Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Baaaccckkkk

Boy have we had a wild week.  We were actually out of town (didn't want to announce it ahead of time, didn't want to "invite" any burglars or anything by announcing we'd be gone, LMAO).  Although we have absolutely nothing we own that would be worth a burglar's time or effort, I still want to protect what is mine.  We may not own anything worth stealing monetarily, but it all has sentimental or emotional worth to me.

So, you may ask, where did you go, what did you do, what did you see. . . patience, my friend, I'm getting to that and I'll tell you all about it.

First things first, is an explanation that Mr. C's Dad and Step-Mom live in Albuquerque, NM.  They happen to enjoy casinos and Mr. C's Mom used to live in CA.  so, in order to fit them all into our vacation time we used to go to CA to see "Mom" and then met "Dad" and "J" in Las Vegas or Laughlin, NV for a few days of fun.  Mr. C's Mom, has, sadly, departed this life (very unexpectedly 4 years ago) but we always had such fun with "Dad and J" that we still try to meet them in NV at least once a year.  We fly out and they drive from Albuquerque and we meet in Laughlin.  We try out all the casinos and walk and talk and eat and chat and eat and play and eat (well, you get the idea).  We actually aren't "big" gamblers, we only play penny machines and Mr. C usually won't even put in the smallest wager, LMAO.  I always use "all my lines" at the lowest penny amount as all I really want is to play with the bonuses.  (If you don't know anything about slot machines, the previous sentences won't make a bit of sense to you, so just understand that we are really cheap gamblers, LOLOLOL).  We view gambling as a shopping trip, we decide how much we can afford to spend on these games and that is that.  As to how we did this year, I'll get to that later.

Anyway, so we left last Sunday (Valentine's Day) to drive to St. Louis, where we would spend the night at a place that lets you leave your car with them and then would fly out on Monday.  Usually we fly Southwest and go for non-stop flights, but decided we didn't want to get up at the b---crack of dawn (as daughter B so eloquently puts it) to go sit at the airport waiting for a flight.  So, we opted for American with a change of planes in Dallas. . . well, we should have gotten a clue that our luck was not going to run well that first night. . .

We got to St. Louis with only cold rain.  So far, so good, stopped at Collinsville at Golden Corral (our very favorite place to eat).  When we left the restaurant there was roughly an eighth of an inch of ice on all the windows and it was still coming down but was turning white (slushy, icy, hard, sleety, snowy, nasty white).  We left fot the motel and slip slid our way the next 20 miles (more or less, it seemed like 80) to the motel.  Even the semis were only creeping along, people in the ditches on all sides of us.  Scary drive, especially when we didn't know the roads that well or where we were going, but we got there.  We were a little worried about our flight the next morning, but we got up and called and no problem, flights were as scheduled etc.  So we took the motel van to the Airport and found our terminal and gate, had breakfast and went to sit and wait, and wait, and wait. . . and wait.  Our boarding time came and went and finally they announced that our flight would be delayed by about 2 hours.  The plane we were supposed to take had come from Washington D.C. and when it got to St. Louis one of the "de-icer valves" wouldn't open, so they had to get us another plane and get it all ready etc.  We were supposed to have about 3 hours between planes in Dallas, so we weren't too worried. . . until we finally got on our plane and waited to take off etc. and looked at the map of the Dallas Airport.  We've never been to or through the Dallas airport before. . . it's HUGE and kind of like a clover leaf and the only way to get from terminal to terminal is via a monorail kind of train.  Of course, they announce the gates for the connecting flights and we're landing two terminals away from where our connecting flight is going to be.  If we could have been first off the plane we might have made it. . . we had twenty minutes from the time we left our seats to get off the plane, and through the crowds and onto the monorail thing and then to our gate. . . I'm sure you've already seen the punch line in all this. . . yep, we made it about 5 minutes too late.  Other people from our flight were there waiting too and said the plane left a few minutes early because they were there before us and it was already gone.

So, we patiently waited in line for them to put us on the next available fight.  BUT, the next flight that had seats available was at 6:00 AM THE NEXT MORNING!!!!  What are we supposed to do until 6 am the next morning.  This would mean we would/could lose our rental car price (which was very good), our Hotel reservation, etc.  If we left and got a motel, there is every chance we wouldn't be able to find a motel with shuttle service early enough to get us back to the airport early enough (since you have to do an hour to two hour early check in nowadays).  We asked if there was anything else they could do, any other flight, any other airlines etc.  They said all we could do was go to the ticket counter and see if they could and would do anything else.  So, that's what we did (which meant another trip through security, which anyone who flies nowadays knows is a royal pain in the. . . well, you know where).  

