Thursday, November 30, 2006

My favorite restaurant

Back from San Diego in time to put this up on the 31st. We’ll just do something short again. Since tomorrow is traditionally E Friday for VG let’s stick with something else Vegas.

Here’s my favorite restaurant - Rosemary's Restaurant.


It’s a fair ways west of the strip, in a strip mall where few tourists make it. Doesn’t look too fancy from outside.


They used to have a branch in the Orleans, but that closed down last year. Named after the owner’s mother, the owner is a chef that really does pretty good stuff. I guess you can call it continental with a small part French? Don’t know, but it’s good. They have a price fixed meal, which has gone up in cost recently. It’s $25 for lunch and $50 for dinner; soup, salad, main course, desert.




Don’t get there very often, but it’s a pleasant way to spend some time at a price that’s far lower than at the Strip restaurants. I did post some of these pictures about a year ago, so it looks like that unfortunately is my schedule there.

I tried to get a picture of my main course, but unfortunately the fork called to me louder than then camera did.


I did pull it out in time for desert though.


A follow on to Lisa and several others, I’ve been trying a post a day for November, hopefully even if it’s just a small one. Looks like I made it to the end, only missing one day. Don’t think I’ll continue the daily thing, but maybe since I’m in the groove with a few dozen E pics queued up I can get things up more often.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Eastern mountain

Just a short one today. It’s getting colder here – no, no snow yet (it has snowed every winter since we’ve moved here) but definitely lower temps than our summer 110f. A cold front that is bringing some nice snow to the rockies is intruding down into Nevada, and this morning it was 38f and tonight it’s scheduled to drop down to 29f. Daytime temps are still up around 60f. I displayed some E pics in her cold weather gear down below, but found a shot from a few months ago hanging around.


This is a flower called a ‘naked lady’. Probably because the flower stalk comes out after all the leaves die back. I think it’s a type of lily. But we brought these bulbs from San Diego, where they were all over the yard and doing quite well. It was popular back in the 20’s when our SD house was built, so the bulbs probably were planted back then and are still doing well. This shot was from July – but they bloomed again in October. Green leaves come out in the spring, die back when it gets hot, the plants bloom, then leaves come back and die back when it starts getting colder, in time for another bloom. The blooms are gone now, but the lantana is still full of yellow flowers, and the rosemary has lots of little blue blooms.

We still have other plants blooming around the yard now. A lot of desert plants wait until it’s colder, or until the winter rains come along to bloom.

I was driving to the northeast side of town last Friday near sunset and thought our eastern mountains looked rather pretty, catching the about to be gone sunset.


This is called sunrise mountain, probably because in the summer the sun rises behind it. It used to be way out east, now the city has expanded out to it and there are houses running up the slope.

OK, I’ll give you one E shot. Back a few weeks ago when she was working with grandma to rake up the leaves.


A follow on to Lisa and several others, I’ve been trying a post a day for November, hopefully even if it’s just a small one. One more day to go, but I’m off to San Diego this afternoon with no computer, so we’ll see if I can make it back in time to post.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shopping lunch

On Sunday when we went shopping at the Fashion Show mall we stopped for lunch at one of my favorite lunchtime places, the coffee shop up in Nordstrom’s.

I don’t know if the Nordstrom’s chain is scattered across the country yet, they started in Seattle as a shoe store and have spread across the west. The stores are now big department stores, like Sears and Penneys and Macys but with a lot higher ‘class’ (and prices). They still have a marvelous shoe department, one of the few that carries the in style shoes in the hard to find sizes: wide, big, narrow, etc.

Usually each store has a grand piano near the escalators on the main floor, and on weekends have somebody sitting down there playing. This was unusual for San Diego; to have live music instead of Musak. Nordstrom also trains their sales people to be helpful – really amazing – and they all seem to know everything about their stores. So if B finds a dress she likes the sales person would run around the store and get a belt that would match, and a purse, and scarf and even shoes or a jacket. Guess it’s good for sales, instead of just buying one thing you now can get a complete outfit.

