Dinner with Richard…How to play a slot machine has changed due to Covid-19…

A small glimpse of the Las Vegas Strip through the car’s windshield.

We had such a fine evening last night with Richard and his lovely GF. They prefer not to have their photos online, which we fully respect and understand. We had a fantastic evening with the two of them, first having drinks at the Claim Jumper and later heading a short distance to one of my favorite places for salads, The Cheesecake Factory.

It was an evening with lots of enthusiastic conversation and laughter. What a joy it is to see them after 20 months away! We’ll see them a few more times this week as their schedules allow.

Alternate view of the strip from the highway.

When I saw they had a low-carb, sugar-free cheesecake on their menu, I had to control myself to keep from ordering it. Once we return to South Africa, I will make two such pies, one for me and another for Louise and Danie, who also eat the way I do, occasionally having such a low-carb treat.  At least if I make it, I am confident of the ingredients. Tom doesn’t care for it. But I can’t seem to get it out of my mind.

Also, I will make dear friend Don a cherry pie. Kathy brought the cherry pie filling with her to South Africa from the US, along with two cans of pumpkin pie filling. We’ll all be enjoying some sweet treats shortly after we arrive. It will be fun to make these pies for everyone and enjoy a bit of my own favorite low-carb cheese pie.

Another view of the Las Vegas Strip from the highway.

Once we are situated in our bush house, and after I make the cheese pie and make apple crisp for Tom and we’ve finished them off, we’ll both begin our strict way of eating to lose the few pounds we gained in the US, three for me and five for Tom. In a month from now, we’ll both be back to where we were.

Right now, we are walking about 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, going back and forth to the parking garage, to breakfast, and to other areas of the resort to take photos. It feels great to walk long distances on even surfaces. This is precisely what we needed after being relatively stationary in Minnesota and Milwaukee.

The food court in the hotel is for those preferring a quick meal and lower cost.

When we return to Marloth Park in less than a week, we have decided to start walking more. Based on the problems with my legs after two surgeries on each leg and the resulting nerve damage, walking isn’t as easy for me now as it used to be. We may have to drive somewhere in the park to find level surfaces for walking. The uneven, unpaved, gravel roads in Marloth Park cause walking hazards, which could easily result in a fall. As always, we’ll figure it out.

After last night’s enjoyable dinner, we returned to our hotel. But, while on the way back to our room, we had to walk through the casino. As we did so, we stopped at a slot machine with a beautiful display of African animals. I said to Tom, “Let’s try this. Maybe we’ll have “safari luck.”

Pizza is a popular item in Las Vegas.

Before Covid, it was easy to use a slot machine with bills and coins. It took a mere $3 to realize doing so was a waste of time and money. Not the case now. Sure, you can enter paper bills but no coins whatsoever. If you win a certain amount, you have to take the paper receipt to a cashier to get the actual monetary amount. That was the first thing we noticed.

If players don’t want to find a cashier station, it is easy for them to put the receipt back into the slot in the machine, which encourages them to play more and subsequently lose more. It’s a hook! No wonder gambling is addictive.

All of the slot machines had a similar payout system as described here today.

When I entered $1 into the slot, there was only an option to bet $.75. Left with a paltry $.25 made me put more money in the machine to use up the $.25. This went on and on, never giving me an option to bet the total value of the cash-out slip. Of course, I quit playing immediately, already feeling the throes of being unable to stop. No, thank you. We’d rather spend money on future travels, not on the remote possibilities of prospective winnings.

Back to our room, we both had a good night’s sleep. This morning after another fine breakfast, costing $35 with tax and tip, we headed to the distant parking ramp to drive 25 minutes to our mailing service to collect the items we’d received thus far. On Friday, we’ll return one more time since we’re awaiting a few more items, including one more replacement credit card with more travel perks suitable for our needs.

Tonight, with no big plans on the horizon, we’ll wait and see what rolls out.

