Vegas 2016 Trip Report Part Two

Hangovers when you are 42 years old are no f*cking joke.  Seriously.
I woke up on Tuesday completely and totally hungover, both from food and alcohol.  My stomach wasn’t sure it was on speaking terms with me but my head, that was screaming at me loud and clear.  My anxiety was through the roof and we had to change hotels.
I wanted nothing more than to lay in bed and “sleep it off” but knowing that I had done it to myself, I had to put on my big girl panties and soldier on.
Thankfully, Drunk Me had packed most of my stuff the night before knowing that Hungover Me would barely be functioning.
We showered and checked out of Caesar’s.  I was really sorry to see that room go and I’m hoping to dedicate more time there the next trip.  It was really the perfect room in the perfect location.  I let Rob walk the mile there and back to the car so he could drop off one of the suitcases while I sat outside the valet area drinking some Ginger Ale.
When he came back up we moved over to the Ride Share section and got ready for our first Uber ride of the trip.
Rob had used Uber once before about a year ago in LA when he attended the NAMM convention, but I had never used it.  I kept reading about how much cheaper and simpler it was but I have never really had a reason to use it until now.
Ten minutes later we were tucked into a car with a friendly driver on our way to Aria for seven bucks not counting tip.  Gotta say it was completely painless.

Background on our Aria stay: This night is courtesy of the MyVegas game on Facebook. I’ve played on and off for years and since they were getting so skimpy with their comps, I never really cashed any in the last couple trips. End result was enough points to get a weeknight room at Aria. I was really excited about this as I’d heard nothing but good things about the rooms.

Check in was painless, it was around 11:30 and there was no line when we arrived.  Because it was so close to the holiday there was no wait either, our room was ready and we were asked if we wanted to upgrade to a strip view for $30.00.  Since the room was free, we figured why not.  Now that I’ve seen the view in comparison to Caesar’s, I wouldn’t pay thirty bucks for it again, but you never know until you try right?


We were given our room keys and we trekked back almost to where we had started to get to our tower.  The room was almost to the end of the hallway, making for quite a haul to get to and from our room, but it was just for one night.




The room was pretty great but I felt Caesar’s was better.
The one way it had CP beat was the tablet that controlled pretty much everything in the room.



From this device you could change the temp, turn on or off the lights and TV, shut or open the drapes, change the channel on the TV, order room service, order food to be picked up from an eatery downstairs…the possibilities were almost endless and we had quite a bit of fun playing around with it.

I was still feeling the hangover blues but it was time to go out and explore.  I had never been to the Cosmopolitan, but had always wanted to so we took the tram over to the Crystal Shops and made our way over to Cosmo.








The Cosmo was so pretty inside.  Pretty much how I had pictured it looking, lots of glitz and color.  The best part however was that we stumbled upon EggSlut.  I had heard about this place before and how great it was but that the lines were always horrible.  I never knew the location and since I don’t like to wait in line, I never bothered to find out.
Low and behold as we walked around the third floor…


No lines, no waiting!  We quickly ran to the cashier and placed our order.  I got the Bacon Egg and Cheese because that was what my hangover was telling me to get and Rob got The Slut, because…well, it was called The Slut.
We could not have been happier with our choices!  It was the most amazing breakfast sandwich I have ever had!  Like seriously, an orgasm in your mouth!!





With very happy tummies we toured the rest of the casino before deciding to head across the street to Planet Hollywood.  We both thought we hadn’t been there since it was The Aladdin, but we quickly discovered this was where we saw Evil Dead The Musical a couple of years prior.


Rob played some video poker for a bit while I played on my phone.  At that point we had been walking around for a while and I was thinking I would need a bathroom soon…the kind of bathroom need where I would want to be alone in my hotel room. 🙂 So we motored back over to Aria.
Once my urgent need was taken care of, we headed back downstairs to see what our options were for dinner.  We weighed our options and decided that the Burger Lounge was probably our best bet.  We hadn’t had a burger yet this trip and I was definitely over any sort of Asian food for the rest of our visit.  The other option we were weighing was pizza, but I knew were would get that downtown later so burgers it was!
I had some reward credits from signing up for the MLife credit card awhile back so we stopped at a rewards counter and transferred enough money over to cash points for our dinner.
We weren’t quite ready to eat yet so we headed up to our room for a few minutes.
As we were on our way back to our room through the hallway, one of the housekeeping staff was cleaning a room and asked how we were doing.  Rob said something like, “Oh, just walking the mile to our room.” and I said: “Yeah I’m earning the burger we are about to eat.”  She got a good laugh out of it.
The reason I mention this is because she was still cleaning rooms when we headed back out and she asked us if we wanted our room turned down for the evening.  I didn’t even know what that meant so we both said no, it wasn’t needed.  Rob said that we’ve never stayed at a place fancy enough to offer that.
She laughed and asked if we wanted the chocolates.
I said: “Hold up, I didn’t know there were chocolates available!”
She laughed again and reached into a bag, pulling out a handful of fancy looking boxes holding chocolates.  “Take as many as you want.”
Rob shoveled what she was holding into his bag, thanking her.  “We’re going down to the burger place, do you want anything?  Fries?  Onion rings?”
I could tell she couldn’t tell if we were for real or not so she just said: “Um…you pick.” I’m sure thinking she wouldn’t see us again.
Downstairs we ordered the burgers and then played a little gamble while we waited.




We had gotten the housekeeper a regular burger, but because there was some sanfu with our order, we got an extra thing of fries on the house so we got her a complete meal.
On our way back up to our room we discovered she had passed our room and was all the way at the end of the hall.  I’m pretty sure she didn’t think she would ever see us again and probably thought we were crazy when we showed up with her food.  She was laughing hysterically and thanking us.  It was pretty funny.
Since we were at the end of the hall, we took that opportunity to take some pics out of the windows there.






After my exhausting day being hungover in the city of sin, we went to bed fairly early as were were starting our third leg of the Vegas tour and heading to Golden Gate downtown the next day.

Background: Almost every trip for the last couple of years we have always said we would stay the last night at Golden Gate because we never had and always wanted to just to say that we did. However we ended up cutting those trips short by a day and always cancelled our reservations. This year we finally doing it.
I opted for a suite since it is the only suite that we would be able to afford in Vegas, for the last three nights.

Check out of Aria was pretty painless, I did it over my cell phone which was kind of cool.  We ubered back over to Caesar’s palace parking garage and got our car out to make the trek over to Downtown.
The drive was pretty easy, it was the day before Thanksgiving and while it wasn’t as barren as I would have thought, there was still a lack of people at this point.
We parked in the GG parking structure–just kidding!  I mean Parking LOT.  🙂  It was too early to check in so we left our luggage in the car while we made the half hear-ted attempt to see if our room was ready.  No sale, the clerk told us to come back around one because even though check in was at three, due to the Holiday, it might be ready early.  Rob and I later joked about the difference between the hotels we had stayed in so far.  CP said the room wasn’t ready but we will put a rush on it and send you at text when it is(got the text ten minutes later).  GG said the room is not ready, feel free to keep checking back.  We thought that was kinda humorous.
We took a look around outside and while Rob said he wasn’t really hungry, I was really excited to try Pop Up Pizza at The Plaza across the street.  I’d read some really good things about it.
We ordered and sat down to wait.  Fifteen minutes later we were still waiting.  I’m not one to cause a fuss when it comes to my food service, but how long could it take to heat up two slices?  Apparently they had given our order to someone else, but they quickly rectified the situation and we were given our two slices of heaven.


After we ate, we headed over to Binion’s to get the annual picture with a million dollars and get our slot cards updated.  We played a little bit, but nothing was feeling very nice to us.  It was around one at that point so we headed back over to GG and were able to check into our room.



It was a pretty nice room, just a little funky with the bathroom situation.  Either way, we were very happy with it.

Our plan for that day was to take a long nap and get up early morning to crawl around Fremont St.  It didn’t work out quite the way we had planned but we still had fun.








Got our annual Dunkin’!!!  God I miss DD coffee!









Finally we were done so we got some take out from the diner downstairs from our hotel and headed up to bed.

We slept in the next day.  It was Thanksgiving and we had some friends driving in from Monterey, but they wouldn’t get there until that afternoon so we putted around the room, watching bad TV and relaxing.





Korea Trip Report: Part Five, The Final Chapter.

On our final full day in Korea, we had three things on our agenda.  Something called the Sheep Cafe, which was a coffee shop that had live sheep in it.  Something called Times Square, which appeared to a shopping outlet of some sort.  And the final item was a Korean BBQ joint for our eating pleasure.
Liz opted to stay home with the twins, so Rob, Jim and I headed out on the subway in search of great adventures.
Our first stop was to be the Sheep Cafe, but Jim couldn’t find it right off and we appeared to be closer to Times Square so we headed over there.
The reason Times Square as even on our agenda, was because when we first knew we were going to Korea, we googled “things to do in Korea” and this came up.  Turns out it is just a really big shopping mall, and not a cheap one.  So after stopping at a couple of shops, we told Jim that Times Square wasn’t what we thought it was going to be and maybe we needed to go elsewhere.  We stopped at a coffee shop and regrouped.

