Monday, September 10, 2018

A Blast from the Past

Very hard to photograph at night, with a poor little
cell phone.  But you get the idea. (Look for the family photo
hidden within this picture).
Las Vegas - Old School
A week ago I joined the "kids" for a walk down memory lane.  I helped them clean out their father's house in Las Vegas, following his recent death, and we found so much history and memorabilia from the life and times of their father, grandfather and great-grandfather, as well as other grandparents and relatives.  One of the bonuses to cleaning out houses of people who don't throw anything away, is finding treasures and riches beyond measure.  A true inheritance.

Discovering their history - while wearing Grandma's pearls.
Snapshot Grandpa took, we assume, during a WWII USO tour.
It turned out to be a souvenir edition, but still fascinating.
We don't know which family member this is...but what a great photo!

In a prior life I did live, and teach, in Las Vegas for three years.  During that time we attended many stage shows, visited area attractions that were family friendly, and worked regular jobs.  Christine started school there, while Jeff attended a great pre-school program.  Grandma and Grandpa also lived there.

We found this old photo, which I had taken YEARS ago.
This is part of the downtown area.
Going through cards, letters and photos last weekend brought back so many memories, and it was fun telling stories, filling in the gaps with adult children, and helping them through a tough time.  But I have to say...spending one night driving down "The Strip" was like entering another galaxy.  One in which I was not at all happy.  The Old Vegas feel was gone - a time where you still saw remnants of a time where someone started a city with a hope and a dream.  When driving the Strip was all about class and old-school entertainment.  We dressed up in suits and long dresses to attend big-name shows, then stopped to play slot machines or Black Jack as an afterthought.  When you walked into a hotel, and the casino was outside of immediate view.  When driving the Strip also gave you views of desert and mountains - a western landscape.

When aviation was still the best way to get around
in the West.

The Flamingo still had an Old Vegas feel to it...but it
was overshadowed with all that has grown up around it.
From the steps of the Bellagio Hotel, looking
through the fountain.
So, it was good to see, and I watched the "kids" play the money they had designated for the night, and saw the fountain show at the Bellagio (which was too short, and it was impossible to hear the accompanying music because of the blast of noise from the casinos around it), and am glad to have had one more visit to Tinsel Town.

Chihuly glassworks, covering the ceiling of the lobby of the
Bellagio.  Beautiful entrance.  Old-school entrance, and
you didn't see the casino until you had walked through this
grand introduction...and a garden!

Exquisite garden features - all made out of flowers.
Jeff and Julia in front of another area
of the indoor Bellagio garden, under a flag
 also made of flowers.
Lose a little, win a little.  They had fun.
I miss the sound and excitement of pulling
a handle and hearing change drop out.
Everything is electronic, and you insert a bill
and collect credits.  Sigh.
But it was MUCH more fun to be with my family and laugh and cry and tell stories until the wee hours of the morning.

I even had a flight out that matched my daughter's, so Christine and I got to spend some extra time together before going back home.

One wall at the airport was painted with a series of murals
depicting locations around the country.  They were all painted
by children in the area schools.
We had time to shop at the airport as well, so I brought home a little something for Daryl.

Goodbye, Vegas.  A chapter nicely closed.

Another family photo within this shot.  There aren't many
photos of the "kids" with me. :)  I wonder why!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Walk Through Time

The Mad Hatter Bistro, on Old Woodward Ave.
Jumping down the rabbit hole and appearing at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, in the town of your childhood, is an incredibly surreal experience.

I traveled to Birmingham with a friend today, to have a real "tea party" at the Mad Hatter's Bistro.  We had seen it advertised on Facebook and it seemed like just the ticket to escape the doldrums of a mid-Michigan winter.  Birmingham is also the city I grew up in, yet it was nothing like the town I remembered.  
The Birmingham Theatre, where I first saw the opening of
Romeo & Juliet in October 1968!
That's not all bad.  It was a bustling environment, with lots to see and do.  We worked hard to find a parking spot, went in and out of shops, had our tea party, and scouted the old neighborhood.  What a treat this adventure was.
The house where I grew up - with the addition
of a bay window which we used to talk about putting in,
but never did.

But wait - the main goal of the adventure!  
The Mad Hatter's Tea!

The decor was right out of the the Lewis Carroll story - and we delighted in the tiny spaces and story-book ambiance.

We sampled a couple of different teas, and decided the white tea, Wedding Tea, was our favorite.

Cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, crumpets, scones, fruits, pastry...what a lovely sampling of tea party tidbits.

With one more stop on the way home, we managed to miss most of the rush hour traffic and had an uneventful trip home.  It was so much fun to try something new, be away from the list of chores, and enjoy time together over a special tea.  I highly recommend a reboot in the location of your choice - and if you find yourself in Birmingham give The Mad Hatter a try.  But do call ahead for reservations.  It is a very small space.  

FYI - They do have a bar and traditional menu, as well.  Everything that went by looked good!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Friends and Family - The Low Tech Version

The Christmas holiday is the perfect time to step back and reflect on what is important in your life.  We had a lovely couple of weeks with friends and family, and it was so refreshing to be with young people not tied to their cell phones or tablets.  I have enjoyed a tech break, as well.

Disclaimer:  The photos in this post are not in any particular order.  They are illustrations of a lovely two week period of time.

There has been time with children and grandchildren...and GREAT grandchildren!  I love taking "generation" photos!

Daryl with daughter, Kim, granddaughter Courtney,
and great-grandson Brody.

Brody with his Aunt Kailey.
This time Daryl is with son, Kent, and Kent's daughter Emily,
and granddaughters Addy and Emma.
There was a gingerbread house decorating competition, baking and gatherings with friends and family.

I have particularly enjoyed watching the grandchildren embrace their creative sides.  For a great deal of our day together these girls had SO much fun taking pictures.  Emily, our granddaughter at Ohio State University has developed quite a love for photography.  She had to purchase a DSLR for her photography class this past semester, and she brought that camera, as well as her point-and-shoot, AND a disposable which was left over from an event earlier in the year.  The three girls shared the cameras (THANK YOU, Emily!) and took pictures of each other, of all of us, and of the critters.

 In fact, I even learned that my own DSLR has "selfie" capability, so we had to play with that as well.

Today we have spent the day taking down the outward signs of the beautiful Christmas and New Years celebrations, but our memories will keep us warm as we brave the January chill, and I head back to work.  We hope you have had your own memory-building experiences and are entering 2018 with renewed enthusiasm.  I love the reboot I get every January.

Happy New Year!