"Everybody sees what you appear to be, but few feel what you are."
Lauren's Webpage...home of the "Engineer/Troublemaker"
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Las Vegas 2009
Dan and I left for Las Vegas in the early afternoon of December 27th (after some post-Christmas shopping) with no comprehension of what we had in store. It turned out that we weren't the only ones who decided to drive to Vegas at that time because the traffic was absolutely horrendous. So by the time we arrived we had been driving for 7.5 hours, which is almost twice the usual trip duration. Somewhere along the way (probably while crawling through Baker) we realized that we were going to miss our 8 PM dinner reservation at Craft Steak so I called them in an attempt to reschedule. Fortunately they had an opening at 9:30 PM, their last seating of the night, and with a little luck we made it there just in time. We were staying at the Excalibur, but we initially parked at the MGM Grand (the location of the restaurant) so that we would be on time. Dan and I had both been planning to change clothes at our hotel before dinner because Craft Steak is a nice restaurant, but due to our limited time frame we did some quick wardrobe enhancements instead. So in the parking structure of the MGM Grand I swapped my Converse All Stars for boots and buttoned up my cashmere cardigan to hide the fact that I was wearing a Trogdor t-shirt. I guess that was enough to make myself presentable for dinner because they let us in. The food at Craft Steak is amazing, by the way. I would highly recommend eating there because not only do they have delicious steak, but the starters and sides are pretty incredible too. After dinner Dan and I drove over to the Excalibur, checked into our room (a smoking room, unfortunately because we arrived so late), and slept off our large, late dinner. (As a quick aside, I paid a little extra for a "widescreen" room at the Excalibur, which is supposed to have a large window with a superior view, but since we were on the first floor our view was of the side of the casino building. It was a total rip-off. We did see some abandoned gardening equipment which I can only assume someone has given up for lost, but I don't consider it a "view.")
Our first goal for December 28th (after moving into a non-smoking room) was to have breakfast at Hash House a Go Go because when we saw this restaurant on "Man vs. Food" it looked too irresistible to miss. Apparently it's a very popular spot in Las Vegas because we had to wait a while to be seated and then a longer while to get our food after we ordered. In deference to "Man vs. Food" Dan and I ordered their famous Fried Chicken Eggs Benedict (see photo above), but split it between the two of us since we had early dinner plans. I would have liked to try their French toast as well, but the chicken was already more than even the two of us together wanted to eat. And it was pretty good too! After breakfast (more like brunch or lunch since it was afternoon by the time we were finished) we headed over to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, made famous by "Pawn Stars" on the History Channel. This is quite a popular place too because of the show, but we were lucky enough to find a parking space and not have to wait in line to go inside. Also, we were fortunate to see the father and son owners of the shop who are featured on the show actually working there that day. We didn't buy anything, but it was neat to see the place in person since we've seen it on television so many times. Our last stop before dinner was Caesar's Palace because I wanted to go to FAO Schwartz. On our first trip to Las Vegas in 2001 I saw a stuffed cat there that looked a lot like my cat Bob (black, white, and fat), but I didn't buy it and I've regretted it ever since. This time there were tons of stuffed animals in FAO Schwartz, but no stuffed fat cat. Too bad. We did see a version of our favorite stuffed monkey, but it wasn't nearly as cute as the one Dan brought home from the DC Zoo a couple of years ago. Despite browsing though three floors of toys we left empty handed, but we were looking forward to our dinner reservation that night. We weren't able to eat at the flagship Joel Robuchon restaurant because it was completely booked during our trip so we went to L'Atelier instead, which is a slightly more casual a la carte version. To be honest, L'Atelier was still a bit fancier than I'm comfortable with, but the food was good and Dan really enjoyed it. Going to new restaurants with Dan is always fun. No matter what the food tastes like it's always a good experience. The morning of December 29th Dan and I checked out of the Excalibur very early to drive back to Los Angeles because Dan was hosting a Dungeons & Dragons get together at our house at noon. On the drive we could see snow-covered mountains in the distance - a gorgeous view, especially from the middle of the desert. Luckily the traffic was light on the way home and we arrived at our house at 10:30 AM with plenty of time to prepare for guests.
Posted at 11:22 AM, 0 Comments
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Webpage neglect has reared its ugly head once again. I already have another holiday retrospective written, but I have to retype it at home one of these evenings before I can post it. That'll have to wait until I have any free time at all. Should be sometime in 2011.
Posted at 12:57 PM, 0 Comments
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The new laptop has been ordered! I decided on a Dell Inspiron 11z, by the way. I'm ecstatic!
Posted at 2:34 PM, 0 Comments
Sunday, February 14, 2010
At this location on December 29, 2005 Dan asked me to marry him. And on February 13, 2010, I went back to said location for a short visit. This little pier overlooking Big Bear Lake is very special to me because it's where Dan and I got engaged. So while Dan was snowboarding with some friends at Snow Summit yesterday for his birthday I took a walk down to the lake. As of yesterday there was about four feet of pristine white snow on the ground at the park where this pier is located and the lake was frozen over, as you can see in the photo. It was really beautiful. However, it was 52 deg when I took this picture! It was a little strange to be standing in the snow when it was that warm. Big Bear has gotten a lot of snow already this winter, but it rarely stays cold enough for the snow to last long. Dan said the snowboarding conditions at Snow Summit were the best he'd ever seen, despite the warm temperatures. Mother Nature must have known it was his birthday!
