Monday, August 25, 2008

And the Winner IS,..... Part Deux

Ok..just real quick like...I entered a cranberry-colored hand knit afghan in the Colorado State Fair and won first place in my category. SWEET! Pictures coming! (along with my much-awaited for commentary on the whole ordeal).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And the Winner IS...............

We made it back home. Take it from me: Las Vegas in August is NOT the where you want to be. It was hot! It was %*&@! hot!! And for those of us who live in higher elevations, the heat is PAINFUL! So here's how it went. We landed just before midnight and I was the typical tourist. I was holding up foot traffic in the airport trying to see everything. (And by everything, I mean advertisements of who was performing in Vegas now and who will be. I was the one you've always wanted to slap or push out of the way. Then we went outside and I was done! "Please tell me it won't be this hot the entire time we're here. I feel like I have died and gone to HELL!" My hubby said, "No tomorrow in the daylight will be much hotter!" I knew I was in for a treat. So from that moment until we stepped off our plane on our return trip to Colorado Springs I lived for one spritzing fan to the next and one air conditioned building to the next. I'm a quick learner. I loved the monorail. I could have just ridden the monorail for 4 days and been happy. Just get off once in a while and buy a bottle of water and get back on the rail.

The best thing was the Fremont Street Experience. But don't go in the daytime. Go at night and watch the tribute to Queen. It was amazing. And I won a bundle at the Golden Nugget. I sat myself right down at a slot machine, put in my big $5.00 bill and VOILA! I hit the 7s on all the rows and scored a big 1,376. That's pennies for all of you big time gamblers out there. That's right! $13.76 plus my $5 so I more than tripled my money. Yeah, that's right. I'm the last of the big time spenders. Then I sat down next to Don at a slot machine he was feeding and started playing one that was called "Menopause". Can you believe that? A slot machine all about the change of life. Instead of lucky 7s there was the sign for female. Instead of cherries or some other fruit, we got a picture of a guy, who when you got three in a row of his mug said, "I'm Dr. Love." (UGH!) Instead of the normal slot figures we had baseball bats (I wonder if that was for beating your husband), a bottle of aspirin and I women obviously in the state of distress. What I want to know is, where was the air conditioner, the box of chocolates, and the estrogen?!? It, it wasn't! And that's all I have to say about that. We then went back out into the heat until the next time we felt the need to sit for awhile in the air conditioning. (We only played slots whenever we needed to cool off, so we basically played slots in every casino on the strip and downtown Las Vegas. And we're the casinos favorite kind of gambler, too. We don't smoke or drink so there's nothing to distract us. You could see it in the cocktail waitresses faces: "Great! A nondrinker! They know when they're losing!"

There was a man playing saxophone on Fremont Street who was actually very good except for some of the notes he played..well, let's just say some of those were sounds only dogs should hear. Somewhere in the background I could hear the yowling of some lone coyote begging him to take the pitch down a notch.

On the way back to the hotel on the Deuce (the double decker city buses) Don asked me why I had a choke hold on my purse. He said, "Babe, really! It's leather. The cow's already dead!" "But, Honey, the bus driver said on the way here to watch out for pick pockets. Do you know what's in your wallet?"
When he thought I wasn't looking he checked out his wallet. (It'll just be our little secret that we've discussed this when he wasn't around.)

The first night we were there we walked down to Circus Circus and had dinner in their 24 hr cafe. GOOD FOOD! I mean, REALLY GOOD! And not so expensive. We are vegetarians so sometimes it's hard for us to eat out. The wait staff is always very quick to tell us we can have a salad or a baked potato. (Just between us, I have scratched off salad and baked potatoes from my list of favorite foods now.) I ordered a fruit plate that came with banana bread and my choice of either yogurt, cottage cheese or sherbet. Now, quite honestly, I expected it to be a small dish. So nothing really could have disappointed me except maybe if they dropped it on the floor. So when the waiter brought out this HUGE PLATTER (not was a platter) of fruit my mouth dropped and I said, "Is that all for me?" There was fresh grapes still on their stalk and they took up about a quarter of the platter, half of a fresh pineapple, watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe and a large unpeeled banana right on top of it all. Then he put down the cottage cheese in the bowl that was about the size of a cereal bowl. And the banana bread? Well, let's just say it was a muffin that took up the entire bread plate that it was on. I ate about 1/3 of the fruit and cottage cheese and wrapped up the bread and took it and the rest of the fruit back to our room and ate on it for about 2 days after that. It was amazing. Oh, and the price? $9.95. Yep, that's what I said! So the waiter brought me a big old grocery bag to carry it all back to the hotel. I looked like I had been to the market. Well, I guess I sort of had been. That was the best meal I had the entire time we were gone. No, I suppose that really isn't true. We ate at P.F. Chang's Sunday night and the vegetarian lettuce wraps were to DIE for!

