Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's been happenin'

It has been awhile since I have posted. We have been traveling, despite the fact that just prior to our travels, my husband got laid-off.

The reason we traveled anyway: we had already planned and paid for these trips. At least that's our story. Planning to go on a long trip can be stressful in the best of circumstances, but I had a lump in my stomach about going while we are months away from being what I call "sick-oed". Of course Michael Moore made the movie "SICKO!" but I've changed the word from a noun to a verb. "Sick-oed" is when someone is a layoff or catastrophic illness away from having huge bills that can't be paid.

Of course my husband got a "package", but come December, we may be without insurance. We're thinking somehow we'll come away from this unscathed.

To circle back to the point: My husband thought of this trip as the vacation he had earned and waited for all year. Eventually, I would too, but at first, the notion of "vacation" didn't seem right.

Before we left I had my regular check of my head. Here is the lovely picture:

The black part to the lower left of this image represents where my tumor was resected. We were happy to hear that this picture compares favorably with those from my last scan.

First stop on our trip--Chicago. My husband grew up in the suburbs, and his sister and mother
still live there. As luck would have it, our nephew in Oregon just happened to be performing in a Second City comedy camp there, so we enjoyed watching him do improv and sketch comedy with other 12-year-old boys. They all put on a very enjoyable show. Sadly we don't have video of it.

We visited some of our favorite places there, including the Museum of Science and industry. My husband likes the train layout.

We also visited the Oriental Museum, because our son has gained an new interested in ancient Mesopotamia. He wants to learn to read and write Sumerian, because in his words, "no one will know if I spell anything wrong." By the way the Oriental Museum is near Hyde Park, where President Obama lived (before going to the White House).

We also saw my mother-in-law who lives in the suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois. We went with her to a Lego museum, like Legoland in San Diego, on a smaller scale. I couldn't get good pictures there. My hand wasn't steady enough. But I got a good one of Einstein, who was working as a greeter.
By the way, flying sucks! Also by the way, we flew United.

On the second leg of our trip, we left Number One Son with his aunts and flew to Las Vegas, so my husband could be best man and his college roommate's wedding. Turns out, Vegas is feeling the economic pinch too, so we were able to stay at the Belagio for a (relatively) good price. Bruce got some nice shots of the fountain.
Our first full day there, we took a bus to Hoover Dam, an impressive piece of work, and man-made wonder.

That night we saw performance artists Penn and Teller. It was there I was struck by the fact that folks actually bring their children to Vegas! Someone's 8-year-old boy was called on stage. Luckily the show was mostly PG-13.

We saw another show that wasn't, however. It was called "Jubilee" and it was an old-style Vegas titty show. I laughed because it was like watching the end of a Mel Brooks movie. It occurred to me as I was watching it--my boobs are too big to be a showgirl, and some of the showgirls were more like showgrandmas.

Our favorite show we saw in Vegas was LOVE, a Cirque Du Soleil extravaganza set to Beatles music. LOVED IT! Of course, I'm a fan so that helps. The music was mixed in an interesting way, and outtakes from some of the most popular Beatles songs, such as "Strawberry Fields," were played. We also saw the famous underwater Cirque piece called "O". We liked LOVE better.

The primary purpose of our detour to Vegas was to attend a wedding, and if one wants a quick wedding, Vegas performs them. It's the wedding capital of the US. The wedding was a very small affair, about 20 minutes long. The party was shuffled into a chapel after the prior couple finished, then was shuffled out for pictures at the gazebo and paperwork in the chapel office. I didn't get good pictures of the wedding, so I won't post any. Next time I will remember not to breathe while trying to take a photograph.

Yes we did gamble, but not much, and we didn't lose money.

A quick mention of Fremont Street in downtown Vegas. It's hyped for the light show, but if you go, I would suggest being under 30.

While we were at one end of the U.S., our son was at the other, in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave Park, camping. He said he liked it but the pictures tell a different story. He did like a hill of moss-covered rocks, dubbed the "Slip and Die" by his fellow child companions.

The family was gone a total of 10 days. Too long in my book. I'm glad to be home, at least for awhile.