Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pics to Tide You Over

Seeing as I am lolling on the couch today with the aches and cramps that accompany the (four-day early!) arrival of AF, I figured I'd post a pic or two from our trip to Vegas. Enjoy the stroll through our vacation.

Our hotel, The Luxor. We stayed on the 19th floor of the pyramid with my best friend (MH) and his wife (KC), in what's known as a spa/jacuzzi room.

Currently appearing at The Luxor are Criss Angel (you can see the banner on the front of the hotel) and the comedian Carrot Top. They're renovating inside thought to create a Titanic Exhibition and a Bodies Exhibition.

We went to the bar at the Hilton Hotel one evening. Quark's Bar is one of the Star Trek themed parts of the hotel. As of September 1 though, the Hilton will be closing it's 10-year old exhibition of Star Trek, The Experience. Many a fan is disappointed with the closure I'm sure. Anyway, here is me and KC enjoying a (mini) Warp Core Breach, complete with dry ice! YUM!

One night, we went to the Stratosphere Restaurant on the 108th floor. This is a revolving restaurant that gave us a spectacular view of Vegas at night. Simply amazing. The food is French cuisine though, so be prepared for that if you go!

Another evening, we headed via monorail to New York, New York hotel to take in Cirque du soleil's Zumanity. Very sensual and sexual; I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

We stopped by Caesar's Palace to have a look around as well.

I even got a pic of KC pointing out the "goods" on the gods! RAWR!

We went to the Excalibur Hotel and Casino to see The Tournament of Kings! It's a tradition for MH and KC to see the show when they go to Vegas. Last year, they brought us with them. This year, we made sure we went again! The Excalibur was located right next to our hotel, so it was easy to get there using the overhead walkways and indoor connection routes that are so well planned! Good thing too, the heat was excruciating!

We took one day and drove down to tour the Hoover Dam and the Lake Mead region of Nevada. It was really hot that day; up on the observation deck, it registered 46 degrees Celsius (115 F) and we were told not to touch the guard railing as it could burn bare skin. Being somewhat afraid of heights, I opted not to go close anyway! But here's hubby enjoying the sights.

We stopped by the Bellagio Hotel and Casino too. This pic is the glass art that decorates the ceiling in the reception area of the hotel. So beautiful to see. Inside the Bellagio are the high-end stores such as Prada and Hermes. Yes Gil, you too can own a Prada wallet for a mere $450! I did indulge a moment though. I stopped at Tiffany's Jewelers where I admired an emerald and diamond ring. I even asked to see it. I tried it on too. Only $26,000 and it could have been mine! Ah... dreaming is lovely isn't it?

I won't bore you with pics of the gaming friends I met. Or of the presentations I attended; if you play EQ2 then you might be interested but if not, not so much. However, here's a really good picture of MH and his wife KC. Don't they make a cute couple?!

And of course, a pic of hubby and me at the Saturday night banquet. We had a grand time at Fan Faire and depending on where it is next year, we may go again.

Bye Vegas! 'Til next time!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

Vegas. My God. Vegas. What a blast! I tell you folks, if you want to get away and forget this IF crap for awhile, that is THE place to go. Talk about Sin City! RAWR! If you've never been, I suggest a romantic, indulgent weekend (or week!) for two. Believe me, I know we all deserve it.

I started my holiday in Washington, DC on August 3 where I spent a week with my sister while she attended a conference, and I spent a fair bit of time with my best friend, MH. He's now living on the east coast in VA while his wife (KC) and twins are still back in California. With luck, they'll all be settled in their own home again by November at the latest in Virginia. I may even pop down in October to help him look for a place. We'll see.

Anyway, Washington was relaxing. I did take the time to do a couple of tours and I took TONS of photos. MH was kind enough to chauffeur me around a bit and even came out for dinner with me a time or two, foregoing his regular gym routine to spend a bit of time with me. And on Sunday the 10th, MH and I hopped a plane from DC to Vegas where we hooked up with KC first (it was so amazing to watch them reunite after months apart!) and then we found my hubby!

The four of us picked up our luggage and then went to get our rental car before heading for the Luxor hotel. Wow. Just WOW. Pics to come when I get a moment, promise! There's an Egyptian pyramid theme for this hotel, complete with hieroglyphics and pillars, a sphinx out front and stores named things like The Scarab Gift Shop. The room we had was lovely: there were two queen-sized beds, a mini-fridge, a sitting room with couch and chair, a huge jacuzzi tub near the beds and KC and I indulged in that tub on more than one occasion. It was so nice to unwind in there after spending the day in 42 degree heat (112 F)! Eeesh!

All in all, our week's activities consisted of...

Sunday: went to the hotel, checked in, found a quick bite and later that day, headed to the Hilton to go to Quark's bar for dinner, after which KC and I indulged in a mini warp core breach as opposed to the big one we had last year. Back to the hotel for a soak in that tub. PURE heaven. I guarantee.

