Friday, February 26, 2010

Biloxi Casinos

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After we left San Antonio to go to Florida we decided to stay a couple nights at a casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was quite interesting to us for several reasons. First, we were impressed by the effects of hurricanes from several years ago (especially Katrina). There are many vacant lots along the beachfront that may have only 1 or 2 trees that are leaning but still standing. There seem to be places where there were obviously buildings (condos, motels, etc.??) and the parking lots or parts of them are still there. Some of the lots have big for sale signs on them. There are some beautiful old homes that have new coats of paint but they have withstood decades of storms. They are on higher ground and also some are on stilts. There is some construction still going on to repair a few buildings but the beach highway seems to have been repaired by now. The public beach is still being worked on in some areas. I walked along the beach for about a mile across from our hotel and took some pictures.

My funnel fries for breakfast at the Den

As I was taking the elevator down to go for my walk, I shared it with a bellhop and we exchanged pleasantries. I told him I was going for a walk on the beach "to get some sand in my shoes." He exclaimed," In your shoes! You need to get those shoes off and run that sand through your toes!" I was afraid it was too cold for that but after I got down there I HAD to try it! There was a family in bare feet there and they warned me the water was very cold. I was surprised to find out how warm it really was! I walked the whole way in the water and my feet didn't ache a bit!

A family playing with the birds at the beach.

A gull hunting on the beach

My second reason of interest is the casinos. We made our reservation online for a casino called Treasure Bay. It is about 2 miles south of the highway that runs from I-10 down to the beach highway, so is kind of away from any other casino. It is not a really big casino but is quite nice with a big buffet, an expensive dining room and lounge on the top (9th) floor overlooking the beach and gulf, and a small cafe (called the Den) that is open 24 hours. It has 2 pools in the courtyard, an upper and lower pool. The room was fairly good sized and had 2 flat screened TVs, one in the room and one on the wall in the bathroom!!! The most interesting thing about this casino, though, is the artwork and decor. I couldn't take pictures in the casino, unfortunately, but did get pictures of the chandelier. No kidding, they had Chihulys like the ones at Bellagio on the walls of the main casino! The walls of the casinos downstairs and in the Den had very tasteful modern art and sculptures! The Den had surprisingly good food. Bob was not too impressed with this casino ("too small and not the right machines") although they had a deal where if you joined the Players Club the first day you were a member you could lose up to $100 and they would put it back on your card and you could spend it again the next day. (We did take advantage of this deal and of course lost our money a second time, too).

One of two Chihuly chandeliers at Treasure Bay

A closer view of the middle section and bottom of the chandelier

Looking from the upper pool down to the lower pool

Now looking back up from the lower to the upper pool

The next day we decided to check out the most prestigious casino along that part of the coast, the Beau Rivage. It could compete with the "big guys" in Las Vegas, I think. Maybe not the really pricey ones but still very big and glitzy with with many fine restaurants, a theater, a huge buffet, and "the right kind of machines". They had a non-smoking area and a non-smoking poker room besides the other poker area including roulette and bacarat tables. We spent an afternoon there and Bob actually came out ahead. All in all we broke even for our stay. We had a snack while there and walked out on a balcony overlooking their private marina (closed but I'm not sure if it is because it is winter or due to needing repairs--although there was no construction going on there and it looked ok to me.)

The marina at Beau Rivage

Thursday, February 25, 2010

First days in Florida

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Here we are in Lake Placid, FL. Today is sunny and nice but chilly. It is supposed to go down to 19 degrees tonight!!!! They have already had several big frosts this winter and the palm trees, banana trees and other plants are looking pretty sad. So much for global warming! Anyhoo, I still haven't got out my summer clothes. Maybe by Sunday......

Sand Crane pecking the bay window in master bedroom!

Sand Crane in the sun

Today, Lynn and I are going to try to ride a bike Rhonda lent them to see if it will work with Lynn's arthritic knees. I think I can do it since I rode bikes with Kim when we were in Maryland. I have a feeling there will be a photo op involved, though.

Lynn and Bill have been having problems with their window replacements. I can't believe what the window people did! They tore out the marble window sills in order to put in the windows (without even mentioning they would have to do it.) and then just left the windows without finishing the hole where the sills were!!! They then refused to do anything else because it was not in the contract but, by the way, they did have another business that could finish them! What a rip off!!! I can sit here at the computer and see daylight under the window in the bedroom. They didn't even seal the windows!

Damaged bathroom window. Notice the gazebo out the window

Bedroom damaged window

The way the windows should look.

