Monday, September 29, 2008

You are a TOOL

I was looking through my Vegas photos and saw a photo of a homeless man, which reminded me of a situation while there and thus proceeded to make me hopping mad, again, this morning.

There are a lot of people in Vegas, in the world, that are beggars, homeless or otherwise in need. I get it, sometimes it's bad luck, sometimes it's a lazy choice, sometimes it's will never be solved and no matter what we do, there will always be people asking for help.

I tend to feel empathetic towards people on the street asking for help. I realize that a majority of the time they are asking for the reasoning of getting alcohol or drugs and I also know that many of them have plenty of cash - I am not naive. The empathy that I feel is that they have chosen this as a life, when there are other options. Most of the time I will just pass them by, offer a smile or hello and sometimes I give them change. While in Vegas a guy approached us in the parking lot of our hotel. He got our attention in a friendly manner and then approached closer with a story that he had a pregnant wife, blah, blah, blah. I KNEW it was all smoke and mirrors, but I was in a particularly good mood, feeling very blessed that I was on a vacation and so I gave the guy $5.00 and said, "Good Luck".

Then, then the guy proceeded to say that $5.00 was not enough, he needs another $10. Talk about balls. I promptly said, sorry and good luck, again, but what I really wanted to do was to kick him in the balls and take my 5 bucks back! What a loser.

What a mood killer.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We have no gas. I have no idea what is really true about who has gasoline and who does not. But I'm here to tell you that our town does not have gas. The only way to get gasoline is to happen by a station that has gotten a delivery within the last 3 hours - after that it is all gone.

Yesterday I drove for an hour trying to find some gasoline - it seems strange to waste gas to look for gas, but the reality is that I am almost out and there is going to come a point when I am unable to get back home. Call Triple A, you say? Yeah, they don't have gas either, but they will tow your empty car home for you. This happened to my neighbor.

I contemplated not going to church today because of the very little bit of gasoline left in my tank, but we decided if the economy and the gas world is going to collapse, it won't hurt to be at church, so we went. And we found a station with gasoline - and the line was, no exaggeration, a quarter of a mile long to get in. We passed.

We found only one other station with gasoline, on a less traveled route with fewer cars in line. We made it to the pump after a short wait. "Prepay ONLY, $25 MAX", so I went inside to pay. "NO GAS" the owner says. But I see people are still pumping. He says the pumps are running slow and the gas is dwindling away. I persist, "let me get what I can". He says "NO". I don't move.

The next person who comes in calls the owner by name and says thanks for the call, I'm on Pump 1, then owner turns on the pump with no limit. Blink. Blink. WTF!? This is what we have come to. The gas station owners are rationing and refusing the general public and letting their buddies have unlimited fuel. Again, WTF?

I'm all for calling everyone you know with a heads up on a delivery, but there is no fucking way he should be telling people in general that he is out of gasoline when the line is out the station and down the street, and he HAS GASOLINE!!

I asked again, "Pump 5, I need to get some gas". "Bad Gas", he says, it's on the bottom of the tank. I just don't care, "How about $10? ANYTHING." He agrees to give me $10 worth of gasoline and says that he is going to get jumped because he refused people before me. Take a hint dillweed, don't LIE!! As I get my $10 and the pump shuts off, the guy across from me gets $70 worth of gas. And there was nothing I could do about it. In fact, I felt bad for getting the $10 that I got because there were about 15 people that he turned away before I got my gas. I wasn't budging until I got something.

I'm told that the gasoline situation isn't near as bad in other areas, but how much do you gamble on when you have 2.4 gallons to deal with. I could go to the next town in search of, but I may very well not get back home.

So, this week my husband can't go to work. But they say there is not a gas crisis.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vegas, Baby!

I can't believe I've been home for a week and have had ZERO time to blog about our trip! It is amazing how time can just get away from you.

Our trip to Vegas began on a Saturday and we immediately got our rental car, which was a breeze even though the entire rental car city was filled with horrendous long lines and really pissed off people. We had all our info and did a Self Check In and were off.

Our first drive down the strip was a bit disappointing as it was the middle of the day and Vegas is known for it's lights. I don't know what I was expecting, but there just was not the ooomph! that I was hoping for. It was a street with a zillion people all over it and yes, there were some amazing structures, but I guess as I was driving I was focused more on not killing someone.

