Monday, December 26, 2005

A Quiet Christmas

With no kids here, it was a quiet Christmas with no fanfare this year. We went to June & Roger Dorner's house on Christmas Eve day to have dinner with them (and their kids and grandkids). Yummy.

Yesterday, on the actual Christmas Day, they met us at the Royal Fork Buffet since their kids had to go back home (to Moscow, Idaho) early Sunday.

What did Santa bring? He delivered the car early, and reserved us a place in Palm Springs (see pictures above) for the month of February. We've been very good this year.

This complex is called
Canyon Shores and we've stayed there several times. Click on the link to see more pictures and get more info. We love the convenient, central, location in Cathedral City, which is on the east edge of Palm Springs and west of Palm Desert. Our friends, Bud & Dorothy McIntire, live across the street at Cathedral Canyon Country Club where they have 27 very interesting, difficult, water laden holes of golf. I've played very good to very bad rounds of golf there. :-)

We'd love to hear about your Christmas and what's in store for the new year. You may e-mail us at:

Holiday Cheer!
Max & Carol Williams

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Golf Bags

Here is a picture of (most of) the golfing gang I hang out with. I call them the "Golf Bags". This is the group I play golf with on Tuesdays (if I'm not too busy working)... and we are all members of the Three Lakes Golf Course, so we play on our regular ladies day which is Thursday during the golf season. I didn't actually play much golf this year, but they let me hang out with them whenever I have the time.

During the winter we take turns hosting, and get together on Tuesday to play Farkel, which is a dice game also known as 10,000. Every year at Christmastime we get together at one of our homes and have a salad and dessert potluck. We don't make assignments, just bring what you want... and it's always amazing at the balance and variety. We've never yet had ALL desserts or ALL salads but it's always ALL good. We take an annual Christmas photo and this one was taken yesterday, December 20th. Unfortunately, there were about four of our regulars missing for various reasons.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Grandma's Fudge Recipe

My friend, Amy, who recently moved here from Nevada gave Max and me a wonderful box of Christmas goodies. In the box were two mugs with hot chocolate mix, a candy cane and a tin of fudge made from her Grandma Betty Huxford's fudge recipe. Amy was very close to her Grandma and she died this year, so this batch of fudge was made from the heart in remembrance of her Grandma. This is the story of Amy's efforts to get the fudge just the way Grandma used to make it:

Dear Carol and Max,
Here is some FUDGE I made from the heart. I was thinking about my Grandma and some of her Christmas cooking. I remember her making holiday cookies, popcorn balls, and fudge. A few years back I helped her make fudge for the family. So… my infinite wisdom, I thought it would be a good idea to make fudge and put it in small tins as a part of gift baskets for both sides of the family and close friends. It was a well thought out plan with good intentions.

So here is the FUDGE STORY:
(I am now convinced that FUDGE is a very bad word)

I dug through many boxes to hunt down Grandma’s recipe book. Found the fudge recipe and scurried down to the store and bought all the ingredients. Everything was going as planned until the actual fudge making process began.

The instructions said to boil until it forms a soft ball and folds. So I kept boiling and boiling until the crap started to crystallize! I took it off the burner and as it started to cool it turned into one massive concrete ball! I ended up with this rock hard blob that adhered itself to the bottom of the pot. It was stuck in there so bad I literally had to throw the pot away. Somehow I missed the “soft” ball stage!

Round Two:
I dug up an older pot to cook with just in case round one was repeated. This time I cooked the liquid until it started to fold and then I took it off the heat and stirred it for awhile until I realized it was getting very hard in a hurry. This batch did make it to the cooling pyrex but after it was completely cool it was hard enough to break every tooth in my mouth. I think we could use this batch as additional blocks for the retaining wall.

Round Three:
I felt I was getting closer to making edible fudge. All I had to do is pour myself another drink and cook the liquid for a shorter amount of time. That should do it right? Mmmm…..well, I stuck to my plan of more drinking and less boiling. I took the liquid fudge substance off the fire much earlier this time. As it cooled I stirred, and stirred, and stirred. I was so confident that this batch was going to be perfect I added a bunch of expensive walnuts to it. I poured the warm fudge into the pyrex and waited for it to cool. As it cooled it was supposed to harden. I waited, and waited, and waited. It did harden some but not to the classic fudge consistency that I had expected. The fudge looks more like a soft brownie but it is edible and does taste good. I cut it up and individually wrapped the pieces just like Grandma used to do (which was an ordeal in itself that I will not go into).

