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Thanksgiving Flashback February 14, 2009

Filed under: Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:01 am

You may have missed this one, but I totally skipped over writing about our trip to Vegas over Thanksgiving.  I meant to, I truly did, but days passed, and then weeks, and then with the craziness of Christmas and family coming in town to stay with us, it got overlooked, and forgotten.  A few weeks ago, I thought about finally posting about it, but purposely decided to wait until now.

The bottom line is that we had a great time.  A fantastic time.  Of all the times we’ve been there, this was the best.

We went into a few casinos that we’ve never been in, we ate at a few places that we’ve never eaten at before, and we even stayed at a different hotel–Mandalay Bay instead of Planet Hollywood.

It was my first time playing Three Card Poker, which I quickly fell in love with.  Maybe because I went on a streak where I couldn’t NOT win money at it.

We both made some new friends . . .

And, most importantly, it was on that trip that we conceived a child.  

Sometimes what happens in Vegas . . .doesn’t stay there.

If you’re interested, you can follow my pregnancy journey HERE.
 

2008 in review December 29, 2008

Filed under: family,friends,holidaze,projects,travel,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:02 pm

What a whirlwind year!  As it comes to a close, I can’t help but think of all that happened this year.  My first thought was “Whew!  Glad it’s over.  Let’s move on to the next.”  Then I realized that that’s not fair.  It’s not like 2008 was incredibly terrible.  I have a lot to be thankful for, a lot of good things going on.  But as always, the bad stuff sneaks right in there.  So I’ll start with the bad, end with the good, and hope that the good stuff continues and multiplies in the upcoming year.  So, in no particular order:

The bad:

1. Aunt Joyce’s death

2. Grandma’s death

3. Losing a baby

4. Losing Giz

5. Aunt Mary’s death

6. Sickness–mono, 2 bouts of stomach flu, The Great Cold of January thru February, various other colds, earaches, and ailments.  I haven’t been this sick in one year since I was a wee little one. Mike also had a gout flare-up.

 

The good:

1. Going to Vegas over the Fourth of July with Mike

2. Vegas in August with the girls

3. Vegas over Thanksgiving with Mike (can anyone guess where my favorite vacation spot is?)

4. Forrest.  There’s nothing like having a kitten in the house.  He’s now healthy and growing, and YES! declawed He’s a constant source of entertainment, amusement, and frustration.

5. Making headway on home improvement projects.

6. Our benefit for the American Cancer Society

7. Good times with friends and family–near and far.  A spa trip with Michele and the girls in January in Phoenix; Becky’s bachelorette party in Pittsburgh and wedding in New York City; trips to The Sticks; visit from Lori and Paul and their kids; going to see Amy and Jeff and their baby; book club every month; 3 trips to Vegas (oh, I already mentioned those?); trip to Indianapolis for the Indy Mini; vists to and from Mike’s brother, our sister-in-law, and my adorable niece and nephew; and more that I can’t think of off the top of my head . . .

8. Random dates with Mike

9. JLo’s and ACT’s engagement

10. Connecting with so many cool people on Goodreads and through blogging.  I never thought that I would have so many friends that I never met.

11. My brother’s engagement to Abby

12. Making progress on the baby-making front.  Support from our family and friends, a great doctor, and DRUGS–gimme the drugs!

 

Bittersweet Dilemma November 26, 2008

Filed under: family,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:41 pm

So remember a week ago, when I was all excited (and slightly stunned) about Vegas?

Well, a lot has happened since, and up until last night we weren’t even sure that we could go.

Mike’s aunt had what was thought to be a minor stroke, but has since escalated into a terminal situation.  Friday afternoon she was taken off of everything except for a morphine drip.  She’s a strong woman–she always has been–and she’s still hanging in there.  But we know it’s just a matter of time . . .whether it’s days, weeks, or hours.

All of this past weekend was spent waiting on the phone to ring.  We had it in our heads that we weren’t going to go to Vegas.  The package that we booked was non-refundable, but we both agreed that losing that money was, of course, the less important issue.  To be honest with you, I thought that she would pass quickly.  I never would have imagined that she could go this long.

