Archive for July, 2014

Group vs. Individual Exercise

July 13, 2014

           I used to say I was allergic to exercise. I’ve always been a clumsy, off-balance person. About twelve years ago I was convinced by articles I read that I should strengthen my core, so I joined a gym. At first I was rich enough to pay for a personal trainer. Over three years I went through four trainers due to staffing changes. I started with half an hour sessions and finally agreed to hour-long ones. The trainer worked me hard and I learned about reps, circuits, free weights and such. I still didn’t like working out but having an appointment got me to the gym a few times a week. Finally my budget could not afford it.

My friend Sharon belonged to the same gym and I started meeting her on Sundays to work out for half an hour. I figured once a week was better than nothing. (Notice I went back down to half an hour.) Afterward we got bagels.

I joined the Pinewood Country Club and a year or two later I found out about Sheri’s exercise class, which she offered Monday through Friday. She included step, ball, dance, weights, etc. She’s a sunny person and she made it fun. And I was enticed to go, usually three times a week, to talk to the other members of the class. It was my first introduction to group exercise and I loved it. Well, I loved the class, I still hated the exercised. Unfortunately, Sheri stopped teaching the class due to time constraints.

Last summer I periodically visited the fitness room at the club, emphasis on periodically. In August Marion convinced me to try Zumba Gold with Mary Wright at the fire station. I loved it, both the companionship and the dancing.

Zumba Gold in the Pinewood Fire Department Bay

Zumba Gold in the Pinewood Fire Department Bay

Something took hold of me last February. I craved exercise. In late autumn I’d had some surgeries to improve the circulation in my legs and hadn’t been able to work out at all. As soon as I could, I went back to the gym. I went almost every day! Even when Sharon couldn’t meet me! I had to have some more surgeries and I started a part time job. Soon I was down to two days a week.

Tai Chi at the Pinewood Fire Department Bay

Tai Chi at the Pinewood Fire Department Bay

Now I’m back in Munds Park and doing Zumba Gold and Tai Chi and loving it. I guess we all have to find our niche in the world of exercise.


Five Bands in Five Days

July 7, 2014

I love live music. This past got to hear five bands in five days.
On Tuesday evening The Gal Pals (Marion, Joan, Donna, Ginny and I) went to Satchmo’s on Fourth Street in Flagstaff. We sat on the patio, munching ribs and fried catfish po’ boys, and listening to a local jazz band.
On Thursday we (Joan, Donna, Ginny, Elissa and I) went to Monsoon in the historic district, sated ourselves with Tempura eggplant and shrimp, green oysters, edamame, shrimp rolls, miso soup and much more at ridiculously low Happy Hour prices. It was raining off and on but luckily we were on the covered patio. Rewired was the band playing on Heritage Square. It provided background music.
On Friday, the Fourth of July, The Gal Pals (Joan, Ginny, Donna, Marion, Elissa, and I) went to the Pinewood country Club and ate the BBQ and listened to ReRooted. They were good and, after a very strong margarita, I got up to dance.



On Saturday we skipped the BBQ but went to Pinewood Country club and listened to Tyme Will Tell. They were great! They did a little of every kind of music.
IMG_1556 The lead singer, Julian Avila IMG_1567was very personable and very sexy. We sat with Dee, an eighty year-old woman who delighted in Julian’s attention.

Julian gave Dee lots of hugs

Julian gave Dee lots of hugs

On Saturday night it poured at 5:30 but the band, Terraplane, was up and playing at seven at Beavfest 2014. This is a block party put on by Michael Braverman. The band was blues and rock and roll. They played on the porch and people danced in the street.
Have I had my fill of live music? Of course not!

The Single Senior Does Las Vegas, Librarian Style

July 1, 2014

I met friends in Las Vegas for the (ALA) American Library Association Conference last week. We stayed at the conference hotel by the convention center. The first night we stayed at our hotel, ate in the deli, and gambled. I am the unluckiest person and not a gambler. Neither is Fran. After I lost $70.00, way past my gambling budget of $40.00, I quit and went up to the room. Susan and Karen are the gamblers. They stayed up late and played.

The next morning we were rudely reminded that it is no longer inexpensive to eat in Las Vegas. Time was, you could get a full breakfast for $2.99. In fact I did just that the last time I was in Las Vegas for the ALA conference in 1973. This time we went to a café in the hotel. It cost me $12.00 (including tax and tip) for a bagel with cream cheese and hot tea.

After breakfast we walked to the Convention Center, through the skywalk linking with our hotel, to register for the conference. It was a twenty minute walk, no big deal. I’m retired so I got the “exhibits only pass” for $35.00. The exhibits opened at 5:30 so we had the rest of the day to hang out.

