Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunny Monday

Today will be a busy day for us. As we have only two days left here, we have much to do to prepare to leave. I think I am resigned to leaving and therefore, looking ahead to being home.

We do so love our little home in Upstate NY. And our dear and precious friends. We will be so happy to see everyone. My buddy, Linda, is making a hair appointment for me so that I will look spiffy soon after my arrival at home. She and her hubby, Jason, will pick us up at the airport on Wednesday afternoon. I am so anxious to see them again. Although we have talked on the phone and emailed, it's not the same as seeing them face to face.

Church was hard for me yesterday. I really didn't expect it would be that hard to leave. Pastor Bob had a really good sermon about doubt. It was one of those sermons that are full of hope and the joy of being a Christian. It was great, but as we drove away, I felt so very sad. I will miss the fellowship of Women of Spirit and the ladies I have met there.

But forging ahead, I am renewed and anxious to meet the adventures that await me in the coming months. I will be writing more about some of them later.

After we finish today's tasks, we plan to meet Gretchen for dinner. We are going to "the strip" one last time to visit the conservatory at the Bellagio and have dinner at the Venetian. Gretchen is off work today and we are delighted to be able to spend this evening with her.

Tomorrow we will finish our cleaning of the condo and go to Brian and Gretchen's to sleep. And then it is up, up and AWAY to Marion.

See you in New York.

"Never doubt in the dark, what Jesus has told you in the light".

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Final Friday

OMIGOSH! That sounds foreboding, doesn't it? It's just that today is the last Friday of our winter sojourn in the desert. We have really been enjoying this week. The weather has been great. I think I mentioned our trip to Mt. Charleston. Here is a picture we took while visiting the mountain.

In utter contrast, yesterday we visited the Valley of Fire State Park. This was the first state park in Nevada. What a delightful day this park provided for us.
The weather was a wonderful 78 degrees, with a light breeze. Perfect for walking and hiking around the unique rock formations.

The park is well equipped with picnic areas, restrooms and watering stations. Because it was a weekday and early in the season, crowds were at a minimum. All-in-all it was an ideal day.

This is in an area of "Arches" where wind erosion has caused these arch formations and will eventually destroy them.

This is in an area called "Beehives". I can hardly wait to show these pictures to Nancy at the Bee Skep Restaurant. I took quite a few pictures for her.

And the wildflowers - WOW! I'll just post one picture here and the rest on my picture blog.

I have been thinking a lot about how I'm going to scrapbook this trip. However, I'm still working on last winter's trip across the country. Jim is interested in working on this project with me and I'm sure he will have some input as to how we want to do it. We do have some other pressing projects to complete (painting both bathrooms & organizing my work room) before we indulge ourselves in the "joy of scrap booking".

Jim's talking about going to see "21" which comes out today, so I think I'll pack up the old "Dell" and walk over to the theatre with him.

Toodles. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Our Final Wednesday in the Desert

Today begins our last week here in the Las Vegas area. Whoever said that "all good things must come to an end?" I'm not sure that's true - or should be. I guess maybe other than the goodness and mercy of God, everything else, good or bad, will eventually come to an end. Whatever, this sojourn of ours will end next Wednesday at 9:40 AM, PDT.

That's okay. For one thing, I REALLY need a haircut. I've been complaining to Jim for a week that my hair is completely out of control. I know Gretchen says they really do have hairdressers here in Nevada, but I just love what Kathy does to my hair and don't want to take any chances. People stop me all the time and ask me where I get my hair cut. Even today, as bad as I think my hair is, two ladies at Bible Study asked me who cuts my hair. Cool, huh?

Speaking of Bible Study. Today was my last day. It was a bittersweet day for me. We had such a nice time today. This group of 25-50 ladies meets together for coffee and prayer every Wednesday, then they break into smaller study groups. Each study group is responsible for devotions and refreshments at some point during the length of the study. Also, each group is to have a ministry project. Today the Daniel group had a baby shower for a local crisis pregnancy organization.

Everyone was asked to bring a baby gift, wrapped or bagged. A representative of the organization came and spoke to us for a few minutes. She was overwhelmed by the generosity of the ladies. After she spoke, we played two shower games, had cake and punch and opened the gifts. It was really a delightful time. But alas, when it was over, I had to say goodbye to these new friends. Hopefully, we will be returning next year and I will be able to join them again.

