Category Archives: Travel

Summer’s End

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I always have a song running through my head.  Today’s lyrics were “after the boys of summer have gone.”  Really creative, oh brain of mine!  Tomorrow I return to my job at my wonderful school, and while I am so excited, part of me always feels melancholy about leaving summer behind.

This summer was one of extreme periods of busyness followed by extreme periods of laziness. Hubby and I took vacations to Mexico and then a few weeks later to London and Paris.  After that I visited family in Illinois for a week, and Hubby is currently on business in Atlanta. Preparing for trips takes a lot of energy, as does recouping afterwards.  Between vacations, I facilitated the remodel of our house by Arizona State University where our college-aged children lived for the last seven years (and then sold that house). I’m not sure how I had time to be lazy.  But I did.

I had goals this summer to go the gym daily, yet with my youngest son home from college for the summer, I found myself wanting to stay home to hang out with him, eating grilled cheese sandwiches while watching Games of Thrones, New Girl, and The Ranch. Isn’t it so much more fun to watch tv with friends??  I hope to find my way back to the gym once William and his girlfriend, Katherine, return to Flagstaff in a few weeks, and I don’t regret the five additional pounds around my waist from couch potato-ing with them while eating pizza and french fries.  William is my youngest, and I’m keenly aware of the fact this may be my last summer having one of our kids living at home.

Here are some of the other shows I loved this summer:

Indian Summers is a great drama set in the Himalayas in 1932.  The show focuses on the social politics of the British Empire and the birth of modern India.  If you loved Downton Abbey, you will likely appreciate this PBS mini series which has great acting, dramatic scenery, and beautiful costumes.  Watch it on Amazon Prime.

You can watch Versailles on Netflix.  If you loved The Tudors, this is right up your alley.  I was fortunate to visit the Palace at Versailles a few years ago and found this historically- accurate series to be very interesting, not to mention quite titillating with all of the sexual conquests.  Again, very beautifully filmed and wonderful acting.

I love New Girl.  I rewatched the whole show on Netflix with my kids this summer.  It’s clever and hilarious and awkward, and I love it so much.

Rectify.  OMG.  I can’t seem to talk any of my friends into watching it.  I had no idea there was a fourth season on Netflix, and since it had been so long since I watched the first seasons, I started over from the beginning.  The acting is amazing.  The pacing and tension reminds me of Six Feet Under, but I love Rectify so much more.

I re-watched old favorite movies like The Right Stuff, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, 13 Going on 30, Millers Crossing, and The English Patient.  Okay, I’ll admit I like many different genres, but I love revisiting an old favorite.

This summer may be one of the best I’ve ever had. The angsty words from the Eagle’s Boys of Summer are still playing on repeat in my head, but I’m feeling so hopeful and excited for a fabulous new school year ahead!

Cheers,

Mary

 

 

 

 

Yawns

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It’s been quite a month of travel for me.  I’ve had exciting adventures and slept in many different beds, so how wonderful it felt to get back to my own bed this weekend.  I slept like the dead–until about 7am when my ears were accosted by the sound of tweeting birds, which is very unusual at our house. These birds were serious about their songs; they did not let up, and after an hour, when (half asleep and half awake) I weighed plans about getting ridding of them (BB gun pellets? Sharp bird pest strips planted on the roof?).  I woke up enough to realize it was Hubby’s alarm clock that we both had slept through. ON A SUNDAY MORNING. I seriously wanted to punch him.  I told him he needs to go back to the old-fashioned BEEP BEEP BEEP alarm or else I will be slumbering in a different room.

Hubby is gone for a week to Georgia on a business trip so his alarm clock will not be disturbing me, but I still haven’t slept well for days.  The last night I was in Illinois, I sustained 60 mosquito bites–45 on my left leg and 15 on my right.  These were not the pesky little mozzies we have here in Tempe whose bites disappear after an hour.  These big-ass Midwestern mosquitos left some sort of toxin in my skin, causing each bite to swell to the size of big red nickels . . . and they are so itchy it’s hard to keep my fingernails off them.  It’s been a week and they show no signs of healing.  If they aren’t better by Monday, I will seek medical attention.  I keep wishing I’d used the bug repellant spray offered but nooooooo, I didn’t want the chemicals on me.  UGH.

