Yard sale. Carrabba’s.

These are all the leftovers we brought home from Carrabba’s tonight.

“I feel like Italian tonight”. That was my answer to Elaine’s question about where I was taking her to supper tonight. The next question was “where”. Olive Garden is, of course, available. But I wanted to try something different so I remembered Carrabba’s; we have not been to that restaurant for a long time. We were in the pool at the time, and the discussion included others. Pete Petersen had never been to Carrabba’s, so that was our choice. And we invited him to come as well; others declined. We had a great meal and ordered two appetizers as well as our main course, so we had lots of leftovers to bring home (see the photo). Continue reading Yard sale. Carrabba’s.

Elaine the card maker. Making snowmen. Another load.

Cards Elaine made today

Elaine was off to another craft class at The Paper Collage today with Jan Ostlund. This one was a card-making class; you can see some of her results in the photo. Nothing special about the techniques or the project; it was just a make-and-take class. They have these every Wednesday. Elaine says it is good to just go and socialize and not have to listen to a lot of instructions and complications. Continue reading Elaine the card maker. Making snowmen. Another load.

A banner day. More hauling. Very windy.

Elaine and I had a banner day today, as in ordering some banners for the Royal Palm Social Club to use to advertise events. The immediate event is the community yard sale coming up this weekend, and the banners will be placed on the front fence along Dunlap Avenue to catch the eyes of passing motorists. We had talked with one company on Hatcher Drive on Friday but the owner was out and not expected back until today. So I went over there around 9:00 only to find the place locked and no one answering the doorbell. We had already tried the banner shop across the street and found them closed, so I decided to try one of the others along Hatcher. There are at least five shops advertising banner production. Continue reading A banner day. More hauling. Very windy.

Elaine and the box. Breakfast in the Park. More drips. Database progress.

craft box
The box Elaine made today. It is designed to hold custom cards and/or envelopes.

Elaine and Jan Ostlund took a class at The Paper Collage, a craft store in Sun City West, today. This one was on making a paper box designed to hold paper cards and envelopes. It’s a neat design, and can be customized with different papers and designer covers. I can imagine this being used to hold custom cards and envelopes made for sale or for gifting. The ribbon you see above it can be used to wrap the box for closure. While it looked good to me, Elaine was not satisfied with this, her first effort. But I know it will improve with the next ones!

This being the first Saturday of the month, it was time for Breakfast in the Park. We attended, along with over 65 other people, so it was a great success. As usual, the meal was great and was easy to overeat.

drip feeds
These four planter pots now have drip irrigation, fed by the 1/2-inch pipe you see on the ground and with individual 1/4-inch drip feeds leading from it.

I did some more work on our drip irrigation system today. Yesterday I went to Ace Hardware on W Glendale Ave to purchase a couple of tools I forgot to get before and to get a different kind of drip head. I needed a tool to punch the holes in the ½-inch supply piping for connecting the barb fittings, and I also got a ratcheting cutter for pipe.

I tried to make the first connection to the ½-inch pipe but was not able to push the barb connector into the pipe wall. Grrr. I figured I would have to get someone with more strength to do those for me, but later this afternoon I thought of using pliers to hold the barb fitting while doing the pushing and it worked fine. No help needed.

So then I went on and did the drip lines for the five pots we have out front. In the four at the right in the photo I used regular 1 gallon per hour (gph) drip heads, but on the larger pot on the left I used an adjustable spray head since the pot is larger. I tested, and no leaks. Then I set the controller to run this zone twice a week for an hour at 7:00 AM. I still have to place a drip line to the tray in front of the larger pot; I will try a soaker line for that.

I am excited about the progress I am making on the new database system under WordPress for the Violette Family Association membership. I am using the Participants Database WordPress plugin. I had to work my way through several setup glitches, figuring out how to set things up and how to make corrections or changes when I want to do something different. It’s a learning curve situation, but I  am quickly getting stronger and more confident.

Las Glorias Grill. Coyotes. WordPress membership sites.

Alfredos Combo
I had the Alfredos Combo – jalapeno marinated steak and shrimp

We have heard from others here in Royal Palm about how good the food is at Las Glorias Grill on N 19th Ave, just south of Northern. I have seen that restaurant hundreds of times over the last 14 years driving by and have always thought we should try it. Well, tonight we did, and it won’t be the last time! We both had excellent, tasty meals. I had the Alfredos Combo – a combination of grilled marinated steak and succulent shrimp, sautéed in a jalapeño butter sauce, atop a bed of rice, and it was one of the best Mexican dishes I have EVER had!

Elaine had Fajitas Supremas – very good

Elaine had the Fajitas Supremo – grilled steak, tender shrimp, and marinated chicken breast served on a sizzling bed of sautéed vegetables. She exclaimed about the flavors of it as well.

The restaurant has an unpretentious interior, but very comfortable. There were plenty of servers so everything moved along very smoothly. I started with a Long Island Iced Tea – never had one before and when I saw it on the menu I thought I would try it. Good. Elaine had a house margarita; good but not as good as the ones I make.

We have had a pair of coyotes in the Park over the last day or so. At first people were seeing only one, but today there were two. I sent out an alert message early this morning after Bill Schuling stopped by the house and told me about them. We haven’t seen them yet, but several people have told us about seeing them. In fact, Bill said the two were in our backyard this morning. We are very careful to be sure the boys are not in a position to become food! It will be interesting to see if the several rabbits in the Park survive.

I spent several hours researching WordPress plugins for managing organization memberships. The first problem I had was in finding the proper search terms to use. “Membership” brought up plugins that handle paid membership, and especially where there are products for sale. I tried “association” and it brought up dues-paying groups. After reading about the various plugins that came up with those searches I decided what I want is to have a custom member profile, so I used “profile” in a search and came up with at least four candidates. One was very expensive, two were moderately expensive, and one was free.

