17 December 2008
26 September 2008
26 August 2008
All the evenings and weekends we spent together are precious to me. And you are precious to me still. But I must tell you why you have been so long neglected.
You probably already suspected this. After all, there were so many telltale signs of my infidelity. The late nights out. The weekends that passed without so much as a stitch being sewn, let alone blogged about. You know I've been hanging out with a new crowd of friends.
It's true. I confess. I have been cheating on you, my love. My evenings and weekends (and lunch hours) have been spent in dedication to another.
I promise that this is a temporary fling. Just a fleeting affair. It will only last a few months. Then I'll toss this bright flame aside and return to you, my precious blog.
I have only this chance, lasting only a little while longer, to show my passion for universal healthcare, peace, veteran's benefits, environmental sanity, quality education, equal pay for equal work and a healthy middle class. I have only a short time to act upon this passion. And action is the *only way* to show my passion. It takes more than pillow talk. I must go all the way.
After November 4, I will come back to you, my dear. I will return with no guilt, no regrets and no explanations. And I know you will be there waiting for me.
Until then my love,
10 July 2008
Here are my picks.
Breakfast spotThe best place for fantastic breakfast (and spotting B-list celebrities from VH1, MTV, etc.) is The Cracked Egg http://www.thecrackedegglv.com/. The place Mike goes, where he always sees the b-list celebs, is the Rainbow Blvd. location.
The "sin city skillets" are enormous. And enormously delicious. They do not skimp on anything. I have never been able to (nor should I ever) come even close to being able to finish one of these huge skillets.
With most breakfasts, you get a choice of toast or coffee cake.
Red Rock Casino/Resort/Spa http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/index.php. It’s modern, hip, and brand new. It is NOT on the strip. Red Rock is very chic, but also is family/kid friendly.
ALL of this is at the Red Rock:
The largest luxury bowling center in LV http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/entertainment/bowling.php. And they do mean luxury. We have a blast there.
If there are children, the best childcare http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/entertainment/kids_quest.php. Kid's Quest is like a dream come true for kids, whatever age group or gender. Not only is there a
A specially-designed floor-to-ceiling climbing maze and play structure consisting of up to 35 challenging activities includes tunnels, slides, ramps, stairs, climbing nets, periscopes, air hops, bumper bags, talking tubes and other activities allowing children to crawl, climb, bounce, hop, tumble and slide in the comfort and safety of a professionally supervised, secure environment.
But also a full stage with costumes and karaoke, electric guitars, video game stations, a full section of nothing but dress-up and make-up stations, a Barbie area, and probably a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting. Also, there is a snack bar, where the kids can get meals or candy and drinks (whatever parents have approved). We took the grandkids there one evening so the adults could go to the casino. Every day afterward they asked several times if they could go back!
Prices are very reasonable, as well. I highly recommend it, and so do my grandkids!
16-theatre Cinema complex http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/entertainment/regal_cinemas.php, to catch a movie, if that's what you're in the mood for.
They also have a magnificent spa.
The casino host is Winston Morgan. He's a fantastic guy that Mike has become acquainted with over the last couple of years.
From what I hear, The Palms http://www.palms.com/ is where celebrities hang out at the night club. I have never been there. I’m not a night club person, nor am I a celebrity (I know, you thought I was).
Favorite shows I’ve seen:
Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre at Planet Hollywood - http://www.comedypet.com/. This is a delightful show. We went for the kids, but the adults enjoyed it just as much. Popovich rescues cats and dogs from animal shelters and trains them for his show. It's a pretty intimate theatre and did I say, it's delightful? It's delightful.
Gordie Brown at the Venetian – hilarious! http://www.gordiebrown.com/
La Reve at the Wynne – spectacular, over the top, beautiful. https://boxoffice.wynnlasvegas.com/shows_info.html
KitschBonnie Springs Old West Nevada http://www.bonniesprings.com/ is a “wild west town,” complete with gunfights, bank robberies and hangings! We had a blast with the kids there. On weekends, they get deputized by the sheriff and join the posse to help catch the bad guy. Very old: this is no Disneyworld.
