Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Belly Dancing Nanny Granny

I decided today to take a plunge into a life-long dream of mine. I signed up for belly dancing classes! Still on my high from my extraordinary mini-vacation, all sorts of things are going through my head of what I want to do. These classes are a "sign" that I should be doing this. I recently found myself at the store-front of a business offering these classes and mentioned to my husband how much I wanted to learn. Lo and behold, one of the local coupon businesses offered 8 belly dancing classes today for an unbelievable price of $19. I couldn't resist. Got my eyes on one of these now:

How fun are these? I convinced my sister to take the classes with me - this is going to be a total blast!...... Sheik? Fetch my camel!

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Amazing Mini - A Small Tribute to 2 wonderful people...

Just arrived home from one of the most amazing mini-vacations I've ever had. Though I'd been to Las Vegas more times than I could count, this one was over and above the rest.

My sister and her husband surprised me and my husband with an all expenses paid trip to "Sin City". As if that weren't enough in itself, they flew us out there on their private jet - AWESOME!!!

Now THIS is the right way to do this!

And I'm scared to death of flying...... (that's my beautiful sister and her doting husband)...

So off we went to our next adventure. We were greeted at the airport with a classy limousine......

And arrived at our destination, The Encore Hotel (WOW!) around 7:00pm. (it's the one in the back)

After we checked in to this most amazing SUITE (SWEET lol - and, yep, they footed the bill for this too).......

(Yes, that's a television in the wall)..... We then went out on the strip to see some of the sights. The water show at the Bellagio (my husband had never seen it), the inside of the new Cosmopolitan (where a friend of mine works as a massage therapist), the gazillion high end shops that line every hallway of every hotel chain, and so much more - I can't remember it all.  TAXI!!! We headed back to our rooms after pulling on a few slot handles and called it a night. My sister said there were many surprises in store for us in the coming hours.

Saturday morning had us all eating way too much at a breakfast buffet in the hotel. At $35 per person, my husband and I basically said "screw" the diet! An hour and 10 pounds later, we went our separate ways from my sister and her husband as they had some things to take care of. My husband and I ventured out to find the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop run by Rick of "Pawn Stars".  It was over a 5 mile walk in 103 degree heat - each way.

That's hubby in front of the "Old Man's" car.  Three hours later, and 10 pounds lighter from sweating (thank GOD I ate all that food at breakfast!) we got back to our room. Just enough time to get ready for the big night. My husband had no idea what was planned, as the three of us (Carolyn/sister, Dave/Brother-in-law and me) decided to surprise him. We were treated to an elegant dinner at the Palms in Caesars Palace, served by this great little Italian man named Mimo (he looked like a Mimo!). Chicken Marsala was my dish. Chicken Parmagiana, sweet wine, breads, crab and beautiful salads dressed the rest of the table. On to the show....... TAXI!!! (The taxi drivers were so much fun! - I asked one if we were in the Cash Cab and without missing a beat he said "You answer question correctly, you get free ride. You answer wrong you pay me double Bwaahahaha!)

Some quick background....My husband and I are HUGE fans of "America's Got Talent" and ever since we witnessed Terry Fator start his claim to fame when he won, my husband has yearned to see him - so that's where we went. To one of the the funniest shows on the face of the earth!

Leaving with our sides aching, we are convinced Terry Fator's  gifts are God-given. And what a generous man as well. Terry Fator donates huge portions of his wealth to charities such as children's cancer societies and American Veteran services. I would see this show over and over without reservation.

With the night still young, we wanted to see more. I suggested a walk downtown (but only after changing out of the formal, super uncomfortable actually). TAXI!!!!

One word........ Ewwwwww! Ha ha ha! He was dressed as Cupid, shooting a plastic arrow at whomever was brave enough to walk within the arrow's trajectory. And he looked just like Gallagher (the blurred effect of this photo was not on purpose, but you should thank me for it anyways - trust me). We thought HE was weird, until we saw the rest of the street.....

Sis, Me, Austin Powers, and Snoop Dog (no, not in that order).  

Who would have ever put THIS combination of characters together? Spock and Pee Wee Herman. Pee Wee let out one of his famous laughs - hysterical!