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It was decided that we should go off in search of another type of shopping.  An outside market.

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We never actually found that market, but we did eventually find the sheep cafe, which was very underwhelming.  I was hoping that the sheep just wandered around while you drank your coffee and ate your scone, but that wasn’t the case.  They were kept in a pen outside the actual cafe and they didn’t seem very excited to be there.

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We never even set foot in the cafe.
So that just left a Korean BBQ place.  Unfortunately, we discovered that those types of restaurants are only open for dinner hours, so it was a no go.  We opted instead for a Bibimbap place that was located in a basement.  Rob had already tried this on the plane and he was a fan, but this was my first go round.  Since I didn’t like anything too spicy, I opted for the bean paste instead of the chili paste.  What was failed to communicate, was the bean paste was fermented and so when I put a big heaping spoonful on my  rice and veggies, it overpowered the whole dish.  I wasn’t a fan.  I kind of started feeling sick to my stomach after eating (I ate about half, I was starving and needed something!) and asked to sit in the place a little bit longer.  Rob gave me a Tums and then we headed up to the street.  Once I was out of the basement I started to feel better.


We walked around a bit more and then stopped for some Ice Cream at this little stand.  It was called Honey Com and the ice cream was supposed to be made with honey rather than sugar.  We got an Affogato, which is a scoop of ice cream covered with a shot of espresso and is pure heaven!

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We finally headed back to the Subway and headed home.  Once there, it was decided that Liz and I would leave the twins with the boys and take ourselves out for a nice dinner.  Finally getting the Korean BBQ that we sought after all afternoon.  There was some downtime of course, I went upstairs and read for a bit and then we ventured out.

Liz led us over to Itaewan and we walked for a little while before she recognized the restaurant that was literally a hole in the wall.  Just a stairway, that we climbed and found a nice little eatery.  We were led to a table and Liz ordered to the best of her recollection of what they usually get.

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Everything was delicious and I tried things I wouldn’t normally try, even liking some of them!  Imagine that!

On the way back to the apartment, we did a small amount of shopping and then stopped at Baskin Robbins for some ice cream.  If you get the second to smallest cup size they let you have four different kinds of ice cream and then if you get it to go, they give you dry ice to put in the bag to keep it from melting!  Ha!  If I remember right, I got New York Cheesecake, Cotton Candy, Snacknado and Cookies and Cream.  The boys were quite happy when I shared when we got home.
And that was how we ended out last full day in Korea.  Eating ice cream and watching part of a movie before we headed up to bed to pack the best we could and go to sleep.


Friday morning we were up, showered, packed and out of the apartment by eleven.  Before I left, I said my goodbyes to my nephews.  I told Carson to be good for his mother and father and he laughed in my face.  Seriously, I said it three times and each time he gleefully chortled at me.  That kid is going to be trouble…
Our flight wasn’t until five thirty, but Jim had to do some work at one that afternoon and he wanted to make sure we were going to be on our way to the airport before he left.  He took us on the subway to Seoul Station where we were able to not only check into our flight, get our boarding passes and check our luggage, but now, because we checked in at the subway station , we got bypass the regular security gate when we got to the airport.  We were going to be able to use the line that all the flight staff and diplomats used!  Pretty big bonus if you ask me!
Once our passes were obtained and we checked our bags, we walked around a bit upstairs and got some Dunkin.

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Soon after, Jim bid us ado and we were on our own to take the train to the airport.  Thankfully, it was painless and the seats were much more comfortable than the plane!

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After about a half an hour we arrived at the Seoul Airport.  Since our bags were checked and our passes already printed, we found a spot to drain the water/drinks we had packed in our carry ons before going through security.

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We were way early but we didn’t have anything else to do, so we found our gate and headed through the special security that we were able to use for checking in at the Subway station.  I had my doubts that it would work, but honestly…that was the quickest I had ever passed through a security gate EVER.  A total of five minutes, from the time we entered to the time we passed through the detectors and passed immigration with our bags and passports.  I wish all airports did this, because I am a FAN!

With not much else to do, we found our gate and planted ourselves in some seats.  I headed off to find some food since I was starving at that point.  We only had about 11,000 Won left on us which equals about 11 bucks American money so in an effort to be frugal I found a stand that had some stuff wrapped in fish cakes.  I got a hot dog wrapped one for Rob and a rice roll wrapped one for me.


It didn’t satisfy us for long so I was able to stretch the money out a bit further by getting a hotdog type of bread (like hot dogs sliced up and baked in a bread) and a potato croquet at another eatery.  That only left us with about a dollar fifty left, but it was fine at that point.  I settled into my slippers and got comfy.


Finally, the plane started boarding.  I will never understand why on a flight with assigned seating, people start lining up as soon as they announce boarding.  Your seat isn’t going to change!  Rob mentioned overhead bin space and I guess that is where we differ from the “normal” traveler.  I see them in line for boarding with their “carry on” bags that should clearly be checked.  They are far too big and I GET that you don’t want to have to wait at baggage claim, but damn man, TRY and follow the rules.  Since our carry on bags always fit under the seats, we never have to worry about the overhead bins and therefore stay seated until the line is almost done and then get on the plane.  It makes it feel like the plane takes off faster that way too.  🙂
On board I took a quick selfie of us and then it was off into the sky.


What was a 12 hour flight on the way to Korea, was a 10 hour flight on the way home.  Something to do with the head winds and all that jazz, but I was just glad it was two hours less.  Once again, I didn’t get a lick of sleep on the plane.  In my youth I used to be able to sleep sitting up, but not so much now.  I watched the end of Joy, which I wasn’t able to finish on the flight over.  I also watched “Daddy’s Home” and “Spotlight” to keep me occupied.  I really enjoyed Spotlight and I really enjoyed watching a shirtless Marky Mark in the other one.  😉  I also played a lot of solitaire and started a very interesting book that I hope to finish soon called “When I’m Gone”.  Overall, it made the flight pass fairly quickly for a ten hour flight.  The only downside other than having started my period the day before, was that I apparently was allergic to something on the plane.  After about an half an hour in the air to the time we touched down, my nose started to be runny and stuffy at the same time.  I had post nasal drip running down the back of my throat like crazy and I had to keep going to the lavatory to get tissues.  It was VERY annoying, but once we landed and I was out of there it was fine.
Once we were safe on the ground in San Francisco, we collected our baggage, which took a while and then made our way out to the sidewalk to wait for the Airbus.  Our bus was scheduled for 1:45.  We were hoping to get the earlier bus that came at 12:30 if everything went smoothly but it was already 12:40 by the time we headed out to the curb.  We settled in and got prepared to wait for an hour.


Like a vision of wonder, five minutes later the Airbus pulled up next to us.  We quickly asked if we could take this bus instead of the later one we had reserved and he said no problem.  So awesome!  Now we would get into town in time to pick up our dogs that night instead of the next day.
We got cozy on the bus and were so happy to be on our way home.


Rob managed to get some sleep, while I put on my headphones and listened to some music to distract from the fact that the driver was risking our lives with his erratic driving ,but he did get us back into Marina at record time.  My In Laws picked us up there right on time and drove us back to their house where I was never so happy to see my lovely Honda Fit sitting in their yard

So overall the trip was probably one of the funnest vacations I’ve had in a long time.  Everything was new.  Unlike Maine and Vegas which we have done so many times before, every day in Korea was a new adventure.  I did several things in spite of my many fears that I am proud of, ranging from simply eating things I wouldn’t have normally to climbing down in that tunnel on the DMZ tour.  And I’m glad for every single thing I did.
While it wouldn’t be at the top of my list of places to retire to, I could see myself living in Korea if it came down to it.  The two things I will not miss however, is the lack of personal space in public places.  Korean people will run you over if you let them.  They aren’t particularly rude, they just appear to have the mindset that if they need to get to somewhere that you are, they can just bump you out of the way with no apology or even acknowledgment.   They also don’t smile back at you.  I’m a smiley person by nature.  When I pass someone on the street I tend to smile and I find it disturbing when they don’t smile back.  In Korea, they NEVER smile back.  It took a lot of getting used to for me.

Having said that, I did really enjoy my vacation very much.  My brother and sister in law were the best hosts.  I know it can’t be easy letting two people into your household for two weeks, especially with two newborns that you are trying to get on a schedule, but they did so graciously and without complaint (to us anyway).  And those babies.  Oh my goodness!!!  I love those two little squishy faces so very much.  I miss them so much already it’s crazy.  I can’t even fathom how different they are going to look when I see them next and that breaks my heart.  But I am super grateful for the opportunity to get to meet them at all.