Neon Museum (and boneyard) http://www.neonmuseum.org/. I haven’t been to this yet, but plan to see it on my next trip.
ElDorado Mine http://www.eldoradocanyonminetours.com/. This is a real mine that is being restored by the family that owns it. Also famous as a movie location. You actually go into the mine -- it's dark, sometimes you're walking on planks above a 50-foot crevasse. But it really is cool. And they also tell you all about the movie connections, etc.
Other stuff for kids
Circus Circus has an amusement park with rides galore.
Oh, yeah, and gambling
Word of advice – if you are going to gamble, decide exactly how much money you are going to LOSE before you get there. Do NOT spend any more than that. Do NOT assume that you will win, ever. They don’t build those spectacular casinos by giving away all the money (I know it's cliche, but that doesn't mean it isn't true).
Craps is pretty exciting, but can be confusing and moves fast, so unless you really know how to play, I suggest you watch for a while first and ask the table crew to explain things.
I like to play Let it Ride. Simple to learn (just sit down and ask the dealer to teach you how to play).
I also like to play Blackjack (best at a table with a single deck, rather than multiple decks). Just play by standard guidelines (see chart here http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/how-to-play-blackjack1.htm) and you can make your money last quite a while.
Go hiking in Red Rock Canyon. There are several well-marked trails. Each one clearly indicates how long it is and the level of difficulty. Take plenty of water. The canyon is lovely, with all the shades of the earth and rocks and desert.
And, I shouldn't forget, the best costume shop is the Williams Costume Company at 1226 South 3rd St downtown. You never know when you might need a costume shop in Las Vegas.
On the strip, see the fountain show at the Bellagio. Skip the (Treasure Island) TI Sirens, it not only lame, it is also piggishly sexist. Walk through the Wynne to see the hand-blown glass ceiling art and other spectacles.
As for downtown, I think it’s pretty skeevie. Lots of deadbeats, lots of drunkards and lots of beggars. People may try to talk you into going downtown to see the Freemont Street Experience. Believe me when I tell you that it’s not that great. If you must go, be careful with your valuables and stay in a group. It is definitely the seedy side of Vegas. Last year a guy in a slot machine place tried to beat me up. He was drunk off his *@# at 2:00 in the afternoon and thought I was trying to steal his slot machine. Luckily, he was, as I said, drunk off his keester and I moved a lot faster than he did. Last time I was there, we got out of the car and were greeted by a guy vomiting. As soon as he was done, he asked us for money. That’s not my idea of a holiday!
UPDATE: Mike left Las Vegas for a new job in San Antonio the last day of 2008. We are still long-distance, but at least live in the same time zone and even the same state.
09 July 2008
All you need is notions: zippers, hem tape, thread, buttons... to make the project.
Here's one way that seems to work for me.
I don't like to take the whole pattern to the store. I'm always afraid it might be confusing for store staff as to who owns it, you know? I don't need any extra drama in my life with mistaken shoplifting charges!
So, I go online to the pattern websites and print out the one-page (front and back) photo/diagram and info sheet. On each sheet, I tape a swatch of fabric I'm using for the project. I also make notes on the sheet to indicate which version I'm making and then make a list of all the notions I'll need to complete the project.
When I'm at the store with the sheets, I can easily determine what I need and match it to the appropriate fabric sample. I can also double check pattern specifications if any questions arise at the store while I'm shopping.
What are your favorite organization tips for buying project notions?
(As always, click on photo to enlarge.)
06 July 2008
OK, I told you I'd let you see what I'm sewing from the fabric I got in Hawaii, didn't I?
A dress for by daughter, Bri: Maui wowee!
I took my time with this one. It would have only taken a couple of hours if I had cared about time. I cut it out and started on it late last night and finished it after church today.
UPDATE: By the way, this is only two Hawaiian fabric projects down, 7 or 8 to go.
We tried it out with $1/yd fabric from Walmart.
I had to make some adjustments to the bodice. I added 3" of elastic (just zig-zagged on the stretched elastic) along the inside edge of the dress in front of the
I didn't like making this dress. It seemed like the assembly was more difficult than it had to be. I guess the instructions are from 1947, too?