We are trying to make the most of the time we have left here and yesterday went to Mt. Charleston. It has an elevation 11,800 feet. There was still snow there and we were able to watch some skiing and snowboarding at one of the resorts. I got a couple of shots of the desert floor from about 8,000 feet. Unfortunately, they are in the camera on the kitchen counter. Maybe tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, we plan to visit the Valley of Fire and maybe do a little hiking and picture taking. Until then, I'm off to take my afternoon nap and maybe read a little while.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Musings

It was a beautiful, blue sky, sunny Easter in Las Vegas, followed by another sunny, blue sky day today.

Although Jim and I were truly blessed by the service of Lessons and Carols at our church here in Henderson, we were also saddened and amazed that the local newspaper completely ignored the most sacred holiday in the Christian calendar. No lilies, crosses, Happy Easter, NOTHING in the Sunday paper about Easter. There was some mention of it on the late news last night, but the newspapers completely ignored it.

The picture is of the flower cross outside church. People brought fresh flowers and placed them in the cross either before or after one of the services. I was going to keep silent about my participation in this event and not embarrass myself, but Hey! you all know by now that I do some very odd things. Anyway, I thought it was a really neat idea. Somehow in my twisted mind, I thought flowers meant a potted plant, sooooo yesterday morning, I was the only person who attended church with a little pot of tulips in my hand. After seeing my mistake, I just quietly walked up to the cross and left my little gift of praise at the foot of the cross.

We had a great brunch with Brian and Gretchen. They make quite a team in the kitchen. They are fun and funny to watch and listen to. Gretchen says Brian is a "backseat cooker".

After lunch, we walked and then played "Hoopla". That game is such fun. We laughed so hard. As usual, I proved I can't even draw stick figures. We lost to the clock, but nobody seemed to care.

I entitled this Monday Musings. Here are a few things I have been musing about:

Gilmore Girls - I finally watched the Seventh Season and I guess it ended the only way it could have. All in all, I wasn't really disappointed. Maybe it left the door open for a future "Gilmore Women".

Credit Cards - Gretchen tells about people who come into her store and call their credit card company or bank to see how close they are to the limit of their credit cards so they can buy something. I was there one day when a girl used four different cards and paid $30 in cash in order to purchase all she had chosen. This is really upsetting to me. I think credit card debt is the rule rather than the exception. I wonder where all this will lead.

Things I like about Easter - I forgot a few things and wanted to add them. Chocolate bunnies (especially from the Candy Kitchen in Williamson), Coloring eggs - and eating them, Hiding Easter baskets, all the wonderful hymns of Easter. There are more, but I think that's good for now.

We have just a little over a week here in the Las Vegas area and then it's back to the reality of April in Upstate NY. I will be so happy to see my dear friends, and we have some fun projects planned for the house. Before we know it, it will be Spring back there too. But for now, I am really feeling a bit sad to be leaving. I guess I need to just put all my energy into enjoying my last week here.

Tonight we are off to see the Cirque show "Mystere". While I am smiling in anticipation of the evening, I'll say so long and hugs.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

He Is Risen!!

He Is Risen, Indeed!!

Those phrases are probably my favorite part of Easter morning. Not only do we say those to each other at our church, we have always started our Easter morning at home by repeating them to each other. Along with the Easter baskets that the girls searched for, we shared the joy of the Risen Saviour in our home.

Some of my blogger friends have been sharing their favorite things about Easter and Spring this week. Following are my ten favorite things:

1. The joy of the knowledge that "because He lives, I can live forever". To me, Easter is the most sacred and joyful holiday in the Christian calendar.

2. Watching the emergence of Spring. Flowers beginning to bloom, trees budding, grass turning green, all bring a feeling of hope and joy to me.

3. The above gets quoted twice, as we will be experiencing the emergence of Spring twice this year. Once here in Las Vegas and again in May in Upstate NY.

