Twenty five years. That’s how much time passed between visits with my girlfriend, Wendy.
Twenty five years ago, I didn’t know it would be decades before I saw her again. I can’t even recall our last hurrah. Possibly drinks and dancing at Black Angus. Maybe an evening bbq at a friend’s house.
You might guess we reunited through FaceBook, but it was actually Flickr, where I found a recent photo of her, and MyLife (formerly Classmates dot com) where I paid $14.95 for 1 month membership and access to her contact information.
Not long after mailing her a letter and current family photo, my phone rang. It was Wendy!
♫♪♬ Reunited and it feels so good! ♫♪♬
Fast forward to Tuesday.
♫♪♬ My girlfriend’s back… ♫♪♬
Wendy, her husband, and her parents were spending a week in Vegas. By 11am, I was hugging my friend again after all these years! Wow, she was as gorgeous as ever. And tall! I don’t remember her being so tall. Her family was all so nice, and made me feel welcome.
While the men headed to the Bass Pro Shop, we ladies headed for the Fashion Show Mall. Making our way through the maze of underground parking, we scored a sweet parking spot close to one of the many entrances. Macy’s, Dillards, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, and Forever 21 called out to us, and we answered! Two hours flew by as we navigated the stores, trying on outfits here and there. Wendy scored an excellent deal at Macy’s, bagging 4 pairs of shorts and a pair of capris for $50.
For lunch, we drove to Tommy Bahama’s Cafe at Town Square.
Three Blackberry Basil Smashes, please! Actually, they said they no longer offer that cocktail, but after checking with the bartender, we were told they WOULD make them! We have a feeling they scooted over to the nearby Whole Foods for ingredients.
Wendy’s Mom and I had the fish tacos, and Wendy had chicken salad. The fish was blackened and spicy, with contrasting cool, crisp slaw on top. To the side was a deep fried tortilla bowl with plantains and sweet pineapple, coconut “pudding”.
Laughter and conversation flowed easily. It is amazing to pick up with dear friends right where you left off. We drank, ate, enjoyed the lovely atmosphere, and each other’s company for several hours.
I won’t let another 25 years slip away.
• What’s the longest you’ve gone without seeing a friend?
• Are there pictures of you on Flickr that you knew nothing about?
• Do you like flowers in your cocktail?
Category Archives: Nevada
Twenty five years. That’s how much time passed between visits with my girlfriend, Wendy.
Just returned from a day trip to Vegas. I love it there!
First stop, in Henderson actually, was Trader Joe’s. I brought a cooler and ice packs for the frozen items such as the Japanese ice cream the kids are so fond of. I also picked up a bottle of the new Clementine Sparkling Juice. Two thumbs way up!
After filling the cooler half way and securing the non-perishables, I ventured over to the Mandalay Bay hotel & casino. It is the first resort as you enter the strip from the south end, and offers quick access to their parking facilities.
The restaurant formerly situated next to the Burger Bar has been replaced by the new Hussong’s Cantina. It being Cinco de Mayo, I was in the mood for a margarita and Mexican fare. Ok, I’m always in the mood for a margarita and Mexican fare.
Hussong’s was having “The Most Interesting Man” Look-Alike contest. Had I know, I would have tried to bring my husband. He has the beard & mustache!
Well, regardless, I made my way to the entrance and requested a table for one. I was given a nice little table off to the side, a basket of chips & salsas, the menu and time to review it.
Hussong’s offers an Original and a Traditional margarita. I honestly didn’t know the difference, but assumed the original would be loaded with alcohol. When my waitperson approached, she offered me advice on my cocktail selection as well as my lunch choice. The Original uses all fresh ingredients while the Traditional uses a mix. I opted for the Original (both cost $10/ea.) I was torn between the lobster tacos and the avocado shrimp salad, and my server raved about the salad, calling it one of her favorite dishes. I ordered the salad, then sat back, enjoyed my chips, salsa and cocktail while listening to the laughter of fellow diners.
Soon my meal was approaching… an entire avocado, breaded and deep fried, filled with cooked shrimp and served on a bed of lettuce. Interesting! Tasty. Not sure I would order it again. The batter was rather thick on the avocado, but not bad overall. I gave Hussong’s 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp.
After lunch, I went to see my stylist, Brooklyn at ARCs, also in the Mandalay Bay. She gave me a trim and brightened my color (i.e. covered my gray). Her lovely assistant, Little Kelly did an amazing job rinsing & washing my hair and massaging my head & shoulders.
On the way out of dodge, I swung by the Cheesecake Factory for a few slices for my family; original with strawberries, key lime, and red velvet. I can attest the key lime is fantastic!
To view highlights of the day, just push play.
• What is your favorite day trip destination?
• What do you do there?
• Do you Yelp?
