Friday, August 30, 2013

Plantar Fasciitis? - what is it good for? ... (altogether now: ) ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Hi there

A few days after I returned from Las Vegas, I visited my doctor.  Show and Tell Time.  I carried into his surgery a huge bag stuffed with  shoes, orthotic inserts, and gel heels.  I was just about at the end of my tether.

"Do you know what I've been wearing for nine months?  Nine months?  Nine loooooong months?" I all but hollered.  "These - !"  I shook a clunky hiking sandal in my doctor's face.  "And these - !"  I flourished forth a thick-soled pair of  black New Balance trainers.  "And what about these-!   A swag of shoe inserts landed on his desk, followed by half-a-dozen shoes that hadn't made the grade.

My doctor  said he took it that I still had plantar fasciitis of the heel?

"How would your wife like to wear hiking sandals and trainers every time she went out of the house for nine loooooong months!"  I tried not to sound bitter, but I guess the poor guy could see through me.  He commiserated, said he understood.

How could this man understand that for nine months I couldn't wear dangling chandelier-like ear-rings, or a pretty frock, or feminine clothes because "I have to dress down to match my footwear!"

I told him about how by my third to last day in Las Vegas, mid-afternoon, I had to stumble back to my room at the MGM Grand because I couldn't walk anymore.  I told him how I'd spent months pre-Vegas, searching for just the right glitter clothes to wear at night and how because of my stupid foot I couldn't go out at night because by day's end in Vegas, I could hardly hobble. 

I told him how I wore an ordinary pair of pretty sandals for the first two nights of my holiday - only two lousy nights - because I wanted to look normal for a change.  And that those 'normal' sandals, coupled with walking on casino marble floors, ruined my heel for the rest of my stay.

I told him how, whilst staying at the MGM Grand (five nights), the only way I could get around the room was by pushing a wheelie chair ahead of me as a 'walker'.

 And that was when I burst into tears.

The doctor could only commiserate.  "The healing takes time," he said.

Well ....  I've booked for a summer holiday of hiking on Waiheke Island for this coming summer.  Last summer I could only hobble backwards and forwards to the bus stop at Waiheke.  If I can't hike there this year,  I will go back to my doctor, and I will have an honest-to-goodness tantrum.  Sigh.

Oh, above is a pic of me, taken at the MGM Grand, with the wheelie chair that I had to use as a walking frame for the last five days of my holiday.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Embarrassing moment for the Sitcom Queen (me!)

Hi there

I know that we all have embarrassing moments, but I seem to have them more frequently than other people.  My friends reckon I have most of them (plus injuries) when I'm away on holiday but the other day I proved that embarrassing incidents can happen just as easily to me at home, as on holiday.

I was in Countdown Supermarket in Kilbirnie.  A young guy walked toward me with something strapped to his chest.  I peered closer.  Oh, yes, I think it was a baby, in a little hold-all, but this was hard to make out because the guy was so big and the hold-all so tiny.  I opened my mouth to say something, to coo over the baby, if indeed it was a baby.  This is what came out of my mouth:

"Oh, what's that tiny thing you've got below there?"

(Pause..... whilst my four readers snigger, then collapse in fits of giggles)

Okay, okay, foot-in-mouth time, most extraordinary.  But I still didn't click onto the deeper meaning of my words.  How naive am I?

For a split second, the guy actually looked lower down than the cute little baby nestled against his chest.  I was still happily old-person smiling away.

It was a one week old girl, so the guy hurriedly explained to me.

And we went our merry ways.  It wasn't till about an hour later, I realised my giant faux pas.  J, my swimming buddy,  later said to me - she was all but rolling on the floor in hysterics - that the guy would no doubt by now - it was 6 pm in the evening - be at the pub regaling the tale to his mates as probably he would be doing hundreds more times in the future.  Oh what a laugh-in everybody would have.

Thanks, J.  So great at confidence-building....

Monday, August 26, 2013

Eating in Las Vegas

Hi there

Right, let's talk about Las Vegas food.  There's so much food in Las Vegas that just one lunch-time buffet would probably feed, for life, a small encampment of refugees from a third world country.  I revelled in the food, existing on one immense meal a day yet somehow came home not having put on one extra pound - go figure.  On second thoughts, I do figure: it was no doubt all the walking around you have to do in Vegas.  When I wasn't stuffing my face, I was walking-walking-walking, or should I say limping, limping, limping.  My plantar fasciitis of the heel played up continually.   Oh, and don't forget the heat.  Every day the temp reached 40c.

