stuff and things

12 January 2011

More Vegas

Bright lights in Downtown Las Vegas
At that point (we're still in the dark alley, right?), I turned the car around, turned on the emergency flashers and dashed out near the alley entrance to a neighboring jewelery store, where the owner broke away from a conversation with a beautiful woman in a black, full length mink (?!) to give me directions to the Nugget's entrance. North Las Vegas Blvd., right on Carson: imprinted on my brain forever more.

Besides fusing fabric, my purpose there was to support Andy as his taxi service. When he called me to come and pick him up, however, he could hear the frazzle in my voice and offered to grab a cab to our hotel. Did I mention I'm married to a very sweet man? Hopefully the taxi driver had no trouble finding the entryway to the Golden Nugget.

Chowhound Rules!

The next day didn't hold any press events of interest for Andy, so we decided to have a really nice lunch, after sipping Champagne in bed for breakfast. Oh, did I mention it was our 20th wedding anniversary? We had dinner reservations at Bouchon, a very fancy place, but I urged Andy to cancel, arguing that his CES schedule included some rather important events that evening -- and that we could always celebrate another time. Besides, I could think of plenty of better ways to spend upwards of $400, after wine and all. Like fabric stores (yes, I'm evil!)

Instead, I went onto Chowhound, a website where you can look up a region or city and find dining establishments recommended by foodie residents and fellow travelers. I found lists and lists of must-lunch places, all of them off the Strip and very reasonable. We settled on Mint Indian Bistro, with a top-notch, $9.99, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet featuring Himalyan, North, and South Indian specialities. Yum!

After dropping off Andy at the LV Convention Center I headed back to the Golden Nugget, to fuse. I enjoy high-tech, so felt lucky to tune into a 60 Minutes segment on dot-com luminaries like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Bill Gates and Paul Allen, (Microsoft), and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, of Google fame. Is it a coincedence that it all coincided with CES?

I'd picked up some fab Kibbneh, spinach pastries and baklava from Amena Bakery and Deli, a Nazarine/Israeli bakery recommended on Chowhound, so I enjoyed a light and delicious nosh while fusing -- even managing to save some for Andy. But the real excitement came on the next day.

Never got a chance to peruse the button collection ... sigh.

Heddy, so nice, and so helpful, and with such a big stash!
Heddy's Fabrics

While in San Diego, researching our trip, I'd come across a website for Heddy's Fabrics, where the floorshows' and headliners' costumers shop. The website didn't make it clear if they sold more than glitzy Spandex, but I saw some readers' feedback that mentioned all their other fabrics. I made it my first stop that Thursday. Well, what a find! I spent a happy three hours there, researching the yardage and fabric types of some recent patterns I'd purchased, and buying some great, really useful everyday goods. I found bamboo knits, soft as down; and some crisp bamboo shirting, perfect for a neat shirt. Some nice bottom-weight knits completed my haul. Three tops, two pants, a skirt -- sewing marathon, here I come!

Meanwhile, here's what awaited me at home:
Chevy, holding down the fort back at home on a ready-to-quilt Night Star.
All in all, our trip to Las Vegas ended up being lots of fun, despite some minor frustrations getting settled down. Everyone at the hotel was super nice, and I enjoyed the more low-key ambiance of the older district. We loved the vintage neon signs dotting the Fremont Street Experience, too. Heddy's was ultimate; so was our meal at the Nugget's Italian joint -- which became our real anniversary dinner.

Part of the Las Vegas Neon Musuem

Just a bar, but great neon!

Buck'em, Trigger!

That's what the AmEX logo used to look like.

A motel, complete with refrigeration!
Once I got home, I realized I'd brought my favorite things, all which needed airing out from the smokey atmosphere of our room. My DKNY "little black dress" I wear to everything; our CostCo down pillows; my beautiful Bolivian alpaca sweater; my Austin Powers-channeled Escada suit; my North Face down boots; my Carol Gardyne hand-painted silk ruana; all that fabric ... our love blankies ... well, it was a busy week getting everything washed or aired out!
Beloved, but too warm for San Diego sweater from Andean Software, in Taos, New Mexico

Sunshine, the great healer.

Shag, baby!

10 January 2011

Vegas, Baby

Fun (?) at the Fremont Street Experience
We are not people who would choose Las Vegas as a vacation destination. So, when Andy finally got a press pass for CES, the Consumer Electronics Show held last week, I prepared by gathering lots of stuff to keep me busy.

Not that I can't play poker. In fact, last time we did, my host glared at me after the game where I won, gave Andy my chips, then won again, taking home the pot. I guess he thought I was a novice. We haven't seen Jachin since.

Anyway, the point is that I work very hard for my paycheck, in a strenuous, physical sense (I'm an Ashtanga yoga instructor). And I don't find gambling pleasurable at all -- especially since they got rid of all the "one-armed bandits." Andy and I used to head to Las Vegas each January to cover Comdex, the now-defunct computer trade show which was arguably the world's biggest convention. It spanned almost every hotel/casino and convention center. Thus, I made it a point, somewhere in the day, to stick a quarter in a slot in each casino. Sometimes I'd even find a coin or two on the floor. Fun!

Now the casinos are full of chirping, blinking video machines. Does anyone understand how these annoying things work? Actually, my friend Jane, one of the Brownie Troop, is the video machine maven. When she had to relocate to Vegas for a couple of years, we visited her. Much to my surprise and amusement, soon she had us waltzing down the aisles of the Red Rocks Resort, a very nice casino, where she pointed out all her favorite machines and showed us in mind-boggling detail how to play. The attendant didn't want to give me a card for just a quarter, though, so I think we lost about ten bucks with Jane that day.

I digress. So, when I pictured myself cooped up in the hotel room for two days, I decided to bring fabric and Wonder-Under, a fusible webbing that makes fabric stick to other fabric, to prepare for my upcoming landscape workshop at Asilomar with Sue Benner. The workshop involves lots of fusing, and Annette and Barbara, two of my Brownie Troop friends who've taken Sue, warned me that it really helps to pre-fuse.

I also brought sketching materials, a good book, and my netbook computer.

Non-Smoking at the Golden Nugget

What I didn't prepare for was that our suite reeked of smoke, even though it was a "non-smoking room on a non-smoking floor," according to the front desk person who answered my anguished phone call.

Normally, I would have arranged for another room. But, since we drive everywhere now, we'd brought our Love Blankies, our pillows, a duffle bag of all that fabric, my computer stuff, wine ... plus the usual luggage. I'd already tipped the bellman accordingly. No way.

Plus, just finding the hotel after dropping Andy off at the press event had been frazzling enough. If you ever find yourself booking a room in the older part of Las Vegas known as Downtown, know that Fremont Street is closed off to encompass The Fremont Street Experience, a sort of giant outdoor mall with hourly, night-time sound-and-light shows and a large assortment of people wandering around clutching beers and cocktails.
Well, the map said the hotel was on Fremont, so there I was, going around in circles until, at one point, I ended up in a dark, dead-end alley. Shudder.

To be continued ... gotta go teach me some yoga!