This blog was originally posted on MySpace March 9, 2009. An update follows.
This morning, on Tom’s return trip from dropping Natalie off at school, he was pulled over for speeding. As he was waiting for the officer to do whatever it is officer’s do, Tom noticed something odd in his rear view mirror. “That’s something you don’t see every day”, Tom remarked to the officer. What caught their eye? A man pulling a huge cross along the highway. The cop took one look at Tom and said, “Today’s your lucky day. Now that we’ve seen Jesus, I’m going to let you go with a warning.”
Tom came home with a gleam in his eye, and I immediately knew something was up. Neither of us could believe his luck! But wait! He hadn’t taken a picture! The man couldn’t have gotten far, so Tom grabbed a camera and headed out. Didn’t take Tom long to find him hauling his cross (which conveniently has wheels on the bottom) further into town. Tom pulled over and snapped his photo. The man waved, approached Tom, and said the photo would cost him one dollar.
The two struck up a conversation. Tom is so personable, and apparently so is the man with the cross. Turns out his name is Cross Carrier Chuck, and he has been walking across the United States since 2000. It’s a ten year mission, and at the end of it, he’s going to write a book.
Tom gave C.C. Chuck (and his cross) a ride to Laughlin, and enough money to buy him a decent breakfast at any one of the casinos. Chuck’s next destination is, appropriately enough, Sin City.
UPDATE: The story did not end there. Far from it. Chuck’s feet were hurting, so he turned his cross around and returned to our town. Meanwhile the story of Tom’s lucky encounter with “Jesus” was blazing through the grapevine. As Chuck pulled his cross in front of the window of a local Bar & Grill, the patrons phoned Tom to say, “Jesus is back!” Tom hopped into his truck, caught up with Chuck, and bought him a bowl of soup.
Day turned to night, and Tom brought Chuck home for dinner. During the course of the evening, we discovered some interesting things about Chuck.
• His mother’s name is Mary.
• His favorite cocktail is the Long Island Iced Tea.
• His favorite pizza is ham, pineapple and anchovies.
• The cross is not a chick-magnet.
• He likes Rice Crispy Treats, but doesn’t know who Michael Phelps is or why Michael adorned my box of Treats. (One collectible down the drain.)
With the help of our friends, we were able to treat Chuck to a week’s stay at a local hotel. After speaking with his mother, we helped him establish a bank account using our address for his statements. His parents put money into his account, and he is able to make withdrawals with his ATM card. When the statements arrive, we are tempted to open them and see where Chuck has been. Instead, I file them away on the off chance he returns.
Chuck caught a bus and headed to the bible belt as Easter was on the horizon. He abandoned his cross in Needles, CA, where the bus station is located, and anticipated building a new cross when this particular journey was over.
You can find videos of Cross Carrier Chuck on YouTube. It was fun to show him the internet while he was here, and he could recall in great detail the circumstances behind being filmed.
If you ever run across Chuck, buy him a Long Island Iced Tea from me!
Each winter for the past four years we have gone in search of SNOW. Being an Arizona family, it is rare for us to experience freezing temps. Saturday, after 2 1/2 hours on the road, we reached our destination: Mount Charleston, Nevada, just 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
We were so happy to arrive, and headed straight to the snow play area.
Warning: Turn your audio down. I’m a screamer. I mean really! Way, way down.
The girls made snow angels.
We made a snowman. (The base was already there.) Look at Frosty’s pea head. LOL!
As the sun started to set behind the mountain, we made our way down to the Mount Charleston Resort. It’s a lovely hotel with a restaurant, bar, gambling, spa, and dvd rentals, but no elevators.
After check-in, Tom headed down to the bar to watch football, the girls watched a Tom & Jerry dvd in our room, and I signed in to the wi-fi. Thank goodness for Hulu! I watched an SNL clip (Snookie), a Chelsea Lately clip (Holly Madison was dissing Criss Angel), and I forget what else. Just some mindless mumbo-jumbo that helped me unwind.
The girls wanted to wear dresses to dinner, so I helped them into their outfits. Just then, Tom returned from the bar. Perfect timing! Off we went to dinner. It was so scrumptious, but service was very slow. They must make each dish to order. On a positive note, our waitress bought Natalie and Pearl’s drawings for a dollar each. Check out these happy entrepreneurs!
Sunday morning we had breakfast at the Mt Charleston Lodge near the summit. The girls colored, but there were no takers for their artwork. Tom tried to double his money, but no such luck. Breakfast was delicious and served quickly.
We repeated Saturday’s *S* activities: sledding & snow angels (no snowmen). I’d like to say the rest of the day went off without a hitch, but as we made our way down the mountain, we got a flat tire. Chances are, if you run over a snowball and your tire pops, it wasn’t a snowball!
• Are you a screamer?
