Restaurant Week: Simon

August 31, 2009
Simon at Palms Place was our choice to kick off Restaurant Week. We made reservation on OpenTable for noon. We were seated right away, only two other tables were occupied upon our arrival. The beautiful open dining room was filled with natural light, we were seated next to the glass doors that provide a pool view.

Our iced teas were delivered promptly, then we made our selections and anxiously awaited tasty eats. Frank's Caesar salad and my tomato soup were first to arrive. Pretzel rolls and zucchini bread followed. My soup was thick and bold it'd be great with pasta. The menu claimed it was served with a white cheddar zeppole but I did not receive one. The kitchen was behind and they weren't ready, I saw others receive them later. Frank's Caesar salad was crisp, the dressing was heavy on parmesan, which was pretty weak in our opinion. We like it better when it's less creamy and has more bite. Both breads were good, we particularly enjoyed the zucchini bread.

Service was sluggish whenever we needed refills on our iced tea. This continued throughout our meal.

Entrees were average. I had surf and turf tacos, the halibut tasted fishy and the steak was heavily flavored with lime. The guacamole and chips on the side were good. The salsa was smoky but otherwise bland.


Frank's Turkey Rueben was decent except for the sauerkraut which also lacked bite. His sandwich came with a side of fries but we practically had to beg for ketchup. We had to ask three times before some was brought to the table.


Shortly after our plates were cleared, we were told the rice crispy treats weren't done yet. They asked if it would be okay if we both had the milk and cookies, we were fine with the substitute. We were told they'd be right out. However, twenty minutes passed and no cookies were to be seen. My hour lunch was up and we were still waiting on dessert. Our waiter told us it'd be a couple minutes longer, we mentioned we were late and asked for the check. Minutes later, he brought that, but still no cookies. Another five minutes or so pass, and finally cookies and milk are delivered. They were warm and decadent. And they had better have been, I can make chocolate chip cookies in less than thirty minutes from scratch and I'm no chef. We finished our cookies and we were still waiting for the waiter to close out our check. By then our patience was terribly thin. We just wanted to go. Finally, he checked back and shortly thereafter we were on our way. Eight bucks for two iced teas brought our lunch tab up to $52 before tip. When leaving the host thanked us for coming, we mentioned that we wouldn't be back due to poor service. Our comment was left with no response. I cannot recommend Simon, it was a disappointing experience.

Dinner and a movie

Saturday, we went to Rave Theaters at Town Square to see Taking Woodstock. It was our first visit to that theater, it's really nice. Good layout, comfortable roomy stadium seating, and digital projection really makes a world of difference. I think we'll venture over there instead of Red Rock to view movies from now on.

Next, we grabbed dinner and drinks at Yard House which is conveniently located right across from Rave. We each had three beers: Peroni, Stella Artois and Harp for me, and Frank had a house honey wheat, Kronenbourg 1664, and Carlsberg. I liked them all except the honey wheat. It seems I haven't acquired a taste for any sweet beer. As for dinner, we had the Spinach dip to start, how can you go wrong? That's right, you can't. It was delicious. Frank had the Roasted Turkey Melt, with swiss and pickled jalapenos, I had the Pepper Jack burger with roasted green chiles and garlic aoli. Oh so very good! Frank considered another beer for dessert, but I was content. Instead, he ordered the Kona Coffee Sundae knowing it would be right up my alley. And it was! Cold java ice cream, with hot fudge and topped with whipped cream chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts... Bliss, I tell you. Service was great throughout the meal. Total came to $82, not too shabby considering all we ate and drank.

It's been awhile

August 28, 2009
I haven't tried out a new recipe in a few months. However, when my sister was here she made us a nice flank steak dinner with her special marinade. I loved the flavor, but I'm not a big fan of flank steak. When I had a hankering for those flavors earlier this week, I decided I'd use the marinade for New York Strip Kabobs. They grilled to perfection, both tender and delicious. Amy sure shared a keeper!

2 lbs meat
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c honey
1 tbsp ginger
garlic as desired
1/2 c oil
1/2 c vinegar
medium onion

Allow meat to marinate at least 24 hours, cook as desired.

