October 29, 2010


That's what I call Halloween. Not that there is anything wrong with it. Disneyland gets a slew of princesses and Minnie Mouse. The kiddies can keep their playground, we have our own in Sin City. There is no better display than on Halloween. Here, you can expect slutty Belle, sleazy Cinderella, and mischievous Minnie. This year the holiday falls on Sunday, so that means a whole weekend of fun.

You can check out a list of ideas over at LLV, Vegas Values: Freaky Festivities. Last year, we spent Halloween night downtown and at Hard Rock. It was a riot. I'd like to get out this weekend and see the crowds all dressed up. But I'm not sure what's in store. We have a hectic couple weekends ahead, so we're playing this one by ear.

I plan to be home on Sunday to hand out candy. I've searched online and asked a few people about trick-or-treating times, but I'm still clueless. I need to ask more parents with kids in school. One ought to know. I like seeing the kids all dressed up in their cute costumes. It brought new joy to the holiday. The five years we lived at the condo, I had one trick-or-treater. It figured it was the last year we lived there, I didn't even bother to buy candy. I ended up handing out a stash in my purse that I took from work. We've had a great turn out each year at the house. I expect the same again, but there might be less. We have quite a few foreclosures this year. Even more than last year, I believe. And last year was bad.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the holiday. It brings back fond memories from my childhood, and my teenage years. I dressed up each year, I was 17 the last time I trick-or-treated (pictured below). For many years, we had a haunted yard, which later became a haunted garage. People came from all over the Chicago burbs to see us, it was great fun and some of my fondest memories.

Happy a happy, safe (and sexy) Halloween!

October 28, 2010

Going meatless

No, I'm not becoming a vegetarian. I enjoy meat far too much, but I'm finding I enjoy veggies more and more. Errr, fruit, too. Over the years I've worked hard to make healthful meals at home. I try to save our splurges for meals out on the town. We all know, how I love those. So, to maintain a healthy balance, I keep it healthy at home.

We eat turkey pepperoni, instead of the real stuff. I also make lean turkey bacon for BLT's and breakfast sandwiches. We even use egg whites these days. I've found a number of ways to cut fat without losing flavor. Some sacrifices aren't worth making, like I've tried to substitute ground turkey for beef in Bolognese sauce. I tried it without meat, but Frank missed it too much. I don't know why it took me so long to try eggplant as a substitute, especially since it works so well in lasagna and parmesan with pasta or on a sandwich. We've been missing out. This is great alternative. The eggplant bulks up the pasta in a hearty way similar to how meat or mushrooms (Frank's not a fan) would.

Best of all, it couldn't be easier. I simply peel the eggplant, chop it into bite-sized pieces and toss it with EVOO, a pinch of Kosher salt and garlic (shallots, too, if on hand) and let it saute while the pasta water boils. Once it cooks down and softens I add pasta sauce, simmer a bit to let the flavor meld and then I toss it with cooked pasta. I've made it twice now with success. Frank and I don't miss the meat a bit.

October 27, 2010

Raising Cane's

Anyone who knows me, knows I don't like fast-food. I make exceptions for In-N-Out and White Castle (when I'm back home). Life is too short to eat bad food, I do not like Burger King, Wendy's or McDonald's much to my nephew's dismay.

The other day we had this exchange...

Nicky: Do you like McDonald's?
Me: No.
Nicky: You don't like their hamburgers?
Me: No
Nicky: Not even chicken nuggets? (his favorite)
Me: Nope.
Nicky: (completely dumbfounded) Why?
Me: I just don't like the taste.
Nicky: Silence. Soon, Amy was on the line. He was done with me.

It's been 8 or 9 years since I had McDonald's. Well, I take that back. Four years ago, the day my nephew was born, I had McDonald's breakfast. It was his mommy's choice. You do not second guess a mommy-to-be on her delivery day. I guess the boy was even a fan back then.

Anyway, Frank's been grabbing lunch at Raising Cane's every now and then. He urged me to try it. After quite a bit of convincing, I finally did. It was nothing like KFC which is what I expected. We went to the location on Flamingo near Maryland Pkwy.