Round Four:
After a semi-successful batch, I got the urge to make one final attempt at the perfect fudge. I scraped the bottom of the butter barrel and used every last teaspoon of sugar in the house. This was it, there were no more ingredients to do another batch after this. It had to be done right. I thought about this “soft ball” thing and realized what that means. You drop some boiling liquid onto a plate and when it cools it should form a soft ball. That is the point when you take the fudge off the burner and start beating it until it “folds”. Brilliant! So, I boiled the liquid for awhile and then started making splatters onto a plate. They were not making soft balls, but they sure did taste good. I think my theory was correct with the soft ball idea, but I kept eating all the drippings before they became totally cool enough to make a ball, oops.

At this point I was totally “FUDGED up” and just wanted to eat a piece of my creation and be done with the project. I got nervous that the substance would crystallize again so I took the last batch off the burner and started to beat it. I had used all the walnuts in the previous batch so this round would be nut free. I poured the last of the fudge into the cooling pyrex for the final attempt. This might have been it? Well, as close to “good” as it is going to get. It is still a bit soft but at least you won’t break any teeth!

Final Conclusion:
I now know why Grandma always had drinks while making fudge. I learned that making fudge is no easy project but love my family and friends enough to attempt making gifts that are truly from the heart. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!
The Greenhalghs

Friday, December 09, 2005

Our New "Baby"

O.K... here it is, the replacement for the Mitsubishi... and the reason the Mitsu is on the selling block.

This is a 2006 Ford Five-Hundred SEL All-wheel drive. We love it. This vehicle has just received a top safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, so we're certainly pleased with that. Here's the announcement:
"Ford Five Hundred is the only car to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Pick-Gold” status — plus the government’s 5-Star Crash Test Ratings in four categories, even without the optional front seat side air bags installed".

One of the reasons we bought a new car was to have a little larger (and safer) vehicle for highway driving. With the price of fuel these days, we decided it's not "responsible" to drive the van much since it only gets an average of 14 mpg. The Mitsubishi, although a great car that we love, is just a little to small for long trips. We do plan a trip to Palm Springs this coming February, so the Five-Hundred will get a good road test. We're looking forward to that!

For all the details and a complete interior and exterior tour of this car, click here.

Have a great week-end!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My Beloved Mitsubishi

Today I take on the sad task of preparing my beloved 1999 Mitsubishi Galant for it's next proud owner. Tomorrow I will post a picture of the reason we're selling this car. This 1999 Galant has been lovingly taken care of, with oil changes every 3,000 - 4,000 miles and regular transmission fluid changes, as well. There are about 88,000 gentle miles on it. It's a very comfortable car, with plenty of power on the road. It's front-wheel drive, has air conditioning, and very good heater, and power windows. Gas mileage runs about 20 mpg around town and over 30 mpg on the highway. If you're interested in an excellent used car, give me a call. I'm starting the price at $4900 (with some room for negotiation). 509-670-7840... or e-mail me at:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Happy Holidays!

May a warm glow follow you through the Holiday Season
and into the New Year!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Mission Ridge - Opening Day

Tomorrow (Saturday) is opening day for our local ski area, Mission Ridge. So, it was good timing for tonight's viewing of Warren Miller's latest release("Higher Ground"). We went to the film, at the convention center, with our friends Troy & Amy Greenhalgh. Troy and Amy (who recently moved to Wenatchee from Sparks, Nevada) love to snowboard, so they were pretty jazzed about going to see the film.

Max & I could only reminisce about the good old days and ponder our fond memories of days gone by. We remember the days when we would pack a lunch and eat on the mountain between runs. We used to love to take off at noon during the week and go up for half a day of skiing. But, we quit skiing several years ago, after Max was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Max said his brain would tell him to turn, but his body wasn't responding like it should... so he decided that was a sign that it was time to quit!

Mission Ridge is really an excellent ski area, featuring lots of light powder snow and a wide variety of runs for the skiers of every skill level. The new high speed quad chair should be a great asset and, even though we are currently getting lots of real snow, the expanded snowmaking capabilities will also be a great advantage to a consistent and extended season for the upcoming season.