Sunday, September 26, 2010

On the Road See Willie

     I went with my friends to Laughlin, Nevada this weekend to see Willie Nelson in concert.  What a great show!   The man is a legend .
        He performed at the outdoor theater at Harrah's to a sold-out crowd.    He'll soon be 77, and he sounded just as good to me as ever.   He sang some songs that alluded to getting older:  "I'm Not Superman" and perhaps a new verse that mentioned a heart attack in "You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore".  Maybe the lines were true.  Or at least true in the way that great fiction (and songs) are true.   But then again, he is still touring and wowing the crowds.   So for me, I think he's a Super-man.       

This was my first trip to Laughlin, and I hope to go back soon.  It's much smaller than Vegas, but also much more affordable and without the congestion of Vegas.   A fun atmosphere and the slots were good, too.   I didn't come home a huge winner, but I didn't come home a big loser either.  All in all, not a bad outcome.   Heard some great music, saw a legend, and kept my shirt, too. 
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Broadway Comes to Grand

    We had a rare treat on Tuesday night.    I was able to get home from work early enough for us to go to a Grand event.   Sun City Grand always has lots of things going on - club meetings, dances, musical performances, speakers, etc - but most of them are scheduled during the day or early evening.   I'm at work and can't participate.
    But on Tuesday I was able to go to a "Pot Luck" dinner and listen to performers from the Arizona Broadway Theatre perform for us.   Kent and I had been to their theater to see "Miss Saigon", "Bye Bye Birdie" and other performances.   But this was the first time we had been able to see them here at Grand.
    They put on a great show!   For over an hour the performers sang hits from many Broadway shows.   David Errigo, Jr. started the show with "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" from "Oklahoma".  He is a talented singer and in my opinion the show-stealer that night.   He also sang "Suddenly Seymour" from "Little Shop of Horrors" with Maris Fernandes, and did an energetic and comical version of "I Can't Stand Still" from "Footloose".   The other singers were also very talented.  Jeannie Shubitz and Jason Fleck sang "Til There Was You".  Only after the song did we learn that they are a real-life couple.   Amy Wyatt, and Rhys Gilyeat were also wonderful performers.
     We got lucky with the Pot Luck, too.   At our table were 8 other couples who were all very nice and interesting people.  Most of them lived here full time.  One couple has a house in Utah, and they spend 2 weeks each month in each place.  Now that is splitting up your time!
      The food was excellent.  Kent fixed his Southwest Salad that is made with Jicama and caramelized nuts.  Yum!   Since our table got to go through line first, there were plenty of choices.  Ham, chicken, eggplant, and multi-bean baked beans were all great.  I hope the end-of-the-liners were as lucky.   At the end of the evening we both said this is something we hope to do again soon.       

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September Chill

Posted by Picasa     Okay, so it's not anywhere close to chilly, but the weather IS cooler.   We were able to take walks on Friday and Saturday, and twice today.   Last night and this morning I actually sat out on the back porch for a little bit before the heat chased me inside.    Still, it has been much more comfortable than a few weeks ago.
     When I was out walking this morning I passed a number of people that I don't usually see.   They were the later set; the people without dogs.  Dog people are early people, and today I didn't walk until around 8 a.m.    
     This is a picture of the golf course that is closest to us.   I always stop to look for coyotes, even though I can't remember ever seeing any here.   Lots of bunnies, however, so the coyotes are probably close by.  
     On the other side of the street is a retention pond.  Yesterday a giant Blue Heron was standing in the water, fishing.   I didn't have my camera with me then, and today when I did he wasn't there.    But I should be able to get a photo of one soon.  They winter here and are wonderful to watch. 
     Kent is going into Parker with me tomorrow so we can get our flu shots.   I used to skip them, but not any more.   A real sign of aging is when you want to get a shot.  
     Yesterday we had lunch at Corta Bella,, a gated community that was built shortly after Sun City Grand.   It's much smaller and has an Italian flare to it.   The thing we like is their restaurant.  It is upscale but affordable for lunch, with a great view.   Lately it has been almost empty, which is bad for them but wonderful for us.   
     Since we have moved here, we don't eat out very often.  Since Kent is home, he usually cooks much tastier meals than we would have in a restaurant.  When we do go out, it tends to be for lunch.   In fact, I can't remember the last time we ate out here for dinner.   
     Corta Bella has Kent's favorite restaurant, and I enjoy it, too.  With great views and nice music, it is a wonderful lunch time treat.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Neighbors