Another odd quirk I have is I do not like chicken on the bone. Wings, thighs, drumsticks -- none of it. Chicken is also my least favorite protein. So, it's not something I often enjoy. At Raising Cane's all they do is Chicken Fingers. It's kind of like it was made for me. All white meat chicken, never frozen and lightly breaded and fried to order. I had the three finger box, sounds dirty, doesn't it? Once I got my head out of the gutter I was able to enjoy it.

It was crisp without being greasy, and juicy on the inside. Their sauce is pretty good, I like the peppery-ness of it. Although, I felt like it could use some smoke flavor. BBQ sauce and chicken fingers just go hand in hand. I suppose, honey mustard does, too. The fingers came with crinkle fries, crisp and light in the center just the way I like 'em. You can tell they fry in fresh oil, too. I always appreciate that. I also had a side of Texas Toast. It's light and airy, brushed with butter and garlic. It's so good. Yum.

I've since learned Raising Cane's got its start in Baton Rouge, LA. The founder was told by banks and his teacher that a chicken finger business would never work. He raised much of his own funds and showed them. I love stories about people who were told the can't, but prove they can.

Now, In-N-Out isn't alone. I like Raising Cane's, too.

October 26, 2010

More weekend photos

After the Street Party I walked down to Bellagio to snap shots of the current Conservatory display, passing Caesars along the way. Enjoy.

October 25, 2010

Margaritaville Street Party

Saturday, I went over to O'Sheas for the Margaritaville Street Party. I had no idea what I was in for, it was my first encounter with parrotheads. Oh my goodness, what a crowd?! People were shoulder to shoulder, singing and dancing, while gulping down Landshark or blenders filled with Margarita. The costumes were a riot. Friendly crowd, those Jimmy Buffet fans.

October 22, 2010

Missing: Sunshine

It's been a dreary week. Although, I admit I liked the storms. I do miss me some lightning and thunder. But after a night or two I had my fill. I tolerated it a bit longer just because rain is good for the roofing business. Now, I'm good. I need blue skies and sunshine. Got that mother nature?

I did appreciate the rainbow yesterday.

I caught this beauty while getting the mail. By the way, I'm being inundated by political mailers and phone calls. I voted last week, but it matters none. They keep coming, and calling. Now, if I don't recognize the number calling I ignore it. So, now my voicemail is filling up with political messages. I'm not sure what's worse. And what ever happened to save the trees??

This is from Wednesday and Thursday. The amount we see in a week is even more gross. I cannot wait for election day. Anyway, I hope the sun returns tomorrow. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. Tomorrow is the annual music and food festival, get the scoop at Vegas Values: Bite of Las Vegas. That really makes it sink in that fall is indeed here. I'm in denial that Halloween is right around the corner. Soon, I'll be saying that about Thanksgiving. It never fails. Speaking of Halloween, next Saturday Fashion Show Mall is having a neat event. Students from Las Vegas' Fashion and Design school are putting on a Halloween Couture show. See Spooktacular Fashion for details.

Las Vegas is gearing up for the holiday, I've seen dozens of parties announced. I'm interested to see what clever and creative costumes will be spotted this year. I need to find out when there will be trick or treating. I heard some flack over celebrating Halloween on Sunday. I don't know if it held any weight. I bought those ginormous bags of Hershey's candy from Sam's Club. I made the mistake of putting out the candy too early, nearly all the Reeses and KitKats are gone from the first bag. I did my damage, but my dear husband is the culprit. Sorry kids, you'll be getting a bulk of Almond Joys, Hershey's Bars and Whoppers this year.

October 21, 2010

Fun on Fremont East

Last weekend, Golden Nugget was celebrating October Fest. Friday night had a $50 admission, we opted to go Saturday night when admission was free, but 200 beers and food were available for sale.

When Golden Nugget renovated and added the hotel tower, they should've expanded their parking garage, too. It's a nightmare to park there. We went around and around all the way to the top and it wasn't until we made our descent that a spot opened up. We happened to be backed up at the right place at the right time. The parade of cars around us must have been a little pissed.

The fest was at the pool, we walked over and there were two tents set up with bottles chilling on ice. It wasn't clear what was available, and beers were only sold by purchasing tickets. It wasn't what we were hoping for so we bailed. A pub crawl on Fremont sounded like a good alternative. We're familiar with all the bars under the canopy so we decided to stroll down East Fremont to see what's new. Much to our surprise, quite a bit!

