Monday, January 25, 2010

In Praise of Vegas

My Las Vegas-born husband did not like my last post, claiming that in it I bashed Las Vegas. I assured him that the stereotypes I discussed exist everywhere – they are just more prevalent in Las Vegas. But he still seemed miffed. And I don’t blame him – I don’t hide the fact that I don’t like Las Vegas and would rather live somewhere else. But because I am an optimist and always try to see the bright side, I sincerely would like to like Vegas. Seriously. I know that if we moved away, I would see more of Vegas’ virtues and I would miss certain things. So in honor of Las Vegas, and in an effort to appreciate it more, I will devote this week’s entry to trying to see its good points.

1. The first thing that comes to mind is that Las Vegas does not have many bugs. In the Midwest, it is impossible to sit outside at night near a light because of the huge swarm of ugly bugs that fly around. In Vegas, hardly anything comes near a light.

(I am trying very hard to avoid pointing out that the reason there are no bugs here is because nothing grows here for them to feed on. Oops…a negative about Vegas. I digress. I will avoid these for the rest of the post, because there is probably a “but” to everything I list.)

2. In Las Vegas, you can plan an outdoor event very easily. Wind is usually the only thing that might ruin outdoor plans. But generally, outdoor events like parades, festivals, and picnics are a great thing in Vegas. In fact, we love to go out to Spring Mountain Ranch in the summer to see their outdoor shows - they’re hardly ever canceled due to the weather.

(But this is because we never get rain, never have a thunderstorm, never have a good old cloudy-curl-up-at-home kind of day. And I LOVE rain! Oops. I did it again. I will keep the buts out, from now on.)

3. You can get anything you need at any time of the day in Vegas. Need a pair of shoes at 3am? Go to the 24-hour Target. Need more sugar at midnight? Go to the 24-hour grocery. Alcohol is sold on Sundays, and you can go to a movie at 2am. If you’re a night owl, Vegas is the place to live.

4. When the weather in Las Vegas gets too hot, Mt. Charleston is a short drive away. There, the temps are always at least 20 degrees cooler, so you can find relief in the summer or play in the snow in the winter. And it’s a tiny mountain community that provides a convenient getaway. How many other cities offer something so completely different, so close?

5. Because Las Vegas is a tourist destination, friends and family tend to visit more often.

6. Las Vegas is an open-minded city but also has a conservative side. Any type of person – any extreme – can find a community here.

7. Las Vegas is a major airline hub, so it’s easy to fly to any city. And the ocean is a four-hour drive away. A good weekend trip.

(I just noticed that two of my good points about Vegas are about getting out of town. Probably not the best things for this list.)

8. There is a huge amateur theatre community in Las Vegas, so anyone who wants to perform has an opportunity.

That’s honestly all I can think of. And I sincerely, honestly, am trying. Really. I may end up living here forever, so believe me, I really want to learn to love this place. I would love to have a list of reasons I like Las Vegas, without any "buts".
So, I beg of you, would you help me add to my list? I am a glass-half-full kind of a girl, and I truly want to love where I live. Please point out any of the good things that I may be missing! Thank you.

p.s. I thought of number nine on the way to work today. The view of the city in the morning is gorgeous, when the silhouette of the Strip’s buildings are hazy against the mountains in the distance, and the sky is huge and blue above it all. There is no “but” to this one.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Seeking LVHWM

I didn’t realize that Starbucks is a pickup joint until this week, when I saw a man make a move on the woman in front of him in line. From where I stood waiting to pick up my iced venti Chai Tea Latte, I first noticed the woman when she walked through the door in her tight jeans, super-high-heeled black leather boots and tight, low-cut blouse. But she wasn’t overly sleazy, she was just dressed in the stereotypical “Las Vegas Hoochie with Money” style that is so prevalent, especially in Summerlin. She wore too much makeup, her hair was colored and straightened; she wore big jewelry and had manicured hands that are used to regular appointments at her local spa. The Vegas Hoochie with Money dresses fairly well but has no class – that’s what sets them apart. They fill the hottest Las Vegas clubs and restaurants where people go to be seen.

Anyway, of course I checked out her clothes, as women do, and suddenly I heard the man behind her in line ask if she was on Facebook. She flashed him a collagen smile, and they confirmed that they had probably seen each other there sometime. Obviously they are the types who collect Facebook friends as status symbols.

The man was another Las Vegas stereotype – the Las Vegas Super-Cool Guy. His jeans fell perfectly onto his expensive leather dress shoes; his shirt was just tight enough to show the line of his pecs caused by his daily gym workouts. His hair was overly styled – probably took him an hour and a half cup of hair gel – and he had a fake tan. The Las Vegas Super-Cool Guy doesn’t age well, because years of tanning and an overly cheesy smile tend to cause deep wrinkles.

