Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sunny Spider

I don't normally post about the cats, because they each have their own page on Catster (see their links to the right). But this week I took a few great photos of Spider and the gang. When weather permits, I always leave the windows open in the house (we have screens) so the cats can hear the birds and feel the breeze in their whiskers. Since it's warmed up, I've been letting them out on the back deck. The deck is two stories up, and there are no stairs that lead to the yard, so they are safely confined. I used to have a fear of them jumping off, but I realized they are smarter than I give them credit for. They do get up on the railing, and I rush outside to promptly grab the mischievous offender and take him or her inside for "time out". I never leave them out there if I'm not right there in the house to keep an eye on them. I must glance out the window every fifteen minutes to make certain everything is okay. Most of the cats just want to go out for a few minutes then come back in- they are used to the spoiled life of naps on comfortable couches and beds. But Spider has lately wanted to stay out there for a good part of the day, and as long as she is behaving (napping), I let her. My cats are strictly INDOORS only, although Spider is trained to walk on a leash and we toodle along in the yard and up the street on occasion. I know eventually it will be too hot for her to spend so many hours out there, but for right now I've been letting her enjoy the great outdoors. Mostly she just sleeps up in the shade under the cover of the BBQ grill. And when I don't let her out onto the deck when she wants to go out, she drives me insane by following me around the house and crying. It's a battle she always wins. I don't call her Mama's Kitty for nothin'! (photos of Spider enjoying a taste of life outside)

Calories, Crafts, Cooking, & Childbirth

Much of yesterday and today, I've been down in the basement sorting out my books, hoping to get a better idea of which ones I want to keep, and which ones are headed to the flea market or charity. This is actually what I have left from the move, because I sold a large number of them at a yard sale last year, and then hauled off several boxes to Goodwill right before we moved. Back a few years ago, I sold several hundred paperbacks to a guy who was starting up a used bookstore. Of course, I still buy books, too, so when I sell books I have a tendency to replace them with new titles. What I currently have is probably the "smallest" my collection has been in many years. But, I need to weed out even more, and hope to end up with half of what I have.

I've been separating the books into different piles throughout the basement. I have stacks of Weight Watchers cookbooks, plus lots of other cookbooks from Southern Living, Gooseberry Patch, Cooking Light, and of course all of Rachel Ray's books. Then I have piles of magazines I've saved over the years, most of them WW and other dieting/health related titles. Another section of books and magazines would be my small reference library on getting pregnant, being pregnant, and childbirth. Mind you, when I married James I was turning 40 that year, but we still crossed our fingers. I actually thought we might get pregnant, as we started trying right away. So of course I bought up every book I could get my hands on about fertility and pregnancy. I think I can safely get rid of those books now, since it's been 3 1/2 years of trying.

I have a half ton of other reference books on every subject from gardening to dieting to all kinds of crafts- candlemaking, beadwork, pottery, painting, needlework. My last segregated pile are all my books of fiction, both paperback and hardback. I have everything Stephen King and Ann Rule have ever published, I have most of Bertrice Small's books, and just about everything in between. My goal is to go through each and every book now that they are in easier to manage categories. I know some that I've already read by favorite authors (mentioned above) I will keep because they are important to me personally. Others I will set aside because I have intentions of reading them soon. And still others I will look at and think, why did I ever buy that (I have books on beekeeping and raising alpacas and owning rental property, just to name a few!!!)- I won't feel too much pain in parting with these gems. James laughs at me because I will drag them to a flea market and try to sell them for fifty-cents each, instead of just hauling the lot of them down to Goodwill. It's just something about the thrill of that twenty bucks in my hand at the end of the day!! (photo of just half of the big pile)