Then last night Ruby the Wonder Spaniel got me up FOUR TIMES to go out and do her business between 2am and 5am.  She’d eaten so many cicadas before bed that her tummy was literally buzzing.  She does this every year, and while watching her leap about the yard for her summer snacks is Youtube-worthy, those crunchy treats always give her a case of the runs.  I gave her a Tums that she licked at loudly for a good 15 minutes, but then we were back outside soon after that.  Complicating the situation is that I’d taken a Benadryl to try to calm the itch from the bug bites and couldn’t figure out which way the door was!   Several times in the past few weeks, I’ve woken up in the dark thinking Hubby and I are still in our fabulous British hotel room with the magical view of the Tower of London.

Next week school starts and I will be back to an “early to bed and early to rise” schedule. It will be a difficult transition after a summer of staying up past midnight either reading or watching Netflix, waking up with no alarm clock, then napping mid afternoon.  But I am excited to meet the new staff members, new parents, and most of all our students . . . and be living a useful life again after the long, restorative summer break.

Cheers,

Mary

 

Home, Then and Now

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It is 7:30 pm on Sunday night, and I am in the middle of cooking my mother’s famous lasagna recipe.  It involves making your own bechamel, and it is the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted.  I seem to remember that she found it in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine which seems hard to believe, but you must remember that in the late 1960s and the early 1970s Julia Child was on tv encouraging housewives to venture away from meat loaf and pork chops.  I’m not going to share the lasagna recipe here because lately I’ve found it hard to amaze my dinner guests, which is not surprising when the NYT and Epicurious send us their best recipes on a daily basis.  Better, sometimes, to reach back in time and return to the classics.

Tonight I was so happy chopping onions and garlic and stirring pots and singing along with Florence Welch and then it occurred to me that WHOOPS I’d forgotten about the pasta. Our stove is awful and takes forever for a burner to heat, so now I am in a holding period waiting for the ziti to cook.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I am making my mother’s famous lasagna recipe using ziti, simply because the lasagna noodles located on the top shelf (way in the back) were so petrified they quite possibly may have been purchased during Obama’s first term.  You see, our cupboards are very deep, and I am short and cannot see to the back.  And I’m lazy to fetch a chair to look into the bowels of my cupboards.  I hope I gain back some of your faith when I tell you I used fresh oregano from our backyard garden in the meat sauce.  That’s about all that’s left growing in this tremendous heat. That and a basil plant that has quadrupled in size during the few months since I bought it at Trader Joe’s.  I completely forgot it was there and am sad thinking about all the days when I could have had Caprese salads.

I’m making this complicated lasagna recipe so Hubby will have comfort food when he comes home to an empty house each night during this coming week.  William and his friends are off camping up north in the cool mountains, and tomorrow I get on plane to see my aunts and uncles and cousins in my hometown in northern Illinois.  I have not been in three years and am so excited to see my family . . . and to see and feel and smell the town where I was born and where I lived until I was ten years old.

In my dreams I ride my bike down the streets of this little old town.  I go through the squeaky screen door to hug my grandmother and then at other times, I have coffee with my Aunt Linda and my cousin Bridget.  In my dreams, memories of my young self get tangled up with the reality of the older self I am now.  Because I am the oldest of three, I keep the childhood memories of this place for all of us.  I tell my brother about driving to Grandpa Koppen’s house when a tornado was coming, our mother shouting at us to roll down the windows, we will be there soon!  Our own basement was mud walls and big spiders, and grandma and grandpa were just up the street with a lovely finished basement complete with pool table and full bar.  I say to my siblings, don’t you remember when we lived on Grover Street and Aunt Linda and Uncle Bill and Matt and Bridget lived just twenty steps from our own front door?  Their dog, Arfrang, was so cute and was always jumping at their screen . . . and their spunky little cats, Amos and Andy, were so fun to chase and pet.  Remember Thanksgiving and Christmas at grandma and grandpa’s when we would sit at a fancy long table in the dining room?  Then after dinner the men would smoke and drink, and the women would do dishes and talk in the kitchen.  So much laughter, and I remember it all so fondly.  I try to keep this place of my youth alive for us because I am the oldest thus have the most stories, and this is the place where we were born.