Korean Trip Report Part Three

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and got ready for the DMZ tour.  That is a tour put on by the USO that takes you to the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea.  It is an eight hour tour that goes over a lot of the history and takes you to many different spots showcasing the history.
We hopped in the car and after a minor accidental detour, made it to the USO unscathed and on time for the tour.  We loaded into the tour bus with 40+ other tourists and traveled about an hour to the first stop on the tour.  The 3rd underground tunnel.

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According to our tour guide, this was one of the tunnels that North Korea dug in order to plan an attack on South Korea back in the day.  We got to climb down into the tunnel and check it out but were not allowed to take pictures.  We were warned before heading into the tunnel that if we had any type of phobia, it was probably not wise to proceed…especially claustrophobia.  Whelp, as you all know, I am the queen of phobias and claustrophobia has been a big one for me in the past.  Jim told me that I could head down and if I wanted to turn around at any time I could, so I gave it a shot.
The first thing I noticed before we even got to the tunnel was the extremely steep downhill trek we had to make to get there.  It seemed never ending and all I could think about was that we had to make our way back up it to get out.
Once we got to the tunnel we ducked and headed in.  Jim was in front of me and he kept making jokes to keep my mind off the tight spaces, but it was actually him repeatedly hitting his hardhat on the beams that kept me cracking up.  At 5’4″ the tunnel wasn’t too small for me, but for him at 6’2″ he was struggling to stay hunched over enough.
Long story short, I made it through the entire tunnel and I was really proud of myself.  Rob said he thought sure I had turned around until he heard me laughing in the distance behind him.  He was kinda proud of me too.  🙂  The walk back up to the lobby was a bit tough though.  A very steep uphill battle that had me stopping several times to catch my breath.  I may do half marathons, but those are flat!
When I finally got to the top, Jim was waiting with much needed water and a power bar from the gift shop.  After that we headed into the other building to see a short video of the history of the Koreas, before taking some pictures in front of the buildings and then getting back on the bus.

The second stop was the observatory, which didn’t prove very interesting because it was too overcast to see anything but we did watch another video on the history.  We stopped at the gift store for a yummy chocolate coffee drink and then it was back on the bus, heading to the next stop: LUNCH!

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The lunch was served at a cafeteria.  We had the choice of Bulgogi or Bipimbap.  I got the Bulgogi and Rob got the other.  It was quite yummy and filling but we had to eat fast or we were going to miss our window of opportunity for the debriefing at our fourth stop: North Korea.


But first we stopped at the third part of the tour.  A hardly used Subway Station.  I know there was some significance to this but I don’t remember what it was.  I just know that there is only one train that goes to and from at this station and you have to get a round trip ticket.  There is no one way to this stop.

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So I mentioned the fourth and last stop being North Korea. Heh.  Yeah, kind of.
At the next stop we had to sign a waiver that if anything happened to us, we had no recourse and blah, blah, blah and then got a short lecture on more history.  After that we were led outside and into a small building that was built on the border of South and North Korea.  In the middle there was a table and on that table was a couple of microphones.  The microphones were the line that was used to represent the border.  If you were on the further side of the microphones you were in North Korea.  So everyone had the chance to step over and get your picture taken NEAR one of the guards before we quickly and quietly made our way back into South Korea and back onto the bus to go see another observation point.  More pictures, and back on the bus to go see the Bridge of No Return and then we headed back to the camp where we were originally debriefed.


Selfie taken in North Korea


On the North Korean side.

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That was the end of the tour so everyone had time to go to the gift shop and then we all loaded back into the bus for the long drive home in rush hour traffic.

Side note: You could not PAY me to drive in Seoul.  It appears to be worse than LA and the drivers give ZERO fucks.
So the tour was very interesting and quite educational for me as I knew very little about any of the history of this place.  The whole North Korea excursion was very surreal and really made you think.
We got home and Rob was off almost immediately to go to a jam session with some of his work connections.  I helped out with the twins while Jim made pasta and meat sauce, which I ate and promptly headed up to bed.  My plan was to watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix on my Ipad, but Korea had other ideas.  Apparently, you do not get the same type of feed that you do in the US and there was no GG on the menu.  So I went to bed instead.  Rob came up sometime around one thirty or so and came to bed.


The next day was Sunday and that was the day we were going to head into Gangnam and get a hotel room.  Jim had booked us at the Nox Boutique Hotel for two nights because it was near our plans for those two days.  A baseball game and Lotte World.
Since the hotel was in Jim’s name and he was coming with us to the game, all three of us headed out on the subway around noon.  We got to the hotel relatively painlessly, but it was too early to check in.  So we made sure that we could check in without Jim after the game and checked out luggage before heading back out to the subway to get to the Sports Complex.  Once we were there, we wandered around until we found the ticket booth and marveled at all the people.
Tickets in hand, we bought some hats because it was overcast but hot…typical sunburn weather, and then headed up to our seats.

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The game itself was pretty boring until the sixth inning or so, but it was really cool to be at a place where the culture was the same.  Good old baseball.  Beer in hand, cheering for the team of your choice and having a grand old time.  We ended up leaving around the eighth inning because Jim had to take off and given the amount of people at the stadium, the thought of the subway system when it let out was too scary to bear.
We bid Jim ado on the the subway train and headed up to our hotel.  We checked in with no problem and got to our room on the eleventh floor.  There were a total of five room on each floor.  The hotel is tall but it is very skinny as most buildings are here.  The room itself was pretty cool.   There was a computer, fridge, big screen TV and the best part was the bathroom.  It has a Jacuzzi tub along with a stand up shower that has a rainfall shower head and a steamer in it, and the toilet not only has a heated seat, but it also functions as a bidet.
We unpacked a bit and then headed back out to get dinner.  We wound up getting some Korean chicken that was quite tasty.  Back up in the room, we each took baths and then watched Korean TV until we went to bed.

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Korea Trip Report Part Two

On Tuesday we woke up and I played with the babies for awhile.


Then it was time to shower and get dressed before heading out to get our permanent base passes for the trip.  That was relatively painless and then we filled up water bottles for the house and then drop off our temporary passes back at the base.
After that we hung around the house for a bit before taking the twins out for a trip to the Namdaemun Market.   This would be the first time Jim and Liz would go out while wearing both boys in wraps on their persons instead of in a stroller.


IMG_2925We walked to the Subway station and were delighted to find a Dunkin Donuts in the subway station!  We debated on getting a coffee but after being told the market had very little in the way of bathrooms, we decided it would be safer to get one on the way back to the house instead. After lots of escalators and a transfer we made it to a massive outside market.  It was like a giant flea market with some small shops mixed in the middle.
We walked around for a while and it was proved to me that Korean people go absolutely batshit over babies.  Especially white babies…especially, especially white twin babies.  They just walk up to you and start touching the child and telling you what you are doing wrong.  It was quite unnerving and semi-cute at the same time.

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After finding a place to change our money into Won, we got some dumplings from a street vendor and stopped at a couple of benches for a quick bite.  The dumplings were pretty delicious, and after the lovely lunch, we walked around a bit more.  I made my first Korean purchase, getting a couple of grocery bags that fold up into a small square.  Liz recommended them and I have to say they have already come in handy in our trip.

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After more walking around we eventually headed back to the house stopping at the Dunkin Donuts in the subway from some much needed caffeine.

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Even with that, soon after arriving home, exhaustion over took me.  Liz requested Thai food and that sounded good to me, so the boys headed out and Liz and I sat with the babies, dozing off here and there until they got back.
I quickly dug into my yellow curry and then headed up to bed.


Wednesday morning Rob got up and he and his brother headed into a nearby town to check out a music store.  Rob had been invited to perform in a jam session with some of his work connections so the plan was to buy a guitar while here and then let Jim have it after we leave.
I lolled around in bed for a bit, playing around on my phone before descending downstairs to play with the babies.  That was pretty much all I did all morning other than showering and a load of laundry.
When the boys got back we decided we would all head out to Itaewon, a nearby town to see the different shops.  I was beginning to realize that shopping was a big part of Korean culture.  Liz had to get some stuff done so she would head out a little later and meet us.  We walked around for quite a while seeing all the different Americanized shops and eateries, as well as more traditional ones.

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On our way back we ran into Liz and she and I sent the boys back home with the babies while we walked around a bit more.
When we got back home, the boys had already decided dinner was going to be burgers on the grill.  Jim got called into work so Rob manned the BBQ and I have to say the burgers turned out delish!  I ate a burger and then Rob and I cuddled up on the couch and watched a hilarious short film on Netflix called Kung Fury before heading up to bed and passing out.  Jet leg is real!


Thursday morning’s adventure was the Noryangjin fish market.   We took several different subway trains before getting to this large market where they sold…you guessed it, fish!  It wasn’t as stinky as I imagined it, but it wasn’t something would go out of my way to do again.  I’m glad I did it because it is a part of the culture here and we got to see quite a few neat things.

