Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where Do You Blog?

I have dug up a recent post about the restoration of our Family Room to link to the 'Where Do You Blog' party at Centsational GirlClick HERE to go my original post, with lots of photos that show the whole restoration from start to finish, for those of you who are new and haven't seen it.  (If you ARE new ... Welcome, I'm glad you came to visit.)

If you're so inclined, head over to Centsational Girl and check out where many of our other favorite bloggers do their best work.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Good to Be Home

We got home Saturday night, at about 10pm.  It's taken me until now to get the time and energy to finish telling you about the rest of our Las Vegas trip. 

Friday morning, we headed out to see some more Vegas sights.

The lions at the MGM Grand were like great big house cats.

I was fascinated by The Bodies exhibit.  It is not (I repeat, NOT) for any of you who tend to be squeamish.  Our friends who visited the Titanic exhibit at the same time said that it was also fabulous.

We had lunch here ... a place that Kim saw on the Food Channel and thought looked good.  It was wonderful!

My lunch (two pounds of crawfish, potatoes, and corn on the cob) was delivered in this plastic bag.  It was necessary to (1) wear a bib, and (2) line my lap with paper towels to prevent a huge mess.

See how messy it was?

This was our next stop.  It was in Friday morning's USA Today, which had an article on the best ice cream places throughout the country.  (I recommend the Butter Pecan).  By coincidence, the best ice cream place they listed in Virginia is right here in Fredericksburg ... Carl's!

We passed this place almost every time we left the hotel to go somewhere.  We laughed every time at the ridiculousness of the sign.  Friday afternoon, we were finally stopped at the light so I could get a photo of it.

I couldn't leave Las Vegas without making a trip to Fremont Street.  I'm sure it's changed quite a bit since my parents honeymooned here in '59.  My mom was underage at the time, and she was disappointed that she couldn't gamble. 

After dinner at the hotel room, finishing all the munchies we bought at Albertson's when we arrived on Tuesday, and Frank Caliendo's show, it was time to pack up and get ready to come home bright and early on Saturday morning.

This is what our Suburban looked like when we turned it in at the airport.  The rental return guy asked, "Do you think you could have gotten it any dirtier?"  40+ miles of dirt road on the way to and from the Grand Canyon on Thursday, plus a couple of rain showers, made quite a mess.

It's great to be home, to sleep in my own bed!  I went yesterday to pick up the dogs, who were staying with friends in Northern Virginia.  Daniel had a great time, being part of the pack.  Emma, on the other hand, was completely miserable.  She barely ate, moped around most of the time, and had our friends worried to death.  She's still not doing too well ... I have an appointment at 10:30 for the vet to look her over, to make sure there's nothing serious going on.  (a few prayers here would be appreciated, if you can.)

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Grand Canyon Road Trip

We woke up bright and early yesterday morning, ate breakfast, packed the cooler, loaded ourselves into the Suburban and hit the road ... heading toward our first stop, Hoover Dam.

Lake Mead is SO blue! 

We stopped at an overlook to marvel at the view and take pictures. 

Above the lake is a compound of houses, originally built by Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack, so they could live their party lifestyle outside the confines of Las Vegas proper.

Hoover Dam is a marvel.  It's so high, and so wide, and so long ... and I cannot fathom what it took to built it in the 1930's.

I have watched cable TV programs about the building of Hoover Dam, but it's impossible to convey the scale of this marvel on a TV screen. 

We walked across the Dam, shopped the Gift Shop, took scads of photos, piled back into the Suburban, and headed toward the Grand Canyon.

Burgers at the Last Stop Restaurant were delicious!

We were going to the west end of the Grand Canyon, on the Hualapai Indian Reservation.  The last 20+ miles of the trip took us through a ranch with Joshua Trees and free range cattle. 

It was strange to me to see cows (bulls, in this case), wandering on the side of the road.  I kept making wise cracks about 'feral cows'.

As we arrived at the entrance to the Reservation, we got out of the car, and four of us HAD to have our picture taken.  Nothing says that we had to do it seriously.

Storms were off in the distance, and the temperature up here was MUCH more pleasant than it had been at the Dam.  Our first stop was to buy our tickets, board the shuttle bus, and head for the Skywalk.

This marvel of engineering is to be avoided by everyone who has any sort of fears of heights.  The U-shaped Skywalk is 1200 meters above the Canyon floor, cantilevered over the cliff, with a 2-inch-thick glass floor and glass railing. 

(Arizona tourism photo)

I have no photos from when we were on the Skywalk, because personal items (including cameras) are not allowed.  It was incredible to walk out over the edge of the Canyon, and see beyond and below through the glass.  There were guides to point out items of interest in the Canyon, and tell us about the building of the Skywalk itself.

Unlike the portions of the Grand Canyon that are owned by the National Park Service, there are no railings or barricades along the West Canyon on the Hualapai land.  We could go as close to, or as far away, from the Canyon edge as we were comfortable with.  It was pretty cool that we were trusted enough, and no one felt they had to protect us from ourselves.

(this is my new hat)

My poor husband was getting the willies as I was standing here while Kim took this picture.  Despite my discomfort with having my picture taken, there was NO WAY I would leave the Canyon without a picture of me at the rim.

I took so many photos, I wore out my freshly-charged camera battery again.  Fortunately, this time I brought along the spare.

I coaxed the Husband over to the edge with me, so we could have our picture taken together.

The layers of mountains in the distance were beautiful as sunset approached.

As the sun got low in the sky, it fell below the clouds and created a beautiful red glow on the far side of the Canyon.

