Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday, If I should die today make sure my family knows that...

Matt and I have been doing the, "If I die today make sure my family knows..." game. So the start of "if" was that we had breakfast at Denny's, which is always a good day. But the real "if" for me is always if I've had bacon. But I declared, "If I die today make sure that my family knows that I had bacon with eggs and hashbrowns". The day ended with, "Make sure they know that I got to have TWO Whataburgers". There are no Whataburgers near us just as In-n-Out, usually we have to go to California for In-n-Out and Texas for Whataburgers but here we got both plus Denny's and IHOP!!!! How lucky can one girl get? Oh yeah, a Scholtzy's would put the cherry, but I totally satisfied with the Sunday Sundae. We passed this little quaint cafe on the road, The Road Kill Cafe. It seemed so intriguing but we we're sure if they actually served road kill or if unsuspecting tourist became part of the menu...we steered clear.
But we were obviously on a very cool road...
Oh yeah, lest I forget, tell my family that I GOT TO SEE THE GRAND CANYON BEFORE MY 50TH BIRTHDAY!!!!! And I'm turning 50 pretty soon and have always wanted to see it and, wow, what else can a person say?, wow.
The first site of it made my heart melt then fill with such joy. If you haven't been there, there's no way to give it justice through voice or photos only personal experience.
We drove through a horrendous storm on the way. Blinding rain and just as we turned off the freeway to eat at Denny's it started to hail. It reminded me of the summer storms we used to get in Wyoming. Torrential rain accompanied by hail so hard it looks like it has just snowed for a few minutes after. BUT it doesn't FEEL like snow, it hurts! We were surrounded by storms but got to the Grand Canyon before another storm hit so we got to walk around and see a lot while gradually watching the storm come at us from across the canyon. It was fabulous, made it even more dramatic, the thunder, lighting, and the view of the rain coming towards us. We ended up at a lookout lodge where we could experience the storm in a safe location.
What a great day! We had left the hotel about 7:30 a.m. and returned at 8:30 p.m. Matt and I were done, Paul still had the energy and desire to hit the city to see Fremont Street. He was very happy with his experience there, lots o' lights and visuals. One more day then we're back to reality...

Saturday: Hoover Dam and Lake Meade

Oh we had such ambition for Saturday. We drove to Hoover Dam (sorry, photos not in order) where we parked and were going to take the full tour. It turns out that Saturday was hotter than July in Las Vegas. It was the most hot and humid day so far. It wasn't just us, everyone was complaining and working very hard to not faint. So Matt and Paul took the short tour while I hung out in the inside cafe.Pardon my "Al Gore" here but I've got to point out in the above photo the line where Lake Mead used to reach. The white part is where the water use to cover until I'm not sure exactly how long it took or how many feet but it reminded me of the segment in "An Inconvenient Truth" showing the maps of Crater Lake. The lake is beautiful but I couldn't help but be almost completely distracted by the white part. Obviously ironic considering the proximity to LAS VEGAS and I'm a magnet for irony...
This is obviously the water side of the dam. I think Paul got all the dry-side photos. Going to a dam with me is almost as bad as going to Nantucket...
We had designs and even tickets in our hands and in line to board the cruise boat to go around Lake Meade when Matt said he could go no longer. He had gotten over-heated at the damn dam and was having a hard time recovering. So we aborted that mission and headed back to the hotel to swim for hours. I think Matt and Paul got to the pool around 3, I joined about 5 and they showed Monsters, Inc. on a huge screen starting at 8 for the kids to watch while floating in the pool. So Matt was in until about 9:30! He made a friend, Sawyer, from California who he had played with at the pool during the day and watched the movie with. We hope to be catching up with her again today (Monday), ours and her last day.

Friday, Part Two

On our way into the city to see the show we stopped at In-n-Out Burger AGAIN (no, there are not too many times to eat there when you don't have one at home). Then Paul dropped Matt and I off at the Gaming Room in the M&M building. We got a pass for all the games which were very interactive. This one was very cool as you were in this bubble that felt like you were actually (as far as I know) in a helicopter. You could fire and the thing would shake. When I did it I kept accidentally crashing my chopper and the thing would shake like mad. I was fortunate enough to not get the same program as Matt when I did it. When he did it (he didn't realize at the time) he was shooting wildly at Arabs, robes and all. Just one of endless amounts of social observations you can make here. This was one of the most bizarre for me. For Matt it was a new level of Nirvana! (I explained the social aspects to him later and he agreed) This was another chopper-type only it was a race car. They had very clear, realistic graphics, when I went on the Harley I got very dizzy.
Then it was off to one of the most fabulous experiences of my life, Cirque du Soliel Love. It was indescribable. You must hop a plane asap and see it. It was like going to a live Beatles concert with the visuals of the wonderful Cirque.
After the show we hit the gift shop right outside the theater entrance. No one wanted to loose the mood. Everyone was singing and dancing with everyone else, stranger or not, singing at the top of their lungs to all the Beatles songs that were piped in there. It was a fabulous bubble that no one wanted to burst.
I got a t-shirt, Paul a program, and Matt a cap so we each got a little piece of it to take along with us.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day Four, Friday, Part One