Have a fabulous day and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 20, 2021:

Te handed off the camera in Boveglio, Italy, to a kind gentleman who took this blurry photo in the square when we were invited to a party. This photo was posted one year ago will on day #119 in lockdown in Mumbai, India. For more photos, please click here.

We’re ending 67 days spent in the USA…Now back out to "The World."…

A cloudy day, water, and mountain scene.

We got some sleep last night. Maybe after almost five years of world travel, we’re finally able to get some sleep the night before we depart a location for new land. 

In years past, neither of us was able to get in more than a few hours. I tossed and turned for about an hour around 4:00 am but nodded off for a final solid hour, feeling considerably better upon awakening around 6:00 am. Tom did the same, and now as I sit at my laptop in the guest room of Richard’s home, Tom’s chomping at the bit to pack my computer and for us to be on our way. 

Common Barrel Cactus.

Saying goodbye and heartfelt thanks to Richard, we were out the door of his home by 8:30. The airport is only 15 minutes from Henderson. The traffic was light. 

We’d decided to finish today’s post at the airport while we await our 11:25 am flight on United Airlines. Ugh!  Now, as I continue the post, I’m seated in “chairs” close to the entrance to McCarren International Airport, waiting for Tom to return after dropping off the rental car. 

I zoomed in on these cactus flowers. Wow! They’re amazing!

Within about 20 minutes, Tom returned, and we headed to the tram to distant gate 55D. This is a huge airport, and everything seems so far away. After the tram ride, we walked quite a distance to our gate, and now, we’re comfortably situated at a table and chairs at a Starbucks near the entrance. 

Even Tom, who’s usually stressed on travel days, seems quite content, especially with the TSA pre-approval we had on both of our tickets. We breezed through security without having to take off our shoes. That was nice. 

Yesterday, we prepaid our three checked bags, and today, they were weighed and checked in curbside by a United skycap. There were no overweight fees this time. A few days ago, we made a trip to Goodwill in Henderson, dropping off more odds and ends clothing that was old and we didn’t expect we’d wear over these next few years.

The skycap noted on his computer screen that we’re changing planes in Houston and that we’re going on to Costa Rica. Good thing we’d booked that flight to Nicaragua that occurs 89 days after our arrival tonight in San Jose, or we wouldn’t have been allowed to take the second leg of the flight from Houston to San Jose.

Another commonly seen cactus.

Costa Rica requires an exit ticket purchased before arrival in their country to ensure we’d be leaving. They don’t allow visitors into their country with a one-way ticket or if they plan to stay longer than 90 days. Our exiting ticket was satisfactory.

There will be no suitable meals available for purchase for me on either of the two flights. With only about an hour layover in Houston, there won’t be time to dine in a restaurant at the airport. A few minutes ago, I brought along a few low-carb protein bars and purchased a small bag of mixed nuts for $7.50. 

Susan’s dog Owen always sat up like this when I visited.

In 40 minutes, we’ll board the plane and be on our way. It’s funny, but this leg of our journey feels as if it’s a crucial stretch toward our travels over the next few years. First, we’ll travel from Central America to South America, and then after that to Antarctica, we’ll be heading back to Africa. I can’t believe how quickly this all came up.

We haven’t yet decided where we’ll go after our last booked cruise on March 24, 2019, and the next shorter-this-time return visit to the US. However, after we have spent a year in Africa in 2018 and part of 2019, we’ll have a better idea of what’s on the agenda from there.

A view of the condos at The District in Green Valley Ranch.
In essence, good health providing we have all the time in the world to make those decisions. But, one thing we know for sure, again good health providing, we look forward to continuing on and on and on.
We’ll be back tomorrow morning from Atenas, Costa Rica, with photos of our amazing new villa. Please check back soon.  Have a wonderful day whatever you may decide suits you the best!
Photo from one year ago today, August 1, 2016:
Tuk-tuks come in all shapes, sizes, and colors in Thailand and are used commonly by tourists as opposed to rental cars or taxis, which are much more expensive. Please click here for more Phuket photos and a few from our previous trip to Vietnam/Cambodia.