First there is a new hookah lounge, and then just past the cigar shop there is the Vanguard Lounge and The Beat Coffeehouse. We walked by the Vanguard and did a double take it had open air patio seating. We love this style of bars in San Diego, we've been saying Vegas could use them for years. Someone, finally, did more than talk about it... they did it, and right where it needs to be. I have no doubt it will liven up East Fremont. We had to give them business, we had the place to ourselves until an old friend of Frank's happened to walk by. He stopped in and enjoyed a drink with us. No drafts, only bottles, but prices are reasonable. We had a couple beers and a few people came in as it got a little later. Good to see.

We continued on toward El Cortez and that's when we stumbled on the The Beat Coffeehouse. A coffeehouse with beer? That's my kind of place. They tricked us with taps, but they are still working out the details of their draft license. They had Kronenbourg in bottles so we stayed and chatted. The bartender was friendly, but she's had it with Vegas and looks forward to going elsewhere. That's a reality that's more common than ever before, but it's a shame to hear, nonetheless. Especially when I adore it so much. Anyway, the coffeehouse takes up the space of the old Fremont Clinic. The back rooms are used as art galleries. They were closed but we walked back to peek through the windows. I bet the place is really lively on First Friday.

We went to El Cortez next, it's a shame their fragrance is so strong I can never stay long. We were going to place football bets but we decided to go over to the Fremont instead. Packed house over there, but we were able to find seats in the racebook. Frank bet a few horses, I even bet one race. Two horse had Rock N Roll in the name. I had to try. Yeah, it was a sucker bet. I really can't recall ever winning a horse bet. Frank seems to think I did once, but I think he's mistaken. Sadly, my poor luck spilled over to my football parlay -- damn, Chargers.

When we left Fremont I was a bit tipsy and we were hungry. We considered staying on Fremont, but we knew our free parking would be expiring. So, Frank suggested a pitstop at In-N-out but I countered with Casa Don Juan. I cannot begin to tell you how well the tamales and carnitas hit the spot. We were practically on cloud nine walking out of there.

Our free parking was a joke. We ended up leaving 8 minutes too late. It cost us $2 to park. It doesn't break the bank. It was just obnoxious since we spent those eight minutes stuck in the garage in search of a place to park. It's such a horrible design it backs up all. the. time.

Oh. I almost forgot to mention the Downtown Ziplines. I thought they'd be open, but workers were hard pressed building the platforms while we were there. I heard it opened on Sunday evening. I planned to check it out, but after seeing it, I'd rather wait until they get a lengthier permanent structure. This is just a test on a temporary license, I suspect it will do well, however.

This is the launch platform, it on the east end of Fremont near Neonopolis. The ticket office is there, too. It was formerly the Streamline Tower sales office.

October 20, 2010

Slidin' Thru

Foodtrucks have become all the rage in Vegas, and elsewhere, apparently. The two major players here are Fukuburger and Slidin' Thru. They share their location via facebook and twitter and people track them down. Gotta love social media.

Well, Slidin' Thru started a schedule of their whereabouts. This was mighty helpful, I could final narrow down a time and place to check them out.

Last Friday they were behind Yogurtland on West Flamingo near the 215 from 6-9pm.

We got there promptly at 6 and we met a crowd waiting for these infamous sliders. The wait was about 35-minutes. Had we shown up closer to 7:00 we would've been better off the line was practically non-existent when we left.

We were greeted warmly when we placed our order, we each chose three sliders ($7) and we shared an order of sweet potato fries ($3). A short wait, later, we carried off our grub and we were anxious to dig in.

First up were the Barbie, Pep Pep and Yaya.

The Yaya, with tzatziki and feta was our least favorite. The other two were quite good, but it was the Barbie, with carmelized jalapenos that we enjoyed most.

I like my sweet potato fries savory rather than sweet. So, it was unfortunate that the fries were dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

Next were the Captain's Order, Caprese and Pulled Porkie.

From these, we liked the Pulled Porkie best. The Caprese was a nice veggie option, but it would have been better if the eggplant was more tender. The balsamic on the Captain's Order overpowered the other flavors.

If I happen to be hungry and at the right place at the right time, I'd try Slidin' Thru again. Just not sure, that I'd take the time to track them down again and wait.

