Me: “Do you want anything?”
Dad: “Sure. I’ll just take a small coffee.”
Barista: *crackle* “Welcome to City Brew! What can I get for you today?!” *crackle crackle*
Me: “Um, I’ll take a small black coffee and . . . a tall mint mocha frappuccino with skim milk, two shots of espresso, extra whip cream, and sprinkles if you have them. Thanks!”
Category Archives: Family
I flew into Billings yesterday, leaving balmy Las Vegas behind for the frigid winter wind of Montana — of which Dad and I had ample time to appreciate, as we stood outside for a solid twenty minutes waiting for the taxi to arrive. Just goes to show how small my town is. We probably got one of only two taxis in service that day.
Side Note: Dad is sitting here and would like me to clarify that I was in Henderson, not Las Vegas. He says that Henderson is the second largest city in Nevada. However, since they bleed together and there is only a tiny sign to indicate the change from one city to the other, I will continue to call it Las Vegas. Sounds much more exotic that way.
The last two days have been filled with rearranging/cleaning/bleaching my dad’s apartment, seeing friends, experiencing my small hometown’s public transportation, and walking to the Dollar Tree to buy more utensils for my dad’s kitchen.
It’s actually quite fun to help buy stuff for someone else’s kitchen (using someone else’s money). I’ll probably be over the moon when it’s time to get stuff for my own kitchen (though I am much less enthusiastic about the spending my own money part). But seriously, setting up a house is so much fun. And the dollar store is actually the best thing that was ever created for said homemaking. For example, why would you go to a regular store (even Walmart, the cheapville of them all), when you can get that same vase/oil dispenser/wine glass/measuring cup set for a fraction of the cost at the dollar store? One buck for everything? Yes please.
Then, of course, came the adventure of walking home with my loot. See, Dad’s not-so-trusty, ancient-beyond-belief station wagon finally bit the dust not long ago, and as such, I am without a car. Which means walking long distances to get places (ten blocks to the grocery store — uphill both ways in snow and ice) or taking the bus.
Oh, the bus. See, in small-town Montana, not very many people take the bus. I haven’t been on a bus with more than four people at a time. The city is too spread out, and the public transportation too sparse, to make it very convenient to not have a car. So most people have cars. And no one rides the bus.
Five quarters will take me anywhere I want to go — as long as there’s a bus station nearby, of course.
It’s very interesting to see your hometown, the place where you’ve grown up and spent 13+ years, from the back of a bus. Just sitting there, bumping along. It’s a different feeling, though it’s hard to describe. And I kinda enjoy it. I don’t particularly enjoy being limited in mobility or anything, but it’s a new adventure to attack Billings by bus. It gives me a new challenge during my week or so here.
That and keeping my balance on all this ice. I shall consider it an immense accomplishment if I manage to stay on my feet and off my butt while walking around out here.
… and England, Monaco, and New York City.
It was a busy day.
Evangelina had a hair appointment in one of the hotels on the Strip (Who still cuts hair on Christmas Eve?), so Stan, Dad and I went with her and walked around for a few hours while she got a cut/color.
I guess midday on the Strip is for families. They were everywhere. I was amazed at how many people 1) spend Christmas in Las Vegas, and 2) take their kids with them when they come.
Vegas isn’t really a place for kids. Sure, they have some magician shows and the Excalibur hotel (think mideival castles and real jousting tournaments). But there are more pictures of half-naked women here than in a Maxim magazine, and probably just as raunchy.
While wandering, we walked through the Luxor, which is a giant glass pyramid and has a little Sphinx inside. Then we walked across a skybridge (all those big hotels are connected) to the Excalibur hotel. Then we went on to New York New York — which is probably my all-time favorite hotel on the strip.
That’s because inside, they have a food area that is made up entirely of “miniature” NYC buildings that stand about one and a half stories tall. The first floor is to scale, holding restaurants and little cafes. Then, above that first floor, they’ve miniaturized the buildings and squeezed in another two or three “stories.” It’s adorable.
|Found me that NYC townhouse!|
Also, New York New York has a roller coaster. A big red roller coaster that winds around the outside of the building so you can see the Strip from an entirely new perspective. Stan and I rode the coaster on the way back — rather pricey, but oh so much fun!!!