Please don't give me a lecture about how I should read throught the instructions before I start. I rarely do. I just jump right in.
Also, this is a tight midriff. Not much ease. Make sure to measure carefully and adjust as necessary. I added a little bit.
After all, a summery dress should be comfortable on a hot day in San Antonio, Texas... especially while you are running around after my four grandchildren (otherwise known as the 4 Cs).
I know, she doesn't look like she's had 4 children, does she?!
25 June 2008
Standing in the aisle of the aircraft, someone farther down the line trying to make a 34-inch long bag fit into a 31-inch overhead bin, while the rest of us behind stand patiently, not making eye contact, laden with carry-ons. As I waited, I counted the rows, scoping out my spot. 6… 7… 8… 9. There it is. My little seat by the window, 9F, waiting for me.
A small, middle-aged Asian woman on the aisle. A large man in the middle seat next to mine. I give them the news they knew was coming, I need them to move so I can get to the window seat. They unbuckle their belts and move into the aisle to open a way for me.
I slide into my seat, getting my iPod and a magazine out of my tote before stowing it under the seat.
Mr. Big in 9E sat back down. He elbowed me hard a couple of times as he was settling in and buckling up.
The flight attendant made the safety announcements, when all passengers concentrate especially hard on their magazines/books so they don’t seem uncool, and we were off.
Mr. Big in 9E had a wide stance, so our thighs were touching most of the trip. But what bothered me more was his wing span. There would be no “arm rest-ling” with this man. Mr. Big in 9E made no effort to fit within his space. His upper arm and elbow were in my ribs and stomach for the entire duration of the trip.
The proximity is why I couldn’t help but see Mr. Big in 9E’s reading materials.
Mr. Big in 9E had a huge white envelope in the seat pocket in front of him. From it, he removed a thick ream of paper, bound with a big metal clip. It was a one-sided photocopy of a book: “How to Handle Bio Fuels.”
“Hmm,” I thought. “Mr. Big in 9E is a green guy, a lover of the earth. Nice.”
Mr. Big in 9E reached into the front pocket of his button-up shirt and brought out a template. Circles, triangles, squares, all in increasing mm sizes. He used the template as a straight edge, underlining passages in the photocopied book.
I started contemplating copyrights. Then I started wondering why someone who was green, who cared for the earth, would have used what looked like an entire ream of paper to do a one-sided photocopy of a book.
He got through the ream quickly, and replaced it in the envelope. I was able to take a nice deep breath of air as he leaned forward, removing his giant arm and elbow from my ribs.
As I was taking that breath, he fished out another piece of reading material, a small pamphlet, from the envelope.
Ugh! He leaned back into his seat, his beefy arm and elbow coming right back into my stomach and ribs. I wondered if the Asian woman on his other side was getting the same treatment.
The cover on the pamphlet said “How to Load Cartridges.”
“Oh, is Mr. Big in 9E a printer repair guy?” I wondered to myself. Then I thought “… what do bio fuel and printer cartridges have in common?” Mr. Big in 9E was multi-faceted. A complex man. Hmmm.
I closed my eyes and tried to be small – not an easy feat for me. I tried to think about the podcast I was listening to on the iPod and forget about the big arm and elbow that had me pinned into 9F.
When I opened my eyes a few minutes later, I glimpsed at Mr. Big’s book.
At the top of the page was a drawing of a missle-shaped object. Then a few paragraphs. Then a couple of photos. The photos were black and white. I squinted a little bit. A man, holding something, squatted down by… what was that? A man, holding a huge gun, squatted over a lion.
The photo underneath was a different man, holding a different huge gun, his foot on top of his kill, a leopard.
Holy crappity! Mr. Big in 9E was not a printer repair guy. He was a big game hunter! Mr. Big in 9E likes guns and killing things! And he is still WAY in MY personal space… elbow and upper arm right up against me. Like he isn’t even aware that’s me, not a seat cushion, that he’s resting on.
