Archive for May, 2010

Fast in Vegas, zooming home

May 17, 2010

It’s Sunday, May 16. We have been back from our trip to Phoenix for five days. Temperatures are warming, spring is springing, grass and weeds are growing like wildfire and calling to me from our back gardens.

Mum mum mum mah
Mum mum mum mah
Mum mum mum mah
Mum mum mum mah

I wanna roll with him a hard pair we will be
a little gambling is fun when you’re with me …

Huh? Gambling with the weeds? Okay. That’s not the weeds talking. That’s the music playing in my head – Lady Gaga’s song, ‘Poker Face’ – the song blasting through the car speakers as we were roaring down the highway toward Vegas. Where I left us in my last blog.

To continue the story:

The scenery is exquisite as we approach Hoover Dam:

Lake Mead looks a little low:

We’re driving over the dam now.

And soon that magnificent new bridge above us

will be completed. And traffic will flow over it, high above the dam.

Only thirty miles to Vegas from here!

We follow the electrical grid for several miles.

Through more beautful scenery.

It’s now 7PM and we’re in Vegas – caught in traffic, trying to get to the Mirage Hotel/Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard. Gees, should have taken a different exit! What does that sign ahead say? Oh – turn here! Get in the other lane! Quick! Oh oh, we should have gone further up and turned. Well, not to worry – we’ll just have to get to the Mirage and then we can relax and settle in! This place is a zoo! Swarms of people and cars buzzing every which way.

And it’s windy as hell!.

We pull up at the entrance to the Mirage and are greeted by the valet. The winds are gusting to 60 mph. David’s out with the valet guy unloading the trunk – I’m collecting stuff from the front seat to carry in. Just as David’s about to tip the valet, and send our car off to be parked somewhere, I can’t find my iphone. It’s not in either zipper front pocket on my purse where I normally keep it.

“I CAN’T FIND MY IPHONE!” I say to David, through my hair, which is blowing sideways. I look frantically for it in the car – with my feet in the air and arms flailing, as I search under the seat, between the seat and console, between the seat and door. I dump my purse out on the seat and search through the contents – twice. No iphone! It isn’t in either zipper front pocket nor is it anywhere inside my purse or in the car. It has disappeared.

‘”I CAN’T FIND IT!” I yell back at David, Megan, and the valet, all standing stiff as pillars on the sidewalk, completely wind whipped.

“IT’S IN YOUR PURSE!” David yells back, as he dials my cell number from his iphone.

Bling-bling-bling-bling-bling” rings my iphone from inside my purse. Oh! It’s In the third exterior zipper pocket on the side of my purse! Stupid purse. Wily, annoying iphone.

Gees, great arrival here. Just loving Vegas now, aren’t we?

We are checked in now. With a view of the strip from our room.

We are beginning to relax.

Over dinner at ‘BLT Burgers.’ With drinks. Yum!

We head to the 9:30 P.M. show at the Mirage – only a short walk from our restaurant through the casino. Past The Beatles Revolution Bar

and into a huge line – to see Cirque du Soleil’s production of ‘Love’ – A show created around a compilation of original Beatles songs with acrobats, singers, and dancers, dropping down from the ceiling, rising up from the fog or fire in the floor, flying across the set, all in surround sound. It’s pretty cool.

After the show Megan and I head straight to our room, and bed. David checks out the poker tables …

It’s morning now, the mob has cleared, and I snap a photo of David and Megan at the entrance to the show.

We are outside now, in front of the Mirage

And the wind is still blowing 40 mph.

That’s the Venetian you see across the street. Whoopie! We’re outta here. The wind makes me crazy.

Making the 600-mile drive home now.

I capture a photo of Caesar’s Palace on the way out of town.

In completion of our virtual visit to other parts of the strip in fast forward.

We jump on I-15 North, which will take us all the way to Idaho Falls.

The scenery is magnificient.

Especially through southern Utah.

What’s that thing we’re passing – does it say, Cube on the back?

Who the heck makes a Cube anyway? Peugeot or something. Does that car look French to you?

In that 600 miles …

The beauty could overwhelm you.

So could the rain

Which soon turns to snow.

We encounter road construction,

low-hanging clouds,

gloomy cows,

And finally – we enter the great state of Idaho!

Which greets us with a mixture of everything.

Zooming up I-15 and we are just a few miles south of Pocatello now.

The sun is dropping in the west.

And in the car, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young are belting out one of their greatest 70’s hits in perfect harmony:

Carry on.
Love is coming.
Love is coming to us all.

Just a few miles to go now.

