Start. Your. Engines.

NASCAR comes to Phoenix two times a year – once in March, at the beginning of the racing season, and again in November, nearing the end of the racing season. Bill is a NASCAR fan and so is my brother Dave. So the two of them go to both races every year, and have for nearly a decade.

This year, my brother had planned to attend the race with Bill as usual. What no one counted on is that my sister-in-law would have an accident at work that resulted in a broken bone in her back. I know, I know. You all just sucked in your breath. I’m so happy to tell you that she is recovering unbelievably well, and in fact, got out of the hospital a couple of weeks ago and got out of the rehab facility yesterday, and is now at home.

Yesterday – the day of the NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway.

My brother, being the sensitive kind of guy he is, decided it wouldn’t be prudent to do either one of these two things: 1. Ask the doctor to keep her in rehab for one more day so that he could enjoy beer and cigars at a racetrack; or 2. Order up an Uber to take Sami home in her wheelchair so that he could enjoy beer and cigars at a racetrack.

Dave took Sami home; Bill went to Plan B, which is me…..

 

Because I don’t normally go, I don’t pay attention to the preparation involved. What I learned is that Bill owns a little table and a little grill (both of which I was unaware) and he brings breakfast food and lunch food and beer and cigars and all necessary items to accompany all of the above. Dave assured me that Bill has everything down to a science, and that was true.

If my mom was the Queen of Picnics, then Bill is the Prince. He even remembered to include a tablecloth for his little table. My mom always had a tablecloth in her picnic basket.

The fact that we awoke with the birds resulted in us getting a superb parking place very close to the entrance of the actual racetrack. Despite the early hour, we weren’t the first, but nearly so. The early arrival also resulted in me having a bloody mary at 8 o’clock in the morning, and not feeling a bit odd about it. It did occur to me that if Bill came out of our bedroom some morning this week at 8 o’clock and saw me sipping a bloody mary, he might be concerned. Something about being at the racetrack makes it alright. In fact, Bill told me by the time I had my first bloody mary, he and my brother would have already downed at least one beer and smoked at least one cigar.

The race was a lot of fun, I must admit. It was hot. Damn hot. So hot that we didn’t stay for the entire race. So hot that despite the fact that we both slathered ourselves with sunscreen, we resemble brown bears. Take a look at this tan line….

Here’s some things I learned about NASCAR yesterday. A. The pre-race festivities (i.e. tailgating) are about as much fun as the race. B. The best things about the race are the flyover by the F-35s from Luke Air Force Base right after the performance of the National Anthem and when we hear the words, “Drivers, start…your….engines. Vrooooooooom. It’s awesome.

But perhaps the most interesting thing I learned is that NASCAR fans are incorrectly described as hillbillies or rednecks. In fact, every single time I, myself, told anyone that I was going to the race, I added the exclamation yeehaw. The truth is very different. Oh, there might be some rednecks at a NASCAR race because the fans comprise a large variety of folks. But as we walked through the area where people park their RVs (most of which cost as much as our AZ house), it became abundantly clear that while they are unwaveringly patriotic as evidenced by the American flags that adorned a large number of the vehicles, NASCAR fans are likely to be bank presidents or lawyers or successful business owners.

Having said that, I must admit to hearing the guy sitting behind us in the stands tell his buddy, “Damn, It just feels weird to not have my gun.”

Whatevah! I like NASCAR.

This post linked to Grand Social.

Guest Post: Driving Fast

By Bill McLain

Bill Hot Laps 2 4.16Three hot laps at Phoenix International Raceway. That was my Christmas gift from my son and daughter-in-law, David and Jll. Just like with all race cars participating in NASCAR, I had to enter the blue and white race car through the passenger side window opening, no easy task. There was no side window either, just a net, presumably to keep me in the car should the need arise (e.g., the car flips over). After I was buckled in, off we went out of the pits and onto the race track itself. The impression of speed and power was remarkable, and together with the sound of the lightly muffled engine, it made the ride one that I will not soon forget. Although the track is banked in the corners, centrifugal force had me hugging the passenger door (or where a door would be if there had been one), and my head pushed against the right side of the helmet. This may sound unpleasant, but it wasn’t.  It merely increased the sensation of speed and kept the adrenaline pumping.

The attached video will give you some idea of this experience, but to get the full benefit, you should “just do it.”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzTPykCL25WoUHdZTnIwUUZZUFU/view

Nana’s Notes: My role was designated observer, and it was really fun to watch. I had wondered whether Bill would wish he could drive (another option that some were doing). However, at the end of it I knew (and he confirmed) that it was more fun to leave the driving to the professional driver. The people who were driving were being understandably more cautious, while Bill FLEW by. Those who know me and have seen how nervous a passenger I am will be surprised to learn that I think it would be fun to do what Bill did on Saturday. 

This post linked to the GRAND Social 

If You Knew Sushi

imagesBill and my brother Dave go twice a year to Phoenix International Speedway and watch cars go around in circles very fast and very noisily. In other words, NASCAR. Bill took me once. I bought a Danika Patrick cap, people-watched, and even watched the cars for a bit. I had a blast, but once was enough. My ears couldn’t take it.

Last Sunday, instead of going to NASCAR, I enjoyed my own quiet day.

Usually when they go to the track, I spend the day with my sister Bec. Last time, she and I went out to lunch and then watched the Broncos at her house until it was clear the NASCAR race was going to be rained out and the Broncos were going to lose. I headed home and beat Bill by mere minutes.

I assumed I would do the same thing this time (sans the rain), but as Sunday crept closer, I realized that what I really wanted to do was, well, nothing. That’s a funny thing to want to do considering I’m retired and so I mostly spend my days doing exactly that. But I do exactly that with Bill.

