In the LAPD, Code 7 is a synonym for lunch break or an opportunity to eat. Code 7 is a time to relax, joke, and share thoughts with your fellow officers. Here is what's on my mind right now ...

America at Her Best

When I attended Thrillerfest this past July, one of the things I wanted to make sure I did was to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I took the subway down to south Manhattan. After walking a few blocks, I was there. I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking for because I hadn't seen any pictures of the actual memorial. But it didn't take me long to see a crowd standing in the formation of a square looking downward. I approached the gathering and found an open spot. I was filled with a sense of loss because what I was looking at was a large concrete square hole with water cascading down the sides. The water collected in a pool that then flowed toward the center and into a smaller dark square hole and out of sight.

I can't describe to you the feelings I felt gazing into the north tower memorial. Somber, subdued, and melancholy, aren’t quite right, but they’ll have to do. But what drove the point home about how many people were lost that day was that the outside of the memorial was framed with the names of everyone lost in that building. I made a point to walk around the entirety of the north tower memorial so I could absorb the impact of just how many people died there. I did the same at the south tower memorial. At both locations, I noticed that some of the names had small white roses inserted into the cut out of the person's name. I later learned that those white roses, at least for some, represented that person's birthday. However on the day that I attended there were some names that had small orange roses inserted into the name as well. I don't know the significance of the orange roses, other than the fact someone who loved that person took the time to come and leave the floral memory.

 

Additionally, there was a small flower arrangement from American Airlines and British Airways. I wasn't sure of the significance of that display either, but it showed me that for some reason, American Airlines had reached out on that day and acknowledged the horrible event of September 11, 2001.

 

Filled with a sense of sorrow and the loss our country experienced that fateful day, I wanted to know more. I found my way to the 9/11 Museum. My first impression was that it’s a beautiful building. I hadn't seen one exhibit yet, but the building and materials used in its construction gave me a sense that America wanted the best to honor her dead. I opted to explore the museum by myself, but I think if I were to go again I would take a tour. Nonetheless, even by going on my own, I was satisfied that I’d sensed of the enormity of the event that had occurred.

The first thing I remember seeing was a huge wall with, what looked like, gigantic bolts protruding from it. This wall was part of the Foundation Hall, and the wall I was looking at was part of the original World Trade Center that withstood the devastation of 9/11.

Also in the Foundation Hall is the final column removed from the WTC ruins. The last column stands 36 feet high and is covered with memorial inscriptions left by first responders.

I can't relate to you everything that I saw and felt. But my breath was taken away when I came upon the Memorial Portrait Wall. Out of respect for those who died, photos are not allowed in or near the port Memorial Portrait Wall. But to see the faces of the 2983 victims of the attack in one place is almost overwhelming. And the enormity of the waste of life and America's loss brought tears to my eyes.

 

 

   

 

I think every American should put a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on their list of “must see” items. I feel lucky I was able to see it in person. The 9/11 Memorial Foundation has made it possible for millions of people to see, and hopefully feel, the museum and memorial in their own way. Here’s a link to the 9/11 Memorial website where you can take a virtual tour. I encourage you to take a look and remember.

God bless America!

Until next time,

KMA 367


TURNING BACK TIME

I don't get out and do a lot of things, but now and then I splurge and do something different and exciting.

Earlier in the month, my daughter Jamie and I celebrated both our birthday’s by taking a quick trip to Las Vegas. Mr. B. Isn't enamored with “Sin City,” so he opted to stay home and take care of our four-legged children.

Jamie and I bubbled with enthusiasm for our joint celebration.  After getting our room, we hit the casino. We did a little bit of gambling and didn't hurt ourselves too badly. In fact, Jamie might've had some of the casino's money – at least that first night.

The next night we had tickets to see the one and only Cher. During the day we went over to the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino where Cher was playing in the new Park Theater. We wanted to know exactly where we were going so we didn't feel frazzled right before the show.

In the late afternoon, we had dinner and then went for cocktails.

 

 

    

 

Jamie ordered a lemon drop martini, and I went old school with a White Russian. Our cocktail waitress was very excited to learn that we were going to see Cher. She said she'd seen most of the shows, but she hadn’t seen Cher yet. However, she said she could highly recommend seeing Bruno Mars.

Soon it was time for us to go to the theater and I must say it's a very nice venue; large enough to hold a good crowd, but small enough that it feels intimate. As the crowd filed in it was interesting to see that quite a few fans were wearing costumes or other accessories to help them get in the spirit.