Monday: Shopping with KC and I had a pedicure while she had a manicure. That was LOTS of fun. And badly needed on my behalf. It's nice to be pampered now and then. We had reservations for 8 at the Stratosphere restaurant; French cuisine. Unfortunately, that didn't sit well with MH or KC really. And that discomfort was compounded by a minor disagreement between me and KC made for hard feelings that sorta ran over into the next day. Unfortunately.

Tuesday: Pancakes for breakfast at IHOP before heading to Hoover Dam. I was pissed at hubby for a comment he made on Monday and MH and I chatted about it on Tuesday morning, as we sat on the sofa in our suite, greeting the day. He and I often chat in the mornings... just alone time for him and I to catch up and connect. Anyway, I spent the day miserable and sullenly quiet. When we got back to Vegas, MH and KC announced that they wanted to have a date night. Totally understandable and I was in no mood to go anywhere or do anything. So MH and KC went to a movie and hubby and I had a LONG talk in the hotel room. We needed that though. I needed to clarify some things with him.

Wednesday: I went to do laundry with KC while the boys worked out. God, they're ALWAYS working out aren't they? I know they want to look good for us and all but sheesh! God love them. Take a break now and then though guys. It's nice to actually SPEND time with you. We ran some errands, KC and I shopped as well for an hour or so (Fredericks of Hollywood had a GREAT corset for me, and a gorgeous one for her! LOVELY prices too!) and went to see a couple of hotels. The Bellagio (I tried on a $26,000 emerald and diamond ring that I so would love to have!), and then Caesar's Palace. Hubby and I were a bit tired, so we sat for an hour or so while MH and KC roamed and took photos. We got a lead on a new casino just outside of Vegas; we opted to remember the details for future. We returned to our room in time to get ready to go see Cirque du soleil's Zumanity at New York, New York hotel. It was amazing. This was the risqué show; nudity and all. Beautiful to watch though and boy, does it provide fodder for the audience! RAWR!

Thursday: Denny's for breakfast this morning and that was nice. We took yesterday details about the new Red Rock casino (12-15 miles outside of Las Vegas), and headed there to check it out. It was lovely! We spent a bit of time gambling, MH won a little bit of cash at Blackjack, and we had a GREAT buffet there (the restaurant was called Feast I think). We left there and went to the Fan Faire registration (for the game that we all play, Everquest II) at the Hilton before heading back to the hotel and freshening up to head to a club for a few hours.

Friday: We attended Fan Faire all day long. Whew! Lots to see and do. Plenty to hear! I met some folks from Mayhem (another guild on our server) and other notables that are RP figureheads. It was fun. I took LOTS of pics, especially about the new and upcoming guild halls! Friday night was John Smedley's (the CEO of Sony Online Entertainment) address and we stayed long enough to hear about EQ2's expansion, The Shadow Odyssey, set for release on November 18. Then we boogied outta there cause we had tickets for the 8:30 showing of Tournament of Kings (a medieval knights sort of show) at The Excalibur hotel. We headed there, saw the show and had dinner, and then made our way back to the Luxor to bed! Whew!

Saturday: More of Fan Faire! WOOTeth! We did a bit of shopping in the morning and ran a few little errands, still taking pics of the things we wanted to see. We had prepared our clothing for the banquet in the evening and the boys kindly went out to get the bags while Karry and I chatted with folks and did a bit of gambling. The banquet was really nice; food was better than last year and we enjoyed the atmosphere. Lots of fun all in all. Coming home that night, we packed up much of our luggage and hubby and I departed and gave MH and KC some alone time. An hour at the casino downstairs before we came back up and MH, hubby and I soaked a bit in the tub. The cool sheets felt good after that. Believe me.

Sunday: Oh... saying goodbye is so hard isn't it? Horrid really. We packed up bags and checked out at 11 a.m. Piling stuff in the car, we headed out to run errands. We bought bags, a new carrying case for our camera (I lost ours in DC at the Smithsonian somewhere) and then we went for breakfast. We stopped afterwards to rearrange our luggage and go check in for our flights early. Hubby wanted to look for a new pair of sneakers, so we did a bit of shopping, and we also hit the M&Ms store for KC. And we went to a jewelry kiosk named Bico for a chain for MH, but he changed his mind. All of us had purchased something from them earlier in the week; I hung mine on the mirror in the car this morning in fact. Each pendant from Bico has a meaning. The one I chose is representative of my character in the game, not of me personally. Anyway, we took our last pictures, saw the last things we wanted to see, and when all was said and done, we went to Red Lobster for dinner together before returning the car and heading to the airport. *sigh*

Hubby and I got off at the terminal with MH and KC so we could see them off. God I hated to say goodbye. Hubby and MH shook hands and hugged and KC and I embraced. I started to cry, but I tried so hard not to! It's tough to leave close friends. She hugged me and said, "Take care of him for me will you Gil?" I replied, "You know I will. We're all just waiting for you honey. It'll come soon. Hang in there. We love you." And she told me, "I love you too." It was tough to part from her. Not only because I knew that it meant we had said goodbye, but because then I had to say goodbye to MH.

