Las Vegas, part deux

2.28.2009 Comments: (0)
So, we went to Vegas earlier this month. I, for one, am not a HUGE fan of Vegas. I think it has it's benefits - there are some sights to be seen there that can't be found anywhere else. There is amazing food, and amazing shows and people acting like complete fools, who have 120% bought into the concept of "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" (except you're taking PICTURES you asshat. clearly, you will have evidence of this tomorrow...argh.) Anyway, I don't love the too-much. It's too much every-single-damn-thing. Too many lights, too loud music, too expensive, too much cigarette smoke, you get my drift. So, I really appreciate the parts of Vegas that I like. I really don't spend much time doing the other things, especially since Dan has been more than once now and we don't have to wander through the hotels looking at all the gimmicks. Because what is Vegas really except bright, flashy gimmicks? But, Dan got a free hotel stay through some company that wanted us to sit through a timeshare presentation (and what fun that was!) so we went for Dan's birthday because, hey! Two nights for free. Vegas on the cheap. When we arrived, we pulled into our ridiculously cheesy hotel (which, I for one, was expecting. It's free. It's not the Bellagio) which had horrible themed murals and props and the lobby smelled like an ashtray. Dan was pretty horrified. But, honestly, when we got to the room, I was more than OK with it. It was clean, non smoking, had a nice bed, big windows. But hideous looking, no? What did we do...the aforementioned timeshare presentation, Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay (GO if you like burgers. yum.), the Bodies exhibit which now lives at the Luxor, sushi at the Bellagio, "O" for Dan's birthday present (he loved it), lots of lion watching at the MGM, wandering around the Palazzo because I hadn't been in it yet, dancing fountain watching, and plenty of people watching (and laughing at. in all honesty.) Inside the Palazzo (attached to the Venetian) shops, which was decked out for Lunar New Year Kitty! One of the new adventures this time around, we took a taxi to "downtown" Vegas, which is where all the old-timey casinos are, which was really fun. They have all the old school style buffets and neon that you see in movies and TV shows. But, for like 10 years, 5 entire blocks of Fremont Street has been covered with a canopy style LED screen (the world's largest) that plays every hour at night. The night we were there, 11 pm was an omage to Kiss. It's actually pretty loud and awkward, since you're staring straight up. But, the visual effect of it is pretty cool. And, all the area under the screen is closed to traffic and has lots of street performers and other good times. I actually enjoyed wandering through the casinos more down there than on the Strip - we watch people play, but don't usually gamble. I watch roulette, and Dan watches Hold 'Em. Her leg used to kick, but when they put the screen in, they turned the movement off. So, that was Vegas 2009. Except, we already have plans to go back in June, because we found a SWEET deal offering rooms at Mandalay Bay, my favorite Vegas hotel, for cheap. The plan is some shows, some laying by the pool and some Bellagio fountains for just two nights. Anyone want to join??

Take five Wednesday.

2.24.2009 Comments: (3)
Project go vegetarian for a week is complete. I stuck to it (although on Sunday, I got a soup with a base of chicken broth, which I felt bad about later) and had some brisket for lunch. Not really that exciting. I do think I'm going to be eating less meat for awhile. Wow, that is a completely uninteresting topic. 5 of your favorite blogs. 1. Amalah (yeah, I stalk them. she has beautiful kids.) 2. What I'm Seeing (daily photo blog in SF) 3. DC365 4. Line Cook 5. Laura Anne Benson's blog 5 things you bought recently. 1. Ski goggles. 2. McDonalds fries (this kind of grosses me out but we were in the middle of a 6 hour car trip. you do what you have to do) 3. Helium tanks (just two small ones) 4. 1000 cotton candy cones (#3 and #4 were for an event that we held in my unit this past weekend. i am now a master of making cotton candy) 5. Pita chips (so addictive!) 5 of your favorite words. 1. Waffle 2. Gymnastics (i like to write it in cursive) 3. Farfetched 4. Naptime (just becuase of what it implies) 5. Muffin (i've taken to calling my cats this) 5 of your favorite quotes (#4 and #5 are from the West Wing. I don't have 5 favorite quotes) 1. Your silence will not protect you - Audre Lorde 2. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. - Obama 3. When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly. - Patrick Overton 4. "Anyway, Helena Hodworth Hooter-Tooter of Braintree wants to organize a boycott of the reception, and... Well, there it is. Yes, Mrs. Bartlet descends from quite the murderous band of ruffians, and her membership in the DAR is suspect on those grounds, or so believes the Boston Globe." - CJ 5."A little thing called team morale, Josh, you gotta make people feel good about themselves. All right, shut the hell up, everybody, I've fired more people than you before breakfast." - Leo **You get SO MANY bonus points if you can tell me what's going on in the episodes I quoted from** 5 things you like about blogging, (or the internet in general) 1. I get to write ridiculous things like this and people actually read it 2. For curious folk like myself, endless opportunities to learn false information 3. The stay connected with other people you love piece 4. It feels SO MUCH EASIER than writing a letter for some reason 5. It has the same mind numbing effect as TV, which you need sometimes

