Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This and that

Well can you believe it snowed yesterday...it didn't stay on the ground long but it was still SNOW...disgusting. It was depressing...I can't even imagine how I'd feel if I'd been here through the horrific winter and had to put up with more in late April. I am already thinking where I can go for the cheapest price next winter....hmmm.....wonder if you can camp on the beach in Mexico...um...maybe not Mexico right now.....I am thinking about petsitting on Vancouver Island for a bit. I just have to make contacts and find a place. Also thinking of doing a half marathon in southern California which would take care of a week. All I know is it won't be a 7 weeker like this past winter...too bad but that's the way it is. Unless I win the lottery which would be indeed be a miracle as I don't buy lottery tickets!

I start dogsitting tomorrow for almost a week - for a sweet Newfoundland named Daisy. Slowly my summer is getting booked up with both work and dogsitting as well as weekend walks with my walking group. Life is never boring.

Off to Ottawa and North Bay in a couple of weeks and then home all summer until it's time to head to the NorthWest Territories in September. Another couple of adventures to look forward to.

Was dismayed to hear they are killing all the pigs in Egypt due to the Swine flu but somehow it doesn't surprise me either. I love visiting these places but their view towards animals is a bit disturbing including my beloved India. I think I like animals better than humans for the most part...they are so innocent and the way we as a human species treat them is appalling. I guess that's why most of my charitable donations go to animal charities of some kind or the other. Definitely on my "bucket list" is going to the Best Friends no kill animal sanctuary in Utah and helping out with the dogs for a week or so. What a wonderful place it is. They take in animals that no one else wants and work to rehabilitate them so they can find a forever family. If it doesn't work out they have a home forever with Best Friends. Here is the link:

http://www.bestfriends.org/

Which brings me to my biggest beef in the world - why people insist on buying purebreds when there are so many beautiful dogs in shelters that need a home. My Sandy was one of them and anyone who met her would agree that you couldn't find a more beautiful loving dog. What is even worse is when people buy dogs at pet stores - almost 100% of the time they are from puppy mills. Once again Best Friends takes these poor dogs in who were used for breeding and don't even know how to walk on a leash, play, interact with humans or other dogs. It's heartbreaking. Makes me want to run over to Petland and start demonstrating right now!!!

On that note I wll say bye for now and will check in again before I head east on the hound in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fun in Vegas

Well I am back from Las Vegas in one piece - barely. First of all the concert itself was amazing - I was the equivalent of about row 8 or so and ended up closer. Paul sang songs I hadn't heard him sing live before so that was exciting. And he was really HOT...whoa mama. The rest of us were just plain hot....poor Pat got so hot she had to sit down in the middle of the standing room only crowd. Just when Paul came on.....luckily she felt better after a couple of songs. Then this lady who before I'd thought was kind of a weirdo with black curly hair all over the place and just kind of strange looking was kind enough to offer her water (they would not let water bottles in - we had to buy stuff at the bar if we wanted liquid refreshment) so she felt better after that. It was tough as we had to start lining up at 5 p.m., the concert was scheduled to start at 8 but did not start until almost 8:40 which pissed me off big time. Of course the moment Paul bounded on stage I forgave him but up until then he was not in my good books. Would I do standing room only again? Oh probably knowing me....but not for a while. And only for Paul...I think my body is still recuperating from the weekend.

Terribles Hotel & Casino turned out to be not terrible at all and was very handy to get to the Hard Rock where the concert was.

Vegas itself? It was hotter than hell so was horrid walking on the Strip - I did not gamble at all. I tried gambling with the credits we got from joining the players club (we joined only so we could get the free t-shirt and free buffet breakfast) but my PIN locked up and the line to get it fixed was too long so that was that. Did not bother at any of the other casinos. The only thing that would get me back to Vegas would be Paul and even then it would depend what time of year it was.

We rented a car on Saturday and went to the Valley of Fire state park which was fantastic. We had gone there in 05 and really enjoyed so thought why not go back. We all loved it and did a few short walks. The colours are amazing.

