February 27, 2010

Goodies for the Home

In yesterday's LLV article, I shared tips for finding deals on home accents, linens and other household odds and ends. Check it out, Vegas Values: Bargains for the Home.

February 26, 2010

WTF, I'm Purring!

Something is effed up with my sinuses. When I breathe, I make a purring noise. It's been this way nearly an hour. I'm annoying myself. It's got to stop.

In less random announcements, Amy and Nicky arrive tomorrow!! I can hardly contain my excitement. I've missed them bunches.

The other day Nicky called me wanting to talk to his uncle Frank. I told Nicky I was on my way home, he could talk to him shortly. "I hang up, now" was his reply. No love for me.

When I got home I had Frank call him. Amy answered. She told Nicky he had a phone call. "Hold on", he says, "I'm reading a magazine". Who is this kid?

He finally talks to his uncle Frank and he's quiet as can be. Frank did most of the talking. The poor kid has heard that "tickets cost money" "money we don't have" so many times, he doesn't think he's coming on an airplane to visit us.

Frank: You're coming for a visit, you are going to take the airplane.
Nicky: No.
Frank: Yes, you are.
Nicky: No. It costs money. We have no tickets.
Frank: You do have tickets. You are coming on Saturday.
Nicky: Where's grandma?
Frank: Her house.
Nicky: Ok. I call you back soon.

It's so funny he always wants to talk to whoever isn't available at that particular moment. It never fails.

Amy called me back. We chatted a bit and then Nicky distracted her and she had to go, but this is their conversation... Nicky was playing in the sink, washing dishes.

Amy: Nicky, get out of the sink.
Nicky: I'm washing dishes.
Nicky: NO! It's my job. I need to wash dishes.
Amy: It's not your job. You are THREE, you don't have chores.

Amy: I gotta go, Kel.

She says he's been driving her nuts. He's been cooped up all winter. Visiting us will do him good. He can play outside. We'll swim and visit the park. There is a bouncy playhouse I'm thinking of taking him, too. I plan to take off a couple days while they are here to get extra time with them. I was working to coordinate with Frank so we could all do something together, but his schedule is up in the air. We'll see how it goes. We plan to at least get out to Death Valley with them. They're here until March 16. It should be doable.

February 25, 2010

Why make plans?

When plans are always changing, why bother making them? I'd much rather play things by ear than set actual plans. Too bad I'm not able to do that with all facets of life. Much to my dismay some things actually require advanced booking or reservations.

Anyway, today, I cancelled our March reservation for Bellagio. This was after rescheduling it from January. I tried to get the same rate for any Sunday for the rest of the year, but it would cost $40 more. Eh, it wasn't worth it. I'll wait for new offers to roll out. There should be deals over summer. I cancelled because it ends up falling while Amy and Nicky are here. Plus, who knows how long Frank will be swamped with work. I felt it was for the best.

We've also have a trip to Phoenix planned in March. That trip is in jeopardy, too. Again, Frank's work schedule might interfere. He assured me yesterday that the trip is still green lit, but I won't get my hopes up.

This is the week we thought we'd run off to Mexico. Those plans got scrapped early this year, but it worked out for the best. Frank definitely couldn't swing a trip right now. It's been nice weather-wise here, too. I prefer to escape the cold. Although, we had a couple cool days and rain this week; I'd rather run away from the wintry weather in December.

I looked at airfare for Vancouver. The Olympics must be inflating prices fares are $70 more than the last time I looked. Now, Seattle flights are cheaper. The opposite was true before. I'd like to nail down dates for that trip, but I'm afraid that'll curse those plans and we'll be stuck nixing them, too. So I'm playing it by ear as long as I can.

February 24, 2010

A well deserved meal

Now that I’m pretty well caught up, let’s discuss this past weekend. Frank worked a gazillion hours, his new responsibilities have him working overtime. Although, Sunday, we did get to share a lovely morning and early afternoon together. We disc golfed at Anthem, and then, worked on the yard, trimming trees and raking old pine needles and fallen leaves. Afterwards, it was time for him to return to work. But we made dinner plans at 8:00 for the Strip House inside Planet Hollywood.