My Prince

This will be quick, but I just wanted to write a note about how wonderful my husband is, how he is the best! On Tuesday morning, my car stalled and died on me as I was driving into town (we live out in the country). Now mind you, I have an irrational fear of breaking down on the side of the road, even though we have AAA and even though I drive a new SUV. I don't want to be that person who, at the busiest intersection, has to turn on their hazards and tie up traffic. My car did start back up, but I hurried back home and haven't left the house since. That night I asked my husband if it was the battery, the alternator, the oil pressure, any part of the car I could name. He looked under the hood, but there was nothing amiss at first glance. I was terrified of getting back in the car yesterday (I did say it was an irrational fear), so put off my errands of picking up dry cleaning and vacation photos from the lab and other items on my to-do list. But tomorrow I absolutely MUST go to Weight Watchers, which is 30 miles one way from here in another county. I can't miss a third meeting in a row, I would never be able to hold my head up again. So my amazing husband is driving my SUV to work this morning, to see if it is running okay and the breakdown was just a fluke (or my driving). My husband doesn't work close to home, he's about a half hour up the road in heavy traffic. I am so thankful he is doing this for me. If the car is okay today, then I will feel comfortable taking it out tomorrow. I know my husband didn't have to do this for me, he could have just said "it's fine, drive it", but he is doing this so I can set aside my anxiety over the situation. He is my champion! (photo of James graciously laughing at the silk shirt I bought him for his birthday this year- hey, it was deeply discounted, I couldn't pass it up)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Slow Going

I just finished posting a comment on another blog about how I was stuck in my weight loss efforts. I came back from Vegas about four pounds heavier, but that was over 1 1/2 weeks ago and the scale has not budged. Weight Watchers is in two days, and this week I intend to go to weigh in, no matter what. My leader sends postcards out to me all the time, and usually they are "way to go!" notes that I put on the refrigerator as motivation. This week's postcard said "we've missed you, please come back soon" as my last meeting was on April 10th. I'm not certain what I'm doing wrong right now, and I am determined to fix it. Since we got home, James and I have eaten big salads every night for dinner, loaded with good green/red lettuce and lots of veggies including cuke, broccoli, tomato, carrot, mushroom, even squash for James. For breakfast I have a small bowl of high fiber cereal with skim milk. I'm down to one cup (or less) of coffee every morning. I drink plenty of water, no soda. We keep fat free yogurt and fresh fruit in the house for snacks. And my lunches have been light. I've been walking on the treadmill every day, even when my back pain is bothering me. Of course, we undid ourselves this last weekend with the Greek restaurant on Saturday and Shane's Rib Shack on Sunday. So, maybe I just answered my question right there. I don't have any handy excuses this week to explain away the number on the scale. I can't say that we won't go out and eat over the weekend, because we do enjoy it and we are always out running errands. I can only commit to myself to make better decisions when we do go out. Although we don't fry foods at home (I never have or will- I have a fear of being splattered with hot grease), I seem to always order battered and fried dishes when we go out, chicken tenders being a favorite choice of mine. I think James and I bounce off each other when we go out, because if I want to order an appetizer he says yes, if he wants to split a large pizza I say yes. One of us needs to start saying NO to the other!! (photos are a sample of what I ate at Shane's, from their website)

The Old Homestead

Well, since my realtor can't seem to move my old house in South Carolina, I'm going to try to do it here! (Has anyone actually sold a house on a blog before??) The house is in Rock Hill, SC and it is just right over the state line outside of bustling and beautiful Charlotte, NC. We are going back next Saturday to check in on it, and I doubt I will see a SOLD sign out front. We get a lot of traffic at the house, we have showings every week, but no bites yet. We moved out in December 2008 after living there for just over two years. It is a great house, I loved it, and it is in an older, established neighborhood with lots of tall trees and yards covered with azaleas and crepe myrtles, and all the homes were custom built so no two even slightly resemble each other. The subdivision is small, about 3-4 quaint and shady streets, and it is directly across the road from one of the best elementary schools in the area. The house was built in 1989 and is almost 2500 square feet, the wooded lot is a little over a half acre with a creek in the back. It's three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, with two fireplaces. The garage is very large, and there is a big workshop under the house. The previous owner did additions that increased the square footage, and she repaired everything on our 2006 inspection report, including a new roof. And we did minor improvements such as a new hot water heater, new furnace, ceiling fans in all the rooms, some updated lighting, and a lot of painting. It's located just five miles from the shores of gorgeous Lake Wylie, yet only four miles from the interstate. We are currently asking $232,900 for it, which is less than what we paid for it in 2006. So, if you know of anyone moving to the Charlotte area soon, and they don't want to live IN the city and pay the outrageous taxes up in Mecklenburg County, give us a shout! I don't know if it's legal for me to advertise the house on this blog, and maybe this post will get removed or flagged, but what the heck. It can't hurt to try! Thanks for being indulgent of me, and sorry if this is breaking any blogger rules or offends anyone. (photos of the house before we moved out)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well in theory at least. I've got the struggling part down. Every day that goes by and I don't work on a painting or sewing project or something creative, I feel like I am falling farther behind on "where I want to be" in this point of my life. I love all sorts of media- painting, pottery, needlework, papercrafts, photography- but since we've moved I've completed all of two paintings, and that's it. I love artwork and all handmade crafts. I buy it compulsively wherever we go- vacations, the mountains, the beach. I but it from my favorite artists on Etsy and eBay. But I've produced squat lately. Some days I feel like I won't find my creative side again. Some days I think it's just because I'm so unorganized right now. Other days I have really great ideas but just never get around to doing anything about it. Although I can't whine too much about my pottery because right now I can't find/don't own a kiln to use. But everything else- painting, quilting, woodworking- all of the other areas that are completely in my control, have just seemed to escape me. Maybe I am lacking the passion right now. I admit I am struggling since the move, with being at home all day alone, my friends in another state, no job to get me up and moving every day. Perhaps a little depression? I don't know. I just don't have a desire to make anything artsy these days. I want to find that little muse who forgot to move to Georgia with me- did I leave her in South Carolina?? (photo of a candlebox I made when I was doing pottery)