Because I am trained British when using a knife and fork, I was scared that I was going to be thought of as a food-swilling oaf.  Americans cut their food, then lay down the knife, then elegantly fork up small portions.  I, on the other hand, jam as much food as I can onto my fork with my knife, then keep my knife in my left hand whilst simultaneously eating from my tines-facing-downwards fork. 

To give myself some kind of cutlery credence, I went completely Over-The-Top with my elegant eating in Las Vegas.  One would have thought I had been trained at Downton Abbey. I didn't hold my knife like a pencil (which I'm secretly prone to do at home, when nobody is around), I didn't shovel half a dozen peas onto my fork and eat them like I was drinking soup -  No,  I elegantly pushed, with my knife, one or two solitary peas onto the fork tines; this took a long time to eat peas but I'm sure Lady Mary would have been proud of me.

When it came to dessert, I positively excelled.  In my pre-Las Vegas life, I had usually just scooped up dessert with a spoon.  Now, I used a fork to aid said spoon.  I placed the cutlery down periodically and sat, all but simpering, with my hands in my lap.  Oh, I'm telling you I  was more  Downton Dowager Duchess than Maggie Smith.

One morning, I went to 'Serendipity 3" and, for fun, ordered their big breakfast.  It all came on the one plate.  At one end was: potatoes, sausage, sauce, 2 fried eggs, bacon, french toast and butter, At the other end, syrup, pancakes, cream and berries(see pic below).  I hadn 't had a fried egg since I was about fifteen.....I could only get through half the meal.  And how come NZ restaurants never give you crispy bacon, yet the Americans know how to crisp bacon to perfection?

On another day I went to my fave buffet, MGM Grand ,for breakfast (see the two bottom photos).  I reckon they have the best key lime tarts I have ever tasted in America.  I can't understand why we don't have key lime tarts in New Zealand.  How wonderful, for a sweet tooth like me, that Americans have cakes and ice cream for breakfast.   Yum.yum.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

4th swim at Hataitai Beach for August

Hi there

J and I have completed our fourth swim for August, and that was our minimum number per winter month, so every swim from now on in is a bonus swim.

 The Wellington City Council seemed to have come to a stop re building the new steps at Hataitai Beach.  But good on them for making such a great start.  J and I are a bit worried that the steps look raw and prickly-wood;  they might splinter our tootsies.  Still, I expect WCC have some under-water varnish or something.  Also let's hope they attach a rim to the edge of each step (like previously) so as we swimmers don't slip.  Oh, goodness, and while you're at it, WCC, we'd like a cafe bar in the changing sheds, a four-jet shower, and heated floorboards (hehehehe...).

The outdoor statue of Gandalf the wizard, from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit has been placed in the new little plaza outside the Roxy Theatre in Miramar.  I think it was the statue that was in the Weta Cave for a while, and also in the foyer of the Roxy.  I'm sorry to say the pigeons have got at the statue already.  Also, I'm thrilled to see that in homage to my latest visit to Las Vegas, glitter capital of the world, the lamp-posts in the little Roxy plaza are sparkly glittery silver.

Oh, and here are three trolls that are outside the Weta Cave/Weta Workshop in Miramar.   If you're in the area, don't miss out on a visit to the workshop.  I think tours are something like every hour and can be bought from Weta Cave.  My swimming pal, J, is a great expedition leader, but when she went recently to the Cave, she failed to read the notice that said visitors could also tour the workshop.  Tsk.tsk.

More about my trip to Las Vegas later this week.


Friday, August 23, 2013

the joy of staying at The Flamingo in Las Vegas

Hi again

One of the hotels I stayed at in Las Vegas was the Flamingo.  The casino itself isn't much to write home about compared to my second hotel - the MGM Grand which has 32 eating places in it's building - but my actual Flamingo suite was purringly wonderful.  It was light-coloured and modern, exactly to my taste compared to the fussy over-the-top Paris Hotel from last year.


AND ...I had a tv in the bathroom mirror!!!    How can I ever go back to my old analogue tv now.... well, I can't actually for much longer obviously because next month Wellington is switching over to digital... and I am not prepared in the least.  I'll have to run out and buy a new tv or a freeview box or whatever.  I was so busy thinking about LV, I forgot completely about the switchover. Heeeelllllp....

