Thursday, November 29, 2007
You see, Jacob was the first grandchild given me by one of our adopted kids. Our daughter had asked me if I would accompany her to the delivery room. Her words were, "mom, you weren't in the delivery room when I was born, but would you please be there when my child is born?" Would I? Absolutely!
So Jacob has always had a special place in my heart. No, he is not flesh of my flesh, we share no DNA, but he was born into my heart, and therefore is permanently attached to me.
Jacob, you are loved dearly. You know that. You should have your card and $$ that I sent. Spend wisely. And I promise some alone time at Barnes and Nobel when I'm home for Christmas.
Happy Birthday, grandson!
I should have known when we first got in the door that it was going to be bad as I saw a sea of shades of white and grey heads bobbing down the aisle. Then, as we headed down the first aisle which happened to be the donuts and rolls and bread, we found three women perusing the pastries, glued to their parking spots. They weren't buying anything, just standing there looking, and they would not budge. I actually had to climb over one woman's cart to reach the wheat rolls. Same when I got to the tomatoes, only this time there was a man in the mix of permanently parked shoppers. These folks, however, were engaged in an animated conversation about parsnips and the man's hunting prizes of doves, and how parsnips and doves together were so good. I again stuck my arm in and grabbed a few tomatoes. It went this way through the whole store: meat department, cheese and yogurt department, and frozen veggie department. When I reached the front of the store, after going around the perimeter as usual, I was shaking and near tears. I could not handle one more minute of those rude, obnoxious, senior citizens who thought they were the only people in the store. I told Ernie I had to get out of there.
We picked the shortest aisle, the check out yourself aisle, and started scanning our purchases after informing the machine that we spoke English. The first item to scan was a bottle of inexpensive wine. Beep-beep-beep, it went through the scanner just fine, then informed me to put the item in the bag. I obliged, and then, FLASH, bright lights started blinking and the machine demanded my ID card! Get serious folks! I'm 63! The cashier in charge of the four self checking machines noticed the blinking lights and worked her magic and reset the machine to again ask for the next item. All went well until we came to the produce and we were informed by the machine that you must look up the PLU for the tomatoes, romaine, and cucumbers and enter the that number via the number pad. Did as commanded. As we reached the end of the groceries the almost human machine screamed in capitol letters to PUT THE LAST ITEM IN THE BAG BEFORE SCANNING THE NEXT ITEM. We already had done so, but obliged and picked up the romaine and then put it back into the bag. The machine was satisfied and it commanded to SCAN THE NEXT ITEM! Instead I pushed the finish and pay button. This must have confused the check out monster and it again screamed to SCAN THE NEXT ITEM. I punched the finish and pay button about six times which must have jerked the machine back to reality because it now politely asked if I wanted to pay with cash, debit, credit, check, EBT card, coupons, and I think a couple other choices. I punched debit, it okayed me, we hustled out of there, and the monster was ready to do battle with the person behind me. I just hope it's next victim was one of the folks who annoyed me so! Serves them right! And I'll never go shopping again on no caffeine.
(I have nothing against senior citizens, as I am one of them myself. But the combination of no caffeine and a Wednesday Social Security payday in Yuma, Arizona, the home of tens of thousands of snowbirds, was more than I could handle.)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This lush full tree is a type of ficus. Sure looks better than the spindly thing I had in my house.
We were sitting outside visiting with Dick, Bev, Joan and Red when I noticed the sky across the street from where we are parked on Red's lot. Then I turned the other direction and found this
row of palms silhouetted against the orange sky. And then I saw the sky to the west....WOW!
It was fire orange, looking like it was on fire. What a wonderful gift a beautiful sunset is! Thank you, God!
My welcoming sign with the kokopelli playing and dancing for you.
Tin Christmas ornaments for a tiny tree that can travel without breaking fragile balls and bulbs.
A pretty cross.
A cheerful bowl for salsa or peanuts or whatever. I have to stop buying pottery now. We have such limited space and if I don't store it correctly it will break on me. So enough is enough.
The little splashes of color are so welcome. And I must say that the skies are mostly blue, thank goodness.
And I must say that the temperatures are no where near the below zero mark like Minnesota is experiencing this morning!
Monday, November 26, 2007
I don't know what is on the schedule for tomorrow, but I am hoping it includes a trip to the date farm. I understand you can buy date milkshakes that are out of this world!
