Archive - May 2017

Las Vegas trip

This year Spring Business Trip took me to Las Vegas to exhibit at the AAPA meeting. And since Mom is now a retired lady with some free time on her hands, she came along for the ride!

We’re wearing matching TNP hoodies.

It was a relatively short trip. We flew in on a Tuesday morning to set up the booth. Exhibit days were Wednesday and Thursday, and on Friday morning we flew home. We stayed at Mandalay Bay which is just a phenomenally gorgeous hotel.

Great googly moogly – will you look at that shine?

On Tuesday we set up the booth and then had lunch at Mandalay Bay’s Border Grill. They have amazing tacos. After that we were pretty beat, so we decided to relax. AT THE POOL…

Taking the girls to the pool.

They have a huge pool area with 3 separate pools and a lazy river. Unfortunately the weather turned cold, so we only got to the pool one day. Funnily, it was colder in Las Vegas than it was here that week. Windy too.

That evening I took Mom for a belated Mother’s Day Dinner at Mon Ami Gabi in Paris Las Vegas. It’s an amazing little French steakhouse with a great gluten-free menu, if you’re into that kind of thing. (Me, I’m gluten-full.) We gambled, walked, and then saw the Bellagio fountain show.

Wednesday was showtime! The exhibit hall was open until 9:00am – 5:00pm, which makes for a long day for one human bean. After the mid-day rush, I cut out for an hour to eat lunch.

Elvis and me. (I look tired here.)

Mom bought us tickets to see Donny and Marie at the Flamingo on Wednesday evening.

The Flamingo lights.

I have no pictures of the show because all photography was banned. The ushers were swooping down on people who had their phones out. Donny and Marie put on a fantastic show. I was impressed with their range and their energy level. I had their dolls as a kid, so there was a soft spot for them.

Actual Flamingos

We were supposed to eat at Margaritaville but we didn’t have enough time. This is the second time I’ve tried to eat in a Margaritaville restaurant but didn’t. (The Orlando Margaritaville main restaurant was closed for an event when I was there in September, so I had to settle with eating at the outdoor bar.) I know there’s one in Atlantic City — maybe I’ll break my sad streak there.

Not an actual margarita.

There’s also an entire Margaritaville-themed section of the casino there. Again, time prevented me from spending too much money there.

The exhibit hall was only open 2 days, so on Thursday the hall closed at 2pm. With Mom’s help I had our new booth packed up in no time. We spent the afternoon exploring Mandalay Bay some more. There is an entire shopping mall’s worth of stores attached to the casino.

A stairway in Mandalay Bay

We had dinner at Wolfgang Puck Cafe in the MGM grand casino. I had linguine with clams and scallops and even though I think I got food poisoning from that meal, it was amazing and I’d have it again. Bad clams happen – no harm, no foul. (I have good health insurance.)

I have to drop this here — if you have a gluten-free eater in your life, Las Vegas is very kind. We aren’t terrifically concerned with cross-contamination. Mom had no problem eating like a queen.

The Las Vegas Strip at night.

After dinner I convinced Mom that we could easily walk to the Venetian to see the gondolas, proving that I learned NOTHING from my prior trip. There is no easy walk anywhere on the strip. Things look deceptively close and there is no direct path. You’re constantly being routed up and down stairways to cross streets, and in some cases your path takes you through buildings.

Mom’s a trooper and I am stubborn, so 45 minutes later we arrived at the Venetian. It took a while, but we found the gondolas!

The gondolas at The Venetian.

We wrapped up our night walking through Mirage, and then took a cab back to Mandalay Bay. And then I woke up at 2am with the beginning of a stomachache which landed me in the ER 2 days later.

Random notes:

  • The strip is as perverted as ever, with omnipresent ads for strip clubs and sex clubs.
  • I only lost $30 gambling!
  • Mom was happy to see that her drink of choice from years ago — Ketel One, club soda, and lime — is now back in style, just with Tito’s instead of Ketel One
  • We flew Delta there and back with no incidents. I’ve flown Southwest so long that I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort and amenities you get on a Delta flight!
  • Because Mandalay Bay is on the very end of the strip, we relied on taxis and Uber to get us to our mid-Strip destinations in a timely manner.
  • We’d like to go back to Las Vegas, but although Mandalay Bay is GORGEOUS, I’d like to stay closer to the middle of the Strip. Maybe I’d stay at the Mirage again.

  • Memorial Day weekend wrap-up

    Happy Memorial Day, which is a day we set aside to honor those lost in military service to our country but instead everyone posts pictures of their living veteran relatives or their dead relatives who were veterans. It makes my eyeball twitch when people put up the “REMEMBER WHAT THIS DAY IS REALLY ABOUT YOU BBQ-ING INFIDEL” memes and then say “Here’s a pic of grandpappy who is now 101 and fought in WWII.” No maybe YOU should remember what this day is about. I’ll hold your corn on the cob. And eat it.

    Indiana Jones and the Jersey Girl.

