Friday, December 31, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Sorry I've been MIA this past week - I went home to IL to visit my family. In a nutshell, here's a quick version of my two weeks.

I flew into Chicago O'hare Airport. I didn't get patted down, nor felt up by anyone.

And no one from TSA seemed interested, either.

I didn't have to stand in a see-through room and have my "junk" x-rayed. I guess they didn't want the TSA person to take sick leave after viewing the screen.

I saw a LOT of that white, powdery stuff while I was in town.

I'm talking SNOW.

It snowed ALL day on Christmas Eve at my daughter's house. She got about 5 inches of snow.

It snowed ALL night on Christmas at my sister's house (lake effect snow off of Lake Michigan). She got 8 inches of snow.

I was HAPPY to see all the snow.

Of course, I didn't pick up one shovel. Not a one.

I took a train down to my daughter's house and spent the week. It was great being with my grand daughter, Lily. Oh, and of course, my daughter and son-in-law! *wink*

I got my animal fix.

My daughter has 2 dogs and 3 cats.

My sister has 2 dogs.

My brother has 2 dogs.

I came home pretty hairy. And I'm talking besides my legs.

I borrowed my brother's truck to get a few places; particularly my doctor's appointment.

That was fun. (read that with heavy sarcasm.)

I've slept on 2 different couches, a bed, and a bunk bed (bottom bunk!)

My bed never felt so good.

Apparently when Jim said I snore, he wasn't kidding. Everyone commented on my snoring.

Yeah. Yeah.

So I snore.

Shut up.

But I guess it's pretty bad.

Even my little great niece, Arielle, who is 7 and slept on the top bunk, had something to say. The conversation when like this.

"I could hardly sleep, you snore so LOUD!" Arielle said.

"Well, every time I was awake, you were sleeping," I replied.

"Yeah," she said, "because you were AWAKE!"

She's too smart for her own good.

So I mentioned my sleeping/snoring problem to my doctor. We've talked about sleep apnea before.

I really don't want to go for the test. I'd have to sleep overnight in a lab, hooked up to wires and such so they can monitor my heart rate, oxygen intake, etc. If that's not bad enough, what about the whole, "I-gotta-get-up-and-pee-in-the-middle-of-the-night-scenario?"

I mentioned this to the doctor.

"So, they unhook you. Big deal. Listen, lady, this is what you HAVE to do!"

I know it, but it doesn't mean I'm going to have to LIKE it!

You KNOW this is going to be a post in and of itself!

So, anyway, I had a fun-filled, cold 2 weeks away from AZ. Jim survived and managed to clean up our place just in time for my arrival.

No "felt up" incidents on the way back to Phoenix, either. Geez, what's a woman got to do to get attention?

It is 42 degrees here in AZ today. Is this a joke or what? It actually is warmer in Chicago today.

You heard me. It was 52 there today. And I left. Humph.

I have more to tell you all from my trip. Stay tuned.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pretty Prescott

Our park offers many day bus tours to various casinos and last week Jim and I decided to go on the one to Prescott, Arizona. We'd never gone on one of these tours before; but for the cost of $10 per person, and then they GIVE you $10 to gamble, how could you go wrong?

Well, you KNOW how you could go wrong. By gambling more than the 10 BUCKS! Which, of course, everyone does. But it's fun.

So a handful of our friends signed up to go, along with enough people to fill two buses. I tend to get motion sickness easily, so my friends encouraged me to mention this fact to the tour guide so she would let me sit up front. (I don't know if they were doing this out of kindness to me or because the didn't want me to blow chunks on them.)

They were planning on seating our group in the back of the bus. So as the guide was crossing the names off the list of those who were present, I quietly requested to sit up front and stated the reason.

She answered loudly and belligerently, "And you're telling me this NOW?"

WTF? Like I'm supposed to tell her a couple of days in advance? What was the big deal?

Then she said, "Oh, alright!! I'll just announce it to everyone before they get on the bus!"

I said, "You're going to tell everyone that I get sick?"

"NO! I'll just tell them not to sit in the second seat!"

Whatever! Wouldn't it be easier just to let me get on first? Duh.

Anyway, that's what happened. Whew. Crisis solved.

The people on the bus with money in their pockets.

It was about a 2 1/2 hour bus ride because of the morning rush hour. When we got off the bus, we were welcomed with our own "good luck" bead necklace. Then we got our membership card with $10 on it, and off we went to lose our shirts.

The casino wasn't too big, and smoking is still allowed since it is on tribal land. So if you happen to sit next to a smoker, but your machine is on a "roll", you have to choose whether to sit there and endure the smoke, or get up and walk away from a machine that might pay off.

Lunch time was scheduled from1:00-1:30.  We were handed our free lunch - a turkey sandwich, cookies, chips and water. It was okay.

There was a large display of gingerbread houses  in the lobby of the hotel connected to the casino. Jim and I took a break from donating our money into the slots and walked over to see them.

I was surprised at how large the display was; this was one whole side. I didn't photograph the other smaller side.

The following photos show just some of the spectacular houses:

This train ran all around the houses.

This is the First Place Winner.

In the late afternoon the bus dropped us off in the old part of town in front of the courthouse. The courthouse was quite impressive looking.

"Whiskey Row" is the name of the street that runs on one side of the courthouse. It dates back to 1864 when there were many brothels and saloons on that street and had famous visitors like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

Now it has many shops, restaurants and yes, bars. We didn't have time to really browse at all; our friends were waiting for us at the famous "Palace" restaurant.

The Palace first opened in 1877 and "is the oldest frontier bar in Arizona and the most well-known and historic restaurant in the state." (according to their website).