We checked in to our hotel and took off for Hoover Dam. We stayed at the Embassy Suites, no, not very exciting. We had originally planned for the Venetian and then switched to Treasure Island, but once I saw that the Embassy Suites was right behind the Wynn I opted to stay in our usual standby and earn some points. Also, not knowing exactly how lively Vegas is we thought it might be quieter to stay off the strip. It had both pros and cons, but we were happy because the Embassy serves a cooked to order breakfast everyday which is included with your room - along with a free open bar every evening from 5:30-7:30. Not only that, the price was about half of any of the major attraction hotels on the strip.

We got to Hoover Dam really quickly (less than 30 minutes), but found that we were just a few minutes too late for The Dam Tour. We opted for the regular guided tour for $11 which was short, but very informative. We did get to go see the turbines and walk through the tunnels. The dam is amazing seeing as how it was built in the 30's. It is also interesting to find out how the government did not disclose all of the deaths related to the building of the dam so that the public would not see the project in a bad light. Shocking to think that the government would sugar-coat something, isn't it?

The next morning we were up at 4am - due to us being on Eastern time so we hit the strip. Surprisingly, it was pretty calm, but there were more people out that I had expected. We took this time to tour Ceaser's Palace - simply stunning. We then hit the road to the Grand Canyon West. The drive took about 2.5 hours during which most of it was on OPEN DESERT ROAD. Yes, there was a speed limit, but I did not observe it in the least. I hit 110, but for the most part I kept it around 95-100. He would not admit it, but I think Hunk was a bit jealous that I did not insure him on the car. We had a Mazda 626, it was cute and had the option to be either an automatic transmission or a semi-manual. There was no clutch, but the gears can be changed manually up to a 5 speed. That was kinda cool....

Grand Canyon West is located within the Hualapai Indian Reservation. There is one road that leads in which is 21 miles long and unpaved. It started out fine, but it did get really rough for the last 10 miles. I bottomed out the car once because I was really driving faster than I should have. Once you get in there is a big parking area which costs $20 to park. You then go into the office and gift shop to purchase tickets for what you want to do while there. The standard tour is $30 per person which lets you ride the charter bus to 3 stops within the reservation. You have to add on things like the Skywalk and Helicopter/Pontoon rides. We stuck with the standard figuring we would check it all out and then decide if we really wanted to go out on to the Skywalk.

The Skywalk was pretty cool, but looking at the professional photographs (you can't take your own camera) you pretty much only see the plexiglass floor. We were a bit miffed because the area around the Skywalk would not allow you to go to the edge of the Canyon. It was roped off probably 15 feet back from the edge. Disappointing, but I found out later that the next stop was PHENOMENAL. So, it was definately resolved. From this area we saw the area in the 2nd photo below, which is called Eagle Rock because it really does look like the wingspan of an Eagle.

At the Skywalk we ate lunch - a Hualapai Taco (see photo) which is everything in a regular taco all piled onto a huge piece of fried bread dough. It was $12 and we were glad we only got was huge. Not my favorite, the bread dough is pretty plain, but it was an experience. The Hualapai Indians were also at the location dancing and having photos taken. There were real examples of all the different types of Indian dwelling as well....very cool.

At our next stop - Guano Point there was a small cafe. This area was a peninsula jutting out into the Grand Canyon. This place was about a thousand times better than the Skywalk area, this was the reason I came here. As you can see from the 1st photo below you can walk right off the edge of the Canyon if you feel like it (that small blue dot is Hunk's Monkey Button shirt). We climbed a mountain in the middle of the peninsula and got a good 340 degree panoramic view of the Grand Canyon. It was truly phenomenal, there just aren't words to describe how beautiful it was and how awesome our earth is. Kudos to the Hualapai Tribe for sharing this with us. WORTH EVERY PENNY!

The third stop in the reservation was a made up western town. Might've been more exciting if the kids were with us. I did see the cow "Norman" from the movie City Slickers. He lives there and they run him through the town a few times a day. He is ginormous! And, yes, his real name is Norman!

We left the Grand Canyon and hit the desert for more fast driving - whoo hooo - and got back to Vegas for a late night on the strip. We drove from our hotel and parked at Treasure Island to go see their Siren show out front. I personally though it was kind of lame, but then again, I don't know what I was expecting. A bunch of girls dancing around in lingerie pretending they are pirates. We also hit the Bellagio to watch the fountain show, which was pretty cool, this particular show was set to Elvis' Viva Las Vegas which was very fitting.