4. Preparing our flower garden. Weeding, mulching and deciding what we might add to the perennial garden.

5. Going to the Farmer's Market and nurseries looking at and buying annuals.

6. Watching birds build their nests.

7. Getting our porch ready for summer - having our first evening meal there.

8. Sitting on the porch with my morning coffee.

9. Sandals

10. Early morning sunrises; beautiful sunsets, walking outside, picnics. The list goes on and on.

I love the change of seasons. Spring speaks to us of renewal, second chances, hope. It makes me want to reach out and embrace all things good in my life and minimize those things which I find troubling.

Have a blessed Easter and a glorious Spring.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Delightful Day in the Desert

Jim's friend, Tom, who does maintenance at the park where Jim shoots baskets, suggested we take a little trip out to Lake Mohave about 35 miles from Henderson and scope out the desert blooms. What a great idea.

Despite the fact that I stayed up until 2 A.M. watching the seventh season of "Gilmore Girls" (which I will comment on at another time), I was up bright and early (for me) so we could beat the desert heat.

What a beautiful morning. Not only did we see these wonderful yellow flowers everywhere, there were also patches of purple and white.

The road wound its way through Eldorado Canyon and at every turn we were greeted with another spectacular vista.

We finally arrived at a spot which was once called "Nelson's Landing". This was once a thriving marina until 1975 when a vicious flash flood swept down the canyon to the lake killing nine people. Today there is a parking lot and warning signs about flash flooding. As the sky was blue and not rain was predicted, we decided to walk down to the lake shore. We were rewarded with more spectacular views.

Walking a little farther, we came upon a family enjoying their Spring Break in their own private cove. What a wonderful way to spend a day with your children.

Walking back to the car, I upset a mamma bird by walking too close to her nest.

We stopped a little abandoned mining settlement on the way back to Boulder City. Another day, we will go back and take the mine tour which looked like lots of fun.
The whole place is full of antiques; license plates, old soft drink signs, advertising of all kind, etc. Really cool.

After such a delightful morning, my wonderful husband suggested we go on to Boulder City and have lunch. There is a little restaurant that we found two years ago; outside seating, delightful food and great wine. We had such a fabulous lunch. We even had desert and I brought two bottles of their wine home with me.

Jim's home watching "March Madness" now and I am having a quiet time at Panera's. I have a little work to do for Summer Reading, but first I wanted to blog about my great day.

This is "Good Friday" and though we had a "holiday" type day, I am reminded of the Passion of our Lord. Remember that without "Good Friday" we couldn't celebrate Easter which we are all looking forward to with joy and anticipation.

Hugs and warm thoughts.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I've just spent an hour posting about our trip to Death Valley. The problem is, I posted the entire journal on my picture blog. So, if you are interested in reading my thoughts on Death Valley, please go to "A Year in Pictures". Sorry!

Have a great day!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dispelling a Myth

Before I unapologetically post pictures of Gretchen at her church's Palm Sunday Service, I want to spend a minute or two dispelling the myth that desert living equals less rheumatic pain.

My friend, Linda, and I have been so sure that spending the winter in a warm, dry climate; ie Las Vegas, would eradicate the pain I feel from fibromyalgia and arthritis - Not so!!! I so wanted that to be true, but alas, as wonderful as it is to be here basking in sunshine and relatively warm weather, I still have pain.

Let me be quick to say that this pain is in no way hampering my enjoyment of this trip. Also, in view of the pain and disability inflicted on many sufferers of fibromyalgia, I am really blessed. My pain is, at the most, an annoyance. I have had times of real inability to function, but it has been a long time since I have suffered like that. So, although the desert is no cure-all, I am feeling quite well. On the other hand, I can't be sure I would feel this good were in struggling through the cold, sleet and snow of an Upstate NY winter. I guess it's all relative.

Now on to our wonderful weekend. We knew from the weatherman that we were in for some {yukky} weather for the Palm Sunday weekend. We woke up to rain on Sunday morning. Looking out our patio door, we could see the snow falling on the distant mountains. What an awesome sight.

By the time we left for church the rain had stopped and it was just chilly and very windy. We attended services at Brian and Gretchen's church which is on the other side of Las Vegas from where we are staying. We really like their little church and have made friends with quite a few people there so we were really excited to be worshipping with them.