A fabulous and fun evening on the Las Vegas Strip… Including a laugh fest…

The lights on the Strip at night are always impressive.

When Richard suggested we all head to the Las Vegas Strip to see comedian Brad Garrett from the famous and long-running TV show, Everybody Loves Raymond; we couldn’t say yes quickly enough. 

Valet parking in front of the MGM Grand was packed.

The Brad Garrett Comedy Club has been a big hit attracted to comedy club fans worldwide who find themselves in the Las Vegas playground anxious for a few hours of hilarious entertainment away from the gaming tables.

We couldn’t believe the size of the line where guests were checking in to the MGM Grand. It appeared the wait could be hours long.

We’ve both always enjoyed comedy shows but over these past years of world travel visiting and living in many non-English speaking countries, seeing comedy shows became a thing of our long-ago past, among other things we’d chosen to forfeit in this nomadic lifestyle.

The Sports Book.

After Richard quickly and easily booked our tickets on his phone, he suggested I research to find a befitting-for-my-diet restaurant at the MGM where we could dine before the show.

The Minnesota Twins game was playing.  They ended up with a win.

Immediately, I got to work online researching each of the many options located in the massive hotel (over 5000 rooms) and casino.  With over two dozen options situated in the giant resort, the possibilities were many.

Guacamole made tableside at the Hecho en Vegas Restaurant where we dined last night.

First, I narrowed it down by price, knowing we had no interest in spending $100’s on our meals at some of the more upscale dining establishments, which were listed as “$$$$.” Those listed at “$” including Subway and fast food type venues, none of which would appeal to us. 

Tom’s Margarita was the jumbo version, a total of 16 ounces.

Even the designated “$$$” restaurant’s menu options were priced over $50 per entree or more. Thus, I narrowed it down to the obvious “$$,” which appeared to fit within an acceptable price range. Richard purchased the tickets at $65 per person, and we offered to buy the meal, which worked out well.

The guacamole was outstanding.  I put some on a plate and ate it with a fork since I don’t eat tortilla chips.

Once again, I chose a Mexican restaurant, Hecho En Vegas, Mexican Grill and Cantina, which proved to have excellent food, suitable for my restrictive diet when once again, I could savor an ideal chopped-type salad with romaine lettuce, shredded beef, cheese, avocado, olives, and tomatoes. See our included photos of our respective meals.

Richard’s Chicken Fajitas with warm tortillas wrapped in foil.

After dinner, we walked to the comedy club, and much to our delight, we were seated at a comfortable booth with a clear and unobstructed view of the stage. With excellent acoustics, we didn’t miss a word, or in this case, a laugh in this adults-only production.

Tom’s taco salad is made in this giant tortilla.

This show was not suitable for those offended by less-than-politically correct innuendos and an abundance of sexually orientated humor. 

The names of the drinks on the menu in Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club made us laugh.

At the beginning of the show Brad Garrett, (who only performs on specific nights but has an ongoing flow of other skilled comedians) made it clear that the show wasn’t suitable for the faint of heart or those easily offended. In no time at all, this became exceedingly clear as to why he pointed to the door for those who’d be inclined to complain when “exposed” to such type of humor.

The High Roller Ferris Wheel at the Linq Hotel and Casino.

For us, who had the perception after being outside the US for so long, that humor had been “tempered” to comply with political correctness, we were right in there, laughing uproariously loud along with the others in attendance. It was a hilarious show with Garrett who’s performance was the best of the evening, along with two other comedians, Carl Labove and Landry, each of which left us in stitches.

When the 8:00 pm show ended around 10:00 pm, we made our way out to the self-serve parking lot when we’d left the white rental car.  Heading outdoors at this hour felt like walking into an oven. It was still close to 100F (38C), and we gasped when the hot air hit us at the late hour.  

The newer Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino on the Strip.