I could share here many more childhood memories from my small town in Illinois, but a big storm is moving in, and I’d rather watch that through the window than continue driveling on here.  We have lightening and huge storm clouds and a rumbling of thunder in the distance.  We so rarely get weather here in the desert; this storm is a treat.   As always, thank you for reading my words.

Cheers,

Mary

 

Home at Last

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Friday night Hubby and I returned from a two-week vacation to London and Paris.  We saw EVERYTHING.  (Seriously, everything.)  We walked ten miles each day, plus rode the Tube (in London) and the Metro (in Paris) many miles to get to where we wanted to be. Mostly we saw tons of art, but also magnificent historical architecture and beautiful gardens. We stayed at really cool hotels (CitizenM Tower of London and Residence Foch) and consumed lots of fish and chips and hamburgers (the meat there is sooooo delicious compared to the ground beef you can buy in the States) and British craft beers.  Hubby and did not get in even one fight, which I consider pretty amazing. Things got dicey on our last day in England, when Hubby insisted on reading EVERY didactic at the Greenwich Museum, and I was so done that I considered pulling the fire alarm and then at dinner pretended I had poisoned him (“are you dizzy?  blurred vision? throat tightening?  No?  Hmmmmm). But overall, it felt like a second honeymoon, since we’ve never gone away for more than five days without the kids before.  We celebrated our 29th anniversary on the hotel balcony with a spectacular view of the Tower of London and felt pretty damned fortunate.

The best thing about a fabulous vacation:  Coming home.  Our youngest son, William, did an excellent job of holding down the fort while we were gone—feeding and caring for our five pets and keeping the house clean is not an easy job.  His best girl, Katherine, helped out, too.  I left William a credit card and I’m sure I’ll cry when that next bill arrives and I see how much money “we” spent at Dutch Bros Coffee while we were away. Apparently we also paid him in beer since our keg of expensive IPA was empty.  (College kids—what are you going to do??)

Today getting groceries I was so happy to have eye contact with people again. My experience was that in London and in Paris, there is absolutely no eye contact with strangers, unless you are a waiter serving dinner or hotel staff helping you as their guest. I did not like being invisible.  I like to smile at people and have offhand chit chat.  I can count on one hand the people who talked to us:

