When Was the Last Time?

Last New Year’s Eve, my 7-year-old great nephew Austin went to his first rock concert. He, along with his dad and mom, saw a rock band called 311. I confess I had never heard of the group prior to learning that this 7-year-old was going to be up a heck of a lot later than I on New Year’s Eve 2017 at a rock concert. I still don’t know much about the group. What I do know, however, is that I didn’t see my first rock concert until I was considerably older than Austin.

The group I saw was the Doobie Brothers. I was 18 years old, and had just started college. I remember exactly two things about that concert: 1) The Doobie Brothers opened up the show with an AWESOME rendition of China Grove; and 2) there was so much marijuana smoke in the air that it was almost impossible to not get high, even when you were an innocent college freshman.

Since then, I have been to a handful of live concerts in my life (not to include symphony orchestra performances). I remember seeing  Dan Fogleberg at Red Rocks. I saw Jesse Collin Young and Firefall. A few others. It’s safe to say, however, that I haven’t been to a live concert for 20 years or more.

But since this is the summer in which my motto is “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” it isn’t surprising that Bill and I agreed to accompany my sister Jen to a live concert. And who better with whom to break my 20-some-year concert fast but Keith Urban!

We’ve had our plans in place since this past February, when Jen Face Timed me while I was grocery shopping. Hey Kris! I just found out that Keith Urban is going to be at Fiddler’s Green on July 14. Do you and Bill want to go with me?

Without even consulting Bill, I gave her a resounding YES and she was immediately on the prowl for tickets. I didn’t have to wonder if Bill would be game for a couple of reasons: 1) Bill, too, is a fan of country music in general and Keith Urban in particular; and 2) Bill is game for just about anything.

I must shamefully admit something. While I, of course, have long been familiar with Keith Urban’s name, I didn’t really become familiar with his personality and his music until he became a judge on American Idol. Give me credit. I just admitted to two embarrassing things in one sentence: an unfamiliarity with a very well-known musician and the fact that I watch American Idol.

In the past three or four years, I have gotten extremely fond of country music, particularly the more contemporary stuff that doesn’t sound a lot different than other contemporary music, but generally with lyrics that I am willing to let my grandkids hear. Keith Urban quickly became one of my favorites because his music is mostly upbeat and I love, love, love to hear him play guitar. All of that provided great hope that it would be a wonderful concert, which it indeed was.

Fiddler’s Green is an outdoor amphitheater that is only a short distance from our Denver house. Even a concert neophyte like I know that outdoor concerts are the best, at least as long as the weather cooperates. And the weather was perfect – a cool night, just breezy enough to blow Keith Urban’s hair perfectly. We got there early because we’re senior citizens and that’s what senior citizens do……

But there were lots of other people there ahead of us.

Speaking of senior citizens, we were well represented at the concert, but there was a great mix of folks, ranging from families to young adults to, well, us.

Before the concert started, Jen and I decided we needed to enjoy an adult beverage. We made our way to one of the many outdoor venues selling a variety of beverages. We selected one with the shortest line. It happened to be a margarita booth, with — randomly, we thought — beverages that all contained bananas. While we were somewhat distrustful about a margarita with banana, we were pleasantly surprised.

As we waited in line, we began talking to the young man who was ahead of us. He was probably in his early 20s, and was clearly waiting in line for what would NOT be his first drink of the night. He couldn’t have been nicer to us. When someone tried to cut in line, he quickly scolded them, saying not to get in front of his two aunts. When we finally got to the front of the line, he bought us our drinks, which was a pricy undertaking. But it became a win-win when we learned that he was looking for a job as a financial advisor, which happens to be Jen’s line of work. She gave him her work number, and while we both wondered whether he would even remember the conversation, he in fact called her early the following week.

As with most live concerts, the audience was on its feet for the entire concert. Kelsea Ballerini opened up and sang for an hour before Keith Urban made his appearance at 8:30. It was 11 o’clock when we left. I think we were his favorite audience. In fact, I’m sure of it.

This is what Austin looked like at the end of his first concert…..

I think it’s safe to say that’s about how we all felt. But it was a great night.