Gretchen and her friend, Barry, the church's musical director put together a service consisting of scripture, musical numbers and dance to represent Palm Sunday. For a little church they are really blessed with musical and artistic talent.

Musically, one of the highlights of the program was Barry singing "Now that I've Held Him". That song always touches my heart and brings me to tears. Because Barry is such a compassionate and devoted Christian, his singing is especially moving to me.

Of course, I love the dance numbers choreographed by Gretchen and presented by the lovely ladies of Advent UMC.

This is their sign language interpretation of "Down to the River to Pray"

Gretchen did a solo dance to "Broken and Spilled Out" representing the woman who cleansed Jesus' feet.

During the Choir's rendition of "How Beautiful", the dancers prepared the table for communion.

The service ended with the congregation singing "All Glory Laud and Honor" while we waved our palm branches.

We topped off this wonderful time of praise and worship by going to lunch with Brian and Gretchen and their friends Karen and Sue. We ate at a restaurant called "Sweet Tomato" a soup and salad bar. What fun. There was every kind of salad accompaniment possible, the soup was fantastic, the bread yummy and to top it all off, ice cream sundaes. Who could ask for more.

It would have been perfect day had there been a new episode of "Cold Case". Maybe next week?

Okay, my battery is getting low. Tomorrow we're off to Death Valley for two days. We are really excited.

Happy St. Patty's Day to you all. What is this about getting pinched?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Can't believe it's Friday

Another beautiful here in "the valley". Yesterday was 80 degrees and we enjoyed every moment of the beautiful day. Like the good girl I am, I went to Curves. Jim went to the park and shot baskets early in the A.M. and then drove me to Curves and read in the car while I exercised. Aren't we an inspiration???

Wednesday evening, we picked up Brian and met Gretchen after work for dinner. Jim and I had been anxious to go back to "Ellis Island" for bar-b-cue since last year. Ellis Island is a dumpy little casino off the strip with some of the best bar-b-cue we have ever tasted. If you have a "player's card" {which you can obtain for free}, the combo {1/2 chicken and 1/2 rack of ribs} is $7.99. This includes the meats, beans, coleslaw, corn and bread. Drinks are $1.00 extra. And just in case you are interested, a strawberry daiquiri is $3. Ask me how I know that?

It was a gorgeous evening and we ate outdoors. After dinner, Gretch and Bri had errands to run so Jim and drove over to the Bellagio and watched 7 performances of the "Fountains of the Bellagio". It was glorious. Watching those fountains is pure joy. I smile until my face is sore. Then I clap and jump up and down. Jim loves that I'm such a cheap date. Although, I did talk him into buying me a $3 cup of coffee. What a fun evening.

Last night, I went with Gretchen to her youth group at church. She asked me to come along and help, but she was organized and ready to go. I just along for the ride. It was fun. The group is very small, but the kids are dear and they obviously love Gretchen.

We had breakfast for lunch today at the Pancake House here in the "District". Oh, did I mention about Coldwater Creek's 60% off sale. I am ecstatic. I found 1/2 of the outfit I want to wear to Kara's wedding this summer. An $89 skirt for 60% off - You do the math. I guess if you count the gorgeous jewelry I found to go with it, I am more than 1/2 way to being dressed to kill for a mountain wedding.

Anyway, now that we're back at the "District" for lunch and blogging (at Panera's of course)I might just as well drop back in and see what else they are practically giving away.

Okay, time to go. We are going to go see "Juno" this afternoon. We have to make the most of our time here where everything is at our fingertips since we have less than three weeks left in Paradise.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Desert Musings

I cannot believe so much time has passed since I last "really" posted on my blog. The short commercial for my pictures really doesn't count. What has happened since then? Let's see:

1. The governor of New York has resigned in disgrace. I wish I could say I am surprised, but these days nothing people in power do, surprises me. I am praying for his precious daughters and for the state of New York.

2. The valley (as Las Vegans call it) is in the midst of a medical disaster. It has been revealed that many clinics here have been using unsafe practices while performing medical tests. Over 40,000 people are at risk of Hepatitis B, C, and HIV infections due to these unconscionable acts of medical professionals. Hey, ask me how I really feel.