Last night was our decision point.  We’re going to go.  We have every contingency in place to get back sooner than we had planned, which was around midnight on Saturday.  Mike’s aunt lives in New Jersey, so even if we can make it back to Pittsburgh, we’ll still have a 6 1/2 hour drive ahead of us. I printed out the details on every flight from Vegas that comes back to Pittsburgh, goes to Philadelphia, or into Newark.  I have details on rental car companies in Newark and Philly, train schedules, bus schedules, and even the phone numbers for cab companies.  There is no way that we’re not going to be there to pay our respects to Aunt Mary.

So as much as I love Las Vegas, I haven’t really had much of a chance to look forward to our trip, and even now, 4 hours before our plane leaves, we’re still nervous about the timing of everything.  It’s very surreal. Even though it’s finally sinking in that we’ll be in Vegas tonight, it’s a very bittersweet feeling.  Whether it happens while we’re gone or after we come back, at some point soon we’ll be saying our final goodbyes to Aunt Mary.

 

Spontaneous November 20, 2008

Filed under: travel,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:06 pm

Mike and I are going back to Vegas.

NEXT WEDNESDAY.

We booked our trip.

Sixteen HOURS ago.

It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

 

Catching up August 17, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,meow!,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:32 am

This past week included a trip to Vegas, a red-eye back to Pittsburgh, 13-15 hour workdays, a big event that I’ve been planning for months, dealing with the antics of an active (and still ringworm-ridden) kitten, and no more than 3-4 hours of sleep each night.

I survived on protein bars and energy drinks.  On Friday night I crashed.  I’m still alive, just comatose and groggy and now coping with an ear infection.  After I recover by catching up on sleep, I’ll catch up on everything else . . .

what appears to be a picture of a one-eyed cat and a prime shot of my nostrils

what appears to be a picture of a one-eyed cat and a prime shot of my nostrils

 

Our trip July 9, 2008

Filed under: Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:42 pm

We started off with dinner and a few Guinness at O’Briens at the Pittsburgh airport.  After checking to make sure that our flight was still on time, we stopped at a bar right by our gate and had another beer.  I knew I was at my limit for pre-flight alcohol consumption, so we headed back to our gate.  While we were waiting, I called my friend Amy and congratulated her and her husband on the birth of their daughter.  Welcome to the world, little Phoebe!  I can’t wait to meet you!  I also rubbed it in that I’ll be partying in Vegas while Amy is trying to figure out how to take care of a newborn, but she took my teasing well.

Our flight was uneventful and I was even able to catnap for an hour or so.  We got to Las vegas around 10:00 PM Pacific time, got our luggage, and headed to Planet Hollywood.  When we checked in, we were asked if we wanted to be upgraded to a larger room facing the strip.  Um, sure!

Our room was bigger than what we had the last time, and did have an awesome view of the Bellagio. 

Bellagio at night

Bellagio

We headed back downstairs to the casino and walked around, checking out things that had changed since we were there last in November.  Our typical tradition is to go to P.F. Chang’s for dinner, but since we got in so much later than we had on our previous trips, we decided to save P.F. Chang’s for later.  The casino is busier at night than it is in the daytime, which makes it harder for Mike and I to find slot machines that are away from smokers.  But there’s a section of machines on the mezzanine level overlooking the casino floor that we really like because there’s hardly ever anyone up there.  There’s also a bar area that stays open because the high-limit room is on that level, so we even end up with dedicated waitress service.  We headed up there and proceeded to drink and play the slot machines until after 4AM (7AM Pittsburgh time, so we had been awake for over 24 hours!).  We fell asleep quickly once we got back to the room, but got up again at

two and a half hours sleep

For some reason, only 2 1/2 hours sleep in Vegas doesn’t bother me like it would anywhere else.  We had a nice big breakfast at Planet Dailies

Planet Dailies

and then hung around the casino for awhile.

