Masks and Thieves

So yesterday we decided to do something we rarely do these days – go out to lunch. One of our favorite places is Sonrisa Grill, the Mexican restaurant at Lake Las Vegas. It’s a fun drive and walk with great food and views.

We noticed that a few people we passed were not wearing masks, which is a bit disconcerting, especially since we’re used to going to Downtown Disney, where the mask requirement is enforced.

And the truth is, while I do wear a mask when I am out, I choose not to do a lot of things because I’m just not comfortable wearing a mask for more than an hour. So, truth be told, I really won’t be flying to Florida during this time – I can’t imagine wearing a mask for 4-6 hours. I’m also not sure I could really do Disneyland, although we’ll get a chance to test how long I can wear a mask at Knott’s Berry Farm next month, although for most of that time we’ll be sitting and eating/drinking so it shouldn’t be too bad. And there’s a relaxation station where masks are not required.

So on the thievery front, we were informed that our “Hitchhiking Ghosts” Christmas ornament was delivered by FEDEX yesterday, but we never got it. When we called Disney, they said they are out-of-stock now and will refund our money. Grrrr! We’d purposely ordered early to make sure we got them and now either the FEDEX driver kept it (not the first time this has happened in Vegas), or it was delivered to the wrong house and they kept our package.

Some photos from yesterday’s lunch:

Blue Sonrisa Margarita

Spicy Margarita

Salmon Tacos

Shrimp Tacos

Birthday Trip: The “Plan C” Compromise

One reason I was up at first light is that I was thinking about Plan B (staying at Caesar’s), instead of driving to SoCal (Plan A) after Governor Newsom “dimmed” the lights on outside dining, bars, etc. At bedtime, we were both excited about Plan B. But somewhere during the night, I came up with Plan C, which is a bit of Plan A (SoCal) and Plan B (Vegas).

I still wanted to go to SoCal – it’s been too long since we’ve been during this house building project, and I need to see, smell, and hear the ocean. I need a road trip. It’s my birthday. So we will do the big dining celebration here in Vegas (Border Grill, one of my favorites), and then drive to SoCal for my birthday for a couple of days. It looks like Downtown Disney will open as planned with outside dining restrictions. You can read about it on AllEars. And we can drive down PCH to enjoy the ocean, and maybe even find a beach.

The other mood enhancers for today have been watching some DIS videos – here and here. I totally wouldn’t mind owning a Disney vacation home. 🙂

And I’m missing cruising. If you’re missing cruising, too, enjoy a virtual cruise here.

 

 

Independence Day – the Irony of It

Happy July!

Reading the OC Register this morning, I see that the California governor is going to tighten restrictions today. Who knows what that means but I’m hearing “bars and beaches.” Laguna Beach is talking about closing before the 4th of July. In fact, all of this is happening now to prevent a huge spike over Independence Day.

Oh the irony of that name. You may as well cancel the 4th, because, frankly, we don’t seem to have any independence these days.

But what does independence in this context mean anyway? The ability to not wear a mask? Not to stay socially distant? But if you don’t wear a mask, or stay socially distant, things close. Not much independence in being forced to stay home because nothing is open.

I’m especially concerned because for all intents and purposes, we’ve been locked down in Vegas since the end of September. Returning from our trip to California, we decided to go ahead and build a home here. During that time we were so focused and financially strapped and uneasy about leaving the cats with a new pet sitter in that strange rental, that we stayed in Las Vegas.

Ten months in Las Vegas straight is a record for us. Geographically and culturally, we’re basically a suburb of SoCal. And it’s normal for us to visit every six weeks or so during the warmer months of the year. Mostly Disneyland and the beach. And my old neighborhoods, of course. 🙂

No Napa Rose for my birthday celebration. And now maybe no beach. We’d give California the finger and cancel the trip if it we weren’t in such need right now to see the beach – the beach that belongs to not only California residents, but the entire country. Closing the beach is not the way to celebrate “Independence Day.”

I get it, but I don’t like it. Some people can’t be trusted and they’re deciding what I get to do and what I can’t do right now. Not feeling very independent at all.

Oh the irony. We escaped lockdown well before the 4th, so now we may be back under lockdown orders by the 4th!

Las Vegas Showgirls Wearing Masks

When I saw this photo, I’m pretty sure I must have flashed a huge smile. Showgirls in masks. Gotta love Las Vegas!

The governor of Nevada is starting to win me over, especially when he said how “Nevadans are independent people.” Oh yeah! But he also asked that we show our independent spirit by each donning a mask. lol!

