Friday morning, I drove the "back way" over the high desert to Las Vegas, with one Starbucks stop and another bathroom break. This is an interesting drive, but VERY isolated, and a little creepy with no other cars for miles, and no cell phone signal in case of an emergency! It took me 3 hours and 45 minutes.
I drove straight to Fashion Show Mall, and parked by Nordstrom. I phoned Vegas Ms. (Beth) from Slow Travel, and she met me for coffee with her mom, Betty. We had a nice visit talking about travel and ST, and upcoming GTGs! By the time we left the table, I think we had each gotten excited about each other's favorite vacation destinations...Italy for me...DUH!, and England for Beth!
On the shopping front, I purchased a lovely black pant suit, a top, a blouse, and a scarf! I checked into Caesar's and picked Brad up from the airport. We had an uneventful dinner and evening of gambling.
On Saturday, we lingered over coffee, then hit three bead stores, and bought a birthday gift. We had time for an afternoon nap before going to Brad's cousin, Connie's home for dinner. Connie and John have moved to a beautiful new house about 30 minutes from the Strip. We had drinks and a BBQ with cousins Connie and John, Marti, and Linda and Phil, as well as friends!
We made it back to the Mirage for Brad's early Valentine gift: tickets to see Jay Leno! We picked up tickets, had a latte, and took our seats for the 10:30 Jay Leno show.
The opening act was quite a wonderdul surprise! The "Alley Cats" performed for the first half hour. They are an A Capella Doo Wop group made up of 4 guys from Orange County. They were AMAZING! I sang along with all of their songs: "At the Hop", "Book of Love". "Run Around Sue", "La Bamba/Twist and Shout", "Barbara Ann", and the funniest was bringing an older gentleman up from the audience to do the Bass part to "Blue Moon". (Bomp-a-ta-bomp, bomp-a-ta-bomp, bang-a-ta-bang, Blue Moon!) I thought I'd wet my pants laughing as they had him singing and doing their choreography (ski poles step left, ski poles step right...). Here is their website. If you have a chance to see them, don't miss it!
Jay performed for a solid hour, barely stopping to take a breath. His routine was very funny, and pretty "clean"...refreshing for a headliner comedian in Vegas. We especially enjoyed his humor around America's poor eating habits, and stories of his Italian parents!
Sunday, we had a nice breakfast, walked through the Forum Shops (where I bought a pair of black/white walking shoes for Italy), and did a little more gambling. As we went to sleep at 3:00 a.m., we needed a nap, so we slept for a couple of hours, and got ready for Connie's 60th birthday dinner at Bally's.
We walked to Bally's and found the group in the appointed meeting place (a bar with music near the restaurant). We ordered drinks, and soon were seated at our table for 12 in the restaurant, "Al Dente". The table shared two orders of bruchetta, and two orders of fried calamari...more wine was ordered. While we waited for our entrees, we were served a complementary bowl of something that looked like one green ravioli sitting in a bowl of orangy-pink sauce. The first taste was a surprise in several ways. It was green ice cream sitting in a canteloupe "soup". The ice cream was basil flavored, and would have been lovely on it's own, or perhaps in a martini glass with a light lemony swirl under it. The canteloupe part was awful, a distracting flavor that overpowered the subtle basil ice cream, which was actually quite good. Our entrees arrived. There were a couple of ribeyes, a couple of lamp chops, a couple of lobsters, a couple osso buco, and a couple of pasta dishes ordered. Overall, the lamb and osso buco seemed to be the best choices. A birthday cake was served with coffee, and gifts were opened. It was a very nice evening, and Connie was happy to be surrounded by family and friends!
We walked back to Caesars for a last gambling fix, and were packed and in bed by midnight. The weekend went by quickly, but was a nice combination of shopping, relaxing, gambling, family time, with highlights of the Alley Cats, Jay Leno, and Connie's birthday dinner!
Monday was a long, hard day, as we woke at 5:00 a.m., loaded the car, checked out of Caesar's at 6:10, and I dropped Brad off at the Las Vegas airport at 6:30. I then drove straight to work (one Starbucks/bathroom stop), and did supervision for a few hours, before my quick afternoon nap!