So we trudged out to the Ticket Counter and fortunately got a very nice agent with an extra observant multi-tasking fellow agent next to him.  He looked and looked trying to find us another flight and wasn't having any luck.  The gal next to him was on the phone waiting for an answer from another airline and was looking over our guy's shoulder and pointed and said, what about that US Air Flight.  He had been scrolling through quickly enough he hadn't seen it.  He thanked her profusely (and so did we, LOL) and he went back to it and found 2 seats still available on it for 2 hours from then (at least he said it "looked like they were viable/available seats on a viable flight").  Hooray, he issued the tickets with priority passes and boarding and we went back through security and to the US Air gate where the guy issued us actual boarding passes and seats assignments etc.

We called the Rental Car place, they said no problem, we called our Hotel and they said, no problem.  We called Mr. C's Dad and J and told them we would see them the next morning as we'd be in really, really late.  So we sat and patiently waited, but everything went off as planned, we got to Las Vegas and got our car and took off on the drive to Laughlin.  We got to our Hotel and found that in spite of our calling ahead they had given away our room.  A little aside here, I am horribly allergic (as in asthmatic) to smoke (which is why we chose Laughlin over Las Vegas, as most of the casinos have non-smoking areas).   I still take my Singular and my allergy meds and inhaler with us anytime we will be in that type of places though, just in case.  The only room they had available was a handicapped smoking room (but the guy says, "maybe since it's for handicapped people they aren't as healthy and not as apt to smoke"----NOT).  The minute we got off the elevator we knew we were in trouble.  It reeked, even in the hallways.  The room was so bad I thought I would choke to death, but I medicated myself and said, well, we don't really have a choice, we'll make do for one night.

Another little aside here (although it's a little personal. . .) I have a personal hang-up/phobia, whatever you want to call it, about showers and tubs, especially public ones.  I am creeped out (the computer says that's not a word, but it is in MY dictionary) very easily if bathing facilities aren't just as I expect them to be and I won't sleep or bathe in those situations.  This turned out to be one of those situations.  I was setting out our personal items to get ready for bed and Mr. C comes into the bathroom and moves aside the shower curtain and said, "Did you see this?"  Of course he knew I hadn't seen it or he would have already heard about it, LOL.  It wasn't a nice clean white tub/shower combo, it was a handicapped room with a shower open to the bathroom, all dark tiles and the drain in the middle of the bathroom floor.  So, without further ado we will skip the fact that I didn't get any sleep that night and the next morning we dragged all our luggage down to the desk and told them it wouldn't do and if they couldn't provide the room we had paid for we would have to go elsewhere.  Low and behold, they said, we'll put you in room such and such, they just left, it's another handicapped room, but is non-smoking.  We said, NO, we want a regular room with a regular tub/shower, a king size bed and non-smoking, like we reserved.  He hemmed and hawed and said come back at 11 and he'd see who had checked out and try to get us into a room then.  So we left our bags with them and went and had breakfast with Dad and J.

We should have known by this time that "Lady Luck" had totally deserted us, LMAO, and sure enough, none of us won anything.  That's okay for Mr C and me, as I said before, we don't go expecting to win, we don't view it that way, to us gambling is like paying to play a game of golf or go to the movie or something, we spend for a few hours of entertainment.

We went back to the desk at 11 and they assigned us to a room but we couldn't get the keys until it had been cleaned.  So, we finally got into our room and it was just as expected and the rest of the time was fairly uneventful.  One evening we went to an Oakridge Boys Concert (which is why we chose to go at the particular time of  year we chose, LOL).  It was a good concert, as usual, with one exception.  I don't understand why nowadays at concerts they always shine or flash lights into the audience.  I happen to have an undiagnosed case of strobe epilepsy.  My family all know about it and I know to protect in certain instances (like light flashing through trees while driving) but when it is unexpected it can throw me into petit mal seizures which isn't fun at all, so half the concert I sat there with my hands tightly over my eyes, which made it much less enjoyable.  We've seen the Oakridge Boys in Concert many many times and after they got their own theater in Branson decided we wouldn't be able to see them anymore because in their new theater they had decided to join the bandwagon and start the flashing lights into the audience stuff.  We thought we'd be safe due to the small stage size and venue at the Casino, so we went to see them, but no, they had the stupid lights there, too.  We have always enjoyed concerts, but have walked out on a couple due to the light situation and have finally concluded we can no longer attend any concerts, as it seems "everybody's doin' it" with the light shows now.   So, guess I'm stuck with my CDs (which is lots less expensive, at least).