October 19, 2010

Highs and Lows

In an earlier post, I mentioned my un-awesome start to my awesome weekend. Let me explain. Months ago, I was contacted by Esquire Magazine. They were interested in photos I had taken at Julian Serrano. I was flattered and very excited at the notion that one of my photos would be published in a major publication. Later, it was confirmed. All the arrangements were set. I just had to wait until the November issue was released.

Leading up to the release, Esquire got a lot of buzz over the November issue. The cover featured the Sexiest Woman, and the next day the top 20 new restaurants was released. Julian Serrano was among them. I was elated. I could not wait to get my hands on the issue.

Friday, my sister spotted it before I did. She called me with much excitement, "I have it!! I have your magazine". She thumbed to the page about Julian Serrano. Only my photo was not there. I told her to check the credits, nada. I didn't make it. Talk about going from a serious high to low. I was disappointed. I had no idea my photo was cut. I had so many people that were excited for me. It pained me that I'd have to share the news.

My excitement officially fizzled when I got my hands on a copy. Top 20 new restaurants, and Julian Serrano only had a short blurb in the margin. Mario Batali's mug took up much of the page. It was clear, this was not my chance. It was not my magazine, just a tale of how I was nearly published in Esquire Magazine.

Better luck next time.

October 18, 2010

Let's talk TV

We're pretty well into the fall season by now aren't we? I was behind, family time comes first. While, Amy and Nicky were visiting, I completely spaced on the majority of the new premieres. I only took on show this season, Boardwalk Empire. As far as the others go, I'll see what sticks and I'll catch re-runs or check them out online.

Last I chatted about television Rescue Me, Entourage, Mad Men, Penn & Teller: Bullshit and Weeds were set to premiere. All but Weeds have since wrapped up. Well, I believe, anyway. I gave up on Weeds. It jumped the shark last season, and this season it became too painful to continue to watch. Rescue Me was the pits. They should've called it quits while on a high-note. Too late for that. Entourage was also a joke. Bullshit was enlightning and entertaining per usual.

Mad Men just had their finale last night. I wasn't a fan of Season 3, but I hung in there and I'm happy I did. I've enjoyed this season. The finale had some predictions and a big surprise. An aspect is too soap opera for my liking, but still I'm interested to see where the next season takes the gang at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Louie premiered on FX. I loved it. Aside from Breaking Bad it's the show I'm missing most right now. The Big C has also premiered on Showtime. It's still airing episodes, I'm liking it. Although, it seems like it'll have a short life span.

Dexter recently started back up, so far I've been unimpressed. To be expected after such a great season. I still have moments where I'm stunned over that finale.

Boardwalk Empire has not disappointed. With Scorsese, what's not to love? I'm interested to see what else develops. Although, I gotta admit seeing Steve Buscemi seduce women is awkard. Even his power position as Nucky Thompson doesn't sell it.

So, what are you watching?

Just because

I thought I'd talk tv today, or share about my un-awesome start to my awesome weekend. Instead, I just want to say thanks. Thanks for coming by and seeing what's new. Your comments brighten my day, and your readership means a lot. It's comforting to know there is an audience out there who takes time from their day to read about mine. When I started this blog, I did it so I'd have a centralized place to keep my thoughts straight. Now, I try to give a look into the life of a Las Vegan. Among my other ramblings, I try to provide tips and tidbits about this great city, I'm fortunate to call home. Anyway, I'm grateful for each of you that are part of my journey.

Just so this isn't all mush. Did anyone catch the Cosmopolitan commercial last night during Mad Men? It seems they're taking the "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" to a whole new level. I can honestly say I never expected it, and I'm a little more intrigued about the property than I was before. By the looks of it, I would not want to be the one responsible for cleaning and maintaining the guest rooms. Also, I spotted dogs, pussy, chicks, tail or doe... ducks? And are they screwing like bunnies??

October 15, 2010

Are you normal?

Yesterday, I caught wind of topic Oprah did on her show. Ordinarily, I’m clueless and generally I could care less about anything Oprah has to say. But, this show was, Are you Normal? There is even a quiz to take to see how you fare. It piqued my interest.