Yesterday morning, Rhonda (neighbor across the street) came over to say hello and have a cup of coffee. She is a real puzzle person and and we got going on a puzzle she and Lynn had started a few weeks ago and we couldn't stop! Finally about 2 PM we forced ourselves to stop! Here's how far we got!

The dog puzzle

Well, Lynn and I are off to get groceries before the window people come back to seal the windows which they didn't do the first time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A picture Album of our trip

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Here are the pictures I took up at Holly Lake Ranch near Tyler, Texas. they are in no particular order since they have changed the picture thingy and I can't cut and paste anymore!

Three Valentines on valentine weekend!

Two Valentines!

The four grand valentines!

Steak dinner for Valentines Day

Holly Lake. Notice how foggy it is with a nasty cold and rainy wind! No self respecting alligator would show his teeth in this weather!

Alyssa's quillow bed

Samara's jacuzzi bed

Natalie's and Samara's beds in the bathroom

Working on a puzzle. I love the light on this picture!
Below is my wet and cold butt after our artsy picture! See later golf pics.

Just before the ladies came to take their pictures standing on their hands (see the last blog)


The artsy golf picture of us laying on cold and wet carpeting
Nice putting everyone!

Water hazard on the golf course. There were swans on this pond but they were camera shy

Alyssa shows off her decorated cookie at the coloring contest.

Samara is decorating her cookie.

The coloring contest winners with their prizes and pictures.
Alyssa, Samara, and another little girl

VView out our bedroom door with several inches of snow on the patio!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine's Weekend Getaway!

Last weekend we took a little trip to a timeshare of Micah and Kim's near Tyler Texas. It was called Holly Lake Ranch. Due to Kim having class until 4:30 and Alyssa having gymnastics after school on Friday we didn't get away until 6:30 Friday night. It was a 6 1/2 hour drive so we didn't get up there until 12:30 that night.

As we got nearer to Tyler we encountered what looked like a lot of snow on the ground!!! It was cold but not snowing and the roads were pretty much dry except in spots. There was about 3-4 inches of snow on our steps going up into the condo. I was really surprised at how snowy it was up there. It is in a woods and quite beautiful in that area. There are several lakes and a river. there are cabins all around the property and some very beautiful homes along the lakes and golf course.

The next morning Micah and Kim had to go to an informational meeting which took 4 hours so Alyssa and Samara and I went to the Activities Center for some fun! ( It was very cold, wet and snowy outside) They entered a coloring contest and each won first place in their age group . Then they had fun decorating Valentine cookies provided by the center. We decided we needed to explore a little so we took a walk up to a small lake and fountain on the golf course--still covered with snow and water! We had to avoid deep puddles and lots of mud. Anyway, we were on the way back to our cabin when some young women stopped and wanted to take pictures of Alyssa and Samara standing on their hands. I thought, " Whoa, what is going on here!", but they were fun loving types and they explained that they were on a scavenger hunt! As they left they said, "We're off to find a girl in a wedding dress!" Sounds like a fun kind of a scavenger hunt to me.

After Micah and Kim got back we went over to the Activities Center and played games. Grampa came over at 5 for dinner. They had live music (a man singing and playing his guitar--not bad, either) they had a catfish dinner special for the whole family and we got it. After we got home, we watched some olympics and then the kids went to bed. Erin came about 10:30. Here are some pictures of the kids' sleeping arrangements.

The next day continued to be cold, foggy and a bit windy. We drove around the area looking at the lakes and lovely homes nestled in the woods. We had lunch at the condo and then watched some more olympics. Finally we thought it had cleared up enough to go out and play some mini golf with the kids. Kim had to do school work and Bob chose to stay in but the rest of us played! That evening, Bob made steaks for us and we had a great dinner. The next morning we left early to come back home. It was a fun time and I think this would be a great place to go in spring or summer. There is swimming, boating, fishing, golfing and tons of hiking trails through the woods! It is not quite what I would call a romantic setting for Valentines day but definitely a very family oriented vacation spot.

The picture posting button doesn't seem to be working today on this post so I guess I'll have to post them on a separate blog!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and I was thinking about the good old days at "Jefferson Jailhouse". (The elementary school we attended through 6th grade). Our school was very near a private Catholic school (St. Mathias) and the community we lived in was predominately Catholic. On Ash Wednesday as I recall it, our Backwoods neighborhood kids (6-8 kids) and the teachers were about the only ones there for a couple of hours in the morning! Around 10 AM all the other kids came rolling in with ashes on their foreheads. I even remember some of them still had those ashes on their foreheads a few days later!!!