Not that I am so surprised by that. I think my friend Polly is the one I first heard put it into words: once a woman hits middle age, she becomes invisible. I started disappearing around my 40th birthday. By the age of 45, I had become completely transparent, blending in and becoming invisible in any environment. When I’m in public, no one knows I exist. I guess that’s why I figured he was treating me like a sofa pillow.
An Ode to Mr. Big in 9E
Who are you, Mr. Big in 9E, with your wide stance and beefy elbow wings spread,
Holding me down in 9F as you read your tree-killing book about keeping bio-healthy gas guzzlers fed?
Who are you, Mr. Big in 9E, who makes weapons more lethal, and celebrates exotic animal homocide,
the suggestion of yellow mustache on your lip, a non-printer-fixing arm on my side?
Who are you, Mr. Big in 9E? You are an enigma to me.
15 June 2008
12 June 2008
05 June 2008
--Last morning in Hawaii :-( gotta pack. 01:38 PM April 20, 2008 from txt
AUTHENTIC DAN DELUZ
He virtually single-handedly brought the craft into the latter half of the 20th Century... Largely self-taught, he has in turn, taught most of the younger generation of Hawaii's bowl-turners. Passing on his skills, wisdom and knowledge gathered over the years. The techniques he has developed is masterful and results in bowls which will become cherished family heirlooms.
04 June 2008
That's what our family calls it. It's that reflex event where, when one witnesses the puking of another, one also pukes one's guts out. And someone else sees that person puke and that person reflexively barfs, and on and on.
It's the CHAIN OF VOMIT.
When Chrispy (also referred to as "C1" on this blog) was staying with me last summer, he attended an adventure camp. At the camp, the kids learned some fun camp songs. They also made some up.
Chrispy and I made up our own song, explaining the COV phenomenon.
Chain of vomit,
Chain of vomit,
feeling it strong.
Spewing from your throat I see
Your lunch time sandwich of balogne.
Chain of vomit,
Chain of vomit,
feeling it strong.
Coming from your nose I've seen
What looks just like a big green bean.
Chain of vomit,
Chain of vomit,
feeling it strong.
I'm feeling a little green, you know
I think my stomach is about to blow!
Chain of vomit,
Chain of vomit,
feeling it strong.
It rises in your gut so strong
You cannot keep your breakfast down for long.
Chain of vomit,
Chain of vomit,
feeling it strong.
After a long day of hiking up and down waterfalls, we stop in a a downtown Hilo restaurant to have a cocktail and pick up dinner to go. It's our last night together for who knows how long. The plan is to take dinner back to Wild Orchid House and have a quiet evening.
Sitting at the bar, sipping a glass of wine, soaking up the atmosphere and feeling very sated, I hear a voice. A female voice. It sounds a little familiar.
"What soups do you have tonight?" she says.
I turn my head to see who it is.
VOMIT GIRL! It's VOMIT GIRL!!
The very same girl that greeted me at Starbucks that morning with a perfect arc of puke.
Thankfully, we had our boxed dinners already and were just signing the check. We ran for the sanctuary of Wild Orchid House.
I will do you a favor and not include any photos with this posting.
The cave behind the waterfall is a lava tube.
03 June 2008
The orchid farm in Mountain View (near Wild Orchid House, not far from Hilo). I would link to their site, but apparently they aren't on th web.
When we lived in Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, I raised orchids. I had 90+ orchids. I nurtured and loved those orchids and they grew, flourished and bloomed. They displayed their natural beauty and perfumed the air and gave me great satisfaction and joy.
When we moved from Florida, I had to leave the orchids. It was a sad parting.
So I was excited to to visit the orchid farm near Hilo.
Several signs throughout the buildings touted a "$20,000 orchid in the gift shop." Well, if you know Mike, you know he can't resist something worth lots o' money. So off we went to the gift shop to see this unbelievably pricey orchid.
We spotted it in a few seconds, among the decks of playing cards, magnets, shot glasses, hats and shirts. Way up on a pedestal, clearly marked with a sign declaring its value, was the treasure orchid.
Mike grabbed the camera out of my hands and insisted on taking a photo. What ended up in the frame of the shot that he took is very revealing (ummm, what does the bloom look like? where is the flower??).
So, have you ever seen a $20,000 orchid? You're not seeing it here!