Anxious to get our day going, we showered and wandered up the strip, carefully watching the clock to make sure that we were back at Bill’s for the Big Elvis show at 3:00.   The lounge area was packed, but we were able to get a spot on the fringe, right at the bar (of course).  Despite the number of people there for the show, no one was quite as anxious as I was to volunteer to be part of the show.  I had done this on our November trip and it was a lot of fun.  Elvis sings “Viva Las Vegas” while another girl and I shake maracas, and then they dress up the male volunteer in Elvis gear and give him a blow up guitar to play.  I don’t mind being the center of attention when I don’t know anyone around me other than Mike!

Big E show

certificate

Afterwards, we got pictures taken with Big Elvis (Pete) and Conway Twitty (Chuck). 

kiss from the king

Mike\'s Elvis sneer

Mike with Conway Twitty

Me with Conway Twitty

We wandered around some more and then headed back to Planet Hollywood for a sandwich at Earl of Sandwich (the Ultimate Grilled Cheese rocks!).  I was in bed that night before 9:00, finally worn out from lack of sleep, my cold, dancing with Elvis, and all of the walking.  Oh, and all the drinks I had!

Mike stayed up after making sure I made it into bed and was fast asleep.  He woke me up at 2:30AM to tell me he was bored and wanted me to go back downstairs with him.  We went downstairs and he got a big meatloaf and mashed potato dinner to go that he ate while I was winning money on a slot machine 🙂

We went back upstairs around 4:00, but I was restless and couldn’t sleep very well.  I wanted to go back downstairs, and Mike decided to come with me.  We wandered around for awhile, but Mike wasn’t feeling very well, so a few hours later we found ourselves back in the room for a nap. 

After naptime, we headed out into the heat to walk down the strip to New York New York.  Neither of us was feeling up to having a Guinness at Nine Fine Irishmen, so we skipped that and opted to play some of the different slot machines that our hotel doesn’t have.  I actually hit for $95 on one 30 cent spin on a Star Wars machine!  We played for awhile longer and then walked across the street to the MGM Grand.  

New York New York from the walkway

We hopped on the monorail and headed up the strip to the Sahara.  We stayed there for quite awhile before heading back to Bally’s and walking back to Planet Hollywood from there.  Mike was exhausted by this point and wanted to go to sleep, so I stayed downstairs in our casino and he met me there a little while later, although by that point I was starting to conk out.

The next morning we awoke refreshed and well-rested.  We anxiously waited for P.F.Chang’s to open for lunch and had a delicious meal before catching a cab and going downtown to Fremont Street.  So many people think that the downtown area is dumpy and not worth the trip, but we had a fun time the last time we were there, so I insisted that we go again this time.

We wandered around to all of the casinos and had a lot of fun playing roulette.  At the one table, I walked away up $135!  We ate at a seafood buffet, where Mike discovered crab legs. 

crab legs 

We saw an awesome band playing on the street and stopped to watch them.  I was dancing like a crazy person.

dancing

And then the light show started.  The first one we saw was a tribute to Queen–the lights and the music were fantastic!  And the second one–an hour later–was a Vegas montage.  All of the casino’s outside lights go out and the only lights are on the canopy overhead.  It’s quite an experience!

Let me preface this next sentence by letting you know that I was quite drunk by this point.  .  .Mike and I went into the Glitter Gulch. 

Glitter Gulch

humph!

Yes, a strip club (although just topless–not the whole shebang.  I don’t think I could have handled that!).  It wasn’t nearly as skeezy as I thought it would be.  Some of  the girls that were dancing were very beautiful.  I wasn’t the only female patron there, and I didn’t feel awkward or out of place.  The way I look at it, they don’t have anything different than what I have.  It’s just that mine’s not on display.  It was definitely worth the experience, and from what I understand it was much cheaper to go to a downtown strip club than to one on the strip (would that be called a strip strip club?).  Just a little tip in case you want to save a few dollars.

