Incredible Day in Vegas!

Posted on November 16th, 2011 by Jean

The title says it all. I did have an incredible day in Vegas yesterday. My girlfriend, Wendy, was in town celebrating her 10 year wedding anniversary, and invited me over for a day of play. I thought it was awfully generous of her and her husband to allow me to invade their celebration.
 
I picked her up around 11:30am, and we headed to Tommy Bahamas Restaurant at Town Square. On the way, we spotted Big Bird at the Welcome To Las Vegas sign! Neither of us having been to the sign, and knowing our young daughters would be thrilled to see us with Big Bird, we pulled in and parked. Big Bird works for tips, his hand magically appearing from a hole beneath his tie. I slipped BB two bucks and we were golden. Two photos each. Then we made our way to the famous sign, and Wendy asked a nice man to take our photo. He did, and invited us back in one hour to be in a music video. Hello! Sign us up!
 

 
We hurried over to Tommy Bahamas for cocktails and appetizers. Our bartender concocted two special drinks for us, one with passion fruit and the other with cucumber and pineapple. Both were delicious! We also had crab bisque (to die for), and some kind of shrimp dip with chips (not the greatest).
 

 
We caught up as it had been a year since we saw each other, and the bartender brought us over two more specialty cocktails. Then our bartender disappeared, overwhelmed with a banquet in the back room. So much time passed that we gave up ordering dessert and considered “dine & ditch”. We were planning our escape when Wendy decided to give one final attempt to pay our bill. She began waving her arms around as if directly a large plane into takeoff position. It got people’s attention alright! A hostess came over to see what our problem was, and had the bartender ring us up. Mr. Bartender became a hero when he didn’t charge us for our drinks, only our appetizers. Thank you, dreamboat!
 
We were thirty minutes late to the video shoot, and hurried over to find parking. The production team was still setting up, testing audio equipment and who knows what else, for at least another hour. Finally we were asked to take our positions around the piano, the star, Frankie Moreno, and the bassist. The director asked us to sway and bop enthusiastically, to which Frankie added, “Act like you like my music. If you can’t do that, get the fuck out of here.” With his handsome looks and New York accent, we all took his advice with a laugh.
 
Action! The camera was rolling, Frankie was tickling the ivories and wailing out a tune much like Harry Connick Jr but cooler. We were all swaying, clapping hands, and getting into it. Frankie finished his song, and had to perform it again. The camera man moved to a new angle capturing Frankie from head on (with Wendy and me directly behind him).
 
The director asked us to move closer to Frankie with some of the women leaning on the piano. Two retro/pin-up looking girls leaned on the piano, and a grandmotherly type woman was next to them with a cotton ball taped to her arm. Just gave blood? A girl in purple joined our group, but had a sour look on her face like she was smelling something awful. A butter-faced woman in a green sweater, no pants, and tan boots was asked to stand in front of the bassist. She worried about blocking his view, not realizing she was the view. LOL! Two sweet elderly couples were next, with Wendy and I rounding out the group. The director asked us to look at Frankie as if we wanted him, but couldn’t have him. I stared as if his was the sexiest nape I’d ever seen. Oooh, look at the clean-cut neckline! I licked my lips and batted my eyes a few times, just for good measure. I hope I don’t hit the cutting room floor.
 

 
Frankie sang two more tunes, twice, and it was a wrap. Then he asked his marketing director, Sasha, if he could play a song just for us. She agreed, and he REALLY got into it! He hammered those keys like I’d never seen! Wow, we were really dancing now, no acting involved. Just pure enjoyment. His camera man rushed up with the camera, zooming in and out on Frankie, on us, on the keys, on us. What a video this will be! I’ll leave room for it right here (below).
 

 
Wendy and I posed with Frankie for two photos. (I”ll post those too once Wendy gets home and can download her camera.) What a doll he is. If you’re going to see him, he performs at the Stratosphere. Go, go, go!
 

 
How do you come down from that high? We decided we needed more cocktails and dessert. We drove to Caesars, and checked out the new chocolate restaurant, Max Brenner. Oh Max, $12.50 for a margarita? We didn’t even see dessert on the posted menu, but a banner across the top of the display said something like, “Food First, Dessert Next”. Hmmm… we kept walking. The kiosk bar with yard-long cocktails also had mixed drinks for $12.50, frozen drinks for $14.00. Really? Ice costs that much more? Rip-off. Kept walking. Finally saw The Cheesecake Factory! Yes, let’s get some drinks and dessert. That’s what we came for, that is what we shall have. The tropical martinis were fabulous, and deep-fried avocado appetizers were amazing, and the red velvet cheesecake was orgasmic. Thank you to our server for telling us we didn’t both need a slice. He was right, and we thanked him for watching our wallets and waistlines.
 
With the day drawing to a close, we walked out into the crisp night air and over to the Bellagio gardens. Decorated for fall, they were (as always) a sight to behold. Pumpkins, scarecrows, corn stalks and the like filled the atrium, and we tried to photograph as much of it as possible. Then we made our way back to my car and finally to her resort. I hated to see the day end.
 

 
• Do you believe in the slogan, “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas?”
• Would you have swayed and bopped to the music?
• $12.50 for a cocktail. Discuss.

Monster Truck Mayhem

Posted on November 17th, 2010 by Jean

“Hey, baby, I did something crazy.”
 
“What did you do?”
 
“I was gambling at the Hideout, and said if I won, I’d spend the winnings on Nat’s birthday.”
 
Oh crap! My mind is reeling now!
 
“How much did you win?”
 
“One hundred dollars.” 
 
Oh… my… gawd!
 
As if that wasn’t crazy enough, wait’ll you hear how my husband spent the money. Mr. Winner drove straight to K-Mart. (K-mart?)
 
At said K-Mart he purchased:
• 2 Play-Doh sets ~(cool);
• 1 Friendship Bracelet kit ~(right on!); and
• 1 Radio-Controlled Monster Truck (wtf?).
 
Fast forward to the Birthday girl’s big day. Her reaction to the monster truck was priceless!
 

 
The rest of her presents were perfectly girlie enough.
 
Eight hours later, monster truck’s battery was fully charged, and the girls wanted to give it a try. Nat and her little sister did have fun! They raced it to see who was faster. I discovered how to spin it 180˚. The “lame present” wasn’t so lame after all.
 
Eating some crow, I pieced together video clips of the family enjoying the truck. I paused during editing to a) make some chili, and b) socialize with hubby and a friend during Sunday night’s football game. Afterward I began to edit in the same room where football was blaring and hubby & friend were shooting pool.
 
First my music was too loud. (Only competing with the football game, my dear.) Then my toes were stepped on, not once but twice. (Wow, how utterly rude!)
 
So I stormed off and completed the video while miffed. I shouldn’t edit when I’m angry.
 

 
• Who do you think enjoyed the truck most?
• Is hubby really evil, or did I just edit it that way?
• Monster Trucks ~ yea or nay?

California Vacation ~ Part 1

Posted on October 17th, 2010 by Jean

Our family reunion/vacation has come and gone. It really flew by, as I knew it would. Our first day consisted of driving to Vegas, hopping on a plane, landing in Sacramento, renting a car, and checking into our hotel. At 4pm, we gathered at my brother’s house for my sister’s surprise birthday party hosted by our nine year old nephew. He had the dining room decked out in a Spider Man theme, and had personally made spidey cupcakes to compliment the bakery cake my Mom brought. High on a sugar rush, the kids played Wii games while we adults talked, laughed, and absorbed the warmth of family.
 

 
After the sun set, our rumbling stomachs insisted we toss down a sacrifice, so we gobbled burgers, nuggets and fries to appease them. We slept well in our new surroundings, but I dreamt of cutting open my pillow and removing half of the stuffing. I wasn’t meant to sleep with my chin resting on my chest, eyes staring at toes.
 
At 5am, we woke and began to kill time before contacting family. We drank coffee and fed the kids ramen noodles. The girls bathed, using the cinnamon-scented soaps and lotions. Tom retrieved plates of complimentary bacon and english muffins. Finally the hour was respectable enough to make a phone call, and we were soon in my parents’ kitchen. The girls wasted no time drawing pictures to adorn Grandma & Papa’s fridge.
 

 
At 11am, we caravanned to the Texas Roadhouse for lunch. I hadn’t heard of this fine establishment, but we were encouraged to throw peanut shells on the ground while the staff burst into spontaneous dancing. Birthday celebrants, such as my sister, are forced to sit on a saddle while patrons yell, “Yee Haw!” Don’t believe me? Watch the short video.
 

 
After a delicious lunch, we ventured over to the Jelly Belly Factory for a tour. The best part? Samples were handed out along the way. We tasted honey and plum beans and juicy pear centers.Family at Jelly Belly The pace was brisk, and we soon popped out at the Gift Shop. I couldn’t resist buying souvenir socks, water bottles, sour worms, and super fruit beans for the girls. Of course, I grabbed a bag of chocolate malt balls for myself. I love chocolate!
 
Still full from lunch and jelly bean snacks, we walked to a local pond, admiring the ducks & geese, and tossing them bread.
 
Returning to my brother’s, the kids entertained themselves with Wii until Uncle Jim performed an impromptu magic act. Tom got in at the end, and it was dueling card tricks to the astonishment of us all. Note to self: Learn a card trick!
 
We called it an early night because the next day we were heading to Six Flags.
 
To be continued.
 
• When was your last family reunion?
• Have you been embarrassed in a restaurant on your birthday?
• Know any card tricks?


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