Once Monday began, Hunk had to work during the day, usually until 4, so I pretty much hung out at the pool. We decided to go to two shows while there, the first one was David Copperfield. This was at MGM so when I went to check it out earlier in the day I got to see the MGM Lion Habitat. There is a tunnel you can walk under and the lions were laying on the tunnel, there was also a guy in there sitting next to the lion just scratching her belly like she was a regular old house cat. I took a photo from down under...

David Copperfield was fun to watch, though we had seen most of the illusions already on TV specials. The best part was that Hunk got chosen to go up and assist with one of the illusions. It involved a real duck being magically transported from a box in the center stage to a bucket in Hunk's arms on the side of the stage. He still says he can't figure out how the duck got into the bucket or if there was some trap door, because the bucket truly did seem empty, then a duck jumped out onto him!

The other show we went to was 'O' at the Bellagio. It was something I'm really glad we did not miss because the stage and setting itself it worth the price to see. The show was good, but the concept is just amazing and I would pay to go see it again. We were forbidden to take photos, but I 'accidentally' snapped a quick one during a particularly active scene. Basically the stage goes from pool to floor in seconds and in several different sections. They can have a high diver plunge into the pool and then, don't blink, as the pool just disappeared and there are people dancing where the guy just dove in. Really cool. The Cirque performers are just top notch here as well. My favorite were the contortionists, they are incredible. We had limited view seats, but it was still worth it.

We did make sure to take a trip down to Fremont Street and eat at the Bay City Diner (at the first Vegas Hotel). They boast the Original 1.99 Shrimp Cocktail(4th photo below), which is actually 3.99. I still haven't figured that one out. It was a very small, old diner and Hunk really liked his dinner. I ordered the wrong thing, so I was a bit disappointed with what I had, but it was my own fault for not paying attention to the words coming out of my mouth!

Fremont Street is the true Old Vegas and I got to see Vegas Vic (the cowboy), but some of his lights were out and he no longer waves (1st picture below)!! If you want to see Vegas lights, this street is the place to be! We really enjoyed this part of town, there were lots of street vendors and artists doing some truly amazing work. Really talented people.
At the end of Fremont is the Plaza (2nd photo below) which is Biff's Tower from Back to Future II - one of my favorite movie series.
Did I mention that a few of the Chippendales (3rd photo) were on Fremont Street? My picture is blurry - I think Hunk bumped me on purpose!
We had an awesome time - sorry for the long post, and the fact that I hit publish before I was done - I know if I'm in your reader I look like a total dweeb. Not to mention my sucktacular photoshop skills.
Oh yeah, did we win it big?? NO, I put $15 bucks in a machine and lost it in under 2 minutes. I gave up until the next day and I tried $25 - it lasted about 5 minutes and was then gone. At that point I just stopped. It just isn't in me. I know these stupid electronic machines have got to be so rigged and I'm just not up to playing at a real table - not to mention the SMOKE!! I am definately a Vegas 'visitor', not cut out to be a player!

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm home - been away for 6 days in fabulous Las Vegas! Woot!

I want to blog all about all the fun things I did, but that would involve me finding photos and in general trying to jog brain cells that are currently paralyzed due to the immense amounts of second hand smoke they've been subjected to (and a little first hand alcohol....). So I will save Vegas for another day.....

Today, I'm sorting through mail and work, trying to get back to normal. I would certainly love to travel MUCH, MUCH more, but I can't see how people with kids at home do it. It is exhausting. Within 1 hour of being home and seeing what all piled up around me, I feel like I never left! Unless you count the fact that my bank account is drained. NO, I did not win it big in Vegas.....but I did see the Chippendales.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


My hearing is near non-existent. I'm not sure why it is, but I do require hearing aids in order to listen to your opinions and thoughts. I rarely ever wear my hearing aids. hee hee heee......

Not that I don't think your opinion is interesting, ahem. Actually, I find the hearing aids extrememly uncomfortable and that when I remove them my ears are so in tune to having amplification that I am literally deaf. I do fine around the house (Hunk will beg to differ...) and we can watch TV, etc. I just like stuff turned WAY up or to have captions turned on. I ask "WHAT?" far too often.

This brings me to my current problem. I am hearing voices. Since I rarely hear anything that is not directed exactly to me, I find it strange that I am hearing voices. In my basement office. I'm down here working away and then I hear a young child's voice. It is muffled and I can not understand it, but nonetheless I can tell it is a voice.

