Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy To Be Home

Hello dear friends!

I made it home safe and sound!  I was able to muster enough Courage to get on a plane with my boys and fly to Las Vegas.  I am giving you two versions of my trip.  The "Condensed" with minimal detail for those of you who don't have time for me to babble on, and the "Detailed" for those of you who have nothing better to do but sit back and relax with your cup of coffee and read about our adventures.  :)

Condensed Version

  • Tim Horton's drive-thru screwed up my tea and gave me a coffee instead (grrrrr...off to a bad start)
  • Plane delay of 66 minutes (sick!)
  • Plane TVs not working (good thing we bought some magazines)
  • Westjet's fault they were late and they wanted to charge us $15.99 for a sandwich (ok...maybe it wasn't that much but still...)
  • The 'free' cookie they gave me for a snack was broken
  • Fremont Street (I'm thinking I could have gone my whole life without seeing that...maybe I was just tired as we went there Friday night after a long flight)
  • The shopping (is everything really that expensive or am I just cheap?)
  • Minnie Mouse passed out on the strip in the middle of the afternoon with half a bottle of Southern Comfort clutched in her little white glove
  • All the 'booty' (and I don't mean treasure) during the Pirates of The Caribbean show at Treasure Island
  • The noisy hotel room neighbour in the wee hours of Sunday morning (I know 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' but the sounds from that room will be etched into my brain for the rest of my life...and that's all I will say about that as this is a "G" rated blog...)
  • Visiting with my mom & George (only 3 more months until they are home from Yuma)
  • Meeting up with two blog friends (too much fun!)
  • Delicious meals (except for the iced tea which is just that...tea that is cold...huh?? and the toast at IHOPS that clearly they make the night before)
  • Seeing and standing by a famous Las Vegas entertainer, film and television star
  • Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay (I touched a Stingray!)
  • Secret Garden at The Mirage (baby dolphins ~ adorable!)
  • The Fountains at Bellagio (I could watch that for hours)
  • Moving Statues at Caesars Palace (magical)

Detailed Version

Leaving Banjo in the care of my cat-loving friend Corinne (Thank You Corinne!), we set off for Las Vegas at 11 am on Friday morning. I knew the trip was off to a bad start when Tim Horton's screwed up my XL Steeped Tea and gave me a coffee instead.

With a plane delay of 66 minutes, we bought a pack of cards at the airport gift store and played cards for awhile to help move the time along.  I won...  :)

After finally getting onto the plane at 6:36 pm, already tired and hungry, Westjet asked if we would like to purchase any snacks.  Purchase?  Are you kidding me?  Opting out, we took the flight attendant up on a 'free' plastic glass full of flat pop and a cookie.  Of which my cookie was broken.  

Finally we landed and made our way by taxi to the Stratosphere Hotel where mom (a.k.a. Nana) and George were waiting for us at around 8 pm Las Vegas time.  (10 pm Saskatchewan time...already 1 hour past my regular bed time)  We went for a quick bite to eat at the Roxy.  The food was delish!  Except for the iced tea which is totally different than what we get in Canada.  It was just tea that was cold.  Sugar please!!!

Here is mom, giving us our $40 each to gamble with and our $7 each for the Deuce bus ticket.  (Wayne gambled his $40 away, Kurtis and I still have our money ~ no gambling for us!  Haha!)

After spending some time on Fremont Street (hmmm....some very odd things seen there) we headed back to the hotel with our heads hitting the pillow at 11 pm Las Vegas time.  1 am in the morning in Saskatchewan!  The beds were comfy and the room quiet...the first night.

This was the view from our room.  The M.A.S.H. mountains!  Very cool!  

After a yummy breakfast at IHOP at 7:30 am, except for that toast that was as cold and as hard as a rock, we set off to site see.  My first palm trees!  

Me and my boys, outside of Mandalay Bay!

Me touching a baby Stingray!  Courage!  May I add that I was the only one that touched one.  Oh yes, very brave I was.  LOL!

Kurtis, Wayne, George and mom.

Nana and George.  We were upstairs at M & M World. That was not as exciting as I was led to believe.