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We ended up getting salmon, marinated cod and scallops the size of a fist for dirt cheap and then headed back home.  On the way we stopped at a waffle stand and got some snacks.  I got a sweet potato waffle and Jim got a hot dog waffle.  Both were quite good and it launched Jim’s dream of opening his own waffle stand for drunk frat boys at one AM in a college town.  😉

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Once we got back home, the boys headed out with the twins to the Korean War Memorial while Liz and I caught a nap.  By the time I woke up, Rob was home and already BBQing up the fish.   Not being much a fish person, I opted for a leftover burger from the night before.
Before we knew it, it was time for Midnight Shopping.  We headed out with Liz and some neighbors of theirs into town to walk around the streets where all of these little tiny tents had popped up selling all kinds of different things.  We didn’t end up buying much other than a few pairs of socks, but it was a really good experience just to walk around and see all the different kinds of things and people.

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We  accidentally bumped into one of the places Rob wanted to eat at that night, so we were able to cross it off our list early.  Isaac Toast.  I guess it is pretty big in Seoul and Rob was very excited to try one of their sandwiches.  It was pretty tasty.

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We got home around midnight and hit the sack because even with the nap, jetleg was still a thing.


Friday we deemed to just be a sort of kick around the house day.  We chilled out in the morning, not doing much of anything.  Organizing pictures, playing with babies, that sort of thing.

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Rob and I thought about taking a trip into Itaewan for souvenirs, but instead we opted to take the boys out with Jim to the Electronic Market, to visit his favorite DVD guy.  Boy am I glad we did!  For 70 bucks American we bought over 30 DVD’s.  It was awesome.

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Back home we were too tired to do much else so we ordered Korean Fried Chicken to be delivered and headed to bed early because Saturday was a big day.  The DMZ tour!

Vegas Trip Report

So for the first time ever Rob headed to Vegas without me.

What happened was that I couldn’t get as much time off of work as Rob did for out trip this year so we reached a compromise.  So he drove out to Vegas on Wednesday morning and I flew out of San Jose Friday night after work.

Friday morning I dropped the babies off at the vets and headed to work. My friend Trisha was set to drive me to the airport after work and I was already feeling apprehensive about flying.

It’s no secret that I am petrified of flying. If I did it more, it probably wouldn’t bother me as much. But as it stands I usually only fly every two years or so and it’s kinda terrifying for me. I wasn’t always that way, but much like my fear of freeways it started after I had a serious bout of anxiety back in Arizona. The worst of the everyday anxiety went away but those two phobias stuck around for some reason.

So around three thirty Friday afternoon, we heard about the things starting up in Paris.

First and foremost, the sheer horror of what happened just cut me to the bone. I am not trying to belittle what happened in any way. I don’t understand how anyone could do the things that were done. I don’t understand. I just don’t. I can’t even express.

So I’m not going to. But I’m not going to lie and say that the thought of my own safety wasn’t questioned knowing I was going to fly to a very popular city that night.   So on top of my already almost crippling fear of planes going down in a fiery fury while I’m aboard for no good reason, now there is a very present threat that something could possibly happen. I know the chances were slim, but hello?  Anxiety girl here!!

At any rate, Work got out and Trisha drove us like a bat out of hell to the airport. Even with a stop to In & Out Burgers we made it record time. She dropped me off and away I went. They say you really have to love someone to drop them off or pick them up at the airport. That girl is a saint.

My flight was delayed, so after what felt like an eternity I was finally on board. It was a full flight but I found a row with an open middle and aisle seat way in the back. In a lucky break, that middle seat was the only seat not filled on that plane. Proving mine and Robs theory that no one wants to sit next to a fat person on a plane. Duh!  You could literally see the fear in the eyes of the passengers I made eye contact with as I made my way down the plane. “Oh shit, don’t let the fat lady pick this seat.”  I almost wanted to fuck with some of them but I was too tired.

As the plane continued to fill up, a group of loud frat boys managed to baord the last two remaining rows behind mine. Of course they did. This was a Friday night flight to Vegas after all.   While they were pretty obnoxious, they did nothing to make me believe they were overly drunk or wasted.

The flight started and I put on my headphones with white noise, and opened up my kindle. It was a very smooth flight and I was very happy about that. Before I knew it, the announcement came on to power down our devices as we were descending. I unplugged my headphones and put everything away.

Now I’m not sure if those frat boys had been pounding drinks right before they got on the plane and it hit them hard, or if they really consumed that much on the flight, but in the one hour I had my headphones on, those boys went from obnoxious to belligerent and slurring their words.   In the ten minutes it took to land the plane, these guys wouldn’t shut up. And there was that one guy. You know the one. The guy that has taken it so far even the other drunks are embarrassed by him.

Ahh to be young and on your way to the city of sin.

Thankfully, my time around them was short and I made my way to the taxi line. The taxi line that was about a mile long. They had it roped up like a popular ride at Disneyland. Where you just keep walking and turning and walking. My initial thought was “fuuuuuck” because I was already so tired , but they had it organized pretty well and it only took about seven minutes to get to a cab.

My cab driver was super nice and chatty so that made the expensive ride seem faster. I should note that in case you were wondering why Rob didn’t pick me up, it’s because I told him not to. It was already midnight at that point and I didn’t want him to have to drive in Friday night traffic.

When I got up to the room rob had food and drink waiting for me but the first thing I did was get in my pj’s. It had been a loooooong day.

I ate my sandwich and watched Fresh Prince on nick at night before falling into a blissful sleep.

Saturday morning I woke up with cramps around nine. Oh yes, Mother Nature blessed me with my gift the day before I flew out just to make sure my vacation was as enjoyable as possible. 😉  This was the day we were supposed to do our check in for the race. Rob and I had signed up for the 10k  they had to go along with the marathon this year. I normally do the half marathon but we decided to do something shorter together this year.

I pretty much knew at this point that I was going to back out. I have done zero training and with the addition of my period?  Yeah, not going to happen. But Rob said he still wanted to do his so he headed off to the expo to check in while I laid around in bed and watched crap TV. In case you didn’t know by now, that is my absolute favorite thing to do on vacation.IMG_5397

He got back about two hours later and we laid around a bit more.  Eventually, I got up and showered and we headed downtown to check things out. First stop was The Fremont to get some Dunkin.I got a large mocha coolatta to split and the we headed to Binion’s to get our annual pics taken with the million dollars.   After that we hit the plaza but weren’t that impressed. We discovered that the Las Vegas Club appears to be closed and all the advertising on its windows were for the Golden Gate. That makes me wonder if they bought them to expand.

With not much else to do we headed back up to the room, after a quick stop at the market for dinner.

Sunday we woke up leisurely. This was the day we were changing hotels, but check out wasn’t until noon and check in at The Flamingo wasn’t until four.  I had an email from Flamingo asking me to check in online and they would text me when the too was ready, so I did that around nine. Rob and I then showered and packed and we were out of the El Cortez by eleven. While we were stopped at a local store to get water and snacks I got a text that our room was ready at the Flamingo and to pick up my keys at the platinum members area.

When I knew we were going to be staying at the Flamingo again this trip, I signed up for their rewards credit card. You earn a certain amount of points for every dollar spent. So I started using that card like I would my debit card and then paid it off every month with my debit card. I figured we might earn some perks and I was spending that money anyway so why not?  As long as it is paid on time there are no fees so it’s a win win.

We found the Flamingo parking structure with no problem and schlept our luggage to the elevator. In the lobby I got to skip the long check in line and go behind the golden door of the platinum cardholders to check in. Got my room keys in a snap and was directed to the spa tower to get our room.

As we got up to the 21st floor we found we were the first room after the elevators.  No long walk to the room from the casino.  Score!  When we opened the door, I saw that we were notably upgraded. I had booked a regular room but this was a fancier room, with a fridge, automatic window curtains, a big soaking tub and a view of the High Roller. Nice!

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As Rob got geared up for the race I decided to go downstairs and get a sandwich to split since we hadn’t had anything substantial on our tummy’s in awhile. Rob suggested I also go get my replacement casino card since I couldn’t find mine at home.

So I boogied down to the total rewards booth and asked the lady if I could get a dup card. I gave her my ID and waited. When she handed me my card she said. “Oh, Ms Machado, you have almost three hundred dollars in comps to spend on dining, shopping or rooms.”  I thanked her and headed off to the food court sort of dizzy. I knew I would have some comps from using the credit card on daily purchases, but this basically made the room free.

I got a sandwich at LA Subs and went back up to the room. We snacked a bit and then I walked him down to the monorail so he could head off to the race.


After that I headed back up to the room, changed into my pj’s and laid on the amazing king sized bed while watching crap TV for a couple of hours. Eventually I got up and headed to the food court again. Rob had requested a burger from Johnny Rockets so I went out and got him one for when he was finished with the race.

By the time I got back up to the room, Rob texted me and said he had one more mile to go. I grabbed my jacket and headed downstairs to find it was raining outside and that because the marathon was in full swing, I couldn’t cross the street to see him cross the finish line.   I was bummed.

We texted back and forth and we eventually met up outside the Flamingo and headed back up to the room where he grabbed a shower and a quick nap.

