The Las Vegas Strip Trip – Part 1: “That’s Amore!”

 

KnightsLiberty1The Las Vegas Strip – Outside New York, New York & MGM casinos

 

I need to hurry up & write about my vacation because I’m already really absorbed in another project that just won’t wait. I wrote over 2,000 words last night & I’m glad something new is fresh in my mind & flowing. I don’t want to say too much about it because it seems whenever I do that, whatever it is I’m working on ends up in the “Unfinished” pile & I’m trying to avoid that for this. 🙂 So, on to a recap of my adventures!:

 

After we picked up my friend from the airport, we came back to the apartment & just caught up & ate a wonderful meal of meatballs prepared by my husband. He loves cooking. I don’t. It works out pretty amazingly, & he’s also a very good cook so that’s even more amazing. We talked about places we should visit. We talked about all of our predetermined plans we had for that Friday. I was feeling good & very excited, but slightly anxious over how much I knew I’d be pushing myself. I wanted to though. I wanted this trip to be a blast.

The following evening, we took on the Strip. We started at the Luxor. It’s the Egypt themed hotel/casino. It looks like a pyramid & I can see it’s light from my neighborhood. It’s a huge spotlight aimed at the sky that can be seen for miles around. We had plans to eat at Johnny Rockets & I was a little disappointed to find out it was only a Food Court location, so we didn’t get the experience of the whole staff singing & dancing along to a “jukebox” playing 50s music. (This was compensated by a giant jumbotron in the center of the Food Court, which suddenly switched to a video of a Johnny Rockets staff somewhere in the world performing a song for whichever restaurant they were really at. It’s a Johnny Rockets thing. I was excited about it. I took what I got.) We were tripping out sitting in the Food Court, looking up at the hotel room floors. It was quite the optical illusion being pyramid shaped. People looked like they were dangling above us, & that at any moment they could fall. I have a thing with heights & the whole thing was making me dizzy, but I still thought it would be cool to stay there & see how things looked from above sometime.

Our next stop was the Excalibur. It looks like a giant medieval castle on the outside, but not as exciting vibes on the inside. Some lady cornered us & was trying to sell us package deals to wherever & I wasn’t having it, I just wanted to move on. So, an awkward moment of lost patience ensued. At this point, I was starting to feel all the walking, & it was still early in our night, so I really only had one thing in mind: have a good time.

 

HoudiniShop1Houdini’s Magic Shop @ New York, New York – Las Vegas

 

Our last stop of the night was New York, New York. The Statue of Liberty replica outside of it had a Las Vegas Golden Knights jersey on, & I started to think about Las Vegas as a “hockey town”. I shook my head in disbelief & took a ton of pictures. (I go on about this a lot, but seriously, this is their first year. They’re in the Playoffs. This is seriously unheard of.) I remember doing pretty well slot machine-wise at New York, New York. My husband tells me I actually won a bit that night. We had giant, greasy slices of pizza there. We also visited a Houdini’s Magic Shop. There was a Zoltar machine there so I had to get a fortune, of course. Back at home, I had a rough time with my nerves & had a seizure, but I recovered quickly & upon waking, I felt ready to tackle another night.

 

We had show tickets the following night so I definitely had to go, even if I didn’t feel like it, but thankfully, I totally felt like it. My feet were a little sore but I think I was fueled by excitement because I was more than ready to get going. Of all the casinos I’ve been to, I love the Venetian the most. My first visit to the Strip (14 years ago!) I remember being obsessed with Paris. This time around, I can’t stop thinking about the Venetian & how I want to go visit it again. The Grand Canal Shoppes was a nice little walk, & the giant “Love” display is there. We took some photos & just took in the general splendor before heading to Casanova for dinner. The Shoppes are surrounded by the Canal & we saw the gondolas & I was too excited thinking about how I was finally going to be able to ride in one. I loved the antipasto platter we ordered as an appetizer at Casanova, & for my meal, I had wild mushroom ravioli which was amazing. I loved the vibe in that restaurant. The lighting fixtures especially. Las Vegas is good for my fascination with fancy (& often faux) light fixtures. Every ten minutes I was thinking, “Ooooh, that would be nice in a dining room”, & other things like that. My husband & friend both enjoyed their meals as well. We were now on our way to catch a Gondola ride before the show started.

 

Casanova Restaurant @ The Venetian – Las Vegas (Please forgive my blurry photos, I lack a steady hand, but I do my best!)