Who doesn’t wonder if they are normal? For the most part, I think I fit into normal parameters, but I often tell Frank that flies on the wall must think we are absolutely bizarre. We act goofy, discuss the most unusual topics and say and do things that only we could understand. It’s why we’re so perfect for each other. But, are we normal? Am I normal?

I never liked quizzes in school. Yet, I enjoy them as an adult. Go figure. I like those that test my knowledge and those that are purely entertainment.
There are a series of questions in the quiz, these are the ones I found more interesting…

How often do you have sex?
Every single day (5%)
At least once a week (47%)
About once a month (19%)
It's been awhile (28%)
Experts at Indiana University say 30 percent of all couples have sex two to three times a week.

Phew, I'm normal. For those 5%, how do you find the time?

Do you and your spouse sleep in separate bedrooms?
Yes (12%)
No (88%)
A recent National Sleep Foundation study said one in four American couples sleep in separate bedrooms. The National Association of Homebuilders predicts 60 percent of custom-built homes will have two master suites by 2015.

This was when I knew my parents' marriage was over.

How many hours of football should a man watch a week?
None (14%)
3 hours (46%)
6 hours (35%)
12 hours or more (5%)
According to a USA Today online poll, the "normal" American man watches three to six hours of football per week.

My guy exceeds the average.

Men would most prefer to marry a…
Blonde (39%)
Redhead (3%)
According to a November 2006 survey by Sunsilk and Askmen.com, 75 percent of men surveyed said they plan to marry a brunette if they haven’t already.

Good thing I found a guy that likes redheads.

Are you normal if your spouse has never seen you naked?
Yes (11%)
No (89%)
According to a USA Today poll, 92 percent say you are not normal if your spouse has never seen you naked.

I try not to judge, but it's absolutely not normal.

After you blow your nose, do you look in the tissue?
Yes (78%)
No (22%)
Dr. Oz says looking at a tissue after using it creates a sense of satisfaction for people.

Might be gross, but it's a tell tale sign if it's allergies or infection.

When you buy new underwear, do you wash them before you wear them?
Always (36%)
Sometimes (27%)
Never (37%)
Dr. Oz's team lab-tested undergarments from coast to coast and found some that tested positive for yeast, fecal matter and even blood.

Eww! My germ phobias are often a good thing.

Do you sleep with your underwear on or off?
On (64%)
Off (36%)
While Dr. Oz says there isn't a lot of research on this, it's better for women to sleep without underwear. "You don't want it to be so moist down there. Let it dry out a little bit," he says. "Secondly, the underpants can abrade on your skin a little bit, which can cause pimples, and you don't want that."

Nakedness, baby. Let those panties fly.

Do you wash your hands after going to the bathroom?
Yes (93%)
No (7%)
Researchers from the American Society for Microbiology found that 93 percent of women and 77 percent of men washed their hands after using the restroom.

Liars. It is digusting to witness how many people do not wash their hands. Especially in casinos. Please people wash your hands, and use soap.

Do you lie about your weight on your driver's license?
Yes (46%)
No (54%)
According to a BettyConfidential.com poll, 68 percent of women lie about their weight on their driver's license.

I do. I guess I don't represent the majority.

Is it normal for parents to lie to their children?
Yes (77%)
No (23%)
According to a 2009 University of San Diego study, 78 percent of parents admit to lying to their children.

Far more do, hello, santa?

Is it normal for men to travel with a stuffed animal?
Yes (6%)
No (94%)
British hotel chain Travel Lodge found that one in four men travels with a stuffed animal.

Absolutely not. Apparently, a fair amount of British men are sissys.

Is it normal for pets to sleep in their owners' beds?
Yes (63%)
No (37%)
According to a Harris Poll, 69 percent of owners let their pets sleep in bed with them.

I sure many find this normal, but eww, my mind can't get past the germs they'd bring into my bed, not to mention the allergens.

Is it normal to sleep in the nude?
Yes (72%)
No (28%)
A recent Glamour magazine poll found that 56 percent of women routinely sleep naked.

I'm a little surprised how many don't sleep in the nude. But I suppose kiddos might hamper that.

What is the most Googled word ever?
Sex (42%)
Weight (19%)
Love (21%)
Money (17%)
The Google research department says the answer is "love."

Funny that the majority says it's sex.

