Friday, December 29, 2006

Nothing to do but wait

It has turned out be a really bad end of the year for us. Yesterday A had some sudden medical problems come up and ended up at the urgent care clinic because her doctor's office could get her in and felt she needed to be seen immediately. We're still waiting on some of the tests to come back, but the initial ones only showed low sodium. Then to add to that, I noticed a lump on Scooter's chin last night and so he went into the vet today. The vet isn't sure what the lump is beyond it not being an abscess or hematoma so Scooter will go in next Wednesday to be sedates have x-rays taken and have a biopsy done. The vet said we won't really know if it's serious or not until all that is done. He said it is a good sign that Scooter is eating and drinking normally and acting normally. Well, as normal as Scooter can act. He's an odd cat with a lot of little quirks.) I ended up spending most of last night hugging Mr. Gobbly and trying to keep from doing too much what-iffing. Of course it didn't work and I've been walking around in a bit of a fog since then. The only things I have to hold onto is the fact that we don't have a firm diagnosis and Scooter survived a head injury no one thought he would.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas wrap up

Christmas went very well. I enjoy giving gifts as much as I like getting gifts, so a lot of the fun is waiting to see what people think of the gifts I've found for them. The large, intricate pop-up books, one on dinosaurs and one on sharks, we got for my niece were a big hit. Well, at least for as long as anything holds the attention of a four year old. We adults did not exchange large gifts, we just did stocking stuffers but that was fun, trying to find little things that we thought the others would like. I really did well for the guys on that with wide selection of tools.

A was really surprised by some of the things we got for her especially the replacement coco maker,an addition to her Anubis collection a bunch of software and the purple lanyard with parrot charm that I had made for her. E was really surprised by a number of things we got him, particularly the bathrobe (A's idea), the new travel kit (my idea) and the amount of software we got for him.

I got. . .well I got what I really wanted plus a few surprises. I got the usual stocking stuffers, particularly really nice socks from my mother and a selection of bath stuff and hand cream my sister swears is the best ever. E had warned me that he hadn't got me a lot of gifts but he thought I would really like them, so I was a bit surprised to see the number of gifts that I had. It turns out that a few were supposed to go in my stocking but didn't fit so they got wrapped. There was also the not quite a gift card which was money taped to the inside of a card, which was put in a Chef Boyardee pizza kit box, which was then wrapped and put in a gift bag. (Yeah, we don't do gag gifts in my family, we do gag wrapping.) The best part was the two gifts themselves though. I got the 30 GB iPod I had asked for (and didn't expect to get at all because of the cost). E ordered it from Apple directly so he had it engraved with my name and got it in black, of course. The other gift, well for it to make sense is going to take a bit of back story. A few months ago I had found this picture and just fell in love with it. For one I have always been into dinosaurs and the idea of a raptor with a beloved stuffed animal appealed to my sense of the absurd. Yesterday I was particularly intrigued with a very light present, I joked that it a box of air. It ended up being a stuffed T-Rex and as I pulled it out of the box E said "And now you have your own Mr. Gobbly." That's really one of thing I have always loved about him, he is able to come up with unique and absolutely perfect gifts.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Viva Las Vegas (part 2)