Shopping at the Outlet Malls.  Am I just cheap or is everything so expensive?  I always thought the word "outlet" meant good prices.  Nope...not here.  In the end, I bought a Pandora bead at Pandora for me and my mom, a $4 butterfly mood necklace at Mandalay Bay, a $8 Las Vegas T-shirt, a $9 Las Vegas Bunnyhug (hoodie for you non-Saskatchewan people) and 2 x $1 key chains at the hotel gift store.  Wayne bought a $20 baseball hat somewhere at the Outlet mall and a $8 shirt at the hotel gift store and Kurtis bought a $8 shirt and 2 x $1 key chains at the hotel gift store.  Needless to say, we did not go over the luggage weight restrictions on the flight home!

Kurtis and I were part of a street magic act.  There were so many homeless people begging for money and street characters (Minnie Mouse, Transformers, Spiderman, etc.) posing for money but then later on you would see them passed out on the street, surrounded by beer bottles and such.  Very sad.  And the card 'clickers' handing out escort calling cards got irritating very quickly.

Pirates of the Caribbean show outside Treasure Island.  NOT what I expected.  I didn't realize it was all about the 'booty' and not really about the pirates.  Hmmm..... It was cool seeing the ship sink into the water though and we did enjoy another excellent meal at Gilley's BBQ at that Hotel. 

The fountains at the Bellagio were excellent.  All three of us really liked them though we wish they would have done more than one song.  It was already getting late and we didn't want to wait another 20 minutes until they went off again.  It was time to hop back onto the bus and go back to the hotel room to sleep.  

Sadly, the second night at the hotel was not as restful.  I won't go into the details on my blog as I want to keep it clean, but let me just say that who ever the woman was next door, I hope she got paid well as she sounded like she was putting on a good performance.  Enough said.

But after catching a few more hours of sleep, it was off to Starbucks at our hotel to meet up with a blog friend.  And to my surprise, a second blog friend was there as well! 

Becca from Patina Moon and Linda from My Happy Place ~ how fun is that???

I had planned on meeting Becca but did not realize that Linda lived so close.  Being from 'small city Saskatchewan', we forget that suburbs can be located in the same city.  And if you follow these two very talented ladies, you know they have been friends for many years.

I was nervous to meet Becca.  Would I recognize her?  Would she recognize me?  Would she be surprised by seeing the 'real me' and not the 'photoshopped' me?  Hahaha!  

I walked to Starbucks and there was a gal waiving to me.  That must be her ~ she looks familiar!  Well here it was Linda and Becca had her back to me.  What a wonderful surprise to meet up with a second blog friend! They were both so lovely and kind and fun!  

I enjoyed listening to their stories of 'old Vegas' and what it used to be like.  Becca brought me a couple of lovely gifts, one for Banjo of course, that I will show you later this week.  As we talked and laughed, I realized how often us Canadians really do say 'eh'!  Lots!  I wish we had more time to talk but 1 1/2 hours was all I could manage.  

Wayne walked by and we got him to take photos for us.  Me with my sad little Panasonic Lumix (as I didn't want to haul around my big camera) and those two with their lovely big cameras.  Hopefully Wayne took some good photos with their cameras for them.  I don't let him touch mine too often.  Linda asked 'Stanley' if he would like to come home with her as she had some carpets that she would love for him to vacuum!  Oh that was a good one Linda!!

It was so wonderful to meet you two beautiful ladies!  Thank you for coming to meet me!

Onward that day to the Secret Garden at The Mirage.  All three of us loved watching the dolphins.  They are so clever and such beautiful animals.  And the two babies were adorable.

There were so many grand tigers, lions and leopards.  All of them stars in Siegfried and Roy's magic shows over the years.  They were beautiful.  All of a sudden, the tigers sat up alert, coming to the edge of the fence.  What was going on?

What was this entourage coming our way?  What was up with the costumes?

Oh my stars!  It's Siegfried!!!  Are you kidding me?  How cool is that??  All the cats sat at attention and gazed at him.  "They are remembering being on the stage with me." he said out loud to the audience.

