Tuesday, March 30, 2010
OK, so this may not be the most GLAMOROUS subject for a post... but I happen to know that A LOT of us are cat lovers... and as a cat lover, one of the necessary duties is Ye Old Litter Box. Scoopin' the poop certainly isn't anyone's favorite activity, but it must be done!
Well, I found a litter scoop that is head and shoulders above the competition, and I feel like it is my sworn duty to pass along this information! ;o)
It's called the Litter Lifter and oh man, does this thing make easy work of the job. Instead of scooping, sifting, dumping, re-scooping, re-sifting, dumping... you just push this uniquely-designed (and absolutely NOT flimsy!) scoop through the litter, like a rake. The clean litter just passes right through, leaving behind only *the goods*. ;o)
I'm serious... it's almost amazing! (Or else I am just really easily impressed?!!!)
Anyway... it comes in lots of fun colors, too... and the best part? Less than $10 at pet stores or online.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Simplify. This is something I feel strong strongly about... and try to make a priority in my life. It's much easier said than done, though!
We tend to think of *things* first when we think of simplifying -- and this makes perfect sense because, unfortunately, the world we live in does not, in general, promote simplification. On the contrary, we as consumers are inundated with the messages: Buy! Replace! Upgrade! Get new! Get better! Get faster! Get bigger! Get more, more, MORE! "Keeping up with the Jones's" could be our national motto.
And hey, believe me... I love my *stuff* as much as the next girl... but here's the problem with STUFF. You have to devote so much TIME to it. *Stuff* typically needs maintained, upkept, dusted, cleaned, organized, and insured. And we worry about our stuff... so much can happen to it -- it can get broken, lost, or stolen. And when we get too much stuff, it starts to become clutter... and we can start to feel a bit claustrophobic... ironically smothered by our own beloved stuff.
But simplifying means MORE than just clearing out *stuff* that you don't need and aren't using. Simplifying, to me, also means working hard to consistently make life choices (large and small) that don't bog us down or complicate our lives. I am a firm believer that the cumulative power of good decisions is the best tool we have to simplify our lives.
One of the best ways, I think, to do this is to be as proactive as possible. Procrastinating or putting off decisions (which is a decision in itself, by the way!) puts us at the mercy of others... and can often put us in situations that are uncomfortable, stressful, or (at best) unnecessary -- a waste of our valuable time. If we are not proactive, we become (by default) REACTIVE... and that's never in our best interests. At that point, it often just becomes damage-control.
What is the advantage of a simpler life? More time to enjoy our lives. Instead of feeling like we are living on the proverbial hamster wheel, running as fast as we can and getting nowhere... we can feel in control of our lives, and our time. This means more time to be able to do the more important things in life... the things that refresh and recharge us, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
And in this crazy, fast-paced world we live in, I think that's a goal well worth striving for.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
I know, I know... my promised travel posts got a little waylaid with Bentley's arrival... hopefully you guys understand! ;o)
OK... so after our visit to Arizona, we spent a week in Las Vegas. It was my first time there. We drove there (from Phoenix) at night and were amazed that you can actually see the glow of Las Vegas over 100 miles away! Myyyyyy, that city is certainly *electrified*! If you were born and raised in Las Vegas, and never left, I don't think you'd ever see a starry night. Coming from where I live, that's a pretty hard thing to imagine!
So, except for the seeming starlessness, we LOVED Vegas! What a wild 'n' crazee city! I told my husband, "I like it here, it's very *SPARKLY*!!!" ;o)
Even the McDonald's is sparkly!!!
The architecture (outside AND inside!) is nothing less than amazing!
These next two pictures (which look like Old World neighborhoods, complete with vintage parking meters) were taken INSIDE a hotel/casino. (For the LIFE of me, though, I cannot remember which one! Sorry!)
My husband liked this - a sculpture made out of canoes!
We aren't gamblers, so what do non-gamblers do in Vegas, you ask?! Well... they eat, they shop, they sight see, they attend shows (and oh, did I mention "eat"?!!)! Believe me, there is plenty to do in Las Vegas, even with gaming out of the equation.
We traveled with my sister and brother-in-law, and we stayed at Polo Towers. They were great tour guides, as they had been to Vegas several times before. They own a huge retail store in PA, so parts of several days we attended a furniture show at World Market. That was a blast! We LOVE furniture, and it was so interesting to see all the different styles and designs, and the upcoming trends.
My husband gives two thumbs up (and a few zzzzz's) to a recliner!