Thursday Thoughts

Tech-less Thursdays
You might recall that as part of my Lenten fasting, I am refraining from most technology each Thursday. Here’s what I used as my criteria for what I’m not using: If I was going to a cabin in the woods with no television, no wifi, no internet, but with a kitchen, I would bring along books, recipes, and my crocheting (along with my project patterns). So, I am allowing myself to use my iPad as my book (since all of my reading these days is done via ebooks), and for my existing crochet patterns and recipes that are on Pinterest. I don’t use my iPad for anything else, such as email, Facebook (except to post my blog in the morning), or Pinterest (except to access existing recipes or crochet patterns). I’ve tried to limit my use of my cell phone, but frankly haven’t been great about that. So here’s what I’ve discovered: the things I miss most are being able to walk over to my computer to check activity on my blog or to look at Facebook (during Lent, I turn off my computer once I’ve posted my blog in the morning), and television. Oh, television. I would have told you a month ago that not watching television one day a week would be a piece of cake. It really isn’t. I guess I just enjoy sitting in the evenings and watching TV with Bill. Instead, I go into the bedroom and crochet or read, and listen to the sound of faint music because Bill watches American Idol. All-in-all, I have discovered that it has been harder than I suspected it would.

Spring Gardening
Not surprisingly, the gardening schedule is different here in AZ than it is in Denver, and most other parts of the country. While non-Arizonans dutifully plant their vegetable seeds and small plants in the spring and harvest in the summer and fall, that schedule doesn’t work in the desert. Remember, in July, when the green tomatoes on my plants in Denver are just beginning to turn red, it is 110 degrees during the day at our AZ home, and only getting down to the upper 80s or low 90s at night. Only the hardiest plants, i.e. cacti and succulents, can survive the brutal heat. So much of the vegetable planting is done in late fall and early winter, and harvesting is completed by May. For the most part, I am unable to garden very much here, as we only visit for a short time in the fall and tomatoes don’t have time to grow, sprout fruit, and ripen in the time we are here in the winter. But I do plant some things. This year I planted herbs in pots (parsley, thyme, and basil). When we first purchased our house here in 2010, Jen and I put in a little teeny tiny rosemary plant that we got at the grocery store in a 2-in pot. We put that in the ground as we knew it was able to withstand the weather conditions. Here is what it looks like today…..

Rosemary 2016

And here is a photo of my beautiful romaine lettuce in a pot, after several cuttings, I might add……

Lettuce

…and All I Got Was This Crappy T-Shirt
Bill had pretty significant dental surgery on Friday. It required general anesthesia. Everything went fine, and except for the fact that he can’t chew on the right side of his mouth for four months (whaaaaat?), he is recovering nicely. We had seriously not been home for 15 minutes when our doorbell rang. “Who’s that?” Bill asks, as he always asks when the doorbell rings as though I am psychic or have x-ray vision and can see through the door. I’ll give him a break this time because he was only an hour out of general anesthesia. Anyway, it was someone delivering flowers. It being way past Valentine’s Day and way before my birthday, I couldn’t imagine why Bill was sending me flowers. Well, the flowers weren’t for me at all. They were for Bill from his dentist and his oral surgeon. Get well soon, the card said. A very nice thought, though I’m fully aware that a $50 expenditure on flowers is only a pittance of the thousands of dollars they will receive from the dental work. Still……

Bill's flowers

This Wine Tastes Like Cardboard
Bill and I have, well, let’s call it simple taste in wine. Quite frankly, we’re cheapskates. But the other day I was at our big, nice liquor store and decided to get a bottle of wine to share that evening with Bec, who was coming for dinner. I was going all out and gave myself permission to spend upwards to $15 on a bottle of wine. CRAZY! Anyway, I went to the area where they have their nicest wines and began perusing the bottom shelf where the prices are more affordable. I ended up buying a bottle of an Argentine Malbec that was only $9.99. I was willing to pay more, but they description amused me……

wine description

Inky and concentrated with robust flavors of black fruit, cigar box, and chocolate. Cigar box? Really? The dinner never happened and so the wine has yet to be opened. Until then, I will just sniff Bill’s cigar boxes.

Ciao.

Vitameatavegamin

When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is turn on my computer. As it goes through its gyrations to get to a point where I can open up my email, I walk around and open the blinds and get a pot of coffee perking.

I then go back to my computer and open up Comcast to check my email. It’s important that I look first thing in the morning in case the president tried to contact me to get my assistance in some matter. So far he hasn’t, but you never know.

But to get to email, I must go through Comcast’s home page, which is always full of critical news. The top 10 reasons you shouldn’t drink diet soda, the 20 most dog-friendly cities, why you shouldn’t use punctuation in your text messages. I mean, really. The important stuff.

