Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Hi! - just back from a trip to visit granddaughter E up in Portland, planned a while back, and it was sunny almost the whole time we were there. I guess that’s why B wanted to go back in the summer, and hopefully catch some weather like we did. E is doing well, she really looks cute in her short hair, and still enjoys herself

I think that’s the flowers-in-your-toes dance, but it might be for the sunshine, who knows. We were able to dine al-fresco, which to her means outside. I guess it doesn’t happen often up there. And we picked some blackberries and marionberries off bushes alongside her house.

Of course, they weren’t just to look at,

I had a whole post composed about ironies, but after reading it over again it sounded too depressing, so I’ll hit some high points. Since moving here we have been planning on redoing the kitchen, making plans and saving money, and finally had a kitchen designer come up with something really nice. I started to order things, and we were all ready to order the cabinets (the expensive part). We were to replace the original 40 year old cooktop and oven, but keep our refrigerator. Well, bad thing: no kitchen redo right now. Good thing: we didn’t order and now have some money to live on while looking for a job. Bad thing: day after B asked why the butter was so soft; well, right, so we now have a new refrigerator and old kitchen instead of new kitchen and old refrigerator.

Buster - you remember Buster, right? He with the one eye?

Well, it was caused by an eye infection that went crazy. Of course, it was in the good eye. The one left has cataracts and he can just see light and dark things not very well. We took him with us (couldn’t leave that old guy home alone now) and he did the trip well, but there was a light spot on his eye when we left. Yup, an eye infection. But lots of meds later hopefully it’s gone away and he can keep seeing: as little as he does see, he can make out the door (to make it back in, no, not out on his own yet) and the couch (to jump up on) and his food and water dishes. Still not doing too badly for an eight pound nineteen year old dog.

Something I realize each summer here: we have the thermostat set at 82f (28c) and when I go sit outside in the 113 (44c) it feels nice, and it’s cold coming back inside. Also, it feels cooler at 113 when there is no breeze, I guess your body cools off a layer of air, and it feels like one of those convection ovens when the breeze starts to blow. Right now it’s 102 in Portland, so we came back at the right time, as this temp is much easier to take with 2% humidity than whatever it is up there.

I hit the internet and read fewer blogs when sitting at home instead of at work and feel like writing a new one less (sorry about that). I think I’ll get a cool glass of tea and take my Harry Potter book outside and read for a while. Yes, we saw the new movie and I’m rereading them all again. Hope you are all doing fun things for the summer.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

E Friday - birthday games

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics.

When B was up in May for E’s fourth birthday she took a bunch of photos of the young girl with her short hair. E got a computer game, which she seems pretty adept at. It plugs into the computer, then into the TV to provide a wide screen for viewing, and replaces the PC keyboard with a nice big easy for kids to use keyboard, touchpad and big button array. Her favorite is some type of Spongebob activity, where she counts and finds things and does other stuff with the guys. (like these stripes Lisa?)

B also came up with a paper tic-tac-toe game that they both seemed to enjoy

And E is still taking violin lessons. She brought the little bitty violin down with her a while back, and is still learning how to play.

So, those were her birthday activities. Cake photos were posted a while back.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Days like this make me remember a song from back when I was a kid in New Jersey

Of course, in NJ ‘hot time’ meant it got up to 84f - to us that was hot. And the humidity was usually around 98%, but at night it did cool down to 83 or so and sometime rained. I remember laying I bed trying to sleep but being so hot and sticky, no breeze or air movement at all, and just feeling the heat. Right now here it’s 105 (40c), but the humidity is 4%, so when I go outside it does feel warm, but not that sticky feeling that comes from feeling wet and clammy at the same time. You know it's hot when starting up the car that has been sitting for two days and the temp gauge is already in the middle. We are running our two ‘swamp coolers’ - evaporative coolers that just have large fans forcing air through wet filters. This drops the air temperature by 25 degrees, keeping it around 80 inside. After living here for six years the 80 seems cool, and I walk outside periodically to warm up. Tonight it will cool down by 30 degrees to about 74 or so (23c), meaning that we can turn off all the coolers and just enjoy the evening breezes. We’ll probably roll back the pool cover and float in the water at sunset, the water temp is up to 90f, a little cool for me but enjoyable. On the Fourth we floated and watched the sky go dark and the starts become visible, as our neighbors shot off all of the illegal fireworks they bought at the Indian shop a few miles up the road. The weather report says the dew point is 13f, meaning that we will not get moisture coming out of the air until the temperature drops to 13, not too likely today. This is July in Vegas.

I would much rather have weather like this than almost anything else. Well, we did have a very pleasant stay in the Caribbean where the temperature stayed at around 80 for a solid week. That was pretty nice. And May in Paris whatever the temperature was pretty nice too.