Sunday we hung around the pool - luckily we hadn't gone in due to the pool being too cold. We were just ready to move over to the hot tub when Pat said isn't that your phone ringing and sure enough - it was Vic saying that they were handing out wrist bands at the Hard Rock - you never saw two women move so quickly. We ran upstairs and got ourselves decent and off we went - we were just grateful our bathing suits weren't wet as we just threw everything on over top. Vic was there and had gotten us our wrist bands - # 146, 147 and 148. Yay!!! So then back to the pool and relaxing for the afternoon before we headed over for the concert where we lined up according to our numbers.

Monday morning we had our free buffet breakfast and then Vic stayed at the pool to relax before getting her flight and Pat and I walked over to the strip - we walked around Bellagio and Caesars before we split up. They were both leaving that day whereas I had one more day. I walked over to the Venetian which is my favourite casino and enjoyed a gelato sitting in St. Marks Square. I then went to the Flamingo and saw the Flamingos in the back garden and then on to Paris, Paris or whatever it's called to look around a bit. I could not get into being on the Strip at all so decided to head back to the hotel about 3. I sat at the bus stop on Flamingo and a fella told me I could get a 24 hour bus pass for $4 so that I did. Back to Terrible's to get my luggage and then I took a bus one stop (too hot to walk), transferred and then another bus downtown. I then checked in to the Plaza which for $25.62 Cdn a night was not bad. I'd stayed there in 07 and didn't have a problem with it - it's one of the original casino hotels from the 50's. I walked around the downtown area and had a buffet which was okay....someone on the bus told me it was the best buffet downtown. Well if that's the best.....Anyway watched the Fremont St. experience - the 8 p.m. one was Born to be Wild by who knows who (not Steppenwolf) and 9 p.m. was American Pie by Don McLean. Then back to the room. After midnight I was woken up by someone knocking on my door. Complaining about my snoring? I will never know as when I crept quietly to look out the peephole they were gone. It scared the crap out of me though - I am not a scaredy cat at all but being in Vegas and being woken like that...it was scary to me and I did not sleep well for the rest of the night. (and I put a chair under the door knob) Silly really.

Next morning I had breakfast at the Golden Gate which is the oldest hotel and oldest casino in Vegas and was across from the Plaza. After walking around a bit I then took the bus out to the airport - the only public bus that went to the airport was the one I'd taken the day before and it stopped just down the road from the Plaza. Hey I got my $4 worth and I figure I should write a cheapskates guide to a weekend in Vegas. I did not buy much of anything - unless you count a couple of small bags of macadamia nuts at the ABC store and a $5 pair of ear buds for my MP3 player. (luckily Canada customs didn't give me a hassle when I only claimed $20 - decided I 'd claim the t-shirt I got for free just so it didn't look too crazy) Normally I'd never claim that stuff but thought it would look too suspicious if I put a big fat zero.

Flew to Vancouver then Calgary then home. Yikes. The flight to Calgary was interesting - we circled Calgary for about 25 minutes and I figured something was up. Sure enough - technical problems. We figure the flap didn't come up or down or whatever it does (we were never told what the problem was) and we were told we would be breaking hard. And oh my - yes we did. What a landing. The plane was very quiet when the announcement was made about the technical problems and everyone beamed at each other in relief once our arms were back to their normal place and not hanging on to the seat in front of us. (felt like I was going to fly out of my seat despite the seat belt) I haven't been that nervous in an aircraft before. But hey at least it was AFTER I saw Paul. When I said I'd die happy I didn't really mean it - not quite ready to pop my clogs yet. Emergency vehicles were waiting for us and had to examine the airplane before we could taxi to the gate. We then walked or I should say dashed from one plane to another so if someone was nervous about getting on a plane again and was going on to Regina well there wasn't time to panic as we were late. Didn't worry me - I love to fly and when I think of all the flights I've taken in my lifetime (hundreds) this was the first one to have problems like that.

So now I am home for three weeks until the next adventure takes me east on the hound.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Paul & Ringo - you rock!

