Saturday, October 18, 2014


Fall has come to the desert. We don't get colorful leaves, although some of the trees here are deciduous and, because of the decreasing hours of daylight, have dropped their leaves. We do get pumpkins and Halloween decorations everywhere. Our school's Fall Festival is coming up next Friday, wherein we teachers all supervise the carnival games and paint faces and sell hot dogs. But it's really pretty fun, and the older students come back with their younger siblings and so it's like a reunion.

The next indicator that fall has officially arrived is the temperature. It only gets up to 85 during the days now, and in the early morning, when I first leave for work, it is actually in the 60's. The pool season is officially finished. The water is just too chilly for even me. I've been known to jump into the ocean when it was really cold, but I'm probably too chicken to do that now. These days, we just use the hot tub. Every evening, we go out there and enjoy it under the starry sky. (No really, we can see quite a few stars since we're situated next to a large mountain and beyond it is the open desert). It's always nice to soak for a little while before heading into bed.

But, the real proof that autumn has arrived is this:

Some of my students are now wearing their coats to school. Yes, a coat, with a fur-lined hood. After all, it isn't 95 degrees at 8:00 A.M. any longer, so it must be coat weather, right?  I can understand a sweater, or a light jacket...but, seriously? My students crack me up. They're so weather-warped living here.

We will actually have a few days that will require a coat. A couple of times each winter since I've moved here, it was quite cold. A few times the temperature hovered in the low forties for several days. It has dipped below freezing every year during the winter. I'll go outside and there will be a layer (a mighty thin layer) of ice across the pool and spa. So, yes, I own a coat and I occasionally wear it. And, if I were a youngster walking to school for 15 or 20 minutes, I'd probably wear my coat more often. But, Sweetie-who-wore-it-this-week, I think you can hold off for a few more weeks.

Maybe she bought it over the weekend, and it was new, so she just couldn't resist. Me? I wore Capris again.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Date Night in Gonzo Land

I meant to write this on Sunday evening, but I've been really busy with school stuff. Teaching is hard enough, but now our district has added a whole new gigantic computerized grading program/attendance/parent link set up that, apparently, wasn't actually ready for roll-out, and every day is a new adventure.

However...on Saturday night, we did something fun. It all started when I attended a school supplies give-away day at one of the casinos here. Each year, just before school begins, they sponsor a big event in which you just show up and load up a huge bag with notebooks, pencils, erasers, paper and all kinds of excellent school supplies---free! There is a limit of one bag, but it can be a big bag. At the conclusion of this event, I also was given a ticket to come with a friend, for free, to see one of the attractions to preview as a possible field trip destination.

So, on Saturday, one day away from the expiration of my free ticket, CoolGuy and I went to see the dolphin habitat and white tigers at a big old Strip casino. We thought maybe we'd scout it out as a future Grandma Camp option. It was pretty cool. The dolphins are quite fun to watch, and they interact with their trainers every hour, so you can sit by their pools and watch them play with balls, wave their tails, leap out of the water and do other fine dolphin things. Then, we wandered through the tiger/lion garden. It doesn't matter what size they are---cats are cats. They really just reminded us of the Queen KittyKat who allows us to share her domain. The big ones laid on their branches and casually flipped their tails, yawning wide and letting you glimpse their amazing fangs. It was a lounging time of day, so they didn't do much, but you could see the remains of a watermelon that the tiger had apparently been batting around with his paws. There are two little white tiger cubs in this habitat, too, but we missed them because they were already put into the nursery for the night.

So, after we visited the ocean and then the wilds of Africa and India, we wandered across the street to Maine. We went to a favorite eatery called Lobster ME.  (Get it--ME as in Maine?) We ate some lobstah rolls and a little coleslaw and people-watched because this little corner of Maine is situated inside Italy. Or rather, FAKE Italy inside the Venetian hotel. Lots of different folks, from bridal parties to families to packs of young adults wandered around as we munched our yummy seafood.

Then, we had a little dessert decadence from Haagen-daz and made our way back to the free parking valet to get the truck and head for home. Except that as we were driving down the weirdo Strip, I noticed that the front parking lot of one of the casinos was filled with old hearses--car show! Yes, hearses...

Hey! It's October---it was the Haunted Hearse Car show! It was an unusual event. I've been to plenty of car shows in my time, but who knew there was a group of gearheads devoted to funeral vehicles. It was weird;  fun, but weird. We walked around for a few minutes and admired the many versions of ways you can take your last ride. There were lots of people dressed in zombie attire, or long capes and top hats, and a few in the sexy-witch-type thing. But, there were some mighty awesome old cars, too.

So, after that little detour, we headed for home finally. It's a pretty strange place where we live---lions, tigers, dolphins, haunted car shows, lobstah rolls and showgirls. Most of the time, I stay far, far away from the Shiny Streets, but every once in a while--it's kinda fun!

 Can you see the "driver"--it's a skeleton.
He at the wheel of really nice 1960's Cadillac.

Here's the back end.

It takes all kinds...