Friday, November 23, 2012

Stuff Versus Experiences

Is anyone reading this or are you all out shopping on black Friday?

Not me. The closest thing to a mall I’m going is to the gym, which is attached to a small shopping mall. I have gotten less about things and more about experiences. Rather than get a fabulous buy on something, I’d rather go out and do something.

Take last week. An opportunity presented itself for us to go to Las Vegas for a Jerry Lewis show which was being taped for a PBS special. It was work related for my husband and son as they are putting together a Jerry Lewis movie collection to be sold on TV next year. It was adventure related for me.

It was all last minute, so I just packed up my work. My publisher sent me postcards for If Hooks Could Kill and labels for 1900 yarn stores. It is up to me to put the labels on the cards and add stamps. I had a shopping bag with the labels, a box of postcards and we stopped and bought stamps on the way out of town. I spent the ride to Las Vegas sticking labels and stamps on the postcards. What a deal - I got to enjoy the ride and get something done at the same time.

I’ve been to Las Vegas enough times that I don’t need to check out the fake indoor Venice at the Venetian hotel or the watch the pirate show at Treasure Island anymore. Ever since they started giving vouchers when you win instead of coins, I lost what little interest I had in playing video poker. I do love the people watching, though.

Eating Las Vegas is an experience. This time we didn’t go to any buffets. We had dinner at some ultra fancy steak place. I always want to laugh at places like that because they are always so pretentious. Sometime I’ll have to write about the restaurant in New York with the miniature food that took a whole slew of waiters to serve. But back to this place. The steak part was lost on me because I’m a vegetarian. It was an Italian steak place connected to one of those well known chefs. Usually Italian restaurants work fine for me. There’s always pasta with marinara sauce if all else fails. Not at this place. I think those fancy chef guys feel the need to take regular food and make it weird so it comes across as gourmet. This place served two little pots of stuff for the bread. One was whipped butter and fine with me. The other had pig fat. It got a yuck even from the meat eaters at the table.

There was no pasta and vegetables or marinara sauce and the waiter made one of those disappointed faces when I mentioned being a vegetarian. I ended up with a runny egg and ricotta cheese wrapped in one ravioli, along with cauliflower au gratin which was really cauliflower doused in nutmeg, and sauteed mushrooms with so much pepper you couldn’t taste the mushrooms. I didn’t really care because I went to my favorite Grande Luxe Café later and got vegetables as a meal to go. They know not to mess with a good thing and let the deliciousness of the vegetable come through.

The Jerry Lewis show was an experience. I didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be two hours of really funny stuff. He is a real legend. We went backstage afterwards. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that. I like watching all the stuff that goes on. Tim Conway, Steve Lawrence, Edie Gorme and Cuba Gooding Junior were all in the audience and came backstage afterwards. I did get to meet Jerry and he was very gracious.

And then it was time to go home. We made a stop at a Barnes & Noble for me to sign books before hitting the highway. It’s so neat how you go from the hub bub of Vegas and make a few twists on the 15 and suddenly it’s dun colored desert and mountains around you. It was getting dark as we drove off and the desert sky was all pastels of blue and pink until it faded to midnight blue splashed with a million stars.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds like a really fun trip to Las Vegas, Betty. I'm not planning on shopping on this Black Friday, either--unless I decide to visit a Petco later... free dog antlers with a purchase!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I had some of those antlers for one of our dogs and they are very cute.

Planner said...

That's a lot of star power--in the sky as well as on the ground.

I understand that Wyndham hotels have vegetarian and vegan options in their dining facilities. (It helps when the owner is a vegan.) I don't understand why every restaurant doesn't offer vegetarian options; it only makes sense (and cents!).

No malls for me, either. Instead, I enjoyed a lovely jog on a beautiful morning.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner the Wynn and Encore hotels have vegan options because the owner is a vegan. I usally don't have a problem. I am happy with vegetables and pasta or a potato.

I did go to several malls last night, but it was to sign books.

Monica Ferris said...

I love getting way far out in the country so you can really see the stars. I tend to forget how hugely populated the night sky really is - and it's fun to see the tiny dots of light that are the satellites go purposefully by.

Becke Davis said...

You like the Grand Luxe Cafe? I LOVE it! Next time you're in Chicago, let's meet there!

Becke Davis said...

Unless you're talking about a Grand Luxe in Las Vegas. Although that's not entirely out of the question - Vegas is always fun!

Betty Hechtman said...

Becke, I love the Grand Luxe in Chicago, particularly, the round room with the view of the street.