Another classic hit from that same CD is playing now:

Our house
Is a very, very, very, fine house.
With two cats in the yard.
Life used to be so hard.
But everything is easy
‘Cuz of you.

And I look over at David as the sun sets behind him and shines on him through his window.

Arizona, here we come

May 14, 2010

We decided last Wed night, May 5th – to take a road trip to Arizona. We would leave the next day. David’s 97-yr-old mother, Marie, lives in Chandler (just south of Phoenix) with his sister, Pauline. His sister, Margaret, was also there visiting. We decided to see them all for Mother’s day.

The view out our back door Thursday morning was no surprise.

May 6, 2010

Boycott travel to Arizona? Are you kidding? How else were we going to warm up? We had endured about thirty straight days of this kind of weather. Megan looked out and said, “I can’t wait till spring is over!”

We threw our stuff together, boarded our dog Rudy with a friend, gassed up David’s 4-Runner, and hit the freakin’ road, man. It was now 4PM Thursday.

We packed along cases of our favorite CD’s and otherwise searched for FM radio stations. We were in for a long haul and could rock to music the whole way – about 900 miles to our destination and then the 900 miles back again. Here we are south of Pocatello, about 80 miles into our trip.

with the heat on full blast and the radio blaring out Megan’s favorite new hit song by Taio Cruz, (featuring Ludacris). We were belting out the chorus in our best singing voices:

I’m only gonna break-break-your

I’m only gonna break-break-your

We pulled over in Nephi for the night. Shot directly to our room to seek refuge from the 40-mph wind.

Bounced up the next day (now Friday) and before we knew it we were in southern Utah.

Incessantly on the tail of some slow-moving vehicle:

Oh goodie! In another 130 miles we’ll be in Flagstaff!

Then further south to

Bumble Bee?

We sailed through Sedona toward Phoenix. Oh we are getting close now!

Close to a complete stop in traffic, that is. Couldn’t have a road trip this long without a 40-minute delay in traffic somewhere now could we?

We’re crossing Phoenix now.

Does traffic look less daunting through the rear view mirror? At least the traffic jam appears further away than it actually is. I’m glad David is driving. It’s freakin’ nerve wracking!

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Ocotillo in Chandler, but spent most of our time at Marie and Pauline’s place in Sun Lake’s retirement community.

Where we hit the golf course.

David drove the ball,

While I drove the cart. With Megan’s help.

David and I had this discussion about golf. I asked him, “What is the difference between a slice and a hook?” (remembering these terms from my previous attempts at learning to golf). David soon demonstrated what each term meant, slicing one drive way right, where it hit a tile roof and bounced into oblivion, and then hooked a ball way left into a sand pit.

Megan and I had to make a lot of snake-y turns in the golf cart to get him to his ball for the next shot.

David hit some beautiful shots too, sailing high and straight in the direction of the hole, even missing things like small lakes, with his cheering section (Megan and me) exploding in exuberant “yahoo’s!” and “whoop-ie’s!”

But mostly, even he had to admit, he hacked his way through the course. I captured an action photo of him teeing off on the 6th hole:

Hey! So this explains his slices, hooks, duffs, gouges, toppers, lake shots, shanks, and misses! His club turns into a wet noodle when it hits the air behind him!

Okay, so it’s my cell phone messing with us, doing it’s abstract thing. Couldn’t exactly publish a photo like this in Golf Digest.

Back at Marie’s place, which sits near the tee on the fourth hole, Megan got her cast signed:

By “Gran”, Pauline, and Margaret.

Here you see all of us beautiful women celebrating Mother’s Day:

David had his hands full, being the only male there, keeping us all “Happy.” But we weren’t picky. He was smart to allow me a win at Scrabble.

We took a walk and I photographed some blooming desert plants:

Nature has a way of combining male with female. Extremely virile males with fragrant, passionate females.

It’s Monday now and we’ve hit the road north – on I-60 – toward home. For some reason I can’t stop thinking about our dog, Rudy,

who is always devising new ways to impose himself into my consciousness, trying to make me feel guilty for neglecting him. Get down from there, Rudy – this is not funny. We promise we’ll come get you when we arrive home.

We are traveling now through Joshua tree forest.

Past lonely bikers.

Through endless nothingness.

I captured this photo:

which prompted this song (a classic from 1974- by Maria Muldaurto) to start playing in my head:

Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Shadows paintin’ our faces
Traces of romance in our heads.