Before I knew it, he was standing right beside me.  I totally could have touched him if I put my hand out an inch.  But, not wanting to be a total creeper, I nonchalantly pointed my camera his way and snapped.  Nope...that's not creepy at all... haha!  Very fun!

After a wonderful supper at The Grand Lux Cafe (oh that freshly squeezed lemon aid!!!) at The Venetian, it was back to the hotel where I hit the pillow at 6 pm, Las Vegas time (I know...I'm a wimp but I just couldn't take it any more).  The boys were close behind me.

Here we are Monday morning, sitting and visiting for awhile longer with mom and George at the hotel before jumping into a taxi and heading home.  

Mom and I.  Some guy asked Wayne and Kurtis if mom and I are sisters.  Honestly.... sisters with 20+ years age difference!!!!  ;)  It was her birthday on Saturday so we were able to spend the day with her.  She looks pretty good for 69 don't you think???  She's going to kill me.  She's not 69.  She is a little younger than that and she really does look terrific.  (Shhh...don't tell her I said that!)

And except for the flight attendant not letting me have Wayne's cookie to eat for myself (are you kidding me???), the flight home was actually 10 minutes early and we touched down in Regina at 4:20 pm.  By the time we had a quick supper, we were home by 8 pm and in bed shortly there after.  Tired but thankful that we made it home safe.

For the record, I hope to not have to be on a plane for a couple of years again.  That is enough Courage for one year.  :)

I have today off so I will be spending it on laundry, grocery shopping and catching up with blog friends.  

xo Catherine


Fuzzy Tales said...

Welcome back! Glad you had a mostly fun trip and got to meet two blogging friends as well. That's very cool.

My dad and his wife went to Las Vegas last year for the first time, over March break and neither is inclined to return.

BTW, there's nothing wrong with the Lumix at all--easy packing and carrying, no real worries about theft. I remember reading an article on camera type versus photographer skill/ability and the article featured three shots taken on a mountain hike by a professional photographer. One was snapped with a cell phone camera, one with a p&s and one with his DSLR. I kid you not, you would not be able to tell which was taken with what camera. He was fantastic and it went to prove that while having a DSLR is great and certainly helps, you CAN take terrific images with other types of cameras. :-)

Lúcia said...

I'm glad you and your family had a good time!
Your mother looks great!
I'd love to visit Vegas one day. ;-)

Ann said...

Congratulations on your courage. YOU DID IT! Looks like it was a great time too.

Becca said...

It was so fun to get to meet you Catherine! Glad you got to see that crazy, tacky part of Vegas that I won't miss at all when we move! Loved seeing your pictures! Maybe Banjo could smell Fetzer on that toy too! Oh, and what do you mean the flight attendant wouldn't let you eat Stanley's cookie?!!!! What??

Becca said...

Ok, maybe I should call him Wayne, don't want him to get upset with me! Lol

Katy Noelle said...

You're back! I've been wondering just where it was you'd flown off to. That you picked someplace warm and sunny is very sensible! ;)

The moment that I heard that you had gone to Las Vegas - I thought of Becca! Too exciting and fun!

I remember the first time that we took our oldest son to see my parents (back home for me) in California. He was just five and he saw all of the palm trees....and wanted to know if dinosaurs lived there!

I've seen Siegfried and his tigers before - a long time ago! That's so neat!!!

but, aren't you glad to be back to normal old home....=]

I always am - especially after being to a big city.

Well, welcome back!


Katy xo

Susan said...

Wow Cat, you were only about 2 hours from me! You'd be surprised how quickly the desert changes 2 hours north of there. I read the condensed and the more detailed version. Sounds like you had some fun! I personally hate Las Vegas. I only go there to pick up someone from the airport or to go to Trader Joe's. Wasn't it nice to come home to your own bed? I'm glad it was a safe trip! Welcome home!

The Smiths said...

Well done Catherine - looks like you've had a fantastic time!

Kay :)

TexWisGirl said...

lucky you getting to meet up with linda and becca!!! :)

and your mother is GORGEOUS!!!

