Holidays · My Thoughts

2020 is Larada’s Year!

Happy New Year! 2020 is here and I’m ready! 2019 was a hard year for me health-wise, so I’m ready for a change, and Lin, my husband, and I have dubbed 2020 as my year!

Yesterday, I started the new year off with a Cribbage game with Lin during breakfast, and he won. We jumped into the Rose Bowl parade—a tradition Lin and I both enjoy.

Since I have been in recovery, I try to attend a meeting on New Year’s Day, and I did yesterday. It was a glorious celebration of life, and exactly what I needed. Afterwards, I bought some black-eyed peas to serve for our lunch for good measure to start the year off right, southern style.

After our late lunch and between football games, we played two more Cribbage games, and I won. I started off the year ahead 2 -1. For years, LIn and I have started each morning off with a couple Cribbage games during breakfast, and he has beat me over the last two years like crazy. Three years ago, after losing a lot, I told him, “You win more than I do.”

He denied it, saying, “No, you win as much as I do!”

So, to prove my point, I created a spreadsheet of wins and losses, and he has been relentless: in 2018, he beat me by 43 games, and 2019 wasn’t much better. He beat me by 44 games.

We played this morning, and in 2020, I’m already ahead—I’ve won 4 games and he’s won 2! Yahoo! So I’m keeping track again this year!

Yesterday, after my wins, my wonderful day continued with cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer. Because I was sick a lot of last year, I kept bypassing this chore. But I felt it was a good way to bring in the New Year, and metaphorically it felt right—cleaning out the old to make room for the new!

After some relaxation time, I worked on my current project, the Marshall Flippo biography and assigned ISBN numbers to the different versions I will publish. I also investigated Ingram Sparks, a self-publishing company I’m using to publish the books and e-books.

My biggest goal of the year is publishing this biography. I’ve been working on it for two years, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The manuscript is with the editor right now. I’m busy doing behind the scene work because I self-publish my books, so I design the cover, adjust the pictures and lay the book out, so I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I see that it is going to get done. The release date is April 6, 2020 at the annual CALLERLAB Convetion in Reno, NV.

Here’s my favorite Facebook cartoon as we face this new year! Yes, I plan to take advantage of all 365 opportunities ahead of me–how about you?

Yes, I started 2020 in a fulfilling way, and it promises to be fantastic. I hope your start to this new year was as a great as mine!

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My Thoughts

How Do You Start Your Day?

When we are home, my husband, Lin, and I start most days off with Cribbage games over breakfast. The winner for the day is the best of three games or two if someone gets skunked because a skunk is worth two games. I kept track of our games last year like a tournament, and Lin won the year. For Christmas, I made him a 2018 Cribbage Champion t-shirt as a prank gift.

It’s such a fun, peaceful way to start the day. We laugh and carry on as the games progress. We whine about our cards, our luck and losing. We laugh about the strange combination of cards we get. Lin often says the S word first (Skunk) as we watch the movement of the pegs around the board. We talk about our current plans and future plans and the dreams we have. We connect!

Lin has played and loved this game since the 70’s. He taught me how to play when we got married seven years ago, and I have gotten better each year. For a couple of years, we stayed in Pagosa Springs, Colorado for the month of July with a couple and moved around town to different coffee shops and cafes, playing Double Cribbage. People would stop, stare and ask what we were playing. Many responded, “My grandparents play that game.”

I was still teaching at the time we were playing in Pagosa Springs with our friends and often told them that they should teach Cribbage in school to help students learn math—what better way to learn counting than playing a fun game.

Lin often wisely shares one of his favorite Cribbage lines as we near the end of the game, “I like your position,” or “I like my position.” Then he explains his rationale for the comment on how many moves it will take to win. It’s usually the best-case scenario. We’ve had lots of laughter over that comment when it backfired.

To me this morning ritual is a sacred space of love, laughter and communication—a nice way to connect and begin our day.

Well, our daily ritual this morning took a surprise twist! It was a red-letter day for sure. We’ve both said for years that we didn’t care which one of us got a perfect score, but we just wanted one of us to get it. The score for a perfect hand in Cribbage is 29, and neither one of us had ever seen it.

On the first hand today of the first game, Lin got it! He had 3 fives and a jack of diamonds in his hand. Then when we turned over the card we share, it was a five of diamonds, matching the jack of diamonds in his hand. Yahoooooo! 29 points!