The original plan for Tuesday was that we were going to go off strip and end up at the Rio because we had a coupon that was for one of their shows plus $10 off their seafood buffet. We ran into a snag when E re-read the coupon and noiced that the coupon wasn't good on Tuesdays because the show was dark that day. We already had plans for Wednesday night which meant that we were left with the choice of not going to a show that night or trying to find a different one that was running. E pulled out his laptop and hopped on the internet to go to the LVA site to look up the list of available shows there. I have been wanting to see one of the Cirque du Soleil shows for some time now so I suggested one of them. E hemmed and hawed, like he has when I've suggested it in the past, but I pushed a bit more and he went to look online at the tickets for Ka. After a bit of waffling on how much we wanted to spend E went with the best tickets available for the late show. I will admit when we got to the theater I was a bit apprehensive because we were directed into the lines to go in by a lady in costume, and the lobby area was full of people in costumes almost doing a pre-show show. I started to think it was going to either be absolutely amazing or really cheesy. We didn't have to wait very long, and the doors to the theater proper opened after one of the costumed characters announced "Travellers form all nations, I welcome you to the village of Ka". The knot of people began to move through the doors and fell silent. When we walked through into the theater it was like walking into a Myst game. There were metal towers connected by different walkways and connected to short towers that came down from the ceiling on both sides of the ampitheater. The stage area also had similar towers on each side. and was open except for a walkway that ran around the front edge of the stage. While we were waiting for the show to start, gouts of flame and puffs of smoke shot up from the void. Part of the fun while waiting was watching the ushers, they were all in costume and actors in their own right. The tickets had said that you had to be in your seats by 9:15, and right about that time things started to happen. I first noticed a figure on one of the towers pulling a bucket up out of the void. E noticed a figure on a platform below the towers to our left. They started to yell at each other and then other figures began to appear to take buckets from the figure I saw and carry them along the walkways between the towers. The yelling continued between the original figures and the new ones and eventually there were figures perched on the railings between the seating sections. And then. . .well we're reaching the end of my ability to describe the show in any coherant fashion. There was too much going on and too many things to try to describe. The basics are that the show follows the adventures of a set of twins trying to find each other and win back their kingdom. The costume and makeup design was heavily influenced by the Chinese and Japanese cultures and probably other Asian cultures as well but I wasn't able to recognise those influences. I spent most of the show sitting there with my mouth open and I would definitely see it again because there was so much going on that I'm sure I missed something. It was absolutely amazing.

On Wednesday morning I went to he spa for my hot stone massage and in the afternoon we took advantage of another coupon and went to see the Mac King comedy magic show. It was somewhat free, you got in after paying for one over priced drink, but that meant we got to see a very good show for $19.98. It was a fantastic show, Mac King is an excellent magician and very funny, and I prefer his style of magic show over the overly pretentious ones. Wednesday night we met up with one of E's co-workers , B, and his wife for dinner. Since B is really into Star Trek we took them to Quark's at the Hilton for dinner and drinks. We then went back to the Imperial Palace to do a bit of gambling.

Our flight home was Thursday night, so we had a little bit of time to do things after we checked out of the hotel. We went over to the Forum Shops to get lunch and then wandered over to the Bellagio to see the conservatory which was beautiful. It was the one thing we saw where we could take pictures and we didn't have the camera with us. Luckily I have a camera phone and was able to get a few pictures. Since this is getting a bit long I'll post those separately later today. After that it was back to the IP to gamble a bit before we went to the airport. The final cab ride was quite interesting, the driver took a a back route and we had a few tense moments as he dodged around trucks and through small gaps in traffic. He got usthere in record time, and in one piece and we were off to check in with Frontier and wait for our flight. We finally made it home a bit before midnight.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Viva Las Vegas! (part 1)

I'm back from our Vegas vacation and I think I'm caught up with most of my email and such. I'm still working on getting housework done and trying to get back in the swing of normal life.

It was definitely a fun trip as always, but we did a few different things this time. We stayed at the Imperial Palace which is mid strip and for a long time was one of the last few independent casinos left. It's since been purchased by Harrah's, but it hasn't changed much. Over the last few years we had accumulated a pretty good amount of points in our players card account so we got a really good deal on the hotel room, the first three nights free, and then ended up using our comp dollars to pay for the final night. The hotel room wasn't bad at all beyond being a bit small. I do have to say that the bed was one of the more comfortable hotel beds I've slept in and the water pressure in the shower was excellent, even with being on the 16th floor. (Keep in mind though that E and I are not too picky about hotel rooms, we just want a clean room with a bed and a shower. I expect that the rooms at the IP wouldn't work for everyone.) Sunday after we got settled in we wandered over to Caesars Palace to wander through the Forum Shops and made our reservations for dinner for Monday night. Then we did our usual first night in Vegas dinner at Hofbrau Haus and then went over to the Hard Rock casino for a bit of gambling. The Pocketbook of Values E gets with his membership to the Las Vegas Advisor has a coupon for $10 in free machine play on certain machines that I like to use. It doesn't work in a lot of the slot machines, but it does work in the video poker machines which is just fine with me because I can get a lot of play out of that $10 at video poker.

