Friday, August 29, 2008

Grandma & dad...

My brother told me earlier in the week that my grandma Leatha has taken a turn for the worst and isn’t doing very well. My dad and Donna have had her moved into their home. With Friday being a “kinda” holiday I drove into Bakersfield to see both my grandma and dad. The last time I saw her, which I think was when I took the photo to the left, a few months ago she could walk and speak. Now she is bed ridden and can not really speak anymore. When I talked to her she did try to respond and she was aware that I was there. She hasn’t been doing well for a while and is dealing with a lot of issue including cancer.

I spent most of my time hanging out with my dad, talking about what was going on. He was also working on a new bass guitar that he is building (from scratch). I also brought that new/old guitar that I picked up for work. It was really great to see him again. I am not sure how long my grandma is going to be with us.

On a side note one of our cousin’s (Linda I think) has grabbed all of the photographs at Grandma’s house and has been scanning them in for the last year or so. Yesterday in my inbox I got a few pictures from when I was a kid. I pretty much do not have many pictures from when I was kid. It was a blast to see them and it is great (and a TON of work) that Linda took on this task!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Antelope Valley Fair

It is that time of year again and we made our way to the Antelope Valley Fair today. Denise always like going those type of things and we haven't gone for a quite a while. So we loaded everyone up and headed out. Fortunately the weather wasn't too bad especially considering the time of year. We walked around for the first little bit and checked out a few things like the giant lizard to the left.  We also walked through a couple of the exhibit areas like the photo displays, animals and the science area.  

One of the guys from work (Dave Yergensen) that has been giving me a lot of pointers and help on learning guitar was also playing there with his band (Blind Date) so we stopped over and watched them perform for a while. It was pretty darn cool to see him perform live and to listen to them play. While we were there we also connected up with Kris and Gail and hung out with them for a good portion of the day.

Once the sun went down we ventured over to the amusement park area and Denise, Devin, Desirae, Deanna and Gail rode a couple of rides and played a few games. Desirae was REALLY looking forward to do that all day and other than a minor snafu with the ferris wheel (she wanted to ride in the bird cage) but she got over it pretty quick.

So once we finished up with that we grab something to eat - you know that amazing Fair food. From there we went back to watch my friend play and Denise and Desirae went on to ride some more rides in the "kiddy" area. The only bad thing about the day is that we left the Fair around 11pm and didn't get home until after midnight. So everyone just came in and crashed. Desirae was the funniest because she walked in, kicked her shoes off while she was walking in and crawled straight into bed. She was out before Denise got Deanna in bed!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More guitar stuff...

Well, first I should start with mentioning that my brother was promoted at work, so now he is a Senior Deputy. That's good news! The not-so-good-news is that to reward him for his #1 on the oral, #1 on the written and #1 overall is they sent me back out to the desert to work in Rosamond. Not so great for him (he's now living in a travel trailer durning the week) but seems to be working out for me! So he came back over today with a new set of tuning pegs for the squire mini. So we spent the evening working on that (almost destroying it with my great selection of tools) but in the end I now have another great sounding guitar in the house. The old pegs were HORRIBLE and I am really amazed at how well this sounded. So before he headed back to Rosamond we spent some time jamming in my travel trailer (the kids were asleep) and learning more stuff. He actually went over A LOT and HOPEFULLY I can retain some of it.

Oh, the deal with the picture, he hasn't been around me for a while and wasn't used to me taking of ton of photos. I thought his reaction was pretty darn funny on this one so I went ahead and used it!

With all the crap that is going on at work it is really nice to have the distraction of him being around. I imagine once he gets settled into his new schedule (they switched him to swings) that it is going to be harder to connect up.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Deanna's Birthday...

Today was Deanna's birthday. From her reaction when Denise was sung to by the folks at Ramone's we thought it would be a good idea to go back there today for her birthday. True to form - she really lit up when they came over with the ice cream and the hat! It was really fun to watch and see. It was also cool because Daren was in town and came and met us there for dinner. It was great for the kids to see him again and I hadn't realized that this is the first time he has actually seen Deanna. Hopefully we will get to connect up more, will just have to wait and see on that one.

He also came back to the house so I also had an opportunity to show him my guitar and to get some one-on-one time for some impromptu lessons. It is really cool to be around someone who can play and have a chance to learn some more from him. So he showed me somethings and we (tried) to play some blues together. It was pretty cool and I think I learned a lot. I've got a long way to go but at least I am progressing!

So tomorrow it's back to work and all the drama that is associated with that. There are some major changes in the work and senior leadership has decided it is a swell idea to keep everyone in the dark as to what is going on and how things are going to change. This has been on-going for about three months now and everyone's stress level is pretty high. In my opinion it is wrong to do this to people but it seems like no-one seems to really care. Today was a pretty difficult and frustrating day and I just have to let it go - realistically - in the grand scheme of things none of it is really important anyway...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Almost school & soccer...

This is the weekend before school starts (on Monday) and the schools had their orientation this weekend. Devin is starting a new school and it was pretty neat to see the new place he is going to. His new teacher seems pretty nice and Devin is starting to get excited about it. I didn't get a chance to go with Desirae to see her new class but Denise took her and that went pretty well too. Both Devin and Desirae are excited about going back to school. I think these orientations kind of help with that because the kids have a better idea what to except instead of just showing up.