A problem that goes hand in hand with my hearing loss is directional confusion. IF I am lucky enough to hear a sound there is NO way in hell I can tell you which direction it is coming from. Like when the cordless phone gets lost and you hit the button to make it call out to you.....uhm, yeah, that does me NO good whatsoever. I hear the phone beeping madly, calling for me to save it out from under the cat, but I can't even decipher if I am in the same room as the beeping. Odd. Yes, I suck at Marco Polo.

So, there is a voice. I've been hearing it since we started the big office relocation of 2008. I'm currently unhappy with our bottom floor layout and decided that we should switch all rooms and add some stuff and in general, cause chaos. I'm in a temporary location because my new office space needs flooring, and the rest of the area surrounding me resembles a ground zero explosion. There are boxes, plastic tubs, piles, baskets, etc. All overflowing with stuff that is temporarily homeless. From one of those receptacles comes THE VOICE.

I'm hoping it's a toy of some sort, but I would think that battery life would be an issue. The voice is repeated and in no particular pattern....other than just when it would like to freak the crap out of me. My other option is that it is actually a small child that we somehow put in a bucket and forgot about, not likely though because everyone I know is accounted for. There's always the chance that it is a ghost, but my thinking is that a ghost would have more sense that to live in our crappy basement. Then there is always the cat....whom I have not seen in 3 days.

And, of course, when I mention this to the Hunk so that he might tune in to the problem THE VOICE will likely go Michigan J. Frog on me.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I do this to myself every fall. I know this about myself, so why do I do it?

Hi, I'm Beth and I am an OVERCOMMITER.

I was going to make a list of all that I have committed to lead, head up or help with, but then Hunk will comment with "I told you so...", plus he has no real idea what all I've sold my soul to. So, let's just say that I am on the cusp of a whirlwind.

A small part of something I do is Girl Scouts. I lead both of my girls' troops, which they meet alternate weeks, so one week I lead older girls, the next I lead younger girls. Hopefull, this will spread everything out. This week we had older girls - a regular meeting and then a community service project.

Our community service project was to volunteer at the offices of the Walk for Breast Cancer. We met right after school and headed downtown (fought traffic on the way), but we finally arrived at the office and they graciously had ordered pizza for the girls. How cool was that? Our task of the evening was to begin the process of stuffing the "goodie bags" that would be gifts for each person walking for the cause. While we ate pizza, we got to sit around and talk with the founder of the Walk (who happened to have been a Scout leader many years before) and she was just awesome. She is a Breast Cancer survivor and she has endured so much, yet she is such a strong and positive person despite all she has been through. Thankfully, she is doing well right now, due to some experimental treatments. She had a goal of raising one million dollars over the course of 10 years and as of now, the walk has been going on for four years and they have exceeded FOUR MILLION dollars raised for Breast Cancer Research. Amazing what the dream of one person can turn into. When you think that you can't possibly make a difference - think AGAIN! She has made a huge difference and it all started with one person.

Publix donated some wicked new reusable grocery bags, much larger than the standard grocery store reusables. We filled these bags with socks, trinkets, information and some really good coupons. It was good for the girls to work and see behind the scenes that it takes teamwork to make things happen. It was good for the girls to meet the founder and to hear her story, it was wonderful for them to realize that they can make a difference, if they just have the desire.

Since we each got to take a goodie bag for ourselves I am sending mine to my Chemo Buddy (I'm a Chemo Angel). It has some really cute stuff in it, and even though she does not have Breast Cancer I know she will enjoy them. It was just a good experience all around and it makes you feel good to be a part of something that is changing the world, a little bit at a time. Hopefully, through this walk and through others they will continue to find ways to save women's lives everyday.

This is why I overcommit - because sometimes, it's just worth it, dammit!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Before I begin, I got a new phone! Should there really be an exclamation there? Not sure, because it was certainly not FREE, but nontheless it is new, unscratched, undented and hopefully I can manage to keep it that way.....

We went camping for the Labor Day weekend. I'm certain that my hubs will be blogging about our adventures, so some of you may get a double dose. I'm also certain that my recount will be significantly more positive than his. See, I actually LOVE to camp. Him, not so much. He just goes along for the ride and tries not to complain. He plays nice, but would prefer to be home.