And OH! And guess what? I got to meet Jane Seymour. She was promoting her new lines of furniture. (And oh yeah, some of it is pretty snazzy!)
My sister fell in love with and bought an AMAZING antique trunk... it's huge! Her good-natured hubby had to rent a U-Haul to get it home. Here I am guarding it before loading... at the end of a very fun, but LOOOOONG day!!!
FREE THINGS TO DO IN LAS VEGAS:
One of the things I marveled at in Vegas was all of the fun, FREE attractions. Honestly, it was rather amazing. For example, here are some of the things we enjoyed that didn't cost a penny!
1. The indoor thunderstorm, the fountain shows and the laser light shows in the Miracle Mile Shopping Mall.
2. The musical "dancing waters" outside the Bellagio. Incredible by day or night!
Inside the Bellagio, there's even more to see.
2,000 hand-blown glass flowers shining from the ceiling.
The Indoor conservatory and Botanical Gardens...
(By the way, shopaholics take note: the shopping there in Via Bellagio has some of the best upscale, elite stores in the world, all found under one roof. *Yowza*!)
3. Circus acts every hour at Circus Circus.
4. Lion Habitat at MGM Grand. (NOTE: The lions are only on site from 11 am - 7 pm daily. An employee at the MGM jokingly referred to them as "union workers", and we laughed about "the union lions" all week. (Hilarious mental picture of the lions clocking in at 11 am with their lunch pails and clocking out wearily at 7 pm to head home to their wives and cubs!) ;o)
Those LAZY lions... sleeping ON THE CLOCK!!!
They better be careful or they might get their furry butts fired -- union or no union!
5. The aquarium, rainforest, and the sidewalk volcano show all at the Mirage. VERY impressive... a man made volcano erupts every night with flames and smoke shooting from the top while "molten lava" flows down its sides. (And whoa baby, yes, you can feel the heat!)
6. Mardi-Gras style masquerade "sky show" inside the Rio.
Go to the upper level for a great view of the action -- and you may even catch some beads!
7. "Sirens of TI" -- a modern-musical-meets-action-movie show at Treasure Island that features music, dancing, swordplay, acrobatics, pyrotechnics and even a full size ship sinking. Great fun!
8. The Atlantis Water Show in the Forum Shops at Caesar's. (This show features animatronic statues acting out the story of the fall of Atlantis with fountains, lasers, fire, steam and sound effects.)
A fantastic 50,000-gallon circular salt water aquarium is located there, as well. Feeding times by trained divers are noted, and that's worth seeing, too!
The shopping there in the Forum Shops is great fun, too... and a little more um, "down-to-earth", shall we say, than Via Bellagio. I actually bought a few things here!
My favorite "souvenir" was a little something my boy got me at T&Co! (He's such a GOOD boy!!!) ;o)
9. The Fremont Street Experience - Located off "the strip", a four block long electronic canopy ("The biggest big screen on the planet!") presents spectacular sight and sound shows nightly at dusk. We heard (and saw) "Don McLean's American Pie" - it was fantastic! There's also free live entertainment and lots of interesting shops (and casinos, of course.) A neat place with a fun "retro" feel.
10. Walk along the "streets of Venice" at the Venetian. The street entertainers are free, and so are the AMAZING man-made views. The "sky" (OHMYWORD!), canal and the gondolas (while not free to ride) are SO worth seeing. The Venetian was my favorite hotel/casino in all of Las Vegas... but maybe that was just a subconscious kinship to my Italian roots!
Yes, these pictures are INSIDE!
Also, lots of great shopping there in the Grand Canal Shoppes.
We spent a few hours one day at Madame Tussaud's interactive wax museum. Yes, yes, I know -- it's corny, kitschy and cheesy (and maybe even a bit CREEPY!) -- but we had a blast! This was where I "married" George Clooney! Read on...
Me and Indiana Jones!
My boy with BRITNEY!
Me and Julia discussed motherhood...
The Divine Ms M was there...
Nic and I discussed his recent financial woes...
Princess Diana was there...
Along with Honest Abe...
My husband chewed the fat with The Duke...
We were served by Wolfgang Puck...
Prince sang Purple Rain to me...
Tim McGraw told me all about Faith and the kids... (they're doing fine, by the way, so don't believe those tabloid rumors...)
My husband whispering to Marilyn (she had TP stuck to her shoes...)
I got into bed with Hef...
And felt Governor Swarchenegger's mucles...
My boy performed with Blue Man Group:
And played a round with Tiger (the cheating LOUSE)...
I got to know Evel Knieivel pretty well...
He even let me ride his bike...
