Saturday, August 19, 2017

down on the strip

Good morning.
We didn't get down to the strip on Thursday, we instead went Friday.  The reason is I found a Groupon for the Beer Park which is right next to the Eiffel Tower. And after I printed it out and read the fine print, found out it couldn't be used with-in 24 hours of purchase. I had never seen that type of restriction before, but not a big deal as we're retired and we could go any day!    :-)
So, we drove down on Friday morning. It takes a good 30-40 minutes to get down there with the traffic. We were able to park at the Paris Hotel/casino. They have free parking for NV residents. At least right now. Parking anywhere on the strip used to be free, but one after another started charging for parking and now they all pretty much do. At least, right now, they give residents free parking.
And here's a pic inside the Casino I took while waiting for the elevator to take us to the top.
Here's a stock pic of the tower. It's pretty tall! but only about half as tall as the original. This one is 50 stories tall. They couldn't build it any taller because of being so close to the airport.
They have the entire platform covered with screening so the only way you can get decent pics is out those small openings. But I got a few good ones...

Above, the tall gold tower in the back middle is the Trump Tower. The mountains behind are the Sheep Mountains. Our house is w-a-y back at the base of those mountains.

Then after viewing the scenery for a while we went back down the elevator and over to the Beer Park
The Beer Park is about one story above the street. It looks like a big outdoor deck. We got seats along the edge and good views up and down the strip. I got a special Groupon. It gave me 40% off a purchase. So this Groupon, which was $26 for $40 worth of food and drink, only cost my $13.   :-)
After there, we wandered down the street to Bally's which has a large outdoor bazaar and a lot of little bars and restaurants.
We had a couple of drinks and did a lot of people watching.
Then we wandered back to the Paris Casino, and made our way back to the parking garage, without stopping at one slot machine, and drove back home. Because it was late afternoon and rush hour, it took us nearly an hour to get back home. Another reason we don't go down to the strip very often. But we had a very enjoyable time. It's fun to see all the tourists, but nice to be back in our quiet neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

busy week!

Good afternoon.
Well, it's been a busy week so far. Sunday we went to a karaoke competition at a bar down near downtown. It was really lame. But they did have good food and drinks.   :-)
On Monday, the house painter's came and power washed the house.  Tuesday we went down near the strip to see a taping of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire! Got free tickets and really enjoyed the experience. It was fun seeing a show produced and being in the audience. While we were at the taping, which lasted just over 4 hours, our home was painted.
Here's a before and after look....

I know, doesn't look any different. But if we wanted the colors changed, we would have had to submit it to the ARC committee. And we did like the color of our home to begin with. Now it looks nice and 'fresh'. But better yet, they patched cracked ceiling plaster on the patio and caulked and even removed an old satellite TV bracket on the side of the house I couldn't get off. We were very pleased with the work.
And here's a couple of pics I took at the taping....

They did 3 1/2 shows during the 4 hours we were there. The taping was for Veterans week and they had a lot of vets there in the audience and of course trying for the Million Dollars. So if you want to see us on the show, look for Millionaire during veterans week in Nov.  But good luck, we were seated in the top row behind Chris Harrison, the host. No one we watched got a Million, but one got to 50,000.
They even at one point called on an audience member to answer a question for $1000.00 I didn't get called, but damn! I knew the answer! Wouldn't that have been fun!
Then today, we went to the weekly senior slot tournament and neither of us got even close to the cut-off. Maybe next week.   :-)
Tomorrow, we head back down to the strip to use free passes we got for being in the audience on Millionaire. We get to go up the Eiffel tower! Should be a great view from up there. I'll try to remember to take a pic.   :-)
Well, Craig's calling dinner, so got to go!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1 year already

Good morning.
It's been a busy week so far. Wed we did our free weekly senior slot tournament  and once again, I made it into the top 50 and won $25! That's 3 times now and it doesn't cost us a thing! We don't even stay and play so it's just free money! Thursday was haircut day. Friday was Craig's last appointment with the Orthopedic surgeon for his finger. He has good flexibility with it but still a lot of scar tissue. The doctor says it will soften over time. Keep massaging it and use vitamin e oil.
Today, is exactly 1 year since we 'retired'.  It's been great! We still like our home, still like our neighborhood and still like southern Nevada. It's a bit hot in the summer, but we'll take the summer heat for 2 months over the bitter cold for 4 months. And I can still go out in the morning before it gets too warm. It's 79 out this morning. Perfect weather for a walk, which I'll do as soon as I finish this post.
And here's a few pics of my walk yesterday morning which took me around the community center...