Friday, November 23, 2007
But, we are traveling today. We are leaving our spot here in Las Vegas and heading down towards Yuma. We'll stop along the way in Lake Havasu to see the London Bridge. After spending a few days in Yuma and then we are turning west and going to San Diego.
Unless I am forced, I don't plan to return to this city. It is just not my cup of tea, not a place where I feel comfortable living. Keep your warm temperatures, daily sunshine, bare ground and rocks, your restaurants, hotels, and casinos; keep your lights, noise, and crowds of people, and give me my trees and 4 seasons and my peace and solitude. I guess I'm just a small mid-west town gal.
We had a very nice day yesterday on Thanksgiving Day. We went over to the base and had dinner in the chow hall. We spent a long time talking to one gentleman, actually a two star general. He gave us a lot of information about this area that we had never known before and we thank him for stopping by our table to visit with us. It was very interesting to hear about his career in the Air Force and some of his experiences as a pilot. And the cheesecake I had for dessert was excellent! Better than any pumpkin pie! And the dressing was very moist and stuck together just as I like it. Nummmmmmmmy.
We talked with three of our kids, and with my sister and mother. The noise and commotion at my sister's place sounded wonderful. I could hear the murmur of conversations and the happy squeals of her little grandsons in the background. Actually, the three year old was singing the alphabet song. Thank you for those noises, Betsy. It made me feel right at home. And I smile every day at the emails I receive from granddaughter Jaden. These are the little things that help me make it through the lonesome parts of the day.
The best part of our day was spending it with our friends, Dick and Bev. We are so thankful to have dear friends to celebrate with!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Grand Forks, North Dakota, where son Lenny lives, is 23, feels like 13
It was 33 degrees here in Las Vegas, Nevada when I got up this morning, but.........
The current temperature in Seldovia, Alaska, where son Chris lives, is 49!!!!!!
In our Thanksgiving Eve church service last night, the pastor reminded us to read Psalm 100, the most beautiful psalm of thanks, before diving into the turkey and mashed potatoes or before turning on the TV for the big game. This is one of my favorite psalms, and I want to share it with you this morning.
1. Make a joyful shout to the Lord all you lands!
2. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before his presence with singing.
3. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And his truth endures to all generations.
We will be going over to the base chow hall to join the troops in a Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey, ham, roast beef and all the trimmings, including the pumpkin pie. As we do before every meal, we will bow our heads and pray a part of this psalm........
Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good. And His mercy endures forever. Amen.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I was going to take pictures, but decided that the homeless, many by their own decisions involving addictions to alcohol, drugs, or gambling, but some because of their mental illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, don't deserve to be humiliated any further by having me post pictures, even of anonymous folks.
The street leading up to The Strip, is lined every night with dozens of free standing tents, sleeping bags, and people just sleeping on the sidewalk, covered by their light weight jackets and surrounded by their every worldly possession stuffed into a big black trash bag or a couple of smaller plastic bags from WalMart. Many have collections of aluminum cans or other treasures to sell or trade for food and/or drink. There are grocery store shopping carts also, filled with items that may come in useful to build a shelter or to share with equally destitute friends. Fortunately I didn't see any children among these homeless, but I am not so naive as to think that there are none. What we did see, however, were mostly middle aged or older men and women, the majority being men. I am willing to bet that a large number of those men are veterans, once proud protectors of our country, and now street dwellers, and in a city with a huge military base.
But the most disturbing part to me, is that those veterans are living on a street in horrible conditions, only a block and a half removed from the huge display of lights and sound displayed in the outrageously decorated casinos, filled with thousands of blinking, clanging slot machines, and where we saw a group of young men celebrating their right to drink themselves into unconsciousness, and throwing one hundred dollar bills like confetti on the black jack table. Ernie watched for awhile, I left, unable to comprehend this stupidity.
Granted, some of these folks are in this position because of their own doings and they probably don't even want help, but others are caught in the spirals of mental illness or disease, and they deserve help, especially those veterans who have given so much for their, and our, country.
On this Thanksgiving Day when we are counting our innumerable blessings, let's remember to give thanks for those who have kept us safe, and if there is any way that we can help the homeless veterans regain their health or dignity, we should consider doing so. Let's have a wonderful, family and food filled, warm and safe holiday. But let's also remember that some have none of those.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The majority of the guests dined in the shelter, but we picked a table outside in the shade.
