Vegas Vacation


One of the side events we did this weekend was going to Hoover Dam.  It is one of the coolest, remarkable things ever built and I really wanted to share it with Lori.  We took the tour and went through the remarkable timeline and feat of the building of the dam.


We drove up to Vegas on Friday, went to a lovely dinner to celebrate Lori’s birthday.  Our friends arrived on Saturday afternoon.  (We had done Hoover in the morning).  Both of our friends birthdays are this week as well and the event we were meeting for was a birthday surprise for one.

Sunday we went to see Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson One show.  We had fabulous seats in the third row and the show was amazing.

Besides the show and the dam, the rest of our four days was sitting by the pool, relaxing at the resort, eating/drinking.  Pretty good time was had.  Now back to work today and back to reality as I catch up on the news from the last few days.


Road-Trip Recap

The weekend had a lot of driving and a lot of visiting.

After I flew up on Wednesday we visited with my aunt and cousins for a couple of hours then checked into a best western for the night.  In the morning we met Lori’s life long friend and her son for breakfast and then headed toward Nappa. We walked around Nappa (not big drinkers) we wandered through the shops and sat and sketched a while.

We then headed back toward Vallejo.   We checked into the travel lodge for the night and then went and met my friend Mike from 20 years ago.   We spent a couple of hours touring his lovely garden and house before walking to dinner.   It was so fun to catch up with him and there seemed to be no time that had passed since the last time I saw him.

The next morning we drove to Rocklin and see Lori’s friend Alice from grad school and see the baby and their new house.  We stopped in Sacramento on our way for breakfast and went to my favorite spot there the Fox and Goose.  Staying on Whole30 the whole trip while eating all meals out wasn’t too challenging but breakfast at the Fox and Goose was a breeze and so good.

We got to Rocklin early and went to a movie!!!  In the middle of the day!!!  It has been so long since we went to a movie, it was a ton of fun.  We saw Oceans 8 and enjoyed the downtime along with the cool theatre since it was 110 outside.

We stayed at their place, we would both rather stay in a hotel but they were expecting us to stay and the guest room was all set up.  The baby slept through the night and didn’t wake us and luckily we didn’t wake her either.

Our plan was to head to Tahoe that morning, but we were getting a much later start and decided to just head home.  A few stops along the way as it is a very long drive.  When we got back my brother was still there and two of the cats were no shows for the time we were gone.

The cat who usually comes in and sleeps in the house showed back up but is very apprehensive about coming in.  She wanted in about 2:00 a.m. this morning and slept for a couple of hours before wanting back out about 5:00 a.m.   The pregnant cat came around for dinner last night and is skinny again, so somewhere in our neighborhood there are kittens.

Onward to the New Year

Last week was a very very full week.  With a last-minute work trip in which I crammed as many coffee dates in as possible.  Then landing late on Wednesday, Thursday before work was shopping and packing for the weekend.  Friday we loaded up and headed to the girls and then up to Big Bear for a snowy Christmas get away with the family.


There was no snow, not a flake.  Well there was some fake snow on the ski slopes, but none on the ground.  There was however lots of fire wood and Dale kept the fire going.  There was lots of food.  WAY too much food.  We had planned out a menu and everyone was making a meal or two.  But dang there was too much food.  Also lots of games, Quelf, Phase10, Skip bo and Pictionary.  Also a “newlywed” game that Vicki and Emily put together that was a ton of fun.  There were lots of Christmas Sweaters and a stroll through the Village.

The baby did pretty well for being away from home and her routine for the first time.  It’s hard to believe she is only 18 months old based on her height.  Here is last years picture compared to this years.





Although this last weekends vacation was mini it took quite a bit of preparation.

We started in July, narrowing down the vacation rental and reserving it for the weekend.  Our friends flew in from Seattle early on Thursday morning.

Wednesday happened to be a late night at work and I got about 4 hours of sleep before needing to be up and packing for the weekend and heading to LAX to pick them up.

I hadn’t packed previously because after putting the desk together on Sunday I spent most of the rest of the week cleaning and dusting the house.  One of those dustings that includes moving nearly every piece of furniture to vacuum under it.  My lingering cough/cold/possibly allergy nonsense was the driving factor in that.

Once I got to the airport after nearly two hour drive for the 22 miles because of the hour I picked them up and out to Palm Springs we headed.

Our first day included yummy lunch at LuLu’s, checking into our beautiful rental and heading out to the Thursday night Village Fest. We stopped for dinner at La Bonitas right there in the heart of the festival and had what would be the beginning of spicy margaritas for the weekend.

Friday morning I got up early and made banana bread, watched and sketched the sunrise, took a quick morning swim and waited for Lori to drive out.  Once the initial visiting was out of the way we headed into downtown for lunch and hanging out.  Tonya and I got pedicures and we met up after and headed back to the house for some afternoon swimming and lounging about.