As I mentioned in my last post, Paul had gotten into a conversation with a woman in front of Starbuck's and when I returned from a walk she and I took over chatting. We got to talking about this and that and some how got onto business and blogs and she asked me if I would mind helping her get her blog up and running. So yesterday morning I went to her beautiful condo at the village (the photos is on the last post) and we spent several hours together and some even working on her blog! This is a photo of Desiree to the right. I listed her website on my last post but will also add her to my links when I finish this. You know how I'm always musing about how great it is that we get to make all these great connections and develope relationships with each other because of the internet? Well I'm happy to say that it can happen in real life as well. It was fun to jump back into the face to face experience; meet someone, get a good vibe, and develope a friendship. Desiree has many interesting relationship stories which began by chance meeting or an innocent, casual comment to someone in a line. You know I love my guys but I could have easily ditched them the rest of the day to spend more time with Desiree and sharing stories. But my cell phone kept ringing with polite requests for my return, okay, they were whining. That's Part One of Friday, I'm making a separate post for part two because it was like being in two separate universe. Part Two is the Beatles...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Catching up, day three...

Paul had scheduled us to go to Hoover Dam and take a cruise of Lake Mead today (it's still Thursday here while I'm posting this) but when we got up we decided we needed to pace ourselves a little more slowly. Matt and I begged for a "day off". So we headed to the little village and hit Starbuck's for breakfast and newspaper reading. Paul struck up a conversation with who turned out to be a wonderful woman who has a condo in the village. She lives primarily in L.A. but is here to work in peace on her expanding business venture. She owns An Empowered Woman, "A forum designed for women to empower each other through sharing our personal stories, challenges, and victories.". How great is that? Well, if you really want to know, check out her website at and see. We got to talking about blogging and such and she asked me if I could help her get her blog up and running and streamlined. I said, "Oh ya'"! So I'm going over to her condo tomorrow morning to do just that. In a short period of time she shared some amazing stories about her life and what she's doing. I think I found myself a little Oprah!!!! Then we headed back to the hotel for a swim. I took a wander around the grounds and voila! I found the above natural flora!!!! And below, not in its natural environment but still beautiful, these plants and flowers.
And all around here there are huge bushes of Lantana, my favorite. Just as I found in Savannah because it doesn't freeze here or there, the Lantana can grow huge. They are very cold sensitive and are the last to come out for sale and the first to die in Maryland so this is such a visual treat for me.
After our swim we decided that our slower pace would be "just" a trip to Circus Circus for the buffet and their Adventure Dome carnival type venue for Matt. Whew!!!! It was...ummm...hell on Earth for the filter-challenged wiener that I am. The buffet was very good and calm and quiet and not crowded. But the Adventure Dome was the forum for the largest gathering in history of ill-mannered children and teens on Earth. I was literally trampled by a group of about 10 very large teens running through an isle which I was crossing. I was hit by at least two, I had no where to go, I was surrounded. It was crazy. There is a youth basketball tournament going on here right now and, mind you, all ethnicities are well represented so this is not stereo-typing of races but of teens. Since folks are visiting from all over the country and the world, I found it to be a negative study of a cross section of our youth in the world today. I know, they said the same thing in the 18th century. Walking around bumping into anyone in their way cussing up a blue streak on their cell phones. Sorry, my lips are pursing and I think I just aged 50 years. Matt had fun but it was a little overwhelming for him too. I left Paul and Matt there for the last little while and got a TATTOO. Yes, there will be photos. Come on, can you really come to Las Vegas and NOT get a tattoo? It's the ultimate souvenir. You'll never guess what it, not the picture below, silly.
So, we've been there, done that. It is checked off the list. Tomorrow afternoon is the M&M giant video game arcade which my new Oprah-esk friend says there is a lounge area for parents to hide and lots of security so the kids can play without being under the microscope.
Then tomorrow night is the whole reason for coming here, Cirque du Soeli Beatles' Love!!!! Oh boy, we can't wait. Then, hopefully it's off to the Grand Canyon on Saturday so I can see it before I turn 50!!!! Yippie!!!
P.S. I hope I didn't sound like too much of a bummer. I'm glad for all we are experiencing, just being honest. It makes the trip to the Tidal Basin at the peak of the cherry blossoms blooming look like an intimate dinner party, that's all.

Day Two, Part Two, The Siren Calls...