On a happier note, we have:

3. Gone to see "The Beatles' Love" for the second time and I have truly fallen in "Love" with it. We were just blown away. I liked it the first time, but this time I was enchanted. Don't know the difference, but it was brilliant.

4. Seen "The Other Boleyn Girl" at the movies. We really liked it. I read the book and must say they didn't do a terrible job of translating written word to film.

5. Picked Gretchen up from the airport upon her return from a business trip to San Jose.

6. Spent a really fun Sunday with Gretchen. We attended church, then went to brunch. Gretchen joined us after her service. We attend different churches as theirs is on the other side of town. She and I walked, talked and had a great mother/daughter afternoon and then she stayed for dinner.

7. Bought a tripod. (See Below)

I am really excited about this. Now when I take pictures of hikes and trips, it won't look like Jim went by himself.

8. Took the first rented car back and picked up a new one. It was, as usual, a nightmare. The car they gave us was a PT Cruiser convertible which we would have "LOVED", except that we need more room for our luggage as we go with Brian and Gretchen to Death Valley. We ended up with a Dodge Caliber. I think it will be okay.

Today is a gorgeous day here in the valley. I went to Bible Study this morning where I felt the Lord really speaking to me about forgiveness. It was a great study. We have a wonderful leader and a delightful group of totally nonjudgmental, loving ladies. It has been so good for me.

Okay, Panera's is getting really busy and I think it's time for me to sign off and go home. Until next time, "Hugs".

Friday, March 7, 2008

Finally, Some pictures!

My laptop is still giving me some grief with uploading pictures but today I came over to Brian and Gretchen's to use their computer. So, I invite you to click on my "A Year in Pictures" link and see what we have been up to here in Las Vegas, Henderson and Williams, AZ. Hope you enjoy the view.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Quick Update

Oh, how I miss having Internet at my fingertips. We have been so busy that we haven't had much time to run off to the library to blog. I do check my messages quickly, but haven't had time to post anything.

Our friends, Jeff and Jan, left yesterday to go back to Pennsylvania. Boy did that week ever fly. We had a really good time with them. I have tons of pictures that I plan to post on Friday when we go to Gretchen and Brian's to use their computer. We are so blessed to have such a great SIL, who treats our daughter so well and welcomes us into their home so willingly. I know I have mentioned many times how much I love my MIL and how she is like a mother to me. She has set such a sterling example of how a mother-in-law should behave. I am trying to pattern myself after her. I hope some day Brian will "rise up and call me blessed" as I do her.

Anyway, Brian will help me with my pictures on Friday. Right now, Gretchen is off to San Jose on business. It's interesting to me how the company doesn't seem to see their way clear to give her a store of her own, but every time they have problems at other stores, they call on Gretchen to go bail them out. She says she doesn't care as "retail isn't going to be her life". I hope she means it. They don't deserve her. Spoken like a true mother, huh???

Jim and I sent for the "Weight Watcher's" home diet plan and it arrived yesterday. We are in the process of familiarizing ourselves with it so we can get started. I am excited and apprehensive at the same time. We both need to lose weight and strengthen our bodies. We have been working on the strengthening part since we arrived here. We are walking, I'm going to Curves and Jim is shooting baskets at the local park. Now, if we cut back on our eating, I think we might be a little more fit by summer.

Watched "Jericho" last night. Just when I had almost decided not to watch it again, it took a really interesting turn. Now I'm hooked again. Has anyone else watched "New Amsterdam"? I was pretty fascinated with it. I just happened upon it last night as I couldn't bear to watch "Big Brother". I have HAD, HAD, HAD it with reality shows. UGH!!! Okay, Pam. Tell us how you really feel. Anyway, I kind of liked the "Amsterdam" thing.

Also, we saw "Vantage Point" last week. We really liked it. Brian and Gretchen saw it later and they liked it too. Funny, it didn't get a very good review in the local Las Vegas papers. Any comments on that?

Well friends, the clock on the computer tells me I am nearly out of time. I really must find a way next year to have short term Internet service for the time I'm here. I worked on it this year, but found I'd have to sign a two year contract to have broadband. Why would I want to do that when I have a wonderful, reasonable Internet service provider at home. I will have to do some research before next year.

Until next time, love and hugs to everyone.