I had such a good time in New York this past weekend. The absolute highlight was seeing Paul and Ringo singing together in concert Saturday evening. I must admit...I cried. The two remaining Beatles together...it was too much. Worth every penny of the bank's money...:) I can die happy now. They sang "With A Little Help from my friends" side by side and then Ringo played drums on "I Saw Her Standing There" which is one of my all time favourite Beatles songs. I boogied like a mad woman and sang all the "ooos" along with Paul. Sigh.... it was fun being twelve again. Paul had his own set as well as did Ringo and both were fantastic (especially Paul of course) but to see the two of them together.....something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

The next morning we went to a luncheonette that Paul goes to sometimes (a lady next to me at the concert filled me in) - it was all quite exciting especially when the waitress pointed out that we were sitting in the booth that Paul and his girlfriend were sitting in the day before. And Vic and I were on the same seat as him - oh my. We had to let Pat have her turn sitting there too.

Getting to New York was a pain in the butt - my flight to Toronto was fine but due to thunderstorms in New York my flight was delayed (after dashing like a mad woman to get to the gate on time) twice and then after sitting on the plane for 45 minutes the flight was cancelled. I was lucky as I had just carry on luggage so was able to change flights around a couple of times (long story...) until I finally got standby on a flight and got there about 5 hours late. But I got there and that's the main thing. I was exhausted having been up since 3:15 a.m.

I like New York...it was my fifth time there and I like it more each time. However...it is not London which is where my heart belongs. New York is brash and in your face and exciting - London is exciting but softer and gentler with much more character. New York has wonderful architecture and skyscrapers that touch the sky and huge Central Park - London has beautiful old buildings and hidden alley ways and ancient pubs and the wonderful river and fantastic parks. And the New York subway was designed by a mad man with lines going every which way and stations with the same name only on a different line. I have been on most of the subway systems in the world and it's one of the worst. I found it very frustrating.

I found the people of New York very helpful - I was walking in Lower Manhatten my last morning and asked a cop the way to the Staten Island ferry and he told me in his thick accent "I'm gonna take real good care of you" and proceeded to give me very detailed directions that I was able to follow and I didn't get lost. (in other words they were idiot proof) That probably wouldn't happen in London. They would tell you it's only 5 minutes walk and it would be more like 25.

I went to see the musical "Hair" which was interesting. It was a bit OTT at times but I loved the music. I had forgotten that there was nudity - so it was a bit of a shock when they all stripped off just before the intermission!!!

Next stop - Las Vegas!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Home again home again jiggity jog

Yep home for 54 hours at least. What a great trip - had such a good time. The trip back was pretty good and both flights left on time and arrived early - perfect! The bus stop in Raleigh was a bit exciting with a fight starting up and four cop cars arriving. I beat a retreat into a nearby Irish pub for a coffee (yep was good - figured I needed my wits about me) until the (once an hour) bus came. See I am cheap and for two dollars I could take the local bus out to the airport rather than $16 for a shuttle or (gasp) $35 for a taxi. With my crazy lifestyle I have to cut corners somehow. The bus ride was fine and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Getting off at the airport was a bit tricky as I stupidly got off the back of the bus that had steps (the front didn't) and with my bad knees I had to put my suitcase out first and it rolled a bit under the bus. I had visions of the bus driving over it but a kind lady held the door open while I retrieved my suitcase.

Of course being on eastern seaboard time I was wide awake at 5 a.m. this morning - I will no doubt be dragging my ass by 8 pm tonight if not sooner.

All my pictures are uploaded to the computer and tomorrow's project is to buy a new UV filter.

There wasn't as much snow as I had thought there would be - bonus! But looking forward to this weekend.

THE ticket was waiting in my mailbox - woo hoo. Paul and Ringo here I come! Wonder if they are as excited to see me as I am to see them. Somehow I doubt it - oh well. It is a 'variety' show so to speak (benefit concert for promoting meditation) with other artists including Sheryl Crowe (snore) and Donovan (yes! - okay I am stuck in the 60's - so sue me...) but Paul is the headliner and here's hoping he and Ringo share the stage at some point. Two Beatles on one stage - yee haw! I expect those boys to ROCK AND ROLL - yeah they're old but they still have it - esp. Paul. And I plan to boogy my ass off - and hopefully I won't need a hip or knee replacement when I get back!