Another thing I liked was that there are lots of soft chairs scattered around. If you go to the ladies department of most stores you will usually find the accompanying husbands just wandering around, or they take off for the tv department. Well, in Nordy’s you’ll find the guys in chairs waiting. Much better. Again, probably good for sales because I’ll usually say “why don’t you get both?”

Most stores also have a nice coffee shop up on the top level. The one in SD near our house had a full restaurant, but it closed a while ago. Guess the mall food shops didn’t like the competition. But at the Fashion Show the coffee shop is rather pleasant.


You walk down a cafeteria type line and select what you want and pay for it, then it’s brought to your table. The menu is only soups and sandwiches and salads, but it’s all pretty good. We usually get their tomato basil soup and the pear-walnut salad with blue cheese. B has had enough turkey, and wanted the steak pannini sandwich also.


It’s a nice quiet place to sit, the waiters are quick to fill up your ice tea or coffee, and no one rushes you.

A follow on to Lisa and several others, I’ve been trying a post a day for November, hopefully even if it’s just a small one. Two more days to go, but I’m off to San Diego tomorrow with no computer, so we’ll see if I can make it.

OK, follow Miranda

Just wanted to follow Miranda:


This guy wants to track the transmission speed of a meme for his MLA paper. Since that is all academic-ey, let's help. Seems he's using Technorati to track the relative speed of this thing. Ping Technorati
Let's help a poor grad student!

Good luck, dude!

Via Miranda



Copy these links. If it's a scam it's not costing anything, and you'll then be able to say "Hey, I did that!!".

Monday, November 27, 2006

E Monday

Somebody came over the other day. It’s been getting a little cooler, and mom started dressing E a little warmer (don’t know what will happen in Portland - probably one of those suits that Ralphie's brother wore in a Christmas Story, so padded that you can't put down your arms. I can just see E wearing one of those).



And then grandma said ‘smile for the camera’, and this is the camera smile she comes up with.


And a follow on to Lisa and several others, I’ve been trying a post a day for November, hopefully even if it’s just a small one. Three more days to go.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving weekend

Of course, we couldn’t let the biggest shopping weekend of the year go by without hitting the malls. We bypassed ‘black Friday’ and waited until today to go, and were rewarded with fairly pleasant shopping. We first hit Meadows mall, because they had a Penny’s and B wanted some things there, and a Dillard’s, again because of some items on sale. We then went over to the Fashion Show Mall for some stores that I wanted to hit.

You might remember the Fashion Show Mall – it’s right in the middle of the Strip, across from Wynn’s. They have fashion shows in the middle. Well, no fashion shows this weekend.


This is the main Christmas tree, located on top of the little room that pops up for the shows.

Behind it was the mall Santa. Sitting for pictures with kids.


But there was an show every hour. Being this season it started with some commercials, then went into a little video introduction, and the entrance of Santa. First people were waiting.


Then the little room and runway started to rise. Santa didn't come in a sleigh; he came in a red Cadillac convertible with Elvis driving.


And Santa and his helpers appeared – this being Vegas he didn’t pop up with elves, but with some long legged blonds.

(Notice the hand of the guy in front)

And of course they had to put on a little song and dance number.


But being the mall and not one of the clubs that’s as far as it went.

Happy shopping.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Courtyard

Deana asked about the courtyard, well, here it is with the base down.


Now all I've got to do is put up the overhead. The wall behind the spider is our garage, and the big window - 10' wide - will be cut down into French doors, so that we can come outside from our front room. The spider was made by the son of a friend. We're big on doors - I put one in the breakfast area - it also started out as a window. It's pretty easy to take out a window and put in a door - all the structural work is already done for you.


And there were some nice ones in the back room and our bedroom already.

Just to the right of the big window is our front door.


