Thieves Break In Before Celebration

I know, I know. Everybody says it, especially when you get up there in anniversary celebrations. I can’t believe either. Another Christmas holiday is here again, but it’s a fact. The last few shopping days before Christmas are upon us.

I’m fortunate that I get to celebrate with some of my family and friends here in Arizona this year. I do however, miss those I can’t be with.

My Sister sent me a couple of pictures yesterday. There of her home (my homebase) in Montana. I miss the views of the snow covered fields and mountains, but not the below freezing cold temperatures common in the Bitterroot Valley towns.

Being a full time “retired vagabond” let’s me enjoy many good times with my family and friends living in different parts of the USA. This includes being able to escape the snowy winters and spend them in the warmer Southwest. I’m thankful for all this and consider it a blessing 🙂


The Invite

Last week I was surprised to receive an invitation to accompany a beautiful young lady, my daughter, to a Christmas party her employer was hosting at his home, located in the Phoenix area.

After accepting the invite I faced a dilemma, what I would wear to this very classy party? My suit and most of my dressier clothes I once wore to work everyday, were in my storage either in California or Montana. I looked to Jagger hoping he would have an answer for me. Then I remembered I had a pair of slacks and a nice sports coat in the Coach’s closet that I haven’t touched in three years since going full time. I thanked Jagger for the help.

Once I got home I went to the closet in my bedroom and removed them from the plastic bags. They were sealed three years ago. “Yep, I think this will work”, I tell Jagger. He tilts his head in his cute little way, staring at me with those blue eyes in response. “He’s going to be disappointed when he get’s left behind”, I think to myself.


The Party

While I didn’t take many pictures at the party, I did snap a few with the help of a friend. Below the photos show Janessa and I before we went inside the event and one of Janessa on the balcony overlooking the patio with the pool and pond.


When arriving we drove up the long driveway and stopped at the front entrance. Then Janessa and I got out, posing for a quick picture (middle above). When entering the home a hostess offered us champagne and escorted us to the patio, where the full bar was set up near the pool.

Before dinner was served, we mingled outside on the patio near the pond. Janessa introduced me to her supervisor Ed, who was the easiest to spot in the crowd given his bright red suit. He was definitely in the Christmas spirit. The outdoor heating was doing it’s job removing the slight chill in the air this evening. During our conversations another guest mentioned that on a previous visit there were beautiful Koi in the pond. We stared into the pond searching, but to no avail, not a living form was visible in the clear blue water.

The Thieves Strike

One of the hosts standing near our group then told us that the night before the party there were some thieves that visited the residence, yes racoons. They caught all of the Koi, ate them, but left the discarded heads scattered about the deck and surrounding area for our hosts to clean up. A rowdy group to be sure. Nevertheless the home and gardens were beautiful.

After a few more guests arrived the dinner bell rang. We were treated to a catered buffet of New York Strip steak carved and Chicken breast with all the trimmings, then escorted to sit at the formal dining table with a few others that work closely with Janessa. After dinner we were presented a dessert buffet. Needless to say I didn’t leave hungry.

We visited after our meal then several guests that including us, were taken on a tour of the mansion by Angie, the host’s daughter and a VP of the company. Every room was decorated elegantly, with a warm,  family centered touch. I don’t remember how many rooms there were, but I do remember the nice Hobby-Sewing room that was decorated with crafts created by family members. I also remember there were seven bathrooms. Each of the rooms had special memories, a picture here and a metal there with a story to share.

At the end of the evening we said our goodbyes to our host and the guests that I met. Angie, “said many nice things about my daughter”, as we were leaving. So I went away with not only a full stomach, but a big head!

I am so thankful I was invited to such a grand event. It was a treat that I didn’t expect to experience. Especially away from the work environment and leading the lifestyle I love so much.


Christmas Preparations

It’s been a busy pre holiday season of hustle, bustle and fun getting ready for Christmas. I enjoy watching the grandkids fill with the excitement of the season. So much energy and smiles. Below are a few photos I’ve collected so far during this season.

I enjoy collecting these priceless stills of life as it goes by. They bring back so many memories, especially as I age and can’t remember the details anymore.


My sincere wish for a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, celebrating with your family and friends.

Safe travels…Gary

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4 Comments

  1. Jenny Johnson Manuel December 24, 2016 Reply
  2. peggy silka December 31, 2016 Reply

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