Monday, 28 February 2011

Viva Las Vegas

Smack dab in the middle of a Nevada desert is a city.

Big, loud and colorful.

Street performer on the Strip.

View from the 16th floor of Mandalay Bay.

Sugar, a glamorous candy shop.

Primary colors of the Excalibur Hotel.

Dessert in a chocolate coffee cup with chocolate steam.

Shiny buildings.

Tree house restaurant.

Designer dress shops.

A chance to see the Eiffel Tower.

Nickel slots and free drinks.

Wedding chapels.

A city that offers activity and entertainment 24/7.

It can be exhausting.

No wonder the hotel door hangers are marked Recuperating.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Cosmopolitan

Let me start by saying that we enjoyed the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

Then we walked down the street.

Saw one of the newer hotels on the Strip.


Even from the street it looked intriguing.   

It sparkles inside.

Go up the escalator and head outside to lounge by the pool.

Or lounge in the pool.

Depending on the chaise you select.

Or recline inside a well-manicured hedge and overlook the street and the pool.

A bundled-up lifeguard was on hand in case the shivering guest felt compelled to get in past his feet.

Might have been tempted to switch hotels had the weather been just a little a bit warmer.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Countdown to Oscars

I am slightly obsessed.

Really, you ask.

Oh, yes.

Once a year, I sit in front of the tv for hours on end oblivious to all else –-- glued to Oscar-related programming.

The pre-show, the actual ridiculously long show, the post-show and the wrap-up.

I watch it all.

And I don’t even care who wins.

I love the gowns (the pretty ones and the disasters).

I enjoy the speeches.

Once in awhile there is a heartfelt moment when the actor is not blathering on about agents or lawyers.

I am amused by the antics on the red carpet.

Stupid repetitive questions asked and awkwardly answered.

Who is wearing what even though no one cares --- just twirl already and give us a good look at the dress, front and back!

Before the big event, I feel compelled to watch all the movies nominated for Best Picture.

There are ten in this category.

So I have seen:

The Kids Are All Right

Winter’s Bone

Perfect theatre to see Winter’s Bone. La Paloma in downtown Encinitas.
Dark and cavernous inside. A dog was wandering around the back rows so there 
was the distant rattle of chain. Better than surround sound to create mood.


Black Swan

True Grit

The King’s Speech

The Fighter

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

Four days and counting.

Sunday, February 27th.

Will you be watching?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Farmers Market in Little Italy

There are almost 50 farmers markets in San Diego County.

Although I have not visited all of them (yet), I have found that each market seems to have a certain vibe, a certain personality, a certain type of shopper.

For instance, Little Italy (which runs from 9 am to 1:30 pm every Saturday on Date Street) attracts dog-owners.

Amongst the tables of humongous artichokes…

there are chance meetings between old friends.

By the berry booth…

is a pooch, who demanded to be carried.

This owner and his best friend appear interested in the same vendor. But the dog was smart enough to bring his carry pouch.

The street musicians play and sing to draw attention.

Animals just walk down the street to attract an audience.

Even the toddlers are amused.

There are organic green concoctions sold to thirsty humans.

But no one thought to put out water bowls.

And this would have been the perfect venue to do so!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sunday Indulgence

It is the end of a busy week.

The Los Angeles Times is thick even after the inserts are discarded.

Time for a carb-laden breakfast.

Crunchy French toast.

A variation of the recipe on Bobby Flay’s ‘Throwdown’ when the dude from Hoboken won.

Mix crushed cornflakes and chopped almonds in a shallow dish.

Whisk 3 eggs, ½ cup of whole milk, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, 1-1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon of sugar in another shallow dish.

Slice some bread (challah works well).

Dip both sides of the bread in the egg mixture. Then dip both sides of the bread in the cornflake mixture.

In a skillet, over medium heat, melt some butter. Add the 'dipped' bread and cook until brown and toasted.

Top with syrup.

Read the paper from cover to cover.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Royal Invite

According to People Magazine (my predominant source for all things royal), the invitations to the April 29 wedding of William and Kate have been mailed.

Thus it is officially time to start checking the box.

As an expat (residing temporarily in England last year when their engagement was announced), my chances should be greater of being on the guest list.

Or will this be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Creative Process

On the sidewalk, along San Diego’s Harbor Boulevard, is a masked man wearing gloves.

Armed with cans of spray paint.

Creating art.

With a steady hand, many colors and a paint can lid.

Fumes are strong.

Results are dramatic.

Looks like spray paint is a medium that goes beyond graffiti and taggers.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Parade of Flight

On Saturday, almost everyone in San Diego was looking up.

As more than 180 vintage and modern era aircraft took to the skies.

Celebrating 100 years of Naval Aviation.

The freeway was backed up for miles to cross the Coronado Bridge and get to the Naval Air Station North Island.

So many of us watched from across the bay instead.

There were unobstructed views from the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier.

And Seaport Village and the piers.

While locals and tourists settled into beach chairs, the parade began.

With jumpers – landing on deck.

Then came the planes.

More planes.

A single plane.

Another plane.

And well it was a parade, so there were lots and lots of planes.

And this went on and on.

Amid clapping and cheering.

I am distantly related to Amelia Earhart.

So it is a shame that I could not identify a single aircraft.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentine

It is a day for Hallmark cards.

A heart-shaped box of See’s Candy.

Restaurant reservations.

Long stem red roses.

And for some it is a gentle reminder to take down lights and mulch the Christmas tree.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Meditation Gardens

Two years ago, a friend from college and her husband flew out from Massachusetts.

I asked her if there was anything special she wanted to do while she was in San Diego.

“Are you far from Encinitas? Can we go to the Meditation Gardens?”

Not far it all.

Never heard of the place.

Off Pacific Coast Highway on K street, is the entrance.

There is a welcome sign as you head up the steps to your right.

Along the path, there are many spots to sit and reflect.

Quench your thirst.

Bask in the sunshine.

Above the waves and verdant hillside.

Birds of paradise are right at home in this tranquil spot.

Further down the path, there is a waterfall…

that spills into a koi pond.

With benches for privacy and reflection.

Since that first visit, I have been back many times.

Sharing this discovery --- the landscape, the quiet and the ocean views.

So glad I have friends on the East Coast letting me know about treasures in my own backyard!