And this is what the front room looks like, with the dining area behind and the kitchen through the door. That big window is to the left.


When we moved in the front room was all carpet, with that step down area that was popular forty years ago. We leveled it out (well, my carpenter son took two days to level it out) and put down the Pergo floor. The front door was solid, with kind of picture frame squares on it, I cut the slots and put in the glass to make it a little brighter right in there.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The real reason for Thanksgiving

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. For American’s that’s usually a four day holiday, a time to get together with family, eat lots and lots and lots and watch football games on TV. We did most of that, no football for us though. We did watch a rainy Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from New York City though. And we did do the traditional turkey.

This year was about the smallest one we’ve had at only thirteen pounds. My favorite part is the turkey sandwiches for the next week, so in order to get that I usually have to get a big bird, else it’s either all gone on Thursday, if we have a big crowd, or quickly pulled down over the weekend by visiting guests. This year we doid not have anyone from out of town, just our daughter and granddaughter. The boys were too busy in San Francisco to make it out.

Here’s the bird in the oven.


We cook it in an oven roasting bag – it really comes out moist and falling off the bones. Never had a dry or overcooked turkey doing it this way.

Here it is all done, just waiting to be carved, with mashed potatoes being created in the background. The peanut butter was for E, she couldn't wait for the food to be cooked.


And after the meal, getting all of the meat cleaned off the bones. And of course another glass of wine nearby.


Well, here is what it’s all for – a plateful. Turkey and dressing and mashed white potatoes and sweet potatoes with gravy over everything and peas and cranberry sauce, and a glass of wine.


Well, OK, this is the real reason behind all of the cooking work.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving day

I've got pictures of our turkey, which I'll put up as soon as I get Photoshop time, but for now here's one thing I'm thankful for. (It's a spoonful of peanut butter - creamy. Even better on the spoon the way granddad eats it than on a sandwich.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Almost Turkey

Wednesday night, and even though it's supposedly my vacation I've been busy with phone calls from work, logging in to the computer there, and tasks to do before Friday. And they all forget, say I'm not doing enough, and why don't I work harder? Thanks a lot guys.

So, just a short one today.



Here's one of the first views thousands of people get of Vegas each week - after looking at the Strip from airplane windows, and walking through slot machines right by the gates, you get to be inundated by ads in the baggage check area.


Here's another shot of E in that great hat.


Don't know what she's doing there, but it looks interesting.

And for those of you with fast access, take a look at E singing. She sings and dances all the time.

Have nice turkey tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Three holiday things

Thanksgiving Holiday Season: three things I like about it:

1. The anticipation of roasting that big bird that’s been sitting in my refrigerator for two days (only 13 lbs this year). Smelling all the things cooking all morning, then getting to sit down and enjoy it all. And then having turkey sandwiches for another week with the leftovers.
2. Five days in a row off – the longest break I’ve taken from work in two years. (yes, I’m and American not a European who is smart enough to take their vacations).
3. Getting together with family for the day. This year it’s just DD and E, but since I don’t get to see E much she will probably be enough. Look for yourself:



Enough stripes to make Lisa jealous, I bet.

Oh, and go over and visit Belinda Bell and read some poetry, and say hi!


Thanks to Clare.

And a follow on to Lisa and several others, I’ve been trying a post a day for November, hopefully even if it’s just a small one. (we’ll see if I can make it through the long weekend)

Monday, November 20, 2006

E Monday

Ok, we can do it Monday as well to cut down the list of pictures that keeps growing (I have no idea why).

More spaghetti, I know, more shots of her in that stupid chair. But it is one of the few places that she is (reasonably) confined and accessible. Guess she just likes what I cook.


Last week we all went out to Applebee’s for dinner, and somebody kept herself entertained. Four crayons in the pack, two in each hand and she just refused to put any of them down. They were HERS!