This last pic is our street. Our house is way down on the left. And that's the Sheep Mountains in the distance. We had lunch at the 3100 Grille on Thursday and the dining area overlooks the golf course and mountains. I still haven't tired of that view. it's similar to the top pic.
But in honor of our 1 year, we're going to splurge and have frozen pizza for dinner. We like the Freschetta brand. Craig just adds a little more cheese. Don't we live the wild life?   :-)
Well, time for my walk....

Thursday, August 10, 2017

luggage, paint, and a full moon.

Good morning.I've just returned from another nice walk. Another beautiful morning.   :-)
Here's a few pics I took over the last 3 days of a full moon. You'll probably want to click the pic to see it better.
These first two pics have the moon just above the Spring Mountains, which are a ways west of our community.

The above pic was taken near the golf course.
And this last pic was taken just around the corner from our house.
We finally found a new piece of luggage that will work for us....
It's a duffel bag on wheels.
It has a handle that pulls out of a zippered compartment for ease of hauling. It's not exactly what we wanted, but it's smaller than our big suitcase and larger than our carry-ons, so should work good for us. And best of all?  We looked at Target, Walmart, Kohl's, Stein Mart, T.J. Maxx, and Ross. But we finally found it at K-Mart! I even looked online at Amazon and E-Bay, but K-Mart had the best price and the size we wanted.
And a couple of days ago, a man came to our house soliciting house painting. His company was painting a house down the street, and of course, trying to drum up more business. We kinda have been thinking of repainting, because the house is 11 years old and the paint has faded quite a bit. We have been noticing over the last couple of years quite a few homes in our community have been repainted, and you can certainly notice the difference. I think we should wait a few more years, but Craig thinks we should do it while we still have some money.  So, I've done some research and this company has done dozens of homes in our community and has gotten excellent reviews. And the price is in line with what others paid.  So I think we'll probably go in that direction soon.
Okay, I think that's all for now.

Monday, August 07, 2017

a little update.

Good morning. Just got back from my morning walk. A very nice 78 out this morning although a bit humid at 41%.  :-)
We had a bit of rain a few days ago. Not much at our end of the valley, but over an inch in the southern part of the valley. It seems typical of the rain here in Vegas. We've been here nearly a year now, and most storms seem to come up from the south and just clip the southern edge of the valley.
Here's a couple pics from the back yard.....
The new Crape Myrtle we planted a month before our trip is doing very well, and the Purple Spreading Lantana are filling out nicely. The Bougainvillea vine to the far left is blooming okay but not like I was expecting. I think next spring, I'll put it in a bigger pot and see if that helps.
The 2 Bells of Fire bushes are going gangbusters. I think I need to cut them back to help them fill in more. And here's a pic of a beautiful sunrise yesterday morning.
It certainly didn't show up in the pic, but the sun was glowing from behind the clouds. Looked real nice in person.   :-)
My laptop that died on our trip is back!  I finally ended up having to do a complete re-install of the operating system. That means everything that was on the puter is now gone. It's like a brand new out of the box puter. But that's okay as I only use it for burning DVDs and playing games and web surfing on trips. So I'm happy I was able to save it.
And we're enjoying the comfort and laziness of home after our long trip. I'm making a couple of changes to the back yard and I'll post some pics when I'm done. Nothing major just some continued tweaking.   :-)
And we're on the search for another suitcase. Our med size one Kinda fell apart during our trip and is repairable. It was nice because it wasn't huge and had two separate compartments. So far, we haven't seen anything like it, but we are going out again today to another group of stores.
So that's it for now!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Day 14 - 19 and home.