Now, I read somewhere that one should NEVER, I repeat, NEVER take anything offered to you by anyone on the strip. Having said that, there were these guys all up and down the strip handing out what looked like business cards. Now, you don't have to be Einstein to figure out what it was! You could see the same business cards all over the sidewalk. SMUT! Naked ladies! Yeah! I don't need to draw a picture. So there was this elderly couple walking down the street and one of those guys hands him a card and we started to laugh. There were two ladies behind us and one of them said, "Ok, so she's going to knock the crap out of him when they get to their room." We all laughed and laughed. Honestly, though, these guys need to get a REAL job. On the other side of things, however, it isn't call Sin City for nothing!

I need to download my pictures so I'll check back in when that's done.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Las Vegas Here I Come!!!

I wanted to check in before I go to Las Vegas this week. My hubby and I will be going to Vegas for a meeting. We own a pack and ship and are going to a convention for shipping. (Yawn!) We'll see. I'm not much of a party girl and my husband doesn't go to see showgirls (because he wouldn't live to see tomorrow) (I almost said my husband doesn't "do" showgirls but that has another meaning altogether; it isn't like "doing lunch" and this IS a family blog, after all).


I really would like to see Barry Manilow. Now, that says something about me, doesn't it? (I write the songs that make the whole world sing.....) All of you Barry fans (Manilow, not White)stand up and cheer! The rest of you take a time out! Manilow was a great 70s kind of guy, wasn't he? I mean, while the rest of the world was listening to music that made Garth and Wayne (Wayne's World) bob their heads, Manilow was putting out melodic, easy to listen to, and most importantly, MUSICAL tunes. (Yes, I know this officially makes me a nerd, but oh, well.) I mean, seriously, who else could have come up with that great American Bandstand lyric?!?...or the McDonald's "You Deserve a Break Today"?!?

On to Barry White, since I mentioned him earlier. But let's get the necessary out of the way first. Let's take a moment of silence in remembrance of the soulful Mr. White.............................................................................
......................................................................Ok, that's long enough. Mr. White took the bedroom and moved it into the Top 40. Then, he took the bedroom and moved it to the disco floor (Baby..I Can't Get Enough of Your Love). But in all seriousness, Mr. White scared me. Not his music, but the man. You've seen him, right? Well, there you go. And having said that I now quote the famous words of Forrest Gump, "that's all I have to say about that"!

When we get back to Colorado, I'll fill you in on our trip.

Until next time and don't send me a quarter to play for you in Vegas (My hubby says we won't accept anything smaller than "a hundred bucks"),


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Observations...Life Experience or Personal Opinion?

When my husband and I first took over our pack and ship store there was a man who came in who shall herein be referred to as "Mr. Observation". My husband, who shall herein be referred to as "my husband", was repeatedly telling me about this man and his more than unwelcome comments about the changes we were making to the store in order to bring more business into it. Now, let me preface this by saying, our business was already a 20+- -year-old business, starting to fail, and never updated in appearance in all that time and no marketing tools or promotions were done to keep things moving in the black instead of the red. In other words, it was still painted wannabe-post office green. Ok. NOW we're up to speed.

Just after the first of the year a mommy comes in to ship something and brings her darling little boy, who shall herein be called Eddie Munster (if you catch my meaning). Mommy was not paying any attention to Eddie Munster and he began to "play" with one of our printers (we own a printing company as well and have large printers). While my husband is trying to weigh, get the dimensions of the items and determine the best shipping options for Mommy, Eddie breaks, (YES, BREAKS) the feeder off of one of our printers. She laughs and says, "oh, my. Honey, you shouldn't do that", in her sweetest "I am not going to pay for that" voice. Anyway, she DIDN'T pay for it either and the piece was irreplacable. Shortly after that a lady, who shall herein be called "I couldn't be bothered with my child" comes in and lets her little girl go WILD in the store. We have postal boxes and a large camera we take passport photos with and I caught her as she was just about to pick the camera up off the tripod and said, "Sweetie, you need to come back out here with your mom, ok?" She looked at me with sort of a devious look and marched herself right into the postal room (can you say privacy violation?). So I went and got her and brought her back out and explained to I-couldn't-be-bothered-with-my-child that HER child needed to stay with her so she "wouldn't get hurt with our equipment". (Instead of IT'S YOUR JOB UNTIL SHE'S 18.) I-couldn't-be-bothered needed to go to her car to get something and child stayed in the store and that's when I noticed she was barefoot. I told her she needed to put her shoes on and she said, "NO!!!!!!!!" I said, "you have to wear your shoes in here because there's no telling what's on the floor". (I mean seriously, can you imagine what's on the floor after people trample God knows what in on the bottom of their shoes!!) She never did put her shoes on. So I made a corporate decision: we would make a sign. A sign pertinent to all parents. The next decision would be how to say "watch your child" in a way that was humerus, yet got the point across. Here's what we got: PARENTS PLEASE DO NOT PLAY WITH OUR PRODUCTS. CHILDREN LEARN FROM OUR EXAMPLE.