New Project

Have you ever gone to a zoo, an aquarium, on a cruise, a museum, to a ballgame, on an amusement ride- and a photographer is right there at the entrance "Just step over here folks, let me get your picture" then "You can pick it up later" etc. Well, I am a sucker for those photos, because I really love to have pictures of me and James together. My husband finds it half-amusing, half-annoying, but I think by now he knows that if there's a photographer standing around, somehow he is going to be $20 broker with yet another picture of us to add to the stack. And stack it is, there they all are on the right side of the photo. I've let them stay in their original envelopes and pile up over the years. This week I decided that if I can't have them out to enjoy them, I need to stop buying them. And I don't really want to stop buying them!! About ten years ago, all I ever did was scrapbook constantly, mostly photos of my dog. I did Creative Memories with a friend, but as the friendship fizzled, so did my scrapbooking career. I invested a small fortune in diecuts, paper, punches, scissors, rubber stamps. You get the idea. I still have all of my supplies hanging around the house, but I haven't scrapbooked in a long time. I decided that I would gather up all of our "portraits" and put them in an album. Some are as big as 8 x 10, some as small as 5 x 7. My husband looked at me indulgently yet again as I explained why I spent $60 at Michael's the other day. He smiled. He's seen me get all gung-ho on projects before, but coughing up a finished product is another story. But, that is my task this week, to get a finished album ready for viewing. So if you are reading my blog, you can picture me at the table scrapbooking this week. And if I am posting, hopefully I am just taking a short break from my new project! (photo of my Michael's purchase that made my husband smile)

Monday, April 27, 2009

List of Goals #1

I did say I didn't want this to be just a weight loss blog, although it is certainly a prevalent factor in my life- and lifestyle. I read a lot of weight loss blogs, and one thing I love is when the person lists their goals. I haven't done it yet, so here it goes. These are my weight-loss-only goals:

1. To start eating whole foods, give up processed, packaged frozen diet dinners, shakes, and 100-calorie snack packs.

2. To not skip a Weight Watchers meeting, even if I know I've gained that week- I have to be accountable all the time or it won't work.

3. To exercise every day.

4. To start to cook more healthy meals so that my husband will also lose weight and be able to watch his blood sugar.

These are the current goals I am working on right now. Some days I give myself an A+ (Sandy's work is excellent, way to go!), other days I give myself a C- (Sandy needs improvement, follow through with assignments). I have a lot of other issues I need to work on that aren't weight related, but I'm sure somehow losing weight and feeling better physically will ultimately lead to me being more organized at home, finding the energy to complete tasks, focusing on my art, and being a better mate to my husband. (photo of the view from my treadmill)

A Challenge

I am going to issue this challenge to everyone. I want to "see" where you are blogging from! We all post and we all have favorite blogs that we love to read, but I think everyone should include a photo of where they are when they read or post. Although my husband has a laptop and Blackberry through his company, I have to use the good old office computer for all of my personal business. This is James' "office", although he hasn't really fixed it up since we moved in. He tries to keep his desk presentable, but sometimes the paperwork catches up with him. I just sort of stack it all to the side whenever I sit down. So, this is where I'm at when I am reading all of your blogs, and when I'm posting to my own. Let me see where you are doing the same!! Please share a photo on your blog of your special "blogging area" or office. Thanks! (photo of the desk in my husband's man cave) (had to add a photo of a few of my buddies who hang out with me when I blog)