    On Saturday WM and I went to our 10th Collingswood Mayfair. To our surprise, it was partially sponsored by the Dee-luxe Apartments in the Sky! Which I can now safely say was the Heights of Collingswood. Even though it never that hard to figure out. We bought a planter for the yard, a charm that looks like a beach tag, and some dog biscuits from Pawfect Pastries to give to Murphy when he’s good. We’ve yet to give him one. It’s been that kind of weekend.

    Friday the library closed early. Instead I got a pedicure (blue) and went to Ulta for eyeshadow. Lately I’ve been getting away with a swipe of eyeliner and some mascara but I wanted to up my game and look more polished. The makeup artists at Ulta in Cherry Hill listened to my request (“I just want to look like I’m awake.”) and selected a color palette that can go from “Target Run” to “Date Night.”

    Anastasia of Beverly Hills: Truffle, 10K, Shimmer, and Mermaid. Taupe brow pencil, Pro Pencil primer and mascara.

    We took advantage of the eight full hours of sunlight this weekend and planted some more grass seed. This is our third go-round — I wonder how the neighbors would feel if we just filled the front yard with rocks. And we finally put together our grill.

    WM: Wait, “we finally put together our grill?” What in the hell is “we?”

    Okay, fine. WM finally put together our grill while I kept Murphy from chewing the tree. We are truly suburbanites now. Oh, and I cut bangs into my hair myself (with an assist from Wikihow) because even when things are coming together, I still make bad decisions.

    Tomorrow I have a dentist appointment where I’m finally getting the impression made for my crown. In less than 2 months, I’ll finally, FINALLY have a full smile again without a flipper. It’s been a long, drooly time.

    Friday 5: MVP

    Well hello there! You look great! It’s been a while!

    Last week I took my yearly Spring Business Trip to Las Vegas and brought Mom along. And then I got some sort of food poisoning (probably from my linguine and clams but I will never stop ordering linguine and clams so it is that it is) which landed me in the ER last Sunday and I’ve spent the week recuperating. And here I am!

    Ten years ago he probably never dreamed I’d be using the pig filter on us in an ER.

    I was out of work Monday and Tuesday. We only had a half-day scheduled for today, so I popped a half of a vacation day and that’s how I’m here in my slippers at noon while Ollie dozes at my feet and Murphy tears toilet paper off the roll upstairs. Wait..hold on.

    Okay. He’s dozing on the stairs where he can look out the windows. Whew.

    Now that I’m convalesced and mostly eating again, I can focus on posting all the things that are in my blog notebook!

    Ten years ago this weekend, a Wandering Minstrel packed his red Jeep with a few things and a bunch of books and drove across country to live with me. By any account, it was a foolish thing to do and we NEVER should worked but here we are.

    Two apartments, a house, a marriage, and a herd of cats and dogs later I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I love you heaps, WM.

    (The red Jeep is still here too, pretty dilapidated but still beloved.)

    It’s Memorial Day Weekend – my favorite weekend because hey hey the summer season is here! It’s time for coffee in the back yard, soaking in my (kiddie) pool, and watching all my plants die because I am an awful gardener and because we are overrun by rabbits. Maybe we’ll even put together our 10-month-old grill! It was delivered around the time Max died last year and we kind of forgot about it/had no oomph.

    This Friday 5 theme is MVP. Let’s get to it!

    1. What’s the most important single ingredient in trail mix?
    I’m not an eater of trail mix. They’re deceptively healthy, but if I’m going to eat as much trail mix as it takes to make me snack-satisfied, I’d rather blow an equivalent amount of calories on cheese puffs. But of course, the most important ingredient is chocolate.

    2. What’s the most important single topping in a taco?
    The cheese, naturally!

    3. What’s the coolest instrument in an orchestra?
    I’m very biased toward the violin, because I unsuccessfully played it for a few years in grade school. It is SO HARD to learn. I had my once-a-week group lesson at school and wondered why I was so behind the rest of the kids. It’s because they could afford private lessons, which was why they were first chair while I looked like this.

    (not the supermodel part)

    4. What’s your favorite animal at the zoo?
    I enjoy pandas, although they’re not at the Philadelphia Zoo. I saw them years ago in San Diego. And they do stuff like this!

    5. Which are the best pieces in a sampler box of chocolates?
    It was a life-changing experience when the internet came into my life in 1994 and I saw that someone had posted a guide to how to tell what type of candy it is by the shape. Some candy makers put a little directory in the box but some are still heathens and don’t. Since then, I will nick every square shaped candy in the box, because with the exception of the Whitman’s Sampler Delivery Guy piece, for me it’s caramel for life.

    Two paths for my afternoon are in front of me.

    Path 1:
    > Vaccccuuummmm (I can’t spell it so I don’t) the floors. Desperately needed.
    > Put away laundry
    > Tidy kitchen
    > Figure out a blandish but appealing dinner

    Path 2:
    > Go to the library
    > Go to Ulta
    > Bagels for dinner. Plain, because blandish.

    Complicating the issue is my own inertia, because the house is quiet and the dogs are still sleeping and my own coffee is upstairs and free.

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