Since I've come home from the state fair I have been busy. I've experienced some new things and enjoyed attending some great events.

My calendar is bursting with places to go and things to do. Miscellaneous types of programs, meetings, obligations and volunteer opportunities.

Where shall I begin? The things I am doing are things Jim and I planned to do sometime -- he is in my heart. I'm taking him with me everywhere I go. We never had gone gambling, though we planned to go often, and I thought I should at least go once to experience the fun.

Thanks to Dianna, I can say I have been gambling. She took me to the Dodge City Boot Hill Casino last month. I always have my camera with me, but I wasn't allowed to take pictures in the casino. In my purse, I have my players' club card fastened to a bright red-orange coiled chord with a snap on the other end as proof I was there.

I imagined dropping coins into the machine, pulling the handle and hoping to hear coins drop into the bucket, but that's outdated. Now every machine is up to date, automated. There are hundreds of machines (580 I think). We picked a machine to play. I'm telling you, it was all Greek to me at first, but I finally caught on.

The machine takes the bill you give -- it sucks it up and displays the amount I have to play with on the screen. You press the button and watch the figures roll. If they line up, your win is credited to you; if they don't, the loss is deducted. You continue to press the button until you have used it up.

I played a lot of different machines. I'm not used to seeing my bills disappear into a machine and getting nothing back. I began thinking, "This might be fun, but is it worth the money?" Suddenly, the machine began to rack up a win. I followed the action on the screen and when it stopped, I had won back the amount I had spent since I began playing. I drew it out and decided to bring it home, so I came out even.

I walked around watching players at the blackjack and roulette tables. The players won and lost, continued to put down more money when their chips were gone. The dealers were so quick and accurate. It was really neat to watch them work.

"People watching" is always part of the fun when I go somewhere. At the casino, everyone was interesting -- clothing and hair styles varied a great deal and studying their actions was really entertaining. I also enjoyed the food. The buffet was delicious.

I've heard riding a bus to go to a casino is part of the fun. We couldn't get our schedule and the bus schedule to match, so Dianna drove. The other day she told me to save Nov. 10. We'll go on the bus.

That trip to Boot Hill Casino was a first. Another first coming soon -- our first great-grandson will arrive in November. (We have three great-granddaughters). At the baby shower, the mommy-to-be requested instead of buying a baby shower card, help build the baby's library by bringing a children's book with a message inside.

We played two fun games, including "What's in the Diaper." Melted candy bars looked like the real thing. Then, instead of pin the tail on the donkey, we played pin the sperm on the egg. A lot of laughter on that one.

Jim always had planned to buy a season ticket to the Fort Hays State University Encore Series. He would really have enjoyed the first program "Boom Town." I have a good seat, but I felt alone without Jim.

I've got to tell you about what happened last week. Many times, I have misplaced, left behind or can't find my coin purse or checkbook, but luckily, I've always found it or it was found and returned to me. This habit of mine always upset Jim. He still must be watching over me because when I opened the back door of my Tahoe to put ice in my cooler, I laid my coin purse and keys on the bumper. I closed the door, picked up my keys, drove all the way from Ellis to Hays.

When I parked, I went to the back and there was my coin purse, still on the back bumper. I didn't realize I had left it there. Amazing.

Well, I'm certainly not bored. Anyone who is bored hasn't taken advantage of all that is available in our area. First times haven't stopped for me, I'm sure. I have no idea what my next first will be -- stay tuned.

Opal Flinn is a member of the Generations advisory committee.