The other day the news that caught my eye was the television programs that are ending their runs in 2016. Now that was worth making the president wait another few minutes if he was trying to reach me.

I was aware of several of the television shows wrapping up their television time. There is, of course, Downton Abbey. Season 6 will be the end of the road for Lord and Lady Grantham and their minions. I’m hoping Edith will move to London, run her magazine and marry the agent (and can anyone tell me what an agent is?). I also have high hopes that the return of Tom and Sibby means Mary and Tom are going to wind up together. It seems like the only reason Tom and Sibby would have left Boston to return to Downton and Sibby and George should be brother and sisters. It simply has to happen.

Unless you live on Mars, you must be aware that American Idol is in its final season. I’m a devoted fan, but I think it’s time to say bye bye to the show. It’s been fun to watch all of the judges through the years. Ellen DeGeneres was a bad experiment much as I like her. Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey? Who thought that was a good idea? I like the chemistry of the current judges, but the show has just gotten kind of predictable and unexciting. And Bill is disappointed over the fact that they don’t show the bad tryouts anymore.

searchMost of the rest of the 16 shows ending their runs I had never heard of. Banshee? Rectify? I have no clue. There was one show that I wasn’t aware was concluding of which I watch and was somewhat disappointed to hear they were ending – Rizzoli and Isles. The show happens to be the television show that delivers TNT its highest ratings, but apparently that isn’t enough to save it. According to the story, TNT is hoping to go in an “edgier direction.” I don’t know what that means except I’m pretty sure it will entail comic-book-based superheroes, vampires, or slutty female lawyers. I’m also pretty sure I’m not the demographic for the edgier programs they envision. That statement can be confirmed by the fact that I used the word “perking” when talking about making coffee in the first paragraph. Coffee hasn’t perked in 40 years.

Television producers likely spend lots and lots of money before deciding what programs should stay and what programs should go. They, of course, don’t ask for my opinion. Neither, frankly, does the president. It’s probably a good thing too.

Nevertheless, I can’t help but think that anyone of any age would be hard pressed to not laugh at Lucy Ricardo doing the commercial spot for Vitameatavegamin in one episode of I Love Lucy. It’s not edgy, but it sure is funny. Those were the good ol’ days of television.

Thursday Thoughts

Belly Aching
I’ve been out of the hospital now for about a month-and-a-half. I’m feeling great; no problems with my stomach at all, thanks be to God. However, now comes the time when I have to deal with my hospital bills that are trickling in. Paying them is awful, but I think that reconciling them to the insurance claims is almost as bad. Bill is helping me, for which I’m very grateful. Two brains are better than one.  I don’t know how elderly folks who live alone manage. Having said that, I am very grateful to have insurance to provide the confusing claims!

bird feeder squirrel

This squirrel thief is dining on the seeds the birds accidentally drop.

Chirp
One of the first things I did upon returning to Denver was to fill up my bird feeder in the back yard (between rain showers). We offer our feathered friends black oil sunflower seeds, which small birds such as house finches and chickadees find yummy. Apparently squirrels also find them yummy, because I have already had to chase off a couple of squirrels who have managed to figure out how to shimmy up the skinny little wrought iron pole to reach the feeder. I’m going to suggest to them that they try out for America’s Got Talent. I don’t know why it bothers me so much that they eat the seeds, but squirrels seem to bring out the worst in me. After chasing off the most recent squirrel, I got out my Pam and sprayed the pole and the top of the feeder. Now I will just sit back and wait to see the squirrel sliding down the pole and I will laugh hysterically. Squirrel hater, that’s me.

Reality Television
And speaking of America’s Got Talent (which is ready to start up very soon), three of the talent programs we watch have wrapped up, and they all finished the way I’d hoped, or nearly so. Nick Fradiani took the prize on American Idol, and I liked him after losing interest in Clark Beckham (who went from being my favorite to getting on my last nerve). I like Nick’s smile, and he seems like such a nice man who loves his mommy and daddy. Rumer Willis definitely deserved to win Dancing With the Stars, though the few times I voted, it was for Riker Lynch, who I thought was just adorable. He came in second. I was also happy with Sawyer Fredericks winning The Voice, though again, I always voted for Meghan Linsey, who came in second. How adorable was it that when the top four were given a car, 16-year-old Sawyer admitted he didn’t even have his drivers’ license yet? I want to pinch his cheek. Actually, what I want to do is cut his hair and donate it to Locks of Love.  Still, the young man can sing! Maybe if he cut his hair he would be similar to Samson and lose his singing strength.

