Archive for May, 2014

A Week of Live Music

May 27, 2014

A Week of Live Music

            I was pleased to read in the Arizona Daily Sun that the Monday Night Blues Band was playing at Majerle’s in downtown Flagstaff. The band has added a keyboard guy and he was good. I knew it was going to be a great night when Marion found a parking spot directly across from the bar. We ate dinner at a table on the side of the bar and then switched to the front of the bar so we could see the band.

            Almost all of the regulars from last year were there, when the band played at the Monte Vista:  Mr. White Pony Tail, the eight-four year-old who likes to show off his dance moves, Glenn and his quartet from Munds Park, as well as the fellow form Munds Park who shows everyone the photos of his Bichons.       

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            The dance floor is only about one hundred square feet, but people still couldn’t stay in their seats while the band belted out the tunes. I felt like the belle of the ball because I danced quite a bit, with Glen and the old man. We stayed for two sets and I had my exercise for the day. Mark your calendars:  The Monday Night Blues Band will be playing at Majerle’s 7 to 10 pm on June 16, July 14, and August 18.

            On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend I went to the Pinewood Country Club to listen to the Back Stage Crew band. It was a chilly and hazy afternoon due to the smoke oozes over from the Slide fire. The band was cooking with gas and got people dancing, including me. One little boy, about five years old, danced the whole time. Pat, the lead vocalist shown in the photo, had the kid singing, too.

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I had two Huckleberry lemonades. They hit me hard and after two hours of great music I had to go home and nap it off. I didn’t feel up to going over to the RV Park for their live music that night.

            Although there are places to listen to live music in the Valley of the Sun, I rarely go. Most of the bands start after nine in the evening, and I can’t find friends who are willing to stay up that late and drive home afterwards. In Scottsdale I’m dating a fellow who is the stage manager for two music venues. He does not want to go to live music on his days off.

            So I’m glad to be back in the mountains, close enough to Flagstaff to enjoy the music scene there and grateful that the Pinewood country Club also brings in bands. And to have friends here who are willing to make the trip and stay up until at least 11 p.m.

Where is Home?

May 17, 2014

The cabin got a new coat of paint, new trim, and the deck redone.

The cabin got a new coat of paint, new trim, and the deck redone.


I’m back up at my cabin in the mountains, at Munds Park and it feels like I’ve come home. I start yearning for the mountains in the beginning of April. I usually come up for a week in April but this year. When I unlocked my door, it’s like the place has been hermetically sealed and am Snow White, awakened from my winter slumber from the soft kiss of pine scent on my cheek.
And yet when October comes, and it gets nippy. No, be honest, it gets cold and I can’t read the paper on the porch any more. I think of my condo in Scottsdale and yearn to go back to the Valley of the sun. When I get there, and turn on the fountain on my front patio, and drink my tea and read the newspaper on the porch in the morning, I feel like I’ve come home. So where is home?
People talk about their “home towns.” I was born in New York City but the family moved to the New Jersey suburbs when I was two and a half. Is New York City my home town? Not really. I grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey and consider that to be my home town. My parents moved away from there teen years after I finished high school and none of my close friends went back to live there after college. The last time I visited there, at least ten years ago, it seemed strange and familiar. A few of the placed I hung out were still there, but the woods behind my childhood home had been developed. There were only a few businesses left that I remembered. The Butterflake Bakery is still making its seven layered cake. But Tabatchnik’s Deli,from which my father would bring back bagels, lox, and whitefish on Sunday mornings, is gone. Also missing is Holder’s Stationery, where Linda and I stopped after school every day to get candy bars and chewing gum. Ho Yuan, where Linda, Susan and I stopped after a hard day in high school and order egg rolls and tea, has disappeared. And the pizza place where we always ordered anchovy pizza. I didn’t realize that pizza came without anchovies until I was twelve and went into New York City on the bus to meet friends from summer camp. I was shocked to find out I could get a plain slice. So Teaneck’s not home anymore.
In this mobile society I have set up homes in East Cleveland, Cleveland, and five places in Phoenix. When the housing bubble burst a few years ago and everyone was frantic when their homes lost fifty percent of their value, I wasn’t concerned. The next time I move to another home, it will be to assisted living. I hope I’ll have the wherewithal to help choose that place, but one never knows. So for now, I’ll just enjoy the two homes I have. They are not just residences, they’re homes.

Laughing with Cheech and Chong

May 6, 2014

Scottsdale is surrounded by casinos on Native American land. Each one has a showroom with a schedule of little-known acts or ones that were famous some time ago. When I mentioned to my neighbor Donna that Cheech and Chong were playing at Wild Horse Pass Casino she jumped on the idea of going. A guy I’ve been dating (I call him The Roadie) works there, but seemed disinclined to get me tickets. He claimed if a show sold out he had to return his tickets. I asked him if I was booking good seats after I went online and saw what tickets were available. He assured me they were fine.
I’d never been to Wild Horse Pass Casino so I put the address in MapQuest and got directions. Donna, as usual, was ten minutes late but I had built in plenty of time. When I got off the freeway she informed me we had to be going the wrong way. I should have listened to her. She’s a real estate agent who knows her way around town and she grew up in downtown Chandler. Instead I stubbornly followed the MapQuest directions. I finally stopped the car and we asked our smart phones. It turned out I should have gotten off at a different exit and gone in the opposite direction. By the time we got to the casino, we decided to valet park to make sure we made it on time for the show.
As we walked into the smoky, clanging, crowded casino, a man came up to me and said, “You have a thing hanging,” and pointed to my foot. Indeed the six inch ace bandage that bound my leg like a mummy had unraveled and was trailing my sandal. I unwrapped it a bit more so I could walk. I headed for the nearest restroom but it was closed for cleaning. I had to hold the bandage like a bride’s train and it lifted up my pant leg for all to see the mummy wrap. The next nearest facility was in the showroom. We stood on line and had our paper tickets scanned. I rushed to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall. I decided to take off the two ace bandages that bound my leg after vascular surgery five days before. I stuffed the flesh-colored abominations in my purse.
We took our places in folding chairs with cup holders. The seats were good but the showroom is not a graduated space. A tall guy sat directly in front of me. Two rows ahead was a big guy whose enormous butt crack was hard to turn away from, like a car crash on the highway. You shouldn’t look but you do. I saw The Roadie busily setting up and waved. He came over to say “hello” but had to go right back to work.
The audience was a trip. Did those ladies with the cauliflower beauty salon hairdos wearing polyester pants and matching flowered shirts stretched too tightly over ample bosoms smoke weed back in the day? Did they have medical marijuana cards now? There were plenty of men in their sixties and seventies in grungy jeans and old tee shirts with the names of bands long off the charts. Hippies, yuppies, and young Native Americans rounded out the group.
Chong’s wife did the warm-up act and looked great in a metallic mini-dress. Then the guys came on and did my favorite routines. I was surprised and pleased that the humor held up over the years and they added a few contemporary notes.
Afterwards you could purchase tickets for a “meet and greet” with the performers but we decided not to do that. I figured The Roadie would be busy wrapping up. Donna and I headed out, reminding each other of funny bits and chuckling all the way home.