  1.  The French woman at the coin laundromat who spoke no English but was able to guide us through the very unfamiliar laundry system.  I gave her my most sincere smile, accompanied by a “merci beaucoup” and felt so grateful.  Hubby and I were already feeling irritated at not being able to find the darn place having walked a mile in all directions in a fancy neighborhood, each of us carrying black hefty bags of dirty laundry!
  2. The “skin heads” on the Tube elevator in London who alerted me that the doors would be opening in the opposite direction from where I was standing.  We’d traveled so much that day and I was daydreaming, not noticing that the 20 other people on this large elevator were facing the opposite direction.  I said, “Thank you! I probably would have figured it out eventually!  I’d think, where did all the people go?  Why am I all alone?”  They proceeded to do a bit which included the guy saying, “Dear Diary, Month 15 and I’m still in the Tube elevator.  It’s not all bad.  It’s warm in winter and cool in summer.  People leave bags of chips. I’m happy here.”
  3. The woman whose feet my suitcase fell on in the Tube.  She glared at me so hard I thought I might burst into flames.  Seriously?  I was carrying a huge paper sack which held three Starbuck’s London coffee cups and three London Toblerones that were gifts for the kids.  It was unwieldy and when I shifted, my bag fell over.  The part that landed on her feet was not heavy and I apologized sincerely, but she was just mad and mean and well, I’m sorry that when you ride the Tube you are so grumpy.  I love riding the Tube.  I love watching the comings and goings, and the families and the groups of friends and the handsome young men in their skinny suits headed to and from work  (I especially love that).
  4. The young man on the Tube escalator that kept me from falling backwards when  my huge, embarrassing, American suitcase started to fall off the step behind me.  I started wobbling and made a sound like “ooooohhhhh,”and he heaved my case up to the step and gently kept me from falling.  Oy vey, so embarrassing!  If you’ve never been on a Tube escalator, I can tell you it’s very stressful.  They are inclined at an extreme angle and go up four floors!  As a person who is afraid of heights, I can say going up is easier but going down I look at my feet and breathe slowly in and out so as not to scream out, “We’re all going to die!!!!”  Which would be really embarrassing.
  5. The business woman at the St. Pancras train station in London who so nicely gave me directions to where to catch our Eurostar (Chunnel) train.  This station is HUGE and is the only international station in London.  It’s super cool . . . if you’re not in a hurry to catch a train.  I mistook her for a station information attendant because she was in a suit and was standing next to the Information sign (most stations have these with staff positioned there to answer questions). She did not laugh at me and was very sweet.  Hubby, on the other hand, mocked me endlessly, so much so that anytime we were lost after that, I asked him, “Shall I go ask a stranger how to get there?”  If you don’t get lost while on your Europe vacations, then you’re just not doing it right.  We spent two hours one night looking for a restaurant called Hot Box that some website had recommended.  It was not a “good lost” since it was in a business area with huge sky scrapers.  We finally found the place.  HA.  Long picnic tables in a dark room with expensive hamburgers.

One reason I’m glad I was completely invisible in Europe:  I was the only person wearing leggings.  Here in Tempe that’s the norm!  Next blog will be European fashion tips!  Stay tuned!

Cheers,

Mary

Buick

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I am in Mexico.

Yesterday I told you about what a perfect weekend we’re having here in Puerto Penasco, and I also shared that we are co-habitating with a roach the size of a Buick.  Last night, our paths crossed again (cue horror movie music).

Let me begin this story by telling you that we almost didn’t make it out for dinner because I was so enraptured by the sunset. Clouds in the sky over the ocean = fantastic sunset.  (No clouds?  Eh, the sun goes into the ocean, blah blah, it’s fine.)  But last night’s sky looked as if it were on FIRE with pinks and oranges and reds all striped over each other, and every minute it changed, and then it got darker and then there were hues of purple and even the shape of it changed.  I tore myself away from the first part to smooth my hair and apply some mascara, and on the drive up Whale Hill to the restaurant, I just kept ooohing and aaaahing because it was seriously A Moment of Extreme Beauty which I will always remember.  The restaurant was full; we drove down to the malecon and I snapped a beautiful photo of the brilliant sky over the parking lot next to Flavio’s.  I know that doesn’t sound exactly “delightful” but I was really happy with the juxtaposition of this amazing effect of nature over a dusty parking lot full of old cars—the light and shadows were so cool.

We had a terrible dinner at Mary’s Seafood.  Almost inedible.  I gave them a brutal yelp review, which was well deserved. Thumbs up for a fantastic margarita and good service though!

We arrived back home, turned on the kitchen lights and EEEEEEKK!!!!! Buick the Roach was sniffing at a small spot of bacon grease on the stove top.  My mind did this amazing analysis of the situation, sort of like what Sherlock Holmes does in the recent Guy Ritchie movies.  Everything slowed down.  I considered attempting to pull a spatula from the jar of utensils which was situated BEHIND the roach and that scenario played out with the roach running away.  I surveyed the kitchen island to my right and saw nothing useful in killing/stunning a roach.  So I picked up the heavy ceramic spoon rest and SMASH!  With the agility one would expect from a person who has just consumed a plate of heavy fried seafood and a margarita as big as her head, I hit Buick with that spoon rest, screaming out a warrior’s cry, “HIYA!!!”  And much to Hubby’s and my chagrin, the spoon rest broke in two and Buick ran back into the hole behind the cupboards, laughing and calling me nasty names in Spanish (words that cannot, dear Reader, be repeated here).