I'm not entirely normal, I expected that. I am me. That's what really matters. I'm even lucky enough to have a man that accepts all of my quirks and loves me whether I'm normal or not.

October 14, 2010


Last night we got antsy sitting at home. After watching the last miner rescued we couldn't sit still any longer. We were going out. Frank searched online for something new to check out. He turned up Quinns Bar at GVR. They supposedly had live music and put on some audience participation show similar to dueling pianos. It sounded fun, we'd check it out, but it didn't start until 8:30. We had find something else to occupy our time in the meantime. He thought, Club Fortune! It's one of the very few casinos in the valley we've never been.

He used his On Star to retrieve directions. For the first time, in three tries it actually gave us the most direct route. It was about time. 23 miles later we arrived at our destination on Racetrack Rd. Club Fortune is way WAY out there! It's a clean break-in joint it reminded me a bit of Joker's Wild. Although, I haven't been in their in ages. It offers all games, a couple large bars and the staff seemed friendly enough. The sportsbook was closed, but it was a Leroys. Frank had a crazy parlay he needed to cash in. We went to the cashier to collect. The ticket cost $9.88, it had 200-something bets at 4 cents each. It paid $9.74. We had a good laugh.

We got our player's card, supposedly they offer nothing for new sign-ups but Frank managed to walk away with a free deck of cards. You can never have too many of those, even living in Las Vegas. We walked the casino and an old penny slot, Roamin' Rhinos, caught Frank's eye. I played it, too. We each got the bonus, the hilarity of it was the rhinos didn't move. Frank made $50 and I made $25. Score!

He went to play blackjack, they had a $2 table. Usually our favorite, but I wasn't feeling it. Frank lost hand after hand because first base kept hitting cards he should've stood on. He got up and moved to the $3 table. It went better, well, until he hit a losing streak. He took the remainder of his buy-in and went to $1 craps. I played, too. I had a couple decent rolls, but everytime I got something going I'd seven out. I did have one good roll that netted Frank $65. So, all was not lost. Rather than betting more and chance leaving on a sour note, we bailed. So far we like Club Fortune. I can't tell you how long it's been that I haven't had my tits kicked in. It's fun to win.

Next stop was GVR. We found Quinns. Turns out there was no live music as advertised. Only karaoke. We had a beer and left, a quirky chick singing Enter Sandman was the final straw. Not wanting to go home, we stopped at PT's for another beer. I proceeded to lose $20 on keno. Frank lost $45 between keno, VP and slots. At least the beer was cold and tasty.

Got home and it wasn't even 10:00. This whole getting dark early thing is messing with my mind. My internal clock is totally whacked. I'm not digging fall. Can't it be summer, again?

October 13, 2010


I keep trying to focus, but I keep getting distracted by thoughts of upcoming vacations. I blame San Francisco for my foggy brain, and Xpu-ha, Mexico for my laziness. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Truth is I'm overwhelmed by things I want to do. My future. And the unknown. There is little reward without risk, and you gotta take risks before they become regrets, because then it's too late. I continously remind myself this, still I sit with a billion thoughts flowing, but no real plan or goals. I must get organized and prioritize. I keep telling myself that, too. It's just easier to anticipate upcoming escapes... time away to unwind, eat and create memories with the man I love most. It's so much more enticing than strapping myself down to make real decisions. I'm all talk, well, more thought, and no action. Time to change that. Maybe by sharing that here, I'll be more accountable? It's worth a shot.

October 12, 2010

Sushi crazed, among other things

We're falling back into regular routines now that the family is gone. I spent much of the weekend cleaning house, restocking the fridge and pantry and tackling my massive laundry piles. I'm pleased to report I'm all caught up on those, with any luck it'll make it easier to make time to get back into the swing of regular exercise. I've been a slug, I haven't worked out since I hurt my ankle late spring. I'm running out of valid excuses so it's time to get my ass moving. That's first on my to-do list. I also have intent to menu plan for weeknight dinners. I planned to write out a menu for this week, but I failed. Failed so much so that last night I had Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Nowhere does that fit into my slug no more, get fit plan. But what fun is life without guilty pleasures and tasty eats. I might have also had a tall boy with those wings. What? It was MNF, and I had a coupon for free wings. Now, you can see why my clothes are fitting a bit tighter than I'd like.