So, we enjoyed our 4 days with Dad and J and the weather couldn't be beat.  It was in the mid 60s and the sun was shining and it was just beautiful.  I could have gladly stayed for the rest of the winter.  All I needed was my puppy, my clay, and my own bed and I'd have been a happy camper.  Actually, if you don't already know, we own a 40 ft fifth wheel trailer, just so I DO have my own bed and shower etc.  as well as a mini clay studio "to go".  Only problem is that Mr. C isn't retired yet, so we are still restrained by "vacation time" and don't want to waste that precious time on driving.  So, when we go West, we fly.  When we go to see the kids or anywhere in the East or Central US we take our trailer.  It is so nice, we jokingly call it our condo on wheels.  We plan it to be our "retirement home" when we finally get to that stage.

The final two days of our vacation we went back to Las Vegas and stayed there.  Our Hotel room there was "supposedly" a non smoking room, but the smell was so imbedded in the carpet, drapes, etc. that it might as well have been a smoking room (and, in fact, I suspect it is a smoking room when they need extra smoking rooms).

But, we had the most marvelous time on Saturday night.  We went to see:

His show was absolutely fantastic. I laughed until I almost cried.
If you don't know who Terry Fator is, go to YouTube and search for him and watch a couple of his videos.  He won America's Got Talent a year or so ago and is a fantastic entertainer.  He is a ventriloquist, but not JUST a ventriloquist, he's also an impersonator, but not JUST an impersonator, he is a SINGING impersonator, BUT. . . not JUST a singing impersonator, he combines all three talents and is a singing impersonating ventriloquist.

We own his DVD "Live in Las Vegas" but his show doesn't just follow his DVD, he mixes it up and changes it a bit.

He did start the show with is great turtle and had many of the same puppets he normally uses, but had some new stuff/acts as well.

He even has a new puppet we've never seen before and I want to go back again to video tape that part to share with my friends.

Mr. Fator is the nicest guy.  Although the theater says no cameras etc. Mr. Fator said point blank that he doesn't care if you have cameras (as he put it, we all know we smuggled in our cameras and might as well use them), and that flashes don't bother him or his puppets and we were welcome to take all the photos we want and could even video tape portions of the show.  He said the ushers would stop anyone trying to tape the entire show, but if we wanted to just tape our favorite parts he didn't care.

Anyway, this is the newest puppet, he's "a Beatle"  when asked which one, the following picture was shown (as well as many others).

He also claimed to be a songwriter and every couple of lines or jokes he would say he had written a song about it.  The songs were all "re-worded" Beatle songs and they were hilarious, including one about Tiger Woods.  We want to go back again and tape that part, it was so cute and funny.

He closed his show with the Turtle and he singing one of the songs he did on America's got talent.  It was just wonderful and we all left with big smiles on our faces.

Mr. C and I had our picture taken, one of the very few with both of us in it.

The final night in Las Vegas, we went to see Rick Thomas, a magician.  He was okay and his act was okay, but if you've ever seen David Copperfield, you've seen Rick Thomas.  He did have some cool/pretty tigers and birds in his show, but way too much song and music and lights for our liking.  In  the hour and a quarter long show, if you took out all the music/dance/light stuff the actual magic was probably about 20 minutes worth, if that.

So, we were ready to come back home and get back to our usual routines.

You know the saying, though. . . "What happens in Las Vegas, STAYS in Las Vegas"?  Well, in this instance that wasn't true, because Mr. C got bronchitis and an ear infection and brought it home with him and ever so nicely shared it with me, so we're neither one feeling too good.