Good morning.
Day 14 took us from Dwight Ill. , just a little south of 80-90 on highway 55 to 72 over to Hannibal Mo where we stopped for lunch and a quick visit. And of course, forgot to take any pics. Then we landed in Chillicothe MO for the night.  The next day (15) was Goodland Kansas, just near the Colorado border. About an hour and a half from Chillicothe, and just past Kansas City, I realized I didn't have my hearing aid. Then I remembered instead of taking it out in the evening and putting it with my billfold and money, I had gone to bed with it and at one point remembered and took it out and set it on the night stand.  The next morning I obviously did not notice it on the night stand when we packed up and left. I called the hotel and housekeeping had found it and it was at the front desk. I asked if they could mail it to my house since we were already 1 1/2 hours away and didn't want to go back if possible.  I offered to send a check to reimburse them for the cost. The person I spoke to said they could. I wondered the rest of the way home if they really would. Well, when we got home there was a card from the post office that they had a package for me and sure enough, it was my hearing aid. And it was packed inside 2 pieces of  plastic suspended in a plastic bag. Absolutely no way it could have been damaged. I was so happy to get it back in excellent condition, I wrote him a check for $50 over the amount of shipping and mailed it out.
Okay, on day 16, we left Goodland and to avoid Denver, we cut over to Colorado Springs on state road 24. That wasn't the best plan as there was road construction and it was just a 2 lane road. The 72 mile segment to Colorado Springs took us 2 1/2 hours! But fortunately we had scheduled an 8 hour total segment, so we still arrived in Santa Fe by 4:30 thanks also to the time change.
We spent 2 nights in Santa Fe (day 17) so we had an entire day to enjoy the city. It was very busy as they were having an enormous art fair!
It covered blocks and blocks of the old section of the city. We did a lot of looking but didn't buy a thing! It was beautiful weather, the same we'd had for the entire trip so far, but quite humid. We had lunch on a balcony overlooking the square.

We had some type of nacho dish but with Frito's. It was yummy!
Back at the hotel, I started up my laptop to check e-mails and such and after it loaded windows, it froze........
I couldn't surf, I couldn't check e-mails, and I couldn't do anything beyond the main screen. Everything was locked. I couldn't access  documents, no system files, and even my antivirus was disabled! I must have gotten something bad when I was checking Santa Fe sights that morning. I tried everything I could think of but nothing worked. The only hope I would have was back home using my desktop for research. So I had no puter the rest of the trip.   :-(
But we had just a couple of days left on our trip, so I survived.  :-)
Day18 took us to Laughlin NV. But not very quickly......
More road construction. Must have been backed up for miles as slow as the traffic moved. I don't know why it was so slow. We were down to one lane, but even then, it was very slow.
Anyway, we finally made it to Laughlin....Here's a pic from our window.....
The Colorado river is over on the left.
Was a nice stay in a free room.   :-)
Since we've stayed here in the past, they e-mail me offers all the time. Either discounted rooms or free rooms. That's why we decided to stop here instead of driving the last 2 hours to Vegas. It was already a nearly 9 hour drive thanks to construction. And this way we'd get home nice and early in the day.
So, to recap..... 19 days. 5270 miles, 12 different hotels, one lost hearing aid and a dead laptop.  But nice visits with many people, good weather the entire trip, and made it home safe.    :-)

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Day 8 - 13

Good morning.
Day 8 took us over to Lansing where we spent 4 nights at the Crown Plaza. A very nice hotel on the west side of town close to where we worked and lived. I used points to get very discounted rates.   :-)
It was a busy 4 days. Nearly every day lunch and dinner or drinks with people. It was nice seeing everyone. Thursday lunch with friends and former customers at Bravo's, then drinks and dinner with a friend at Reno's East. Friday, day 9, we had lunch at Panera's with a former customer. We stopped in at the Salon after that to see a customer and stylist, and had drinks at Oade's. And later, we met most of out previous staff at Reno's for dinner, drinks and conversation. 
Saturday, day 10, we stopped at a friends house and had lunch at the riverfront restaurant downtown.
Then it was back to Reno's West.
Sunday morning, day 11, we went out and it was only 64 out. brrr!   :-)
Had breakfast/lunch with my brother Bruce, his wife Tammy and son Ben at Dimitri's.  Food was just okay. The potatoes had so much pepper neither Bruce nor I could eat them.  :-/
But it was great seeing everyone. And Monday, day 12 we headed back to Muskegon one more time to spend the afternoon with my Mom. Took her to lunch at Pizza Hut and then to the Eagle's for pull tabs and drinks. Dropped her off and headed back to the beach one more time.
Tuesday, day 13 had us leaving Michigan and going into Chicago for the day. Traffic was very thick with stop and go all the way in to town. But we made it to Navy Pier and enjoyed the skyline, food and drinks.