01 June 2008
TWITTER: Went a liitle crazy in the HUGE discount fabrics warehouse. 06:54 PM April 19, 2008 from txt
You know how I feel about fabric stores. I've blogged about this fetish before. We had actually driven by the huge warehouse with the sign in front declaring "Discount Fabric Warehouse" several times. Each time, my distraction grew. Finally, time in the schedule to explore the place that kept calling to me.
Better than my imagination had speculated... heavenly sigh... I quickly calculated how much room I might be able to make in my suitcase and how many yards that many square inches in a suitcase might translate to be.
As we entered the open-air gigantic warehouse, we saw the sale signs "Any fabric with flowers or butterflies 20% off." Were they kidding? Who's ever seen a sale sign like that? All the fabric sale signs I've ever seen in my life say something like "Linen suitings 20% off," or "Cotton knits 20% off," but never "Some arbitrary motif in the fabric pattern 20% off." Bizarre change of paradigm for me. But a happy one :-) ! Besides, about 80% of the fabric in the store had either a butterfly or a flower, or both.
My quick eye contact with Mike was effective enough to communicate the message: "See ya later, buddy!" I delved into the aisles, a little nervous for some reason. Maybe because of the sense of overwhelming warehouse full of treasures just waiting for me to find them.
Don't tell me I'm dysfunctional because of my affinity for fabric. I think it's a dominant gene in my family DNA. I can't help myself. Don't judge me!
Here's what I came home with:
You already saw what I did with this pink floral: a cute flowery dress and matching hat for Caille. (Sorry the photo is a little blurry here!)
I got the brown-background version of that floral print to make something for Bri. She hasn't chosen a pattern yet. I'm hoping there might be enough left over to make something for myself, too.
Mike started catching the fabric bug, it was so overpowering. This print is going to make a Hawaiian shirt for him.
And this one is another Hawaiian shirt for Mike.
I have no idea what I'm going to do with this one (sorry, a little blurry), but I love it and I had to have it. I'll think of something eventually.
I got lots and lots of yards of this petroglyph print. It's going to be matching shirts for Steve (my son-in-law) and my three grandsons. Matching shirts for dad and the little guys.
I also got several dozen coconut buttons, the traditional button to use on an Hawaiian shirt.
And of course, as I get all of these projects finished, I'll be posting them here for you to see.
(I must make myselft at least one suit from the stuff I bought in NYC months ago before I do any other projects, right?)
The card I picked up Discount Fabric Warehouse indicates that there are also locations in Kona, Maui and Kauai.
31 May 2008
30 May 2008
Kuhio Grill was recommended by the owners of the Hilo Coffee Mill. We went there for breakfast. Just to hang out, eat breakfast and write post cards.
Kuhio Grill is the home of the "One-pound Lau-Lau." The 1-lb Lau-Lau ingredients include:
1 1/4 lb pork butt, cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons Hawaiian salt
1 lb salted butterfish or salmon, soaked in cold water for 3 hours and drained
1 lb lu'au or fresh spinach leaves
12 ti leaves
... not for me. Do not want!
But the breakfast I ordered was fine. :-)
We sat outside, wrote post cards and lazed. It was a nice, relaxed time -- in contrast to the two days before!
29 May 2008
TWITTER: Ate at Merriman's in Kamuela. Johnny Depp (as Capt Jack) makes a mahvelous waiter! 12:50 AM April 19, 2008 from txt
On our way back from the "fishing" trip on the Sea Witch, we stopped near Waimea to eat dinner at Merriman's. This made the whole day worth it. They use only ingredients grown by local family farmers.
Our waiter was a Johnny Depp look alike and played it for all it was worth. It was quite entertaining. At the table next to us were 7 little girls and their nanny. When he took their drink order, one of them said "Do you know who you look like?"
He said "Yes-s-s-s," with a big smile and a wink.
Then all the little girls - with him in unison - say "Captain Jack!" Silly.
He played it to the hilt: even acting drunk as he crossed the restaurant with a bottle of wine.
This was the best meal we had in Hawaii (maybe anywhere, actually). It's definitely a "wow" place!