Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vegas, baby!!!

We made it to the bright lights and hot desert known as Sin City!

Wow, what a whirlwind weekend! I think in the course of about 3 days we did just about everything you can in Vegas. Except go on the Dam Tour. And hire a hooker. But other than THAT, we checked all of these boxes:

4 hour mechanical delay on departure - akkk, we couldn't wait to get going!
S-WEET hotel room (notice the bed is in a separate room)

Swimming at the pool
Dinner at the hotel - Jeff had awesome chicken parmesan and I had steak oscar...better than SD's
And an early night (hey, it's a 3-hour time difference, give us a break!)

A HUGE breakfast buffet at the restaurant
Hibuscus Island Treatment at the spa - including a full body scrub and 50-minute Swedish Massage!
Pool time, and first beachy drink of the vaca (*note, I am pasty and remain pasty. Thank you, sunblock, floppy hats, and umbrellas.)

Then getting ready for our show!
A free Buffet dinner (at the Wynn) as a thank-you for coming to the show
Then, the most magical live performance I have ever seen...Garth Brooks at the Encore Theater in a baseball cap and hoodie, just him and a guitar

Rode an elevator with a bona fide pimp, high class call girl, and 2 johns
Walked the strip in daylight
Saved money where we could (at a Chiptole)

Found a fish tank at the Mirage

Poked around the shopping at the Bellagio and marvelled at the shoes and handbags
More Pool time at our hotel! And then we got kicked out of the pool by the hotel staff...hehehe
Walked the desert death march in 110 degree heat to New York New York
Experienced Zumanity, the sensual side of Cirque de Soleil

Waved at Studio 54 at the MGM Grand (yeah right, like we could ever get in)
Visited M&M World
Carried an open container of margarita wonderfulness 2 miles
Pulled the handle on slots at Planet Hollywood and won $66
Promptly lost $66
And then lost some more.
Had some more drinks
Stumbled back to the hotel

Early morning to the airport to wait. And wait. And wait. I finally got on a plane for the 4 hour flight around 4pm...Jeff on the other hand ended up on the red-eye at 11:30PM and arrived Monday morning at 7AM in Atlanta. Was the wait worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Getting ready

What is your favorite thing to do in Las Vegas? Where are the cheap places to eat (and drink)? Which show would you see (CHER? Lion King? Jubilee? Peepshow? Hoover Dam?)?

Tonight we are planning the rest of our days in far we have only one evening planned out (for Garth Brooks of course) out of 2 full days and an additional half day!!!

Jeff has mentioned he would like to see a show of an "adult" nature...but that is likely one show I would not want to skimp on. You know. Just in case it is seedy.

(Almost) Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Breakfast for dinner

One of my favorite meals is breakfast-at-dinner. (and cheesy dogs. but that's beside the point.)

So to celebrate my 12 lb weight loss since my last doctor visit (I went to the asthma doc today for my 6 month check up), I whipped up some Egg Beater omelets with ham and cheese, a batch of banana nut muffins, and OJ.

YUM! I tried to limit myself to 2 muffins, but snuck in a 3rd late tonight. Good thing it was after I weighed in. I hate when I get the 9PM munchies...usually I can say no, but not tonight :(

What is your favorite breakfast-at-dinner meal?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Iron Man 2

Jeff and I decided to beat the heat today (it was 97 with a Heat Index of 105) and head to see Iron Man 2 in the movie theater. (Highly recommended by the way.)

Going to movies is a very special treat for us. The last movie we went to was Twilight: New Moon last summer, and before that...who knows! It's just hard to justify spending $16 for a matinee plus $30 in snacks for the two of us. So we usually wait and watch flicks at home.

So when we go, we SPLURGE! We got the BIG popcorn and pop...but we did not splurge as much as the little craps that were ahead of us in line. Seriously, these 2 ten year olds spent about $40 on candy and pop. Who sends their kid to the movies with that much cash?? 'Oh here you go, Junior, it's a $50. Try not to spend it all in one place.' I can hear it now...maybe that dad just needed some time off from the kids.