From there, we headed out of Chicago, again in heavy traffic and landed in Dwight Ill for the night.
Day 14 - 19 to follow.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Day 1-7 of our road trip.

Good afternoon.
Well, our 19 day road trip started on Thursday, July 13th. We left Las Vegas in the morning, driving about 8 hours to Grand Junction CO where we spent the first night. We planned the trip so we would only drive about 8 hrs each day. Didn't want to stress ourselves should weather or construction hinder us.  But we had no problems with either for the first 10 days.   :-)
Day 2 took us to  North Platte NE.
Since we were spending so much time in so many hotels we decided to cut costs and stay at Super 8'S. That ended up being hit or miss.   :-)
Grand Junction was just old and icky. But the bed was clean and bed bug free. And we were only spending the night.  North Platte was a bit better. Then day 3 took us to  Coralville Iowa just outside of Iowa City. There, there was a chair that was pretty smelly. Craig sat on the bed.  :-)
From there on day 4 it was Toledo Ohio where we had the nicest Super 8 of the trip! That was good since we spent 2 nights here.  The next morning (day 5) we drove over to Maumee Bay State Park where we had been several times with our motor home. A nice state park on Lake Erie just a few miles outside of Toledo. We then headed back to downtown Toledo to go to the Libby Outlet Store, where we found some nice cocktail glasses. Then a few blocks down the street to get our Tony Packo's fix, They have very yummy Hungarian Chili Dogs!.
We ate here every time we took the motor home to Maumee Bay State Park.
Then on day 6, we drove into Michigan, past Lansing over to Muskegon where we stayed at a very nice Holiday Inn downtown. We spent the extra money because it was close to my mom and I get good points.  :-)
Here's a view from our room...

That's Muskegon Lake in the distance. We spent 2 nights here visiting my Mom a bit on Tuesday day 6, and all day on Wed. day 7.  Cut here hair that hadn't been cut since I left, and took her out to lunch at Red Lobster and then to the VFW for drinks and pull tabs. After we dropped her off back at her apartment, we headed over to Lake Michigan, where we had a drink at a beach bar/restaurant.
Weather was beautiful! We've had good weather for every day of the trip so far.   :-)
On the way back to the car I spotted this guy....
He had a lounge chair on top of his SUV and a cooler enjoying the weather. Apparently he doesn't like beach sand.   :-)
It was good seeing my Mom after nearly a year. From here we headed back to Lansing.
I'll do another post hopefully tomorrow.

Monday, July 31, 2017

We're back!

We just finished a 19 day road trip . 13 states, 12 different hotels and 5270 miles.
Didn't have enough time to see everyone we wanted.
Will post about the trip when I get some time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

doctor and insurance rant

Good morning.

This is a bitch post about doctors, so if you were looking for something interesting to read, you might want to leave now.
Craig goes to Healthcare Partners. He sees a NP called Matthew Espinosa.  NP stands for Nurse Practitioner. He's fairly close and our neighbor Gary goes to him. Anyway, they can't seem to get Craig's prescriptions straight. Twice now he called to have  a particular prescription refilled and and they called in tablets instead of capsules. You'd think it should be no big deal as long as they were the same strength, but the tablets cost $130 where the capsules cost $8.  :-/   So, he has to recall the office and have them change it. Don't they write this stuff down?
But an even bigger issue........
So when I needed a doctor, I called his office, confirmed they took my insurance, and made an appointment.  About a month later, I received a notice from my insurance that the office visit claim was denied because they were out of network. So, I called the office to find out they indeed do not take my insurance. Long story short, They apologized and forgave my bill. So, Then I had to find a new doctor. This time, I went online to my insurance company website, and used them to find a doctor.  I decided on Dr Fihn at Well Health. I've seen him twice now and I like him. But for some reason, Health Partners has been billing my insurance company for office visits. One in April and one in June.  I  called health care to find they don't bill the insurance, the individual doctors do. I'd need to call my insurance to find out who was billing them. I was sure it was Mr Espinosa, so I called my insurance company to make sure. Well, it turns out it was Dr Fihn doing the billing.  Long story short, Their practice has switched over to Healthcare Partners as of May 1st.
They apologized and said they were trying to negotiate with my insurance company.
So, now it looks like I'll have to look for another doctor again! But, I also got an e-mail from my insurance company stating that they are not going to make as many plans available next year on the health exchange. I'll find out later this summer if mine is one of them. And then, if Obamacare does get repealed and replaced, I may not be able to afford any insurance. Time will tell.
Okay, I'm done now.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A new look for now.

