Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Anniversary and a Funeral

Back from our whirlwind anniversary trip to Las Vegas - it all went so fast!  We arrived late Sunday afternoon and got settled into our SUITE.  I love suites.  I love feeling like I'm in a small house, and where the bathroom has an area for makeup and hair drying that is separate from the sinks, and all of that is separate from the shower.  It was perfect even before you factored in the huge shower with the equally huge shower head that hit you with water pressure that was... ahhhh...well... perfect.  And guess what else we had?  A great big hot tub!  It was right in front of the windows so you could look out at the view while you soaked and let the jets massage your bones - just like in those Viagra commercials, only it was inside instead of in front of a lake.  It was awesome.  And then there was a big living area outside the bedroom that was also surrounded by windows with a nice view of the strip.  I loved every minute we were in it.
We had a nice dinner on Sunday night and then took a Sabbath walk around the place.  One thing I discovered, is that the older I get, the more annoying all the noise of the casino is.  New York New York is kind of fun because it's very theme-y with lots of fun restaurants and little bistros.  But the noise, and crowds and smoke soon drove us outside to look at the view from the bridge that leads across to the MGM.   I snapped this picture with my i-Phone looking north up the strip.  You can see the Paris Hotel waaaay off in the distance.

L and I both decided that Las Vegas is a city best seen at night.  The lights are flashy and even a little beautiful in a tawdry sort of way at night.  But in the daylight it all seems a little bit tired and like it's trying too hard.  But that's just on the strip.  I can honestly say I haven't really had much of a chance to see where the real people live, in real homes - rather than the gorgeously decadent Bellagio or the sleek Wynn and Encore resorts.  Anyway, after a short while we'd had enough of the hustle and bustle and sparkly manic tourists.  We made our way inside, up the elevator in the New York Tower and down a hall to our room.  Our suite.  And the rest of that night, my friends, stays in Las Vegas.


The next day - Monday - was kind of special.  To back up, a few days earlier I heard from an old friend that their oldest daughter had passed away suddenly.  Tahna had been one of my kids' favorite babysitters back in the day.  She was fun and sparkly, with a wicked sense of humor.  I can't describe the essence of her spirit, but she was the kind of girl who made you laugh and smile just being around her.  She was bright and articulate and enthusiastic.  Life, as so often happens, had not always been kind, but things were looking up and getting better.  And suddenly she was gone, taking her light and her sparkle with her.  She lived in Las Vegas with her husband close to another sister, and so her funeral was held there - coincidently on the same weekend we were there.  I couldn't stay away from such a momentous occasion, and I was glad I'd taken the time to go.  Her family is incredible.  Absolutely rock solid, these people, with unshakable faith that they will see their daughter and sister again.  It was inspiring to spend time with them, and I left with a good feeling in my soul.
Our next stop that day was the LDS temple in Las Vegas.  It was closed, but we wandered the grounds and communed with the spot where L proposed to me so many years ago.
YES - this is the very bench where said proposal was offered!

On that evening 12 1/2 years ago, we wandered the same grounds, and wound our way through the walkways, coming to rest on this bench that sits next to a pool of water.  Yep - that's where my sweetheart went down on one knee and asked me to spend our forevers together.  So it's kind of a sacred spot to me.  It started this whole crazy ball rolling.
The day was a pretty one - blue skies, but with a crisp, cool breeze blowing.  I couldn't help thinking of Tahna, and feeling strangely comforted in this spiritual place.  Seriously, even the grounds of our temples have a beautiful feeling surrounding them.  L and I soaked up the atmosphere of The Bench, reliving our memories, and wandered around taking other pictures.  Here are a couple of the better ones:
I always love the Angel Moroni blowing his trumpet - a beautiful sight for miles around.

A side entrance that shows off the unusual architecture

And finally, the last picture that shows the bare branches of the trees set against the bright blue sky, the steeple of the adjoining church off in the distance.