The self-serve parking fee was $12 instead of valet parking which would have been $20 for four or more hours (plus a tip). The savings was worth the long walk back to the car at the end of the evening.   

We’d considered stopping to see some of the newer casinos on the strip, but surely we’ll return to Las Vegas many times in the future and can see more next time we visit. Back at Richard’s by 11:00 pm, we feasted on a low-carb dessert I’d made earlier in the day and headed to bed for another good night’s sleep after a delightful evening.

Today, we’ll spend more time in Richard’s pool, sunning for our token 20-minute dose of Vitamin D. I’ll make a special dinner, and we’ll all enjoy an otherwise lazy Sunday in Henderson, Nevada.

May you have a lovely day as well!

Photo from one year ago today, July 23, 2016:

Tom sits at the table in a meeting room bunker in the Cu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam with several mannequins and two other passengers standing behind him. For more photos, please click here.

The reality of a paper-free lifestyle… Check out last year’s photo of Tom at the Cu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam…

Our new Brother color scanner we purchased to replace the five-year-old Doxie model we used in the past.

When we first began traveling the world, we’d already been working toward becoming as paperless as possible in our old lives. As a result, no spot in our house had stacks of papers waiting to be handled.

In part, I suppose becoming paperless was due to my somewhat compulsive desire to avoid clutter in our surroundings. But, as it turned out, this bit of obsessiveness proved helpful when it became pertinent for us to avoid carrying papers in our luggage, adding to the weight.

Long ago, we’d chosen to receive everything we could online.  Once we decided to travel the world, we excited the process by ridding ourselves of all junk snail mail and spent weeks scanning photos, important documents, certificates, and anything else we may need along the way.

Subsequently, we don’t receive more than a dozen or so pieces of snail mail each year at our mailing service in Las Vegas and only receive packages for items we need to refill our supplies inventory.

As a result of this decision, we needed to carry a portable scanner with us. In this process, we also decided not to print cruise documents, boarding passes, and other travel-related confirmations when we so easily can present them on our phones after we’ve extracted them from our travel sites and those arriving by email.

This bag is filled with receipts we need to scan in the next few days.

When we first began our travels, we’d purchased a portable printer.  But, within a few years, it quit working. We decided we could live without a printer if we became more diligent about keeping all necessary documents on our phones to display appropriately. In addition, carrying the difficult-to-handle rolled paper was weighty and inconvenient.

Since we keep copies of all potentially tax-deductible receipts, having a scanner proved to be a must. Some may use their phones or cameras to take photos of receipts, but we’ve found the image clearer and more manageable when we can slip it through a paper feeder in a scanner. For example, if the receipt is wrinkled, we slip it inside a clear plastic sheet and then feed it into the scanner.

When our most recent Doxie portable scanner died while we were n Minnesota, we ordered a  Brother DS-620 Mobile Color Page Scanner for $85.99 with free Prime shipping.  For some odd reason, Amazon notified us that it had been lost in the mail, gave us a refund, and ordered it again.  It arrived two days later.

When I looked up the scanner this morning for the above link, I discovered the price had gone up to $10 since we purchased it about 10 days ago. I suppose it pays to keep an eye on such items for a few days to check for price changes. In our case, we needed it right away.

For those less than savvy computer folks out there, setting up a scanner to work with a computer can be tricky. It took me about 20 minutes of monkeying around to install the software and get it working. When Tom tried to do the same on his laptop, I helped. It was very tricky.

Also, an important note for iPad, Apple, Kindle, and other product users; A USB plug-in on your device is a must to use such a device.  There may be some Bluetooth scanners out there, but we never have a shortage of USB outlets as PC users. 

Box of photos we’re scanning today.

Plus, the necessary software is on a CD. We hadn’t used a CD on our laptops in so long; I’d forgotten we had the drive. Sure, the necessary software could be downloaded online, but this also may be cumbersome for less adept users.

Once I downloaded the software and got the scanner working properly, I immediately followed the instructions to “register the product” for the one-year warranty. 