50 Essential Artists/Songs

August 26, 2009
I was hit up for this on Facebook. It's a fun list, I figured it was worth sharing here. Feel free to take a stab at one of your own.

Rules: We all know that musical taste is subjective. One person's "essential" is another person's "not my cup of tea"! But...thought this would be fun. List 50 music artists who you consider essential...and the song that you most relate to them. This is fun...I'll start the ball rolling. I believe that you can tell a lot about a person by the music that they listen to. I love a wide variety of music, but these are my essentials: the ones who I'll be listening to the rest of my life, in no particular order:

1. Metallica - Nothing Else Matters
2. AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long
3. Steve Miller Band - The Joker
4. Alanis Morissette - Ironic
5. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man
6. Guns N’ Roses - Paradise City
7. Jimi Hendrix Experience - Castles Made of Sand
8. Sublime - What I Got
9. Beatles – Something
10. Green Day - Basket Case
11. Tool - Aenima
12. NIN - Closer
13. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
14. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
15. The Police - Roxanne
16. Black Crowes - She Talks To Angels
17. Megadeth - Trust
18. Tom Petty - Last Dance with Mary Jane
19. Kid Rock - Bawitdaba
20. Elton John – Your Song
21. Reba McIntire - Fancy
22. Tori Amos - Happy Phantom
23. Aerosmith – Dream On
24. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Pride and Joy
25. Eric Clapton - Layla
26. The Doors – Light my Fire
27. The Eagles – Hotel California
28. Frank Sinatra – Luck Be a Lady
29. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
30. Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls
31. Joss Stone – Dirty Man
32. Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
33. Ozzy Osbourne – Mama, I’m Coming Home
34. Led Zeppelin - Kashmir
35. Rob Zombie - Living Dead Girl
36. Train – Drops of Jupiter
37. Van Halen – Everybody Wants Some
38. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
39. Bon Jovi - Always
40. Janis Joplin – Piece of my Heart
41. Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
42. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son
43. Carole King – I Feel the Earth Move
44. KC and The Sunshine Band – Get Down Tonight
45. Steppenwolf – Magic Carpet Ride
46 Rage Against the Machine – Renegades of Funk
47. U2 – Sweetest Thing
48. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
49. The Guess Who – American Woman
50. Nirvana - Polly

New toy!

August 25, 2009
You might remember me talking about wanting a new camera, specifically, the Canon Powershot D10. Well, I finally got it! It is indeed waterproof, underwater photos and video come out pretty well from what I can tell. Frank has tinkered with it in the pool. The water has been too cool for me to give it a shot. As long as there is a light source video comes out quite clear, even at night. Below are test photos from around the yard and indoor photos of last night's dinner, as well as, my latest addiction.

Auto

Foliage

Macro w/ 3x optical zoom

Auto

Macro w/ digital zoom

Auto w/ optical zoom

Macro

Macro w/ optical zoom





Macro

Infinity

Auto

Dinner

Smoked gouda stuffed pork chops, yum!

My latest addiction...

White and dark chocolate covered espresso beans from the Human Bean, a drive up coffee stand at Ft. Apache/Hacienda.

I knew I'd have to sacrifice a few options if I wanted to go rugged, but so far I'm pretty pleased. The quality seems to be about the same as my 12mp Kodak. Except now, I have the added benefits of my camera being waterproof and shockproof. This Canon also offers more features than I haven't even begun to delve into. I strictly played with it's point and shoot capabilities. I'm anxious to get out and break it in.

What else?

August 24, 2009
More food talk. After a nice quiet weekend, that’s all I have to share.

We’ve been to John Cutter three times now. The sandwiches are great, and I love their house salad. Last night, after watching Inglorious Basterds – good flick, by the way - at Red Rock we swung by John Cutter for ½ price steaks. Frank had the bone-in ribeye and I had the filet. The filet was the better of the two, both were over salted. Neither of us was too impressed, we would’ve rather noshed on their yummy sandwiches. Fortunately, the check was only $28.

Sunday we set out for a new place to try for breakfast, Frank asked for any ideas I had for places south of us or out in Henderson. Nothing came to mind so we drove until something caught our attention. We ended up at The Griddle on Eastern near Serene. It sounded like a great name for a mom and pop type place. They serve breakfast and lunch, the place was busy, diners filled the tables inside and out. It all made it seem promising.