Lin’s enthusiasm was priceless. In a way, he was speechless which is hard to imagine if you know him–he couldn’t believe it. I photographed his perfect Cribbage hand and put it on Facebook for all to see.

And he went ahead and won that first game, I won the second one, and he won the day on the third game—to boot, he skunked me! A memorable day and time shared.

Have you ever played Cribbage? Let me know if you share this interest of mine.

If you’re interested, you need a Cribbage board and a deck of cards. Here’s the rules for Cribbage:

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My Thoughts · square dance · Travel

The Huntsman World Senior Games–A Life Changing Experience!

Every year in October, thousands of seniors descend on St. George, Utah for the Huntsman World Senior Games. All athletes must be 50 years old by December 31, 2018. This year 11,300 athletes from 32 countries will compete in 30 events, and we competed  in square dancing.

Our week started off on Monday with practice sessions all day to prepare for the square dance competition Tuesday morning. We had a set square with another couple from Albuquerque, New Mexico–Jerry and Mary Beth Gilbreath–and two couples from St. George, Utah. That evening we had a square dance with Gary Shoemake and Ken Bower calling the squares and Steve and Lori Harris doing the rounds. We danced the whole evening with our square to practice.

Tuesday morning we competed in three categories of square dancing: Mainstream, Plus and Random. We competed in our set square in Mainstream and Plus. In the Random category, couples put their names in and the square is formed randomly.

Our Square Danced in Red, White & Blue for Competition Day

Each square had two judges watching to see if the square broke down. When the square broke down, the timer started, and it stopped when the square formed facing lines at the head position–that’s what down time is on the scoring.

Each competition has three tips that are five minutes long with each tip progressively getting harder and harder. Whew! When it was over, I was exhausted. I wanted to do as well as the previous the year, so I felt the pressure.

Last year we took a square from Albuquerque for our first time, and we brought home Gold medals for Mainstream and Plus and one of our couples won a Gold medal for the Random square.

Tuesday evening was the Opening Ceremony at Trailblazer Stadium at Dixie State University. We marched onto the field with our square dance banner waving. We each carried a flag and I felt like a real athlete in a world competition.

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The evening program was outstanding with entertainment by a local youth troop, the Diamond Talent Dancers. We were welcomed by the mayor of St. George, John Pike, and the lieutenant governor, Spencer Cox. Mr. Cox’s storytelling ability captured my heart. The guest speaker for the evening was Dan Clark, a renown author and speaker that held our attention with his motivational stories and humor.

IMG_5978 Flags
The 32 Country Flags Represented

Each competing country was honored with a person dressed in a flag of that country, then each country was recognized during the evening. The delightful evening ended with the lighting of the torch and a magnificent fireworks display.

Running concurrently throughout the week was our own Cribbage tournament with Lin and Jerry against Mary Beth and me. We played whenever we had free time and ended up playing about 22 games. The guys won with 14 wins to our 11, but they double skunked us Tuesday night after the Open Ceremony and that counted as 3 wins. We laughed and enjoyed the competition and the fun.

Wednesday morning we danced and enjoyed the awesome dancers in attendance, then we were free for the afternoon for a variety of health screenings, provided by the Senior Games. We danced Wednesday night again. One of the perks of attending the Senior Games is all the dancing.

That evening Steve and Lori Harris, the cuers and dear friends of ours, were inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Senior Games–so deserving!

Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame Recipients

Thursday morning was the celebratory brunch and medal ceremony–I was so nervous this year because the pressure was on after our first year’s performance.

It’s been hilarious over this past year as Lin and I have traveled to festival across the country because dancers knew we won and some solicited to join our square, if we needed someone!

The 2018 results are in: our square won a Gold medal for Mainstream with a down time of .32 seconds. Our square won a Silver medal for Plus with a down time of 8.75 seconds. And Lin and I won a Gold medal for the Random square with a down time of 8.73 seconds. We had dancers in our Random square from California, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

My Medals
My Three Medals – Yahoooooo!

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Whew! How exciting! A big thank you goes out to Dave and Rose Marie Chapman for organizing the square dance competition!

More than anything, this event is about the people–the dancers–and the fun!


Are you 50 or older and would like to compete in the Senior Games? What sport do you play? Leave a comment below.

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