Las Vegas in late June is not a place to be outdoors, even for a little while. It’s over a hundred degrees. We decided to take the conference shuttle to Caesar’s Palace. I wanted to see Cirq du Soleil’s “Love” so we walked over to The Mirage. I learned from last year not to buy the tickets online. There are always specials the day before the show. Sure enough, as soon as I entered the hotel, a man handed me a flyer for forty percent off. We went to the box office and Fran and I chose the lower priced tickets in the balcony for Saturday night.

I was pleasantly surprised that the costumed characters on Las Vegas Boulevard were cleaner and less threatening than when I was here last year.

Susan and Karen went off to gamble while Fran and I shopped.Image We met for lunch and ended up at MacDonald’s.

We were ready for the opening of the exhibits. I had scoped out the exhibit map, author signings, and freebies and had my plan. More and more people waited outside the exhibit hall, anticipating the moment the doors would open. It reminded me of Best Buy or Walmart on Black Friday when you have a chance to get an HDTV for a hundred dollars.


Finally the doors opened and all was revealed. Aisles and aisles of elaborate vendor displays with free books, any librarian’s fantasy. I thought I was being picky about which free books I took, but the free tote bags got heavier and heavier. By 6:20 I knew I could gather no more and still remain upright. The hall was open until seven but I knew I had to quit. I had a bag on each shoulder and one in each hand.

The first quarter of a mile back to the hotel I still had a bounce in my step. By the halfway point I had to sit down and wipe my brow. The last quarter mile was torture. The heavy bags kept slipping off my shoulders into the crook of my elbows and down to my wrists. I had to stop often and readjust my load. I had planned to walk the books out to the parking garage and put them in my back seat but I was too exhausted to brave the blast of burning air I know lurked outside the air-conditioned door of the hotel. I took the elevator up to my room and collapsed.

I rendezvoused with my friends and we drove down to the Fremont Street Experience. It was a bit hot for me to walk around the street but I soldiered on. I got a tattoo of the Chinese character for “peace.” It looks very real and will last for two weeks.


Scantily clad people were happy to pose for pictures. I tipped these guys five bucks.


We found Du-Pars where we gorged ourselves on shrimp cocktails that were served in ice creamy sundae glasses for only $2.99 each. We stopped by an outside bar and watched the bartender throw the bottles up in the air and behind his back while pouring. I ordered a Bailey’s Irish Cream and I was served like a highball. Yummers!

When we got back to the hotel, Fran and I tuned in while the gamblers played on.

Saturday I went back and forth to the exhibit hall twice with more bags of books. I met three of my icons: 


Raffi, the singer of children’s songs;


the poet Nikki Grimes


and the writer Patricia McKissack.


I also found out that Elvis lives.My shoulders hurt and my face was past red to purple after the second tour in the afternoon. I applied cold water and rested for a while.

 Meanwhile my compadres were further down the strip, gambling. Fran came back to change for the show and we all met up at The Bellagio for dinner. I went to the restroom and encountered young women who looked more like hookers than fellow diners, but that’s Las Vegas. You can pick out the librarians from a hundred few feet away. They never look like hookers.  Some of the Young Adult librarians sport tattoos and pink hair, but they don’t wear skin tight micro miniskirts or backless tops that expose massive cleavage.


Fran and I enjoyed Love, the Cirq du Soleil show based on Beatles’ songs. The usher upgraded us because they decided not to open the balcony. (I assumed they didn’t sell enough tickets.) The new seats and the show were fabulous.

We decided to take the monorail back to our hotel. We had to ask directions multiple times even when we were in the casino the station was in. I almost directed us to get on going the wrong direction. We boarded the right train but disembarked at the wrong station. It tuned out that “convention center” was not our stop. A list of stops was not posted anywhere. Fran and I descended the stairs with trepidation.  The place was deserted. We could see our hotel but could not discern a walking route. We finally followed the round-about walkway. My feet didn’t hurt but they were swollen and that made for an uncomfortable mile and a half walk back. I was a pile of sweat when I reached my room. Luckily Susan wasn’t back from gambling so I took a shower before getting to bed at one a.m.

The next morning I transferred the books to my suitcase on wheels and made several trips to my car in the parking garage. I made sure to be at the exhibit doors twenty minutes before they opened at 9 I could get on line to meet Mo Willems and get an autographed copy of one of his pigeon books. My granddaughter Abby had requested one and I definitely wanted to fill any book wishes. Thousands of other librarians had the same idea. I waited on line for an hour, but I meet Mo and get the book.


We ate brunch at Denny’s and went our separate ways. They drove back to Phoenix and I listened to an audio book all the way back to Munds Park.