P and B go to Vegas

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I’ve ranted about how much I hate Vegas a billion times here on this blog. Sometimes I notice how big the sky above Vegas is and I think, I could live here. I love the desert. It kind of reminds me of my childhood in The Sticks. But then some thick-headed frat boy yells his drunk head off, or some big-boobed dancer with perfect legs showing all the way up, reminds me of how imperfect my body is or I see someone talking to themselves with missing teeth as they sit in the gutter, drunk at 9 in the morning… and I turn away, repelled. Vegas makes me sad.

I get bored too easily here. I don’t love gambling and I don’t have a ton of money to shop all day. I can only drink so much and I miss being creative.

I don’t know how I matched up so perfectly with someone like Payam who loves Vegas so much. He’s a night owl. I’m a morning person.  I want to go take pictures of some cacti and shrubbery at five morning when the sun turns everything pink.  He wants to sleep.  He wants to stay up all night sipping whiskey and gambling. I want to sleep.

But I get it. Sort of. The excitement of winning money, the bright lights, the pounding music, the clinking of ice cubes in glasses, the good-natured banter between players at the blackjack table… It is a really fun interesting intersection of so many different kinds of people all finding a common ground sharing their vices. There is something to that.

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Payam humors me and I humor him. He does everything he can to help me have a good time in Vegas. He lets’s me pick the hotel, he lets me shop, he lets me explore….And sometimes I do have a good time.  I can throw back a tequila shot or four. I just have to be careful I don’t go down any self-loathing paths to the pits of despair when I wake up too early in the morning and I’m stuck all by myself in a strange land. I spend so many hours alone because I am a cursed morning person.

I’ve been doing it for ages. You’d think I’d have a million routines and morning rituals to stave off the loneliness (and I do!) but sometimes I let myself sink into the luxury of sadness anyway.  I miss Bug. Thanksgiving without her is always really hard.

The whole reason I met Payam five years ago is because I was lonely during Thanksgiving break. Bug was with her dad (like she is this week) and I was faced with a week to myself with nothing to do but Netflix and work.

So I hopped on a free dating app. I just wanted to find someone to talk to. I wanted a walking partner or someone to take me to the movies. Payam doesn’t really do either but I’m so glad I found him. My whole world has changed since I met him–in a good way. You all know that. Everyone loves a love story.

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So here we are in Vegas on Thanksgiving celebrating five years together.  We aren’t married yet but we have plans!

I brought my new red party boots to Vegas to help me have a good time. (I need every advantage I can get.) I LOVE these boots. I put them on and I immediately feel fifty percent more fun. They give me two inches of height and they scream, “I am not a boring frumpy mom who is missing her kid! I am fun, dammit!” Payam loves them too.

We went out to dinner at a steak house and I had the *Thanksgiving Special* that was probably better tasting than any feast I’ve ever been part of but you know… it was missing all the people. We had few drinks and then crashed. I don’t even remember what we did. Vegas is a ghost town on Thanksgiving. It was fun to wish all the hard-working staff a happy thanksgiving and hope that they were getting paid triple time.

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The next day we explored. I love taking pictures of graffiti and really cool old typography in Vegas. I just wish I had some beautiful daughters with me to take pictures of. I get really sick of taking pictures of myself.

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As I said, Payam humors me.

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Explore, explore, explore… it’s not pretty cacti in morning light but I can’t say it’s boring.

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These are all really quick shots snapped as we walked down Fremont street.

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We didn’t even really get to be foodies and try all the crazy amazing restaurants because we had our steak house thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast and they filled us up all day! I guess that’s a good thing. I didn’t mention it but our hotel (The Hard Rock) upgraded us to a two room suite with TWO bathrooms so we were perfectly content to stay in our room and have leftovers for breakfast. Nothing like eating cold dinner for breakfast out of takeout boxes in your hotel room that is big enough to host a 45th birthday bash. But again, we were missing all the people.