 

I loved our Gondolier. She was amazing. Her voice was so beautiful that when she sang “Bella Notte” (it was in Lady & the Tramp) I teared up. It couldn’t be helped. She told me it was fine. “Feelings are better to be let out than kept in!” she bellowed in what was probably a practiced Italian accent. (They have to go to school for this.) She also made some jokes that I thought were pretty funny. She was just a wonderful presence to be in. She sang “That’s Amore” & “Funiculi, Funicula” as well & those were fun & upbeat. It was cute when some tourists on a bridge waved to us. I waved back, of course. There was also a little bridge we passed under & she told my husband & I we would stay together forever if we kissed under it, so of course we did. 🙂 I visited the gondola shop afterwards & got a magnet & a little figurine of a gondolier & gondola to have mementos of the experience.

 

GondolierMy Gondolier Figurine

 

After our little boat ride, we headed over to the Palazzo (another casino connected to the Venetian) Theater to see Baz. We were happy to see that pretty much everyone was in VIP seating, including us. Even the stage had tables on it, & spectators were sitting there! There were runways from the stage all around where we were sitting. It appeared that there would be actors right in front of us based on the layout, & I hoped we could take pictures. I soon found out we could, “take as much video & photos as you want, just make sure you hashtag us!” was in the pre-show speech, also informing us that we had to be careful because actors & actresses were going to be running all over the place, so make sure we keep them safe, etc. The show is a mash up musical of songs from three Baz Luhrmann movies, “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet”, “Moulin Rouge”, & “The Great Gatsby”. It’s amazing to see the parallels to each story having it laid out for you like that. There was an awesome “Tango de la Roxanne” from Moulin Rouge & Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” from The Great Gatsby soundtrack mash-up that I was super impressed by.

 

Baz @ The Palazzo

 

The actresses & actors had impressive vocal & dance skills & were literally running around everywhere. There were also scenes/lines from the movies (based on literary works), throughout the show being delivered, & everyone was good in that department too. Mercutio’s death scene (as always) made me cry. I captured a lot on video & couldn’t stop filming during the “Like a Virgin” scene because it was just fantastic. I thought the guy who played Romeo was adorable & he was directly in front of us quite a few times. I have many blurry photos of trying to catch performers running by. They’re pretty funny to me. I avoided the couple instances of strobe lights in the show just fine, & also was able to slow my heart during the gun violence scenes. This never used to affect me, & it does now, & I really don’t like it, but that’s another blog post in itself. It was great to sing along to the show & I was laughing out loud at some parts. The man who played Harold Zidler was the best. He was so hilarious. Juliet, Satine, & Daisy had amazing voices. The set, the costumes, everything about this show was perfect. If anyone asks me what’s a good show in Las Vegas to see (I haven’t seen that many, but still) I will definitely tell them to go see Baz. I had to get a souvenir afterward, so I got a cool Baz flask. I am still very sad that there is no show soundtrack that exists, but I did my best to compensate for that by making a playlist of all the songs in the show in some form or another, & I’ve been listening to it on repeat since that night. 🙂

 

ChristianandSatineThis scene with Christian & Satine from Moulin Rouge was right in front of us — This is the best photo I captured from the show!

 

I’m not sure how many parts I’m going to break this trip up into to share here, but that’s enough for right now. I hope you enjoyed Part 1! This is only the first part of this night at the Venetian. The night was still feeling young for us after the show, & we had free drink vouchers. Spoiler alert: We didn’t end the night at the Venetian. 🙂 Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Update: May This Month Be Good

 

maypoleMaypole – Artist Unknown

 

Wow! It’s May already! April was a tough month, but I was distracted from my daily struggles by #NaPoWriMo & it always feels good to write every day. I try to write a little every day anyway, but to have 30 concrete poems in 30 days is an accomplishment I look back on every time I participate & wonder how in the world I did it. I definitely need a week off. 🙂

My dear friend is visiting for a week. He flies in on Wednesday night & it’s going to be so great to see him. My husband has made a tentative itinerary of places we should definitely take him to whether I am able to participate that day or not. I never know how I’m going to feel every moment of every day, but we do live in a 24 hour city so that won’t matter. My “sleep schedule” is basically, “whenever my body needs to sleep.” I try not to worry about it too much & I always get enough. Friday we have show tickets so I definitely need to be able to pull through that. I can only hope it will be a good day & even if I’m not feeling well, there are ways to manage things. If I have to rely on my wheelchair to get around, so be it. I may not like it, but I don’t want my illnesses to get in the way of having fun. There’s a couple things I can’t participate in because of the events being too flashy for my Epilepsy, but I don’t mind. I will take that time to rest up for the next adventure. I’m so excited. It’s going to be so much fun.

