Monday through Friday, September 26-30, 2022—All about Pickleball

This entry is all about pickleball, or mostly all about pickleball. The first annual Diamante CC pickleball championship occurred on Monday and Wednesday. Monday was for preliminary matches to determine seeds for the championship matches on Wednesday. Both Kay and I played. There was a good crowd and some really good pickleball played.

On Monday, Kay first played doubles with tournament co-organizer Paula Hibbs; they were a bit outgunned. In her mixed doubles match, she was paired with tennis great Chuck Hirsch, and  while they competed well, could not overcome the excellent play of their competitors. I played mixed doubles paired with Bev Graham, and we managed to win all of our matches, gaining a No. 1 seed! Bev was, as usual, outstanding. Paired with Randy Bergfield in mens’ doubles, we could not match the near errorless games played by the competitors. Nevertheless, it was a grand time.

Kay , a glutton for punishment, played pickleball again on Tuesday with her women’s group, and I played golf with the church men’s group. Interestingly, our 4-person golf scramble team won with a 90-year old and a golfer who had never played before.

Wednesday was pickleball championship day at Diamante. Neither Kay nor I did well enough to win in our division.

Here is a list of the winners:


Women’s Division:  Bev Graham and Cindy Secora

Mixed Division: Clint Atchley and Jeannie Brandeberry

Men’s Division: Peter Julian and Johnny Hibbs

Runners Up:

Women’s Division: Renee Robinson and Stephanie Noblett

Mixed Division: Bev Graham and Donald Dunn

Men’s Division: Chuck Hirsch and Ron Graham

Overall Points Winners:


Bev Graham 167

Renee Robinson 115

Jen Stout 113


Peter Julian 130

Ron Graham 129

Donald Dunn 128

Kay played pickleball again on Thursday, and I played golf with our “Arizona” group.

We were without any scheduled events on Friday! With great weather, we played golf together, and had a great time. Both of us tired quickly, though.

Wednesday through Sunday, September 21-25, 2022—Welcome to Autumn

The seasonal changes these days don’t represent the images with which we grew up, or at least the timing of seasonal changes. For example, Wednesday’s high temperature was 96°. There was some moderation on Thursday and Friday, but temps are expected to return to the mid-90s Saturday and Sunday.

Kay played golf on Wednesday morning while I played pickleball; we were both soaked from perspiration as a result of high temps and humidity.

Pickleball at Diamante CC

Our church offered flu shots and COVID boosters, and Kay and I took advantage of the service. Sure to form, a reaction to one or both injections began occurring just a few hours later..

Thursday was pretty much a bed/sleep day while experiencing the reaction to yesterday’s injections—fever, slight headache, and joint aches and pains. Fortunately, this time it was only a 24-hour reaction compared to the 48-hour reactions for the previous COVID shots. Kay played pickleball at Diamante; she is improving each day and now banging at the net against her opponents.

Friday, Kay celebrated a milestone birthday. She and Karyn spent most of the day together, shopping and having lunch with Ron and Cheryl. Afterward, we had dinner with Karyn, Matt, Ridge, and Aker at Texas Roadhouse in Benton. To celebrate her birthday, the server brought out a full size saddle, and Kay rode for the entire eight seconds! Yee Haw. (No photos of this milestone event were made!) I did manage to get a few shots in the yard.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly
Mexican Primrose-yellow
Arrowhead Plant
Red-banded Hairstreak
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Saturday, we worked on the sprinkler system, changing sprinkler heads and clearing debris from the lines. I also took a few photographs in the back yard. Interestingly, birds flocked to the sprinkler as we tried it out.

American Goldfinch “Singing in the Rain”
American Goldfinch
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Carolina Chickadee

Most of Saturday afternoon was spent in Maumelle, attending Ridge’s soccer game. Because of lightning, it was called at halftime, to be continued in the future.

We both took it easy on Sunday. We did play pickleball in preparation for the upcoming Diamante CC championship. The seriousness of the game increased, and some good pickleball was played. We resumed Sunday night social bridge with Jim and Jackie, and of course, Kay came in first and I came in third, out of four!

Monday through Tuesday, September 5-20, 2022—SO, SO

We settled into a rhythm the last couple of weeks, not doing nor experiencing anything out of the ordinary, but continuing a busy Hot Springs Village lifestyle—same old, same old (SO, SO).