We grabbed one of the few open tables inside, we were greeted and the server ran over the specials. We were told the skillet with feta and pitas was “fucking awesome” strange, but whatever… we didn’t heed his recommendation. Instead, we decided to go simple, a sausage and ham omelet for Frank and pancakes for me.

Our food was quickly delivered. I had three large pancakes and Frank was presented with a sad flat omelet topped with ham, sausage and cheese. We both prefer fluffy omelets with goodies stuffed inside. Strike one. The sausage in the omelet was terrible; it looked and tasted like the boxed microwavable sausage (found in your grocer’s freezer aisle). Strike two. My pancakes were heavy and dry, they tasted like Bisquick. Strike three. The bill was a little more than twenty bucks. The Griddle was a huge disappointment. That area must lack breakfast joints, because it couldn’t possibly be the food that drew people in. We probably should’ve tried the “fucking awesome” skillet, but c’mon pancakes and omelets are fairly simple, any decent breakfast place should do them well.

We learned that there is no reason to leave our neck of the woods for breakfast. We must be hoarding all the great places on the west side of town, and competition must keep them on their game. Original Pancake House, Maple Tree, Cracked Egg, Omelet House, Hash House a Go Go, Hash House and even Siena Bistro all offer something great for breakfast, and they’re all nearby. There might be one more to add to that list, Jamm's Restaurant. Still haven’t gotten around to trying it. We must remedy that.

I have issues

August 19, 2009
As I mentioned before my clothes have been feeling a bit snug lately. I’ve gained three pounds and an inch all around since January. Not good. Most of the damage has been done in recent months. I slacked off on regular exercise back in April when I got so sick from my allergies. I made an attempt to get back on track in June, but I wasn't committed and I completely abandoned any dedicated exercise until this weekend. Between the whirlwind of visitors, doctor appointments and other daily activities I was beat. No exercise combined with lots of good eats is recipe for disaster. I was a lazy slug. Fortunately, I recognized it before too much damage was done.

Sunday, I started my “slug no more” challenge. I plan to commit myself to 30 minutes of dedicated exercise every day for six weeks. I hope that will get me back on track. It should as long as I don’t go overboard during the greatest week of the year.

Yes, I mean Restaurant Week. It’s less than two weeks away. Excuse me while I wipe away the drool.

We’d love to do a different restaurant everyday like we did last year, but I’m not sure we’ll be able to swing it. Funds are a little tight. However, several menus are $30.09 so we should, at least, be able to sample a few.

Click here for a listing of participants

At first glance these are a few contenders...

Andres
Brand
Cathouse
Company
Circo
Todd’s Unique

Until then, I’m saving my pennies in hopes we can try them all.

See, why I have issues? I can’t even get through one post about exercise without hijacking it by talking wonderfully scrumptious food.

Seriously I need help. I watch Food Network while I exercise on my lunch break. Guess who is on at noon? Paula Deen. The queen of butta, sour cream and mayo. It’s fortunate I’m not a big fan of the latter two, and only use butter to bake. Meals I make at home are usually quite healthful. At least, I got my home cooking under control. Now if I could only control my dining… Nah, who am I kidding? I enjoy it way too much. Exercise is the only answer, even if it’s while watching Paula Deen.

Happy accident

August 18, 2009
Forgot to mention one tidbit, on Saturday, Frank and I set off to try the restaurant at Red Rock Country Club. We truly enjoy Siena's Bistro, so we thought we'd see what other gems are hiding at nearby golf courses. We drove by the residential areas, but completely missed the public entrance. Before we knew it we found ourselves on Charleston. We came upon a grill & tavern that has caught our attention previously, it's called John Cutter.

We were there, they offered outside dining and it was a beautiful early afternoon, needless to say we gave it a try and abandoned our country club quest.

John Cutter is basically an upscale video poker bar, they are owned by the same people who operate Sedona, Al's Garage and a few others around town. The menu offers traditional bar food with a sophisticated twist, as well as steaks, seafood and even breakfast.