Cutting Back is Better

Well I said I would post more about my coffee addiction again. You know not long ago I posted that I was going to completely give up coffee once we got home from vacation. I was drinking 4-5 big cups (mugs) a day loaded with sugar and creamer, and I felt this was really just adding a lot of stupid calories that I didn't need. I talked about it with my amazing and wise Weight Watchers leader Marci, and she asked if I drank coffee just for the caffeine. I told her honestly- no, I really do love coffee, just super sweetened. She advised me that I shouldn't give it up, I should just practice moderation (what WW is all about) and possibly modify my "recipe". She said a good way to do that would be to simply make less coffee in the morning, and try to use Splenda. I thanked her, and kept the idea filed away. I've tried Splenda before, and although I like it on cereal, for coffee it alters the taste too much for me. See, we have one of those big coffee makers that makes 12 cups. I would get it going in the morning, my husband would have just oneish cup while reading the paper before work, and I would finish off the rest of it throughout the day. I sometimes even skipped eating a real meal because I just wasn't hungry due to the two huge cups of coffee I'd just polished off. Long story short, when we were in Vegas, our hotel room oddly enough did not have a coffee maker (probably because they wanted you to buy it downstairs in the casino from the Starbucks). Well, no coffee in the room didn't fly with us, so the first morning we went to Wal-Mart and purchased a small four-cup el cheapo one. Needless to say, we wrapped it up inside clothes in our suitcase and brought it home. So now, I have carried the old monster coffee maker to the basement. And the new junior one has taken its place. After my husband has his cup or so, then I only have what's left in the pot. I haven't yet started replacing the sugar with Splenda, but it is my next step. And guess what, I actually had a bowl of fiber cereal and skim milk for breakfast today instead of two cups of coffee! (photo of the new pot and how "much" coffee I get every day now)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another Sunday Hike

We didn't really have any specific plans for today, so over morning coffee (more on that in another post) my husband asked if I wanted to go hike, and we picked Cochran Mill Park for our destination. It sounded like a fine idea to me, we had an enjoyable walk together in our neighborhood last night, so a hike today made for another great outing for the two of us. Mind you, I'm terribly out of shape. I don't care how many miles a day I do on the treadmill, it's not the same as a hiking trail. Before I gained a big deal of weight, I used to hike all the time, long hikes that took all day. I couldn't do that right now even if a pack of wild dogs was on my tail. Today was a gorgeous day, and although the trail was marked as "easy" in our guidebook, it wasn't for me. It was only three miles, but it had quite a few hills. I hate hills, and they hate me back. Well, at least they hate my calf muscles, because hills make my lower legs scream at me to stop and rest. But the trail meandered along a river, with a few falls, so the scenery was worth it. There is a nature center midway on the trail, but it's closed on Sundays. Still, we were able to see the owls, hawks, and vultures in their habitats. I had to cross a creek barefoot, climb over the face of an enormous rock, and swat away the bumblebees, but it was a good few hours to spend with my husband this morning. I know it wasn't enough to burn off noteworthy amounts of calories, but it was better than making a pancake breakfast and sitting around reading the paper. And it was a nice day to be a tomboy- no makeup, hair in a ponytail, and one of my Life Is Good T's.

I'm an Arcade Junkie

On Saturday we trekked up to the Discover Mills mall, over in Lawrenceville. We had two missions in mind: buy a massive supply of jerky seasoning at the Bass Pro Shops (for our dehydrator), and to get the 8 elongated pennies found at two machines in the mall. Since it was such a long drive up there (about 60 miles), we decided to walk around the mall and make a day of it. We saw the same old same old stores, and yes we did a small bit of shopping, but we found a nice little surprise in the form of a Greek restaurant (a real sit-down place, not a counter in the food court) called Athens Kouzzina. Our waiter spoke with a Greek accent, and he was very friendly and very informative, because he was forthcoming with the ingredients in all of our food when I asked him. We sampled a few different dips (hummus, htipiti), James had a small Greek salad, and we split an entree of pastitsio, my favorite. We both love Greek food, but aside from a fast food gyro, good authentic Greek food has been hard for us to find. After we ate (I was good, I skipped my favorite dessert of baklava) we came across a Jillian's. James said, "Let's work off a few calories!" I know Jillian's aren't located everywhere, but I'm sure there are similar venues across the country. Big place, lots of video and arcade games, bowling alley, sports bar, food, pool tables, dancing, etc. James and I are both super competitive and addicted when it comes to arcade games, and there aren't too many that I don't love, or am not willing to at least try. I'm not sure how much money we loaded into the machines, but we played about ten games of skee ball, two games of Hyperbowl (what a BLAST!), five games of basketball, and one game of air hockey. Needless to say, I got a good upper body workout, and found I was actually sore when we left. I may be 42, but I've been playing in arcades since high school, and if I have to list the top five ways I would want to spend a Saturday, playing video games out at an arcade would be on it! (photo of a Jillian's courtesy their website)