I'm sure your seeing my blog a bit different today.
When I started my blog w-a-y back in 2006,  I altered the standard template so I could have the planet header and stars background. Well, My pics were hosted on Photobucket all these years. Recently Photobucket stopped doing 3rd party hosting unless you had a paid account. Well, I'm one who doesn't pay for anything I don't have to so while I'm trying to figure out how I changed the template and find another hosting site, I'm using blogger templates.

A catchup post

Good morning.
The heat continues, but so does the sunshine.   :-)
I've been walking every morning, and we've been going to the fitness center nearly every afternoon.
Here's a not so great pic of a full moon I took a couple of days ago on my early morning walk.
And yesterday, when I went to put out the trash, this Road Runner was at the end of my driveway.
But by the time I got my phone out and camera on it was already half way across the street.
Craig had his last PT appointment Monday. His finger is doing very well. He still has a lot of scar tissue that the therapist said would take up to a year to get better. But it's now straight, and he has good flexibility with it.
And even though the neighborhood has been very quiet with so many neighbors gone, I've been busy helping. One neighbor I've been getting their mail while they are in Alaska. They'll be home this Friday. Another neighbor I was watering their pots while they spent a week in Flagstaff. Another neighbor I've been going in once a month to run their water down drains and flush the toilets while they are gone all summer.
Also, we actually had some rain yesterday. Mid July through August, I believe, is our monsoonal period. We can get these sudden heavy downpours. Yesterdays only last a couple of minutes.
Well that's about it. I'm taking another bag of 2 liter bottles to the Farm this morning after I do my walk. So time to get.

Friday, July 07, 2017

hot and cooking

Good afternoon.
We're under another heat wave as temps today are forecast to tie a record at 114. That's pretty hot! But I went out this morning and did my walk in a nice 87 and 1% humidity.   :-)
 After my walk, I blew out all the dead leaves from the stones in the front yard and bagged them up. We have an African Sumac as our main tree in the front yard, and apparently in the early summer, it 'sheds' much of it's older leaves. I'm assuming it's a response to the heat. Kind of like when back in Michigan, pines lose old needles in the fall as a means to preserve moisture in the winter.
So despite the heat, I'm still able to enjoy part of the day outside. And, I still have yard work to do.   :-)
Here's a new dish we did last week.
Slow-Cooker Spicy Cheddar Chicken Cornbread
It was really good! Got it from the Betty Crocker website.
You can see the recipe here.....here
And here's a couple of pics from my walk this morning.... 
The pic didn't turn out good, but it's a light pink Crape Myrtle. Most I've seen are dark pink
And 3 flower stalks on these Desert Spoon Yuccas.
And now it's time to go over to the fitness center.    :-)

Sunday, July 02, 2017

a nice walk.

Good morning.
Just got back from my morning walk. Took a few pics.....
The orange flowered bush is a Bird of Paradise. I have one in my back yard, but it's pretty small right now. This one is planted next to a 'Casita'. A casita is basically a detached tiny home in front of the regular house. It has no kitchen, but does have a full bath, closet and living space. There are many in our community. It's nice for guests as they have their own place to retire to after visiting. I've also heard that there are a number of adult children that also live in them with their parents in the main house.


It was very pleasant out this morning with temps at 81 and 1% humidity.
I've been making numerous 'dates' for when we go back to Michigan. I've gotten a number of calls and e-mails. Our schedule is filling up. But it will be nice to see everyone. I've been writing everything down so I can keep track of who we're meeting, when and where.
Not doing anything special for the 4th. I've read that the strip hotels will be at 95% capacity. That is a lot of people!
Well everyone have a great 4th!
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