Meanwhile, I wrapped up my spring cleaning. While he’s been slaving away at work, I’ve been doing so at home. I steam cleaned my carpet and battled the heavily trafficked stairs, scrubbed the tile, bath and showers in the bathrooms, mopped the tile and pergo floors, organized cabinets, closets and pantry, did some grocery shopping, hung photos on the walls, attacked my growing pile of items that needed to be sewed, and in my spare time I read a couple magazines and got started on my latest book. It was a productive weekend.

By the time dinner rolled around I needed a nice relaxing hearty meal. Upon arrival we were seated in the corner booth with our backs to the bar. The restaurant had seven parties dining and we were all crammed toward the front of the restaurant - I never understand why that is. Service was terribly slow to start. It had us concerned, but thankfully once the large group beside us was served it improved. Our waiter was attentive the rest of the meal.

The theme throughout Strip House stems from this demask of women silhouettes. It's on the walls, the napkins, the menu, etc...

We snacked on bread while we looked over the menu. After making our selections, we were brought an amuse bouche of potato soup. It was smooth as silk, but it had the starchy potato taste. It puzzled my palette… in a good way.

We had a crab cake to start. It was nicely presented, with lots of crab - it'd better at $17. It was pretty good, but I prefer them spicy. Then our conversation then led to the creation of spicy crabcake sliders. I need to see if I can whip something like that up.

Frank had the rack of lamb and I had the filet, we shared a side of their Romanoff potatoes which were basically mashed au gratin. The steak and lamb were both very good, juicy and tender with a nice crust. The chops were the second best we've had. Aureole remains at the top. Frank enjoyed the potatoes, but they were too sour for my liking.

We skipped dessert. We were pleasantly full. The check came to $125 before tip. It was a fine meal. Strip House has a sexy classic steakhouse feel. I’m glad we gave it a try, I imagine it’s fate is unknown with Harrah’s taking over Planet Hollywood.

February 23, 2010

"O" these crowds are insane

Back tracking a bit. On Valentine’s Day, we played disc golf, and Frank worked on the Jimmy while I tidied up the yard. We got cleaned up and then I made us my favorite meal to whip up Gouda Pork Chops.

We expected the strip to be busier than your average Sunday night, but we didn’t expect Bellagio to be an absolute madhouse. If I didn’t know better I would’ve thought it was New Year’s Eve. We weren’t able to park in self parking or valet, both were filled. I hopped out in the valet lanes to run and grab the tickets; it took me four minutes to work through the crowds to reach the lobby entrance. Meanwhile, Frank went to CityCenter to park. He called to say he valeted at Aria and would be over as quickly as possible. It was already 10:00; I knew it would take at least ten minutes so I accepted that we’d be late to the show.

I waited by the gift shop and enjoyed the parade of couples who were also late to the show… Men dragging their woman behind them, women throwing daggers of disgust at them, while they stagger in heels, short skirts or tight dresses. It was rather amusing.

Finally, Frank arrived; we were ushered toward our seats by a couple incompetent handlers. But we found our seats and let out a sigh of relief. We missed the first 12 minutes or so, but we were able to follow along without issue. Like all the other cirque shows the performers are extremely talented. We must employ more contortionists and unicyclists than any other city. Aside, from Love (Viva or Believe-haven't seen those) the “O” soundtrack was my favorite, the music was simply wonderful. Additionally, I liked the fire and water elements of the show best.

My only complaints were in regards to the theater itself. The seats were terribly uncomfortable. The humidity level was a slap in the face when first entering the theater and the fire segments reeked of lighter fluid. They could’ve benefited from the pina colada scent used to mask the gas from Mirage’s Volcano.

I’ve also seen Le Reve at Wynn so I couldn’t help but compare the two. No doubt “O” is far more technical and astonishing. But I much prefer the Le Reve theater. I like that seating is 360 degrees and it’s very comfortable. Plus, you feel like you are part of the show that way. I believe Steve Wynn recognized the flaws of the “O” theater and improved upon them when designing Wynn Las Vegas.