When we returned to the hotel, we were a little tuckered out from all the emotion and communing with spiritual and sacred memories, so we decided to watch a movie.  Puss in Boots was just the thing.  Lighthearted.  Fun.  We really are a couple of geeks.  But we are a couple of geeks in perfect harmony, at least most of the time.
Later that night we went to visit an elderly aunt and uncle of L's, (a sister of his dad's) along with a couple of cousins.  I'd never met them, and so it was a quick, fun visit that will be another good memory.  So on our little adventure we had a night of romance and fun that was just for us, and then we had a spiritually fulfilling Friends & Family Day.  Both days had more than a little bit of emotion added to the general equation, but I think that the most memorable times in our lives are always tied to great heartfelt emotion.
Our last morning started early with a 7am conference call for me for work.  I was able to catch up on some work while listening, and so it wasn't for naught.  Afterwards, we jumped into some comfy clothes and had breakfast downstairs at Al Forneio.  *contented sigh*  It was delicious: Omelette al Fornaggi 
(4 cheese omelette), breakfast potatoes, pancakes, and orange juice.  We breakfasted like kings, and when satisfied we went back up to Rm 1234 and packed up to go.

It was a good weekend for this boy

and this girl.

Sorry for the sunglasses, but the sun was BRIGHT!

It was a weekend that somewhat mirrored our lives - a little bit of everything thrown together in a bit of a pleasant mishmash.  Not your traditional anniversary weekend, you say?  Probably not.  Not many people celebrate 12 years combining hot tub romance, a funeral, and a visit with the elders in one trip.  It wasn't all about us.  But I'm finding that the best things in life rarely are.


  1. To be honest, I think it sounds like the perfect weekend, and I don't even like Vegas.

    So glad you got to experience a little bit of everything. You're right. That is always the best.


  2. Isn't it nice when you realize that life can be so many things but as long as you are with your love that's all that matters...

    sounds like a very special getaway indeed!

  3. This is a trip you will remember for the rest of your life. Fulfilling in all ways, and so much fun, to boot.

    I really, really like your last sentence. Much wisdom!

  4. I'm also going to be honest..it sounds like a perfect get-a-way. You guys look so happy and a perfect fit for each other.

    Happy Anniversary!

  5. The Temple grounds are really pretty and I feel that special spirit at every Temple we've been too. I'm glad you had a great weekend and I'm sorry that you had a funeral to attend but I bet that family will be so grateful that you took that time. A small gesture that will mean so much to them. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I did recognize the sunshine!

  6. That was a wise statement at the end! Definately quotable.

    Sounds like you had an absolutely wonderful weekend - Glad you had the chance to get away!

    Oh and Happy 12th Anniversary - Woot!

  7. I'm learning that when we spend time with our loved ones as a couple, my appreciation for my husband grows. He has a way of making people feel good about themselves, and that energy keeps our love buoyant and fresh. So I really connected to your romantic weekend that included loving others as well.

  8. I'm sorry you to have a funeral in that mix,but I'm sure the family appreciated your presence. The rest of the trip sounds lovely.

  9. A weekend filled with many things! What a blessing ou were able to be there for the funeral to offer support to the family and pay your last respects.
    The romantic evening and room doesn't sound too bad either! :)

  10. You are such a good writer, Karen. Your description of your wonderful anniversay get away was perfect. I could imagine how it was, in every little detail. Your suite sounded so exotic......imagine a hot tub right in your room.

    Going to the funeral was sad, but I am sure it was appreciated by the family. It's a good thing you heard about it, because being right there and not going to the funeral would have really been disappointing had you not heard about it until you got home.

    The Temple grounds are really spiritual and LaMar's proposal sounds so romantic. Did you get married in the Las Vegas Temple, by any chance?

    Don't you just love having a really GOOD man? LaMar seems like one, for sure. I do so appreciate mine. He has taken such good care of me since my last fall.

    I must close this comment by saying that you and LaMar are a very handsome couple indeed.

  11. I loved your last sentence here. So true. I'm always happiest when things are about others and not myself. Sometimes I forget selflessness is the key to true happiness.

    I loved your temple pics. It reminds me I haven't been in a while. I need to go soon.

  12. Jilda and I have only been to Vegas once but we enjoyed our time there.
    The ceiling of the Bellagio was something to see.
    Glad your time away was special.

  13. Life IS like that...the good and the bad all mixed in together!
    Your trip sounds wonderful and glad you had fun in the suite!! Sorry that you had to experience the loss of a friend at the same time. It sounds like the family and all are doing well and are all very spiritual which gives all some peace.
    PS> love your pics at the end!!

  14. Karen that was a really nice post. Many gems scattered here and there about life and living it. I have wonderful Las Vegas memories. My husband and I went there to get married and have enjoyed quite a few trips back. Good pictures capturing a special time for you! May you have many more happy anniversaries!


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