Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...Gets blogged about?

Our trip to LV started out with disappointment, as our flight was delayed from Friday night to Saturday. This meant that Jake and I had to miss the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Our friends who went on the trip were good about pretending like they didn't have fun on the helicopter, but I know it was the highlight of the trip for a lot of them... :P

So, Jake and I got in on Saturday morning and I felt that I needed to start drinking to make up for lost time. We hooked up with some friends and got drunk in the mall. Here's me and Tejal with our Fat Tuesday glasses:

We stayed at Bill's Gambling Hall and Saloon, which was actually a pretty good deal for being right on the Strip. Outside the front of Bill's, they constantly played a recording of this guy with a southern accent plugging the steakhouse at Bill's and Bill's 99 cent margaritas. A cab driver we had at one point informed us that Bill's, which used to be owned by Barbary Coast, was recently bought up by Harrah's for a half billion dollars. Apparently Harrah's and MGM own pretty much everything on the Strip.

We went out to the buffet at the Bellagio on Saturday evening. The food was good, but I made myself sick by the amount I tried to eat. I somehow thought I'd be able to make up for the $45 we each spent by stuffing myself full of food. It didn't work. We saw the Wayne Brady show on Saturday night, which was all right. He did pull our friend Tonia up on stage to make sound effects for one skit he did. Our friends all had plans to go out afterward, but Jake and I were utterly exhausted at that point. We went back to our hotel and crashed.

On Sunday, we met up with Zac, who I went to high school with and who now works in LV as a chef at the Wynn. He's getting married in another couple of weeks and is also getting a promotion to work at a higher, more managerial level at the Encore, which is a new casino going up right next to the Wynn. At first, we tried to get together and spend time with Zac and some of our other friends all at once. They were down at Slots O' Fun, but then we went with Zac down there and realized Slots O' Fun sucks as a place to sit down, have a drink, and catch up with an old classmate. So, we went across the street to the Riveria and had one drink, then drove down to New York New York, where we sat in this Irish pub/restaurant and drank some beers. That evening, we met back up with our crew to have dinner at Circo and watched the fountains in front of the Bellagio. Jake and I went to the Rio to see Penn & Teller and we convinced Tej that she should buy a ticket to it as well. It was a good show. I really like P & T. It's more bang for your buck to just watch Bullshit DVDs at home, but the live performance was quite enjoyable. They make me want to do magic... After P&T, we saw a show of floats in the air within the Rio, where these women in their underpants threw us beads.

Monday morning, Jake and I realized that we hadn't even tried to gamble any money. I watched Jake lose money quickly at a blackjack table and then decided to take a free blackjack class to learn more. After the blackjack class, we sat down at a table for about an hour and both wound up breaking even (I'm pretty sure I could have gone up in money if we'd stayed, but Jake wanted to leave to get into a poker tourney to lose some more money...). Monday night, we went out to Tao, which is some hip, pricey restaurant with decor like this:

I thought things were overpriced and our friends showed no qualms about doing things like ordering a $65 dessert for the table or lots of expensive sake. I got kind of annoyed. Dinner took over three hours and I was trying to get out to meet up with Zac again. I thought we were going to go out and meet his fiance.

The bathrooms at Tao were totally confusing...all the doors said were "Yin" and "Yang". I wound up going into the men's bathroom at first and having to turn around. They also had one of those bathroom attendants in there, which makes me uncomfortable. I don't want to have to tip someone to come over and hand me a towel or put soap on my hands. It made Tonia uncomfortable, too. She was like, "Hey, do other people need to use the bathroom? We can all go as a group and I'll tip for all of us..." I went in there alone at one point to wash my hands because they had sauce on them and the attendant woman started speaking to me in Spanish. I didn't catch what she said, but I did notice that she was sitting there reading "The Secret". Ha! Oh, and over the course of the 3 hour dinner, I found out that Tej is a bit into Scientology. What a weirdo...I need to sit down and talk her out of that...

We'd planned to go up the Stratosphere after dinner, but then realized that to meet Zac at Fremont Street, we wouldn't have time. We took the Deuce bus to Fremont, which I wouldn't recommend to anyone. It's slow and crowded... However, we got to Fremont and caught the light show right away, which was cool:

I enjoyed Fremont. Cheap, old school Vegas. Yes. We found Zac, but his fiance couldn't make it out because she had some sort of bachelorette party plans. Oh well.