And back outside, she discovered a short ladder we have under the apple tree, and enjoys climbing and sitting on. And look Lisa, no stripes! (sorry about that)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday

Moving along, and still here. I know this post-once-a-day thing will not last for me - makes me feel that I have to come up with some drivel just to fill the page. I am surpised any of you come back - I know it's just for the E pictures. My posts, especially this month, really bounce around. I read others and there seems to be such nice consistency.

Our house is preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday. We've been working on the front courtyard for severla months - well, if you consider looking at it and thinking "I really should do something about that" as working. A few weeks ago I finally finished digging and pouring footings for the to-come-someday overhead thingy (when we figure out what to put up) and two weeks ago ordered the fill gravel to level the area out. This was a small load compared to other deliveries, only ten tons dumped out in front of the house. This was readily moved into the courtyard and spread around. Last week we ordered the flagstones that B selected, and they showed up a few days ago. Yesterday I rented a big compactor, and with the help of a friend proceeded to smash all the soft gravel flat into a nice compact level field. I guess that's what a compactor does, smash stuff compactly. We then scattered around the stones, and magically the courtyard looks pretty good.

Today I finished wrapping the drip line around the edge, and we went out and purchased stuff for the fountain - always like the sound of water. I've got it temporarily set up so we can be sure it's OK before committing to the digging the hole for it thing. And we moved most of the potted plants from their summer place in the back under the peach tree back to the courtyard. Frost is coming soon, and some of them must be protected. So we hope for no freezing this year. And some time with photoshop to get the finished pics out for display here.

Then off to Vons to shop for the big meal. I'm a lover of the holiday turkey, and always purchase a bigger one than needed just to have leftover sandwiches for several days. This time it's a 13 pounder, for the three of us - darling daughter is coming over with E while son in law drives up one of the cars to Portland. So predictions of turkey sandwiches for the next two weeks will probably come true. I was so close to getting that 18 pound bird though, but I know B would have shot me. Along with the requisite yams and potatoes and stuffing. I put lots of stuff in the stuffing.

Passing through the produce department I had a very difficult time not laughing too loudly. There I found a pile of bags of pistachios, offered two for the price of one. Evidently no extra charge for the free meat included.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday night not very much

Just back in from a night out, and it looks like I’ve got about an hour to get up a post for today to try and keep up with Lisa and company.

Several people have recently visited Las Vegas and commented on all the things to do. This has prompted me to realize that I live here, and don’t take advantage of all the possibilities that we have. So, I figured that instead of staying home it might be nice if we went out and did more things. We recently hit Mystere again (thanksR&T), a show that I would highly recommend. I want to hit one of the big ‘feather’ showgirls shows while they are still here – Bally’s and the Tropicana are the only old fashioned shows left in town. The Tropicana was recently purchased, and we’re waiting to see what the new owners do.

Vegas is also a stopping place for most of the big concert tours. Last weekend we had the Rolling Stones on Friday and the Who on Saturday. Both were reviewed as being pretty good, even if the stage at each was filled with wrinkled gray haired old men. Tonight Barbara Streisand is at the MGM Grand Garden Arena – 16,000 seats, tickets from $200 to $1000. The Dixie Chicks will be here next week. Not feeling very rich, we tend to hit the smaller ones.

We like jazz, and a few weeks ago went to see Michael Franks over at Boulder Station. That’s one of the Station casinos, catering more to local residents than visitors. The announced future entertainment and we purchased tickets for and went tonight to see Diane Shuur. Unfortunately Michael’s quiet voice was not emphasized by the sound man and his accompanists were heard more than him. But Diane has a much louder voice, and she did two hours of stuff that was absolutely tremendous.

Next weekend we are off to see the magicians Penn and Teller at the Rio – no cost here, I donated blood last year at one of their sponsored drives and got two free tickets to their show. We’ve seen them before, and they are very funny in person. A week after that B has a Red Hat costume Christmas party to attend, and then in mid December I thought we’d try dinner at the Mix restaurant for our anniversary. Last year we ate at Fleur de Lys – about the most romantic place to eat in Vegas. I’ll give a report on Mix next month.