There were several menu items that piqued our interest, it was a bit tough to choose, but eventually we settled on Philly Cheesesteak Flatbread, and a Krolly sandwich with ham, bacon, signature cheese sauce and other goodies. Instead of fries, we opted for the house salad which was mixed greens with champagne vinaigrette, tomatoes, cukes, feta and pine nuts. It was delicious. Our entrees were too! The Flatbread was good, next time I have to try the sandwich. The meat was tender, the onions and mushrooms provided excellent flavor and the gruyere cheese was wonderful. The Krolly sandwich practically melts in your mouth only to leave behind fantastic smokey flavor. Yum.

Portions were large, two could easily share, or you else you better come hungry. Our server was friendly and efficient. The total damage was thirty bucks and some change.

Other items worth a mention...

Steaks are 1/2 price on Sundays. That would make the bone-in ribeye $12. Definitely worth a try.

This tavern offers no beer on tap. Odd. Lose a point. But they have Pacifico. Gain a point.

Blah, blah, blah

August 17, 2009
Weekend was pretty quiet. It was just what we needed. The only outings to speak of were dinner at Casa Don Juan. Carnitas. Followed by drinks and cards with friends. Frank spent ten hours, Sunday, at the Suncoast betting on ponies with his uncle and his uncle's friend. They were up and down all day, but they managed to end the day with an exacta that paid $421 at Balmoral. That covered their losses and sent them each home with winnings. Meanwhile, I worked on projects around the house. Not nearly as fun, but the stuff must be done.

We thought about making a quick overnight jaunt to Laughlin, but the best rate quoted was $75/night. We'll stay home, thanks.

This morning Frank went with me to the Allergist so he could learn how to administer my shots. Now, I'll only have to make a trip to the office every other week or so. That's such a relief. Twice a week, bright and early hasn't been fun, and lately it hasn't been so bright. Days sure are getting short. Where did summer go? I am going to miss it.

Weather was wonderful this weekend. Temperature wise, anyway. Smoke from California fires blew in on Saturday. Air quality has been crummy and the skies are hazy. Hopefully, they'll be out soon and we'll be able to breathe easier.

Family drama. It breaks my heart. All I want is happiness for those I love.

Nevada Residents

August 14, 2009
Check out the following links for discounts:

www.stayandplayhere.com

www.mgmmirage.com/locals/

Routines and TV time

August 13, 2009
Our stream of visitors has come to an end. Frank’s parents left yesterday. It’s been a whirlwind since May, but we should now fall back to familiar routines, bring on nakedness, peace and quiet. House guests and visitors are fun, but it’s exhausting and expensive running about and we really miss our privacy when we open our home. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see everyone visit, I’m really glad we live in a city where people like to vacation. Otherwise, years would go by without seeing loved ones. It’s just nice to get back to day-to-day life after months of non-stop action.

Hard to believe summer is nearly over. I’m going to miss it. At least, I have the perfect weather months of September and October to look forward to.

Fall also means football and good tv. I’m excited for both. I enjoy the games, but especially the competition among friends in fantasy football and pick ‘em contests. Also, this year, I think I’ll be seeing my first NFL game live. Frank and I plan to see the Bears vs. 49ers when we visit San Francisco in November. That ought to be fun.

As far as tv goes, we’re not in a drought now; we have Rescue Me and Entourage, plus a few more weeks of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit. Also, there’s Nurse Jackie and Weeds for filler, however, Weeds has certainly jumped the shark this season. Soon, though, we’ll have more quality television to add to the rotation:

Mad Men 8/16
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 9/17
Curb Your Enthusiasm 9/20
Californication 9/27
Dexter 9/27
Nip/Tuck 10/14

I only wish I could have Breaking Bad and United States of Tara back, too. I’m really missing those two shows.

The only bummer about fall is less time with Frank. It sucks when we don’t have a common day off. I love our Sunday’s together. I will miss them over football season. Not only do we see each other less, but it’s harder to getaway and seek adventures. Still, we’ll make the most of the time we do have. We intend to take two trips before the year’s end, San Francisco as mentioned before and we want to head back to Xpu-ha, Mexico in December. Hopefully, both trips will pan out.