Then we walked through the Monte Carlo (which is actually a huge hotel in Monaco — lots of my friends took a day trip over there while we were at Cannes) and then on to the CityCenter, which is apparently this huge new hotel with the best shopping and gorgeous paintings lining the halls (which the concierge at New York New York said was better than paying to walk through some gallery.
|Near one of the entrances to the Monte Carlo.|
After walking all the way down to the CityCenter (which was probably at least five super long NYC blocks), we took the free trams all the way back down to the Luxor, where Evangelina was getting her hair done.
We had some time to spare before she was done, so the three of us got fluffy Christmas drinks at Starbucks and sat around chatting (which included, on my part, a complete recount of the plot of Casablanca in an attempt to convince the boys that it was more than just another old black and white movie). Let me just say that while Christmas drinks at Starbucks (with their red holiday cups) already fill me with a special joy every year, they really come through after a few hours of walking around gaudy, expensive hotels. Gingerbread spice never tasted so delicious.
My older sister Evangelina currently lives in Las Vegas, and she is graciously letting the family crash her beautiful home for Christmas. I picture lots of eating her scrumptious cooking and hours of fighting over and playing with the cutest creature on the planet, her baby daughter Isabella (It’ll be her first Christmas!).
To get from Arizona to Vegas, Mom, Stan and I are driving eight hours, starting tomorrow at the painfully early hour of 5:00 a.m. Which hopefully means we’ll be missing the morning traffic when driving through Pheonix (about an hour and a half away from Tucson). However, since there is a teeny-tiny, ever so slight chance we might possibly hit traffic when passing through, I have taken the responsibility upon myself to commandeer the car through said big city. My wonderful mother, while I love her dearly with every fiber of my being, scares the living daylights out of me when she drives under stress.
Big City + Morning Work Traffic + My Mother = Possible Heart Attack
This is something I would like to avoid.
So I will be doing the driving.
I’m actually pretty excited about it (except the rising-before-the-crack-of-dawn part, of course). Since I don’t have a car in Oklahoma, I’m always jumping at the chance to drive people around. It’s a simple joy, I guess. But when something is a special occasion, it’s gonna be fun. And driving, for me, is definitely a special occasion.
I realize this makes me strange.
Also, the landscape between Las Vegas and Tucson is really different from anything I’m used to. I grew up with mountains, trees, shrubs and tall brittle grass.
Out here it’s the desert, with a million different kinds of cactus poking awkwardly out of rocky dirt. Lots of cactus. Lots of dirt.
And an occasional roadrunner. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, they actually exist outside the Looney Tunes.
I just discovered this too. Changed my entire outlook on life.
So anywho… tomorrow we’re headed to Las Vegas to begin the rest of the Christmas festivities. I’m excited about Christmas in Vegas, but I’m a bit sad to be leaving Tucson and my sister Rebecca. My stay here was way too short — four days just isn’t enough to catch up with family that you haven’t seen in four months. But hopefully, if things go according to plan, I’ll get to spend some time here after I graduate (before I start a real job, perhaps?).
Wait. Who am I kidding? THERE IS NO PLAN! Gah! *nervously gash teeth*
(Oops. Seeing as this blog is already full of a gazillion tangents, I’ll leave that one for another time).
See y’all in Vegas!
Warm, rainy Arizona weather isn’t exactly what gets me in the mood for Christmas. I’ve even slipped on my daily ritual of Pandora Christmas music while aimlessly cleaning the house. The last part is probably the direct result of not being at home anymore (not that my sister would mind if I randomly started 409-ing her house, I’m sure).
In short, I’ve been feeling much less Christmas-y in the last few days. But hopefully today will cure that. I’m braving the malls with my mother (what shouts louder of holiday cheer than a massive throng of frustrated, harried shoppers?) to find me a pair of black flats (yay Christmas presents!), and then my family and I are going to that rich neighborhood with all the Christmas lights that I was telling you about earlier.
I’m also buying some real film for the old camera that my mom is letting me borrow (made in the 70s = true vintage), so maybe there will be some pretty pictures of my Christmas festivities up on the blog soon.
Until then, may your days be merry and bright!