Desirae also had her first (of what I assume will be many) soccer fund raisers which was a car wash in the middle of town. I ended up taking her to that and she ended up washing and drying quite a few cars. I am not sure how much money they made but it seemed like there was a lot of people/cars coming through! Her first day of practice will be on Monday I spent the time taking photographs and trying to capture everyone who was there and that I figure will be on her team. Those photos are stored here!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Last Day in Vegas

Well, this is a long time coming. We had horrible (no) internet connectivity at our hotel so it was pretty darn difficult to blog and post images. I just recently downloaded the images and thought I would finish off with the Las Vegas postings. The last night we spent driving down the strip and heading to Freemont street. After A LOT of driving we finally found it (didn't realize it was as far out as it was) and we made our way through the "experience". It really was cool and I think anyone who is there should take the time to head over there. There was a lot of stuff going on down there with street performers, bands, and great people watching.

One thing that was pretty cool was the guy pictured above making his spray-paint painting. It was really impressive to watch and we actually bought the one he is working on in the picture. You can't really make it out but he did the skyline of Vegas with the different casinos in there. It was pretty neat to watch now we just have to get it framed and displayed appropriately.

On the drive down there Denise took the camera and started taking night pictures of the strip, while we were moving. Most of the images turned out pretty good and I just picked the M&M image because we made our way there twice.

Anyway we had a good time in Vegas - but a week there is a pretty long time and needless to say we (or at least I) was ready to come home.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lazy Tuesday...

Today was kind of a more relaxing day. We spent it watching a movie (Hancock) and just running around to different places like Guitar Center and Bass Pro Shop. Denise did find a bag she wanted in the old discontinued style so she was able pick that up and BP and we just hang around GC. So basically it was a pretty laid back day with not too much going on!

Day three...

Today was our day to go down to the strip and make a day of it. We started at the Excalibur, which probably wasn’t the greatest idea but it worked out. We then just walked from there. Our venture through the Excalibur was pretty quick and we didn’t do much there and headed next door to New York New York to check that out and get some lunch. My first mistake was not eating before we left and by the time we finally found a place to eat it was kind of late for me.

We ended up eating at a Chinese food place in the NY, NY and it was pretty darn good. After getting setup there we meandered down to Planet Hollywood. That kind of messed us up because the last time we were here it was called Aladdin and the name change just didn’t make any sense. This casino does have a VERY impressive shopping and we spent a lot of time there. Our main destination was this photographic gallery with nature and animal photography. I can’t remember the guys name but it really is some impressive stuff. So we bought some stuff there and then moved on.

We then made our way to the Balasio and went through there. The only problem is by this time I was dying from all the walking and heat. We did stop in there for a bit and played some slots - where Denise was the big winner for the day making a whopping $40 from her $5 starting point. It was cool and it was nice to get a little break from all the walking. From there we ventured outside and ended up sitting around waiting for the next water show. It is really amazing how interesting and cool a water show can be but it sure was. For some reason they ran another show as we were walking out - even though they said it was going to be another 30 minutes - so we paused again and watched that one too.

From there we made our way across the street went back down toward the M&M store. We spent a lot of time in there and even did their 3D movie that was kind of funny and cool. Denise ended up buying a couple of things, including a set of M&M drum sticks. I think I got a coffee cup (can’t remember).

Our next to last stop was into the M&G Grand mainly as a potty break, but they had some cool stuff going on in there including a lion habitat area were we got to walk underneath two relaxing lions. That seemed like it was going to be a zoo (lots of people) but it really wasn’t too bad. After another stop at a gift shop we made our way out of the M&G and back toward the car.

By the time we made it back into the Excalibur both of us felt like we were going to die and didn’t really do too much there. We made a mad dash for another potty break and then back to the car.

So, back to the “hotel” (I guess resort is more appropriate) and we actually found a parking stop in the area this time. (Parking is HORRIBLE in this place). We made a quick deposit of all our acquisitions of the day and then decided to make our way down to the pool/jacuzzi to see if that would help with our tied bones... It worked pretty good although the pool was a bit cool but the jacuzzi was just right and help out.

Now we are back in the room, Denise is crashing for the night and I am writing this. So tomorrow hopefully I will be able to find an internet connection and I can post this darn thing.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tahiti Village - Las Vegas

Well, we have made it to our second summer destination, Tahiti Village in Las Vegas Nevada. We kind of messed up or normal August spot (Pismo Coast Village) and my mom helped us set this up. So we arrived on Saturday and got settled in. The place is pretty nice and is like a really small apartment. We have one bedroom and a living room type area with a fridge and a microwave. It’s a pretty good place though. It is just down from the strip, actually it’s on the same road but the casinos are a couple miles down the road.

So we have done some running around and are having fun. The internet connectivity is ZERO so I am doing through though a hack on Denise’s Motorola RAZR and it is kind of painful - but it’s working.

We will probably hit some casinos tomorrow (those really aren’t my thing - but we have to do it!). And probably a movie or something.