Much to my shock, Brother tried to “get me” to sign up for a monthly $3.95 fee to store my scanned items on their cloud or, if I preferred, they had a one-time $9.95 fee to download a storage file on my device. Of course, I didn’t fall prey to such “trickery” in trying to get me to “buy more” since we each have our own cloud storage. 

Also, all the files are automatically stored in the “Pictures” file and can be moved to the desktop on any named file if one prefers. We each did both… I made a file in the cloud and kept a local copy for easy access at any time.

Beginning today, since I visited Susan yesterday, and we’re staying in today until our Meet & Greet tonight at 5:00 pm at The Elephant Bar in The District in Green Valley Ranch, I’ll begin scanning the massive bag of receipts, documents, and photos we found in the bins we’d left in Richard’s garage. 

Once we’ve scanned everything, we can toss it all, and when we leave Henderson in 11 days, we’ll do so with nary a personal item of ours left behind in Richard’s garage.

The scanner weighs less than one pound, and although we didn’t bother to purchase the carrying case (more weight), we’ll wrap it in clothing for safe traveling.

A scanner isn’t for everyone, based on our above comments. But, should you be in a situation similar to ours or don’t like paper clutter in your home and surroundings, you may find it valuable and worth the few minutes required to figure it all out. Again, free tech service is readily available by phone for those needing assistance.

With lower temperatures today, with a high of only 104F (40C), we plan to spend some time outdoors and in the pool. With such high heat since we arrived two weeks ago today, it will feel good to be outside today.

Have a great day, and we’ll be back with you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, July 21, 2016:

It’s hard to believe that Tom managed to climb out of the tiny opening at Cu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam. I was scared he’d be stuck after all the carbs he ate on the two-week cruise. But, instead, everyone in our group cheered when he made it out! For more photos of our visit to the Cu Chi Tunnel, please click here.

Updating Meet & Greet for Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada…

The Choctaw Casino and Resort is located in The District in Henderson, Nevada.

Hello, fellow Nevadans! After we’ve finally settled in and working our way into a comfortable routine, we decided it was time to mention our intended Meet & Greet in Henderson, Nevada, on Friday, July 21st at 5:00 pm.

With the awful heat since we arrived this week, we plan to get out and check on a few possible locations and will post a choice by the end of this week.  So far, we only have a handful of confirmations. Any suggestions for the area of a right bar near Green Valley Ranch are appreciated.

Currently, we’re staying in the desirable Green Valley Ranch area, where there are many major shopping areas, restaurants, business centers, and a few casinos.

If you would like to attend, please email me by using the email link on our homepage located above our main photo (in Petra, Jordan) and below, where it states “Select Language” for the translation. 

Please let us know if coming to meet us in Henderson on July 21st works for you! We had a good-sized turnout in Minneapolis in June and looked forward to meeting some of our readers in the Las Vegas area. 

Our newspaper article will be coming out this week. Once we have the link and videos, we’ll post them here.  We’re looking forward to sharing this article with all of our readers throughout the world.

There are plenty of excellent dining establishments in this area, but after dining on cruise ships and in restaurants over the past almost three months, we’re enjoying some home-cooked meals.

As for Las Vegas, our days and evenings have been complete, although we certainly don’t have many family members and friends in Nevada. We’ve had several “business” related items to attend to, online shopping to complete, and a job we didn’t look forward to tackling.

Almost five years ago, we left several large plastic totes in Richard’s garage that we needed to address. Since plenty of time has passed, we needed to dispose of several bins with old tax records and others we’d forgotten we’d left, including several bins containing old photos.

It wasn’t easy to maneuver the little white car in perfect spots for taking photos.  Tom did the best he could.

We’d distributed all of the paper photos to our four adult children and scanned those of significance to a cloud.  Now, we find this box in Richard’s garage with even more photos. Good grief. We had no idea these photos were there collecting dust and bugs. 

Now, at least, we’ll be able to clear all this out to leave Richard more space for storing his stuff in his garage. Homes in Nevada don’t have basements leaving garages as the only possible spots for storage.