The spoon rest was placed in the trashcan after a brief discussion about trying to glue it back together and rapidly coming to the conclusion that spoon rests are completely unnecessary objects and whoever invented them should be ashamed of themselves.   We hope the condo co-owner who buys these silly decorative items will not miss the Very Important Spoon Rest.

During all of this excitement, we noticed the windows whistling.  We slid open the glass door to the beach, and HOLY MOSES, the wind was INTENSE.  Amazing might be the better word.  All outside condo lights were off, but the moon was shining so brightly that the entire beach was illuminated.  I stepped off the patio onto the sand and instinctively spread my arms out to feel the strong, warm wind.  It buffeted my entire body—that’s how powerful it was.  Hubby came out and put his arms out, too.  From nine til midnight I sat outside in the wind, listening to music on my headphones and occasionally following the path made by the moon down to the high tide, rolling up my pant legs to wade into the warm ocean.  It was simply glorious. If anyone was watching from their patio, they probably were concerned for this middle-aged, clearly-deranged woman who kept walking down the beach to visit the night ocean.

The only bad news from the weekend (apart from Buick escaping) is that all attempts at protecting my face from sunburn failed.  I’m as pink as a pig, which is bad enough on its own but also typically results in a big nose pimple.  That should be popping up on Thursday morning as I head to work (I am subbing at my year-round school later this week).  I swear to you I applied sunscreen and wore a hat and stayed mostly in the shade.  It honestly feels quite lovely to be in my fifties and not really care what people think anymore.

I will end by telling you about the book I’m reading and cannot put down.  Through Painted Deserts:  Light, God, and  Beauty on the Open Road is written by a modern-day philosopher and all-around-super-smart guy named Donald Miller.  His writing is beautiful and honest and thought provoking–I am smitten. I watched a recent interview where he caught a lot of grief by saying he doesn’t really feel God when he’s at church.  Though he is Christian (and my beliefs are a bit of this and a bit of that) I found him simply charming and relevant to my world view.  Here is a passage from the book which resonated with me today:

“It’s interesting how you sometimes have to leave home before you can ask difficult questions, how the questions never come up in the room you grew up in, in the town in which you were born.  It’s funny how you can’t ask difficult questions in a familiar place, how you have to stand back a few feet and see things in a new way before you realize nothing that is happening to you is normal.”

I find this to be 100% true, which is why I love to travel.  Getting away gives my mind space to question, space to forgive myself for not leading the perfect life, and space to imagine.  As much as I love getting away, I love returning home with the hopes of trying to be just a little bit better/different/happier.

Cheers,

Mary

Esther Williams

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MI am in Mexico.  All day I’ve sat under a turquoise umbrella next to the ocean, catching up on back issues of Esquire Magazine and watching the birds.  The osprey seems intimidated by the crowds on the beach, but must be really hungry since he swoops over us, clucking in an irritated manner, then dips his beak quickly into the sea for a fresh fish, flying away to his perch in the desert.

Much like the osprey, I get annoyed when the beach is too crowded.  We’re so often lucky to have this slice of paradise all to ourselves, and when we have to share, it isn’t easy. Today I stand on our condo patio and look to the left.  Then I look to the right. There are umbrellas and pop ups for as far as the eye can see!  Yet each group is quiet and peaceful and as happy as I am to be here.  Thank you, Universe!!!