More Flamingo bathroom:

The politeness of Americans

Hi there

I know that, last year, I rambled on about the politeness of Americans but I just have to re-emphasise it:  they are sooooo extraordinarily impossibly delectably marvellously ...polite!    It's all "Yes Ma'am, No Ma'am, Excuse me Ma'am, Sorry Ma'am, Are you all right Ma'am".  Even though - completely because of vanity -  I would rather be "Miss" instead of "Ma'am", I can't really complain because Americans always come across as caring.   If I'm the one to tread on a toe, the American will still apologise ... wow.  I don't know if it's just something to do with Happy-Americans-On-Holiday-in-Las-Vegas but I like to think it's how they are all the time.  Congrats, guys.

Though I spent two weeks in Las Vegas, I did spend three days in Los Angeles.  I had been on a Universal Studios tour before and I adored it - so theme-park-exciting.  But this time I went on a tour to Warner Bros Studios where the visitor is more into seeing a working studio. They were televising one show "Hart of Dixie "(TV2, 6 pm Sundays) and we wandered around the sets.  I don't watch the show but one of the stars is Mallory Moye.

What I looooooooved was that we suddenly arrived at the set of Merlotte's Bar and Grill from the tv series "True Blood".  I had read Charlaine Harris's  'Southern Vampire' books before the stories got turned into a tv series so it was a real thrill to see the set..  Above is a pic.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm back from the United States!

Hi there

Did ya miss me?  Well, there was a big earthquake in Wellington last Friday that I certainly missed.  I was desperate whilst I was away to find out if there were any earthquakes in Wellington that might send my house-sitter reeling back to Auckland.  There was no news of anything about earthquakes on American tv.  It was a BBC-watching Las Vegas taxi driver who told me about the above-mentioned one.  I was so worried until I got home and found my house intact even though my house-sitting friend wasn't so much intact.  She was very stressed out and glad to be high-tailing it back to Auckland.  Still, not an ornament dropped or a picture fell off my walls.  I have been so lucky compared to workers in the city where it was quite nerve-stressing.

My holiday started off a bit chaotic.  Well, of course, it would.  Aren't I the sitcom queen?  I arrived at Wellington Airport at 4 a.m. ready for my 6 a.m. flight to Australia.  I cleared security, thought "Oh, yes, I'll just go into the loo before I start the journey" ... to discover that my trousers were torn!  There was a biiiiiiiig rip right across the down-below area.  Rather akin to the back flaps in pyjamas that little boys used to have in the old days. 

Heavens-to-Betsy, what was I going to do?  Well, I couldn't do anything.  If I was in the pre-security area, I could have rushed home, changed, and still been back at the airport in time to catch my plane but, as it was, I had to wear those stupid torn trousers on the plane to Australia, hang around Brisbane Airport for 3 hours, then on the plane to the States for 14 hours.  I had to remember not to bend over,  accidentally tuck my shirt into the waistband of my pants as I exited the plane toilet, or do the chicken dance in front of anyone.   Luckily my t-shirt and jacket were long enough to cover everthing!

I stayed at the Hollywood Liberty Hotel in Los Angeles.  Imagine, perhaps, a Taihape motel dating back to the sixties and you'll get the idea of what the place was like.  But it stood right next to the famous Loews Hotel which charges a minimum $450 a night.  The Liberty was, like, a 1 minute walk to Graumans Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame (through a short and safe little tunnel that took you straight into the posh Hollywood and Highland mall) and was an extremely cheap stay for the area.  Loews Hotel is where successful actors go to do their 'backstage at the Oscars' interviews - see, now you've learnt something really interesting ... the interviews are not really 'backstage', after all!  The stars leave the theatre and trot to an upstairs floor at Loews.

There are lots of dress-up characters parading around Hollywood.  Here's a picture of Tinkerbell.  Of course I had to pay her hard cash for the photo.  She wouldn't accept pixie-dust.

And here's a pic of a guy being arrested in Hollywood, just across the road from Tinkerbell.  I'd watched him run out into traffic, and start abusing the drivers and banging on their cars and making a nuisance of himself in the road.  Maybe he was on drugs.

J and I went swimming yesterday.  I was tired, bleary-eyed, hardly able to concentrate.  I'd flown from U.S for 14 hours, stumbled around Brisbane for 12 hours, flown another three hours to Wellington, and felt dead!  But, still, a swim is a swim.  And, guess what? -  the Wellington City Council have started re-building the steps down into the water at Hataitia Beach.  Yippee!  Thank you,  WCC!   Good thing, too, because today - yes,we went swimming again today, 3rd time this month - I forgot my winter swimming booties and I had to hippity-hop and stumble and tippity-toe, cursing, as I made my way across all the pebbles, and sharp stones, and prickly seaweed to get into the water.  J, naturally, had remembered her booties.