In the next few days, we’ll go through all of the photos, and once we pick up the new scanner waiting for us at our mailing service, one we purchased to replace the Doxie scanner that bit the dust last week, we’ll begin scanning the photos and dispose of the paper copies.

The like the Southwest architecture so typical in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and other states in this region of the US.

Yesterday, Tom spent half of the day going through the boxes. He found several boxes of Christmas decorations from the years of my son’s growing up in the process. We’ve always stated we don’t have any storage and certainly didn’t save any personal effects other than a few plastic bins with tax records and memorabilia.

We’ve gone through each tote and will send them to Greg, Camille, and three grandchildren in Minnesota, who hopefully will appreciate the memorabilia. We didn’t give these bins to them when we distributed memorabilia to our kids baffles me.

We drove around the District’s parking lots, a popular shopping, dining, and entertainment conglomerate.

Perhaps at the time, we weren’t confident we’d enjoy traveling the world and didn’t want to let go of the special Christmas items in these totes. At the time, letting go wasn’t easy. Now that we’re certain we have no intention of “settling down” anytime soon, it’s easy to send them to Greg and family.

It’s a bit cooler today with the 1:30 pm temperature at a cool 99F (37C); we’ll head out to the pool for a little “fun and sun,” which had been impossible over these past days with our busy schedule and with temperatures ranging from 110F (43C) and up.

Even the parking ramps, office buildings, and apartments maintain the popular and familiar Southwest design.

Sorry for the late posting today. With it a bit cooler today, we took off to the grocery shop and to take a few photos to share here today and over the next few days. Have a wonderful day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 11, 2016:

Hỏa Lò Prison, aka Mason Centrale (meaning the main house in French), was nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton” during the war in Vietnam. Hỏa Lò Prison was a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War. During this latter period, it was sarcastically known to American POWs as the Hanoi Hilton. The prison was demolished in part during the 1990s, though the gatehouse remains as a museum.”  For more photos of our tour of the Hanoi Hilton, please click here.

Las Vegas…Here we come!!!…Gambling?…

Often, we see motorbikes loaded with products being delivered to a variety of the tiny shops in the neighborhood, which sell candy, soda, cigarettes and snacks.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Colorful fishing boat with the crew at the end of a long night.

We don’t gamble, not in casinos. One could say we gamble with the quality of our lives every single day. We’ll agree with that. However, we have no interest in sitting at a slot machine or card table, giving away money we’ve carefully budgeted for many more interesting events in our lives.

Many people love gambling in casinos. Their occasional wins interspersed with more losses keep them engaged in the concept that it’s a worthwhile pleasurable activity. If one can do so without serious consequences in their lives, have at it! 

Decorative hand-carved door in the neighborhood.

If we gambled and lost US $300, IDR 4,001,250 at a poker table that would be groceries for two weeks outside the US or 10 separate day trips with a driver in Bali or the cost of excess luggage fees on Qantas airlines for a flight to Sydney from wherever. 

Tom used to enjoy playing blackjack. Years ago, he gave it up when one day it dawned on him that his losses were greater than his wins and it just wasn’t a logical way to spend hard-earned money. 

Even I had my days, way back when, of playing on occasion at one of the American Indian owned casinos in Minnesota or in Las Vegas when visiting eldest son Richard, a successful real estate agent, who’s lives in Henderson, Nevada (a suburban city near Las Vegas) for over 30 years. 

A local gathering place and temple.

For the past 20 years, neither of us has played a single casino game, not in casinos, not on cruise ships, and not at a single slot machine at the airport in Nevada. Nada. None. That’s not to say we wouldn’t play a friendly game of cards or dice with family or friends. We’re OK losing a few bucks to people to love. That’s different.

Why are we discussing gambling? After yesterday’s posting of our plans for visiting Minnesota for six weeks beginning next May, we’d be amiss not to mention where we’ll be spending our remaining three weeks during the 2017 trips to the US. 