This weekend we hoped to go camping in Utah, but the Suburban needs the exhaust redone before we can take any road trips. The funds aren’t there for it to be done before the weekend. Instead, we have a nice quiet weekend home alone planned. That also sounds nice.

Food and games

August 12, 2009
We ate well this weekend, a little too well judging by the tightness of my jeans today. Our food adventure began Friday with the Carnitas at Casa Don Juan. I’m still thinking about those, by the way.

Saturday we had lunch at Siena Deli. Frank and I have found the perfect lunch, we order a Sicilian sub, an eggplant parmesan sandwich, and a slice of Sicilian pizza. Then, we share. It works perfectly for us. The in-laws had a chicken parm sandwich and the Siena which is a chicken cutlet with spinach and olive oil. The latter was dry, I can’t recommend it.

For dinner we tried Khoury’s Mediterranean. We never been before but I’ve been curious about it since it was named a “Best of Las Vegas” a couple years back. In-laws wanted something different so gave it a try. We started with Foohl, it's like hummus but made with fava beans. It was very good. It was served fresh pitas made in house, now those were damn tasty.

I wasn't terribly hungry, but I ordered a gyro because I wanted to know how it compared to others in town. Not too good. Fat Greek has the best around. Frank had shawarma, it was ok. His parents had a chicken gyro, grape leaves and eggplant; they were pleased. After dinner Frank ordered a Hookah. My in-laws had never experienced that before. Frank and I had a good laugh as they took their first hit. I prefer the hookahs at Paymon’s they seemed to burn smoother and they have far more tobacco flavors to choose from. Dinner was nice enough, but I’m in no rush to return.

Sunday we met Frank’s uncle for brunch at Siena Bistro. I simply adore this place; it’s such a gem. Prices are reasonable, the food is great and the view is lovely. What more can you ask for? I had the frittata with spinach and sundried tomato. It was wonderfully light and flavorful. The rest of the group had eggs and ham steak, an omelet, and Turkey BLT. Happy bellies all around.

Monday, we had dinner at Stratta. You can’t beat the Taste of Wynn menu; we knew we’d return with Frank’s parents after our last visit a couple weeks ago. Many good eats were passed around; we tried the margherita pizza, calamari, caesar salad, fried dates, sea scallops, roasted chicken and veal parmesan, as well as, chocolate toffee cake and tiramisu. The fried dates were the first dish frank and I didn’t care for. I thought they had a strong licorice flavor; too bad I don’t enjoy licorice.

Our last meal with the in-laws was at the Prime Rib Loft, last night. The restaurant offers two specials this month, surf and turf and chicken cordon bleu. Frank and his mom tried each. They both came with wine and dessert. I thought the wine was terrible, but Frank’s mom didn’t mind it. Dessert was a brownie topped with a scoop of ice cream. His dad and I both had prime rib. I was disappointed as mine was pretty tough. We also started with an onion loaf, their version of an awesome blossom only made with red onion. I used to think this place was great value. Now, I’m not too sure. Everything seemed to be off. Perhaps it was an off night? I hope anyway.

In between meals we passed the time with games. Card games at home, slots and bingo at the casino and pinball at the pinball museum.

Keno is still my game. I love Four Card Keno. I’ve only had one losing session since I started playing a few months back. That was Saturday at Red Rock. I’ve never won there, so it came as no surprise. Fortunately I only wagered twenty bucks. I thought maybe my streak had ended, and it wasn't just the Red Rock curse, but I'm happy to report I won at Orleans, yesterday.

Saturday after losing at Keno we resorted to the 11pm Bingo session. It was brutal. I didn’t come close to bingo once; I was practically sleeping by the end. The last game is a cover all, Frank’s mom won it, she made a cool $250. Too bad it didn’t hit on a countdown card, then it’d pay $1000. I was happy to see her win, of course, after that the bug hit her; she went back Sunday and Monday for more Bingo. She won twice more, but those were smaller jackpots.

The Pinball Museum hasn't moved yet, it was supposed to happen this summer but by the looks of it, the move is delayed. Playing the games is a fun way to the pass the time for little dough. I just love those old baseball games. There so much fun, Frank had fun playing with his dad, too.