Once he was rejuvenated we headed downstairs and played a little bit of gamble.  We found a block of machines of my mom’s favorite game and ended up fifteen dollars ahead.


We decided not to press our luck any further, so Rob headed back up to the room while I dropped by the food court to pick up two slices of pizza and two Stromboli’s for dinner/breakfast and we ate and went to bed.

The next morning was Monday and Rob had promised it to be my day.  Meaning that, since I had to cut my vacation short, he was willing to do whatever I wanted that day even if it meant just laying in bed and watching crap TV.  We’ve already established, that is my favorite thing.

I wanted to explore a little bit though so we woke, showered and headed over on the foot bridge to see what Caesar’s Palace had to offer us.   Turns out it wasn’t a lot.  We walked the forum shops only to find we couldn’t afford anything they had and at the end of it all, the Atlantis show wasn’t running.  Bummer.

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So we headed back down the foot bridge to check out the new Cromwell Casino.  It used to be known as Barbary Coast and also Bill’s Gambling Hall.  We stayed there with my mom a long time ago when it was Barbary, and we quite liked it, but it was a tiny little casino trying to keep up with the big boys.  We knew it wouldn’t last.  What we discovered is that it had been expanded nicely but there was still nothing really notable about it.

We ventured further to check out The Linq.  Which used to be the Imperial Palace.  I had never been to the IP, so I had nothing to compare it to, but I wasn’t altogether un-thrilled with it.  Since it is a Total Rewards casino, we might consider staying there next time.  They had a restaurant that looked pretty amazing called Hash House A Go Go, but we weren’t in the mood for a meal at that time.

After that we decided we wanted to relax some more so we headed back to the Flamingo.  We made a pit stop at the Habitat to look at some Flamingo’s.


After that we grabbed a quick slice of pizza and headed back to our room where we got back into our pj’s. Rob took a nap while I started this trip report on my Ipad and relaxed.

When Rob woke up, we got dressed and headed downstairs.  He had a bet to make for his work pal in the high roller video poker area.  That happened a little too fast without a win so we ventured out to the penny slots as that is more our speed.  We didn’t win, but we didn’t lose too bad either.


Dinner was on our minds at that point and we both thought back to the Hash House A Go Go at The Linq and knew we had to go there.  We made the short trek across the street and placed our order with a really awesome waitress.  She sold me on a drink, that while okay…wasn’t worth the price.  She was forgiven once we got our food and got it back up to the room to discover the most delicious burgers ever!!!

Seriously!  I got a burger stuffed with bacon mashed potatoes.  The thing was so giant that I could only eat half and even then I was stuffed.    Also, the fries!  OMG!!  It’s a good thing they don’t have these locally or I would be 350 pounds again!!!  So nummy!


So that brings us to Tuesday morning.  Time to leave.  I wanted to sleep in a bit but for whatever reason, I was up at around eight.  So we showered, packed up and made a trip down to the car with our luggage.

This was the first time I had ever had “comps” at a hotel/casino and I wasn’t quite sure how to use them.  So after we were all packed up, I headed over to the comp desk to see what to do.  They said all I had to do was go beyond those Golden Doors that I checked in at and show them my card and check out.  It would be comped.


We walked into the Platinum card members check in area and just like that our room was comped, AND we were told we still had over a hundred dollars still to spend on food, drink or shopping.  Rob and I looked at each other and decided we had some shopping to do!

We hit the gift shop and dropped 75 in tee shirts, cups and trinkets for ourselves.  We rarely buy souvenirs in Vegas anymore so it was kind of nice to shop around.  Having said that, even with free money I couldn’t justify spending it on some of the higher priced items in the store.

After that we stopped for an overpriced coffee drink and a danish (also comped) and headed out to go home.

When we got on the road I turned to Rob and said: “Remember when we were high rollers for like a half an hour??”  Damn, I would have comped more stuff on the trip had I known!

The drive home was uneventful and we made pretty good time.

Today Rob had the day off so he picked up the pooches while I was at work and I just reconnected with them about an hour ago.  I’ve never been so happy to have dog slobber all over my face.

Overall, it was a quick trip, but I quite enjoyed it.



Maine Trip Report

This was the most nervous I have been anticipating travel in a long time.  The main reason was because my little baby boy Pappy was having to undergo surgery for the second time to remove a mast cell tumor and it would be happening while we were three thousand miles away in Maine.  We had no choice, time was of the essence and we didn’t discover the tumor until a week before we were to leave.

We found out that he was okay towards the end of our first day in Maine so all was right with the world but I’ll tell you I was a wreck all day Wednesday at work just knowing he was going under the knife and having to recover without me there.

Any-who,  We flew out on a full Jetblue flight on Wednesday night around nine pacific time.  It was a fairly smooth flight and I managed to doze in and out of sleep.  It didn’t feel like I had slept that much but I must have because the five and a half hour flight managed to feel like just a couple of hours to me.

We landed in Boston and schlept to our gate to wait out the three and a half hour layover.   With the help of a little Dunkin of course.

The layover was probably harder than the flight, and I am NOT a good flier.

Finally we were allowed to board this tiny little nine seater plane and make our way to Augusta, Maine.

So far that was the easiest part of the traveling. Rarely are those flights smooth, but this one was. I managed to snooze most of the one hour flight.

We touched down painlessly at the tiny Augusta airport and called a cab.  In less than ten minutes we were deposited at my mom’s assisted living apartments.

We relaxed there for a little bit but we didn’t want to get too comfy.  We had to make a couple of stops before we could settle in.


The first stop was to the music shop next to Damon’s sandwich place to get Rob a guitar for the trip.  While he shopped I got us some lunch next door and from there we hit Hannaford’s to get some supplies for the week.  My mom’s fridge was pretty bare.

Once we were finally done we settled in at mom’s, showered and waited to go to bed.

That last bit sounds funny but after being awake the better part of  34 hours we just had to stay up a couple more hours to be able to turn a potential nap into a full nights sleep.

We made big salads for dinner.  As a side note, there was an interesting conversation with Rob about the differences between Dinner and Supper in Maine as apposed to Lunch and Dinner on the West Coast.  It took a little bit for Rob to understand that Lunch is Dinner and Dinner is Supper here but I think he finally got it.

When it was finally time, we blew up the air mattress and hit the sack.

Friday was shopping day.  We woke up and puttered around a bit before heading out to Mom’s credit union so she could get some money. Then it was a quick visit to a very run down and crappy looking Kmart, to get a chest of drawers that mom wanted that was on sale.  After that we hit up Walmart to do our usual shopping for the stuff we didn’t bring with us.  I had anticipated it being more like last year time where I was able to pick up some shorts and tank tops to get me through the rest of this trip in this horrid heat, but I didn’t find much of a plus section.  Which for Maine is really odd.

I did find a HUGE selection of plus sized sports bras which is about right for Maine.  I bought a crap load because I can’t find them in California, and got a few night clothes.

Side note: Once I got the night clothes home and tried them on, I am under the impression that the plus sized clothes in Walmart might be hiding in the regular sections under the disguise of XL.  Normally XL does not mean 2X or 3X which is what I now sport.  After getting finally trying on a pair of 3 X sleep shorts I bought there I discovered that I was swimming in them.  They are more a 4 or 5X easy.  This knowledge came in handy on our second round of Walmart shopping later in the trip.

Once the shopping was done we headed over to our absolute favorite food place in Maine: The Red Barn.

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I got a Haddock basket with onion rings and a dinner roll and Rob got the 1/4 pound Lobster Roll and we split a chocolate shake.  It was heaven!!!!  It’s a good thing I don’t have an equivalent of Red Barn where I live or I WILL be sporting those 5X shorts.

With full bellies we headed back to Mom’s and got ready for our date night.

Showered and still sweating(Damn this humidity!) we headed out to Hallowell to see a play.

We discovered the Gaslight theater two years ago on our last trip.  In all the years I lived in Maine, I had no idea it even existed.  It is also the only theater I could find locally that was actually putting up a play in the time frame that we were going to be in town.


We saw “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” written by Steve Martin.   It was cute and funny.  The acting was solid right up until the title character Picasso came on.  His acting was wooden at best.  His lines were rushed and he was void of any emotion in his performance.  It was REALLY distracting from the rest of the otherwise great performances.

After the show we headed back up to Mom’s and ate leftovers before going to sleep.

Saturday we slept in a bit, packed up our stuff and checked into the Hampton Inn in Augusta for our first of two nights.  Learning from our experience last trip, we planned out our sleeping arrangements a bit better this year.  We planned our first two nights with mom, the next two nights at a hotel, the next two at mom’s, the next two at a hotel and the last two at moms.  So that we had six nights with mom and four nights to ourselves, nicely spaced out.  It ended up working perfectly.