I heart grocery stores.

2.20.2009 Comments: (1)
So, this eating vegetarian thing is going fine, although the first two nights totally reduced us to eating like college students. One night, pasta and sauce from a jar. The next night, pancakes and eggs for dinner! Tonight, I think we finally got our act together and made sweet potato and black bean burritos. Feeling more my age again. Anyway, we had to go out shopping for some of the ingredients before we made dinner tonight, and I'm just going to come out and say that I love grocery shopping. I really do. There is something about wandering around slowly and picking out whatever I want that really makes me happy. I don't do as much aimless meandering as I used to, because that's when I come home having spent a lot of money, but not being able to make anything from the stuff I've bought. Now, I try to make a list and just buy a few things extra, but it's hard for me. For example, there were fresh tulips at the store tonight for the first time this "spring" and now they are home with us in Dan's pretty vase. For another example, pita chips. Am newly addicted. My friend Dana kindly reminded me a couple of days ago how much I am NOT keeping up with my new year's goals. Kind of her, I know. But, she's right. I have revisited and am recommitting rather than giving up. Yes, working out. Yes, calling people more. Yes, stop buying less (ahem, previous paragraph). Will definitely need to focus. Although, would rather do myriad of other things than focus. *sigh* Dave Matthews released their summer tourdates. You know I'm excited. *does dance of joy* Yes, I know you all think I'm nuts for continuing to see them in concert. And, I'm ok with it.

Take Five Tuesday

2.17.2009 Comments: (3)
This week I'm trying to go vegetarian for a week, starting today. We shall see how it goes. So far, so good (considering I skipped breakfast so have only had two meals). There are a bunch of reasons why - none of which are super important to me, I'm just kind of trying it out. 5 snacks that you have stashed in your desk drawer. 1. Hershey Kisses 2. Smarties 3. Granola Bar 4. Fruit leather 5. Lollipops 5 things that people are always surprised to find out about you. 1. I've never broken a bone 2. I was born in the same hospital as my mom 3. I was named after a nun 4. I want to complete a triathalon by the time I'm 30 5. At one point I was in both orchestra AND band, and at another time, in choir and band. I'm a huge nerd. 5 new inventions you would like to see in the future 1. Planes that don't crash...and travel faster 2. Comfortable bras, for realz. 3. Something that makes people want to get back to reading newspapers, magazines and books again 4. A cure for cancer 5. An invisibility cloak 5 of your earliest memories 1. Thanksgiving with my mom's family at my grandparent's house in Johnstown, PA 2. Baseball games with my dad in Pittsburgh 3. Montessori school playground during preschool 4. My favorite teacher in preschool (Mrs. Ahmad) 5. Another student in my class puking under his desk in first grade (nice, right?) 5 things you would never do 1. Botox 2. Tell someone that they aren't good enough 3. Move back to the Midwest 4. Give up cheese 5. Stop reading

