Even though we’re not high rollers, we win on a visit to Vegas

A lovely Chihuly in a lounge isn’t enough for the Bellagio …

To do things up in Vegas style, you need a full Chihuly ceiling.

Las Vegas did not build all this glitter in the desert based on the wagering of the likes of my companion and me.

We just spent five days in Vegas. I don’t think we bet $100 between the two of us.

We did take in a show. We ate and drank at Vegas prices. We spent a night in a penthouse suite. We took in the Vegas lights and sights, where even something as beautiful as Chihuly glass art must be done to excess.

But this was mostly a business and family visit to Vegas. I attended a conference, as lots of visitors do. But when my day at the career fair was over, instead of heading for the casino, I headed for the home of my son, Joe, and his wife, Kim. Continue reading

Viva Las Vegas

Our gift basket

I’ve never been much for Las Vegas. For an introvert like me, it’s all just too much. Too many people, too many of them drunk. Too many lights, too many fountains, and way too much ding, ding, ding from the slot machines. As I write this, I can look through the airport windows at the odd sight of the Luxor‘s pyramid and Sphinx. Just a block down from there are replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Crazy. The only word for it is crazy.

So I should have seen it coming when my middle son, Joe Buttry, decided to come live here. He and his wife, Kim Bagby, are both professionals in theatrical production. That means they do things like coordinate loading shows in and out of venues, hang, set and operate lights, and, well, many more things that I don’t really understand. Las Vegas is a gold mine of work for people in their profession. As Joe always likes to remind me, there are lots of people living normal lives, even in Sin City.

We’ve visited here before, and our time with the kids is always good. Like Joe says, we do normal things. We catch up with each other, play with Leeroy and Harry, the couple’s Yorkshire terriers, and, of course, because I am who I am, we cook up a storm. Sometimes it startles me at night, when I glance out the window on their stairway landing, to see the bright halo of light radiating from The Strip, having forgotten the manic, adult playground just a few miles away.

This past week my companion was here for a work event, right at Mandalay Bay, where our son has also been employed for the last few years. If you’ve never been there, Mandalay Bay is an enormous complex, including a hotel, casino, retail stores, restaurants, a convention center and an arena. For this visit, we spent most of the week at Joe and Kim’s home. But Friday was our 38th wedding anniversary, and Joe very thoughtfully arranged for us to have a penthouse suite at the Mandalay hotel. Kim also arranged complimentary tickets for the Cirque du Soleil show, O, at the Bellagio that night. Continue reading