On the publishing front, I have a prose piece coming out in Issue V of Half Mystic. This issue is called ‘Cadenza’ & can be pre-ordered here. Half Mystic is home to many talented writers & artists & I’m honored to be included in the issue. I’m so excited to read it. After my vacation, I plan on focusing on submissions. Everything I write that I feel is “submittable” will be sent to hopefully find a home somewhere. I took some time off from submitting to try & get adjusted to my new limitations, & I think I’ve found a better balance now that I’ve given up social media. I lack energy & am in constant pain so I had to cut some things out & change the way I was doing some things to be able to enjoy my days again & feel a little more productive & happier than I was feeling. It’s been quite the battle, but I feel I’m coming out on top.

I read a lot this past month. Reading books, reading blog posts of others’, & writing my daily poems consumed the bulk of my time awake. I also watched a lot of SVU & a few movies. There was a little Alfred Hitchcock marathon on so I’ve been watching some of his films that I hadn’t seen or heard of & some of my favorites of his such as Vertigo, Psycho, & The Birds. I’ve also been watching the NHL Playoffs & I CANNOT BELIEVE the new team (from HERE, LAS VEGAS of all places) is a good contender for the Stanley Cup. I’m a lifelong Detroit Red Wings fan, but I am rooting for the local Golden Knights, because hey, why not. (Sometimes, I swear the Cup follows me. I need to get back home so Detroit can start winning it again. haha  🙂 )

Here are the books I’ve read this past month. I definitely recommend all of them. I wanted to read some books that I’ve seen the movie version of billions of time, so I read Fried Green Tomatoes & The Virgin Suicides. I plan on reading the rest of that Fallen series as well since I enjoyed book one so much. I haven’t seen ‘Love, Simon‘ but I definitely want to. The book was so good.

Fallen // Lauren Kate
Her Body & Other Parties // Carmen Maria Machado
Because We Are Bad: OCD & a Girl Lost in Thought // Lily Bailey
The Gin Closet // Leslie Jamison
Northanger Abbey // Jane Austen
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda // Becky Albertalli
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe // Fannie Flagg
The Virgin Suicides // Jeffrey Eugenides

I’ve also been reading passages of the Bible, (I’m finally going to read the whole thing & have been working on it this year), & The Philokalia. I’ve been reading Monastic Wisdom: Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, & Emily Dickinson’s Complete Works if I don’t have my current read handy or just want something to read quickly for inspiration or meditation purposes. The book I’m on now is ‘Torment Saint‘ by William Todd Schultz, which is about the life of Elliott Smith. Interestingly enough, I checked this book out at the library on a whim before I read ‘Simon‘ & was surprised to find that Elliott Smith & his music are mentioned throughout the book. I love synchronicities like that. I’ve been listening to a lot of Elliott Smith’s music again too. It may be sad, but it suits me right now.

 

TormentSaintTorment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith by William Todd Schultz- My Current Read

 

Since I’m not on social media, I’ll be posting more personal updates to this blog. I’ve decided I want to continue to do my photo/poetry edits as I was starting to do on Instagram before I left. They’re fun & I have so much micropoetry from doing Twitter prompts for two years so I’m going to share them here. I also keep visualizing collage paintings so I want to work on some art too. It’s been way too long & I’ve never had inspiration for art pieces become so restless before. I discovered that there is even something called “visual poetry” & I have a few ideas for that as well. I think it’s cool to combine art & poetry. It will be fun.

 

SaveYourLifeCollageA collage by me

 

Of course, I make all of these plans & attempt to get to it all, but I’m never able to forget that I am ill. My body reminds me. My brain reminds me sometimes. I try not to be reminded, but eh, what can I do? I just have to accept & do what I’m able to do. I’m happy I was able to mail out some letters to my friends this month too. I love letter writing. I love writing, period.

Hopefully, after my one doctor’s appointment in May & three appointments (tests, follow ups) in June I will be done with waiting rooms for awhile. I’m hoping nothing else pops up & that it’s all just “progression of the illness” which is what my new nephrologist suspects. He’s so on my level & I’m so glad to have found him. I kept trying to tell so many other doctors, “I think this is just my disease” but they all just wanted it to be something else or something, I don’t know. There’s still a lot about PKD that is unknown & if you’ve never heard of it, you’re not going to believe that so much could go wrong from just one illness. Those of us who live with it constantly do know, & it’s wonderful to be listened to & understood by my new doc. He’s really fantastic, & I seriously can’t get over how happy I am to be in his care now. Just having a good medical professional on your side can make things so much easier.

Well, I’m officially starting my vacation now. Thanks so much for all the love, support, & encouragement, everyone! I appreciate you taking the time to read my writing & for commenting such kind words. It really means the world to me. 🙂 Happy Reading & Writing! I’ll see you in a week or so! ❤