He is my best friend. He 'gets' me like no one has since 10 or 12 years ago really. He is the closest to me that anyone has ever been. And I adore him for that. He hugged me; and I tried to stem the tears. I smiled and reminded him that it wasn't "goodbye"... he's coming to visit for the Sept. 12 weekend I think. It's still so hard to leave him and KC though. But they needed time to say goodbye to each other alone. In private. I watched as they hugged and hubby and I turned for the escalator, leaving them together. I know it's hard on KC. I do. I know it's hard on MH too. Soon enough, they will be in their own home again on the east coast. And closer to us.

Yes, there were days during the vacation when one of us wasn't up to snuff, or one of the two couples was bickering but that is bound to happen when you put four personalities in tight quarters together. Normal and natural. The trick is... handling it. If you handle it well, talk things over, resolve minor differences (or major ones!) then it bodes well. If you let things fester and blow up, it makes for a messier scene. All four of us tried to work things out as much as possible and in the end, it was SO hard to leave them.

And now it's back to the grindstone. Ho hum. Vegas was so much more fun than this...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Picking my nose... err... brain! Yeah!

In 24 hours from now, I'll be on a plane, heading to Washington DC. I'll admit, I cannot wait. I have been looking forward to this year's vacation since... well, since we returned from last year's vacation.

You see, I'll not only be in DC, but from the 10th to the 17th, I'll be living it up in Las Vegas. Sin City. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! Oh yeah... I'm really looking forward to this!

I have plans to spend the bulk of tomorrow with my best friend, MH. And on Monday, my sister arrives in DC and while she attends a conference, I'll get to relax and wander on my own. I've got plans to have dinner with my sis and MH Monday night (he'll get to meet my sister for the first time), on Tuesday, I'm hooking up with a guildmate from EQ2 who also happens to be attending a conference in DC this week, and later in the week, MH wants to take me and my sis out, and I hope to hook up with two other friends in Northern Virginia with whom I played EQ for quite some time. So it promises to be a lovely week. If we get a chance, MH wanted to take me down to Atlantic City next weekend. And he's offered to let me use his washer and dryer to do laundry before we both go to Vegas next weekend.

Vegas... ah how I adore you Vegas! The lights. The music. The atmosphere of the casinos. The fun of the gaming stuff. Meeting friends, old and new. Being a bit raunchy and kicking back, just enjoying life for one full week. If last year was any indication, it promises to be a lovely week full of fun, experiences galore and much laughter. I'll be taking LOTS of pics! Guaranteed.

On the IF front, yesterday hubby and I had an appointment with the reproductive psychologist. McGill no longer requires that you have a consultation with a psychologist for IVF, however, if you are dealing with donor gametes (either egg or sperm), then they still require it. Dutifully, we fulfilled that obligation. I was glad to hear that the psychologist herself (having read much of this blog) indicated that she wished that we didn't have to be there and doing that consultation in the first place. She said that obviously, the issue of biology has never BEEN an issue in our home as we have developed attachments to many children who are not our own already. I was a mother-figure to my husband's children when they were in our custody. I am an aunt to a beautiful little 11-year old. I am a godmother to a 3-year old. I'm hoping to be a godmother to two five-year olds... and hubby and I will certainly agree to being a godmother to his sister's unborn baby (due Dec. 26). So biology isn't crucial to us. And the psychosocial ramifications of raising a donor-conceived child in our home would not be an issue either. Yes. We will "tell"... it won't ever be written on our foreheads, but it'll not be a secret either. No lies. No secrets. Ever. That would not be fair to any child we may be lucky enough to raise.

And then there was the discussion surrounding using donor gametes in the first place, because we may not need that vial of donor sperm after all. Like the psychologist said, we're not able to round the corner and move forward yet because we're still hanging in the balance of the two options: having the opportunity to use hubby's sperm, or having to use donor sperm. And that choice will be effectively removed from us in the blink of an eye and we will have to move forward either way.

Like I said to her yesterday though, I can't even round the corner yet. I effectively had to take a step back. I had grieved and mourned the loss of a biological child already before our first attempt at donor sperm two years ago. I had gotten past that and put the idea out of my head entirely; the idea that I -might- be able to have my husband's child. That was gone. And now, I have to revisit that possibility. I have to step back to that place and wrap my brain around that. And I have to be ready to go with either possibility.

I'm ready for that. It's time to move forward again.

First things first... my vacation! *dances* Fan Faire, here we come!