|It is 8AM on Wednesday, March 28 as I begin this latest entry. We welcome a bittersweet day of rest before departing for Albuquerque tomorrow; regrettably it was made possible by the funeral for “Aunt Maxine” at 10AM Thursday morning. Consequently, we slipped our travel schedule one day in order to pay our respects and express our condolences to Oak and their six children.
After four busy days Betty and Bill headed east to Oklahoma City (OKC) early this morning. They have never met Maxine and Oak and Betty has a doctor’s appointment on Friday. Rich and Pin (she’s from Taiwan) flew back to San Francisco yesterday evening; he to create new digital technology and she to improve the environment. And Tom and Vicki – Bill’s brother and spouse – have presumably returned to normalcy after the onslaught of relatives.
These past four days began when our merry band of eight congregated for breakfast at Denny’s last Saturday. It was the opening day of four straight days of spring training for the hearty baseball foursome: Bill, Rich, Pin, and yours truly. It was also the token game for Lynda and Betty, mostly to be sociable rather than follow the goings-on on the field. Tom and Vicki are not baseball fans so their involvement with us out-of-towners was to provide a home base and join us for several meals. Only Betty and Bill stayed with them while the rest of us were in a motel.
As I mentioned previously we saw eight different teams at four different stadiums during our baseball marathon. The last was the new Salt River complex recently built for the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks and their shared tenants the Colorado Rockies near the luxurious Talking Stick Casino and Spa. This new facility brought the Diamondbacks and Rockies from their previous training sites in Tucson making the Cactus League entirely a Phoenix area event. Even though Bill’s beloved Cardinals train in Florida, Phoenix is the much preferred spring training venue because of the proximity of all fifteen teams. In Florida teams are scattered across the State.
So, the 2012 version of Spring Training with Bill, Rich, and Bob came to an end yesterday as the Diamondbacks beat the Rockies. Each day we had glorious weather and excellent seats that I reserved well in advance. Advanced reservations turned out to be prudent for three of the four games. The only downside was the absence of some key players (e.g. Albert Pujols in his new LA Angels uniform); always a risk during spring training. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all!
I’m not sure whether our fourth annual spring event will happen next year. Lynda and I tentatively plan to be in New Zealand at this time. Perhaps Bill and Rich will carry on the tradition?
While the four of us were consumed by the “crack-of-the-bat,” Lynda and Betty had plenty of time for sisterly bonding. On Sunday they spent several hours at the Swap Meet in Mesa, a short distance from Meridian RV Park where we spent the winter of 2009/2010. Lynda wanted to get another pair of sandals from Walk-the-Walk, one of the vendors. Besides that they perused every booth I’m sure and found a few other “must have” items. Then Monday they were joined by Vicki who took them to an Outlet Mall. Once again this was a several hour affair. Though they both like to shop as you can tell, the highlight was the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) yesterday. Their description of it makes it a “must see” for me – even though I’m not a museum lover - on our next visit to Phoenix. We have time today but we (certainly I) need a day of rest and time to prepare for the next phase of our journey.
That’s it for now from me. I’ll let Lynda describe her experience at the aforementioned museum. Tomorrow we drive to Albuquerque after the funeral for a two-night stop and then on to Canyon, TX (near Amarillo) to see my surrogate daughter Mary and family before arriving in OKC either Sunday night or Monday. Until then be safe and enjoy!
Hi – Lynda here. While the baseball guys were tired from their activity, (Bob was in bed by 8:30 p.m.) Betty and I were energized after our three-day shopping spree. It’s not the buying, but the ‘gathering information’ and being together that made it fun and special. The price of my favorite Walk the Walk sandals have increased but comfort wins over price. I was looking for a bathing suit at the mall but didn’t find one. We passed up a heavily beaded dress reduced to $1,000 that weighed a ton! It was fun to laugh at such weird outfits and shoes! We tried on hats that always look funny since we don’t have much hair! A solo female shopper commented that we were sure having fun!
The MIM, opened in April 2010, was wonderful! Their website doesn’t do it justice but it should be on your bucket list. It is a 192,000- square-foot building with musical instruments from every continent and region of the world. With the senior price of $13, you get a small radio receiver and earphones. As you move from exhibit to exhibit, the earphones come alive with the music of instruments displayed in that exhibit as well as how some instruments are made. Many famous entertainers are also highlighted. You can see the careful craftsmanship that goes into making Steinway pianos. The more talented pianists visiting the museum have an opportunity to play on a Steinway in the museum and we enjoyed listening. John Lennon’s upright Steinway piano is on display. He composed many songs on it but perhaps the most meaningful one is “Imagine”, released in 1971. The guitar John Denver’s grandmother played and gave him when he was 12 is also there with John telling its story. We also enjoyed the Experience Gallery, aka the “fun” gallery where seniors and toddlers could play instruments. So much to see – so little time! A great day!