What I wanted was a day to do nothing by myself.

I’m not a tried and true introvert by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, when Bill and I did our food tour of Old Scottsdale last week, I sort of became BFFs with a couple from North Carolina taking the same tour. After one stop, Bill said to me, “Kris, you’re really a pleasant, outgoing person.”

That’s not altogether true. Put me in a room of strangers at a cocktail party, and I’m a mess. I walk in, see that groups have formed, assume that no one could possibly want to include me in their group, and fidget until someone takes pity on me. But put me in a one-on-one situation (the grocery store clerk, a movie line, a tour group), and I can strike up any number of conversations. I’m not, as Bill thinks, particularly pleasant. Instead, I am particularly nosy. So having spent 15 minutes with my short-lived BFF from North Carolina, I know all about the city of Charlotte, I know what she does for a living, I know where she was born and grew up. I was just getting to her shoe and bra size when the tour ended.

But while I’m not a true introvert, I’m also not one of those never-met-a-stranger extraverts. What I am, however, is someone who needs a break from people. I need time to myself once in awhile to reenergize.

In Denver, I actually have a fair amount of time to myself. Bill is often gone, either out to lunch with friends, hanging out at his favorite cigar shop, or building God-only-knows what in our back yard. Besides, our Denver house, while not a mansion, is big enough that we can avoid seeing each other for stretches of time. It’s got an upstairs.

Here in our 1,250 square foot house in the desert, it is hard to not spend time with each other. And that’s mostly a good thing. But a break is nice.

Sunday, I did very little, but one thing I did give great thought to is what I would have for lunch. Bill almost always goes along with whatever I’d like to eat. There are, however, certain things he simply would never choose to eat. So as I gave thought to my lunch, I kept that in mind.

Mexican food always – ALWAYS – sounds good to me. But Bill likes Mexican food and we eat it often. He also likes hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, even fish and chips. What he will eat –but never choose — is anything Asian.

So what’s for lunch? Sushi, of course.

I got there just after the restaurant opened. While others might complain, I rarely feel like I am ignored if I am by myself. And, in fact, I was seated very quickly and in a nice location. The waiter took my sushi order very quickly. Sushi, of course, takes a bit of time, but I got my eight delicious pieces of sushi nigari in a timely manner.

And then I apparently became invisible. That was fine as long as I was eating my delicious sushi. However, when I wanted a refill on my drink, or was finished and was awaiting my bill, I would have liked to have been visible. But the waiter, who earlier gave me such good attention, simply kept walking as I would say, “Excuse me, Sir?” to his back. I eventually gave up on him and tried to attract the attention of another server. But, see above. I was invisible.

Anyway, eventually I paid my bill (you generally can get even the most stubborn server’s attention if you start heading toward the door), came home, and did what I would never do if Bill had been home. I binge watched Gilmore Girls.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Amazing Arizona Activities

Last year when we were leaving Arizona to return to Denver, I wrote a blog post about the things that I would miss. You can read my thoughts in 2014 in this link, because I will miss those very same things in 2015.

This time I am going to give you what I consider to be the highlights of our winter stay in Arizona these past few months.  So, in no particular order…..

Outdoor Kitchen

Kris at barYou might have heard a rumor that Bill built an outdoor kitchen this year. He wants me to start calling it a barbecue island, but I’m not quite there yet. Anyway, it is something I have wanted in at least one of my houses for a long time. Though it took him longer than either one of us anticipated to complete, the finished product is perfect. I have used it a number of times already, and it will get great use every winter.

NASCAR

Bill will undoubtedly proclaim his two NASCAR races were a highlight for him.

Alastair enjoys a beer and a cigar while Dad's away for a bit! Of course he didn't really, but Bill and Allen couldn't help but tease a bit.

Alastair enjoys a beer and a cigar while Dad’s away for a bit! Of course he didn’t really, but Bill and Allen couldn’t help but tease a bit.

In November, both of his sons, our grandson Alastair, and my brother David spent the entire weekend at the race living in Bill’s son Dave’s RV. It was a dream come true for Bill. He and my brother Dave also went to the March NASCAR race, and though they didn’t spend the weekend, they apparently had a great time. Both are enjoying spending Jeff Gordon’s last season with him.

Family Gatherings

As usual, we had our share of family celebrations. It seems even when we don’t have a particular thing to celebrate, the Gloor clan still manages to gather. I was able to see a great deal of many of my Arizona nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and, of course, my siblings. Our family gatherings are full of joy, and I have mentioned before that nothing makes me happier than seeing the little cousins together. It would have made my mom and dad so happy to see their great grandchildren playing with one another. My mom, in particular, believed in the importance of family.

Visit from Zierks

kaiya mylee austinThis year Bill and I had January visitors, namely, our son Court and his family. We had so much fun showing them around this area that we love so much. It also made me very happy that Kaiya and Mylee got a chance to play with many of their Arizona cousins. Mylee and Austin bonded over Ninja turtles, and Kaiya got in some winter swimming!

bormans-kaiya-mylee-2015

Travel

We vowed this year we were going to do some traveling – day trips as well as several-day-trips. While we didn’t do as many as we’d hoped, we did make a very fun day trip to Globe and of course, we took our spectacular trip to Disneyland.

kris bill mater 2015

Nothing more really needs to be said.

 

Glorious Weather

Finally, I must tell you that I think our weather this winter has been particularly beautiful. Last winter might have been a bit warmer, but this year was pretty darn good. We had temperatures creep up into the 90s on several occasions, but for the most part, we haven’t had to run the air conditioner much at all. And the only time I turned on the heat was several mornings in January. It’s such a luxury to experience nice weather here, and then go home to Denver to more nice weather. I hope.

Wish us luck on our travels!