So much for tonight, let me get this up before midnight and hopefully do more tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

E Friday

For Virginia Gal it’s E Friday!! I’ll keep taking them and putting them up until she gets hauled off to Portland, which hopefully will not be very soon.

We went off to our once-every-few-weeks shopping trip to the super shopping place Costco and took along our great new shopper.


She handled the shopping list, and was very good at pointing out interesting toys and books, not very good at working through the list though. But she is being trained at shopping from an early age. (that's the juice and milk cooler in the background - the rest of the store is proportionat to that size)

Something else she is really good at is driving.


Hasn’t quite got the use-your-feet-as-the-motor part down yet. She does like closing the door, whether in the car or just walking past it. And she is big enough now to climb in on her own and get that last foot up inside without help. You can also see Max in the background supervising; he is really good at supervision, but not into E hugs.

She went to the park the other day – grammy walks her down in the wagon as often as the weather permits (which here in Vegas means every day for the past few months) and sometimes meets up with the trips plus one from across the street. On one trip they came upon a walker with two big fuzzy red dogs. These were rather friendly, and as E is always trying (unsuccessfully) to make friends with Max and Buster she immediately ran over.


As you can see, this dog didn’t object very much. I’ve got other pictures with all four kids (the plus one was a little hesitant) piled on the dog, who really liked the attention. Of course, when E's mother saw these pictures she freaked out – “what do you mean letting my daughter get close to those potentially vicious dogs, getting fleas and who knows what all from them”. Yea, doesn’t that dog look like it’s really having a difficult time with those kids?

OK Lisa and several others, only missed one day, and it’s past the middle of the month, including weekend posting. I’ll try to keep doing a post a day for November, hopefully even if it’s just a small one. (we’ll see how long this lasts, especially if it’s confusing readers in the hill country back east)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dream Dinners

I was talking about food with a friend a few months ago and she suggested something new that she was trying out. It was with a company called Dream Dinners. Basically you purchase from them the ingredients for a meal, then take it home and cook it yourself. I remember seeing a segment on the Food Network tv channel about this, and the women that started it. It sounded interesting when I first saw it, but didn’t go any further.

Always (well, almost always) willing to try something new food wise I figured it might be something to test out. The basic premise is that you go on line to their web site, browse through their menu selections for the month, select what you want, enter your credit card and make an appointment, then go by and pick the stuff up.

Back in August I went on line and looked at what they had. There are usually about a dozen items, a half dozen chicken based, some beef, pork, veggie and a fish item. For new people they have a ‘select three’ special, but otherwise it’s ‘pick six’ or ‘pick twelve’. Their meals are listed as the main course servings for six. That means it includes six chicken breasts, or six pork chops, or a roast big enough to feed six. I selected six different meals, made an appointment, and paid. It’s a franchise, and here in Vegas there are four locations. I picked the one near my house for a Saturday morning. They have locations around the country.

Saturday came and we drove over there. This location was a storefront in a small corner shopping mall.


There was one big room, with setup stations out front and freezers and a prep area in back. The size of this location limits them to a max of eight people at a session. You take your menu off of the front of a freezer, then walk around to the work stations and follow the instructions.



Each menu selection and work station is different. This one was for a chicken dish. You can see the bins of spices, with the correct size measuring spoons, on top, and the bulkier items in bigger bins in the middle You get a bag with six frozen chicken breasts. Then you take a big zip lock bag and follow directions – one spoon of this, a quarter cup of that, two tablespoons of this – that kind of stuff. You then take this bag of spices and stuff, seal it up, and put on a sticker with cooking instructions. It goes into the freezer with the chicken breasts, and you move on to the next station. For things like the chicken you can split the spices into two bags, so that when you go to cook the food you can do three breasts instead of all six. Some of the items are larger roasts, which cannot be split.