There was plenty of turkey, ham, potatoes, dressing, gravy, relishes, salads, several kinds of bean dishes, and many cakes and pies for dessert. Many folks volunteered to help, and the dinner went well. We had entertainment, too. A system borrowed from the youth center, and then the daughter of one of the workers, who, if I heard correctly, is semi-professional. She was very good.....kind of an Allison Krause voice. There is a garden in the middle of the park, full of different cactus (cacti?) and other heat hearty plants. Someone has placed some pumpkins in the garden, just to make it look like Thanksgiving I think.
So this was our first Thanksgiving dinner. On Thursday we will go to the dining hall on base for another meal. If I can't have my kids and grandkids around, I guess we'll go eat with the troops and let them know how thankful we are that they continue to keep our country safe. Thank you military!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This was the bulletin today in church. And this is what I think it should look like outside during Thanksgiving week! However, we have a slightly different scene. Looking out the back window of the RV, I see an empty sandy lot, with dry scrubby bushes growing in it. East, North and West of us are bare brown hills, looking more like piles of construction dirt than mountains, and to the South are the lights of the Las Vegas Strip. Runners in shorts and tank shirts are cruising around the path that surrounds this park, and there are flowers blooming in the little garden area. The Thanksgiving dinner, which will be held tomorrow afternoon, will be served outdoors around picnic tables; I hope we score a spot in the shelter so we will be in shade.
Ernie and I just went for a walk around the path, me in my ever present Tevas, and the temperature is 75 degrees. As I said, this is not my idea of Thanksgiving week weather, but we did have the church bulletin this morning to remind us of what it is supposed to look like. Enjoy your weather back in Minnesota!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The woodland, field, and meadow;
The world in slumber lies.
But thou, my heart, awake thee,
To prayer and song betake thee;
Let praise to they Creator rise.
5. Lord Jesus, who dost love me,
O spread Thy wings above me
And shield me from alarm!
though evil would assail me,
Thy mercy will not fail me;
I rest in Thy protecting arm.
6. My loved ones, rest securly,
For God this night will surely
From peril guard your heads.
Sweet slumbrs may He send you
And bid His hosts attend you
And through the night watch o'er your beds.
Paul Gerhardt (1607-76)
# 569 ELH
This evening hymn is one of my all time favorites, probably because as a child my family would sing it often after supper and our evening devotions. We knew the words by heart when we were very young, almost as young as when we learned Away in a Manger. We sat around the oil cloth covered table in the southwest corner of the kitchen, and when our food was gone, daddy would reach behind him to the window sill where the devotion book, Portals of Prayer, was kept. He read the Bible verse for the day, and the short devotion that followed it, and ended with a short prayer. We then would all say the Lord's Prayer together, and then end with the common thank you table prayer. Often we then sang a hymn, and this one was one of our favorites. Daddy began in his deep bass voice, mom joined in with her pretty soprano, the Christian Day School teacher who lived with us sang, as well as all five of us kids. This is one of my dearest memories, the whole family around the table together, joining in prayer and song. And often out the window to the west, we would view a pretty sunset like the one pictured. I felt peaceful, safe, and loved. I hope you all feel that way tonight.
And I know you know the story behind looking for a Denny's, so thought I'd post that picture for you, too. This Denny's comes complete with a casino though, something we don't find in our Minnesota Denny's.
The picture above is how some people arrive at the Venetian. However, we drove down in Dick's big black truck and parked on the 7th floor of the parking ramp. Our spot was right next to the elevators, however, and we soon were walking down this painted gold ceilinged hallway patterned after the beauty of Venice and Rome.
The Venetian comes complete with gondolas, bothoutside.........
......and inside. The shops lining the canal were high end places, and we only peaked in the open doors, knowing full well that we couldn't afford a pair of socks from these clothing lines.
After walking around with our mouths hanging wide open, and filling those open mouths with a cheap burger and fries for our dinner, the time finally came for our long awaited show.
Naturally, there were no cameras allowed inside, so I could only take a picture of the entrance to the theatre. The show was wonderful, awesome, amazing, stupendous, beautiful, and incredible, all rolled into one, and with lots of exclamation points!!!!!!! I have never seen a big time professional performance before, and I was truly awed. The special effects were out of this world, as were the sets and costumes.
And the music was everything I expected, and more. Absolutely tops. My words cannot describe the experience, and I will never forget it. Can you tell that I loved our trip to Phantom? I only wish you all could have come with me, as you would have loved it too.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I have been terribly upset about a situation back home these past few days, so I think Phantom will be a welcome respite from reality.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
At first it was just the same color of desert tan that is all over around here, and I wasn't too impressed. It gets pretty boring after awhile.
