Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Our Lifestyle Adventures: Where Else Does One Celebrate a Birthday?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Where Else Does One Celebrate a Birthday?

the skies at Caesar's Palace
at the Atlantis monument
Bill turned another page. He celebrated the 33rd anniversary of his 39th birthday, and we went on another road trip, this time to Las Vegas, Nevada for three nights and four days. Bill deserved the big break but contends that the party place is more my kind of town. And he is right but when the wife is happy so is the hubby! We booked ourselves at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino right on the Strip. We enjoyed a view of the High Roller at the back of Harrah's and next door Linq!  
On our first evening, we strolled in and around the hotel. But, as the weather was rather cold, Bill and I proceeded to The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace to look for a sweater for Bill that was going to be my gift! Fortunately, we found a blue casual item at the Banana Republic. As we walked around, we found Trevi, with Atlantis as a background and the refreshing artificial blue and cloudy skies above the tables. It felt right, and we proceeded to have our a sumptuous Italian dinner!

Menopause the Musical

together with the menopausal ladies
Then Dick, Bill’s Sigma Chi Fraternity brother from Pittsburg State University, and his wife Marrene joined us. They had just come from LA. After snacks, we had front row seats at the 6 pm showing of Menopause the Musical. What a blast it was! Bloomingdale's is where the four menopausal ladies enact the entire show, from the jewelry, the lingerie, cosmetics departments, in the bathroom, beauty salon and restaurant. They bonded over hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, etc. to the tune of baby-boomer ditties.

joining the other menopausal ladies on stage in celebration of our freedom
They sang "Wish we all could be sane and normal girls" to the tune of "California Girls." "In the guest room or on the sofa, my husband sleeps tonight” was sung to the tune of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." "Change of Life" was "Chain of Fools" or "Stayin' Awake" carried the tune of "Stayin' Alive.” The crowd broke into wild fun when we got "My Thighs" instead of "My Guy" which segued into "Drippin' and Tricklin" to the tune of "Wishin' and Hopin.” We had our best laughs when "Help Me, Rhonda" became "Thank You, Doctor" for familiar mood-enhancing medication. " It was a riot to see plus-size actresses dressed a la Tina Turner in a micro mini or singing "Puff, My God, I'm Dragging" about working out. Other women's issues like chocolate cravings, vibrators and arguing with your mother followed litanies against hot flashes. But, later, they all morphed into triumphant celebrations of freedom!

the Birthday Boy having this day
It was very witty, very hilarious, and very relevant to me and the other ladies of similar age in the audience! So, at the end of the show, when the powerful cast invited us to join them on stage, I did not hesitate to go and wear the pin that declared, “I’ve Changed” and I am proud of it. Later, I bought the shirt that warns, “BEWARE: My Mood Swings!” Bill even had a photo with the menopausal ladies! It was just right that we ended the night with a light dinner at Sushi Roku across the street at Caesar’s Palace!

Bill’s Birthday Events

photo credit of the super bloom at Death Valley National Park: Washington Post
One of the activities Bill and I had planned on was to make a day trip to Death Valley, one of the hottest places on Earth, just two hours away from the Strip. The Park has come to life in a “super bloom”, after record rain last October, with the most desert wildflowers since 2005. The flowers were expected to stick around until mid-March but over the weekend, it rained and even snowed a bit, and they suffered. It was too bad that we had to scrap the idea because midway lies Pahrump, Nevada and that’s where a lady I met on my Facebook group, Living the RV Dream, camps at Saddle West Casino. We had both wanted to meet each other in person and my namesake Carol wanted an autographed copy of my book, Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream. In fact, she is a cheerleader for my next one, a cookbook. Oh well, next time or when we get to Oregon, her home state when we get there in October later this year!

the White Swan at Embassy Suites
In any case, Bill and Dick escaped from the clutches of the wives and went to see two games in the PAC 12 Conference of Champions (basketball). The Pac-12 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament is the annual concluding tournament for that NCAA college conference that has taken place in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena since 2013. They chanced upon Game 5, #1 Oregon Ducks vs. #8 Washington Huskies and Game 6, #4 Arizona Wildcats vs. Colorado Buffalos. Marrene and I, on the other hand, descended to the casino floors. I tried my luck with $100 of promotional vouchers and just broke even at Penny machines. Sigh.

a huge and hearty dinner @ Pampas Brazilian Steakhouse
the fraternity brothers with Toby Keith at his Bar
At the end of the day, we all proceeded to Pampas Brazilian Steakhouse in Miracle Mile beside Planet Hollywood. It was the first time for me to taste Brazilian cuisine and I loved the burnt outside of the meats served on large skewers, individually sliced for each of us. There were chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, filet mignon, garlic sirloin, tri-tips, lamb, pork loin, Brazilian pork sausages, etc. There were also lots of shrimps and we could all go back to an endless buffet of salads, soups, and pasta. We all had never eaten so much in one meal! So afterwards, we all went to the Toby Keith Bar and Grille at Harrah’s for drinks, country music and dancing.  

The next morning, we said farewell at breakfast in the Fulton’s Food Court between the hotel lobby and the casino. But it really wasn’t a tearful goodbye because, come October 19-22, we will be together again in Capistrano Beach, on our trek down the US West Coast. Their home is only thirty minutes away from the Riviera Shores Resort where we will be staying.  What a birthday Bill had and what a year it promises to be for both couples! Las Vegas did it again!
the High Roller in front of Harrah's and Linq, our hotel chain

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