• Do you get much snow?
• Do you like to play in it?
Maybe we shouldn’t be turning to Elvis for culinary inspiration. Regardless, The Cupcakery has transformed Elvis’ Bacon, Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich into this Trip To Graceland cupcake. I’ll admit I was anxious to taste it.
I arrived an hour before closing, and bought one dozen cupcakes including the last 2 Elvi (plural of Elvis) available.
When I returned home with the goodies, my eldest daughter spotted an Elvis and called dibs. Her verdict: thumb up! Youngest daughter also took a bite earning Elvis his 2nd thumbs up. Hubby said he’d sample it in the morning with a side of eggs.
After seeming enamored with Elvis, the girls became bored and wandered off. I saw my chance to pounce!
• Bacon topping ~ crisp and smokey.
• Banana cream frosting ~ oh so sweet and banana-y!
• Chunky peanut butter cake ~ FAIL. No PB flavor. No chunks. Dense and dry, like cornbread.
I took a bite, wanting to try the combination of all 3 flavors. That didn’t help. The salty bacon and creamy banana trumped the weak peebee cake. I didn’t Love It Tender. I wished I had a Blue Hawaiian to wash it down. Anyone want a half-eaten cupcake? I was afraid of that. Return to Sender.
• Would you try the Elvis cupcake?
• How could this cupcake be improved?
• What other combinations would you like to see in a cupcake?
The Cupcakery has locations in Nevada and Texas.
Friday night we attended the 12th Annual Fiesta & 10K Give Away otherwise known as the Margarita Festival. Eight businesses competed for Best Blended and Best Rocks. Our employee & friend, Brenda, won tickets from the local radio station and graciously gave them to us. Thanks Brenda!
I wasn’t in a festive mood until two lovely pirates draped beaded necklaces on hubby & me and handed us Shipwrecks. The Avi Resort & Casino’s Shipwreck margarita deservedly won Best Rocks. It was bright red and so delicious! If I had to guess, I’d say the secret ingredient was either pomegranate or pineapple.
Mohave Steak House served a scrumptious Mango margarita. It was fresh and cheery.
I don’t recall which competitor offered the Pink Panties margarita. Their hostesses were dressed in camo & fishnets, and their cocktails came with sugared rims and little green army men.
Sol de Mexico’s Soljito (mojito margarita) recipe can be found here. Let me tell you, hearing Tom ask people all night if the mint leaves were stuck to his teeth never got old!
We didn’t stand in the long line for Aquarius’ Banana Split margarita, but they won the People’s Choice award.
Edgewater & Colorado Belle won Best Blended with their Peach Bellini margarita. You know a guy is proud of his trophy when he tongues it. Personally, I would have given them an award for having the best “keepsake” highball glasses, thank you very much!
Lemonade Dogeritas were served by Mad Dogs’ hotties and dog-faced Jimmy.
After trying 7 out of 8 margaritas (some repeatedly) we were feeling no pain.
• How do you like your margarita?
• What’s your favorite festival?
• Have you ever licked a trophy?
Actual friends. Not actual size.
Thursday the timing was right to check out the Henderson Nevada Farmers’ Market. My only previous experience with a Farmers’ Market was back in the early nineties, attending a bountiful one in picturesque Walnut Creek, California.
Walnut Creek Farmer’s Market
Wanting to avoid Henderson’s forecasted high of 106 degrees, I arrived fairly early around 10:30 a.m. Google Maps worked perfectly, and although the Events Plaza has a parking garage across the street, I chose street parking.
At first glance, the sprawling concrete patio sparsely dotted with tents, didn’t impress.
Since pickings looked slim, I left my portable cooler and fabric tote in my car, grabbed my purse, and made my way to the tents. Oh no! Not infomercial items!! I didn’t want a self-casting fishing pole, lotions, potions, hot sauce or shaved ice. I wanted fresh fruit grown locally! Only two vendors offered such. The first had melons and tomatoes. The second had pluots, plums, grapes, and strawberries. The helpful sales lady bagged my fruits, but when I asked her to follow me to the vegetable portion of her display, she didn’t budge. Fine. The fruit came to a whopping total of $12.00.
On the plus side, the fruit was tasty, and I helped local farmers. Right? Off I went to my next destination, Trader Joe’s.
Oh gosh, talk about your fresh fruit! Sorry, Farmers’ Market. Next time I’m heading straight to Trader Joe’s!
I grabbed a package of pomegranate seeds, two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, and two varieties of cheese. Tom and I sampled the cheeses last night. The New Zealand Grass Fed Cheddar was fantastic! Mild, salty, flavorful and pungent. I highly recommend!
Noon was fast approaching, and I was fortunate enough to have a lunch date.
Hi Jean, it’s Anje! Guess what? The twins are napping, so I’ll be solo.