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Quickie After Before

I promise I am not going to post again today, because I am busy reading all the old posts from "A Blob Blog" (she and I could be twin sisters, our stories are SO alike!!) and I will be doing that all evening (the hubby's out until late for his Friday night poker tourny). While searching through my photos of the kids, and after visiting some other weight loss blogs to see their photos, I wanted to post these pics. These are probably the best photos I have of myself. I call them my "after before" photos, they aren't very clear but it's the best that I have. These are the photos from when I lost my 80 pounds in 2003, and before I started to pack them right back on again. These photos of me with my nephews were taken in Florida early 2004, right after James and I started dating. I was 160. About 10-15 pounds away from my goal weight. It took me a whole year to do it last time, but I am going to fight my way back down there again! Oh yeah, and I also WILL be growing my awful short hair back long again.

Tyler and Luke

Well time to include some family photos, and get off the subject of me for awhile. I wanted to share a few photos of my nephews. Tyler is the oldest, he will be 13 next month. Luke is his younger brother, he will turn 6 the very next day after his big bro. My sister Darenda is two years younger than me, and married her true love after meeting him while she was at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!), and she and Doug will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary this year (she got it right the first time around). They all live in my hometown of Bradenton, in fact probably just ten minutes away from my folks on the west side (beach side) of town. If there is one regret that I have about moving away from home, it's that I miss seeing the kids. I moved away from Florida about four months before Tyler was born. I only get to see them once, sometimes twice a year. They are both outstanding kids. I wish I could watch them grow up every day!

Still Settling In

When we moved to Georgia, we had one weekend with a realtor to find a house. My husband received word of his promotion while we were on vacation in late September 2008, and he had to report to his new division in about three weeks. We picked this town, sight unseen, from research on the internet. Before we came to visit Newnan, we also looked at houses online, not knowing their location, neighborhood, etc. We arrived in Newnan one Friday night armed with a stack of printouts of the houses we wanted to look at. Beforehand, I'd emailed the realtor the MLS numbers, and on her end she looked up each and every one of them, discarding ones that didn't meet our criteria. We met with our amazing realtor Doree Armstrong from MetroBrokers/GMAC early Saturday morning. She was a dynamo and I can't explain how great she was for us, it was really beyond words how much she helped us. We looked at over 40 houses that weekend. On Saturday we looked at older homes, many of which needed at the very least a little freshening up. A few made our top five list. On Sunday we looked at all brand new homes in new subdivisions. Oddly enough, we found that older homes and new homes were around the same price. Since neither of us had ever owned a new home, we decided that now would be a good time to make the investment. The house we eventually purchased was not even on our list, because it was listed beyond our price range (but we counter-offered down to our range). We came to the neighborhood to look at a different house when the builder's agent said, "Let me show you one I think you'll like", and we did! We love our neighborhood of Maple Creek Plantation- it's quiet, all the streets are cul-de-sacs, and we have 1.6 acres. The downside is that the subdivision was still in the middle of being built when the housing market slowed. So we have quite a few empty lots, in fact I have two right across the street from me now. I am not complaining, I love the view from the front porch. But we've heard of other neighborhoods around here going through the same ordeal, and other builders have come in and constructed much smaller (and cheaper) houses than everything else in the subdivision. The reality is that it lowers the market value on the surrounding existing homes. We haven't heard of any plans for this happening in our neighborhood, but we also aren't so certain that the current builder will fill out the empty lots any time soon. We are just relaxing and enjoying the solitude for now. The top photo is the view from my back deck, the bottom photo is the view from the front porch (and the view I am looking at outside the office window when I blog!).