On that note - I am lonesome for my family even though I saw them last weekend. So Happy Father's Day, Dad!!!! I love you so much and am glad you are having a good time in the Black Hills. I wish I could be there with you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

City of St Louis

I am excited to hit the road again this week! I am going to St. Louis, Missouri - home of the Gateway to the West, the Cardinals, and Anheuser-Busch...

I also think it could be hot, but not nearly as bad as it's been in Atlanta. The heat index has been over 100 the past few days!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Congratulations Amy!

The road more often traveled was taken this weekend to see Ms. Amy Lee in Chicago and to celebrate her achievement of GRADUATION FROM UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO SOCIAL SERVICE ADMINISTRATION program!!!!

After I arrived Friday morning, Mom, Dad, Kathy, Bill, Amy, and I all met for a nice bistro lunch at the Hyatt on Wacker Ave. You may or may not realize, but the Blackhawks have just won the Stanley Cup...and the parade went by our hotel...and the players and the Cup showed up for a reception in the atrium of our was crazy!

We relaxed in the afternoon to get ready for the evening's festivities. The Hooding Ceremony was held at Rockefeller Chapel, where each SSA candidate was "hooded" over the graduation gown as their name was called. Mom, Kathy, and I all teared up as Amy walked across.

After the ceremony, we took quite a few photos and then went to dinner at Harry Caray's - cool! I had a delicious lasagna and highly recommend it.

On Saturday morning, we went to the Convocation at the campus, which was held outdoors in the Main Quadrangle. Upwards of 2400 people were being honored, so no names were read. In the middle, it POURED down rain - good thing the university provided a goody bag with a poncho and fan along with the program book.

The SSA building hosted a reception followig the Convocation, so we enjoyed champagne, popcorn, and other hors d'oevres with Amy and her classmates and families.

The weekend was a whirlwind, but I felt so honored to be there. No one could be prouder of Amy than I am!!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More travel

Well, Jeff's parents did not even bother to go the airport on Wednesday due to full flights. Then on Thursday we awoke at 5am to trek to see if we could get them on a 8:20AM flight. No deal...and after waiting through 4 flights on Thursday (we didn't even bother with the last 2 of the day) we brought them home again!

On Friday, Jeff, me, and his mom and dad ALL headed to the airport. This time, I was off to Chicago in the morning, and Jeff stayed with his folks. Luckily, his mom got on the first flight of the morning at 8:20AM. However, he pushed that wheelchair from gate to gate and concourse to concourse the rest of the day, waiting for an available seat. He finally got on at 9:45PM - what a long and exhausting day!!!

I got them rooms at the WONDERFUL Holiday Inn Downtown Omaha for Friday night, and on Saturday morning they packed up their car and headed home. Gail was napping in her chair by 2pm!!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back to work, plus brats

Well, back to work but we still have visitors - yay!

I came home a bit early to do another fire pit before it heats up later this week. We cooked cheesy brats that were from my parents Iowa hog farmer friends. Oh my gosh - they were sooooo good cooked over a campfire, with a perfectly scorched outer crunchy layer!

We watched the fire crackle a bit longer and then finished the night with s'mores. Yum-o

Monday, June 7, 2010

Stone Mountain

It was a hot one at Stone Mountain today! This giant piece of granite sticking up from the earth is home to the Confederate Memorial as well as a host of things to do.

We rode the train around the mountain, watched an authentic glass blower make a beautiful vase, had traditional Southern Fried Chicken and pass arounds, rode the tram up the mountain and looked toward Tennessee, took the museum tour, and rode the paddleboat.

WHEW! Jeff's butt was tired from pushing his dad around, and my feet were tired from pushing myself around!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Saturday we hit the antique stores! The best find of the day was a Lladro look-alike. It is actually called a Zaphir, which is a brand that hired Jose Puche, a famous Lladro sculptor. This brand was alive from the late 1970's to early 1980's and has some very rare pieces. Gail's purchase price of $20 was a bargain when compared to some other online prices of $130-$150!