Saturday was a bit more active.  Tonya, Lori and I all headed out to power yoga in the park before it got to hot.  We then drove up to Joshua Tree and spent a few hours going through and taking pictures.  Briana enjoyed relaxing at the house and reading two books!  That night we were heading out dancing.  We got there too early however and just as people were starting to dance and the place fill up we were headed out.  It had been a super long day.

Sunday my sister and the girls all drove out since its only 30 miles past their house and we all went swimming.  This was the baby’s 2nd time in the pool and she was much more relaxed.  Another Mexican meal that included yet another spicy margarita.

Monday we had to check out and leave our little desert oasis.  Lori left for work about 10:00 once we all got back from breakfast and the rest of us were on the road by 11:00.  We did have all day so we drove to the beach, because is there any better way to end a desert vacation than with a trip to the beach?






Back to work

Today I am back to work.  I did have an 80 minute massage before work today which left me very relaxed and mellow as I went into work.  He also worked out the hamstring tie-in on my right side that was tweaked from the long flights.  It was the perfect ending to my vacation.

The last couple of days were a nice slow return to life after vacation.  We still had company for a couple of days.  Although I didn’t sleep much on the plane and fell right to sleep when we got home I was still awake super early.  We made it a full day, visiting with Vivian, going out to breakfast and then went out to get groceries and wash that were covered in pitch from being parked under the tree for two weeks.

Friday I was still waking up around 4:00 am.  We went to Seal beach on Friday and had breakfast before walking on along the beach and enjoying the ocean sounds.  Capped off the day with dinner with Kathi.

Saturday was another early morning as we were up at 4:00 to take our company to the airport.  After that we stopped for breakfast, picked up cat food, picked up e-waste from a friend about 8 in the morning and then went to a recycle event.  All seemed perfectly normal, we had been running errands for 5 hours and it was only 9:00 a.m.

We also saw Vicki and Emily for dinner and a little Farkle on Saturday night.  They made us yummy chicken tacos and Vicki easily won,  I couldn’t stay awake for another game so home we went and straight to bed.

Sunday although I woke early I forced myself back to sleep.  Trying to sleep in as much as possible but we were still up before 7:00.  It was a very very low key day.  We both worked on our sketchbooks.  I had a few sketches I added color to and we both glued some tickets and things in from the trip.  There is still more to add and I have some things I still want to draw in from photos that I just couldn’t draw on the spot.



Vacation Wrap Up

The last day in Bath it rained.  Not bad for a European vacation, one day of rain – the last day.  We got use out of the little rain/wind breakers we brought with us and gathered with some of the group at cafe for lunch and some of the group sketched.  

I did not, I did carry all of my gear down there but with the rain and lack of table space I just enjoyed the company, the conversation and the people watching.

We had a farewell dinner in the evening.  Half of our group had taken a bus to Stonehenge during the day and I guess they really got poured on.  When we met up for dinner they were all a bit damp.  As it turns out one woman was feeling ill and had to leave….  but there is more to that story so let me back up.

The day before when Lori and I were sketching, we were going to try and meet up with others for lunch or dinner but we couldn’t seem to find the group and with little to no signal didn’t even bother with texting.  We ended up on our own and splitting a sandwich in our room.  The best “fate” we could have had in hindsight.

Six of the group had met up and went to a pub called the Raven.  This was a spot that the tour guide said was one not to miss.  Well drinking and eating and sketching ensued and the next morning our dear friend Marissa was not feeling well and thought maybe she had been over-served.  She did say she didn’t think she had that much to drink but was both headachy and stomach was not agreeing with her.  

By the end of that day when we were meeting up for the farewell dinner it was Susan who was not able to even look at the food and though maybe she had gotten food poisoning that day at lunch.  But all the pieces came into place the next morning when we were all leaving, Susan had flown off early in the day still sick, Imodium on board.  We came up for breakfast before checking out and found that Dave and Char were both down! Seriously down and possibly extending the stay at the B&B because they did not think they could travel being that sick.

We departed not even getting to say goodbye to Char (she put on this trip), not knowing if the others who were at the Raven that night were also sick.  It was a full day of travel.  We took a taxi to the train, the train to the bus, the bus to the airport for the long plane ride and my brother picked us up in his car.  Twenty-One hours from door to door.  I tried not to sleep on the plane but did nod off a couple of times.  That did make it easier to fall asleep last night although we were both awake before 5:00 with major headaches from not enough water yesterday. 

I have a few days off before going back to work.  Company is still at the house for a couple days.  Today I am looking forward to unpacking, laundry, washing my car that has been under the tree for two weeks and lunch, errands and possibly lunch or dinner with my brother and our friend Viv who is still here. 

Sketching in Bath

The sketching exercise today was on tone values, dark, medium and light.

Today we walked down to Bath to gather and sketch.  We met at the Abby and most of us got in line for the Roman Baths.  After we walked through and took a ton of photos there was no meeting up to sketch.

Lori and I walked down to a little tea shop, had tea and both sketched the scene across from us.  My focus was the bookstore across the street, Lori focused on the tree.

1) where we sat.  2) tea.  3) across from us,  4) my sketch. 5) Lori’s sketch