How creepy is this? I think it’ll haunt me in my dreams.


And whose idea was it to put the, Hey kids… next to the sex tester. Seems like an odd fit. Dontcha think?

Thirsty?

August 11, 2009

Yeah, we were too. Saturday we went to the Yardhouse at Townsquare. Great place! We sampled four beers: Sin City Light, House Hefeweizen, Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat and Warsteiner Pils. I didn't like the Leinenkugel. I like orange in my juice not in my beer. I had Frank trade me for his Warsteiner. Much better. Four down, at least one hundred more to go. So much beer, so little time.

First Friday

August 10, 2009
Our plans for Friday night took us downtown. First, we had dinner at Casa Don Juan. We've been once before and we liked it, but this visit was muy bueno! The salsa was still too watery but it was a bit spicy so it was much better this time. The inlaws had flautas and chicken tacos, they had no complaints. Frank and I shared carnitas. They were awesome. They make their own tortillas in house, the corn were the best. I felt like I was in Mexico. I was in my happy place.

I'm itching to go back, already.



After dinner we walked a block over to where First Friday is held. They've lost a good portion of their funding so it's a much smaller event than it used to be. Still, it was interesting to see the local artists' work, thrift stores, antique shops and galleries.





I nearly died in one thrift shop. I had what I believe would be close to an asthma attack. I could hardly breathe, I could only cough and weeze. It was too dusty and musty for me to take normal breaths.

We only saw the stores and galleries that are at Colorado and Main. We didn't see those that are off the beaten path. We'll have to check them out another time.

A sad sight

Friday, while I worked, Frank took his parents to the Valley of Fire and then to Overton. They didn't take a single photo of the rock formations in Valley of Fire, but they photographed petrified logs.





Onto Overton...

I was last there five years ago. My mom considered buying a home there. Lake Mead was minutes away - beaches, boating, it'd be great. Trouble was they didn't have affordable horse acres. Thank goodness. Look at it now!







Seeing these photos was terribly sad for me. The Lake used to come midway up this boat launch.


They had to drive for miles before they found the lake.


Where families on boats and waverunners used to frolic in the water; Cattle now roam in the meadows.


I would have never imagined it'd look like this when I saw it five years ago. If someone told me, I'd never believe them.

Ponderings

August 7, 2009
Are you a slow or fast eater?

Frank and I always leave my mom in dust. She's a slow eater. She said it was nice having Amy around because she's slow, too. Frank is real quick. I think I've sped up over the years by keeping up with him.

Last night we grilled steaks for dinner, Pete joined us. We all finished up about the same time except for my mother-in-law. She’s always the last one to finish her meal.

Do you think it's impolite not to keep pace?

I sit until they’re practically done, then I start clearing plates. If it were a formal dinner, I'd wait until everyone was through. Frank will often get up when he finishes. He doesn't like to linger. He gets antsy.

I also wonder what sets our pace? Is it our upbringing, environment, company?

I never gave it much thought before, it was my mom’s comment that made me take note. I’ve found myself pondering these questions at dinner ever since.

Wednesday

August 6, 2009
While I worked, Frank took his parents to the beach at Lake Mead. We haven’t been in years, probably five; I guess the beach is in pretty bad condition now. Receding waters have only left mud behind. The Suburban nearly got stuck; it was tough to walk in too. Needless to say they didn’t stay long.

Instead, they came home and spent the day by the pool with margaritas. Frank wondered why he bothered with the beach. And I was reminded how much work gets in the way of fun.

When I got home we went to M Resort for dinner. They sent us 2-for-1 coupons for the buffet and the voucher counted as a line pass. We had his parents sign up for the player’s club card so they could get their few bucks off the buffet. After discounts and coupon it came out to $16.75/pp. Not too bad.

We had wine and beer. I was surprised most dishes were the same as the Seafood dinner. They had mussels, shrimp – peeled and fried, and three kinds of fish, even one Asian dish with snow crab. All that was missing was the King crab legs and the oysters. I knew what I liked from last time so I pretty much stuck to those dishes it was a good meal. The in laws enjoyed the buffet, as well.