Sandra said...

wow and wow again, the Ultimate Trip. loved ALL of it, you brave person you. the tiger and the dolphin are my favorites just because, i love the family foto all in a row, great shot. thanks for letting me take a trip without leaving my chair

Sandra said...

forgot to say, love the mother daughter photo, I can see the marked resemblance. and i did see the 'booty' on the pirate ship. hummmm

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I read the short and long version! Sounds like you had fun! I do see that you and your Mom look alike, but not sisters. Anyway, my daughter is taking me to Vegas (my first time) in May for Mother's Day. I'm excited and hope to see lots and lots. Glad you are home safe and sound. hugs, Linda

It's me said...

Great post from a great trip !!!...love from me...xxx..

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow---sounds like (with only a few glitches) that you all had a wonderful trip... Glad you met some blog friends. Isn't that special?????

Vegas is one of my least favorite places in our country.. BUT--I'm not one who enjoys glitz and glamor.

Outlet Malls in our country are 'name brands' ---so they are more expensive than the generic places... I don't wear many name brands--but I do wear good SAS shoes. I get them at the Outlet Mall--but they are only $10 off of the regular price... Huh???????

Welcome Home. We missed you.

BeadedTail said...

Yay for the courage to get on that plane to Vegas! Glad you had a mostly really good time! I love the Bellagio fountains too! They're gorgeous! How cool you got to see Siefried and the tigers and dolphins! My mom lives in Vegas but she rarely goes down to the strip. Too bad you didn't get to go see the Katnip Lounge kitties!

Brian said...

I am gald you had a good time, I certainly enjoyed the long version!!!

S. Etole said...

Good job! And a very enjoyable review for us of your trip. You and your mom are so attractive.

cathy@home said...

It looks you hac a lovely time on the whole in Vegas.

Kerri said...

How Fun!!!!!
and Your Mom is Beautiful!! (and so are you of course)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm so proud of you for going!

Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. Walt and I went in May for our 25th anniversary. It was quite different than anywhere else I've ever been. I'm glad you guys had such a good time.

So you are saying they won't let you eat your husband's cookie on Westjet? That is crazy! No wonder you aren't keen on flying, with treatment like that.

Glad you are back.

Barbara said...

I read both versions and enjoyed them equally! Despite some of the 'lowlights' it sounds like you had a fun time. I've only been to Vegas once, in 1981, and really don't have much desire to go back, especially after hearing about Minnie Mouse! (You didn't go to Liberace's museum? That was one of my favorites!)

Sylvia said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time, Catherine !
Enjoyed your photos !

Lin said...

It looks like you all had a great time! I'm glad you got your courage up and went. :)

Your mom is beautiful!

Donna said...

ok that was a great commentary on your trip. I loved the fountain photo! {special} Also what a thrill to meet two blogging friends, that must of been amazing!

you are courageously slender and looking fit in your vegas pictures!

Happy Homecoming!

SweetMarie said...

You did it! It sounds like you did a lot. It's so great that you met two other bloggers. :) The pic of you and your mom is so pretty!
I've never been to Vegas and not sure if I'm missing much. I have been to a pirate ship dinner show and it was about like the one you saw. You had me laughing so hard at a couple of comments. :)
Thanks for the tour! It was fun!

Mariette said...

Dearest Catherine,

Wow, I had no idea you were scared to fly...! Both of us have done 1,500,000 miles in the air so I got over hat point.
Great adventure in all. We both LOVED the music at the fountains of the Bellagio. Cool that you got to see Siegfried and the reaction of his big cats. See, an animal never forgets!
Fun to meet some bloggers and for having time with your 'cute looking' Mom!
Love to you and cherish those memories and put another x for your courage score!


Chatty Crone said...

Love your pictures of Las Vegas - I have been there a couple of times myself and your pictures brought back great memories. Liked seeing you touch the stingray! You are brave. sandie

Corla Rokochy said...

Awesome Thanks for sharing. I am going next month with my mom and sales rep so it will be quite a different trip then we had for Pat's 40th!

You and your Mom look so much alike and both beautiful!