Since some of the recipes call for a teaspoon of this or a half teaspoon of that it's not really practical to split it down into more than two. But if you're single that means you are cooking a main dish for three, which gives you one fresh hot meal and enough for two leftover meals for the next few days. That's why we have microwave ovens, to reheat the leftovers.

We ended up with three items with chicken breasts, a beef roast, a chicken stir fry, and pork chops. All of the items, except for the roast, we made up into half servings. The end result was a pile of plastic freezer bags that would result in eleven cooking sessions at home. You can see all the bags with the cooking instruction stickers on them in my cooler waiting to go in the freezer.


These all went into the freezer back at our house. The meat items were already frozen when we picked them up. As the days went on we slowly started cooking them. Most of them were pretty quick – three minutes in the microwave to thaw out the chicken, throw the frozen sauce and spices into a fry pan, put in the chicken, and cook for twenty minutes, or in the oven for a half hour. So it was a rather quickly made meal, that we could pick out and make when we got home. For most of the items it was just the meat portion, you had to supply veggies and potatoes or whatever. The stir fry came with a bag of rice. The strip steak roast did take 20 minutes to cook, plus thawing the day before and putting into the bag with marinade. Then covering with a spice rub before putting into the broiler.

It was all pretty good. Very convenient in that I didn’t have to find a recipe, then buy all the spices and parts, put them together and cook it. Here the recipe was already selected, all of the required parts were on the setup station with instructions on how much to take, and even instructions for quick cooking. We were both rather impressed.

The price ended up being around $4.25 or so per portion, with us adding veggies and starch items. That seemed reasonable, especially compared to take out or restaurant prices. The chicken breasts were reasonably sized. The strip steak produced enough meat for three meals for the two of us and was really great.

I would recommend this food. You fill your freezer up, and when you feel like eating or get home from work it’s quick to pick out something and cook it. The only advanced thinking was for the roasts, which took a while to thaw and marinate. If you have kids at home this provides quick meals that take little preparation. Just keep some bags of frozen veggies in there along with the meats, some potatoes or instant mashed, and it would all go together very quickly. If you’re single, or just two, you split the stuff in half and end up with either a lot to eat or an extra portion for leftovers. You don’t have to be a good cook, or even an average cook. You follow the instructions to put it together, then you follow the label you stick on the bag to cook it. Very simple to do, even a klutz should be able to do it Well, I guess you could still burn things or undercook, but follow the instructions and you’ll end up OK.

After finishing up that pile I went back the end of October. The strip steak was so good last time I got two this time, along with two pork roasts, a chicken and a pork chop item. The pork chops came with an apple/ginger mixture that cooked with the chops, and also was really good.

The menu changes every month, with November pretty heavily aimed at Thanksgiving, with them providing all the side dishes and gravy and you doing the turkey. But the other meal items looked pretty good.

So, I would highly recommend a try. Go on the web site and see if there is a location nearby, and if so try it out. Most sites have the lower cost ‘try it the first time’ option, but I would say to go right ahead and get the half dozen selections. I highly recommend the spice rub strip steak and the apple ginger boneless pork chops when they roll around again on the rotation.

Wish I was getting paid for this – so far I’ve sent three others over and they all like it enough to go back again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Red Rock Station

The fifteenth – halfway through the month and I’ve only missed one day. How’s that Lisa? Let’s get back to some Vegas stuff today. Here’s a side of Vegas that most tourists will not see.

Besides the big Strip hotels and the older places downtown there are quite a few hotels and casinos scattered around town that cater mostly to the ‘locals’. One of these is the Stations Casino group. There are several Station casinos around – Palace Station, Boulder Station, Main Street Station – they are smaller and not as fancy as the big places, the food and entertainment is not as high class, but the prices are also a lot lower. When we have visitors coming to town that are coming to spend time with us and not be tourists we usually direct them to one of the Station hotels.