Hubby and I almost didn’t come to the beach yesterday.  The last time we were here (just three weeks ago), the people on the beach were obnoxious.   I love when the ocean is as smooth as glass, yet that causes sound to travel too well.  Everybody was so loud! The three condos to the right of us housed a huge group of friends with sooooo many little boys running around unattended.  They ran through our yard and even stood on the beams of our stairs.  The parents (mid thirties to mid forties) played loud music all day and night.  To the right of us on the beach, a group of young people appeared each day. They were crass.  While swimming in the ocean, one very large girl (who needed a much larger suit) yelled, “I’m peeing!” to which her friend gladly yelled, “I’m peeing, too!” Every other word (always yelled) was a curse word.  They had loud music which competed with the loud music to the left of us. Let’s just say these folks were harshing my buzz.  Add to that a swarm of mosquitoes that tortured us while we were sleeping and a roach the size of a Buick who waved to me from the kitchen sink taunting, “Neener neener, neener!” as he ran into a crack between the cupboard and the dishwasher.  Oh, and I almost forgot the group of nude teenage girls we walked past on our morning walk. They were standing up (nude) taking selfies and didn’t even seem to notice us.  It wasn’t sexual, but there were families nearby and it just felt wrong.  Let’s just say I wasn’t in the mood to come back to the beach after all that crap.

BUT I’M SO GLAD WE DID!  The weather in Phoenix today:  100 degrees.  The weather at the beach today:  80 degrees.  The ocean is sooooo warm, and we are water logged from swimming so long.  The waves are medium-ish—not so big that it’s hard to get in, but big enough that they bounce you up and down in such a relaxing manner that you never want to get out.  The stronger tide brought in a bunch of seaweed, but we don’t mind and even had a little bit of a seaweed fight.  Which was fun for about one minute, and then I splashed and floated and swam, my body held up by the salty sea so light and buoyant and graceful that I felt like freakin’ Esther Williams.

And last night the full moon was AMAZING.  It looked red as it came up over the desert (it is the Strawberry Moon, you know) and then shone so brightly onto the beach that we took a walk, no flashlight required.  Tonight we will drive up Whale Hill to Casa Capitain where I will order my favorite shrimp tacos and a margarita as big as my head, and Hubby and I will admire the views of the sparkling Sea of Cortez and the twinkling lights on the malecon of this sweet little town.

La vida es buena.  Life is good.

Cheers,

Mary

Vegas, Baby!

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Last month Hubby and I had a mini-vacation in Las Vegas.  The trip was his Christmas gift to me because my favorite band was playing a concert there at the fabulous Cosmopolitan Resort.  I am frugal to a fault; we stayed at Bally’s for $100, and it was fine.

It was the first time Hubby and I had been to Las Vegas in 28 years, which is due to the fact that the last time resulted in a terrible fight when we decided Vegas was the only place we were NOT compatible.  He thought we were going to sit at Blackjack tables the entire time; I thought we were going to have foofy drinks and check out all the casinos. When I woke up at 4am Sunday morning and Hubby was still out gambling, I was madder than a wet cat and I’m pretty sure I gave him the silent treatment for at least 24 hours.  It’s not that he lost money (he didn’t), but I didn’t get what I wanted. And one of the things I’ve learned in the past 28 years is EXPECTATIONS ARE EVERYTHING!

When I say Vegas has changed a lot in 28 years, I’m not kidding.  Wow!  Everything is Over the Top.  The buildings are beautiful, the restaurants are amazing, and the shopping is ridiculously expensive.  We didn’t go INTO any shops, but what a cool experience to walk through an underground shopping mall created to look like a street in Paris.  During our 48 hours in the Vegas, we saw huge aquariums, amazing works of art, terrific views of the city, dancing fountains, and the Bellagio’s Oriental Gardens which were breathtaking.  Picture if you will 3D butterflies the size of a small car  . . . made completely from flowers (mostly carnations) so they even SMELLED as beautiful as they looked. Magical!

And can we talk about smells for a sec?  After we arrived, I washed my face, redid my make up, redid my hair, and put on fresh clothing so I’d look my best for the Bastille concert.  It took maybe five minutes of walking through the casinos before my hair and clothes smelled like a big, stinkin’ cigar. OMG.  It was disgusting.

And can we talk about clothing for a minute?  I’d brought my coolest going-out duds, because, well, you know: VEGAS.  Vegas in the old days meant bling, it meant high heels and high rollers and high stakes; it meant your biggest earrings and your reddest lipstick.  OMG again:  What I saw were people who looked like they were sneaking out to the grocery in the morning before their showers and hoping not to run into anyone they knew.  They looked like the photos of Walmart shoppers I’ve seen on Facebook. Oh sure, there were a few exceptions to this rule, and I have to admit, the pair of jeans I brought for Saturday were too big and spent the day awkwardly pulling them up (oddly there are no suspender stores in Vegas, and the belts were all too pricey).

I’d promised Hubby some Blackjack table time since he was so kind to attend the Bastille concert with me.  I actually had a great time during our three hours at a $5 table at the Flamingo (it’s hard to find $5 tables these days).  The dealers and other tourists at the table were funny, and the bar brought us free drinks!  Well, can I tell you about free beers for a sec?  After number two, JUST SAY NO!  I thought I was fine, and then I stood up and it was all, OH NO, why are my legs made of rubber?  And how do flip flops work again?  I lost about an hour there and have hazy memories of walking briskly, exploring more casinos and zig zagging through massive crowds.  We walked 11 miles that day . . . which counteracted the very late dinners and too many cocktails!

Our room at Bally’s was very large and very clean and not too outdated . . . but alas, no in-room coffee pot.  Picture me at 2 am Friday night looking through all the drawers and closets so I can have the coffee set for morning, yelling, “NO COFFEE POT??? What is this, RUSSIA???”  When you’ve stayed out too late in Vegas and the next morning you’re trying to shower and ready yourself for the day and there’s no coffee until you can be seated at a restaurant, it’s hard to put two words together.  But we survived . . .

And the Bastille concert . . .  well, the concert was amazing.  (She takes a moment to smile, remember Dan’s face so close, swoons just a tiny bit.)  Eve and I saw Bastille on Tuesday in Phoenix, and even though it was really good, the guys in the band explained they’d spent the day in Texas making a music video. (You could totally tell.)  STILL fabulous, and so fun to attend the concert with my girl.  But in Vegas, they were really ON.  The Vegas concert was in a third floor ballroom at the Cosmopolitan Resort and we had standing room tickets, which I prefer since you can move away from people who are being arses.  Bastille put on an amazing show which I’ll never forget.

But I kind of got in a fight with some girls.  It really wasn’t my fault. I mean, clearly the event had been oversold, and we were packed in too tightly.  Picture me:  dreamy look on my face, completely engrossed in the performance, hand placed over my heart ( so embarrassing) when all of a sudden a group of six “Woo Woo Girls” pushes up through the crowd and stand directly to my left.  And they begin to talk . . . LOUDLY.  We’re only 25 feet from the stage where Dan is singing his heart out, and these girls are SHOUTING—how rude, right?  Why do you go to a concert to chit-chat??  I tap the shoulder of the lead Woo Woo girl and put on my sweetest face, and I say these words: “I’m saying this with so much kindness in my heart and you all seem like such nice girls, but I’d like to ask you a huge favor—-could you please be a little quieter, because I’m having trouble hearing the band?”  (Followed by a pleading, sweet look and sorry smile.)  Well.  Lead Woo Woo gets a really mean look on her face and says loudly to her friends, “OH NO, I think we’re in trouble!”  Then she says something I can’t hear to the other Woo Woos and they proceed to SCREAM through the entire next song.  I sighed.  At least I tried, right? And then they were truly much quieter after that, so HA HA, joke’s on them.  I vow to continue requesting proper behavior in a civil manner for the rest of my days, no matter how embarrassing it is to my husband or children or friends who are with me.

I know I’m going on and on, but I MUST tell you about the floor at this concert venue.  It bounces.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I swear on a stack of Bastille albums that the floor was bouncing up and down at least 3 inches when people were dancing.  The lead singer came out on stage for the first time and stopped singing.  After the song, he explained that the movement of the floor moving up and down was “surreal”–I guess that’s one word for it.  I hope not to read in the future about the thousands of people injured when the floor of the Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan gave way!

Apologies for this rambling all-over-the-place trip report, but that’s how Vegas is:  too much to eat, too much to smell, too much to see, and too much to talk about!  I’m still not sure if I liked Vegas, or not.  I’m thinking in 28 years, we’ll try it again.

Cheers,

Mary