Sunday, May 17, 2015

Viva Las Vegas: The Spring, 2015 Visit

Hola darlings!

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, I know.  I've been an unsteady lover/blogger.  Stop bitching about my long gaps in posting and start reading, please.

Got back late yesterday evening from visiting Georgia a/k/a Isis (with the beautiful Isis swimming pool/yard) and Michelle in sunny and warm (until I got there, that is) Las Vegas.  I spent three full days visiting with my long-time Goddesschess buddy/partner with an occasional nod at uber-busy Michelle (exam time, she's a UNLV senior in finals and going an extra year in 2016 to pick up a second engineering degree).  I arrived the evening of Tuesday May 12 (basically crashed and burned early once I got settled into my hotel room) and left early afternoon on Friday May 16.

Isis and I talked up a hurricane, I drank a lot wine, ate a lot of food, Isis and I shopped together, peed in our pants laughing many times, we did a little barbecue/cooking one evening ( I made dry hamburgers, they did not turn out as good as they have in the past [out of practice since Mr. Don died], and also made Newton style potato salad, which was marginally better), and I picked up a sun tan along the way, got a few twice-overs (at my age, 63, darlings -- INCREDIBLE!), also got drenched by music from a festival (Rock in Rio) that was parked practically right outside my hotel's main entrance.

I stayed at Circus Circus this year:

My first time staying at Circus Circus.  It was an EXCELLENT BARGAIN: a lovely and large, recently refurbished room (a single with a king size bed, non-smoking floor so no cigarette stink), IMMACULATELY clean, excellent staff, with a lovely view of the Las Vegas valley, and QUIET! (well, until Rock in Rio showed up on Friday, LOL!), at a great price, and did I mention I had a MARVELOUS staff looking after me -- well, they were wonderful.  Whether it was Housekeeping, the Information Desk, Checking In/Checking Out, the shop and restaurant people -- all first class people, polite, helpful, utterly engaging.  Even the guests were polite and engaging, and I cannot say that for every hotel I've stayed at over the years in Las Vegas.  I was SO pleased with the experience I will definitely book there again. Thank you, Circus Circus.  And in case of you're wondering, no, this is NOT a paid ad.  I call a spade a spade, and an ace and ace.  Circus Circus is an ace.

Views from my window - this one is looking - I have no idea what direction actually, LOL -- but you can see some of the mountains that encircle the LV valley:

That dark pink glass structure is part of the Adventure Dome added to Circus Circus since my last visit to Las Vegas in spring 2013.  The one sure thing about this city is that nothing EVER stays the same there for long.

I had a view of the pool and the Adventuredome - above is an early-morning shot from my hotel room window of the pool area.

My room was in the West Tower so very convenient for arrivals and departures and maneuvering around the premises (most of the hotels/casino complexes have gotten good at putting up signs to point you in the direction to get you where you want to go, and Circus Circus was very good at that).  My room was off-Strip so it was quiet!  As a non-smoking floor, I think I dodged a lot of the more serious party-party types too, and Circus Circus is (as far as I am aware) the only remaining hotel on the Strip that caters to families with children. I saw lots of families with children of all ages, and it was wonderful to see them.  And no, there were NO screaming out of control children running up and down the hallways in the residential towers or in the hotel common areas.  (I don't mind kids except when they're screaming in my ear or kicking my seat on a plane, LOL!, and they seem to like me. I struck up a love affair at the LV airport with an 18 month old toddler who was learning to walk while waiting to come back home on Saturday.  He was such a flirt!)  Babies, toddlers and children love to make eye contact and they see the truth in a person, I believe.  If you have a good heart, they know it, nearly instantly.  They can see it in your eyes.

There is a lot to see and do on the Circus Circus hotel premises for the young and the young at heart.  During our last visit together to Las Vegas in 2011, Mr. Don and I had a lot of fun in the Circus Circus mezzanine area where free circus acts are featured and more than 200 try-your-luck games in addition to the uber cool fortune-teller machine!  I beat the pants off Mr. Don in "whack a chicken" (maybe I'm a reincarnated Viking as I seem to be very good at smashing things with a heavy wooden mallet), but he was a much better sharp shooter with the water guns than I was. Drat!  We tried tossing bean bags at milk bottles, flipping coins on to plates for prizes, tried those "crank and grab a prize" machines and played "through the hoop"  bean-bag toss games in myriad variations, and spent several delightful hours there our last trip to LV together.  Oh Mr. Don, how I miss you.  He was like the Pied Piper. He attracted people (of all ages, races, creeds and nationalities) to him no matter where we were or what we were doing.  He was just that way. To paraphrase a line from a famous movie:  He had me at "hello. And he had strangers before he even uttered a word.  I could not see his aura, per se, but it must have been one terrific aura to be able to do that! He was, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, a truly magic man.