Statues to be mounted in front yard temple at a house construction site in the neighborhood.

It’s hard to be in Las Vegas and not visit some of the new hotels we’ve yet to see while wandering through casino after casino. We’re confident we won’t have any trouble avoiding the tables and slot machines.

By the time we arrive in Las Vegas on July 7, 2017, we won’t have been there since December 2012 when we rented a vacation home in Henderson not far from Richard during which time three of Tom’s sisters and two brothers-in-law came to stay with us. 

Also, members of my family visited for Tom’s birthday on December 23rd and for Christmas a few days later. It was a memorable time spent together especially when we were only days away from leaving the US to begin our world journey.

If cows can be pretty, we thought this is quite lovely.

(By the way, when we count how long we’ve actually been gone, we consider the day we left Minnesota on Halloween, October 31, 2012. We spent two more months in both Scottsdale, Arizona, and Henderson, Nevada making final preparations to leave the US. 

On January 3, 2013, (here’s the post from that date) after driving to San Diego, California we sailed on our first ever cruise which fulfilled one of Tom’s dreams of traversing the Panama Canal. Son Richard and sister Julie said goodbye at the pier which meant so much to us).

This road we walk in the neighborhood has a fair amount of motorbike traffic.

Next July after we’ve completed the six weeks in Minnesota we’ll be visiting son Richard in Henderson, sister Susan in Las Vegas, and seeing sister Julie, who’ll fly in from Los Angeles for a visit while we’re there. During the three-week stay (until we fly to Costa Rica to our next vacation home in our itinerary on July 31, 2017), we’ll stay with Richard at his home in Henderson. 

Three weeks is a long time to stay in the home of others. Many have offered that we stay with them during these past years but we’ve always turned them down politely, appreciating the kind offer. 

There are several factors that make staying with Richard easier for all of us:

1. He doesn’t have a cat. I’m allergic. I can spend a few hours in a home with cats but never overnight when allergies are always worse.
2. He has room for us.  We refuse to ever allow any family member to vacate their room, their personal space for us. It’s simply not fair, especially for extended periods.
3. He doesn’t cook and doesn’t expect or want us to prepare food. We’ll either bring in something or eat out, hoping he’ll join us when it works for him.
4. He has a pool. We love pools.
5. He has a weekly cleaning person. There’s no expectation that we’ll be “earning our keep” by cleaning.
6. He’s gone all day working and we’ll have the house to ourselves with less time for us to annoy him with our daily routine.
7.  He has a hysterical pug, Monty, whom we adore. It will be enjoyable taking him for walks and hanging out with him. We wonder if he’ll remember us from almost five years ago.

Elaborate front yard temple.

For these above reasons, staying with Richard will be relatively easy. No doubt, it’s never easy to stay with anyone in their home for three weeks. I’ve heard nightmarish stories from friends when family came to stay for extended periods. However, we’ve stayed with him in past visits and it worked out well.

So, there it is folks, our US visit wrapped up in two neat little bundles with a goal to spend most of our time with family and also to spend some of our time with our dearest friends, many of whom we’ve stayed in close touch over this long period. 

We hope you’ll spend quality time with those you love, especially on Father’s Day in the US tomorrow. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Photo from one year ago today, June 19, 2015:

Trinity Beach, Australia has a lot to offer; ocean, mountains, and plains with gorgeous scenery. We enjoyed our three months in the lovely, relatively serene area. For more photos, please click here.

“Leaving” is bigger than “moving”…

We are now situated at Karen’s home for the next nine days.  Everything for our stay here is unpacked and put away.  We’re welcomed by Karen and her two sons with open arms. We haven’t been overnight guest in a friend’s home in almost 20 years.  Its an odd feeling.  We’d better get used to being in a home “other than our own” based on the upcoming travels.

This move was more work than any move I can ever recall.  Under normal circumstances, when moving, one opens a drawer, examines its contents and in a somewhat systematic manner proceeds to fill a box with the drawer’s desired contents and the rest is thrown away. Simple.

