller
In an interview with The Lance community newspaper Rebekah said she was pleased with the interest Westgate principal Bob Hummelt expressed when she talked to him about her plan to organize the group. The alliance at Westgate has about a dozen members who meet monthly to discuss topics surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. The Canadian Mennonite magazine states in an article about Rebekah that her motivation was to create comfort and understanding about the issue of homosexuality at her school. When interviewed by CTV Rebekah said she’d heard horror stories from teenagers who had been bullied after openly declaring their sexual orientation to the members of their school communities. She wanted to start a group that helped educate people so that kind of bullying might be prevented.
Rebekah and her family attend Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg and she credited her pastors saying, “everything I’ve learned from them is about acceptance.” When I heard Rebekah interviewed on the radio she was asked what her parents thought about her organizing the group and winning the award. She said they were very proud of her.
Westgate Mennonite Collegiate makes no secret of their religious purpose. Their mission statement prominently displayed on their home page is “to inspire and empower students to live as people of God.” It is interesting to note that Westgate was actually ‘ahead of the times’ in allowing the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance on their campus even before the introduction of the proposed provincial government legislation encouraging schools to do so.
I was a high school teacher for six years in a public school in Steinbach and a private Christian school in Hong Kong. Perhaps because I taught language arts I was sometimes allowed a deeper glimpse into the personal lives of my students because they seemed freer to express what they were feeling in their writing. What I learned from the things they wrote for me was that in both schools I had a surprising number of students who were struggling with issues of sexual identity and orientation and they did not feel supported by their school community nor did they feel they would be safe, secure or respected were they to be honest about their struggles.
Principal Scott Wiebe was quoted in last week’s Carillon saying the aim of SCHS is to ensure that “all students are respected as persons created by God.” Perhaps Rebekah Enns and Westgate Mennonite Collegiate have something to teach us about what that might mean.