Daytime Reality

Okay, I'm not talking about TV, just the routine of coming off vacation and getting back to real life at home. After getting caught up with laundry and housework, it was back to the same old me, husband gone for 12 hours a day to leave me alone with myself and my thoughts. This week so far has not been bad, we've had beautiful weather in Newnan and will even see the 80's this week. Everything is greening up nicely, the neighborhood birds are at the apex of their song season. I am looking forward to summer, even though I really hate being hot. It took me until Thursday to get back on the treadmill. I came home from Vegas with a nice festering (TMI) blister on my foot that took a few days to heal- instead of being practical (sneakers) I worried about being cute (heeled sandals) when we walked The Strip. My feet paid the price, and I couldn't even so much as put a sock on for most of this week. I admit I did not eat as healthy as I said I would while we were on vacation, and I guess that is typical me. I did make a few good choices, but the old burger-and-pizza-loving me crept in there too. And my husband is definitely a co-conspirator in that ("Let's split a large chili cheese fries!") but I am the one who ultimately caved. My weight loss has sort of stalled, and I even skipped my WW meeting this week because I couldn't face seeing the gain, and I know that is the chicken way of doing things. James and I talked this week and have rededicated ourselves to a whole food diet. No more Lean Cuisines, no more 100 calorie pack/mini-bites of anything, no more of the latest fat free whatever that comes in a bag or box. We're loading up the propane tanks for the gas grill and hitting the produce aisles (and nearby farm stand) to start our new "un"processed diet. For James it will be easy, he loves veggies and fruit anyhow. I am the one who will have to change my whole way of thinking. I am like a three-year-old staring down a forkful of Brussels sprouts, crossing my arms, shaking my head, and saying "uhn-uhn!", no way. I've been a carb addict for as long as I can remember, and the only good veggie to me is a fried mushroom or beer-battered onion ring. But, learning to eat fresh vegetables will show me how dedicated I really am to losing weight, because if I can't learn to enjoy grilled squash or a cucumber salad, I might as well declare a surrender now to the Fat Gods, and learn to live with being a 200+ pound woman for the rest of my life. I want to say I am committed, but I have a little devil on one shoulder waving around a bag of Twinkies bites. I guess I need to find an angel for the other shoulder with a big piece of zucchini to knock him off! (photo of what is currently in my pantry- no wonder I can't lose weight!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

And The Winner Is...!

I wasn't going to post again today, but I did want to share this one bit. Before we left on our trip, I entered one of my pieces in a contest on the EBSQART website. The category was "Motion", and the artwork entered had to describe the word. A little over 120 pieces were entered, and my tile "River Dance" won first place in the Patron's Choice category (along with another artist's piece). I was very tickled, believe me, because I don't consider myself an artist in the very least, I entered it more on a whim than for any other reason. No one was as surprised as I was to find out I won (it was announced while I was in Vegas). My mom even sent me a sweet congratulations card, and I got many emails from friends and family who went to the website to see my tile with a cute little blue ribbon icon beside it. So, for anyone reading this who voted for me, I appreciate it a great deal. It just makes me sad that I am not working on my pottery these days. And for anyone who is reading this that lives on the south side of Atlanta and who holds pottery classes/rents out their kiln, please contact me, I'm desperate to find a studio to start working again!!! Thanks for looking!

In Conclusion

So for my last entry about the Vegas vacation...On the days when we didn't travel out of town, we played tourist on The Strip and around Las Vegas. We walked The Strip both day and night, went in and out of all the famous casinos, went to the top of the Stratosphere, played games in the arcade at Circus Circus, even drove out to the racetrack so my NASCAR-crazy husband could see it. We only ate at a buffet once (at the Rio), tried In-N-Out Burger (we don't have them in the south), went to Wal-Mart to buy a coffee pot for our room (yes, we packed it and toted it home), enjoyed an evening on Freemont Street, and along the way added to our addicting elongated penny collection (see if you don't know what these are). We even accidentally stumbled across the Vegas division of my husband's company (my former employer too). We bought very few souvenirs- I collect silver charms, James T-shirts- so on the last day in town we bought James a few new pairs of Levi's on sale, and I treated myself to a new Coach purse and a Vegas bracelet at Brighton. (I'm a purse ho!) Then we came home to very happy kitties, and that night we slept 15 hours. No exaggeration. I love sleeping in my own bed. (misc photos of Vegas)