Posted at 8:30 PM, 0 Comments
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I would have posted something this week, but all I did was alternate between work and sleep, and that schedule is not exactly conducive to gathering interesting anecdotes for my webpage. Tomorrow I'm headed to Big Bear for the day with Dan and a couple of his coworkers so they can enjoy the record snowfall. I'll be sipping hot chocolate and reading books on my Kindle in the lodge. Relaxation here I come! Maybe they'll even be showing the Olympics on TV there. That would be nice. Whether or not this trip is a good idea the day before I'm scheduled to fly out to DC for another business trip remains to be seen. I'll let you know afterwards. Hopefully I'll have some time to pack before I leave on Sunday afternoon. And then there's always the chance my flight will be cancelled due to the horrible winter weather DC has been having recently. I don't know if that would be a good thing or a bad thing. We'll see how it goes. In other news, I'd like to wish my wonderful husband a very happy birthday. Happy Birthday Dan! I'm looking forward to spending the day with you.
Posted at 12:38 AM, 0 Comments
Sunday, February 07, 2010
It's almost time for the Super Bowl! Since I'm more of a college football girl I don't care who wins the game today, but I definitely looking forward to the party at our friend Mike's house. Yesterday Dan and I made chili - one batch mild and one batch spicy - as our main contribution to the Super Bowl buffet. I put all of the necessary ingredients together (meat, vegetables, tomato products, and spices), but Dan added the embellishments that made the chili unique. I'm not sure whether it will turn out to be dipping chili or eat-with-a-spoon chili, but either way I'm excited to see how it turned out. And then this morning I made some tomato basil bruschetta to add to the Super Bowl feast. Maybe it will help me get a little nutrition amongst all the yummy junk food today. It's going to be a good time, but I should have gotten up and gone to the gym this morning in preparation for the food. Once a couple of hours until kickoff!
Posted at 12:33 PM, 0 Comments
Saturday, February 06, 2010
In other technology news, I've just about made up my mind to order a Dell Mini 10 netbook as soon as the funds become available (closer to the end of this month). I've done some research into netbooks and small laptops and I've decide that for my purposes (and with the Boeing employee discount) the Dell Mini 10 is going to work just fine. I debated whether I wanted to get a laptop with a DVD player, but that would force me to buy a larger, more expensive machine and the battery life would suffer if I used it to watch movies on a plane. Besides, external DVD players are always an option if I decide I want one for travel. In general, I only use my laptop for surfing the web, storing digital photos, and downloading/watching stuff on iTunes so I don't need anything fancy, I would have liked a better processor, but the Intel Atom processors seem to be standard in netbooks across the board. There are a couple of 11" laptops out there that are a possibility, though. I still need to consult the computer savvy people in my life, but I'm pretty sure I'll be ordering the Dell Mini 10 soon. Unless I find something else that looks better and changes my mind. Like the Dell Inspiron 11z. I don't know. The prospect of a new laptop is so exciting, but there are so many options! I know I'll be happy once I have hardware in hand. It's going to be like heaven!
Posted at 5:01 PM, 1 Comments
Friday, February 05, 2010
Dan got my an Amazon Kindle book reader for Christmas and, like when I first got my iPods, I've decided it's the best thing since sliced bread. Right now I only have four books on it, but that's four books that take up less space than one in my travel carry-on bag. It's awesome! I also appreciate being able to get books cheaper on the Kindle (especially hardbacks) and not having to cram more stuff onto my already overfull bookshelf at home. While there's something satisfying about an entirely full bookshelf, I understand that it's better for me (financially), better for my house (clutter-wise), and better for the environment (paper-wise) not to have a printed book. It's like downloading movies and TV shows on iTunes instead of buying DVDs. (Plus, my parents were kind enough to give us a subscription to Netflix for Christmas so we can use that too.) And there's always the library for the books I can't get on the Kindle (there are a lot that aren't available digitally yet) or books I just don't want to pay for. I know the transition will be a bit slow while I finish some of the printed books I already own, but I absolutely love the Kindle. Thank you Dan for the perfect gift!
Posted at 3:29 PM, 1 Comments
Thursday, February 04, 2010
I had a horrendous day at work today - maybe the worst one I've ever had. So while I was looking forward to my daily workout as a break from the stress, I wasn't in a very good mood when I got to the gym. And then to add insult to injury (or maybe the other way around), I hurt my knee in the boot camp group class. Usually exercise makes me feel better, but not today. Today it was just frustrating, especially because the new instructor had us doing a lot of stuff that's not knee-friendly. And since I spent fourteen hours at work today I certainly didn't need any additional frustration. I was still glad I went to the gym (even though I just had to go right back to work afterwards), but I didn't enjoy the class as much as I usually do. And the five hours I spent at work after I got back from the gym just made the day that much worse. I'm incredibly happy that I decided to take tomorrow off. So I'm going to bed now and try to forget about this horrible day.
Posted at 11:55 PM, 0 Comments
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Happy Groundhog Day everyone! Another six weeks of winter, huh? Good thing we live in Los Angeles where there's little difference between summer and winter. Anyway, now that I have a little free time to post I can't figure out what to write about. Even though it's been more than a month since Christmas I still intend to continue with my holiday retrospectives, but I'm not ready to write the next installment yet. I also have several other topics I want to expound upon, but my brain isn't at full power this late at night. At least not on a weeknight. So until I have a little more brainpower to go around enjoy some pictures of our friends' brand new baby boy who Dan and I got to meet when we were in DC last week. Matthew is just adorable!
Posted at 9:50 PM, 0 Comments