"The Boss" crooned "Dancin' in the Dark" to me...
Me and Bond, James Bond, really hit it off!
Me and Elton... whatta guy!
Whoopie and my boy... (I think she's makin' eyes at him!)
Me and Johnny. He told me all about the next Pirates movie.
Should be a good one!
My husband chats with Cameron... (he says she's kinda ditzy!)
And shoots hoops with Shaq...
Me and The King...
And me and Ol' Blue Eyes...
My boy and Michael Jordan (who's not near as tall as you'd think!)
And THIS is where I married George Clooney. As you can clearly see, it was utterly, incredibly romantic! ;o)
My boy and The Rock...
Shirley Maclaine and my boy.
And we talked about healthcare reform with the Prez...
Of course, we did the *optional* "SCREAM!" -- the live action attraction (aka "Chamber of Horror"!) And I'm tellin' ya', it was surprisingly SKEERY!!!!
And then, amidst the paparazzi and the flash bulbs, we bid adieu!
Yeah, yeah, I know -- we had WAAAAY too much fun there!!!
OK... so, back out to the city... what else did we do in Las Vegas?
My boy loved the car show at The Imperial Palace.
We saw three shows while we were in Vegas:
2. Cirque do Soleil "Mystere" at Treasure Island (my husband LOVE LOVE LOVED this! It was VERY impressive!)
3. Gregory Popovich's Comedy Pet Theatre As shameless animal lovers, we really enjoyed this. The tricks those *ordinary* cats and dogs can do... amazing! And best of all, they were all rescues from local animal shelters!
(I came home all jazzed and told my boys [Boo and Bentley], "Hey guys, I have some great ideas for tricks you can learn!" Those lazy bums, they weren't the least bit interested!!! In fact, I think I heard Boo tell Bentley, "AS IF!!!")
Rita Rudner was performing at Harrah's in Las Vegas when we were there, but unfortunately we didn't get to see her show. Dang, just not enough time!
But since she cracks me up, here are a few of my favorite "Rita" quotes:
1. “I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor’s office was full of portraits by Picasso.”
3. “We’ve begun to long for the pitter-patter of little feet, so we bought a dog. Well, it’s cheaper, and you get more feet.”
4. “I got kicked out of ballet class because I pulled a groin muscle. It wasn’t mine.”
5. “I know I want to have children while my parents are still young enough to take care of them.”
6. “Most turkeys taste better the day after. My mother’s tasted better the day before.”
7. “I admire the Pope. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can tour without an album.”
8. “I don’t plan to grow old gracefully. I plan to have face-lifts until my ears meet.”
9. “I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.”
10. "I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life."
11. “It's been said that neurotics build castles in the air, and psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them.”Now let's talk food, food, glorious food! Las Vegas is famous for its food, and in particular its buffets, and one of the best buffet dinners we had was at the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood. YUUMMM-O! With the beautiful atmosphere and the copious amounts of delicious food, it honestly felt like we were on a cruise ship for the evening, complete with a very doting waiter from India! (When he saw the tip we left on the table, he grabbed it up shamelessly, smiled adorably and said excitedly, "Oh tank you! You make my day!")
It was in Las Vegas that I saw for the first time ever in my apparently naive little life, "All You Can Eat ALL DAY" buffets. Really?! All day???! Only in America!!! ;o)
We sometimes watch Pawn Stars on TV, and since the store is in Vegas, we thought it would be fun to visit in person. Yeah, it was fun, but honestly, it was also a bit disappointing. Supposed to be "Open 24 hours", right? *WRONG!* The shop is closed up tighter than a drum after regular business hours, there's only a small drive-up window "open" for potential hawkers. Also, apparently we weren't the only ones with the bright idea to visit the store, because most of the time, there was a looong line just to get in the door! But anyway, we got in... and it was just another pawn shop, really... I didn't see a darn thing I really wanted! But my boy got a memento T-shirt and we got a few pictures.
And no, the old man NEVER smiles!!!
Seen from the Deuce Bus, this store's sign cracked us up. ("If it's in stock, we have it!")
(Still coming up... our day at Hoover Dam.)
So, after eight fun-filled, activity-packed days in Vegas, it was time to go home. We said goodbye to the city (and "we'll be back!"), and boarded our flight to Cleveland. We arrived there right on time. And there. we. stayed! Because of the crazy back-to-back-to-back blizzards hammering the east coast, our connecting flight did not go out again for 3 days.
OK, if we'd have known that, we could've spent a few more days in Vegas!!! C'est la vie!