Monday, October 31, 2011


E was a kitty this year, in costume made by Mom and face painting by Grammy.

This just in - sorting the haul (looks a little light to me)

Friday, October 28, 2011

E Friday - short hair

We haven't done an E Friday for a while, and I've got a small backlog of photos, so here are some of them.

As a new reader E really concentrates on understanding what books are trying to tell her. Usually you can almost hear the gears grinding in there as she studies things, and sometimes it shows. But I guess learning to read is a serious thing

Since that photo she has had her hair cut. Recently they went on a trip up to Seattle, and ended up in the top of the Space Needle looking over the city. I guess this is more fun than reading, so a smile can come by once in a while

Also in Seattle is a flat maze for kids to figure out. I guess it was easy, because it looks like she's running through it

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cooking with Joe - French Fries

For today’s cooking lesson we will go over how to make low oil French Fries (or Freedom Fries for you Republicans). A little healthier for you than deep frying but still full of carbs.

We start by peeling some potatoes and cutting them up into whatever size you like. I go for the thicker wedge style fries.

Then place into a plastic zip lock bag and put in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and whatever spices you desire. I use seasoned salt and a little Creole seasoning for kick.

Zip the bag shut and knead lightly until the potatoes are all coated with oil and the spices are evenly distributed.

The onto a tray and into a 450F oven for twenty minutes, more or less depending on how thick you cut the slices and how crispy you want them. No after picture as they were eaten before I could pick the camera back up.

And finally for something totally different – did you have hair like this in 1985?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mt. Charleston trees

Back to our walk up Mount Charleston a few weeks ago. There are a lot of trees up there, well, a lot compared to most of the desert and mountains of southern Nevada. Because it is still a desert up there the trees are not very big or numerous. But they are interesting. Most are pine trees, of the assortment found out in the west.

We had some thunderstorms a few weeks ago, and it was cold enough to come down as snow up on the mountain. With the addition of some man made stuff the ski resort up there was able to open for the weekend, and was quite proud to advertise that it was the first ski resort to open in the country for this ski season. All of the white stuff up there has melted as it has warmed up again (it's 29c - 85f right now down here) but another cold front is moving in. Ski season usually starts with Thanksgiving weekend so this was quite early.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

E with pumpkins

Getting into Fall and close to Halloween. Yesterday E went to a pumpkin patch to pick out some future Jack O' Lanterns.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tivoli Village

Back again to Tivoli Village, a shopping center that opened up over on the west side. It's basically a small outdoor shopping mall. It was sitting untouched in the middle of construction for several years, then finally finished and opened a few months ago. Most of the storefronts are still empty, business being what it is. There are several restaurants and a large underground parking area. I think it was supposed to be part of a condominium complex, but those buildings are probably quite a few years off if to be build at all.

It's a different type of architecture, not sure what they were going for but the name makes me think of someone's idea if Italian.

On weekends they have a band set up on the central street, and a small farmer's market.

Most of the trees are big versions of those tacky crystal trees I associate with grandma's parlor, but about twenty times as big.

The pizza parlor there was pretty good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Casino remodels and Aria

It’s been a nice week here in Las Vegas. The weather has calmed down and we are running our seasonable temperatures, with afternoons up around 32c (90f) and nightly lows around 15c (60f), with typical sunny skies.

Last weekend seemed to draw some old style music. Both Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were playing, but at different casinos. And for even older Mitzi Gaynor was here as well, (remember her singing ‘was that man right out of my hair’ from South Pacific?) her first appearance in Vegas since 1978. She was a regular singer back in the ‘good old days’ in town a lot. (OK, can’t resist)

It was also IndyCar racing at the local motor speedway, which unfortunately was halted before it got very far. The Strip was closed ahead of the races as the cars sipped up and down Las Vegas Boulevard in front of Caesar’s and other casinos before large crowds.

One of the Republican debates will be held tonight at the Sands. There is hope that at least one of the candidates will mention the mortgage problems ‘ordinary’ people are having. Last year was rated as better than the year before, with only one housing unit out of eight getting repossession notices, the highest rate in the country. (and 12% was better?). wow. Our unemployment rate is at an official 14%, but admittedly is around 20% counting everyone not eligible for unemployment insurance, or who have used it up.

Business is picking up at the casinos, no big projects planned but many casinos are renovating to make them appear more modern. Wynn just spent $99,000,000 to upgrade their 2,700 rooms (in their five year old building). The Stratosphere spent $20,000,000; Bellagio underwent $70,000,000 in changes; $35,000,000 at the Plaza downtown and $180,000,000 at the Tropicana. Latest to announce remodeling is the MGM Grand, spending $160,000,000 on their 3,570 rooms and 642 suites along with changing the whole casino floor and all other public spaces.

Over at the Venetian there are plans to install a synthetic ice skating rink out front, on top of the Grand Canal, so you can skate while gondoliers row people alongside. This will be for their “Winter in Venice” celebration running from Thanksgiving through New Years. Lots of other entertainment activities are planned for what is usually the slowest month for visitors in Vegas. It won’t be cheap to skate - $19 per half hour. If you get sick of the snow season come on by in December, rates are usually low, shows offer two for one tickets, and though it isn’t too warm we usually average around 24c (mid 70’s f) in bright sunshine. You can still lay out and get a sunburn.

I don’t have any MGM or Venetian photos for you, but here are some from City Center – this is the Aria pool just outside the buffet windows (one of the only buffets in town with windows)

One of their indoor brass trees

And if you want to hit their shopping mall, it’s fairly open and a little different than the others around town

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Sorry to give the impression that the Cosmopolitan is devoid of people. We just went upstairs and wandered around the convention area. Next door at Aria it was rather busy

They do have slot machines

And crowds at the check in desk

And even here people bring along those big plastic drink containers

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Back to the Cosmopolitan.

Conference center waiting area

Some all art

Nice to wander around and not just face slot machines

Monday, October 10, 2011

Red Rock climbers

We had some friends from Texas visiting last week. They didn’t want to go down to the Strip so we took them out to Red Rock Park. They’ve been camping their way across the Southwest in national park campgrounds, but still would rather see more dirt and rocks than glitter and neon (well, no more neon, it’s all LEDs now). With the storm systems moving through we still have a lot of clouds.

There were quite a lot of people out there enjoying the cooler weather. Most of the rocks had people climbing on them. Calico is the most colorful

Right next to those are more distinctive stripes.

Over by the quarry they were down closer.

Still a bit too slippery for us to try, we were all satisfied just watching.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Rain in Vegas

It's been a rainy week in Las Vegas, and unseasonably cold. When we got up this morning it was only 46f - normal is usually much more than than. But should be back up to the mid 80's by Monday.

Because of the rain we have had some dramatic clouds. Coming in to work one morning I caught a double rainbow over where I work

Which terminated right in the middle of the Strip.

Somebody was probably down there pulling the slots looking for that pot of gold.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


When I was a kid I had a hard time making a Yo-you go up and down, never imagining doing anything like this. (letting go of the string? Unheard of!)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Monday sing along

A recent posting by Rob presented someone I hadn’t seen before, and I also found him rather amusing. Currently going through this with my six year old granddaughter E (who loves to read) I can see her responding like this

Though it doesn’t sound appealing to me, different people like different samiches

As long as we’re singing, this one goes through my mind many mornings when I’m driving in to work and some idiot blasts past us on the shoulder