Monday, September 1, 2014

VEGAS FOR THE FIRST TIME...

I didn't want to call myself a Vegas virgin.  Virgin is just not one of those words I grew up saying and still don't like it when people call themselves that when they do anything for the first time!  Call me old-fashioned.  

I never really wanted to go to "Sin City" and thought maybe I'd just never go to know what I was missing.  Why tempt yourself?  But the opportunity came up to go with the Hubs on a business trip and I decided to go, even if it was just about sitting by the pool with a book.  What I saw was a weird assortment of man-made monuments and a lot of fake stuff.  Some places even had fake grass in front of their hotel (understandable in the desert, I guess).  Lots of people gambling and others on the sidewalk trying to get your attention. During the days when the Hubs was in meetings, I spent my time walking the strip and looking at the beautiful hotel lobbies and themed shopping areas.  I also did spend a little time reading at the pool every day.  We ate dinner at some great restaurants - Emeril's was the best!  Probably my favorite thing was the fountain show at the Bellagio hotel.  The fountains are choreographed to music and lit up at night.  I got teary-eyed listening to "I'm Proud to be an American" with the fountains dancing to it.  I think that's the ONLY reason I might go back.

Since I didn't have a phone with a camera, not too many pictures were taken - another thing not to worry about!  :)  The Hubs did take a few:

We stayed at the MGM - they had this boxing ring in the lobby.

Bellagio
 A snail made of flowers in Bellagio Conservatory
 The Fountain show at Bellagio

 Jean-Phillipe Pattisserie's Chocolate fountain at Bellagio
 Gorgeous cakes too!
Our last night we went up in the Stratosphere to eat at Top of the World!

 You could bungee jump or ride a couple of rides off the side of the tower.  Crazy!



The view was gorgeous by the time we finished dinner - Las Vegas all lit up!

 Stratosphere lit up 












Friday, August 29, 2014

DIGITAL DEPRIVATION...


Monday:  Woohoo, fun week ahead!  I was so excited to be accompanying my husband on a business trip without the worries of leaving teens at home, that I made a major mistake.  He had gone a day ahead of me, so I was on my own getting to the airport.  For some reason I thought it would be no problem to exercise, pack, clean the house and water the plants before leaving the house at 1:30 p.m.  Before I knew it, it was noon and I hadn't finished packing yet.  Then I checked my flight times and saw that I needed to go about 15 minutes earlier, so I panicked...and I remembered everything except...MY PHONE.

No problem, I'll just do this the old-fashioned way this week.  Parking was nerve racking, and I had to go all the way to the top of the parking garage to find a space.  Not long after that, security was calling for the "person who left their makeup bag and sunglasses at the checkpoint" - whoops!  Then my flight was delayed twice, so I started to realize I would not make my connecting flight...

I started calling my husband and son on the pay phone at the airport.  Four different times.  Of course, neither of them was answering this unknown number showing up on their phone!  Finally a man in my waiting area took pity on me and asked if I was on the flight that hadn't even left its previous destination yet...and I said yes and spilled my guts about how I didn't know what to do and had left my phone at home.  He was very kind and started looking up flights on his phone and told me just what to do.  Another embarrassing moment came when my name was called over the airport loudspeaker for me to "call your husband." He'd finally gotten my previous messages and so I called him back on the pay phone.  The Hubs told me to buy a phone at an electronics store in the next airport.  Ok, no problem...

So I made it to the next airport and couldn't find an electronics store and it was getting late.  I asked and was told there was one two terminals away.  No way was I going to attempt that.  I walked down another hall and saw a Best Buy vending machine!  Did you know they sell electronics in vending machines?  How weird and WONDERFUL!  I bought a little phone for $54 that said "ready to use" on the box.  Well, their idea of ready to use is a little different than mine...After piddling around and buying some food and looking around in a book store, I decided I'd better open the box and check out the phone.

I discovered I needed to insert the battery, sim card, and charge the thing!  Thankfully I had about 30 minutes before boarding the next flight.  Got it charged, but it still didn't work.  As I was getting on the plane, another nice man came and sat one seat away from me.  With his computer, CD player and headphones, he looked like a guy who might be able to help me.  So I asked for help.  It actually took us about 15 minutes and multiple times trying to put the sim card in different ways to get it to work, but it finally did!  I got a call in to my husband right before the plane took off.

It didn't take long for me to feel really LOST and unsure what to do without my phone.  Everyone around me seemed to be looking at their phones, computers, or other devices.  Only one person noticed my weird behavior, I guess, going back and forth to the pay phones.  Then even when I had gotten one, how to work the thing!  Thankfully, with the kindness of strangers, I was taken care of...I was saying prayers of blessing for those two!  

I'm resolving today to be more aware of those around me and less into my digital devices!  A little digital deprivation was good for me, I think...