Part of their group is the Green Valley Ranch on the east side. If you watch TV there was one of those ‘reality’ shows that ran for two years that was based on the running of the Green Valley Casino. (It may still be on). The last time Michael Jackson was in town he stayed there. That visit involved a four hour live on TV freeway chase of Michael’s limos from the airport around the Vegas Valley by TV chase cars and helicopters until he ended up at the GVR.

This group opened a new facility on the far west side of the valley recently – it’s called Red Rock Station. There was a lot of controversy involved with this construction, as it’s close to the entrance to the Red Rock National Conservation Area and in the center of an expensive section of homes. There were protests by the rich people not wanting a tower near their homes (though they would be going there a lot) with the main point of argument being the entrance to the conservation area should not have such a tall tower so close by. (it’s about five miles away, and a big mountain in between). The Station Group compromised, and instead of one big tower they changed plans to do two smaller towers.

The grand opening was a few months ago, and unlike their other properties this one is pushed as a ‘high end’ facility. They still have a huge bingo room (big draw for the older locals) like the other places, as well as a multi screen movie theatre. But the casino floor is much more open, larger, and there are several expensive restaurants scattered around, in addition to the cheap buffet. We waited for things to calm down, and went a few weeks ago, to hit the movies and wander around.

The casino floor is interchangeable with most other big ones, full of slot machines and table games. This picture is the view from the coffee shop.


After eating at the Rib restaurant (reasonable prices, food’s OK) we wandered over to the CafĂ© for desert.


A fairly nice coffee shop, with a front display case that reminded me of the little patisseries in France.


Lots of sweet gooey goodies. We ended up with a nice cappuccino and a lemon tart.


A pleasant way to spend some time, with tea and coffee and a sweet, sitting overlooking the casino floor and talking with friends. If you are on the strip there are a few similar places; one I would recommend is at the chocolate fountain in the Bellagio. They’ve got lots of nice stuff there, if you are on one of my tours of the Strip it’s a good location for a stop after seeing the Bellagio Conservatory. I'd rather spend time like this than sitting at a slot machine or in a bar.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mid week E

OK, Tuesday, let’s break up the words and go back to some mid week E, just to keep the posts going.



She likes to climb into things – boxes, baskets, wagons, whatever is her size. Here she's watching Clifford the Big Red Dog. Doesn't seem too happy about something.

And this also seems to be a favored pose. Guess it’s for looking at the world in a different way.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pistachios

Second post – yes, making up for yesterday. I’m sitting here at my desk having one of those moments that I have to stop and think about.

I’ve got a bag of pistachios sitting in my desk drawer. I got them from my local Von’s supermarket two or three weeks ago, when they were having a two for one promotion. One was consumed at home, the other sits here. I grab a handful periodically when I feel like a short break.

Putting the handful on a sheet of paper on my desk, I proceeded to split the shells and eat the salty flavorful nuts. Working on a second handful I open one and as I’m about to pop the green nut in my mouth I look down at the shell sitting on the page and see a little green worm crawling around inside. Oh, I think. Maybe that’s the only one – but then I see another little green worm crawling around on the paper. Oh my.

The tag on the bag says ‘Sunkist California Pistachios’, best by 05/30/2007. I think of all of those bags piled up near the beer in Vons, and look at the half full bag now sitting in the trash can under my desk wondering how long it takes for those little green worms to hatch.

Well, sushi is raw fish, how bad can raw little green worms be?

---- Update
I emailed the above post to my wife (she doesn't read this). When I got home she told me that she really laughed when reading it, until realizing she was the one that finished off that bag of pistachios at home. And shopping at Von's last night, the big pile of pistachios was still there, being replenished.

Vietnam?

Oh well, missed a day, sorry Lisa.

Driving to/from work I usually listen to our local PBS station. I just put music on when working as a distraction from the office noise, if I put intelligent programming on I tend to listen and think rather than program. But when driving I’d rather think.