Later, the box is moved to the new location, either near or afar, opened to reveal its contents while finding an appropriate spot in the new home. Simple. That’s called “moving.”

Nope, not us!  We aren’t “moving”. We’re leaving.  Big difference.  Here’s how ‘leaving” goes:

  1. Open a drawer, examine its contents
  2. Remove all the contents from the drawer
  3. Consider the resale value of each item
  4. Remove all items of sentimental value
  5. Place items of sentimental value in one of four separate boxes (one for each of our children’s families)
  6. Determine if anything in the drawer is appropriate to travel the world with consideration for usefulness, weight and least of all, it’s desirability.
  7. With all items out of the drawer, wash the interior of the drawer.
  8. Place the items to be kept in containers for future packing
  9. Return all remaining items to drawer in a neat and concise manner
  10. Close the drawer
  11. Scream!  Go to the next drawer, closet, cabinet, storage bin, plastic bag, refrigerator, freezer, chest, trunk and repeat the same process, over and over again.
That’s leaving!
In the past few months, finalized in the past few days, we have prepared for the following considerations:
  1. Clothes, medications and supplements, special foods, technology, cords and chargers, toiletries, cosmetics and my special pillow to last us for the nine days here.
  2. All of the above plus comfortable clothes, jackets, cooler, beverages and snacks for the four day road trip which begins in nine days plus…the roof top carrier for the car, yet to be installed.
  3. All of the non-perishable food and supplies purchased at Costco on Saturday for Tom’s upcoming party on Saturday for anywhere from 100-200 guests. I’ll be picking up the food and cake for the party mid-day on Saturday.
  4. Documents, tax receipts, medical records and forms, insurance forms and additional paperwork to attend to in Arizona.
  5. For the two month stay in Scottsdale, Arizona and Henderson, Nevada; everything listed here plus food to purchase while there.
  6. For our upcoming world travels; six suitcases, two carry on bags, a duffel bag of med and supplements, two wheeling carts, two laptop bags, and a purse and a over-sized murse (man purse which Tom hates!).
Done?  Yes.  Much to our surprise.  Exhausted? Yes, but will be better in a few days.
So, I sit here writing this blog in a comfy soft leather love seat, my hot tea in my mug, overlooking the calming lake at Karen’s home, her big fluffy dog Wrigley, sitting at my feet, the chill of fall in the air and for now…I am home.

What?…Booking Las Vegas?…

Las Vegas has never been my first choice for a vacation.  We are not skilled gamblers, our feeble attempts often resulting in angst producing losses.  

However, Las Vegas does possess a draw for us with a son, a highly experienced real estate professional and a sister in Boulder City. Plus, my dear cousin Phyllis, from Boston will be visiting Las Vegas with her two adult daughters during this upcoming Christmas season.  

We’ve planned a “mini” family reunion before ultimately leaving the US only a week later, departing on our first cruise from San Diego on January 3, 2013 to the Panama Canal.
Planning our future travels these past months with the first two months beginning in Scottsdale, Arizona, arriving on November 4, 2012, ending on January 3, 2013, it appeared logical to drive to Nevada during the holidays, not only to see family members but, also our funny pug “granddog,” Mont d’Willy d’Honk, aka Monty.
Granddog, Monty.

This trip will be a “vacation within a vacation” due to our commitment to pay rent in Scottsdale until January 3rd, while we’ll either stay in a hotel or rent another vacation home, this time in Las Vegas.  

It was poor planning on my part by not anticipating this leg of the trip well enough in advance to avoid the additional one week cost. This overlapping may occur from time to time, as the “unknowns” present themselves. We need to be flexible and accept this reality. 
Now the goal is to find a good price on a vacation home in Las Vegas, roomy enough to accommodate family members as well, to hopefully make up for this loss (which we will post here as soon as we lock in a house). We sure won’t make it up the difference at the poker table!