I do wear a mask when I’m out in public, but I also don’t choose to go out in public very often. It was okay during church, but I really struggle when shopping. Like today, we went to a couple of furniture stores shopping around for a living room chair. Looking down at the tags, my glasses slip off my nose (that’s what your nose is for if you’re a glass-wearer – not masks), and when I shove them back on, they fog up. Really an unpleasant experience. So I get it the resistance not to wear them. But if it’s true wearing a mask is the difference between spreading “the Bob” and not spreading it, I’m pretty sure we must wear them.

On a side note, I was watching the Tracker Live show today where they were talking about theme park news, and then, of course, a little peek at Jackson, who is so cute! But must Jenn talk about his bodily functions all the time? And breast feeding?

It reminds me of when we’d drive to the Central Valley from Orange County to visit my step dad’s family. Inevitably, the men would go out to the front porch and talk while eventually, a few people would jump in the car to get some rock salt (I was usually in that car) to make some home made ice cream. The men would take turns with the crank, and the women would sit in the living room and talk about babies, ad nauseum.

I, of course, would be sitting with the men on the porch. Their conversations were much more interesting, even if only because they weren’t talking about babies. Ah, how I miss those days. Never thought I’d say that – lol – but the problem with everything being online today, especially today, is that you can’t just leave the conversation when the women (and now men, it seems) start chatting about their kids bodily functions, breast milk going sour, etc, etc.

You know, I did all of that as a kid, although back then babies were mostly bottle-fed. I helped raise my half-brother and half-sister. I heated the milk, fed them a bottle, Gerber’s baby food, burped them, changed diapers, emptied the “diaper pail.” (Now here I am talking about those same things I dislike hearing about – Ooops!)

Anyway, all I wanted to do was to grow up and be an adult. Progress. Move on. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the lifestyle working in Silicon Valley. Maybe that’s also why I enjoyed trips to Las Vegas from San Francisco. And maybe that’s why I, for the most part, love living in Las Vegas.

I miss having easy access to Disney and the beach (or at least, what used to be easy), but Vegas is where you can hang out without kids. Because even cruise ships are all about families it seems today. Cruising also used to be more about adults. You can’t even go to work and enjoy that same kid-free zone when they have “take your kid to work day.” lol!

(Okay, I absolutely adore kids at Disney, so don’t go all crazy on me. Time and place. Time and place.)

YUM!

Is Las Vegas Opening?

We’re noticing an increase in traffic day-by-day here in Las Vegas. Carl’s Jr. drive-up window didn’t even wear a mask or gloves the last time we pulled through, although that seems to be a one-off. At Del Taco, cash is not allowed, credit card only and they’re still wearing masks/gloves. Even Carl’s Jr. in Primm still had the mask/gloves, so not sure what the Carl’s near our house is doing.

The movers certainly didn’t provide for any social distancing behaviors, although ADT, CenturyLink, the home builders, and everybody else is still taking precautions. The liquor store opened but for delivery only. It’s hard to say what’s going on here.

There is definitely conversation about Las Vegas opening in small ways by mid-May or Memorial Day weekend, although the governor seems to disagree.

Anyway, I thought I’d put together some video I’d taken of the Las Vegas Strip sometime before Covid-19 and added some Screamie Birds Music to it. Hope you enjoy! If so, please subscribe and give it a like. Thank you!

French Martini & Cocktail Video (Inspired by Disney, Cruising, Las Vegas, California, Florida)

With the release of French Martini on Kindle, I was inspired to create a video looking back at our life through cocktails – lol! This was so much fun to put together (PS – a link to a recipe for a French Martini is in the video description). Enjoy! Also, please subscribe, like, and/or comment on the video. Thank you!

In Case I Didn’t Get Enough Beef…

Our weekend turned out to be a bit of a mini-vacay or maybe it was our version of Mardi Gras before Lent begins today (Monday for the Eastern Church and Wednesday for the Western Church). We declared Sunday a holiday and hit the road looking for some fun and wound up back at Pahrump Winery for lunch at the Symphony Restaurant. We were last seen there about a month ago. In fact, our waitress asked if we’d been there before, because we looked familiar. I was wondering when they’d start recognizing us. 🙂

After Saturday’s gourmet extravaganza, we were looking for something a little smaller so Rich had his favorite Onion Soup (although, this version came without the cheese and croutons) and Club Sandwich, and I had my usual Lobster Bisque and Sirloin French Dip. I do love my beef! We also each had a glass of our new favorite wine that we had last time – it’s a Red Blend called CZS for Cab, Zin, and Syrah. Yum!