I ended up selecting the free one, mostly because it seemed to offer better features. Then I installed in on my SitePower test site and did some exploring. My conclusion is that probably none of them will provide the specialized features I need for the Violette Family Association web system, so I will have to write my own.

A visit with Conrad Soucie

group at Abuelo's
Shirley Carpenter, Conrad Soucie, Jean, Elaine, Dave, Milt Carpenter at Abuelo’s

The last time we were with my cousin Conrad Soucie was in either 2006 or 2007, during one of our visits to Connecticut. He is actually my first cousin once removed, since he is my late father’s cousin. Dad’s mother and Conrad’s father were siblings. Both the Violette family and the Soucie family hail from the Upper St John River Valley in northern Maine/northwestern New Brunswick, and members of both families eventually migrated down to Connecticut. Conrad stayed there for many years, but Dad and Mom moved back to Warner NH in 1943 where they lived the rest of their lives. As with so many from New England, Conrad eventually moved to Florida, where he lives now. Continue reading A visit with Conrad Soucie

Coup des Tartes for lunch.

gang at restaurant
Pete Petersen, Sharlene Froberg, Elaine, Dave at Coup des Tartes restaurant

When Sharlene Froberg invited us to try a new (to us) restaurant we said “yes” without hesitation, even though we had never been to this one before. I had seen recently that Nancy and Bill Schuling had been to Coup des Tartes and seemed to like it, so that made it even more attractive. Sharlene made the reservations and today was the day.

Coup des Tartes is a French-inspired restaurant at 1725 E Osborn here in Phoenix. It is housed in an old 1920s era home converted for restaurant use; the rooms have been preserved and turned into several attractive separated eating areas that will each hold 6-8 people. There is also a much larger banquet area. They also have an outside eating area that would be very nice evenings this time of year; we would have eaten out there today had there been some shade.

My Proscuiutto Sandwich

The menu offers items that are unique to Coup des Tartes. Each item seems to have their own flair. I had the Proscuiutto (sic) Sandwich (House Made Fig Jam, Pesto, Mozzarella and Arugula, baguette) accompanied by a Taleggio Salad (Mixed greens, fresh raspberries, apples, red onion, sugared pecans and Prickly Pear Vinaigrette topped with melted Taleggio cheese on toasts). Both were delicious. I used their spelling of Proscuiutto above, though I know it is not the customary one. I was especially intrigued by the Fig Jam addition to the sandwich and the Prickly Pear Vinaigrette dressing for the salad. Those are examples of the unique touch Coup des Tartes adds to their dishes. I also had a Four Berry Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert. All was great!

Elaine ordered coffee at the start of the meal and after she commented on how good it was (unusual for her – she seldom likes restaurant coffee) I ordered a cup myself. I quickly agreed with her and ordered a bag of their custom blend coffee to take home, as did Sharlene.

We each had something different: Elaine had Lobster Salad Croissant (Tomato, Avocado, Tarragon Citrus Aioli) and pronounced it okay but light on lobster. Pete had the Moroccan Lamb Sandwich (Braised lamb, mix greens, gruyere, Mango chutney) and Sharlene had the Roasted Chicken Sandwich (Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Gruyere, Spicy Mayo, Baguette). I believe they both liked their choices. Pete and Sharlene each had a different tarte for dessert.

This was proofreading day for the newsletter so there was not much for me to do on that.

I did some additions and cleanup to the Royal Palm Alert List. Until I am able to get back to programming for the upgraded utility I am forced to maintain two parallel lists. One will be used for the new system, the other is a simple email group list in Thunderbird. I had several to add and a few to delete because the last alert showed their address to be undeliverable. Then I sent out an alert to a water outage in a section of the Park tomorrow using the group list method.


Paramedics Raffle and Party. Pei Wei.

presenting check
Cheryl Ringer and Betty Stroh with the check for the Paramedics. Capt Jeff in the background.

$1,753 – that is the amount of the check for funds raised by the Royal Palm Women’s Club and donated to the Phoenix Fire Department Paramedics this afternoon. The funds were raised by selling raffle tickets for items donated by residents. There were well over 100 items raffled off this afternoon, one at a time. The tickets were sold door-to-door by a group of volunteers over the last couple of weeks. This event has been going on for over 40 years and Royal Palm Community has donated around $50,000 to the Fire Department in that time. Continue reading Paramedics Raffle and Party. Pei Wei.

Forecast update. Alert list flap. Ad sales. Boudin.

Our forecast temps have been revised upwards

And the heat goes on. The 80s temps continue (88° was our high today) and now the forecast calls for 90 and 91 early next week! Normal temps at this time of year are around 75-76°. We enjoy the warm weather and are glad to have it. While there were fewer at the pool today, a couple of others came out for the first time this year (good to see you, Agnes Volk). Continue reading Forecast update. Alert list flap. Ad sales. Boudin.

Weather. Weed killing. Pei Wei.

Our current weather forecast

Yes, we are experiencing some great spring weather here in Phoenix! The graphic to the left shows the forecast for the next week. Though a bit above normal, it’s just what we deserve. And we will take it and more. The warm weather brought out some summers swimmers this afternoon – people we haven’t seen at the pool since last fall. Bill Russell, Pete Petersen, and George Loonsfoot were in the pool for the first time. Jerry Denton has been a few times earlier and was there today. Leslie Nielsen did her sunning thing as did a couple of fellows we don’t know. Then a couple we don’t know came in the pool later on. Continue reading Weather. Weed killing. Pei Wei.