I had a goal of renewing my vows with Elvis while in Vegas, but the closest I got was a picture of Jake and me and an Elvis statue. Drats.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

House Hunting

This weekend, we're going to Vegas, baby! After we come back, Jake and I are planning to start doing some serious house hunting next weekend (July 21-22). I'm both excited and apprehensive at the same time. I'm excited for the opportunity to move into a new place and start fresh, to have a bit more space, and to actually own a piece of real estate. I'm apprehensive because it's a big commitment, we will have to put hard work into the upkeep of a home, and it'll have to be somewhere I'm happy living in for more than the next couple of years. Jake and I wrote up a checklist of what we'd ideally want in the house we find, so that should help guide us a bit.

I'm also thinking the change of venue will help jumpstart me in making a few good lifestyle changes. I find that moving helps me to reorganize and rethink my life sometimes. So, these are some objectives I have for after we get a new house:

Start a garden! (I really want to plant vegetables! Maybe I could also Plant a Row for the Hungry.)
Create an area of "sanctuary"- a good place to be alone, read, think, etc.
Buy comfortable furniture
Bake and cook more (with the larger kitchen I expect the house will have)
Set up a good system to deal with dirty laundry (similar to Maria's basket system at her house)
Find ways to get involved with my community (not sure how...volunteering? meeting my neighbors? hosting a neighborhood party?)

Okay, that's what I have for now. I'll put up an update if we see any good houses.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How can I not waste my life???

I'm so bored...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A recipe I made up:

I make up recipes sometimes, but never write them down. I've been meaning to do it (hence, the goal on my list of writing three recipes). I have a feeling I'll never use this again, but decided to write it up anyway. If anyone else makes this, let me know!

Smoked Tomato Pasta Salad
16 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat fusilli)
3-4 green onions, chopped
one large tomato, chopped
small head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
cubed pieces of mozzarella
black pepper
italian seasoning
Drew's Smoked Tomato dressing

Boil pasta, drain, and place in large bowl. Toss pasta with chopped vegetables and mozzarella. Use about 1/2 bottle of salad dressing and add seasonings to taste. Chill and serve.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Some Things that Make Me Happy!

Doing things that give me a sense of self-efficacy
Learning new things
Reaching goals
Spending Time with friends
Having people think of me and give me recognition
Coming up with Ideas/ Being Creative
Being Silly
Eating Good Food
Meeting Interesting People

What's something that makes YOU (yes, YOU, my reader!)happy?

Planning My Future

I wonder if something I project to people makes it so that they feel that they should be giving me advice. (You're right, Maria, that "arrow finds its way" advice sucked...) Does anyone think that people with doctorates tend to feel that they are more qualified to dole out life advice? Or maybe it's just people with psychology doctorates who feel that way? Has anyone else been given advice and not wanted the advice? Jake doesn't seem to have had lots of people give him "life advice" the way people try to give life advice to me. I've had that experience a couple of times in grad school and now again in this job. Wtf?

The reason I think that "arrow finds its way" advice is crap is that it feels far too religious in a way. It doesn't match up with the way I see the world. The woman at work who said it to me said something that alluded to trusting that there was a force or a power that was going to get her to where she's going. I don't buy into stuff like that at all. I do think people have to PLAN to get places in life. Sometimes that plan needs to be altered as circumstances change, but nevertheless, I think you do have to plan. Or maybe, I just want to believe that planning is needed. I want to feel responsible for where I've gotten in my life and feel that I have some control over it.

I think my real issue is that I don't have much for career goals at the moment. I was just pissed that I had to confront that during my performance review. I tried to convey that I don't think that "career" and "life purpose" are synonymous during my review. However, I did upset myself by thinking about how much time I fritter away sitting around at my job. I told my supervisor (at least, I suppose she's my supervisor...the role structure at my job is confusing...I've been told that on the one hand, she can't fire me-not that she would- However, she really is the main person that gives me work to do, answers my questions, monitors me, and gives me feedback, while the boss that sometimes doesn't even know my name is the "big boss")that I can't find a purpose in the work we are doing. She never gave me a real answer to that...