Okay so that ain’t no photo of a midnight Oasis. I should be singing,

‘Sunshine on my kneecap
makes me happy’

in my best John Denver voice, because that’s what it is – my knee in the front seat captured in another abstract by my iphone.

Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. Should we take the road to Las Vegas? Or…

the road to Bullhead City?

Vegas it is. Besides, we had already booked a room at the Mirage and purchased three tickets online to a show scheduled for 9:30 tonight.

We were well on our way to Vegas now – flying down the road – with a song by Lady Gaga blaring through the speakers from Megan’s CD: “Poker Face”:

I wanna hold em’ like they do in Texas Plays
Fold em’ let em’ hit me raise it baby….

Yep! We’re headed to Sin City.

I just hope it’s warm.

Trends in footwear

May 5, 2010

Trend alert! What will you be wearing on your feet this summer? Okay, so you’ve dragged out and assessed your last year’s summer shoe assortment. How dreary is it? Any of them downright smelly? Let me guess … Some shoes never did fit right, or were clunky, or impractical, or were just something, because you never wore them. Are you gonna get rid of a few pairs? Buy some new replacements for the new summer you?

When walking the mall, shopping for shoes, you might want to be mindful of, um, how much your thighs are jiggling underneath your shorts and whether you should spring for a pair of FitFlops. Because, hey! They tone and tighten your legs with every step! And they have eye-catching details like sequins and patent leather. Shop to it!

Then there’s these OKA b. shoes and sandals that were suggested in Parade Magazine as a gift for Mother’s Day. They are antimicrobial, (Really? Is that possible with anything outside of a bubble?) slip-resistant (pertinent if you wear one), and recyclable (As wall insulation?). Okay so they are made of poly vinyl chloride – which is made from salt and fossil fuel, which, well, we have plenty of that floating around now don’t we? Anyway, Soothing massage beads comfort your feet with every step. (Now your feet jiggle too?) And they’re washable – you can wash most styles on the top rack in the dishwasher. (Next to the glasses. Except then you might not want to use the glasses.)

Additionally, to avoid becoming a total fitness flop, you might consider the Skecher’s shape-ups for women and men. And let them work their magic – all you do is put them on and, well, walk, I suppose. They purportedly improve posture, strengthen the back, firm the buttocks muscles, tone and firm the thigh muscles, firm the calf muscles, improve blood circulation, tighten abdominal muscles, reduce knee joint stress, smooth out neck wrinkles, and eliminate multiple chins. Okay so I added the bit about the neck wrinkles and chins. What would be the point of toning all that other stuff when mostly what I look at in the mirror is my sagging face, excess chin(s) and crinkly neck? These shape-ups are all well and good, but is there some contraption I can wear on my head to produce a face lift while I watch, say, an instant download from Netflix?

Another shoe option would be one of the fine selections from Merrell. They’re super feet-friendly, and come in unique styles. You can actually walk reasonable distances in them, from my experience. That’s why when I found a pair in my size at a super sale price last winter I snatched it up. I was sure I’d be wearing them come spring. Here you see them:

The beauty of these shoes is that when you put them on they compel you to go bowling – Great! – because bowling involves exercise! Except, I don’t bowl. Even if these shoes do save me a few bucks shoe-rental fee at the bowling alley, I believe I will never advance ten feet beyond my bedroom with them on. They ruin your posture as you walk in them, staring at your feet. I think I’ve pinpointed the ‘something’ that keeps me from wearing these shoes. It’s called “extreme ugliness.” Even my inner 15-year-old has branded them butt ugly.

That about wraps up my blog on trends in footwear. Oh, except I do have a pair of slippers that might interest you. The beauty of these lies in their facility for multitasking. You can accomplish so many things at once while wearing them:

First, you have to curl your toes to keep them on, which strengthens your feet and stretches your heel cords. Second, you can glide them along smooth floor surfaces to exercise your legs and improve balance, while trapping dust bunnies. And thirdly, and most importantly, at the same time you are exercising and cleaning the house, you can yak on your cell phone to your heart’s content – to your BFF, or sister, or whomever you like.

If and when you soil the dust mops on the bottoms you can just rip them off and toss them in the wash. This builds hand strength and works the tendons and muscles up to you armpits.

So what are you waiting for? Shop it up.

Work it out. Buy a pair shape-ups. Or FitFlops. Or footsie dust mops.

Or wear stilettos. Keeping upright on them is a whole body experience.

Me? I’m going to chase after dust bunnies in those slipper genies when I’m at home. And keep my cell phone charged.

And I might take up bowling. Either that, or get rid of those Merrell’s.

Try to keep myself from becoming an unfit fop.