Monday morning we got up and hopped on the monorail to go down to Mandalay Bay to eat at House of Blues (excellent food, and a place we discovered due to a coupon) because we had some shopping to do down on that end of the strip. After breakfast we walked back over to Luxor through Mandalay Place and stumbled on a fun little shop, Lush Puppy. It's a hip little store with stuff for dogs and cats and their people which gets big points in my book for having a store dog. We, of course, had to get stuff for the animals and then I found a great little book the cat owner's manual which has turned out to be informative and a very fun read. Unfortunately, the rest of the shopping didn't go quite as well. A had asked us to look for a replacement for one of her Anubis statutes that was damaged and we couldn't find a single one. Then we walked back through Excalibur so I could stop at a little jewelry store there I liked and discovered that it had changed. That was particularly disappointing because I have started getting one piece of really nice jewelry during our Vegas trip and the old store had carried the type of jewelry I like. We headed back to the IP and gambled for a bit before we went over to Caesars Palace for dinner. We got there a bit early, so I talked E into go back to a jewelry shop I had seen in the Forum Shops the night before, Australian Gems. Back in the back they had one case of opal and silver jewelry, all of which was 40% off regular price, and I found the perfect bracelet so I still ended up getting my piece of jewelry. Dinner that night was at Hyakumi which was a new experience for me. E had gone there last month when he was at Caesars for a conference and had talked it up so much I thought it would be fun to try for our really nice meal. We did the Teppan Yaki-style meal and it was amazing. It took around an hour and a half to two hours long and you start with an appetizer of tiger shrimp and vegetables cooked in front of you on the hot plate, followed by soup, then by a cucumber salad and then the main course which was chicken, steak and lobster cooked on the hot plate with vegetables. The steak and lobster were the best I have ever had, perfectly cooked and tender enough that they seemed to melt in your mouth. The meal ended with green tea and strawberry ice cream. It was fantastic, the food was perfect and the pace of the meal was great because we had plenty of time to really enjoy the meal without feeling rushed. It's definitely something I want to do again.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A voice from above

One of the cats, Camille, is very attuned to people coughing and sniffling and being sick particularly at night. If she hears you coughing she has to come check on you and she has a very distinctive little mew she makes when she's doing it. Last week when I was so sick I had a coughing fit while laying in bed one night and as expected heard Camille, but it wasn't from on the bed next to me. It took a few minutes, but I finally figured out that she was on the top of the headboard above me. My first thought was that I hoped she didn't jump down into the middle of me like her sister would. When I told E about it he said his first thought would've been, "God?" which struck me as a bit funny although an orange feline god doesn't seem like it would be too bad. Very insistent, and in the way at times, but not too bad.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Oh yeah, I need that on a plane

E and I will be leaving for our annual trip to Las Vegas on Sunday and in preparation, I have gone out to look at the TSA website to see what the new restrictions on carry on items are. They have a very nice set of charts showing you what can be taken in a carry on or not, and I learned a few things. I had no idea it was ok to take pliers under 7 inches in length on a plane in your carry on. That's good for me to know if I ever have to travel with my jewelry making supplies. Some of the other things they have listed really make me wonder, because you know they are one the list because someone tried to take them them on a plane. There is an entire section on tools and it includes axes, hatchets, crowbars, hammers, drills and drill bits (including cordless portable power drills) and saws (including cordless portable power saws). Now, even prior to 9/11, why would anyone think it was a good idea to take power tools or a cattle pod on a plane in your carry on? I know it's rough dealing with the crowds, but what use would a cattle prod be? And power tools, guess it's useful if you plan on doing some carpentry projects during your flight, but otherwise it doesn't make sense to take something that bulky on a plane as a carry on? Under food there are a lot of things that make sense because they are common snack foods, but then you have whipped cream listed. Even on a flight with a meal, what would be the purpose of bringing whipped cream in your carry on?

In the end it really makes me wonder what kind of weird things security people at airports run into. And it makes me wonder if they end up wondering what people were thinking at the end of the day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A note in passing

I'm sorry I haven't been really good about posting lately. We leave for vacation this coming Sunday and I'm running around like a madwoman trying to get ready. Getting sick last week really set me back both at home and at work so I haven't had much chance to post or work on any of my projects. (And of course, I took on a couple of projects that have to be done before we leave. I have got to get better about saying no to these things.)

Anyway, hopefully I can post something else before we leave especially since I have some funny things that have happened or that I noticed. I'd like to post about some of them before I forget them completely.