During our nap the glizt and glitter must have worked its way out to our subconsciences and lured us to the dark side 'cause we woke up and decided to go to the strip. I got the bug the worst first when we entered the shops in Paris and I stopped to look in a shoe store. Jimmy Choos, etc., never do I look at such things. I tried on a pair of glittery spike heals that I did not want to take off. Then I got to having too much fun holding up my foot and making Matt take one on and put it back on as if I were Cinderella. We were all baffled... ...and, OF COURSE, here's a photo of the shoes I bought. I know, they are very cute and very comfortable, but I'm telling you I was from then on looking at for the perfect gown and Burka bag to go with those other shoes to wear who knows where.
But the dark side wanted a piece of us all and called us to our first ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET. Yes it's true. That's the purest sign that you've fallen in the black hole of Las Vegas!
The highlight of the buffet for me was when Matt and I discovered that they had soft-serve ice cream and SOFT-SERVE FROZEN YOGURT MACHINES. This one is for you, Sis, I still got it! I had to take several photos and even a video I'll share later of me making the perfect curl of frozen yogurt in a cup which I learned to do with my sister 30 years ago this month on the Monterey Peninsula when we first moved there and ran one of the first frozen yogurt places in the U.S. for, unbeknownst to us at the time, big time drug dealer owners and fellow Texans. But that's going to be another whole long post celebrating our 30 year legacy on the Monterey Peninsula later.
And then, not quite as exciting as serving yogurt are the beautiful fountains that go off every hour at the Bellagio. My husband tells me it was featured in the last scene of Ocean's Eleven. It is fantastic, symolcast music and all.
One need only to go to one destination to visit the world, we spent some time in Paris...
...seeing the classic sites.
Mom, I found your car parked outside of Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. I told them to give it back, they are looking into it...
We were worn out and not just a little sensory overloaded. Matt was out like a light by the time we pulled out of the strip.

Nevada, Wednesday, day two.

Still on the high road early in day two we headed about 60 miles out to the Valley of Fire State Park~hence the sign. Amazing miles and miles of these red rock formations off and on.
We wound our way in the car on our self-guided tour stopping where the signs said to. Of course the photos can't do it justice but just giving you an idea...
Around many a corner there were handsome men tucked into nooks and crannies.
And interesting little natural vignettes.
The handsome men would sometimes pop up along the side of the road...
...or be high on a cliff.
Off we go back to town for a belly full of In-n-Out burgers and to the hotel for a nice rest then...

Viva Lost Wages! Tuesday, day one.

Here's Paul taking a photo of me taking a photo of him on the shuttle on the way to BWI. And Matt on the shuttle. Yes, that's dark on the outside, we got up at 4 a.m. to leave. That's a true dreamy look in his eyes...excitement mixed with, "What the heck time is it?".
But as soon as we arrived at our hotel Matt found
...and mecca two.
Beautiful hotel, lots of beautiful flowers everywhere inside and out.
With beautiful boys lounging around them.
This is the little, new village just a mile from the hotel where we had dinner the first night at an Irish pub. There are lots of great boutiques, Starbuck's, and the like.
One view from our room...
...another view...
...and a view of the outside of our digs.
Swimming, dinner, lounging, like we're not in Vegas at all. Actually we are staying about 20 miles outside of the city. It's quite peaceful.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bad Monday Came, Big Girl Panties Stayed On (dry, clean), A Plethora of Good News!!!!

When they told me at the 11th hour that I couldn't have my little Wally removed 'cause something had shown up on an EKG 18 months ago and that I had to have the BIG BAD THALLIUM STRESS TEST WHERE THEY INJECT RADIOACTIVE CHEMICALS THROUGH AN I.V., I thought, "woe is me". Actually I talked bad about a whole lot of mothers then I said, "holy shit, this going to be worse than the surgery 'cause I'll be AWAKE WITH AN I.V. for several hours". For those of you who don't know me, I have an honest-to-goodness, true-blue needle phobia. Then my kind G.P. gave me an RX for my new friend, Atta Van, and having it allowed me to put on my big girl panties (under the bathing suit below) and climb up the ladder to face that high dive of life's challenges.
Next I took "momma's little helper" with a little water (two helpers, actually). Paul was also a great helper, he's seen this enough from me to know how to "handle" me. The nurse was soooooooooooo nice and compassionate which makes all the difference in the world, plus I was a little out of it, also helpful.
Two and a half hours later the doctor declared me "normal" for me, nothing wrong with the old ticker (if only my shrinks could get together for a similar declaration). He prescribed a week in Las Vegas as the perfect cure for the trauma of the stress test (they call it that for several good reasons).
Yippie!! I was very happy mostly that it was over with but the cherry on top was the good bill of health.
So now I'm free to get back to my regular lifestyle, it's business as usual, I couldn't find a photo of a sugar cookie dough roll but I snagged these favorites...
Okay, so next up is STILL THE SURGERY ON AUGUST 20th to look forward to plus the pre-op blood work I so courageously got done will be over 30 days old by then so I have to have that done again. So, until then, we've been in Lost Wages for two days and I still haven't caught up to posting those exciting pictures. Don't change that channel, I promise to start posting and catching up soon! Thanks for tuning in...