Today is Monday

Life: Frustrated Work: n/a
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
It’s been a while. I’m still trying to get through all of my thoughts. In some ways, I’m wordier (see last post) and in other ways I am not so verbose any longer. Here is a recap of since I got back from Vegas.
I went straight from the airport to work 😦 I had to complete all the paperwork for the end of the month and then get payroll completed. I was pretty late. I came home and did some laundry and then packed up for the next morning’s trip to the Austin, Texas area. I hit about six stores after landing and after checking into the hotel I had a hunkering for some crab legs. Say what you will, but a pound of steamed crab legs for $12 at Hooter’s is a good deal. Are they the best crab legs? No. BUT, for $12, some cold beer, and some easy-on-the-eyes people working around me while I devour crab – it’s hard to beat. I went back to the hotel and tried to crash. It didn’t work so well and morning came quickly again. I headed out and hit about seven stores before going up to Georgetown about 30 minutes north of Austin for my class. The class went okay, my first class that I had taught in exactly 364 days! I did okay but had to keep my notes out just for the outline. I used to be able to give the classes without any notes and my timing was pretty good. Not so much anymore. Out of eleven people, only one almost fell asleep. They all paid attention which was nice. After the class I went to IKEA and had dinner and shopped. I love that store. Back to the hotel and a little better night sleep. Thursday I thought I had it planned so that I would hit the last stores and be at the airport around 12:30. I guess the traffic gods were smiling on me as I hit the airport at 10:15. I had over four hours to wait. I tried to change my flight (I had three to choose from) and it would have cost an extra $172. Not worth it. I just hung around and shopped EVERY store there. I finally made it home.
Friday was the day from hell at work as I could not catch up. Lots of other curve balls were thrown at me that day but by 5 pm I was a basket case. The kids ended up at Mom’s and Sunnee and I went to dinner at some place that we had a coupon to. It was a Teppan Grille/Sushi place in Rio Rancho. I should have left after we walked inside but was just tired of the day by that time. The food was just okay – service sucked liked only Albuquerque seems to be able to do. We left, picked up the kids and made it home in time for me to go to sleep early for a change.
Saturday was busy with housework and then I went to the factory for about five hours to actually catch up on all the week’s worth of stuff.
Sunday was a little easier but hectic. I took Railee to her piano lesson and then the rest of the day was kind of a blur. I can’t tell you if I was productive.
Today – I actually did NOT go to the factory. I did a lot of computer work that was almost therapeutic. It’s kind of sad that I enjoy doing some computer work. It’s like exercising your brain in some ways.
I had to run a few errands and think I figured a way to get the ‘new’ car painted in a way that will make me happy. There’s some ,minor paint damage that needs to be fixed that I’ve been too busy to look into. I just need to save to get it done.
A very busy Tuesday is in store for me…

Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Vegas Recap

~ Hit ABQ Sunport with about an hour to spare. We walked around, mostly people watching. OK, people critiquing is more like it. First thing we notice is that nobody has any fashion sense and that nobody is smiling…
~ Arrive Vegas and didn’t even have to wait for a cab. Never had that happen before but just another sign that it’s not so busy in Vegas. Quick cab ride to the Mandalay Bay and we were in our rooms by 5pm. To think that I was thinking we would be rushed to be at the show in time! We walked around Mandalay and over to the Luxor. Jill was properly amazed. We had a ginormous BLT sandwich that was truly worthy of our bellies. My intent was to leave the hotel at 6 pm to make it across to the MGM for a 7 o’clock show. Ended up making it downstairs about 6:20 AND it had been raining! We thought that a cab would be more prudent but did not account for a Stevie Wonder show that had traffic backed up. We couldn’t even get out of the cab without taking our lives into some crazy driver’s hands. They added those concrete barriers to prevent jaywalkers which made it even more difficult.
While waiting I got to talk to Shannon who was to accompany us to the show. Sadly she thought it started at 8 and would be late. We got our tickets and literally sat down as it started. The Ka show is part of the Cirque de Soleil shows. The theater is amazing – very steam-punk-ish. I was lucky enough to have seen the show before although there was a LOT about it that I had forgotten. It is an amazing piece of theater – a fantasy story in true Cirque paegentry. Cirque should do a promo on their invented ‘language’ for their shows. A mix of inflections and nonsense that conveys the emotions with no tangible words. It’s pretty amazing. Shannon texted me a little after 8 as she had been stuck in traffic and would not be coming in. I felt bad for her to go through that much effort for nothing. Jill was happily amazed!
~After the show we walked around the MGM. I introduced Jill to gambling with a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. I gave her $20 and within a couple minutes she had $35 and smartly cashed out. After some more siteseeing there, we started walking. We went across to New York, New York – thus starting our trek of ‘things-to-show’. The next stop across the new City Center property.
Jill in front of City Center - with Paris and Planet Hollywood in the background
This place has seemed like it has been 10 years in progress but I bet it’s been more like 5. Either way it is impressive and one (of seven) tower is scheduled to open in the next couple of weeks. Just in first impressions, it is too huge! You would never leave the property unless they gave you a personal golf cart and driver just to take – and retrieve – you to the property lines! It supposedly will have everything and I guess that is the idea.
~ I wanted her to be able to see some of the casinos so that she could compare the ‘vibe’ of them all. We went over to the Planet Hollywood – the old Aladdin for us fogeys. I give the Aladdin credit for doing a Vegas remodel well. You can still tell that it’s all the same, but they did a nice job of adding lights, pillars, and other stuff to make it look ‘hip’. I think it’s my favorite looking casino. We were at the Paris when we got a lucky crosswalk break to cross over just in time to watch one of the fountain shows in front of the Bellagio. The fountains were choreographed to Gene Kelly’s ‘Singin’ In The Rain’.
Jill in front of the fountains at Bellagio
It was amazing. We walked on into the casino and showed her the crazy glass umbrellas in the lobby and then into the garden display. It was still the ‘fall harvest’ set-up and was amazing. Jill couldn’t believe that they had all of that as a ‘temporary’ setup. From there we went into Cesar’s Palace and I showed her the ‘original’ table pit room that has been the same since I have been going to Vegas. It’s very ‘old school’ for Vegas seeing that they typically tear down stuff like that. We walked over towards the shops and I showed her the replica of the Trevi Fountain. Again, just more proof that ANYTHING can exist in Vegas.
~ We hopped in a cab from Cesar’s to go to the Palms since we were so close. I had texted Bryce to see if he was up for visitors. I got to see Joe Maloof hanging out. I wonder if he would remember me? Doubt it! Bryce had the KISS show in the Pearl showroom and it was done. He still had to take care of some things but he led us upstairs to the Playboy Club/Moon in the tower. The Playboy Club is exactly as I remember it. Kind of slow, but it was only 10:30 or 11 – still early. We went upstairs to the Moon dance club. It has a retractable roof that open up to the sky. Sadly, the two of us found ourselves feeling very ‘old’ there. The music is too loud and the people looked like kids. We laughed as we were able to totally people-watch. We both decided that it was getting late and we went downstairs. Bryce wanted us to hang out a bit longer but I told him we were just old anymore. He told us that GhostBar was more ‘mellow’ and to try it. We went up to the top of the other tower and indeed, it was more mellow – and a bit older crowd. By this time, I think we were both on the verge of falling asleep. We took a cab back to our hotel and passed out. I think it was about 1:30 am.
~ Sunday morning my phone rang at 6:50 am to remind us to check in online for our flight out. Stupid alarm function. We couldn’t fall back asleep as the noise of the airplanes taking off was CRAZY. We laughed that the ONE day that neither of us had ANY family responsibilities – we could not sleep in. Fitting. We finally crawled out of bed and went downstairs for some breakfast. Raffles cafe at the Mandalay Bay was just good, straight-forward food. We split a large omelet and a stack of banana-nut pancakes. The service was incredible.
Awesome breakfast at the Mandalay Bay - Banana Nut Pancakes
~ Our Spa Mandalay appointment was for noon and we got there a little after 11. I think that this was my first time to a ‘spa’. I’ve been to Ten Thousand Waves and to different places that have had massages but I don’t think I had been to a men’s spa prior to this. I have to laugh a bit at myself as it’s a bit disconcerting to walk around when your first response is to cover up when you see someone when you ARE naked. Regardless, I opted for a dry sauna for about 20 minutes before the massage.