Bellies full we wandered out to the casino. I tried my luck on Four Card Keno. It was good to me once again. I don’t know why, but I have been lucky with Keno lately. I play four numbers (quarters), a dollar a go, I usually hit four on at least one card during a session. That pays 91 credits or $22.75. I hit four out four three times before cashing out fifty bucks ahead. I was one happy girl. Frank broke even, his parents lost forty bucks. Not bad. I still love M, I haven’t grown tired of it yet. I definitely prefer it to every other local’s casino.

We left to hit Sahara for dollar blackjack. Frank and his dad were able to get on a table. I waited for a seat, but nothing opened up. You wouldn’t think it’d be that tough to find a seat on a Wednesday evening. Word must have really spread about the dollar tables. I never played at Sahara. So, I was able to hold onto my winnings from M. Sahara likely saved me money by being busy I suppose I should be thankful. Of course, now I’m itching to play 21. Maybe this weekend?

Best of times, worst of times

August 5, 2009
Last night over dinner my mom mentioned that she wished she could win a large sum of money in order to pay off her house. I said I’d foreclose and buy a new house with cash. How sad is that? Unfortunately, it is my reality. Why would I pay off my house? It’s worth about 40% less than what I bought it for fourteen months ago. I never saw that coming a year ago. We were in a rush to buy to take advantage of Frank’s relocation package. Boy! Did that back fire? It saved us nothing. We thought we were sitting pretty; we paid twenty thousand under list. Homes had already fallen about 20% from the onset of short sales and foreclosures. Who knew it would be the peak of the fall? Where does it end?

The Las Vegas real estate market keeps slipping further and further into the toilet. The end of foreclosures seems to be no where in sight. We got another one on our block this week. Until they all sell, my property value will continue to sink.

A new month means another mortgage payment. It’s hard to see that huge chunk of change swept out of our account when we’re so far under water I cannot see the light.

What can you do? I try not to dwell. However, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

At least we love where we live. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if we didn’t since we’re trapped. We can’t refinance – deed in lieu of foreclosure on our condo turned our credit from gold to shit. Heh, shit is probably worth more. Our bank won’t work with us, they’d rather see us foreclose since our loan is FHA - they get their money either way.

It’s all about timing. Too bad ours sucks. I will say we were fortunate to get into our condo while home prices were low. Although, it’s a shame that we didn’t get out before the bubble burst. If that ever happens again, we’re selling and renting until the market tanks. Instead, we refinanced and took money out to buy a condo in Laughlin. Frank needed a home, all signs pointed to it being an investment. Ha! Lessoned learned. I could think of at least a hundred ways I would’ve rather blown thirty-two grand. I never imagined that would be the least of my problems. Never dreamed selling our Vegas condo would be impossible. Even the bank can’t sell it.

It’s sad. Sad. Sad.

I certainly hope Las Vegas has seen the worst of times so we can get back to the best of times. It sure was a lot more fun.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

August 4, 2009
I've been pretty sad the last couple days. The reality of Amy and Nicky going home really hit me on Sunday. It's always hard to say good-bye, I really didn't think it'd be different after five weeks compared to the usual one or two. It is, though, it is really difficult. I'm going to miss them more than I thought was possible. I must have burst into tears five times already. Today's been tear-free but I'm sure I'm just saving those for tonight when we drop them at the airport. I have little doubt that I'll be a mess for the in-laws arrival. Joy. Yeah, we'll be seeing my family off and welcoming Frank's family. Not sure what's in store, but I bet there will be adventures and some fun. We will host them for the next nine days. Then, it'll be back to familiar routines.

While Nicky was here. He learned a bunch. I absolutely adore kids at this age; they change daily, they learn new skills and absorb knowledge at a ridiculous rate. Their personalities really develop, it's just wonderful to witness.

Nicky made tremendous strides swimming during their visit. He learned to jump in, grab the ledge, hold his breath, go under for longer periods, wear goggles, and swim, even dive with assistance. It's all pretty remarkable considering he's 2.5 years old. Frank did a fantastic job teaching him, I was always impressed by their newest tricks. Have a look for yourself...



Goggles 101

August 3, 2009










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