Monday, August 25, 2014

RECENT READS...



THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd

The story of two girls, one a slave and one a daughter in a predominant family, in the early 1800's in Charleston.  As they grow up and apart, they both yearn for freedom and a life of their own.  An interesting story of independence.  I enjoyed this one and the slave treatment wasn't unbearable like some literature or movies I've experienced in the past.



DESERT SOLITAIRE by Edward Abbey

An older book, published in 1968, my interest in it was purely because we were getting ready to travel to this area for our vacation.  Someone on Tripadvisor had recommended it - the author had been an employee for Arches National Park for 2 years way back when there were very few visitors.  He knew the "real" Arches park, and challenges us to keep it pure.  He has an interesting writing style, which challenged me.



DELANCEY by Molly Wizenberg

THANK YOU MOLLY!  I loved this one.  Not only because of her writing, but because my youngest also read it while we were on a road trip and proclaimed it the 2nd book he's ever read!  He was serious.  He's just not much of a reader despite all my efforts.  But he's coming along!  He loved it, which is really saying something.  She chronicles the opening of their successful pizza restaurant in Seattle, the ups and downs of owning a business, and the effects on a young couple's marriage.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

MY CRAFTY GIRL...

When we saw our sweet girl last month, she was pretty excited about this purchase - she got this new/old car!  It's a Land Cruiser similar to the first car she ever had.  We took home her Jeep for #3 to drive.  
She had also been busy sewing - she made this pillow cover and is working on another one.  I thought it was gorgeous!  She just dreams things up and makes them.  I don't know where she got that talent!
She had also made soap with coffee grounds and had wrapped up pieces for each of us.  She's a sweetheart!


Monday, August 18, 2014

OFF TO COLLEGE...

Well it seems surreal, but the baby has left the nest!  We helped him move in Saturday.

 Not the best pose, but it was the best he would do for me...

Like I said, they aren't thrilled about having a picture taken.  

 Guys really care about coordinating their stuff.  :)
 This is the other half of their room, and even better...one of our old couches, along with a found couch and carpet remnants - all three boys collaborated on this!
 We celebrated our new status as empty nesters by going out to Bricktown!  

Friday, August 15, 2014

THE VALUE OF CONVERSATION...

Recently I've gotten some gems from conversations with others!  These quotes were meaningful to me; maybe they will mean something to you.  I have a friend who collects quotes and sayings and I think that is a good thing to do, so I'm starting today!

"No one cares about it as much as you do..." (from my son, about his snow cone business and the work ethic of his employees)

"Don't lose your fire..." (from my friend Johanna, in our conversation about being an empty nester and fall projects)

"That is the hardest thing about aging - realizing things you used to do you can't do anymore..."(from a woman I was exercising with recently, after talking with her about all the tree work the hubs and I just did, and how we will never do it ourselves again!)

I also had an interesting experience which brought me to a realization that my behavior has been influenced by technology.  My nephew got married in Tennessee and we were unable to go to the wedding.  So I was anxiously awaiting pictures and details on Facebook.  Only a few pictures appeared, so I assumed others were waiting for them to return from their honeymoon to let them post them.  In the meantime I was really curious because I love events and wanted to know more about it.  I actually called, like made a phone call, to my mother-in-law, and we had a conversation and she sent me eight pictures of the wedding immediately afterwards.  I don't have a problem with my mother-in-law, I really love her, but the last few years my phone calls to her have lessened and I have relied on Facebook and our monthly family email newsletter to get news about the family. We do have a lot of family so she's not neglected, but that is beside the point.  This made me sad and I am a little bit, no, a lot, ashamed of my behavior.  I had let busyness get in the way and relied on technology to keep me in the know.  So there you go, I learned the value of conversation.

"Conversation is about building relationships.  Have some today!"
(from me)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ANSWERED PRAYER...

Sometimes we wonder...sometimes we pray for a long time with no real answer.  Sometimes we figure God said "no" or "later".  But sometimes it's very clear. 

 I've been praying for a couple of years, actually, I started when my youngest was in 11th grade, for what I might do with my time after he graduated.  I've volunteered at school and at church in the same tasks for many years and it was starting to feel like a burden.  No kids in school anymore so that's ending, but should I make a change?  Should I start thinking about returning to work?  Get more education?  Volunteer somewhere else? It's a great blessing to have options, but I was really wanting to let God direct my decision...

Our women's ministry director at church felt the need for a change, so she resigned this summer.  It was a surprise to me.  I was asked to step into her role.  Not feeling totally qualified, but confident that God can provide what I need to do this task, I accepted.  It's a ministry that I love and have helped with in a number of different ways through the years.  It will be a new challenge in some ways and stretch me a bit!  Looking forward to it and loving how clearly my prayer has been answered!