The massage was awesome. My therapist had been working at the spa at Mandalay for ten years! She said that quite a few of the workers had been there that long. I asked about the economy based upon what she saw and she said that people that come to Vegas have money to spend and that will never change. She said that people used to not think twice about spending $400-$500 and now it’s more under $200. She said that the crazy tipping is gone. People think more now, she thought.
After the massage, I went back into the spa for about an hour. More sauna, cold plunge, hot tub then the showers and back to the room. Jill had said that she was going to hang out for a while and since I couldn’t find her (and I knew she wouldn’t have a place for her phone) I went back to the room and then back down to the casino.
I went for my normal slot machine – Wheel of Fortune. It’s just a slot machine, but there’s something exciting about watching that damn wheel spin. On a quarter machine, I hit a forty coin win ($10) and then….
I hit a 1,000 coin win! I have only done that one other time and it was in Albuquerque at the Sandia Casino. That time was on a dollar machine, still this did not suck. I continued playing for a bit – something that you should NEVER do. I still walked away with $250. Jill called and I met her upstairs.
I just won $250 on the Wheel of Fortune Slot machine
~ We cleaned up a bit and decided to head out again. I showed her the casino at the Tropicana. The most noticeable thing about the older casinos was the crazy amount of cigarette smoke there is. The newer ones must pump Febreeze or something through them. We took the Monorail from the MGM up to Imperial Palace. The Monorail was very shaky feeling – like it needed some nuts tightened up somewhere to make it less of a rocky trip. Still, we got there fine. The Imperial Palace is another old-school casino. We walked across to the Mirage. I was actually impressed with the remodel job over there – it really looked nice. It’s kind of strange to see the new bars and restaurants – one of them is where the white tiger cage used to be! We decided on some apps at Stack. It’s run by the Light Group who operate several restaurants and several clubs around the Strip. We split an app of lobster tacos with ‘avocado puree’ – something the rest of us know as ‘guacamole’. I had a big ol’ bowl of hearty, tomato soup and Jill had a salad. We were laughing that all the employees could have been models. We walked around Mirage at bit more and then went over to Treasure Island. It’s funny how in the old days you would walk along Las Vegas Boulevard to get everywhere. Now it’s all done in the casino and via monorails and trams. They have actually rebuilt a lot of the walkways so that you do not even get near the street. I showed Jill Fashion Show Mall, it was closing for the night but it’s pretty impressive from the outside. It used to just be a ‘normal’ mall – now it’s way fancy. We went across to The Wynn and was even more amazed at simple things like the flower arrangements and the inside landscaping. We went over to the newly opened Encore as well. WOW! Even more extravagant. The use of the color red is impressive.
We got in touch with Byrce and Shannon and opted to meet at a bar in Bellagio so we started ambling back towards that part of the strip. We went in through the shops at the Palazzio and down through the Venetian. They have that whole place all messed up as far as getting around in it. I actually got us lost only because they closed off an entrance or exit or something. Again – more proof that anything can exist in Vegas. We stopped in a few of the shops. There was a very cool glass place that had some incredible objects and even had some carved wood pieces that looked like fabric. Wow.
By this time we were getting a bit crazed in the head as we were tired, hungry and not looking forward to the 6 am flight in the morning. Once we made it back to the Bellagio, the bar that we were going to meet at was closed for a poker tournament. Jill and I were physically tired and mentally done with the trip. The early flight was weighing heavily and we almost bailed. Intead we waited at Fix, which was strangely similar to Stack – same group. The bartender, although we could NOT understand him was fun. We were the ‘first’ customers he had ever had from New Mexico. That was strange. Bryce and Shannon came up and Jill and I were getting our second wind. We opted for dining across the way at YellowTail for some sake, some rolls, and some edamame that kicked butt! We enjoyed the fountain shows from the inside and some stellar conversation about all sorts of topics. It’s amazing how much I miss conversations with other adults. We closed down the restaurant and said goodnight to our friends. We cabbed it back to the hotel, went upstairs, packed our bags and hit the beds.
~ That alarm came early. We ran downstairs, hopped a cab for the airport and left – just a mere 37 hours after arriving. It was a whirlwind trip. We got to laugh at other people, laugh at ourselves, eat some good food, and escape our ‘normal’ lives for a bit. In some ways I wish we had a few more hours there and in others I was happy that we had the time we had. We didn’t solve any of the world’s problems – or even our own. But I think that we realized that we all have issues and the only way that you understand how normal that is – is for you to share with others. My life hardly seems as complicated and maybe the best thing that I think we both got out of the trip is that we need some time to escape and see the other side.
I had someone tell me last week that the thing that I most need is some ‘me’ time. I think I got it…. 🙂

Published in: on December 5, 2009 at 11:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Today is Tuesday

Life: Indifferent Work: Indifferent
Weight: Hours of Sleep:
Back in town and on way to Austin. I will update the Vegas trip – LOVED IT!

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment