Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Perfect weather for boating! It's absolutely gorgeous sunny weather and not a slight breeze in the air. We are off to the lake!
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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Do-It-Yourself Remodeling

When we first started remodeling the kitchen, we knew there would be a lot involved--especially since we will be doing almost everything ourselves.
  • Tear out the desk extension at the end of the counter.
  • Install two additional cabinets in its place to bring the counter top flush with the cabinets above.
  • Unhook all the plumbing: dishwasher, range, and kitchen sink.
  • Tear out the old porcelain sink, tiles, and concrete floater.
  • Paint the cabinets.
  • Install new hardware.
  • Paint the kitchen walls.
The only thing we didn't do ourselves was install the quartz counter top.

We couldn't have done all that we did without the help of John & Maggie but doing most of the remodeling ourselves saved us thousands of dollars in labor cost.
Now all we have left is to paint the kitchen wall and this is where we are stuck. None of the colors we agreed upon works with the existing colors we currently have on the walls in the adjacent rooms of the lounge and living room. Right now there are swatches of paint on the walls; our kitchen still looks unfinished.

So we scoured through magazines and I purchased some books for inspiration. Recently I discovered DoitYourself.com, an open, free community with thousands of articles and hundreds of forums on several do-it-yourself home improvement topics such as how to wire older home. I read some helpful articles on wall treatments and different finishes that make work for our kitchen.

All I know is that the painting of our kitchen walls have come to a standstill and I am willing to look into all options. Perhaps a visit to DoItYourself.com and buying the "DoItYourself" DVD would help get better results and would have improved our project because knowledge is power.



Arranging travel tours is quite a complicated procedure. From getting the lists of available hotels, and arranging Canada flights to Paris flights; co-ordinating it all is quite a hectic job. Travel agents are therefore always on a lookout for cheap flights like Spirit Airline and affordable hotels to manage the budget.

She has him by the balls?

For the past few days, we've been preparing the guest bedroom and bathroom in anticipation of a visit from our buddy whom we haven't seen in a long time and his new girlfriend whom we have yet to meet. They would be staying with us for the Las Vegas Bikefest this weekend. Or that's what we thought.

Our friend is "in love" with this girl and so we were looking forward to meeting this special person who stole his heart. Our friend is an awesome guy which speaks highly for the person who caught his interest.

The plan was that they would arrive Friday. But then Friday became Saturday. Okay, I understand that plans change.

When Saturday (which is today) came, we didn't hear anything since they had supposedly arrived in town. Come to find out they are not staying with us as planned. And then we heard that they were already on their way home without a single word and we did not even get to see neither of them as we had been looking forward to. Uh ... hello?

Needless to say I am a little irked after hearing all this. For one, it took my husband to call and find out we are not having guests staying at our house. Fine then. Whatever they want to do is fine with us. However, there was no, "Hey, I am sorry we can't stay as planned but maybe we can meet up later tonight." I would've accepted that.

Then, there was a friend (of our friend) who rode down with our buddy and his girlfriend who was at the Eastern Harley-Davidson store pulling credit to qualify for a motorcycle purchase. My husband was quite perplexed by this. Why wasn't the friend referred to the Henderson Harley-Davidson store where my husband works? (My husband's friend purchased a bike from my husband and that's how they became buddies so it's not like it's a mystery that my husband is at the Henderson location.)

Finally the friend/potential customer came to my husband's shop and their conversation went something alone the lines of this:
My husband: "Oh, where is (our buddy)?"

The friend: "Uh ... they went home (to Havasu) already. She was tired." (Lake Havasu is about an hour and forty-five minutes from where we live. It's pretty convenient of a drive.)
What?! The girlfriend is 19 years old. It is Bikefest weekend. How can anyone be tired and want to go home already? And worse, not even stop by to at least see my husband before taking off. And this really gets me -- not one phone call to say, "Hey, I am sorry but we're pretty beat from the whole trip and event so we're leaving town. Sorry we didn't get to meet up." At least that.

Wow ... I am just at a loss for words. Like, WTF happened? Was it something we did? Because I can't think of a single reason why any of this has to do with us.

Our friend gave us the key to his house and we've always had a place to stay when we're in Havasu whether he is there or out of town. I think we consider each other friends. Wouldn't he want to introduce his girlfriend to us? (Especially since she is in town from Kansas.) I've seen photos of her and she is really cute. We just want to at least see our buddy and the person who is making him so happy--is there anything wrong with that?

At this point, I can only come to certain conclusions based upon the following behaviors:
  • They were coming for the Bikefest but for some reason, she didn't want to do the poker run (that's one of the biggest event of Bikefest).
  • They were going to come Friday night but decided to come Saturday instead.
  • They're not staying with us as planned and no courtesy phone call to let us know after we got everything ready for their stay.
  • Not a single word (in person or by phone) before leaving for home.
I can only infer from all this that she doesn't want to meet us for certain reasons and we can't believe our friend is allowing himself to get jerked around. (Infatuation does crazy things to people, I know.) My husband was just pissed over all this; he really cares about his friend and doesn't want him to get hurt because it seems like his girlfriend has him by the balls and is yanking him around. Doesn't it seem that way to you?

I am trying hard not to put the blame on anyone although I slightly agree with my husband. Surely there must be a reason for all this. I hope we get some sort of explanation and that everything is fine.

My Idea of Shopping

I never liked shopping for clothes. I don't know exactly why that is. Maybe I don't like the crowded malls and parking lots, or waiting in line for a dressing room (if I can even find someone to help me), or trying on clothes only to find out I need a size larger or smaller or it just simply doesn't fit right. Perhaps I don't like changing in and out of my clothes. Everything pretty much sums up to convenience or rather the inconvenience of it all.

So I prefer to shop for my clothes and shoes online. That has worked out pretty well for the most part; I have never needed to return anything.

But I would gladly fight the crowd for a flat panel t.v. mount for our plasma t.v. or 37" flat panel for my office or a Western Digital 1TB external hard drive (but I will happily settle for the 500GB). I already have a Lacie 120GB hard drive and Western Digital 60GB portable drive (which is maxed out) and would love to upgrade. There are some good deals online at Costco.com like the 180GB WD portable hard drive for a fraction of what I originally paid for both of my comparatively puny storage less than a year or two ago.

For now online clothes shopping is just fine with me.

A Simple Saturday

I ran out off my favorite coconut coffee creamer so I made tea to go with my Asiago bagel with jalapeño salsa cream cheese this morning. I had received the Bag Ladies Tea as one of my stocking stuffers last Christmas. The bags have these cute messages on the tags and this morning, mine says, "The fights are the best part of married life the rest is merely so-so" by (humorist and cartoonist) James Thurber.

This morning, I'm sitting in my office/craft shop in hopes I'll get motivated enough to clean it up. I haven't hung out in here since I was studying for finals in my last semester of undergrad studies. Now that the two iMacs are sold, I have a little more room in my office but the additional space has been quickly replaced by junk.

It's hard to feel enthusiastic about anything right now with the sullen, gray skies looming over. Though the sky is clear, the temperature is 61 degrees in Henderson with winds at 23 m.p.h. Not quite the typical weather of Las Vegas area nor is it promising of the boating weather we had hoped for this weekend.

Usually I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop watching the news and now I see why that worked well for me. Not only is it comfortable but I don't have two cats with enough curiosity to destroy everything they can get their grubby paws on while in the office. I'm constantly distracted by picking up after them and hoping that one the clumsy one (Elgy) doesn't knock down my framed photographs.

Elgy has been sneezing all morning. I am not sure if she is sick or just has allergies. She appears to be okay and not as sluggish as when we first adopted her from the local animal shelter. She was so sick then, sneezing constantly and everywhere. There are still remnants of her snot and they have stuck like super glue to my office chairs.

Well, I need to get going with my day. Lots of busy work to do while I wait for our friend, Tavis, and his girlfriend to ride into town.

----------------
Listening to: Chris Lake featuring Emma Hewitt - Carry Me Away (Original Club Mix)
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 28, 2007

First Day of Autumn

Last Sunday we were invited to John and Maggie's home for dinner to celebrate the First Day of Autumn. The Fall Equinox marks the day when day and night are of equal length but from here on out, the time of daylight will get shorter and night will be longer.

Our friend, Dan, who was in town met up with us after we were done admiring the displays of the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens and browsing Urban Outfitters.

Soon we were in Boulder City and couldn't resist stopping at Hemenway Park to watch the Desert Bighorn Sheep graze along the grass. Nearby, children and their parents are having fun ice blocking.
The afternoon is absolutely gorgeous with the sun setting over River Mountain. Here, they have "sheep crossing" signs.

Then we have drinks before dinner. Dan catches up with John and they later gathered over John's gun collection. (Dan will be heading to Colorado after Vegas to go on a hunting trip for an exotic animal with his father.)

Maggie always does a beautiful job with creating a setting that makes me feel like Autumn is really here.
My husband did what I would've done, pour the water in the wine glass and so we drank the wine out of the water glass. That is perfectly fine with us!

It's not too early to have a turkey dinner. It was absolutely DELICIOUS!!

It is hard for me to digest the fact that this weekend is the last weekend in September. When I come back to work next week, it will be October already. YIKES!

Hope this weekend is warm and glassy on the lake so we can get in some boating time on Sunday. I still am not sure what to do with the kitchen wall. The painting has come to a halt as the two colors I picked didn't quite work out. Perhaps we'll join in on the fun at the Las Vegas Bikefest (our friend, Tavis, and his girlfriend are staying with us for the event) and hopefully we can squeeze in a visit to John and Maggie's booth at the gun show.

What's for Lunch?


Imitation Crab Salad

WTH Channel 8?!

While watching t.v. last night, a saw a preview from Channel 8 about the motorcycle accident that shut down the freeway last Friday, the man who died as a result of that (Double D), and an interview with his family about the generosity of Double D.


So my husband and I stayed up to watch the 11 o'clock news, a stretch for us since we like to retire early. But losing little sleep was worth hearing about the man that my husband worked with; he was such a nice guy.


When the news came on, that segment on Double D was all but 20 seconds (at the most) and all I heard was that the riders gathered at the Eastern Harley-Henderson store yesterday before following each other to the funeral service. That's it. Nothing about Double D or how he lived or what really happened last Friday.


I certainly felt ripped off. Misled by the preview and then left hanging by the paltry spotlight on his story. The station spent minutes covering a story about how a local teen's injury from football may not allow him to play the sport again. But the teen didn't die and (luckily) he can still move his limbs and be able to do normal things within a year--just not play football. Unfortunate thing to have happen to the young teen but not tragic. He will still live.


I just felt that Double D deserved a little more than the hacked segment for lack of time and people should know about the person that he was. I e-mailed the News Online Manager of Channel 8 and hopefully they will post a video of the full broadcast.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Live Like You Were Dying

[Riders gather at the Harley-Davidson store before following each other to the funeral service for Double D.]

If you are driving around in the Las Vegas area and notice an influx of motorcycle riders, it is because the Las Vegas BikeFest kicked off today. This annual event is full of parties, contests for most radical bike, bikini competitions, and with that comes 60,000 bikers! This means there will be a lot of choppers, cruisers, Bobbers, and V-twin bikes on the road.

You may be thinking motorcycles and fatal accidents are synonymous and sometimes that is true--especially after the story I am about to tell you. Last Friday as I was driving home from work on Tropicana Avenue (one of the main arteries in and out of the Las Vegas strip) approaching the on ramp to the I-95 South. I noticed that the traffic continuing on Tropicana was unusually congested, as was on the I-95 North.
Must be a car accident, I thought. It's Friday and, as usual, everyone seems to be in a freakish hurry to get home. Drivers are especially crazy on Friday afternoons and I would've been involved in one of those accidents had I not avoided two public transportation buses that nearly ran me off the road.

This article provides some insight to the accident that caused traffic to back up for miles and miles on the freeway:

Motorcycle crash closes busy Las Vegas
highway
(Las Vegas Sun - September 21, 2007)

LAS VEGAS (AP) -
A motorcycle crash has closed a major Las Vegas highway and is causing serious backups on the east side of the city.

Highway 95 northbound is shutdown at the Boulder Highway exit. Traffic is
being diverted at the Flamingo exit, just south of the scene of the crash.

Southbound traffic is moving slowing.

Early reports say the accident involved a motorcyclist and several
vehicles. KLAS-TV reports the accident was fatal.
My husband knew that motorcyclist nicknamed "Double D". He was a Rider's Edge instructor (motorcycle safety foundation course) at Harley-Davidson and the College of Southern Nevada whose life was cut short when a motorist allegedly swerved to avoid a piece of metal or ladder on the freeway and caused a chain reaction which involved Double D and resulted in a nine-car pileup.

It was just a bad situation for all involved; I don't know if the wreck could've been avoided after asking myself what I would have done if it were me? Would Double D had a chance of survival if he had been in a vehicle instead of a bike? Maybe. (But the what ifs are irrelevant here. (So may your soul rest in peace, Double D. He was friendly to everyone and generous and so tonight, the news channel will cover the story of how he lived.)

I was initially scared off my rockers to ride a motorcycle again after hearing that. (Not good timing with the Las Vegas BikerFest approaching and my husband and I were planning on joining in on the fun if he could get off work early.) But then I thought, Double D died doing exactly what he wanted to do--riding his bike.

If my life were cut short speeding on a boat at over 100 m.p.h. or riding on the back of a motorcycle with my husband, then so be it. It will be my time to go and I would rather be doing what I wanted to do.

Sure I could avoid the risky activities and decrease my chances of something bad happening but, honestly, anything can happen at anytime. I could get hit by a bus! Or a drunk driver at 7:30 a.m. while driving to work. Or hit by a car crossing the street from campus!

So there is no sense in living in fear of dying. I'd rather, like the words from Tim McGraw's song," Live Like You Were Dying". Because we all will inevitably die; it's just a matter of when. But how many truly live?

This weekend, I urge you to live your life to the fullest (by your own definition) and be mindful of the riders on the road. You should be able to hear the rumble of their bikes but just in case, please check your blind spot in case someone is riding next to you.

A Tasty Gift


The Largest Collection of Fine Art

One of the things I would like to do is attend an auction of fine art collections like the one at the Park West Gallery. Though that gallery is located in Southfield, Michigan interested auctioneers can still browse through the massive collection of almost 200 artists on-line. Some of the artists are familiar to the laymen like Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Thomas Kincaid while there are many other established artists only the well versed in fine art would know.

Housed on a beautiful 3½-acre site with a natural pond and sculpture garden, the Park West Gallery carries not only paintings but woodcuts and even Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphin's football jersey!

Not only are the artworks available for purchase to expand a personal collection, the Park West Gallery can also conduct a benefit auction for a fundraiser and will provide EVERYTHING needed to ensure a highly successful event. The Park West Gallery has conducted benefit auction sales in fine hotels, exclusive private clubs and museums of fine art throughout the U.S. and Canada.

If you get a moment, check out the Park West Gallery today!

I HAS LAUNDRY TO DO


Got laundry?

Lemme help!

Ooh...I spot laundry basket!

Me like it here better.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Surprising Things Found at Urban Outfitters

After we were done admiring the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, we stopped by the model for the new City Center to see where the Veer Towers, The Harmon Residences, Vdara Condo Hotel, and The Residences at Mandarin Hotel will be erected. The resort and casino is scheduled to open in late 2009. How cool would it be to own one of the condos to rent out or use for the weekends?
Then we went across the street into the Miracle Mile Shops to browse Urban Outfitters. We were greeted by a huge wall filled with the word, "Welcome" in every language (I gotta check into verifying that).

Then a beautiful chandelier where each crystal is suspended on a string to form a sphere (I flipped the photo upside down). Makes me wanna whack the crystals and cause them to go spinning out of control.

Once inside Urban Outfitters, we perused through the fall fashion. Nothing there was really my taste -- especially the skinny jeans. I just don't get those. The only people that can pull that look off are those with stick figured bodies, in my opinion, everyone else (those with an average body) just looks like they have an disproportionately big bum!

Saw this t-shirt which made me shudder. I do not like images of the Virgin Mary. I have nothing against the holy lady, just art renderings of her.

Then there's this book called Milk Eggs Vodka, (a collection of) grocery lists lost and found. In this photo below, one of the pages inside has a list that read, "cracker juice Pop tarts Pants no rub Colgate Kleenex" and so the author's comment is, "Well, let's be honest, who would want, "Pants (the kind that rub)"?

The grocery list on the right says, "Gin (Tanqueray) and candy for work" and the author comments, "At least it doesn't say, "Gin (for work)". Ha, ha!

Unsatisfied with the selection of clothing (mind you, I am not fashion conscious, hippest of the hip either. In fact, I'm not even hip.), I started browsing the books and games and found some interesting ones like, What's Your Poo Telling You? and What the Fuck? - the incredibly f*cked up drinking game.

And this one takes the cake, the Penis Pokey.

Each page has a scene and the owner of the book can try how his ... ahem looks in each scenario.

Postcard Worthy

A view of the Paris Hotel & Casino from Bellagio on Sunday, September 23rd. The perfect blue sky and fluffy clouds are a result of the heavy rain storm we had the night before.

What I did not know about this 540 foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower is connected to its sister property, Bally's Las Vegas and the Las Vegas monorail.


[Photo Credit: my sweet husband.]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Personals for Bikers

John & Daly Riding (April 2005)Are you a Honda Honey? A Chopper Chap? Or perhaps a Harley Hipster? Is Match.com not working out for you? If not, there is a great site called BikerPlanet.com, a biker personals website where people can meet others who share the same interests--riding.

I have a Harley man (and can't imagine being married to someone who doesn't like to ride motorcycles). He sells them but we love riding even more.

While we have found our match, perhaps biker dating will work for you. The Las Vegas Bikefest is coming up this weekend so why not meet someone on the #1 Biker Community on the Net (http://www.bikerplanet.com) to share the upcoming event with? Who knows, finding that special girl or guy who likes riding just as much or more than you might be fun!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

After we had lunch with our friend at Margaritaville, Johnny and I thought we'd meander through the fall display at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden before doing a little browsing at Urban Outfitters located within Desert Passage Shopping Mall. It is, after all, the First Day of Autumn.

We were immediately drawn to the gigantic water wheel and the soothing, splashing sound it made to an internal rhythm.
Then we came upon this fellow made of paper mâche sitting casually among the pumpkin patch . Suspended in time and desperately in need of a pedicure and manicure (like I do). Meanwhile, large acrylic leaves hover in mid-air above his head.
Within a circular wall of moss, there's this larger than life display of a table and two chairs with a chandelier of yellow orchids hanging above.
We saw a bubbling brook trickling underneath a covered bridge ...
And beautifully carved pumpkins in patterns to capture the spirit of fall. The ears of corn is amazing...why didn't they carve a pumpkin?
Everything was deserving of our oohs and aahs; it was hard not to appreciate all the detail that went into the surreal displays like this gigantic barrel with hundreds of apples tumbling down. Kid you not, we thought the fruits were real. Some were glossy and looked succulent enough to bite into and others were wrinkled as if they had been sitting there for several weeks. But a chip in one of the apples we saw up close gave their authenticity away.


If you have never been to admire one of the seasonal displays at Bellagio, almost everything is real or shall I say botanical. During the spring, they will have huge spheres of flowers (like a Pomander bouquet) hanging from the air and life-size figurines made out of real flowers.
The flowers in the botanical gardens were a collection of bright red and orange hues. In inspiration for my kitchen wall. That's the look and feel that I am after, bright and warm.
Remember the larger than normal pumpkins? Well ... they are really huge. They are really, really big. Over a thousand pounds I'll guess. And one of them almost ate Johnny!
The conservatory was well worth a visit. It reminds me of when I use to live in Washington and the trees would turn shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. Right now, it still feels like summer and the desert landscaping doesn't necessarily "turn" so it is hard to imagine that fall is here.

For more photos, please visit my Picasa Web Album.


Car rental in Ireland is not so affordable, hence travel insurance there is necessary. Even the airlines and hotels there are slightly off budget. Hotels like Florence Hotel is a good and affordable place to stay and one should use a flight tracker to get a comfortable flight.

Painting: Don't-Do-It Yourself

After hours of sifting through paint swatches and fiddling online with the settings of a color scheme generator (to see if I could find a paint color for our kitchen walls which would work with what we already have on the walls of the lounge and living room, Mayan Treasure and Royal Red), I purchased two sample containers of Field Poppy and Brick Hearth.

I began painting patches in places where I could visualize these three colors together ... and waited; meanwhile glancing sideways and around corners at the result every now and then to see if I liked what I saw. The Field Poppy was too bright of an orange and the Brick Hearth was too lipstick pink. The colors simply weren't cutting it and I don't know what I was waiting for--as if they would magically morph into the perfect shades or something. [SIGH] I guess I'm back to square one and I had been nervous and biting my nails for nothing.

Out of all the tasks we undertook during this project, I would have to say painting is the hardest thing to do. Not only is it labor intensive but picking the right color combinations just doesn't come easy for me.

My husband and I have discussed getting the exterior of the house painted next year. We painted the interior walls ourselves but this is something we will not even attempt to do ourselves. Instead, we will outsource the work when we are ready. Painting is the quickest way to give your home a new look but I never said it was easy.

We were thinking of choosing warm, earthy colors to warm up the faded light-tan stucco. We also have a pergola like the deco Houston pergolas and would like to have that painted as well. White, in this case, is just too plain and boring.

There's a company in Texas called All-Tex Home Improvement Experts and they do siding, roofing, decks, painting, carports, gorgeous sun rooms, and much more. I doubt they would extend their services to Vegas but I would sure like to find a company like that out here. Then I can just skip the days and hours of deliberating on what color of paint would look best and the actual job of painting myself.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Afternoon at Margaritaville and The Strip

Our friend, Dan, from Minnesota is in town so we met him on this beautiful Sunday afternoon for lunch on the patio of Margaritaville at The Strip.


[Ever why the carpets in the Las Vegas casinos are so hideously ugly? For one, they hide a lot of dirt and grime, wear and tear from traffic but the main reason is because they want to divert the visitors attention up to the gaming tables and machines. That is a fact, according to the Travel Channel.]
After lunch, Johnny and I browsed the Desert Passage mall and then visited the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens to admire the creation for fall. More on that later.

Right now, we're off to John and Maggie's home in Boulder City for dinner.

Tearing it Up

Turning thirty years old is a milestone which definitely requires a celebration. So last night, we went to the Green Valley Ranch Casino to party at Whiskey Beach and later Whiskey Bar in honor of our friend's birthday.
Outside of Whiskey Bar is Whiskey Beach, the pool and lounge area of the casino, where we relaxed on the comfy seating and soaked in the cool air of the night while we caught up on each others' lives.
Even though some of us work with each other and live just a few blocks away, we're all so busy with our own lives and time passes by before we get to see or talk to each other. You know how that goes.

But good friends are hard to find and so we try to not to take that for granted.
Soon it was time to get the party started so we trailed inside to Whiskey Bar for more drinks and some dancing.
We were having so much fun tearing up the dance floor that we lost track of time.
Kristen and Melissa took advantage of the stripper pole while we hooted and hollered.
It has been quite some time, actually since we were in Lake Havasu for the Fourth of July, that we stayed out this late with our friends, Don and Li, bar hopping. As always, everything was well worth it for a night of fun with friends.