This is where Mr. Observation comes in. Our first "encounter" with him was when he tried to convince me I needed to hire his son to do graphic designs for us. His son is 14! Uh....NO! Next he comes in one day after we painted the inside of the store. Now we went with a Colorado/territorial style. We painted the walls kind of a rusty red which looks awesome with the paintings, etc. that I picked out. He came in and he said, "Expletive.....this place looks like a whorehouse!" It took my husband back so much that he started keeping track of the positive comments.(Positive to date: 3 million, Negative: Mr. Observation.) I actually wanted to ask him if he knew this by experience or was it just a personal opinion. Next: he saw the sign about parents keeping their hands to themselves and he said, "do you know that there are three women who won't come in this store because of that sign"? I said, "Really? Well, now that sounds like a personal problem to me." Another time he came in and saw the pursehooks we are selling (which by the way have sold like hotcakes) and he said, "Expletive...I could go to KMart and buy these ten for a buck. I walk by, pass him, and roll my eyes.

Now, my husband says I sound a little angry with the guy. My office staff kills him with kindness and he still acts like we are something he pulls off the bottom of his shoe. There's something that keeps him coming must be because he gets to vent in here. OK, so let him vent. Please understand we love our customers...we'd starve without them. We say all of this in jest and the names were "herein" changed to protect them and the innocent.

So my question is this: Observations: Are they from life experience, personal opinion or just observation?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Miss Clarisse the Cow

What can I say about Miss Clarisse? She has the biggest udders in the known universe? Well that goes without saying. I mean look at those things.

Miss Clarisse is one of several original art drawings I have to offer for notecards at She's sure to bring a smile to the recipient of your card just because she's so darn cute and all.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. The other picture is yours truly on a really bad hair day modeling (or not so much) one of the prayer shawls I knitted to show at the Colorado State Fair. (This, too, can be yours from (Notice the hoodie I have tied around my waist. Tres Chic!)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pikes Peak or Bust

Yesterday Don and I went hiking on trails between South and North Catamount Lake, on the Pikes Peak Highway, then went on up to the top of the mountain (14,110 ft above sea level). And yes, today I am wearing my Got Oxygen/Pikes Peak 14,110 feet socks. When we got there (and may I remind you of the date, 8/3/08 yesterday) and it was sleeting and snowing and the mountain goats were glaring at all the passersby as if to say: "feed me or else".

I always get really amused at tourists, and we get lots of them. Yesterday my husband was really feeling his oats. When we got almost all the way to the top (and there are NO guard rails and the road is dirt, NOT paved) he said, "watch this". So he'd stop the car, wait for a car to come the other way and look at them a point up the mountain and say, "LOOK! LOOK! LOOK!" Everyone would stop, look, crane their necks and he'd drive off just laughing. I'm sure we got a lot of one finger salutes! But, I guess you had to be there, but it was TOO funny! Think about it! We're almost 14,000 feet above sea level on a road that isn't paved and, let me say it again, has NO GUARD RAILS! People were out of their cars, hanging over the edges, trying to find the mountain goats and taking pictures of anything that moved (or didn't). And my husband chooses that moment to say "isn't this where that old man drove over the edge last year?" I said, "you felt the need to remind me of that right NOW?!?!?"

And we were hot and sweaty from hiking, not really knowing how cold it was on the top of the mountain. IT WAS FREEZING, SNOWING, SLEETING and I was the ONLY one who was smart enough to have a winter coat in their car. (After all, we do live here.) Oh, and just so you know, it is perfectly acceptable in Colorado and a much sought after fashion statement to wear shorts, hiking boots, socks and a ski coat.