HA! I KNEW he was still alive!

Really??? Rod Stewart and Edward Scissorhands??? Who thinks of this stuff???

My husband couldn't resist being near an Avatar!

If you haven't seen the ceiling show in downtown Las Vegas, you haven't lived. As a matter of fact, if you haven't been to see Downtown Las Vegas you have no idea how life is cheating you! I saw a pirate woman's bare breasts hanging out that would've made a porn star cry with envy, we watched as people were careening over our heads on zip-lines...... and then we stepped into a casino. I won $165 on a slot machine and then we went back to our rooms, exhausted... TAXI!!!

Sunday required that we skip breakfast - we were still bloated from the night before. Ok, I had a granola bar. I received a text from my sister that said "Dolphins or Sharks" and hoping she didn't mean which one did we want to eat, I went with Dolphins. And then she decided on Sharks - at Mandalay Bay Aquarium.

 This fish pond (See? I can take clear pictures too!)

Me and hubby in this beautifully decorated aquarium

Jellyfish and the Ramagos - sounds like a new rock group!

Shark! I mean........ Candy gram!

 I LOVE touching the stingrays!

You don't get to see this "side" of a shark very often!

A quick, lighter, lunch at "Red White and Blue" American fare, then back to the hotel - we were told there was one more surprise (this one I was not privy to!). Back to the hotel to change.... yep....... TAXI!!!
This was going to be a less formal affair this evening so a quick change into something casual but nice, and we were on our way once again (do these folks EVER slow down?)  No taxi this time - just a hop, skip and a jump over to the Polazzo to see.......

The Jersey Boys!
This is the story of Fankie Valli and the Four Seasons. All I can say is OH MY! WHAT A SHOW! Now, keep in mind, I am NOT a "Musical" kind of person - I actually despise musicals having grown up in New York and always being surrounded with Broadway "tune-age" - bores me to tears. But this was nothing like that. This was no less than explosive!  The set, stage, costumes, singing, acting and whatever else I'm missing, was as classy as it gets. The audience was on there feet with adoration and appreciation of what this group brought to our radios and into our lives. Absolutely stunning! I'm embarrassed to think I was reluctant to attend. I would see it again - as my Brother-in-Law has 5 times now (No wonder - you leave this show as happy as your soul can possibly be!).

Having skipped a regular dinner this evening (due to the late lunch), we were all a little in need of some sort of snack. We stopped at a little coffee shop in our hotel and chatted for a couple of hours before turning in around 1am. Another incredible evening.

Monday came so very quickly. There's always a list when you leave Las Vegas of all the things you still didn't see or do. It was no different for us - though it felt like we'd seen every attraction known to man in just 3 short days! I still hadn't seen my dear friend Wendy but I had an hour or so to kill before we left so I gave her a call. 

It had been 5 years since we had seen each other. I just love reunions - don't you? It's hard to catch up with so little time, but since we're in touch most of the time, we managed to recap 5 years in 30 minutes. I love my friends.

Before leaving Las Vegas, I decided I needed a few more pictures of my weekend's surroundings. The hotel's theme is butterflies. The floors are adorned with pretty mosaics of this fantastic insect which also happens to be my personal totem animal. 

Butterflies are the symbol of change. No one knows about change or embraces and welcomes it like I do. Change is such a positive thing. It's a fascinating thing, It's an adventurous thing. You never know what it will bring. It's so mysterious, how can you not love it?

My life changed this weekend. Not a lot - but it changed nevertheless. I don't know what I did to deserve this incredible gift from two people I love so dearly. Had I been my normal self a couple of weeks ago, I never would have allowed my sister and her husband the opportunity to grace me with this most generous gift.I always act too proud. I'm not sure why I did it this time but I've never been so happy about making a decision in my life. The trip was one that will go down in my personal "Best Vacations Ever" - no doubt. I thank my sister and brother-in-law from the bottom depths of my heart and also all the strange characters, waiters, singers, comedians, taxi cab drivers and friends that blessed me with their presence on this great adventure - it's always about the people, isn't it?

Geez........We're ALWAYS eating!!!

What a kook! He noticed the very strange custom of the Asian tourists always photographing their food - what the hell is that all about anyways?