Yes, I was having lunch with none other than Wonder Writer from MySpace. Anje is my hero for several reasons; she’s a loving wife, mother of four, writer of exceptional blogs, a successful business woman, a positive influence, and a private person. She is a beautiful soul with an instant smile and infectious laugh. Do you know what really cinched it for me? Cocktails and dessert! Those little pleasures that don’t always accompany a meal were easily embraced by the two of us.
• What’s your opinion of Farmers’ Markets?
• Is Trader Joe’s da bomb?
• Are you free for lunch?
Wednesday afternoon my friend from Oregon, Joy, and I made our way to Vegas. She had booked our accommodations, keeping me in suspense for months. Finally she spilled the beans.
T R U M P • I N T E R N A T I O N A L • H O T E L
Trump is located on the north end of the strip, across from the Encore and the Wynn.
The non-gambling, non-smoking resort was very swank.
Kitchenette ~ Tub with view of the Strip
Now, I have to tell you that I did forget to pack 1 thing (as usual). This time it was my camera. I used my phone to take pics, but they aren’t the best.
We checked in, then sat in the lounge, sipping overpriced wine and beer.
Bar & Lounge
We entered a time warp as 3 hours passed quicker than you can bat an eye. When we noticed the time, we had 5 minutes to change clothes, freshen our make-up & hair, and catch a cab to Caesar’s.
Here is an event I was really anticipating! Dining at Mesa Grill, owned by Bobby Flay.
All the while pinching myself, I savored Green Pea + Green Chili Soup, Ancho Chili-Honey Glazed Salmon with Spicy Black Bean Sauce, and Roasted Corn with Smoked Chilis, Cotija Cheese + Lime.
Camera phone, don’t fail me now!!
Without a doubt, this was the most flavorful meal I’ve ever had. Really intense, delicious flavors.
Time continued to fly as we dashed outside to catch a cab to The Rio.
Penn & Teller
An hour before the show, there is a live jazz band playing. The audience is encouraged to take to the stage to examine a box and sign an envelope. When the show does start, Teller (the little guy) appears from the box! This show was FANTASTIC! I’d like to see it again, just to catch what I missed this time. Penn explains a few of the tricks by using clear cups and cellophane, but you’re still left scratching your head in amazement!
I wouldn’t recommend the show to young children because there’s a lot of blood and guts when they cut a woman in half.
After the show, Penn & Teller run down the aisles and into the lobby where they pose for pictures and sign autographs.
Teller is easy to approach, while Penn is lost in a sea of fans.
Normally I would break down this blog into Day 1, Day 2, etc., but on Day 2, Lady Luck coughed on us. Joy caught a cold.
Our one excursion together Thursday was to the Bellagio Cafe. Now while I usually rave about the Crab Benedict, this time that darned Lady Luck put a hair in my eggs!
Lady Luck needs a hair net!
Back at the Trump, Joy watched t.v. while sipping on $12.00 bottles of Dayquil and Nyquil. I walked across the street to the Fashion Show Mall to visit Nordstrom, Godiva, Forever21 and Dillards. Hey, if I can’t shop, I’m not living up to my name!
Day 3, we had the breakfast at the Wynn.
The Buffet @ The Wynn
The surroundings are bright and whimsical, and the large selection of food is delicious. I was pleasantly surprised to see that pizza is included as a breakfast item! There is plenty of fruit, pancakes, french toast, bagels and the like for $18.95 per person. It’s a bit steep for a Vegas buffet, and if you haven’t tried the Rio’s buffet, I’d recommend it over the Wynn’s.
I took Joy to the airport, gave her a hug and some air kisses, and sent her on her way. It’s too bad her souvenir was a Vegas virus!
Thanks for reading! It’s good to be home.
I scooted into Vegas yesterday for hair and lunch. On the way from the salon to the restaurant inside of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, I noticed their new wall of body parts.
Some interesting pictures get taken here.
Anyone want to help me molest the wall?
Too Hot Tamales, Mary Sue Millikan and Susan Feniger, of Food Network fame, opened a Border Grill in the Mandalay Bay. I have not seen their show, but I was craving Mexican food. The special of the day was duck tacos with mango salsa.
The blend of smoky duck with the sweetness of the salsa was a taste-bud explosion! I was savoring every bite, and washing it down with pomegranate lemonade. Polishing off 2 tacos, I asked for a box for the remaining one.
This morning, I offered said taco to Tom for breakfast. He took a big bite, and promptly pulled 2 duck rib bones out of his mouth! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I quickly completed the restaurant questionnaire, taped the bones inside, included a copy of my receipt, and will mail it on Monday. We’ll see what comes of it.
Thanks for reading!
Update: I received a coupon for free dessert, and I did molest the wall.