And thus, our adventure came to an end.  We headed back to Pittsburgh worn out and ready to come home.  A few days in Vegas is enough.  But by the time our plane landed and we walked out into the oppressive humidity, we were ready to go back.

The good news?  I’ll be back there in a month on a girls-only weekend with 3 friends.  It will be a much different trip–going to clubs, spa treatments, and sipping fruity drinks by the pool–but I’m definitely looking forward to it!!!

You can see the rest of the blurry pictures here if you’re interested.

 

Vegas, baby! July 2, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 7:43 pm

We’ll be boarding our flight in 24 1/2 hours and I have a ton of stuff to do between now and then, so I just wanted to write a quick post to say goodbye!  Of course, everything at work exploded this week and I’m back to 10 and 11 hour non-stop days and feeling stressed out.  Just the thought of this trip is getting me through this week.  I’m looking forward to it now even more that I was before!

Hope you all have a nice weekend and a Happy Fourth!

 

An unusual tour of Vegas November 30, 2007

Filed under: friends,NaBloPoMo,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:03 pm

This post is for TheAngelForever, who had an opportunity to visit many bathrooms in Las Vegas early on in her pregnancy with her oldest son, NHL.  There are many astounding bathrooms in Vegas–the tile in some of the bathrooms at Wynn is just breath-taking for example.

But I bypassed the beautiful views and instead took pictures of some unusual things I saw in the bathrooms so that I could do a photo post of them.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to write down where each of the bathrooms were and now I can’t recall. 

Many bathrooms had all the bells and whistles you could ever want.  We have cupholders in the stall for your drink (and look, you can have TWO at a time!):

cupholder in stall.

And some have ashtrays in the stall, you know, for when you just can’t wait a few more minutes to light up:

ashtray.

Some are beau-ti-ful—from the glossy marble walls and floors to the granite countertops to the classic light fixtures:

beautiful.

And some are nice on the outside and then seriously lacking updates to the most critcal feature:

pink toilet?.

A pink toilet?  Come on . . . the pink bathroom era is LONG over!

And my favorite?  This little sign on the inside of a stall, which was sooo handy:

sign.

You know why?  The door opened IN.  So if I would have opened it quickly, I could have knocked myself out!  Apparently they got sued before for not cautioning bathroom users.

 

Vegas 11/24/07

Filed under: NaBloPoMo,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 1:06 pm

Almost done . . .

We woke up early Saturday morning, went downstairs to play the slots for awhile, and then Mike stopped in at the VIP desk and asked if we could check-out late since our flight wasn’t until 5:45PM.  They graciously accommodated us (even though we’re the two most un-VIP people you’ve ever met), and we headed upstairs to our room to pack up.  Quite a project, but we packed pretty quickly when you take into account how messy the room was (DEFINITELY no pictures of THAT mess!).

We went to the Spice Market Buffet at our hotel, which we had been looking forward to the whole time we were there.  On principle I don’t really care for buffets, but I do look forward to trying new things that I wouldn’t order at a restaurant for fear of not liking it.  I especially enjoyed the dessert area and had my first chocolate in a month, which tasted like heaven.  (Since then, I’ve devoured the whole bag of Peppermint Patties that TheAngelForever sent me.  Gotta get back on that strict diet, but I definitely enjoyed the time I was OFF of it!)

We went back to the casino floor and did the free slot pull by the players club area.  You know, that giant slot machine where you can win some kind of huge prize that you suspect that no one has ever won anything?  Mike went first and won something!  Sadly it wasn’t the $2 million, but he did get a set of dice that were actually used in the casino.

I went next and since he had won something, I didn’t expect to get anything at all.  But up popped one seven.  Then another.  And then a third!  The attendant kept saying “We have a big winner!  We have a big winner!”  I was utterly confused and was looking at the top of the giant slot machine to see what she meant by “big”.  It turns out that I would have originally won 2 tickets to STOMP OUT LOUD, which was at our hotel.  Mike and I had already seen it and wouldn’t have paid to see it again, but with free tickets (and if we were staying longer) we would have definitely gone.  BUT, they were out of STOMP tickets, so she told me that I had won 2 free admissions to the buffet (you know, the one we had just come from) and $10 in free slot play.  We explained that we were leaving in an hour or so to catch our plane, and Mike talked her into giving me two sets of the same dice she had given him.  I guess he plans on getting a few craps games going in our basement or something.