We had some real doozies at that school! No one wanted to have their desk near those kids, you can be sure! The girls in that family even had pierced ears with hoops in them!!!! Horror of horrors! In those days the only people we knew who had pierced ears were gypsies! Really, no one had pierced ears and it was considered dirty and "bad" to have them. (I'm guessing that the dirty part was very local due to this family). Now even I have pierced ears but not before a lot of coaxing from my children and because I do like just a small diamond stud in my ears. My dire predictions about how my ears would become infected and fall off were partially true. I did have lots of infections and finally had to have them redone before I got rid of the infections.

Tomorrow I will be talking about our Valentine weekend trip to Holly Lake Ranch so today I want to post a really cool picture we took to pique your curiosity. Also to try out my new computer's possibilities for pictures. ( another story for this blog).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This and That

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Wow! It's Wednesday already! I have been busy doing little stuff I guess and haven't had a real inspiration for an article so I guess I'll talk about a few different things that have been going on here.

First the weather........ cloudy and cold and windy. We had 2 1/2 days of beautiful weather, Friday afternoon after some big thunderstorms in the AM, Saturday and Sunday. Then the winds came on Monday. Today seems to be less windy--I hope so becuse I do NOT like wind!

Maisy had her surgery on Monday. She is now officially spayed. She seems to be doing great except she wants to jump up on the couch and sit with Grampa. Yesterday she did get up and proceeded to throw up on the blanket on the couch! I had to wash it but no damage done to Maisy.

Samara and Maisy

Gymnastics-- Alyssa was on the regular height balance beam yesterday and I took some pictures which I will add. Samara climbed the climbing wall in her gymnastics room all the wall to the top. She has always loved to climb rocks. I can't take pics of her in gymnastics because we have to watch through a tinted window.

Alyssa on the trampoline

Doing the splits

The girls are dangling

Alyssa just jumped on the spring boards

Alyssa don't look at the beam!

Alyssa is getting back up on the beam!

Shopping -- We did a lot of shopping over the weekend and are going to Target today to do some Valentines day shopping. This weekend Kim and Micah were looking for a new bedroom set. Grampa went with us and even found a set of living room furniture for us but they don't have a store in Colorado so we didn't get it. Kim and Micah looked in about 4 different stores and finally got it narrowed down. We went home to think about it. Yesterday Kim and I went back and got the set and it's going to be delivered tomorrow. They also got a really good deal on a comforter, 5 fancy pillows and a bed skirt originally $500 reduced to $97! After it is set up tomorrow I will take pics for tomorrows blog!

Baking cookies -- This afternoon we will be baking Valentines Day cookies for Mothers Day Out Party tomorrow. I made the dough early and it is chilling while waiting for Alyssa to get home and help.

Samara is licking the cookie dough bowl

Making valentine cookies!

See what a nice floury mess we made?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Memories

Super Bowl Day. We have been invited to a Super Bowl Party. It is the first one I have been to since my Mom used to have them. Bob just liked to stay at home and watch the game so we never went anywhere to watch it. Oh, maybe once we went to the Rainbow Casino to a football party when we lived in Wendover but I don't think it was the Super Bowl. We are going today because Micah does not have TV. My favorite part of the Super Bowl usually is the commercials unless the Broncos or Green Bay Packers are playing and that doesn't happen too often!

When Mom had her parties or even just when the family was watching the game we always had a pool. We drew cards from a deck. I think it went like this ( but someone will need to correct me if I'm wrong): At the end of each quarter we took the score of the team that was ahead. Whoever had the number of the score (if it was 1 digit) or the last number of a 2 digit score won. I haven't done it in so long I'm not sure exactly how it went. I guess I didn't win that often! Mom would call all her relatives who liked football and included tham in the pool along with the neighbors who usually were there to watch too. One time we were in Florida at Mom's and my friend Annie was there too. She had neighbors who happened to be in Ft. Lauderdale so they came over for the game too. I remember that her friend really got into the pool part and he and Mom had a bunch of side bets that went on too. Annie and I just laughed because they were so funny about their betting. Mom tried to get us all into the betting spirit but we didn't know enough about football to even know what they were talking about. Mom had a rule about her football pools. You had to watch the game and be interested in football or you couldn't get in it. She didn't want someone to win that didn't even know what the score was! That usually eliminated Lynn and Bill because they weren't that interested and usually did something else during the game.

The commercials are usually good and I like to see what they are. I'm thinking at a party I'm not going to get to see them, though. There will be too much visiting and getting of refreshments. Maybe I'm wrong, we'll see. I think the Budweiser commercials are some of the best. I even saw them filming one of those commercials with the Clydesdales when I was in Boston a long time ago. Doritos has some funny ones. Then there are usually some really funny ones by other products but I don't remember them now. I suppose they will all be on Youtube so I can see them after the game.

