Monday, April 30, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

The birthday weekend got off to a surprisingly good start – beginning at the airport where doodah!, Fellow Fanilow and I met a lovely semi-retired anesthesiologist who lives in Vegas. I say semi-retired because there is a doctor that she has partnered with for many years who moved his practice to the foothills of California. Whenever he has a serious surgery he flies her in for the day. I guess with the pressure of surgery, you’d want someone you know and trust on the keeping-the-patient-out-but-not-dead end of things. All I’ve got to say is that the money had better be pretty darn good because the flight’s an hour and a half and the drive is more than another couple of hours. Anywho, she gave us the lowdown on the place locals go for a weekend buffet – the same food as the casinos on the strip but only a third the price. She also let us know that if you are going to see Cirque Da Sole, while both are dazzling, Mystere has a better storyline than O and is more elegant. So put that in the corner pocket of your mind for future getaway plans.

After we got our rental car (which we lovingly referred to as our muscle gangsta car) and checked into our room – which had little munchkins bouncing off the walls hopped up on lollipops (get it, munchkins…lollipops…) – it was 2:30 AM and we were starving and buzzed on over stimulation. So off to the Bellagio Café for a super late night supper. Easy-peasy, right? Ha! Vegas may be eager to fill your every whim when you are in the super secret high stakes Kino game room (I know they exist somewhere, I know they do dang nab it), but if you are an ordinary couple of Janes wanting a BLT at 3 AM you’re going to have to learn the lessons of waiting. Not only did it take three people to get customers to their tables and take orders, the wait staff had an unwritten rule that they were not to communicate with each other verbally (it probably throws gamblers off their mojo) so they have some Helen Keller strung out on crack hand signal system, which no one understood and had to walk over and whisper in the other’s ear. If they point three fingers in the air while facing east and flicking the wrist clockwise means seat these two people away from the kitchen door and get them water with ice. A counterclockwise flick of the wrist means no ice.

But the best part of the night came as we were standing outside with middle aged men and their, well lets just assume they are their daughters. As we were languishing in line, this guy with a white satin tracksuit with teal writing and his friend came strutting in past the hostess and two assistants, totally ignoring the hand signals. A flurry of staff stumbled over themselves shooing him back to the front. Let’s pick up the dialogue here:
Tracksuit Man: Do you know who I am?
Mousey Hostess: No sir, but you have to wait until the others have been seated.
TM: Do you know who I am? We are RF & BD, (which sounded like r f’n bd, as in real f’n big deal). I wait for nobody. Get Tom on the line and you’ll find out I don’t wait for nobody.

I don’t know who Tim was, but he got RF & BD a table, sitting just far enough away from us that we got to see him periodically stand up, take off his jacket and walk past the mirrors admiringly flexing his muscles – all for our entertainment. We would have taken a picture, but I think he knew people who could hurt us and make it look like an accident. But anytime you feel frustrated and that you deserve better, feel free to shout out, "I'm RF'NBD and I don't wait for nobody!"

Coming up next, the Music and Passion.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Me and Elvis

One month ago two incredibly dear friends took me on the ride of my life to celebrate my 40th birthday. Yes that is right, the big four-oh. By the way, I am to tell you that my mother, who is too young to have a child this old, adopted me when I was 20 and she was 14 years old.

So where did we go, you may ask? Was it to the raging nightlife of Boise? Duluth? Omaha? These are all very fine cities in their own right. But for a milestone birthday we headed for the bright lights of the Los Vegas Strip.

There were a few goals that we had:
1) Convince someone to let us be brides maids at their Las Vegas Chapel-o-Love wedding.
2) Find an Elvis. We got so busy that goals one and two dropped down on the things-we-gotta-do list. However, I found out that the head of our math department was hitched at the Vegas Graceland Chapel where you can have your choice of Elvis, gold lamé young Elvis and the flashy, sequined, 70's cape and jumpsuit Elvis, perform the wedding.
3) Visit all the places in Ocean's 11
and quote as many lines as possible. Fortunately the only line I can remember is, "If you don't shut up I am going to eat your whole head."
4) And the major reason we went to Vegas is to see The Man in action. Yes, I am talking about Berry Manilow. What can I say, he writes the songs that make the whole world sing.

There is more to come. So please stay tuned.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Only The Soul Can Perceive What the Eye Sees

I am finally back. So much of what I was writing was either rushed or trite. It got tiring. I would love to say that I put a self-imposed hiatus until I got inspired or emotionally and spiritually refueled. That is partially true. I was tapped and writing anything beyond drivel was too much work. So a combination of lack of inspiration and laziness has kept me procrastinating until suddenly an entire month has gone by. I have to remember the advice of many professional writers - that they set aside time every day to write - even if they do not feel inspired. So, while I am going to try and minimize the drivel, I am going back to the discipline of posting weekly, starting today. The title of this post came from a sign in Yosemite - one of the most beautiful places God ever His mark on.

On our second day there, My Sweet and I went on a hike to Vernal Falls, and this was our first real hike since the onset of winter. The walk was glorious and a challenge at first. But I felt pretty good because I was keeping up with a couple of very fit 20 somethings. At first. By the end of the first leg I had dad's carrying toddlers passing me up. But a sweet East Indian granny and I were going neck and neck.
The next leg of the trek was only 0.3 miles to the falls. I figured there was no problem - it is more than that when I walk from my house to the neighborhood grocery store. No problem, right? What that little trail sign did not mention was that the 1/3-mile was practically straight up. You may be thinking to yourself that is no big deal. Well imagine this: you decide to go check out the view from the top of the Empire State building - and take the stairs! I do not care how buff you are, by the fifth floor you'll be huffing and puffing.

Even the bundle of energy 5th graders, who had zoomed by earlier, needed to stop for breaks. They were talking so seriously about their video games, getting quite philosophical. Discussions of all things electronic was acceptable for them to do in the midst of glorious beauty - they were eight years old and didn't know any better. This was not acceptable behavior for the full grown adult a few feet above talking on his cell to his wife and children three floors behind us. Not only is using a cell phone on a hike ascetically and dare I say morally wrong, but hey Mister if you get distracted on these mist covered pillars of death you'll slip and come crashing down on me.

The trip up to the fabulous falls took like about 5 hours. The trip down could have been 15 minutes if I just stopped, dropped and rolled - like Dick Van Dyke taught me back in the day. Instead we took a longer loop down that was 1.6 miles, but was a cakewalk. And now I need to go soak my aching body in a nice hot bath.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!