But when we came to the above scene I changed my mind. It was beautiful, in a brown sort of way! There were a few spots of orange running through the hills, and several shades of brown and tan. We didn't go any further, but the sign said the road continued on to Lake Mead, the lake created by the dam.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The hills aren't huge by any means; they are more like piles of rocks.
When we first saw this climber, we weren't too sure if it was a male or a female. He/she was way up on this steep rock wall, putting in anchors and ropes. The hair was long, the build was kind of slight, and the body was shirtless. He/she was talking to a woman on the ground, and the voice wasn't definitely male or female. As the climber came back down and reached the bottom and turned around, we found out it was a male. Wasn't sure for awhile there!
There is a pretty large valley in between the east and west sides of this canyon, and there are yucca and Joshua trees in addition to the sage and other small brush. There have been two fires in recent years, and much of the yucca are burned.
The view of some red rocks from the highway on our way back to town. These aren't my favorite kind of mountains, but they were interesting hills and piles of rocks.
I took a few videos, a bit grainy, but I think you can get the effect.
We had gone down at dinner time, armed with our coupons for "buy one get one free" buffets. Guess what? We discovered that the coupons were not valid on a holiday. So, Ernie and Dick, two men who each gave twenty years of their life to the service of our country, and one of the veterans that Veterans Day was to honor, could not use their free buffet coupon. Quite ironic I thought. We did eat at a buffet though, paying full price. I was not impressed. Of course my allergies prevented me from eating the shrimp and crab legs. Maybe if I had been able to pig out on those items I would have liked it better.
Had we stayed downtown until 2 AM we could have watched the implosion of the Frontier, the second casino to be built on the strip and the place where Elvis first performed in Vegas. We, however, being old folks, headed home about 9:30 and opted to watch the implosion on morning TV. Again and again and again! Seems they trade off showing the big bang and the OJ stuff. BORING!
Here are a few more pictures of the Fremont Street Experience, including one of the paintings made with spray paint.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The wedding was very nice. Our godson, Dan, found a lovely gal in Jen, and they make a beautiful couple. At the reception we got to visit with my mom and sister, two other sisters and their husbands, my brother and his wife, who are the parents of the groom, an aunt, two cousins and a spouse, and nephews and nieces, in addition to other people we knew. It was a nice time and after our two hour drive back to Kevin's, we sneaked into the house after one, trying our best to be quiet so we wouldn't get in trouble for being so late.
This is the first dance for the new Mr and Mrs. As I said before, they are a beautiful couple and we wish them a long and happy life together. They are both very special people.
Another beautiful couple at the wedding were my mom and her sister, my aunt. My mom is in the bluish/purple outfit, and my aunt is in the patterned jacket. Don't they look nice? I was the flowergirl in my aunt's wedding, many, many years ago. My uncle is gone now, and we miss him so much. I always think of him on Veterans Day as he fought for our country in WWII.
Saturday morning after breakfast, Ernie asked if I wanted to make a fast run down to our hometown to see some of the kids! Of course I answered yes! We called Kari, asked her to call the others, and said we were treating at the hog trough (buffet) for anyone who could come at 11. We had Kari and Mike with Adam, Ben and Anna. Katie came with her Clayton. Tya came with Jaden and Madison. We had stopped on our way down and picked up Jacob and Caleb, so we had a large group. When we finished we went down to Kari's place for a little more visiting and Aaron and his girlfriend Anna came in. Before we left I called my mom and she had just gotten home from her trip to the wedding, so we stopped in to see her and my sister for a few minutes before heading back to Kevin and Molly's home. They treated us at Culver's before we left for the airport to fly back to Las Vegas. The trip back here was also uneventful, and we were back in our RV by midnight.
It was a quick but fun weekend. We saw all my siblings and their spouses, my mom, a son and a daughter and their spouses, a daughter-in-law, and eleven out of fifteen grandkids. So I've had a little grandkid fix and now should be able to make it until Christmas.
And this morning we had a phone call from the friends that we were expecting tomorrow. They had already arrived! So we spent the day with them and had them over for dinner and a game of Phase 10. Now we are tired and are heading to bed. It may take us a few days to recover from our wonderful whirlwind weekend, but it was totally worth it.