Christine said...

Oh no, you need to get right back on a plane and keep having your adventures, next stop, London England...glad you made it back. :)

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

I'm so very tired and your's is the last to read before shut eye. Laughed at the condensed version and hoped to see Minnie Mouse in the pics but disappointed when I didn't. Then I perked up when I saw Becca and Linda!!! I KNOW THEM!! (Not really, just from blogging.) Hope you had a wonderful time. Glad you survived the plane ride. :)

Anesha said...

Glad you made it back safely. Sounds like it was an interesting trip. Bet Banjo was glad to see you. Have a good day. Hugs Anesha

Pam said...

Well, I for one, thoroughly enjoyed your trip. Love that fountain!!

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

What a whirlwind trip!

We did a 4-day stay in 2001 when we got married. spent most of the time on the back of a motorcycle.

Looks like you all had a great time! ;)

Linda R. said...

It is always fun to see our City through someone else eyes.. It was so nice to meet you my friend. You are such a sweetheart.

Hugs, Linda

BumbleVee said...

The best thing about holidaying? except our trip last year to Portugal, where I would have cheerfully stayed for the rest of my life. Getting back to my own lovely home....my own bed and my own way of life. The only thing I would have wanted to see would be the dolphins and the big cats.... and shopping in the U.S.? What have they got that we can't get here? ... and on sale without the cost of flights or gas to get there?...even cheaper here.... yeh...mostly just a disappointment really....years ago when I was in Vegas...I spent a lot of time indoors cuz it was 112 in the shade and there was no shade... or in a pool.....

imagine not giving you Wayne's cookie for heaven's sake... how cheap are those darn airlines getting.....sheeesh.... now we know...everybody ask for their own and we will eat the extras if they don't really want them..

♥Ingrid♥ said...

Hello Catherine,I love this post,it is full of joy and love.....x

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

These pictures show enjoyable moments, I'm sure lots of wonderful moments have been made.
Have a happy Midweek, dear Catherine xxx

Jen said...

So glad you had [some] fun on your trip (although your *cough* neighbors sounded quite disturbing: eeeew ;oP

Not sure I'd really care to go to Vegas myself, but I enjoyed taking this virtual "vaycay". Thanks for sharing!

Hot Rocks said...

I loved reading about your trip to Vegas, and so glad you mustered up the courage to fly. Sounds like a fab time, low lights and highlights...you really had me giggling out loud! Yes, the Americans make their iced tea different from us! That is one of those things that you learn from visiting our Southern cousins.

JC said...

I've been to Vegas a lot. Mostly on one of my H's business trips. I did wonder where you stayed and when you said, no wonder. Not the best place but most hotels have mid week deals.

You saw some of my favorites. I have gone to a few shows but I'm not a late night gal.

The Treasure Island pirate show changed a few years ago. It was about pirates and now, as you know, it's changed.

I've only shopped at the mall across the street not the big. I usually go to just sit in the sun for a bit. Although, I haven't been in almost ten years.

Splendid Little Stars said...

First, congratulations on mustering up your courage! even touching a stingray! I got to do that on a vacation last year. The stingrays were in the wild, but tame. They sidled up to you, rubbing against you, and looking at you with their puppy dog eyes. My courage failed at feeding them, however. (I had been thoroughly trained to fear them.)
How wonderful that you got to meet bloggy friends!
As far as the sister thing goes, some people are just not very observant. Perhaps he was trying to be funny or complimentary.
I'm glad your trip was over all enjoyable!

GreatGranny said...

Catching up here. I'm glad you all had a good time. The fountain was just beautiful. I enjoyed every part of your trip account.

Jaime said...

Haha! Really? Minnie? Drunk and passing out? That is too funny. If only you had gotten a picture.
And REALLY? The flight attendant was that stingy? Wow, things have gotten pretty desperate in the airline industry, haven't they?
What a great trip you had (minus miscellaneous hotel sounds and broken cookies etc).... and meeting blogging friends, that is so wonderful.
Oh, and I have to comment on that tiger.. what an absolutely stunning creature. Wow.


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