That brings me back to my original point. Sushi it's supposed to be healthy right? Well, as long as you choose items without mayo, cream cheese or those that are deep fried. We found a place near the house, Hokaido, they do all sort of rolls and sushi. Even there udon dishes are good. We've been twice for sushi in less than two weeks. We've been sampling their rolls. Yes, even those with all that bad stuff. They're good, What the Hell has been a favorite. It has Spicy Tuna, Cream Cheese, and Jalapeno. (left to right: fried california roll, what the hell, rock n roll, spicy crab).

We had these on our first visit, along with a very tasty udon noodle dish. Dark Horse: spicy crab, tempura shrimp, avo and crunch; Japanese Lasagna: baked crab and cream cheese; and a classic spicy tuna roll.

We've hardly made a dent in the offerings. I anticipate many more return visits so we'll continue to eat our way through the menu. I should probably stray from those less healthy options, but who am I kidding? I'll get what I want. Life's simply too short.

October 8, 2010

Hugs and Tears

Yesterday we had an early mini-birthday party for Nick, he'll be four in November. We sang and ate Madhatter cupcakes. Yum! Then, it was off to the airport. Saying good-bye is never easy. This time was particularly tough. We had such a great time. Nicky is at my favorite age, I just adore him. I had lots of quality time with Amy, too. It sucks not knowing when I'll see them again. And the this was likely the last trip of this length. Amy will be working soon, and it won't be long before Nicky starts some form of school.

We created all sorts of memories this visit. We swam, ate ice cream from the ice cream man, went to the children's museum, played with the neighborhood kids, rode the tram at Bellagio, saw the conservatory and the sights at Crystals, ate Ghirardelli ice cream, visited me at work, attended the Las Vegas Locos football game, went off-roading, rode his horse Cha-Cha and played with animals at grammy's, played mini-golf, went to the Pahrump fair and Henderson car show, visited the town square park and cooled off in the splash pad, saw the Pacific ocean for the first time, played at the beach and took a whale tour, shopped at Ikea and fell for his kitchen, played hours and hours of cops, and made pizzelles. It was a good trip, indeed.

The boy's current obsession are cops, he loves the tv show and he loves to pretend he's officer Nicky. "We gotta move out" and find the bad guys. Those bad guys lurk around every corner, let me tell you. Seeing how much he was into it, I stopped at the Halloween store around the corner from the house and picked him up a policeman costume. It was worth every penny spent just to see him open that package. Wow! Cool! This is cool. So cool. He made it quite clear that it was very cool. He immediately put it on, it brought officer Nick to life. He just loved it. He practically wore it non-stop since I gave it to him. He's really too cute for words, see for yourself. He told me he'll miss me so much, I know he will, but I think I just might miss him and his mommy a bit more.

Amy and I had fun together, too. We got a few night's out. We gambled, had some drinks and, of course, enjoyed some eats. I sat beside her as she played her first hands of blackjack. I showed her how to play Keno. We had a girls' night out that started at the Hard Rock, we checked out the changes and Johnny Smalls see this week's LLV article for details, Vegas Values: The Hard Rock Rocks!. Afterwards, we headed downtown and played Bingo at the Plaza for a huge change of pace. We played some slots. I wished for black on the roulette wheel when she bet her last $6, but it was red. We shared tapas at Firefly. She doesn't share the same love as I do for artichoke toasts and sangria. That's ok, more for me. We had lots of laughs. Remembered some old times. Complained about aging. Above all, I just enjoyed her company no matter what we were doing. And I love to see her interact with Nick, she is a really great mom. She's raised the kindest, sweetest, smartest and most well-behaved little boy. I'm really happy my mom, Frank and I were able to have this time with them.

October 7, 2010

So long dinosaur age...

I'm part of the 21st century these days. It's true. I have a fancy pants phone that does more than make calls. I also broke down and bought an mp3 player. I've had both for a week now, and it's pretty great to join the masses. I can see what all the fuss has been about.

I couldn't jump on the Apple bandwagon, however. I can only jump so far. My cd player broke in my car, and it was driving me batty listening to commercials so I broke down and picked up a Phillips mp3 player for $30. It holds 4GB worth of music. It's currently about half full, I still need to add new downloads and my cd collection. So, I'm sure it'll be filled fairly quickly. It's okay, I don't expect much great new music anyhow. I have the classics and the better stuff from the last 30 years covered.