Here is Rudolph and pal hanging on one wall in the restaurant.

The long wooden bar with a huge mirror behind it.

It was pretty cool to walk through swinging doors to get into the bar. This photo was taken from the inside looking out.

These stairs once led to the brothel. *wink*

Artwork hanging on the wall. (I assured the people sitting there that they wouldn't be in my photo. Looks like I lied.)

This huge poster was on another wall. I didn't know that this movie had been filmed here. The things I learn from traveling!

After we noshed on typical happy hour food and had a couple of drinks, it was time to meet the bus. Jim and I walked the block and were able to go into a couple of stores that were still open. I could have purchased a rattlesnake mug if it had been on anyone's Christmas list  - but alas - twas not.

Here is Santa in a window display.

The courthouse was lit up so beautifully. I did my best without my tripod.

Here is a large tree that was lit up nearby.

The trees along the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.

My friends are used to me wandering around snapping shots. They were standing in a huddle, trying to stay warm, waiting for the bus. My friend Viv was happy when Jim joined the group so he could block the wind from one side. She has the dark hair and is in the very center of this cluster.

Then they saw me coming and showed me their better sides.

The bus arrived and all of us gathered back onto the bus. I got one last shot of this lit tree.

Here is what old, poor people look like after a day at the casino.

This is Ken, our friendly bus driver.

You thought all our fun was over with? NO! Next up was a drive through the Festival of Lights which was a HUGE display of Christmas lights over a large subdivision area. I only have a few photos because it was very hard to take pictures since we were constantly moving but I wanted you to get a feel for what it was like.

They had a sign for each of the 12 days of Christmas.

And old fashioned town.

There were two or three of these large tunnel of lights that we drove through. They were very tall - tall enough for our large bus to get through! I took these pictures through the large windshield of the bus.

This tunnel was made up of large candy canes.

This photo is a mistake; the bus took off while I was pressing down on the shutter. But I like the feel and look of this!

All the excitement was over; we were going to settle down for a 2 hour ride home. Everyone was tired and a nap sounded good.

But our tour guide had other plans. She had brought along a DVD for us to watch. It was a Christmas movie. She must have copied it herself because it didn't work in the DVD player, no matter how hard she tried. She put it in, she ejected it. She moved the player this way and that way; she hit it a few times. I told her that there was an error in reading the disc; she just didn't seem to want to accept this fact. So she left the DVD in the player with it "stuck" in the "loading" position and the lights were bright and shining glaringly in everyone's eyes. I piped up, "Why don't you just turn it off, it seems to be bothering people's eyes". (Read MINE!)

Well, she was hell-bent on us watching a movie for some reason. She asked the bus driver if he had any movies with him. He happened to have, "A Bridge Too Far".

So that's what she put on.


A nice CHRISTMAS movie.

About a war.

With guns shooting every freaking minute.

And lights flashing.

And I started to get a migraine.

I tried to curl into a ball.

I tried to cover my eyes from the flashing lights.

I balled up my vest to make it into a pillow. It smelled like smoke.

So my stomach started to reel. (That's not unusual with a migraine. At least not for me.)

Every time a gun shot off in the movie I wanted to scream.

It was the LONGEST bus ride home.

We finally got back to the resort and I practically JUMPED off the bus. I didn't even wait for our friends to get off. I just told Jim, "C'mon let's go. I'm sick."

So we walked to our trailer, about 3-4 blocks, and I immediately felt better to be out in the night air.

All-in-all, I'd do it again. It was a lot of fun!

But next time I'll spend more time in the town shopping. At least I'll have something to show with the money I spent!

Christmas joke-of-the-day:

Q. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?
A. It's Christmas, Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Naughty Christmas Jokes - Part Two

Since you seemed to have enjoyed my other naughty Christmas jokes, here's a few more. Remember, you MUST be 18 or over to read them!

Christmas joke-of-the-day:

Q. What do you get when you eat the Christmas decorations?
A. Tinsel-itus.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spirit of Christmas


A couple of weeks ago Jim and I got the chance to see "The Spirit of Christmas" put on by the Christian Dance Company from the Tempe Dance Academy. This is a full-blown production with over 25 dance numbers. The children are in full costume and range in age from 3 to 18 years. My friends Rachel and Don have two grandchildren who dance with this academy and are in the show each year. The show is held at the Chandler Center for the Arts and is quite spectacular. This is our third year in attendance, and we have NOT been disappointed. These two large nutcrackers are in the lobby.

Here is a photo of just the women who went to see the recital.

It is amazing how many dance routines these kids have to learn; even the little ones. Here are some of the photos from the dances. No flashes were allowed, so these photos are the best I could do. Please click on all the photos to enlarge them.

These little girls were about 3 or 4 years old. They danced to "Santa Baby" and those are their fathers in the background.

These elves were just adorable!

Santa's sleigh was pulled by one large reindeer and a whole lot of small, dancing reindeer.

This man is a professional ballet dancer with the Washington DC Ballet Company. He is dancing with his daughter. His wife is a former Rockette and a choreographer for the Tempe Dance Company.

You can see visions of Rockettes here.

Here is another famous Rockette move. The falling toy soldier. First the rabbit comes out and shoots them with the cannon.

Then they start to fall.

And fall some more.

Until they are completely down.

Here are some more dancers

This short video clip is from a couple of years ago, but it's still the same routine. It shows off the kids acrobatic talent.

One of the special guests was a Hoop Dancer. He was fascinating to watch.

And finally, I was able to grab a quick photo of me and the big guy.

Christmas joke-of-the-day:

Q. What do you call a snowman party?
A. A Snowball!