A few months ago I had stayed at a Hampton Inn in Salinas for a weekend getaway and I loved it so much I signed up for their rewards program.  In turn, I also signed up for their credit card to earn more rewards.  They had a promo that if you signed up for their card and spent a thousand dollars in four months, you earned 40,000 points.  So I just started using the card for buying all the stuff I normally would with my debit card.  Groceries and gas and so on and so forth.  I had those points in no time and it only cost 22,000 points for one night stay in Augusta.  Boom, two free nights.

After checking in I did a little shopping at TJ Maxx and Target and then headed back to the hotel to settle in for the night.

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We spent the night relaxing.  We ordered delicious sandwiches to be delivered from College Carryout and I spent some time at the pool.  It was wonderful.  A vacation in the middle of our vacation was just what the doctor ordered.

The next day was Sunday and if you can believe it, it was even more lazy.  We ate leftovers and never got out of our PJ’s.  For dinner we ordered Chinese to be delivered for dinner and I learned again about the HUGE difference between Maine Chinese food and Chinese food everywhere else..  Heh.

This is what you get in Maine when you ask for Chicken Chow Mien. No joke.

This is what you get in Maine when you ask for Chicken Chow Mien. No joke.

Monday morning we had to wake early and go pick up mom as she had a follow up appt with her eye doctor from her cataract surgery.   The appointment took about an hour just to be told everything looked good and they would see her soon for the surgery on her other eye.


We had been planning to go to the Windsor Fair that afternoon but we decided we needed to tend to Mom’s needs instead.  And what Mom needed was a new computer.  She had accidentally burnt out the fan on her laptop and since it was a six year old laptop, it was more cost effective to buy her a cheap new one than to fix the old one.  Especially since she only used the computer to use Facebook and play simple games.

We stopped at Best Buy (there is still one in Augusta) and found a laptop that would work under 300.00.  While there we decided it might be time to replace mom’s ancient TV that is barely functioning.  The last thing we threw in was a stand up fan to replace mom’s death trap of one that had no protective front cover.

With our good deed done we schlept everything back up to mom’s apartment and Rob set about putting everything together.  Mom was over the moon appreciative and that made it all worthwhile.  🙂

We dined on leftover Chinese food and hit the sack fairly early.

Tuesday morning we woke up and all got ready for the road trip to Bangor so mom could go visit the Hollywood Casino.  When I used to live in Maine, it took about an hour and a half to drive from Augusta to Bangor.  Now, thanks to some interstate improvements and a raise in the speed limit, it only took us an hour.  We arrived, parked and headed into the building.  The only snag we hit was when the security guard told Rob he had to check his man purse, no men were allowed to bring bags into the casino.  Rob contested this as he did when the same thing happened last trip at the Oxford Casino, because my mother and I were allowed to bring our purses in.  Rob finally relented when the security guard told him what he wanted to hear: “We treat the ladies a little differently.”  He just wanted to be justified that it was, in fact, discrimination.


Hollywood Casinos on that Tuesday morning had incredibly tight slots.  We played for a while, but eventually stopped because this trip was about Mom getting to play and not about us losing our shirts in the span of a couple hours.  When even Mom said: “I still have some money, but I can’t see wasting it.” we decided to pack it up and head home.  She got her fill of bells and whistles, but realized she can play the same games at home on facebook for free.

Since we didn’t as long as we expected to at the casino, after we got home Rob and I decided it was a perfect time to hit up the Windsor Fair.  I put out a call on facebook to see if anyone wanted to join us but as it was a last minute invitation, no one could.  No matter, we headed out anyway.

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We had a good time but it was so freaking hot and humid that day that I was glad to get back into the air conditioned car and head home.

On the way home we hit Whipper’s for some a sandwich and some salads and headed back to Mom’s where we ate and headed to bed, completely exhausted.

Wednesday morning we got up and headed over to Waterville to pick up my very favorite cousin Dot.  Dot had more than her fair share of raising me when I was a kid and my parents were divorcing, so it feels weird to call her a cousin.  An Aunt or Grandmother figure would be a much more accurate description of what she is to me.  She is 90 years old, looks about 60 and acts around 40.  She is sharp as a tack and still funny as all get out.  I love her so very much.  We picked her up and headed out to one of my favorite restaurants in Maine called Governor’s.

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The food there is amazing!  I got a meatloaf that was put on top of a slice of homemade bread and topped with a giant scooped of red skinned mashed potatoes and drowned in homemade gravy.  Rob got Lobster Stew and Poutine and we both shared.  So freaking good!!!

After we dropped Dot back off at home as well as Mom at her apartment.  Rob and I grabbed our suitcases and headed out to the second and last hotel of the trip.

This hotel was a Best Western in Waterville.  We chose it specifically because we had signed up for a Paint Nite painting class that night that was being held at the bar that was attached to the hotel.

This was probably the hottest day of the entire trip.  It was well into the 90’s with a very high humidity rate.  After carting everything in from the car to the hotel room I was just spent.  I literally stripped off all my clothes, blasted the AC and laid on the bed for a good fifteen minutes.  It was almost unbearable.


After I recovered we got dressed and headed out to the painting class.  We had done a very similar class on our last trip to Vegas and we very much enjoyed it so we were quite happy when we found a groupon for one in Maine that lined up with our trip.

I turned out to not be in the actual bar itself but in a little event area offshoot of the bar that had it’s own little full bar and a bunch of tables.  We got our canvas’ and picked our spots before getting our drinks and waiting for the class to start.

I would say there were about fifty people there and Rob was the only guy.  Heh.  I told him I bet he wished he was still single!  🙂
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Our paintings

Our paintings


What it was supposed to look like

What it was supposed to look like

The class was a lot of fun, and while our paintings didn’t look exactly like they should have, we had a good time and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Once we were back up in the room we realized that we didn’t have anything lined up for dinner, so Rob headed down to the bar and got us a club sandwich and fries that we devoured and headed to bed.

Thursday morning we went shopping across the street from our hotel at Walmart.  Now that I knew more about the way the items fit I was determined to get some cooler clothes for this hot climate.  I picked up a few things and then we headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready.  That night we were supposed to have a get together at my friend Joleen’s house with some other people but everyone kind of bailed on us.  Not to be deterred, we rallied up with Joleen and decided to have lunch at Big G’s instead.  Big G’s is an amazing deli that serves sandwiches bigger than my head, and I have a pretty big noggin’.  I always get the same thing every time we go.  It’s called the Miles sandwich and it is turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo on their homemade white bread.  It is probably one of the best things I have ever eaten.

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We had a good chat with Joleen and had a fantastic lunch.  We told her of our plans to have dinner at my favorite pizza place Sonny’s, and I’m glad we did.  She informed us that it had recently changed hands and that we would be sorely disappointed.  I was really upset about it until she told us that there was another new place in Waterville that used the same dough as Sonny’s used to and was very comparable taste wise.  She gave us the name of Cappza’s Pizza and we laughed because there was a flier for that very pizzeria in our hotel room for delivery.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel for our last night of relaxation.  We ordered pizza from Cappza’s, watched TV and generally did a lot of nothing.  The pizza, by the way, tasted exactly like I remembered Sonny’s tasting so it was a huge win!

The next day was set to be a jam packed Friday of eating.  We had a breakfast Scheduled at the Purple Cow with my friend Kimmy in Fairfield, a lunch at Bolley’s Hot Dog’s in Augusta with my friend Mariah and dinner at Canton Village in Gardiner with my friend Naomi.  I wasn’t sure how we were going to fit all that food into our belly’s.  Just kidding!  Our stomachs were so stretched out at that point it wasn’t an issue.  😉

As we were getting ready for breakfast on Friday morning, I checked my Facebook to find a message from Kimmy saying she wasn’t feeling well and she was going to bail on breakfast.  No longer in any real hurry, we packed up leisurely and decided we would head back Mom’s house to unpack before our lunch at Bolley’s.

I don’t think we did a whole lot else before heading out to meet with Mariah and her family.  I “met” Mariah online many many years ago.  I’d say probably about 13 years or so, maybe more.  It was back when Livejournal was all the rage for online blogging.  I followed her blog for awhile and once that craze went by the wayside we ended up friends on Myspace and after THAT craze was over we had been friends on Facebook ever since.  I think I originally started following her because it was an active and interesting blog and she was from Maine.  Anyhoo, up until this trip we had never actually met in person.

We had a very pleasant visit.  We met her husband and her two children Ava and baby Emmett.  I got my baby fix for a little while and it was fun to finally connect in person with the person on the screen.

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After lunch we headed back to mom’s but as we parked the car we decided we wanted to walk downtown and see about the piercing place that was down there.  Rob wanted to match the gauge of his left ear piercing with his right ear and I had pretty much decided I was going to finally get the Monroe piercing I had wanted forever.

Even though it was around one in the afternoon on a Friday the shop was closed so we walked around a little more.  There was one more piercing shop around there but their sign said they had moved.  I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

We walked home and enjoyed the view of the bridge next to my mom’s apartment building.