The closer it got to show time the more excited the crowd got. We didn't wait long in the theater went dark, and a cheer erupted from the audience. What I can tell you is that Cher came out belting Woman’s World in a peacock blue costume with a huge Afro hairstyle. She moved smoothly on the stage surrounded by energetic backup dancers. As I watched Cher sing and dance for the better part of an hour and a half, I had to remind myself the woman is seventy-one-years old!

The audience was treated to, what seemed like, unlimited costume changes.  In usual Cher style, the costumes were eye-catching and elaborate. For me, the standout was the full Native-American headdress when she sang Half-Breed.

As far as the stage production went, there was a gliding gondola, a life-like elephant, and some aerial performances by her dancers that were superb. The large screens placed strategically in the theater brought the whole audience closer to the stage.

   

Cher performed most of her hits, and as a baby-boomer, I wondered how/if she would address her successes with Sonny. She didn’t let the audience down as she marked time with The Beat Goes On. Sonny was projected singing his part on a large screen on the stage. Next, the crowd went crazy at the opening notes of I’ve Got You Babe.  As the video rolled and Cher sang her portions, I know for a fact a few tears were shed in the theater. You can see the video here. 

But throughout the show, there was an undercurrent of excitement and waiting…waiting…waiting for Cher to appear in her iconic costume and the opening refrains of If I Could Turn Back Time. When the moment arrived, the audience erupted in thunderous approval. Almost everyone was on their feet singing and dancing…Jaimie and I included. She closed out the show with her fast-paced Believe…and the crowd was begging for more.

The word is that this is Cher’s last concert series…but she’s said that before. If it turns out to really be her last concert series, I’m really glad I got to see this show…For this baby-boomer, Cher turned back time and then some.

 

Until next time,

 

KMA 367


NEW YEAR, NEW GARDEN, NEW GARDENER

THE ROAD TO BECOMING A GARDENER

One of the things that attracted me to our house when we bought it a few years ago was that the backyard was large and well landscaped. The man who built our home was a landscaper by trade, and he spared no expense to make the backyard a showplace. A few years after the house was built, it was sold. This was during the "great recession," and the new owners got a fabulous bargain.

So, the second owners of the home not only put in a gorgeous swimming pool but also installed twelve raised planter boxes for a vegetable garden. They also put in a variety of fruit trees.

I wasn't able to take advantage of the first planting season that we lived here. We'd moved my mother from California up here with us in Idaho. Although she was in a care facility, I spent much of my time caring for her. Sadly, my mother passed away later that same year.

LESSONS LEARNED MY FIRST YEAR

The next year (last year) when spring rolled around, I decided we had those planter boxes, I might as well make use of them. I have never been a gardener, and in fact, have quite the brown thumb. Last year I planted a garden anyway. I planted some strawberries, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, peas, and carrots. I had way too many tomatoes. I’d planted six tomato plants. No one was more surprised than me when the tomatoes started coming at a fast and furious pace. I'd planted corn, and while it was fun to watch it grow, the corn itself turned out mushy. Yuck! I wound up freezing most of my harvest of all my vegetables (but not the corn!)

First Year Strawberries    Last year's strawberry plants.  

 

First Year Corn The corn grew fast, but was mushy.

 

HOW I CHANGED THINGS UP THIS YEAR

This year, I tried to be more prudent with my planting. I planted a lot more strawberries. I only planted three tomato plants two of them are cherry tomatoes, and the other one has bigger tomatoes (I don’t remember the variety).

Second Year 2017Second Year 2017                                       

I increased my bell pepper plantings because I didn't get many last year, and I'm hoping for a big crop this year. I use bell pepper and almost everything. I repeated my planting of peas, and now know that I should put them on a trellis or some other support. Newcomers this year are the green beans. The beans were the first seeds that sprouted. I’m hoping this is a good sign. Last year's carrots were a disappointment because they were tough and not very sweet. But I'm giving them a try again this year with a different variety.

 

Strawberries 2017                                    Bell Peppers 2017

 

       This year's strawberries on the left and bell

       peppers on the right. I planted red, orange, 

       green, and yellow peppers.

The major change to my garden this year wasn't even in the planter boxes, but around the planter boxes. I put a heavy covering of chipped bark between the planter boxes. Not only does the bark help keep weeds at bay, it also is softer to walk on.

THE REAL VALUE OF GARDENING

If you had told me three years ago that I would love to go out into my garden and just walk around and look, or even better pull out those pesky weeds, I would've said you were crazy. I’ve never had an interest in growing things. But things change.

I could probably buy my produce cheaper at the store than what I've spent in planting soil, supplements, weed-killer, bug killer, etc., but that's okay. I find peace in my garden…and you can't put a price tag on that.

Do you garden? If not, tell me what hobby you do that brings you peace and contentment?

Until next time,

 

KMA 367


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