Anyway, they are running a group tour thing as a fund raiser. Sponsoring a trip to Viet Nam for a week, see lots of sights there and in Cambodia.

What crossed my mind is a comparison – how many of our soldiers died over there vs how many have died fighting Cuba. Why do I ask? Well, if we are already forgiving them for beating us (yes, we did lose that one) and have no trouble in trading and sending off trips, why is it still illegal to visit Cuba? I don’t know of any harm that Castro has done to us, other than sending off thousands of boat people to Florida. But I don’t live in Florida, we’ve got tons of Mexicans here in Vegas (and back in Southern California) and we aren’t at war with Mexico yet, that I know of. Even if we are building a big wall.

I remember the Cuba Missile Crisis and Kennedy’s reaction (well, almost remember it) But why are we still punishing our citizens for visiting, and the Cubans for being there? Do we still think it will change their government, and drive Castro out? Or is it just that Florida is full of old Cubans (‘cause the young ones don’t care) that donate lots of money to influential congressmen? I don’t ever envision visiting, but I do know some people that have gone (via Canada, because they don’t care) and enjoyed themselves. But they are subject to some severe fines if our government finds out.

And just as amusing is the prospect of having Daniel Ortega (thanks Rob) back in charge of Nicaragua. I think we were at war with him at one time (well, not a congress approved war but a president put lots of money there and probably a lot of CIA operatives) and now he’s back as an elected official. Well, they’ve gotten back at us via cocaine. Just as Afghanistan’s repaid our invasion ‘kindness’ be turning out the biggest heroin crop in history. Seems like all of our good deeds are well rewarded.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Morning drive in to work again

Thought I’d take some pictures of my drive in again. Some things have changed since last time.
Driving east on Twain, just before the final little slope down to go underneath I-15 I come to a stop at Valley View. From here I’m looking straight at the new construction at the Venetian.


You can see the concrete center elevator tower, surrounded by the steelwork that will become the surrounding hotel rooms. I usually can see some welding going on up there, not the welders but the little flashes of light. I think this tower will be 3,500 hotel rooms or so. Added to the current 2,000 that will make this the largest hotel in the world, based on number of rooms. They will also be adding to the shopping area that is now around the canal on the second floor. Just to the left are the vertical stripes of TI and the big golden block of the Wynn.

About two blocks further on I go behind the Rio. Out in their parking lot are some big tents, in which will be a fancy horse show.


Not part of the rodeo coming to town, but a Cirque du Soleil style entertainment show with horses called Cavalia.

Going under 15 and turning right onto Frank Sinatra drive I go behind the Caesar’s Palace employee parking garage.


With the freeway wall on my right and this tall parking garage on the left it’s like driving down a narrow tunnel. At least they put in some palm trees.

A little further down I pass behind the Bellagio employee entrance and the new employee parking garage that is almost completed. They filled up the whole two northbound lanes of the road with trees and plants that all went in front of it. Provided for a rather quick greening of it. You can see the size of some of the trees that went in, no fifteen gallon buckets from the plant center here.


Then under the Bellagio marquee, and here is the City Centre construction going on. Up till now the sun used to be right behind it, so I couldn’t get any pictures going in. But there was no traffic and I just stopped and clicked this quickly.


I like all the cranes, and the concrete work is already up four stories, starting down in the pit they dug.

Driving around the end of Frank Sinatra and on to Russell Road I come to the traffic signal at Las Vegas Boulevard. Straight ahead is the little wedding chapel, and off to the left used to be the famous old Glass Pool Inn. The hotel and swimming pool out front were torn down a few years ago, but the sign is still there. Just to the left is one of my favorite billboards, with the back of the Bally’s feather dancer.

Turning right on to LV Boulevard about a half mile down is the famous Welcome to Vegas strip sign, the executive airport parking and the end of the airport runways.