We redeemed the $10 in free slot play and quickly blew through that without winning anything.  Next we headed over to the free slot tournament, and we both ended up winning a STOMP keychain.  And, I beat Mike by one point (which I was very proud of for some reason!).  It seems we were lucky all around that day.

It was time to go, so we collected our luggage from the room and caught a cab to the airport.  Waiting in the airport was excruciating.  We both just wanted to go to sleep and it seemed like boarding time would never come.  Once we got on the plane, I fell asleep while Mike dozed in an out.  Once I woke up, we started talking about our favorite parts of the trip and how much we would have liked to stay longer.  Or go back again soon.

We’ve been to Vegas together four times in the past 3 years and have stayed at the Aladdin/Planet Hollywood 3 of those times.  It’s been so neat to see the hotel morph from the Arabian-themed Aladdin to the movie-themed Planet Hollywood.  Even the slot machines that had little magic lamp logos were covered up with Planet Hollywood decals.   The rooms have changed and now each one has memorabilia from a different movie (our room was the “All the Right Moves” room).  The only hint that the hotel was once the Aladdin?  The plumbing fixtures:

faucet

 

Vegas 11/23/07

Filed under: NaBloPoMo,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:31 am

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know you’re sick of the whole vacation saga that really only consists of us walking around, drinking, and gambling, but this is more for me than it is for you, so feel free to skip over it.  On a cold winter day in February when we’re buried in snow and ice and I feel like it’s been years since I went away anywhere, I’m going to need these posts to look back on and pull me through.

On Friday morning, we went downstairs and played the slots for awhile before heading over to New York New York.  Once we got there, we fought our way through the crowds and went to Sirrico’s for a slice of pizza. (OK, I admit it.  I had TWO slices.  Diet had fallen to the bottom of my priority list and was a distant memory by this point.)

Mike was able to get on one of the new Star Wars slot machines at NYNY,

star wars

i heart yoda

and I eventually got on one of them too, but lost money in the blink of an eye.  I watched Mike finish playing and cash out, then we headed back to Nine Fine Irishmen.

nfi

I love traditional Irish pubs.  No TVs and there are divided areas at the bar so that you can have an intimate conversation and feel like you’re the only two people in the place (or be wild and rowdy and not disturb your neighbors!).  We got our last Guinness to go (although Guinness in a plastic cup is sacrilegious) and started walking.

outside nyny

We walked through Excalibur and on to the Luxor, stopping to check out the advertisements for various risque events.

thunder down under

fantasy

We spent some time at the Luxor’s sportsbook and then continued on to Mandalay Bay.  After we left there, we decided to stop in the Tropicana, since we had never been in there before.

tropicana

It was, well . . .disgusting.  It smelled old and musty.  But that didn’t stop us from hanging out in the casino for awhile.  Definitely an “old Vegas” feel to that place.

We headed back towards our hotel and got sidetracked by the Glacier Bar.

glacier bar

and also an outdoor band (bad picture, I know).

band

By this point I was getting cold and of course didn’t have a jacket with me, so we hightailed it back to Planet Hollywood and had another sandwich at Earl of Sandwich.  I had the grilled cheese sandwich again and Mike made fun of me.  We stayed dowstairs in our casino and gambled until the wee hours of the morning, at which point I had ANOTHER grilled cheese sandwich and Mike CONTINUED to make fun of me.  Shut up.  It’s my vacation.  I will eat 46 grilled cheese sandwiches if I want to (and wonder why I can’t lose weight). 

We headed up to our room, sad that our last full day in Vegas was over. 

TO BE CONTINUED . . .