One more little bit of excitement happened on the way home, though. . . (I'm never flying through Dallas again). . . We got to Dallas with plenty of time to catch our connecting flight.  Went to get on that automated monorail thing (no driver, no people, no bell to ring or anything. . . yes, there's a reason I'm telling this).  We needed to get from Terminal C to Terminal D (which for some weird reason goes through Terminal E, which makes no sense, but. . . that's the way it is).  So, we get on and it stops for the second half of Terminal C, stops for Terminal E, and says the next stop is Terminal D, gates 1-20 (we needed D-37) and to stand away from the doors yada, yada, yada, and then it blows PAST that stop.  It announces Terminal D, gates 21-40 and blows PAST that stop, goes about half way to the next stop (Terminal A, I think) and just stops, in the middle of two stops, in the middle of the air, so to speak.  We're all looking at each other and Mr. C says, what do we have, a runaway car???  Finally, the speaker comes on and they announce there has been a security breech in Terminal D and so they can't let anyone on or off the monorail thing at Terminal D.  We're all still looking at each other saying, Uh, what do we do now, sit and ride this thing all day until it decides it can let us off at our terminal, (we're personally down to about 20 minutes to our next flight, now).  Finally, they announce they have cleared the security problem and will continue our "ride".  So, it gets to the next stop, we all stream off our monorail car and across the platform and onto the car going the other direction BACK to Terminal D.  No more excitement after that, we got safely to our Terminal, our Gate, onto our plane and back to St. Louis.  Got the Van back to our Car and headed home.  We got home about 11 pm and fell into bed.

Oh yeah, I told you I'd tell you how the gambling went. . . well. . . as expected, we LOST, LOLOLOLOL  No big surprise there.  BUT, we only spent about half what we had "earmarked" for spending, so we feel we came home winners anyway.  Actually, we won some and we lost some, but the machines weren't nearly as "loose" as they have been in the past, so they weren't nearly as much fun.

So, yesterday, we spent going to the Dr. for Mr. C and getting the puppy picked up and grocery shopping to refill the fridge and started catching up on computer, mail, etc.  Today I've spent the morning catching up on all the blogs I follow,  playing with Snuffles, and just generally relaxing.  It is so COLD here though, I wish I was back in Laughlin.

So, that's all my news, hopefully my Fairy Child teacher has my critique's done on my heads so I can continue with my sculpting class and away I go.  Hope you missed us a little bit.  Talk to you later.  Smiles

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blog Slug!!!

Oooohhh, boy, have I been a blog slug lately (I obviously made up that term, but I think it fits).  I have no excuse whatsoever, except that I have absolutely nothing to say or write about.  My thoughts seem to have taken a hiatus (which for me is a blessing, honestly!!!).  I've been lazy as lazy as can be.  We're getting ready to take a trip in the near future (I'll tell you all about it when we get back, LOL) and I'm not anywhere near ready.

I have to admit, I've taken a bit of a "trip" to Facebook and have been so busy building up my farm and my zoo that there just hasn't been any room or time for anything else.  I honestly think there must be some type of subliminal messaging going on in the background of those games, as it's honestly ALL I  WANTED to do for days and hours on end.  Even my sweet Mr. C. got into the act and we have found ourselves lost for hours every evening building our farms, snagging bonuses, hatching eggs, plowing, planting, waiting and harvesting crops, just to do it all again.   I also had 3 other games I was supposed to be playing, but I finally gave up on trying to keep up on 5 games.  Sorry to anybody I "ignore" on their invites, but 2 games is all I can handle and actually more than I SHOULD be playing.  But it's such fun, and relaxing and non-demanding (unless trying to catch all the bonuses could be called demanding).  I now have my farm basically where I want it and I'm happy with the level I'm on with my zoo, so I plan to take a break (I'm actually finally getting a little bored with them. . .) and I'm ready to get back to what's important (life, clay, housework, you know, REAL things like that).  But I must admit it's been a good break, I don't think I've done anything like this in my life, and I've had a lot of fun.

We have had a bit of snow and cold, again, but nothing compared to what our daughter B and her family have had out in VA.  She said the kids have only gone to school 1 (one) day in February due to weather.  They lost power for several days and finally had to resort to a motel for some heat for the kids.  The kids didn't mind at all, they got to go swimming, so they were in seventh heaven.

Well, I'd better run for now, have things to do and get off this COMPUTER.  More later.

PS.  I haven't posted about my sculpture class and critique, yet because the instructor got called out of state unexpectedly and hasn't had a chance to do the critique yet.  I'll let you know when she does.  Hugs and smiles to all my friends.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oh NO, I've lost my followers

I just came to check into comments (I was right, we ran half the day, so I didn't have anything new to post about) and my followers have all disappeared.  PLEASE, if you were a follower, "join" up (or whatever) again, I like to see who looks at my blog, it gives me a sense of connection.  Thanks, Sad Smile and hugs, S