As for the phone, I had been using Cricket for the last year. Prior to that I was a long-term T-mobile customer. They ticked us off and we abandoned them for cheaper service. Frank's phone was covered by work so it was only me that needed a plan. Cricket was an easy choice it was $25/mo and I didn't need any bells and whistles. It worked fine, as long as I didn't leave Las Vegas. When I visited my mom, or traveled to San Francisco or Phoenix I had no coverage. The only place I had service besides Las Vegas was San Diego, it even worked in the Pacific Ocean oddly enough.

After a year, I couldn't take it anymore. Texting was a ridiculous chore and I wanted to be able to make calls during all my travels. Plus, I have developed a need to respond to emails and such in a timely manner. It was time to upgrade. I wanted a blackberry. I shopped all the plans, and settled on Boost Mobile. They have no contract and unlimited blackberry service is $60/mo. A deal in comparison to other plans I saw. I was worried about coverage, but figured it could be no worse than Cricket's service. I went to Radio Shack and bit the bullet. I bought an older model Curve and change my number over to Boost. I was all set an hour after leaving the store. I've traveled to Orange County and to my mom's and I have not lacked coverage. It's wild to access the internet in places that I couldn't even make a call before. Technology, it certainly is a wonderful thing. I have to say life has been made a little easier this past week.

October 6, 2010

Cerveza por favor

Finally, we're booked for Mexico. Again. What a nightmare! It's been a hellacious month of checking flights, but we're all set. That's what matters most. We even booked an extra night, we deserve it after all this hassle. In two months, we'll be swaying in the hammock listening to the waves crash on the beach. I cannot wait. I also can't wait to sink my teeth into all the wonderfully delicious Mexican treats and fresh seafood.

Those are the thoughts that kept me going during the great fare search. Seriously, I've never had a worse time planning a trip. I kept finding low fares on Orbitz, but when I'd go to book the price would increase. I learned later than Spirit Airlines was to blame. Delta gave me a bunch of headaches with fare changes and flight times. Yesterday, I found a good price on Spirit. I went to reserve the flights, and they started nickel and diming me left and right. Oh, you want to bring a bag? $30. You want a seat? $10. For each leg of the flight. Just to sit our asses in a seat and bring one bag we tacked on an extra $140 to the fare. Unbelievable. I was livid. I was done.

It would have to be US Air or Delta. Delta had a slightly better price and better flight times. I couldn't book yesterday because I was waiting for the hotel to confirm availability. First thing this morning the identical flight now cost $100 more per person. They jerked me around for the last time. In a huff, I went to US Air and searched for the cheapest flights. I found dates and times I could make work. Waited to hear back from the hotel, and thankfully they had our room available. I quickly reserved the flights. I was thrilled to see that confirmation code!

Mexicana sent me a claim confirmation earlier this week. I'm still clueless as to what will happen. But I certainly hope we'll get our money refunded. That's $600 I'd like back in the bank. The new flights cost an extra $300. It sucks, but it is what it is. When something sounds too good to be true it probably is... Lesson learned.

October 5, 2010

Huntington Beach & Ikea

Sunday morning we packed up and spent the morning at Huntington Beach. Nick played in the sand and him and grammy let the waves crash at their feet. Meanwhile, Amy and I laid on the beach and relaxed.

Photos by Nicky

About one o'clock we packed it in, and drove to Costa Mesa to hit Ikea. I kept Nicky busy by writing out shopping lists. Then, we hit the kitchen area and the boy was in heaven. He loves to cook, he absolutely adored his kitchen. We played there, until we had to meet my mom and Amy on the lower level. He went to the play house while we finished shopping. We loaded my mom's Blazer with all of our finds, and we hit the road for Vegas.

It was hard to resist taking 15 south, rather than 15 north, a bread run in San Diego was mighty tempting. There was no way I could go without Frank, so I behaved and headed home. We made it to the valley before we had to stop for gas. After a quick fill up at the station near M Resort, I was pulling into the drive way just after ten o'clock.

We had fun! I'm glad we were able to create these memories together. The OC beaches are a short drive from Anaheim, I suspect we'll make them a regular stop when we visit to catch the White Sox vs. The Angels.