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We putted around mom’s apartment for a bit before it was time to head out with mom to go meet Naomi for a Chinese food dinner.  I’ve known Nae since I was 17 so that makes it…24 years?  Holy crap!  How we met is a really long story, but she was the sister of a friend and I kind of adopted her as my little sister all those years ago.  I got to meet her husband this trip which was nice.  We chose Canton Village because that is where I used to take her and her sister for lunches on my paydays when I was in my very early 20’s.  It is also the first place that Rob met Naomi 14 years ago with her then baby girl Brianna.  We were hoping Bri would join us that night so we could try and recreate the picture we took back then.  It would have involved her getting into a high chair and throwing food on the ground, but if she is anything like Nae was at 15 years old, she would totally be down for it.  Unfortunately, it was just us grown ups.

We all had the buffet and talked for a very long time.  I hadn’t been able to see Nae last trip so it had been four years since I saw her and it was good to reconnect.  I also really liked her husband Dan.  He had a wicked sense of humor and they got along really well.

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After dinner we were just exhausted from all the socializing and food so we headed to bed too long after we got home.

Saturday Kimmy was feeling much better so we met up in the morning at AHOP for breakfast.  I got to see her daughter Emily who I had only met very briefly once before about four years ago at my mom’s yard sale.  It was a good visit and as always the food at AHOP was amazing.

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There is always a happiness and a sadness when I get to go home and meet up with old friends.  I’m so happy that I get to see them again and share another moment in time, but at the same time that I am so glad to reconnect and remember all the good times it makes me sad I can’t see them more often.  I admit, I am the worst person ever to get on the phone.  I talk on the phone for a living so the last thing I want to do is talk on it when I’m in my down time.  I know, it’s horrible, but I really do stay connected mainly through Facebook.  Sometimes though, it’s not the same.  When it comes to people I have known forever (Kimmy can you believe it’s been 27 years since we met??) and been really close to in my past, seeing them again just makes me miss them like crazy.  🙁

Anyways, back home after breakfast, Rob and I started to pack up all of our stuff.  We were due to fly out the next afternoon and we still had a lot of stuff we had bought and or had shipped to my mom’s house so we wouldn’t have to have extra luggage, and it all had to go back to California.

Once we had most of our stuff boxed up to ship back, I got a call from my cousin Tammy asking if she could come visit.  I was pleased she reached out and invited her over to mom’s.

I love my cousins, and I have a lot of them, but while most of them live in the state of Maine, it is rare to be able to meet up with many of them while I am visiting due to work/events/so on and so forth.  The last time that happened was my cousin’s wedding many years ago and the stars have not aligned since.

So the only cousin I got to see this trip was Tammy when she came over that afternoon.  She stayed a lot longer than I expected and we had a really nice chat.


The rest of Saturday was spent packing up our boxes and shipping them back to California.  I honestly don’t remember what else we did that day because I’m a slacker and it has taken me far too long to write this trip report and now everything is fuzzy.

Sunday we woke up and headed out to breakfast at Friendly’s with mom.  After we were done we headed up to visit my Auntie Donna for  a little bit.

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Then it was off to finish packing and catch a cab to the airport where it was absolutely deserted and deliciously freezing.  It was the best air conditioning we had experienced the entire trip and we thoroughly enjoyed it.


After getting on our puddle jumper and a small layover in Boston, I was delighted to find the plane back to San Jose had wifi!  And there was a Buffy marathon on the TV!  It was honestly one of the best flights I have ever taken and since I hate to fly, that says a lot.

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Once home and rested we decided that this was just the right amount of time for the trip.  It was enough time to do what we wanted to do but also have some downtime on our own to actually “vacation”.  The spacing between staying at my mom’s and hotels was also done perfectly.   Next trip will be planned out accordingly.

It was good to see everyone and catch up, but I was so happy to get home to my babies and sleep in my own bed.

Next time I’ll try to do a trip report as it happens instead of two months later.  I might remember more.

Toe No!!!

So when I ran the half marathon in November, I thought I would be proactive about my blisters on my feet.    The two last toes on my right foot tend to fold under my other toes and make really bad blisters when I walk at any distance.   Both those toes were already recovering from blisters from my training when I got to Vegas for the half.

I didn’t do a whole lot of training once I got there and by that I mean none at all, so I didn’t think much about my feet the first few days.

When the race finally came up I decided to nip the blisters that I always get in the bud and wrap my two little toes in blister band aids.  You know, the kind that are made of some sort of cushy plastic, but have no pad in the middle, it’s just a huge thing of sticky cushy plastic.  I put one on each of my little toes on my right foot.

Honestly, I felt I had done a great job.  The last time I ran this race, I felt a blister pop on both those toes by mile 8 and every step was agony after that.

This time, I felt like something happened around mile twelve and it hurt after that but I was almost at the finish at that point.  I sooooo didn’t care.

Rob met me at that finish line and led me back up to our hotel room at the Flamingo.  As we got to the room he realized he had forgotten his hotel room key and would have to go back downstairs to get a replacement.  I didn’t care, but I told him I was sitting down in the hallway and taking off my shoes.  He said no problem and disappeared to go get his new key.

As I took of my shoes and socks, the first thing I noticed was that the two blister band aids I had put on my two little toes on my right foot had FUSED TOGETHER.   I had to pull the plastic apart and it was painful.  As I pulled most of the band aid off my pinky toe I noticed there was a huge blood blister there and the two nail seemed “squishy”.  It freaked me out so I stopped playing with it because I had never had anything like that happen before.

Eventually Rob got back up and we went into the room.

I soaked in a tub but tried not to submerge that foot, just in case, and we went to bed.

The rest of the trip I wore flip flops and was very careful about that toe.  Eventually, the swelling went down and it appeared to be okay but something told me that the toenail wasn’t quite right.

It’s been a month now since the marathon and just recently the skin started to peal around that nail.  I have worn flip flops constantly  since the race but the last two days I had social obligations.  A Christmas party and a Christmas play, so I wore socks and very loose fitting boots.

This morning, I noticed as I was waking that my pinkie toe was hurting when I flexed my toe.  I finally took a good look and…yup, I’m going to lose this nail.  Most of it is already broken off but it is hanging on by a very small thread and I am not willing to break that off.

The whole thing FREAKS ME OUT!  I’ve never had this happen before and it’s a very skeevy kinda thing.

So I have put it back on with a band aid to keep it where it should be.

All of my friends who run marathons have told me this is very normal and it will grow back and blah blah blah, but damn!!  Freaky!!!!


Reno Trip Report Part One

We left for Reno right about 5:30 after work for Reno. We used to visit Reno with more frequency when we lived in Phoenix and it was only a four hour drive or so but we hadn’t been since moving out here to Cali 8 years ago. Neither of us were prepared for the crazy twisty turny race car freeway traffic that awaited us once we turned on the 80 to Reno. I had been trying to nap but the car was swerving so much I took a peek at what was out the front windshield. When I saw the mad rush of cars and semi trucks spiraling up the highway at breakneck speeds I immediately put my sleep mask back on and laid back down. There would be no sleeping after that but I knew better than to try and sit up and see what was happening. That would be panic attack city.
Anyhoo, we made really good time and got to the hotel by 11:00 PM. For such a large hotel we were both surprised that there was no parking structure, but we shrugged and were glad we had on our walking shoes.
For some reason 11:15 on a Friday night was a mad rush hour at the check in desk as we discovered there was quite a long line. It did move fairly swiftly although did have to listen to the lady in front of us bitching about how she was there to change her room because her bed was too small for her.
Once we checked in we headed up to the room and discovered two double beds even though I had booked a king. Not one to let that shit bother us we quickly made the other bed the suitcase holder/catch all,
We were both pretty worn out and neither of us wanted to venture downstairs but it was getting after midnight and we would need to eat before going to bed so I put on my big girl panties and headed down to the little cafe to get two overpriced sandwiches and an Oreo parfait for Rob.
The rest of the night we just ate and watched TV before falling asleep.