And why do people go to the top of Pikes Peak? No....the answer is NOT because it's there. It's because they have AWESOME DONUTS!

See you next time,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who Knew? VooDoo in Manitou?

Last night it was HOT! It was DANG HOT! So Don and I decided to take a drive. (Yes...I am aware that gas is now 4 dollars and whatever-cents-they-add-to-it-today.) I had been home most of the day knitting, trying to finish my afghan for the Colorado State Fair and I was miserable...not from knitting, but from the heat of sitting under a wool afghan all day in a house with no air conditioning and only ceiling fans to circulate to air. My only consolation is that nobody has air here because there aren't that many days that we need air so anybody home yesterday was as miserable as I was. Is that sick or what!!!

ANYWAY.....we hopped in the car and drove over to Manitou Springs. What can I say about Manitou? Ok, we loooooovvvvveeee Manitou. We go there almost everyday because it is a cool place to be. There are a lot of old hippy- and metaphysical-types and a large Christian ministry in the midst of it all. The town sits at the bottom of Pikes Peak and it's so cool because the houses all go up the sides of the surrounding foothills of the Rockies. One of my favorite things is Barr Trail, which is the hiking trail to the top of Pikes Peak. By the way, we appreciate the Earth Spirit Pagans who so faithfully maintain the upkeep of the trail. Blessed B...I mean, God Bless You!

It was fastly approaching nightfall when we drove through Garden of the Gods. We got to Balanced Rock and there were two young boys standing on top of one of the rocks. Everything in me wanted to cry out, "watch out. Don't fall!" But these rocks are really big and no one is supposed to climb them without a permit and I didn't want to hear "splat" as we drove by. Now that brings up something else: every year there are a lot of people who vacation here. Hiking is a big thing here because, after all, it IS the Rocky Mountains and they are REALLY big mountains, but someone always veers off the trails and ends up falling. I have noticed, almost without fail, that these people are from Texas. What is up with that!!! It says one of two things: (1) all of our tourist population is from Texas, or (2) the Texans are the only ones who read the "stay on the trail" signs and wander off anyway. (I don't know...I could be wrong!) So we finally make it to Manitou and Don says "Do you want to you to Fatso's?" "Who?", I say. "You know...Chubby's!" I say, "You mean, Tubby's?" "Yeah..that's the one." Then he says, "if you're praying, can you pray for my memory to get better?" We drive in to Tubby's, which is a convenience slash grocery store in downtown Manitou, to get an ice cream bar and a soda. There's a new guy behind the counter. He has no hair. (That is not pertinent to this story.) When we went to the counter to pay for our snacks we said, "You new here?" "Yeah..about 3 months." "Where did you come from?" He said, "well, I put a map on the table and tossed a dime in the air and where it landed I drove because I was sick of L.A. My girlfriend drove from Virginia, I drove from L.A. and we met up here." Then he told us about his new business venture. Apparently he and his girlfriend have an internet business together that is doing fairly well. We had to ask..."what kind of business?" "Oh, we sell occult parephenalia". (Yes..that how to spell that word. My hubby and I had quite a discussion, I googled it, he still said no, googled it and STILL said it was wrong. So go figure!) Back at the store: I looked at the guy and said "cool". Cool? Cool? Why did I say cool? As we walked out the door he said, "there's a lot of money to be made in voodoo." Who knew? Voodoo in Manitou?

Now as things often happen, something occurred that would make the voodoo thing feel more apparent and almost comical. In the summers on Thursday night local drummers meet in a park in Manitou and drum togeth. Last night was (you guessed it) THURSDAY. And their drumming sounded like tribal mystical drumming from the jungles (you know, like what you see in the movies or from National Geographics). So I sarcastically thought "there's voodooing amongst us. We stopped the car and sat and listened for a while laughing about the irony and coincidence of voodoo and drumming that sounded as if it were calling up the spirits. (There is a longstanding rumor that witches, covens, etc. reside in Manitou.) We go there because there's always something "interesting" to see.

Manitou is known for its "healing" waters. There is a system of artesian springs and back in the day, people came from all over to drink these "medicinal cures". They would go from spring to spring drinking for their curative benefits. We take water from these springs (which have all been tapped now) and some of them are amazingly good. In fact, did you know that Colorado Springs has no springs at all? They are named after the springs in Manitou. But let me warn you...there is one spring close to the Manitou Incline (railroad to top of the Peak) that tastes like you just put an old rusty pipe in your mouth. So skip that one, will you?

Until next time...