These two Vegas types aren’t stupid; they just put image and money far above education. And by the way, don’t worry – if you’re reading this, you’re not one of those types. They wouldn’t waste precious grooming time reading about another person’s thoughts. It’s all about them.

Starbucks might as well have been a Club that morning, judging from the hardcore pursuit that happened by the stack of Chocolate Madelines and Petite Vanilla Scones. The woman turned to place her order, and Super-Cool Guy took advantage of the opportunity to check out her butt; she turned to speak to him again, so he got to check out her cleavage before turning his gaze back to her face. She turned back and forth between the Barista at the register and him several times, causing a sequence of eye movements – Face, Butt, Cleavage, Face, Butt, Cleavage, Face. He was in heaven.

It was time for the woman to pay, and Super-Cool Guy said, “I think I should buy coffee for two this time.” His cheesy swagger was so confident I almost laughed out loud. He had already caught me looking at them a couple of times, but I’m sure he thought I thought he was Super-Cool, instead of Super-Funny. The woman allowed him to pay for her coffee while I picked up my drink at the counter, and as I walked past to leave he was digging into his back pocket to give her his card.

They were humorously perfect for each other. Watch for them next time you are in a Las Vegas club – I’m sure you’ll see them. And if you’re single, consider Starbucks as your next mate-seeking location. I have proof that it can be successful!

Monday, January 11, 2010

George, a.k.a. Lassie

George knows that if he barks, it gets things done. Most commonly he barks when he can’t reach the rawhide bone he has hidden in the couch cushions or the toy that fell behind the end table.

But George has learned that his bark can do much more. Okay, don’t get your hopes up. It’s not like he alerts us to danger or barks to let us know someone is in trouble. Instead, he knows he can use his barking to his advantage.

George barks when he needs to go outside. Over time, though, we learned that he just stands by the door (and stares at us) when he needs to go out, so we tend to jump right up and open the door when we see him. Therefore, over time he learned that he can manipulate us that way. If we are sitting at the table eating, he will wait by the back door until we get up and fiddle with the lock, and then he runs to our now-empty chair and tries to get our food. Sometimes he doesn’t even care about the food – he just sits there in the chair as if to say, “Hello – where is MY spot at the table?”

Many times at night when we’re upstairs watching TV, we’ll hear George barking downstairs, and when it looks like he won’t stop, we go downstairs to see what he wants. It used to be that he wanted his bone that he couldn’t reach, but lately the bone IS in his reach; he just wants us to get it for him. Kind of like a baby who throws his toy on the floor just to create a game of watching the parent pick it up over and over.

But recently we noticed that George has a new demand. The other night we heard him whimpering and whining, and it continued until I got up to see where he was. I went to the top of the stairs and looked down in the darkness; then I flipped on the light switch. Immediately his whining stopped and he ran upstairs, past me, and joined Lance on the couch. He had been waiting for the stairwell light to be turned on. He’s done that several times since then, and we can’t figure out why he suddenly decided he doesn’t like dark stairs. But I don’t really blame him – I don’t go up stairs in the dark, either.

Monday, January 4, 2010


A new year, another list to make! I love to make lists - of things I need to do, places to go, books to read - a list on paper is a visualization of possibilites.

I also use lists as a way to get information out of my head so I can quit stressing. Why give yourself the pressure of trying to remember things when you can easily put it on paper? Mom taught me this valuable tool when I was a stressed-out teenager who couldn't sleep due to...well, whatever teens stress about. One night I lay in my bed staring at the ceiling, and when she asked me what was stressing me, I said in tears, "Everything!" So she sat on the edge of the bed with a pen and paper and made me list every single thing that bothered me: tests, rehearsals, an upcoming speech, an insensitive comment from a friend. And once everything was on paper, I saw that it wasn't so overwhelming after all. We looked at the list and determined whether or not I could do anything about any of the items. And after it all was out of my head and onto paper, I could sleep.

And boy does it feel good to mark off things as I accomplish them. When I was a kid and hated to clean my room, Mom used to write a checklist of jobs to help me complete the sometimes huge task. At the top she wrote "Shannon's To-Do List," and then drew boxes next to each item. I got immense satisfaction in putting a checkmark in each box as I put all my books on the shelf or put my stuffed animals on the bed. Lists made the job bearable.

I have about eight resolutions on my list for this year, and I predict that I will complete three of them. But that's okay. Some are difficult (finish my book, eat better) and some are easy (walk George to the park instead of driving, take my vitamins every day) but either way, when I accomplish anything I will be happy in the mere knowledge that I am bettering myself in some way. I'll find happiness in any small success.

Tonight my husband and I are going to watch the movie Patton, because we are making our way through the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best movies of all-time. When it's over, I will cross out the word "Patton" with a bright blue highlighter and bask in the satisfaction of another accomplishment.