Several people have been posting reviews of movies and plays, so I thought that I would join in and do a brief review of a musical play that we went to see a few weeks ago. Up at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park there is a summer theatre program where different plays and musicals are presented. B received notice from a group she is part of about the Buddy Holly Story being presented there this year. She had gone a few years ago and appreciated the atmosphere, so we thought that we’d get some tickets and try again. Advance tickets are $10, you bring a blanket or chairs and picnic and sit on the grass and enjoy the entertainment. It’s up next to Red Rock Park, a thousand feet or so above the valley floor, and about 20 degrees cooler. The plays start at 8, a little after sunset, we arrived early one Wednesday and sat down and had something to eat and talked and waited.

Here’s what the area looked like. Sorry, I couldn’t put together a panorama view or it would be too small, so put these together in your mind.

Las Vegas is off in this direction, over the hill to the east.

My review of the play? Well, evidently this is run by a volunteer organization, and there was some type of technical problem that delayed the start. Since it was a performance that runs for over two hours, and I get up at five to go into work, I figured an 78pm start time, plus drive back home (about 45 minutes) would still give me enough sleep for the following work day. Well, with the technical problems delaying the start, eventually it got to be after 9pm and still no estimate on when things would start. This was the point at which we, and quite a few others, packed up and left. The majority of viewers looked to be retired, and seemed to be having a good time talking and drinking, so they did not seem into much of a rush. I have no idea if they eventually the play started or if the showing were cancelled. But it was a pleasant evening out anyway.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Last jewelry show photos

Reorganizing my photos, sorry but I’ve lost my list of ones that I have used before, so there will probably be some gaps and repetition. I found some shots taken during the big jewelry show from outside the event.

During setup the carpets are covered with heavy plastic, to protect the flooring from all the traffic and mostly the wheels of small forklift trucks used to move display equipment around. It all gets gathered up and trashed, then after the show new sheets get put down to protect during the move out. It’s pretty heavy plastic sheeting, with nylon strings embedded for strength.

Outside walking in one morning I came across the local police starting to gather. This is the wide area of sidewalk just to the left of the main entrance doors, which are off to the right of this picture. It’s where the police cars park, a lot of regular black and white units, undercover cars and SWAT SUVs. Walking past I can see the SWAT guys putting on their armored vests and unpacking rifles and big guns. This is about 6:30 am; the show opens at 10 so these guys are getting ready early. The sidewalk will fill up, and more cars are put around the corner and also on the center divider as well

Around back before the show starts items are beginning to be delivered. Back by the loading docks these types of vehicles start to gather, waiting to drop off boxes and boxes of goodies.

Yes, pretty impressive array of vehicles used to deliver people and goods. It is the most complicated show we have all year, and the one that takes the most to put on. It does not bring in the largest crowds however, but is the most expensive to put on.

On Monday when my coworker J and I went for our lunchtime walk we ended up inside (well, it was 101 at that point and a little warm for us to be wandering in the sunshine outside dressed pretty) and the casino was packed. There was a long line for the poker area, a tournament had started last week and there were lines to get in every day since the opening, the first day (I think it was Wednesday) there were over 100 people in line and the room already looked full. There was also a slot tournament going on right across from the poker room, these run every month so are nothing real special, but we do stop and watch people just punching buttons like crazy. The rest of the casino was fairly crowded, with a lot of people at the slots and assorted table games. We were please to see all the activity, what with the publicity about reduced visitor count and gaming takes with the economic downturn.

When we got back to our facility in the rear of the complex we were discussing our summer slowdown. There are very few conventions during July and August, for some reason people don’t come to Vegas on business during those months. I guess they go on vacations, and hit cooler places for business trips. But the first week of September things pick up, with two months solid of all rooms in use. There was a billiard show last week, and a table tennis tournament, making use of two of our five halls. Then nothing up there until mid July when Wheel of Fortune comes to tape shows for five days. Contestants are in this week to be screened again for the shows, but that’s over in one of the ballrooms of the big resort hotel casino meeting complex next door. This week there are activities for kids – some type of boot camp to get your kid trained to be a model or something.

Back in the lobby we met someone from the accounting department, who discussed one of our tech guys getting laid off. Being out of the office we had not heard of any people leaving, but she talked about a half dozen other people being let go. J and I had just talked about this one and myself being the most expendable, and sure enough, after I sat down at my computer I got a phone call inviting me over to the Human Resources office where I was told I was also being let go. So these will probably be the last photos from that facility, and I am off searching for work here in town. Maybe I’ll find something with another casino, and can continue with Strip photos, if not we go back to general stuff around town.