Sentimental Journey (Call the Midwife spoiler alert)
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of PBS’s Call the Midwife. Big fan. Huge fan. Sunday was the season finale, at least until they run their annual Christmas special at the end of this year. I think it’s safe to say that I pretty much cried from the beginning until the end of the program. I was very glad that Bill wasn’t home, because 1) I would hate to have to try and make him understand all of the reasons I was crying since it would take oh-so-much explanation (thalidomide? Trixie’s alcoholic father? Amnesia? sign language?; and 2) he hates even being in the house while I’m watching the show because of all of the screaming during childbirth. But seriously, could it have been any sadder? How can I wait until next year to find out what happens to my favorite midwives? And please, please, give Chummy a bigger role next season.

Let the Growing Begin
Literally between rain showers yesterday, I managed to get the remainder of my plants into the ground. I have now added chives and basil to the herbs that I will be able to enjoy this summer on the off chance that it ever stops raining long enough for the plants to get some sunshine in order to grow. I still intend to plant dill, but I haven’t been able to find it at the garden stores in which I shopped. I will make a trip to my favorite garden store — Groundcovers — this weekend. They have everything.

By the way, forecast for today, rain. Sigh.

 

Reality Check

keeping-up-with-the-kardashiansI know someone who admits to limiting her television watching almost entirely to so-called reality TV. She is a mother of young children who also works part time outside the home in the evening. I suspect that in the little bit of time that she has to call her own, she doesn’t want to have to work too hard at following a complicated plot or becoming depressed from some of the very sad and/or violent offerings available to the viewing public.

If someone asked me if I watch reality TV, I would haughtily deny I did any such thing. Hmpff. Who needs to watch the Kardashians or Honey Boo Boo? I don’t care what’s in someone’s abandoned storage locker or about the problems of having 19 children. Really? 19 children?

But here’s the thing. I might deny watching reality television, but I would be lying. Because when I looked on the internet to find out what reality TV shows were currently popular, I was quite surprised to find that I watched a fair number of them.

Dancing With the Stars, Shark Tank, The Voice, America’s Got Talent, American Idol, not to mention many, many Food Network programs. I can call them whatever I want, but they are, in fact, reality television. Who knew?

Sigh.chrisleyknowsbest_generic_600x500

I even watch Chrisley Knows Best, but mostly because I love Todd Chrisley’s AWESOME Georgia accent. But we all have our excuses, don’t we?

For the most part, however, my reality television is limited to cooking programs and talent programs. I have watched American Idol almost from the beginning. I don’t think I have ever missed an episode of Dancing With Buzz-Aldrin-Cha-01-2010-03-22the Stars. I even watched Buzz Aldren clomp his way around the dance floor week after week until I thought my head would explode. You should have stopped with the moon landing, Buzz.

I strongly suspect that many baby boomers keep programs such as Dancing With the Stars on the air. Despite the fact that they keep trying to make the program palatable to a younger demographic, I suspect the actual demographic looks a lot like me.

At this time, I must admit to you that not only do I watch programs such as Dancing With the Stars and American Idol, I might actually, well, uh, you see, sometimes, on occasion, I even, um, vote. Again and again and again, to be perfectly honest. I’m pretty sure I’m single-handedly saving Clark Beckham each week on American Idol.  And I have such a crush on Riker Lynch on Dancing With the Stars that it isn’t even funny. I think it’s because he’s from Littleton, Colorado. I’m going with that, anyway so it doesn’t seem too perverted.

I know I’m not the only one who votes on these performance-based reality television shows. While Jen and I mostly agree on who we like (Scotty McCreery owes us BIG TIME), there have been occasions when we have pretty much cancelled out each other’s votes.

I’ve only just this year discovered The Voice, and I’m totally addicted. I don’t know if it will be a long-standing love affair since I’ve never watched it before, but I’m certainly caught up in the drama this year. Oh Adam.

I was pretty sure that reality TV was a passing fancy, but I’m thinking it’s here to stay. I’m just waiting until my family hits the reality scene. We definitely have the makings…….

How about you? Do you vote on any of the performance programs?