Our weekly schedule included church and pickleball on Sunday, pickleball and golf (for me) on Monday, pickleball and golf (again, for me) on Tuesday, pickleball (sometimes twice) and golf (for Kay) on Wednesday, pickleball and golf (for me) on Thursday, “gardening” on Friday, and grandkids’ soccer on Saturday. And of course, church and social board meetings occur nearly every week. Kay’s pickleball game is steadily improving, whereas my golf game is steadily declining!

Tuesday golf with COHUMC men

We are really enjoying pickleball at Diamante, despite the “awkward” courts; they have a bit of tilt, but play just fine. And, we have met the nicest folks there—a real blessing—though most are some 10+ years our junior. A special thanks goes to Jen Stout for organizing our Diamante pickleball play.

Wednesday morning pickleball at Diamante
Wednesday morning pickleball at Diamante
Wednesday morning pickleball at Diamante

I did get out to make a few photos in the back “yard” here in Hot Springs Village during a few walk arounds. Butterflies were in short supply, and have been all summer; it has been disappointing to say the least.

Least Skipper (about the size of a little finger fingernail)

There are still a few dragonflies around, though it’s the same few species; they seem to be smaller as the season comes to an end.

Eastern Amberwing laying eggs
Blue Dasher
Eastern Pondhawk
Slaty Skimmer
Slaty Skimmer
Slaty Skimmer

Some wildflower blooms are appearing in wet areas adjacent to our place in Hot Springs Village. Arrowhead plant tubers were made into a decoction for treating indigestion, rheumatism, or as a diuretic for urinary and kidney ailments. The tubers were also used as a poultice for treating wounds and sores. Headaches, Alzheimer’s, tuberculosis, and blood sugar control are other reported uses.

Arrowhead plant
Mexican Primrose

Even a few hummingbirds are nectaring at the feeders, though they are really skittish.

Immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Friday through Sunday, September 2-4, 2022—Almost Back to Normal

Unpacking has almost been completed, clothes washed and put away, and streaming channels on TV signed into—we’re almost back to normal.

We both enjoyed some time “catching up” with friends. On Friday, I did manage to get out and shoot a few butterflies and dragonflies.

Viceroy butterfly
Viceroy butterfly
Clouded Skipper
Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly
Slaty Skimmer dragonfly
Eastern Pondhawk

Kay and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary with drinks and dinner at the Diamante Country Club. It’s been a great run with lots of travel, fun, and a few heartaches during our 22 years; we “lost” all three of our remaining parents, “lost” one brother and sister, saw three kids’ marriages and two divorces, and had five grandkids born during this time. Yes, we are blessed.

Saturday was a down day, i.e. a day of rest. We did very little. There were no butterflies, only a few dragonflies, and the hummingbirds would not cooperate, thus no photos.

After church on Sunday, we met the Hartmans for brunch at Diamante, and the club has definitely upped their game food wise. The brunch was quite good. Kay and I had looked forward to pickleball Sunday afternoon, but most of the regulars participated in a golf tournament at Diamante. An afternoon nap and more rest was the order of the afternoon for me while Kay and Pam visited the casino until mid-evening.

Wednesday and Thursday, August 31-September 1, 2022—South, and then East

Creede, Colorado, was in our rearview mirror by 8 o’clock on Wednesday morning. A brief stop was made in Alamosa for a quick car wash to remove the dust and dried mud from the Creede roads. Another stop was made further east for gasoline, and after a 4-hour drive we arrived at Capulin National Monument.

Capulin Volcano National Monument is an extinct volcano in northeastern New Mexico about 25 miles southeast of Raton. It was established in 1916 as Capulin Mountain National Monument, its boundary changed in 1962, and it was renamed in 1987. The monument contains the cinder cone of Capulin Mountain. The volcano became active about 62,000 years ago and last erupted some 56,000 years ago. The symmetrical cinder cone reaches an elevation of 8,182 feet and rises more than 1,300 feet above the surrounding grass-covered plains; its base is surrounded by lava flows. The volcano’s rim is accessible by a spiral road, and there are hiking trails inside the rim.

Capulin Volcano Cinder Cone
Looking into the Capulin Volcano caldera

From there we drove generally east to Shawnee, Oklahoma, where we overnighted. We were both tired and slept well.

On Thursday, we finished the drive home, arriving near noon. The car was unloaded, we unpacked, and I washed and semi “detailed” the car while Kay rearranged outside plants. All’s well, and we’re glad to be home.