After the show we walked through the conservatory. It must be the ugliest display I’ve seen. I took two photos. Two. The rest was so dark or a repeat of years prior it wasn’t worth fighting the crowds for snapshots.

We walked through Vdara. Now that was a ghost town. As was Aria. I suppose neither scream romance like Bellagio.

I should have thought of that when I realized “O” was booked on Valentine’s Day. Lesson learned and that’s a mistake I will not make again.

I'll end with Nancy Rubins, Big Edge, outside Vdara. I appreciate the irony of canoes in the desert, but I'm not certain that's what was intended.

President's Day II

After we packed it in, we headed off to do some light four-wheeling with the Jimmy. Sadly, that idea didn't pan out. As we went on, the steering only got worse and worse. It was to point we couldn't turn right. We had a to drive in reverse to get back to the main trail. We left and headed straight for the repair shop. We dropped it off, then piled into the Suburban. We opted to make the most of what was left of the day and we did a couple trails near the mines. They offer beautiful views of the city.

After taking in the views, we went to check out the old mine caves.

It wasn't the day we anticipated, but it was a good time. It was nice to get back out to the desert. I missed it.

The Jimmy's latest issue is the gear box. It's less than two years old and we already wore it out. That's being replaced along with the pittman arm. After these repairs we should be in good shape for another run. A successful one, I hope.

February 22, 2010

President's day

Last Monday I had the day off. Which meant after a long winter it was time to play in the desert. We recently replaced the tierod on the Jimmy, but then discovered it had electrical issues. Frank fixed that on Sunday, so we thought we were good to go.

Frank's buddy from Northern Cali came down with his girlfriend over the long weekend. We planned an offroading adventure with them, but only John came along. We opted to take the Suburban, too, in case we ran into any electrical issues. Frank wasn't convinced they were 100% corrected. The first turn onto the trail jacked up our steering. This was a previous problem that we thought would be fixed by replacing the new tie rod, it all seemed okay, that is until we hit the trail head.

We pressed on and stopped to do some shooting. It's been far too long, my aim was pretty crummy. Most things don't come natural to me - I gotta use it or lose it. Still, it was fun. I'll get back into the swing of it in no time. It'll just take some practice.

After the 9mm, the guys shot some clays. I finally caught one in mid-air just as it's shattering from being hit. It's the dust cloud in the top right. Click for the fullsize image.

Check out the damage to this can of rootbeer.

That wraps up our shooting. We then piled in the trucks and set off for some mild 4-wheeling. More to come tomorrow.

I'm behind

It's Monday again, and I never got further than sharing part of last Sunday's activities. I don't like falling behind, but that means work has been busy. And that is very good. I'll get to all I want to share. I promise.

Below are a few signs that spring has arrived. These were taken yesterday at Anthem's disc golf course.

These are some other interesting snapshots at the course.

There's this bridge (sewer drain) it frames the mid-north part of the strip depending where you stand.

In the drain is the funniest graffiti I've ever seen... Most was done in chalk.

This shot is awkard on so many levels, I kinda like it.

These serve as a reminder how little we are in the scheme of things.

February 19, 2010

Can I go out 'n play?

I feel like such a kid when I get to go outside and play, no matter the activity. At the end of the day, even at my age, my hair smells like a kid that's played outside all day. I'm always anxious for a shower afterwards. I wonder what it is that causes that odd funk. Grass in Chicago or dirt & rocks here in the desert, it makes no difference. If I stay indoors (outside of the casinos) the scent of my shampoo lasts all day, but I digress.

Sunday, Frank and I went to Peccole Ranch to get in a game of disc golf and enjoy the weather.

This course has lots of trees. Frank got a disc stuck in a tree. Thankfully, we were able to wrestle it loose.

The course and walking trails are sit in the wash, there are few sewers to pass thru.

Pretty blue skies

I am learning more about photography. I took this shot to practice depth of field. I figure I have a lot to learn if I want to upgrade to a SLR. No time like the present to get started.

Disc golf talk continues in today's Living-Las-Vegas article, Vegas Values: Disc Golf.