Take 5 Tuesday

2.11.2009 Comments: (0)
5 things that have made you laugh lately 1. My cats being ridiculous 2. A student tonight at our Hall Association meeting - he wanted to be appointed a position and stood up and read a prepared speech and passed out his resume to everyone. It was adorable/awkward. Don't worry, I only laughed on the inside. 3. Many of the outfits I saw in Vegas 4. Cirque du Soleil clowns at "O" 5. Myself - I do stupid things 5 things you would do if you were fearless 1. Buy a house 2. Not wear a seatbelt 3. Go right up to the edge of a balcony/cliff/tall building 4. Snorkel in open water 5. Tornado chase 5 things you can’t replace 1. The feeling that my job is valuable 2. Memories 3. Family and friends (awwwwwwwwww) 4. The planet 5. My body. Guess I'm just going to have to love it how it is. 5 things you don’t like, that most people do. 1. Chocolate ice cream 2. Big, cuddly dogs (the drool is disgusting) 3. Las Vegas for more than 24 hours at a time 4. Cilantro 5. Guacamole 5 things you like, that most people don’t. 1. The idea of universal health care 2. Composting 3. Stinky cheese 4. Anything in miniature size (I don't think people DISlike these things, but I doubt that people have a great affection for them like I do) (4a. Dan says pickles, but I think most people actually do like pickles) 5. My job

Fur kids

2.08.2009 Comments: (1)
Well, the cats are doing well. They're getting older, not kittens at all anymore, and recently, some of their behaviors have started to change. Lily doesn't play fetch with us as much (sad face) and James is really not a fan of new people being around. Lily is cuddling more, and James is cuddling a little less. But they're still SO CUTE. Recent happenings below. Hanukkah. Probably the only picture I have of both of them looking at the camera. Watching us cook, completely fascinated. Naptime with Dad. Bubble wrap nest.

Recent goings on...

2.06.2009 Comments: (2)
Well, just to catch everyone up (which apparently is necessary my mom complained today that the blog needs updating)... **My grandmother is doing...OK. She was in the hospital a few days ago for some serious nausea and pain after her first round of chemo - bad news. She had an MRI a couple of days ago and everything looks normal - good news. So, we're kind of all over the place. Obviously, I want her to be feeling as good as possible, which doesn't work out 100% of the time. I try to send positive thoughts her way rather than worrying about her, but who knows if that helps. Thanks to anyone who has been doing the same or praying or whatever have you. So, everything else is going to sound trivial after that. But, life goes on even while serious things are happening, I guess? Last Friday, Dan and I took a day trip to Marin - it was kind of a pre-Vegas birthday/save Kristin's sanity trip - to visit the creamery where our favorite cheese is made. Yummmmmmm. We got a "tour" where they tell us how their cheese is made, got to watch said cheese making and then got to taste all 8 of the different kinds they make. It's nice to find out that our favorite cheese is made from the same local milk we buy our milk from, and use alternative energy to power their factory. Yay. I would totally go back and even survive the long windy drive to hang out in the TINY town they make it in, because the tiny town is super hippy sustainable-tastic. EVERYTHING was organic, compostable, local and whatnot. It blew my mind. I thought Berkeley was intense about it - we have nothing on these folks. The coffee shop we went in, there was a container with a sign that said "Please put used stir sticks here to recycle. They make great kindling!" um, wow. Killing two birds with one stone, our favorite cheese is made closeby to where some of the best oysters in SF are actually (sustainably!) harvested. So, we went to get Dan some fresh-right-out-of-the-bay oysters (I am not a fan). The folks who work there clearly have no patience for the folks who come in from the city to eat oysters, so they don't shuck them and give you about a 3 second lesson on how to open them yourself. Ha, it was fun to watch. But, as you can see below, Dan did OK. Took probably longer than it needed to for him to shuck 6 oysters but hey, he said they were delicious. Cheese=perfect food. Favorite. Dan's (open!) oysters Clearly, they know what they're doing. Cow. There were quite a few. We were out in the country. I took the Friday off to take this trip because the creamery only does tours on Fridays, but also because work has been craaaaaaaaaazy the past couple of weeks. We're right in the middle of choosing the RAs for next year, and the Wed/Thurs AND Sat/Sun of the same week we went to Marin, I was interviewing RA candidates for big chunks of time, as well as doing, you know, my regular job. I was also slammed because I have been teaching my first RAD class in the evenings. So, I was certified to teach a women's self defense program back in October, and this is the first class I have taught (with two other instructors). We had 5 students, and they did SO AMAZING. They started feeling scared and quiet and finished up loud, empowered and confident. This is something I will now totally be doing all the time, that makes me feel like I'm doing something right and good and helpful. It's a nice feeling. To come: Many fun filled kitty photos, to hold you over until Dan and I get back from Vegas this weekend! It's Dan's birthday trip, just a little late. Hooray.