My last memory is the time we actually went to the Super Bowl! A good friend of ours in Denver who was a doctor and owned a ranch neighboring ours had season tickets for the Broncos. He had 4 tickets to all home games and we had gone with them several times to see the Broncos. This particular year, we were at the stock show in Denver when the Super Bowl was going to happen. It was the very first time the Broncos went to it and it was in New Orleans. Dr. Granberg was so excited! AND he invited us to go with him! We flew out early Sunday morning. We had quite a bit of time to kill before the game but the package deal we went on just took us to the Superdome so we spent the whole afternoon there with thousands of other fans. It was very exciting and fun. The Broncos played the Dallas Cowboys and got soundly beaten but the experience was great. After the game we had a very scary experience. Everyone was exiting at once and they had long escalators to go down to the ground floor. As I got on the escalator I could look down and see that the whole lobby was full of people and there was nowhere to go when you got to the bottom. It was crowding up tighter and tighter with nowhere to get off! I was beginning to panic a bit. We got down and squeezed out to one side but I was sure someone was going to get hurt very soon. Luckily they turned off the escalators right after we got off but it was scary!

The next part was not scary but not fun either. The bus took us to the airport where our plane was supposed to leave in about an hour. That did NOT happen. Remember, Dallas was playing? Well, many people flew in on their private jets and they had them parked all over the big runways for the game. All those small jets had to take off before we could go. There were many big commercial jets in there from Denver and we all had to wait. There was no food left nor anything to drink either. It was wall to wall people, many sitting or trying to sleep on the floor since there was nowhere to sit. We finally got back to Denver about 5 AM. Almost 24 hours after we had left. It was a great time but I'm not sure I would want to do it again. You get a much better view of the game on your TV! However you can't experience the atmosphere and excitement of the game in your living room!

I think I will root for New Orleans since they have never been to a Super Bowl in their history and I like an underdog team! Have a great time everyone and enjoy the game and commercials!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Today is Friday and we have been here for over 1 week!  I have gone with the kids to gymnastics every time which is 4 times so far and will go again today.  Actually Samara only goes once a week, but Alyssa goes 3 times a week because she is on the gymnastics team.  There are 4 girls on her team and they are all in first grade!  It is amazing to see what they can do at that age.  I am impressed with their teacher.  She has great patience to deal with 4 little wiggly and giggly girls for an hour 3 days a week, plus all her other classes.  She keeps a pretty tight rein on them but the other day when it was really stormy, every kid in that gym was squirmy and sort of out of control!  It didn't seem like any of them could stay focused!  Then on Thursday they all seemed to be much more settled down and focused.  It was still very rainy but they didn't act like kids do usually when it is stormy.

 Alyssa gets help with her back walkover
It has been interesting for me to see how they teach all the skills we see at the Olympics to little girls and boys.  The gym has all kinds of equipment to help the kids.  The staff is very safety conscious and the kids are never put up on high equipment without a teacher to spot and help them.  There are several classes going on at once in the gym each with a separate teacher and also some of the bigger classes have helpers too.  They have 2or 3 balance beams that are just inches off the floor and the kids work on them before they ever are allowed on the regulation height beams.  The bars are not as high as regular ones either and they put mats and pads underneath them.  There is a climbing wall in the gym and some ropes to climb too.  The kids are not allowed to climb unless it is part of their lesson.  They also have trampolines that are kind of built into the floor so you don't have to get up onto them.  The students bounce and do their aerial somersaults and tricks on them.  Some of the older kids (teenagers) flip and land on a pile of mats at the end of the trampoline.  I really like to see all the different age groups and how quickly they learn their skills and how the teachers work with them to have good form.

 Alyssa on the trampoline

Samara's class (4 year olds)  meets upstairs in a separate room with even more miniature equipment!  They learn some very basic skills like somersaults, dangling on a bar and some exercises to help build their strength,  Very interesting,  I think they start kids at age 3 at this gym.  The people that run it are very interesting too.  The family is Hungarian and originally were circus acrobats.  They have a lot of memorabilia from the Ringling Brother's circus displayed in a case upstairs.  I think most of the teachers are part of the family.  In summer they run several camps and one of them is teaching circus acts!  Acrobatics and high wire are some of the features but they also have pictures of kids learning how to do clown makeup!  Wouldn't that be fun!  I'd like to go to that camp!

Well, I'm off to take Alyssa to gymnastics.  I'll try to get some more pictures, today.  Oh, the sun finally came out today after a week of pouring rain!