Bellagio in the Fall

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Going to the Bellagio Gardens in Las Vegas is a wonderful experience that never gets old for Steve and me. The pictures in the series is from the Fall Presentation at the Bellagio.

The picture above does not do justice to the gorgeous basket of fall produce. The basket is 12 feet high, 18 feet long and 12 feet wide. It is breath takingly beautiful.

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Although the basket is very large, some of the bounty spilled out around the edges of the basket.

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As in any good garden, there is a scarecrow. This fellow seems very happy with his job.

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This gorgeous water mill is lovely to behold and the gentle sound of the water adds to the gentle background music.

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The covered bridge is a favorite picture taking spot at the Bellagio Gardens. I waited patiently for it to clear before taking this picture. At this moment in time, not as many visitors as usual were present.

One of the great pleasures of visiting the Bellagio Gardens is the interaction of people who are there. People from all over the world visit at the same time. Not everyone speaks English, but using facial expressions and hand gestures, we communicate.

Everyone is relaxed and happy. On more than one occasion I have wished the whole world could live inside the Bellagio Gardens and be happy.

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The Bellagio Garden staff are creative geniuses. The Ents have appeared in different settings in previous years. Here they manage the harvest. It was so wonderful to see them again.

Seeing the Ents again was like seeing old friends.

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Our friend the talking tree was there.

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The Talking Tree had a very alert looking squirrel on one of his branches.

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We think this frolicking scarecrow is pretty cute. He is holding a sculpture made of live roses.

The live plants and flowers make the Bellagio Botanical Garden extravaganza come alive. It is like walking through wonderland.

Special thanks to the Bellagio staff for making this financially possible and exceptional thanks to the talented people who create the magical Bellagio Botanical Gardens.

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Solar at Our House


Steve and I are very excited to finally have solar panels on our roof. We have been exploring the idea of sustainable energy for many years.

We explored the idea of having a windmill in our back yard when we were living in the Boston area, but we didn’t have enough land to support the idea.

When we built our house in New Hampshire we investigated geo thermal energy and learned we did not have enough water pressure.

At our home in Las Vegas, we often talked about solar energy because the sun shines most of the time, but solar energy seemed to be out of our price range until we learned about SunRun.

SunRun installed their solar equipment on our roof and we purchase our electricity from them at a guaranteed monthly rate for the next 20 years and we have an option to purchase the system.

Photo by Steve Brogan
Photo by Steve Brogan

This is front of the panel. It measures 39.5 inches wide by 66 inches tall by about one inch thick. It weighs about 40 pounds.

Photo by Steve Brogan
Photo by Steve Brogan

The back of the panel has the electrical connections that connect the panels to each other and to the electrical box.


The technicians lay out a grid on the roof for the panels to be attached to.


After all the connections are made, the final wiring is completed and the process of supplying energy to our home begins. Life is good.

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Lily Tomlin – Still creating magic


We became acquainted with Lily Tomlin when she starred on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, 1970 to 1973. She played the part of a 1940’s telephone operator named Ernestine. I can still hear her say one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy. But it wasn’t just her words that were funny. She crossed her legs at the knees and was just so very prim and proper. Her body contortions added to her many facial expressions that made the character of Ernestine so memorable.

Her other famous character from Laugh-In was Edith Ann, the five and a half year old girl who told stories from the big rocking chair. Those two characters caused us to admire Lily Tomlin for the last 45 years.

Another one of my favorites was her role in the movie 9 to 5 where she stared with Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda. The music from that movie still rocks.  Lily has had a busy career.

We just saw her latest movie Grandma. What I like most about the movie is that Tomlin portrays such a believable character. In real life she is 76 years old, but she appears to be much younger. She steals the whole show. She is not an actress, she really is Grandma. She makes the movie totally believable. I wonder how many people who watch the movie say, “I wish I had a Grandma like that?” Or maybe they totally reject her. I think she is pretty cool.

My all-time favorite Lily Tomlin role is her portrayal of Frankie Bergstein in Grace and Frankie, a Netflix original series. She and Jane Fonda are priceless as they address life living as older single women. Their husbands played by Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen add to the delight and drama of the story. The thing I like most about the show is that they address everyday things.

While handing out rave reviews, let me say I totally adore Netflix. I am so thrilled that Grace and Frankie are on Netflix. A second season has been approved. The first season aired with all thirteen episodes on May 8, 2015. We are hoping the second season will air in May 2016.

Netflix is so awesome! I love that they provide programming for us to view at our convenience. To be able to view a series at one sitting is so refreshing. Netflix is totally customer focused.

I just read a statistic from Vox.com in the September 25, 2015 issue of The Week that makes the Netflix programming all the more appreciated. In 2009 there were 211 scripted TV series. This fall there will be over 400. One has to be selective in what to watch.

We subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and now CBS. I love that we can watch prime time shows when we want to watch them. Our viewing time has to be worked in with our other life events. We don’t just watch TV because it is there. We are very selective about our viewing.

The news – that is sent to us instantly on our cell phones. We no longer watch the dramatic displays on television that can often totally ruin our day. We are informed by a different venue that keeps us informed, but not frightened.

Who would have guessed that television viewing would have changed so much in 50 years? What are your favorite shows?

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A Passion for Poker


My husband, Steve, is passionate about poker and I am passionate about Steve.

Steve knows more about poker than I will ever know. He has read all of the 70 plus books he has about poker and understands what the authors are talking about. I tried reading a few of his books to better my game, but I always get a headache.

Steve is a weekend reporter for PoketFives, an International Poker Forum. He reports the larger weekend tournaments played at WSOP in Nevada.  He also interviews the players. Steve is a contractor for WSOP promoting their site on Twitter and Facebook. These two part time jobs keeps him involved in the local online poker scene. He enjoys knowing what is happening.

Knowledge of poker is great, BUT, it does not compare to the actual playing of the game. The only problem with playing the game is that it costs money. Sometimes it costs lots of money.

Steve and I have been fortunate to find the Nevada Poker League. Games are available seven nights a week. The games are free, but the players usually tip the dealers. The dealers are top notch Las Vegas dealers who often deal at high end Las Vegas casinos. There are currently 421 members in the league.

Once a month a tournament is held and cash prizes are awarded. At the end of the quarter, the Champion’s Tournament is held.  In addition to cash, the players at the final table win a seat to the yearend Grand Champions tournament. That event is a winner take all event awarding a seat to the WSOP main event. It is valued at $10,000. Or the player may take a cash out option.

Many of the same people compete for points to enter the tournaments. Steve and I have made many friends with fellow poker players. It is like going to a party.

Yesterday, Steve and I participated in the Champion’s Tournament. We woke early with a high level of excitement shared with our neighbors and fellow poker players, Mike and Corky Eden.

Steve and I joined almost 80 other players in a quest for the first place prize. I ended my pursuit after three and a half hours of play. Steve played for another hour before his queens were slain by a pair of kings. Steve finished in 12th place and won a $25.00 gift certificate. We both received Nevada Poker League tee shirts. There was something for everyone.

We had a most enjoyable time. I play poker as a game, a social event, a fun time. Steve plays poker as a contest, an event to be won, a test of wills. We didn’t take the gold this time, but thankfully there will be other opportunities to test our skills.

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