This morning I woke up as Rob was grabbing more water from the maid service(it’s free with the groupon we had). We got up and puttered a bit before heading down to get the buffet. The free vouchers we rcvd with our groupon stated we got free breakfast buffets and the actual comp ticket said breakfast/brunch. So the night before I had called to see when the brunch ended and the lady on the other end told me at two. So you can imagine my surprise when we got there and were told breakfast was over and brunch was only on Sundays. Meh.
We shrugged and went over to get our players cards instead. After that we walked around getting the layout of the casino. We checked out the spa floor where the fast food places were. I kinda wanted to do the Round Table lunch buffet but Rob opted out saying Pizza was too hard to resist.. We kept walking and found this cute little shop that had lots of toys and stuffed animals in it. We got a couple of things and then I declared I was starving so we dropped off the bag in the room and headed down to the buffet.
Not being free I didn’t feel it was really worth the 30 something we paid for the two of us but it was decent enough and the food was quite good. Gonna stick to the free comps from now on though.
After lunch we played a couple of different slot machines and ended up down 13 dollars or so before heading up to the room.
Rob had brought his laptop with him to work on his new CD’s but he forgot the bluetooth dongle to make his keyboard work(long story involving leaving his laptop out in the rain one day) so he was SOL. We had already decided today(saturday) was going to be a relax around the room day since it would be pretty busy at the casino tonight but now he didn’t have the project to work on.
When we drove in last night we saw a Walmart across the street from the hotel so I tossed up the idea of heading over there and then it was agreed that we should WALK over there to work off the lunch and dessert we had just pigged out on. And that is just what we did.
I figure it was a half a mile each way so we got in about a mile walk, got some fresh air and got some much needed things we forgot at home and other things…like this snazzy little bluetooth keyboard for my iPad. I’d been wanting one forever. I love my iPad and iPhone so much that it pretty much eliminates the need for me to bring my laptop on trips, except for writing trip reports like this. This keyboard will work with both the pad and the phone plus it’s small and rechargeable. I love it already!!!
Now we are settled into the hotel chilling out and no longer guilty about the lunch we had. I figure we’ll go down later and get a pizza from Round Table but right now I think I’m going to lay down and read my book.
I love vacations. 🙂

Maine trip continued

Friday night was date night. We knew we we wanted to see if there was local theater here on this trip so we were pleasantly surprised to find Maine’s longest running theater company a mere fifteen minutes from Mom’s house. We were really excited that they were actually in the middle of a run while we are here so we quickly reserved two tickets to the Friday night showing of “Picnic”.

We were hoping to find a coffee shop to sit at for a bit before the show but all we found open in downtown Hallowell were bars. After a walk up and down the main drag it was time for the doors to open anyway so we made our way to the theater and took our seats.

The theater itself was quite lovely. A large spiral staircase led up into the auditorium area where the large space was lightly air conditioned by two window units that were turned off during the show.


The show was nice. The acting was good and the story was easy to get lost in, however the seats were pretty uncomfortable and the heat was pretty overwhelming. Overall it was a very enjoyable show and Rob and I had a really fun time.

Back at Mom’s I relaxed with a large plastic wine glass full of cheap red wine and diet sprite while eating pub mix right out of the canister. I like to keep it classy.


Saturday we didn’t have any plans set. We woke up and putted around the apartment, finally hanging the pictures that mom has been keeping on the floor half two years.



We decided to make Saturday a lazy day. We had a lot going for the rest of the trip so we decided to give ourselves a rest beforehand.

We had Chinese food delivered and watched the Indiana Jones marathon on the TV.

I have to say here that Chinese food is very different in Maine from what we get in California. When I lived here, it was what I was used to, but I forgot all about “chicken fingers” Which are just deep fried chicken tenders in fluffy golden dough that is about a 1/2 inch thick all around the chicken. And fried rice that is so saturated in soy sauce and over cooked that its a deep brown color and so salty and dry that you can barely eat it.

Anyhoo, that didn’t stop us from eating it all.

Sunday morning I slept in and then we got ready to head out to pick up my auntie Donna. She looked really good and was just the spitfire I remembered. Once we had her in the car we drove up to Waterville to meet my cousins Dot and Helen at Governor’s restaurant for lunch. Dottie and Helen looked the same as always. It was very good to see them. Dot had a good hand in raising me when I was a kid. My brother and I spent many nights at her house when my parents weren’t getting along.

Governor’s is a Waterville staple. It has amazing food at good prices and has lots of local favorites like Mac and cheese with hot dogs. 🙂 Mom and I ate there quite a bit when I lived here.

It was just as good as I remembered and if I could, I think I would eat there every meal. 🙂 I got the Haddock Au Gratin and Rob got the New England Benedict(brown bread, baked beans, ham and egg with spicy ketchup) but the most interesting part was the deep fried pickles that we got as an apetizer.

The best part wasn’t the food though, it was getting to hang out with my family.

That night we chilled out in front of the TV again and tried to adjust to the time change. Just for fun, I played around with the Priceline app on my iPad. What I found was I could get a three star hotel in Waterville for 80 bucks after taxes and fees. Well, there was only one three star hotel in Waterville and it was going for over a hundred before taxes, so we knew which one it was and since we figured it was time for a break from our stay at moms, we booked it for the next night.

On Monday we woke up and hit the AHOP for breakfast. That is not to be confused with IHOP. This is the Augusta House Of Pancakes. No affiliation, just awesome breakfasts. I got the breakfast pizza and Rob got the Big Bob’s Breakfast.

Once we had full bellies we went back to moms to pack up and kill some time before check in.
On the way to Waterville we stopped at another Must Eat restaurant for the trip: Big G’s.  On the last trip that Rob and I took here there was a little cork board that had some pictures of various people wearing Big G’s shirts and next to that was a rack of the shirts for sale. We bought one each because we love local souvenirs like that. A while later, back home I snapped a pic of Rob playing guitar at the Monterey County Fair wearing that shirt and emailed it over to the restaurant. On this trip it was framed on the wall with an excerpt of the email. Pretty cool.


We both got sandwiches and a monster peanut butter whoopie pie  and headed off to the hotel.


We relaxed our faces off that night. I hit the pool and the hot tub and was in bed early. It was sooooooo nice.

To be continued…

Maine Trip Part One

Our latest travel adventure started on Wednesday. We were to take the red eye out that night so we both went to work that day. I’m not a good flier. At All. So I spent all day at work getting more and more nervous about the impending flight. I had pretty much worked myself into a lather by the time I got out of work and we had to drive up to San Jose. Rob’s work ran a little long and with that and the traffic backed up on 68, Rob had gotten himself worked into a different lather about how late we were going to be getting to the airport.

After finally getting on the freeway we calmed down a bit until we missed the airport exit and had to double back around on the other side of the freeway where the traffic was at a standstill. Still, all was fine. We made it to the airport in time to get two seats together on the plane and still had some time to spare.

We had apparently neglected to pick our seats when we first bought the tickets back in April so there had been a chance we weren’t going to be able to sit together on this flight. Since we requested it at the gate we actually got upgraded to the first row which is an “extra legroom” row. It was pretty cool at first until we realized we didn’t have a tray table in front of us. It came up from the armrest and while that might work well for skinny people… *ahem*

It was also right in front of the galley where they prepared the snacks, the pilots entrance was and also where the front lavatory was. That is a lot of activity on a flight where all I wanted to do was sleep.

The flight itself was pretty good and I found myself not nearly as nervous as I thought I was going to be. Once again, just as I was on the drive to and from Gilroy, I was more nervous about BEING nervous. That is so messed up…gotta work on that.

So the five hour flight was pretty smooth. There were little mini tv’s on the wall in front of us so I watched some tv for a while. My eyes started to close after a couple hours so I pulled out my Ipod Shuffle with the white noise on it and put in my headphones but there was no sleep to be had. Everytime I started to drift someone would walk up to the bathroom#I was on the aisle seat# or they would close a loud compartment in the galley. Also, I’m not as young as I used to be and my hips and knees were starting to hurt from being in the seat for so long.

Still, I’m not complaining because I didn’t have any panic attacks and the time passed rather quickly. Once on the ground in Boston, we were faced with a three and a half hour layover. After a small attempt at sleeping in the hard plastic chairs at our gate I decided it wasn’t an option and the dingy carpet didn’t look that inviting so I went off in search of our first Dunkin Donuts coffee of the trip. Cinnamon with cream and sugar. Liquid Candy as my sister in law calls it. After that we just played around on our phones and Ipads until it was time to board the little ten seater prop plane. Last time we took this trip we were the only ones on the flight but this time it was nearly full. Including a well over six foot tall man that just looked at the tiny plane with a mixture of terror and doubt. And he did hit his head a couple of times trying to get in.

That flight was more nerve wracking than the first because it was foggy and cloudy so we couldn’t see anything around us. Thank goodness it was only an hour flight.

We landed on time in Augusta without incident. Mom was already at the airport waiting for us so we grabbed our bags and headed out to the car. From there we made a trip to Hannaford’s grocery store to get some supplies for the trip before we headed back to moms apartment to settle in for a bit. After relaxing for a bit we headed back out to get some lunch at Damon’s after a quick trip to the pawn shop and a music store for Rob to get a guitar to use on the trip.

Back home I was fading fast so Rob inflated our new air mattress that we had delivered to moms apartment prior to our visit. We showered and relaxed for quite a while before hitting the hay very early evening.

After sleeping for 15 hours I woke up refreshed and ready to take on the rest of my vacation. It was already almost eleven so we got dressed and headed out to Friendly’s for some brunch.

Once our belly’s were full we stopped over to Target to get some more supplies we didn’t realize we needed the day before and now we are back home chilling out for a bit. We just made our own pizza from a kit we got at Hannaford’s and now we are going to shower and get ready for the play we are going to see tonight. It’s called “Picnic” and is playing at The Gaslight Theater in Hallowell. I’m pretty excited about that. Even going to get dressed up. 😀

About Me


I am a 50 something married woman living in California.
I enjoy music and traveling, watching crap movies, snuggling with my two adorable dogs and trying to be a good person.

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