We tried something new this time, because this was a last minute decision to go camping and all of our favorite spots were booked months ago. We found a private campground, within an hour of our house and they had 2 spots left. I did not, however, ask a lot of questions. I skimmed the website, they had toilets, showers, electric & water - we would definately survive. NOW JUST SHUT UP, because camping is STILL CAMPING, even if there are all those conveniences. YES, it is. We do NOT have a tricked out tour bus with flat panel TV's and hottubs - we have a tent, but I will NOT pee in the woods. I'm too old for that. I also like LIGHTS because nothing is more frustrating that trying to find something in the dark. Electricity is something I do not REQUIRE, but I find it necessary for being a Happy Camper.

So, we drove to the campground and found it to be less than expected. It was basically a big pasture with hookups scattered around. I like to camp with lots of trees, so I was a bit disappointed, but I'm still camping. We were assigned a site and when we found it, it was just a grassy area on the edge of the pasture. We had been assigned PRIMITIVE camping in direct sunlight. I did not ask about electric/water sites before I booked - my fault. We have never camped primitively so I drove back around to the office and worked some magic. We got a different site, under some trees and it was close enough to an electrical outlet that we could share with another site provided we had a long extension cord (uhm, hell yeah, I had FOUR - I like my lights....). The very best part of this was that it was right along the edge of the RIVER - whooo hooo! My kids were ecstatic! We set up camp and then decided that it took so long to do all this we would go out to dinner, rather than cook on the fire. We then headed off into town to get Mexican food. "Now THIS is camping!", says the hubs.

The local town is Dahlonega, Georgia - where both hubs and I attended college. Dahlonega is a Gold Mining town and there are many mines and tours and lots of panning for gold. There is a gold museum right in the center of the town. Since our campground was right on the river we encountered quite a few folks panning for gold. Many of them were campers like us, just playing around, but we also found that there are still many people that pan for gold on a daily basis. And they take it quite seriously. This one guy looked as though he had been doing this his entire life. He said he has actually found some pretty good gems and nuggets in his day. He was literally the poster child for gold panning, every single mine ad has a graphic of an old guy with a hat and a big long beard......

On Saturday we began to notice who else was camping at this place - there was a group of 10 families that had overtaken the place. The owner said these folks come twice a year and it is like a big reunion for them. How fun! Yes, they were definately having fun - a lot of LOUD fun. The difference in camping here, than in other places we've been, were the rules of camp ground etiquette. The owners here were laid back and didn't enforce any quiet hours. Lucky for me, I am mostly deaf, so the noise didn't bother me at all. The big group of folks were also Nascar fanatics, they displayed all of their Nascar flags and one guy actually had a Nascar themed picnic table that he brought to the campground. Now, bringing a picnic table is not that weird, but this picnic table was more than just a picnic was on wheels with a chain driven motor! Yes, that's right, a DRIVEABLE PICNIC TABLE, with flags! The guy was riding kids all around the campground. He was really friendly, and he would take everyone's kids. So, yes, I let a total stranger with no shirt, driving a picnic table, nascar themed, pick up my two girls to go for a ride. Am I a wonderful parent or what???!!

This campground also offered tubing on the river - yipee! We were taken for a 10 minute ride up the road which amounted to a 1.5 hour float down the river in big yellow tubes. I don't have photos because I could not carry my camera without it getting wet. It was fun, the water was cold, but you got used to it quickly. The river was just beautiful and serene, the tree cover overhead was phenomenal. This was my favorite thing!

We found some interesting things in the river....we thought this was a potato and a granny smith apple. These were actually rocks. The kids got quite a collection while there.

Since this was a last minute trip I forgot to bring a few things, so our meals were lacking my usual creativity for campground cooking, but we did manage to bake in our box oven (biscuits and chocolate chip cookies), we had chipotle lime chicken & veggies cooked in foil pockets which we just sat directly in the fire pit, we also popped popcorn on our camp griddle and of course, S'MORES. We are going camping again in late October so this was a good trip to see what I needed to replenish and remember to add to our camping supplies.

Hubs took a really good picture of the mountain man, which I did not want to steal, so feel free to check him out later this week. I know he hasn't blogged yet, but he will and I'm sure he will have a whole different perspective on the place. And for those of you keeping up with his new sunny outlook on life, he did really well not killing our camping neighbors and we didn't even bring any happy drinks on this trip! PROGRESS!