          The new neighbors are a family of mice that have taken up residence under our Hesperaloe (red yucca) plant.   We disagree on which species of mouse.   Actually Kent denies that they are mice.  He also says they must go.  Soon.   
          Neither of us has seen the new wildlife, and neither of us knows anything about desert mice or rats.   That doesn't keep us from having an opinion and being certain that our opinion is the correct one.
          Kent says they are pack rats.   I know this is wrong because I saw a pack rat nest at the White Tank Mountains.  It was at the nature center and labeled.   It was larger and much less tidy.
          I think this is the home of cactus mice.   We have golden barrel cacti and a few other species of cactus nearby.    My Pocket Naturalist, Southwestern Desert Life edition, shows 5 local varieties:  Desert Shrew, Kangaroo Rat, House Mouse, White-Throated Woodrat, and Cactus Mouse.     Of the choices, the Desert Shrew grows to a mere 4 inches, which would be acceptable.   The Woodrat, on the other hand, grows to 16 huge inches.   Not so acceptable. 
         The Cactus Mouse is a medium size, 8 inches, light brown or beige in color, with cute ears.   So I am convinced that, if we have to have this variety of neighbors, I want them to be from the Cactus family.  
          The Pocket Naturalist doesn't show Pack Rats or Citrus Rats, two local varieties that I know exist here.  So it is possible that our little friends are something entirely different.   For now, however, I choose to believe they are cactus mice.
Posted by PicasaHere's a closer view of the nest.    Does anyone really know what they are?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moving On

      I can't believe it has been a month since I posted.  The past few weeks have been filled with moves and changes, which is partially the reason for my absence.   The other reason is my involvement with Second Life, which took on a life of its own in August.
     But since I am here in this reality, I'll only talk about it.   August in Arizona wasn't all that great.  I'm a creature of habit, and I don't take change easily.   And I don't particularly like it when other people make changes that affect me either.  Once I'm in a comfortable rut I like to stay there.   But the universe had other plans.
      The major change involved my mother.   As you know from earlier posts, she turned 95 this year.   For the past five years she has been living in a "Seniors Executive Apartments" called The Waterford.   This seniors-only complex provides lunch and dinner and has a nurse on site during weekdays.   The staff organizes trips and entertainment routinely.  They have a "doctor" bus that takes the residents to medical appointments, too.  It really is a wonderful place, and it was  perfect for Mother when she moved there. 
       At that time she was a young 89, still driving and had her own car.  About the only things she couldn't do were balance her checkbook and keep her medicines straight.   I had taken care of her checkbook for years, mostly because she didn't want to do it.   I didn't mind, and she was happy to be rid of that chore.   When she moved to Waterford, I hired someone to come in daily to make sure she took her pills correctly, which solved that problem.  Since she was able to drive short distances to the grocery, doctor, and little shops, Mother never used their bus system.   When she gave up driving a year or two later, I had to arrange transportation to the doctor because she didn't want to use the bus.   Arranging transportation was getting progressively harder, but I was managing.        
      Then other problems arrived.   The medicine person became unreliable and had to be replaced.   Waterford changed some of its policies.  Mother kept aging, and her memory continued to fail.   Still, she liked it there and didn't want to move.   I did try to get her to move last year but she balked, and I caved.   (I'm beginning to see where my dislike of change comes from....) 
      But where aging is concerned, time never stands still.   
      I had worried about a crisis happening.  That had occurred to many of the elderly parents of friends or acquaintances, and occasionally it was tragic.   When it happened to Mother, it was fortunately not a big crisis.  It didn't incapacitate her, but it was a wake up call to me.   It was plain that she could no longer safely live in a seniors apartment complex.  She was no longer capable of handling even a small emergency on her own.  Ironically, there were at least 3 people hired to do things for her, but none of them noticed the problem or called me about it.   Even more worrisome, although I talk to her by phone routinely, Mother couldn't remember to tell me that something had occurred that needed fixing.   It was clear-- She had to move to a more structured facility. 
                   So here is her new home, The Inn at Renaissance Village.   
     A true assisted living, there are attendants to make sure she not only gets her medicine, but also a shower, clean clothes, and three meals a day.    The adjustment wasn't easy, but she is now enjoying it as much as her limitations allow.  She plays Bingo and visits with people.   The food is delicious.   
     Getting older is no picnic, I'm discovering.  Posts in the future may start to deal with some of these issues.  I'm having a real problem finding information, or correct information, about various issues related to elder care.  And the politicians are truly clueless.  
     But for now, at least, Mother is safe and content.
     The other change that occurred involved a co-worker.  My favorite co-worker left the office to seek fame in the big city.   (No fortunes are there in this economy, but that will come soon.)   He is a bright, young attorney, and it was always fun to watch him discover the law as it IS, not as its taught in law school.  He has a funny sense humor, too, which will carry him a long way.    I miss him, but he keeps in touch and seems to be adjusting very quickly to his new job.  
     So that was August.   
     We did take a quick weekend trip to Prescott at the beginning of the month to celebrate our anniversary and escape the heat.   The weather here has been hot, hot, and hotter.
      Now that we're into September, I'm hoping that nothing changes for a long time.  Except the weather, of course.