I took a few last photos of the beautiful sunset over the Grand Canyon right before we had to board the shuttle bus.  We piled back into the Suburban, mindful to dodge the bobcats, and 'feral cows' on the gravel road through the ranch.  It was a long day ... a wonderful day ... a day that I will never forget.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Grand Canyon ... a Teaser.

We have a full day scheduled today, and I haven't had time to do the post about our trip to the Grand Canyon yesterday.

Here's a sunset photo, taken just before we boarded the shuttle bus to leave.

Details later.  Enjoy the view.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Las Vegas, Day 2

I woke up yesterday, at 6:00am  local time, well rested and ready to take on whatever Vegas had to offer. 

After breakfast here at the hotel, we set out for Caesar's Palace.  The men headed for the car museum across the street, and we ladies went to the Forum to shop.  I bought a hat.  I'll show it to you another day.

For me, most of the fun of traveling is all about the food.  Lunch at the 'Hash House A Go Go' was wonderful!!  I had the fried salmon sandwich, and did not photograph it.  My friend Gale captured this not-so-flattering image of me.  (I am posting it here as part of my effort to get over my horror about having my picture taken.  It's a first step.  I still don't like it ... I'll get over it ... maybe.)

After lunch, we had to go see the shop from The History Channel's "Pawn Stars"  The place was packed!  I fully intended to buy a piece of jewelry (a ring was my first choice), but there wasn't a thing in the shop that spoke to me.

Our next stop was the conservatory at Bellagio.  It was amazing!!  I have lots and LOTS of photos to use for a future post about the plants and sculptures.  For now, I'll post another unflattering photo of me (still not getting any more comfortable with it.)

I think I'm probably whining to Andy that my camera battery had just died.  I borrowed Gale's camera to finish taking pictures, till I got back to the hotel to swap my dead battery for a charged one.

Here's the whole gang.  These are my favorite people in the whole world!!

After a light dinner at the hotel, and a change of clothes, we headed to the MGM Grand to see .... Ka.

I had never seen a Cirque du Soleil production live before, and I LOVED IT!!!  'Nuff said.

Since the over-riding theme of this post seems to be unflattering photos of me, here's another one for your viewing pleasure.  I was goofing with hats in the Ka gift shop while Kim stood in the will-call line to pick up our show tickets, and Gale took my picture.  (This is NOT the hat I bought at Caesar's.)

Waddya think?

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hey, Baby, Let's Go To Vegas!

Greetings from Las Vegas!!

Three friends and I, along with our husbands, are here for a few days to see the sights, take in a couple of shows, and decompress.

The landscape below the plane over Utah is much different than what we have at home.

The water level at Lake Meade is REALLY low!

After we picked up our rental car, lunch at In and Out Burger was a must.

The fountains at Bellagio was fun to see.

At the end of a L-O-N-G day (my alarm went off at 2:30am, to be on a flight that lifted off at 6:01am), I only had the energy to snap a couple of quick photos of lights.  What I wanted most was SLEEP.

The next few days are packed with fun ... the best of which is time spent with my favorite friends.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Let's Go To Rick's House to See His Garden

My friend Rick has the the best managed rose garden I know.  He chooses his rose varieties carefully, plants them well, cares for them perfectly, and they always look beautiful.

The archway that leads to Rick's rose garden.

Cajun Sunset
Hybrid Tea

Rick's house is on a quarter-acre lot, in a wooded subdivision.  His backyard is the only place with enough sunshine to grow roses.  When people tell me that they don't have the room to grow roses, I use Rick as an example.  He has at least 150 roses, all of which are in his back and side yard.

I know he's going to blush when he reads this, but I'm going to say it anyway.  I consider Rick to be one of the driving forces behind my own rose addiction.  He is one of the most generous people EVER ... always ready to share his knowledge, experience, and techniques to help others grow roses successfully.  Get me going, and I may even use the word 'mentor' ... perhaps, more than once.

Pink Simplicity
Shrub rose

 Poulsen's Pearl

Rick is an active Master Gardener, a Certified Rosarian, and an accredited Rose Judge, with tons of rose show trophies and ribbons to his credit.  He also works full time, fishes whenever he gets the chance, and maintains this beautiful garden by himself.

There's no way to pigeon-hole Rick OR his garden.  He loves modern Hybrid Tea roses, and he loves the lovely, fragrant Old Garden Roses just as much.

Marilyn Monroe
Hybrid Tea

Marie Pavie

I think Rick has won the Dowager Queen trophy in the Colonial District shows (the top award for an Old Garden Rose) more times than anyone else!

Champneys' Pink Cluster

Reve d'Or
Tea Noisette

I stopped by Rick's house last Thursday while he was at work, to leave him a lotus for his pond.  I had my camera with me, of course, so I could spend time taking pictures of his beautiful roses.  It was a bright sunny day ... which is good for the roses, but bad for taking decent photos. Some of his loveliest roses were in brilliant sunshine, which made getting good photos of them completely impossible. 

I darkened this photo a bit, and the other ones that show large expanses of his garden, to tone down the bright glare from the sunshine.

Monarch butterfly on Buddleia
(I didn't do anything to this one.  It was perfect as is.)


Rick and I also share a love of cars, along with our love of roses.  He has a new Mustang, I have an old Mustang, and we both used to own old Corvettes. 

He and I are going to a rose society picnic in a little while.  I thoroughly enjoy his company, no matter where we are or what we're doing, it's always a good time!

Have a great Sunday!
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