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That night Payam bought us tickets to a Burlesque show. I’ve always wanted to see one.  Unfortunately it started at 10pm, which is like midnight to me. I made it through though. It was very entertaining and I have a deep appreciation for the athletic abilities of those dancers. They are very beautiful and very talented and they shouldn’t be ashamed of any of it. Too bad I seem to be ashamed of my body all the time. But I have to tell myself, I was once that hot. I still have a lot to offer even if I don’t have perfect legs and a flat stomach anymore. I just didn’t really know what to do with myself, sitting there in the audience. Lots of women were hooting and hollering. I just felt awkward.

Don’t worry. I am not fishing for compliments. I’m just sharing parts of myself that you might not know were there. I take pictures of Payam and I smiling and having a good time but it’s not the whole story.

I am very very very thankful for him and I do love these trips with him.

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I love the long talks. I love how he helps me push through missing Bug. He catches me spying on her with my phone, watching her stories of bouncing cousins vying for her attention and tells me to put my phone away. Be present. Be here. Have a Bloody Mary for breakfast!

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And now it’s time to drive back home. Home sweet home.

Balboa Island Cheer-Ups

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This hardly ever happens but this last Saturday we had NOTHING planned. So we called a family meeting and hashed that out. Free time! Let’s use it!

The kids would have been perfectly content to sit in their rooms watching Youtube and Musically videos on their phones for hours on end but we knew we needed to get everyone together to do something a little more productive.

Me, being the super organized anal person that I am, grabbed a nearby white board and wrote down all the things we’d like to do.  I added things like “weed the atrium” and “paint the hallway.” They added things like “Soak City,” “Griffith Observatory,” “Ojai Lavendar Fields…”  This went on and on and in true bicker-sister fashion and nobody agreed on anything EXCEPT Balboa Island, probably because there was a candy store involved for the kids and a walk involved for me. (I’m the self-appointed resident health nut that annoys everyone.)

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Balboa Island for breakfast! Who knew! We have a shortage of good breakfast places in our neighborhood and the ones that are good have long lines around the building on a weekend. We didn’t know we could take a quick hop and a jump over to Balboa Island and have GREAT Mexican food at a place called Wilma’s Patio for breakfast. Hot Diggety! Bug and I were so happy. We could have Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday and never complain. The Persians in the house, not so much. Thankfully, Wilma had had other options too.  Joon had strawberry waffles and Payam had some kind of spicy Italian scramble. Everybody was happy.

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Then we did my favorite part: the walk around the island.

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I love looking at all the miniature houses and admiring the gardens.

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I didn’t mention this earlier but Joon has been navigating some difficult friendship alliances at school lately. It’s like being on a show of Survivor with people getting voted off the island sometimes.  This is totally normal for her age and Bug has had to deal with them too. But this particular friendship that’s been troubling Joon has really gotten her down.  It’s affected everything. Everyday she comes home saying she hates school and school hates her.  So even though she wanted to just sit in her room wearing her black sweatshirt with the hood pulled over her head and plugged into her headphones and ignoring everyone we really pushed her to get out and cheer up.

So when Payam suggested renting a Duffy boat and taking a little cruise around the harbor I knew it would be just the trick.

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And it was! Bug and Joon loved it! They chatted and bantered away like only sisters can. The sunny day drenched us with brightness. It was really hard not to enjoy the warm weather (that’s actually finally trying to be nice for a change instead of being all sweaty-sweaty dog’s breath), the cool breeze, the pretty water and all the boats everywhere.

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It did us all good. Joon is still struggling but we all felt connected. Sometimes I feel like she shuts us out and deals with it all in her head. She’s a tough cookie and it makes me sad that she internalizes her emotions. Growing up is so hard. I remember dealing with friendship break-ups myself and it was PAINFUL! Just because you are younger and bounce back quicker doesn’t mean it isn’t the same kind of pain we feel as adults. So we’re trying to be gentle with her.

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I think she’ll be fine. She just needs time.