We didn’t take pictures because we’d had these selections before, except for the dessert, which was amazing. I was going to pass on dessert, but Rich just happened to order my favorite thing. Then I was just going to have a bite, but I ended up splitting it with him 50/50 – I just couldn’t resist bananas, caramel, whipped cream, and ice cream – yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

dessert

Banana Caramel Xango

Now the problem with all of this weekend splurging is that it’s so hard to get back on track today. And to make things worse, I’m having a bit of post Tampa depression – we could have been on our way but we said no. Don’t know when the next opportunity will appear.

At least we have our Disneyland Food & Wine trip to look forward to. So maybe that’s it – when we booked our pet sitter for that trip today, we had to tell him about Lovey and he expressed his sympathies and that triggered another day of grief.

So maybe the right opportunity will come at a better time after we’ve gotten over the first surges of grief over our baby girl.

Best Burger I’ve Ever Had

On Friday, we told Tampa no. It wasn’t working for us, although we were a bit disappointed we’d let the bird in hand go free. At least, we were relieved of some stress.

Saturday morning, I was just joining Rich for coffee downstairs when he told me he’d had another bite in his email but this time in SoCal. We were deliriously happy, as we always are before we take a close look at what it all entails. We’ll see what happens next.

So energized by the possibilities, we decided to head over to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s. It’s our California connection, maybe because we’d discovered it, including lunch at Spago, on our first trip to Las Vegas together when we were living in the San Francisco Bay Area – a very memorable occasion. Besides, Rich had just gotten a raise and a nice bonus, and we needed to celebrate.

We took the back way down Dean Martin Drive to Frank Sinatra Drive – lol! It had been several years since we’d been there so we had to get our bearings. We were happy to see that Caesar’s isn’t charging for parking yet or at least not in that lot or who knows what the story is about parking. It’s a crazy new trend here the locals are not happy about, and we’ve been avoiding Strip hotels for that reason. It’s the principle of the thing or maybe we’ve had our fill of Strip hotel properties.

We stepped into Caesar’s and were tempted to nose around a bit, but then we found the Forum Shops entrance, and took a nice long stroll down memory lane, and even stopped to watch the Atlantis Show (so Disney) we were surprised to see was still there. When we started to get hungry, we thought about Border Grill, although we prefer the one at Mandalay Bay overlooking the pools – it reminds us of Disney World.

We thought about Gordon Ramsay’s Pub and Grill that we’d spied just inside Caesar’s but we were drawn to Spago in the Forum Shops, reminding us of that special time over 20 years ago. We were seated “outside,” the service was just as spectacular as we’d remembered it, and while the menu had changed during that time, the food was just as James Beard worthy.

We shared:

Moonstone Oysters on the Half Shell*

Cocktail Sauce, Red Wine Mignonette

Rich’s entree:

House-Made Rigatoni Pasta

Fennel Sausage Bolognese Sauce, Herbed Ricotta

Kathy’s entree:

Grilled Prime Beef Burger*

Red Onion Marmalade, Aged White Cheddar, Bacon Aioli

The wine:

Sangiovese Rodano, Chianti Classico, Italy ’11

The oysters were the very best ever – amazing – it was a whole experience. The bread service was awesome – what can I say? Those breadsticks were mouth watering with out of this world seasoning.

With Lent approaching, I was craving beef. I thought about the Flat Iron Steak, but I’ve always wondered about those $18 burgers I’d heard about. It turned out to be a good choice. At $19, each bite was so tantalizing, that it was no longer a burger. Maybe it was the extra dollar. I could only eat half, but Rich did justice to the other half so nothing was wasted. His pasta was just as enjoyable as the burger.

We were too full for dessert, so we sat a bit and sipped on our wine. Then we took an after lunch stroll in Caesar’s and stopped in at the Payard Patisserie & Bistro and picked up a small box of chocolates for dessert at home. Scrumptious! Francois Payard was our chef at one of the “Sweet Sundays” at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival several years ago.

What we loved about Caesar’s is that as so many Strip hotels have gone young and contemporary, Caesar’s has some of that but it’s retained that classic Vegas feel and attracts people of all ages. We didn’t feel too old at all. We’re talking about staying over some weekend to explore further.

Speaking of a classic, I was happy to see that Cleopatra’s Barge was still there – I remember drinks and dancing there when I was still in my 20s.

spago

rich

kathy

oysters

pasta

burger

rich3

kathy2

In front of Cleopatra’s Barge so many years later:

kathy_cleopatra