My room with bath on the 13th floor (GODDESS number, woo woo!) was cleaner, better maintained and much quieter than the room I stayed in at the former Quad in 2013 when Thelma and I visited LV together.  The Quad (the former Imperial Palace) is now known as The Linq and seems to be in perpetual renovation mode.  It has a great location about center-Strip, but I don't know if I would want to stay there now; they are obviously marketing to the LET US GET CRAZY LIKE ANCIENT ROMANS AND PARTY UNTIL WE DROP DEAD FROM ALCOHOL POISONING crowd.  Not exactly my style these days; well, not ever my style, darlings, not even when I was in my roaring 20s and 30s :)

Isis is doing well, and so am I.  And while I have not been the best of bloggers lately, Goddesschess has funded prizes for chess femmes for some wonderful chess events in 2015 thus far, with more coming up (more about that later), so we are hard at work, peeps, even if I'm not blogging about it constantly.

Absolutely no pics of either Isis or me -- it never even occurred to me to pull out my camera to try and get some photos of us.  Guess I'm getting senile (or smart, har :))  The back yard and pool area were well-kept and lovely, as always, and the plantings Isis and Michelle have put in over the years since they purchased the house in 2008 have filled in beautifully.  I didn't take any pictures of it though, duh.

One of the cool things Isis and I did during my stay was visit a local charitable thrift store.

Isis revealed to me her incredible expertise in "picking" -- I was just amazed at how quickly she was able to go up and down aisle after aisle of merchandise and zero-in on the good stuff.  I was going to take a photo of our haul (I bought a few items, too) in our cart prior to check-out but forgot all about it, so I took this silly photo of plastic bags filled with our stash instead (after we loaded it into Isis' vehicle):

Here is an original painting she picked up for a great price.  The more I looked at it, the more I fell in love with it:

When we got back to Isis' place, we checked the artist's name on Google and found a couple of paintings of hers being offered on an online auction site for, let's just say substantially more money.  Nice score, Isis.

It was a privilege going through this experience with her.  She is a PRO.  Her mom and her grandmother before her were antique collectors and quietly built up expertise over the years.  They taught Isis all the tricks of the trade.  This woman knows her stuff, peeps.  I was in awe as she rattled off makers/manufacturers and approximate ages of piece after piece that she singled out as we went through the large store.  She ran her own bricks and mortar vintage furnishings and antiques shop in LV for many years before the advent of the internet.  These days, she works part-time only, when the mood strikes her, since retiring in 2009, and runs her shop online.

Now I'm back home and recovering from my vacation.  Travelling wears me out, peeps.  And my sciatica was acting up big time during my stay at LV and back here at home. What a pain (literally!)  I managed the mile round-trip hike to the Pick 'n Save supermarket to pick up much needed food and wine supplies earlier today, and despite the constant pain my left leg feels somewhat better now.  When I am laying perfectly still prone in bed, the pain gradually subsides and it is Heaven!  This bout has lasted about 2 weeks now, but I have had intermittent longer bouts over the last dozen or so years, one lasted about 6 weeks in the mid 2000's when I was under a great deal of job stress, working for a super asshole.  These days, no 8:30 to 5 job-related stress, but I'm no longer below 60, either.  Damn damn damn!  Well, I'm going to fight the Good Fight to keep my health (such as it is) as long as I can.  The spirit sure is willing, in any event :)

I arrived home last evening to MUCH Lake Michigan-caused fog (Mitchell International Airport is right on Lake Michigan) but by the time the shuttle got me home (abut 7 miles west) the air was much clearer, although extremely muggy.  With clashing fronts blowing in from the west coast and the Gulf coast, we were forecast to get thunderstorms, and we had a mild bought of t-storms earlier this afternoon with strong winds out of the south and heavy rains.  The storms did not last long, though.  Now it is sunny and mild outside (6:48 p.m. Milwaukee time) and the temperature is slowly cooling down.  Will we get more storms later?  I don't know, I haven't listened or looked at the latest forecasts.  It is still extremely muggy, but right now the skies have cleared and the sun is shining.  The air is very still, though.  Not a good sign.  A crow is visiting me, I just tossed out a new handful of peanuts for it to enjoy and it is bathing some of those peanuts, one by one, in the concrete bird bath that sits at the edge of my large concrete patio (no nicely tree-shaded wood deck at this house, alas).  

Now the church bells are ringing it's 7 p.m.

So funny!  As the Go Rite-Way Airport shuttle van backed into my driveway last evening to deliver me safely home at last, an extremely nosy neighbor three houses to the south of mine was standing in the driveway of (what I hope was) his house and stayed there the entire time it took for the van to do a Y-turn and back into my driveway, drop me off, unload my suitcase, receive his tip, and drive away again.  I mean like, REALLY DUDE?  Obviously this is a man who has nothing better to do with his time.  Holy Hathor!  Seriously, I don't know if I'll be able to tolerate this kind of bullshit spying on my comings-and-goings now that I am retired.

Now I'm tired and have had several glasses of cheap pink boxed wine and just want to watch t.v. for awhile, so I'm not proof-reading this.  I hope it makes sense.  But you know what - I don't care if it doesn't, LOL darlings!

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