After shopping till we dropped (of heatstroke), we just HAD to get some ice cream at Sonic before heading home.

And it was a good thing we had such a late snack since we ended up having a late dinner and s'mores around our campfire once the sun set.

It is so relaxing in our backyard!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Georgia Aquarium

On Friday, I took the day off (YAY!) and we got started bright and early at 9:15AM when we left home to go to the Georgia Aquarium.

Jeff was seriously soooo excited. I mean, we all were, but he was especially so, I think maybe because he could see the manifestation of his little 58 gallon fish tank in a Super Sized version.

The Georgia Aquarium has several different exhibits that you can visit. The show stopper is the GIANT Ocean Voyager exhibit. This one is home to 2 whale sharks, which is the only place outside of Japan where you can see them in captivity. We even made it in time to see the 10:30AM feeding, which was awesome. They open their mouths and swallow tons of water, just to get a tiny amount of food to go through their throat which is really small. There were also many cool schools of fish, and it was explained that the only way the 'other' sharks (they had lots) in this tank did not eat the smaller fish was that they were all well fed!

We also really liked to see the Ocean Diver exhibit - which really was like Jeff's tank but bigger, and the big discus display in River Scout.

The only downside was even though we went on a Friday, it was still pretty crowded by noon. My advice is go early, and on a weekday! Oh, and watch out for misbehaving giant groups of kids that yell all the time - it can get quite noisy. Overall, we had a great time!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Delta Heritage Museum

Today, Jeff and I took his parents to see the awesome - and cheap ($5) - Delta Air Heritage Museum.

Highlights include:

- A replica of the first Delta hangar in Monroe, LA
- The Spirit of Delta, a plane which employees bought for the company for $30M in 1982 and was retired in 2006 and turned into a museum inside
- A restored DC-3 that was the first one in service for the airline
- The History of the Red Tail - bye bye Northwest! :(
- Lots of artifacts, placards, and stories about the history of the airline

We had a LOT of fun but man was it HOTT! The 2 hangars in which all of the museum is housed in are totally un-airconditioned (with the exception of the inside of the Spirit of Delta and the Museum Store).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

South Dakota Visitors

No, we do not have pheasants visiting. Or prairie dogs. Or coyotes.

It's the In-Laws!!! After a long drive on Tuesday through rain and hail, Allen and Gail made it from Sioux Falls to Omaha to try their luck at flying to Atlanta on Wednesday morning.

Well, turns out all that weather on Tuesday bumped a lot of people around for flights on Wednesday. That, combined with many overbooks and re-routes through Atlanta (instead of Salt Lake or Memphis as originally scheduled) led to a LOT of waiting at the airport for an open seat.

Poor souls - they awoke at 3:30AM on Wednesday morning to leave at 5:00AM for a 6:30AM flight. Guess what time they actually left Omaha...6:00PM. Then they encountered thunderclouds on the way down so the actual arrival to get their bags was about 10:30PM. Oh wait. No bags (of course). We'll pick those up tomorrow I guess.

The good news is - they're here!!! More on our antics coming up throughout the next few days...they are staying until Wednesday next week.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tech Gear - guest post

Why I love synthetic "high tech" clothing.

by Jeff

I have to admit, I'm a high tech clothing junkie. When you are bigger, there is nothing worse then having your clothes feel like they weigh you down or stick into your cracks. High tech clothing does a great job at preventing both.

They are light and dry fast, so they never end up holding much sweat. They are also slippery, so they don't tend to bunch and get stuck different places. I love how they actually keep you cool. It takes like five minutes and my workout clothes are dry once I done sweating. I feel cool and ready to go again.

I remember before when I did BFL (Body For Life)...I was using anything I could find to work out in. I didn't have many work clothes let alone any "workout" clothes. I remember feeling pretty gross and super sweaty in those things...they end up weighting five pounds by the time you are done. When I was done today with cardio...all I noticed was how sweaty my arms were...nothing about my clothes.