Bits and Pieces From Las Vegas

Lunch with Frank Gehry
I have a friend who is a volunteer at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, the Las Vegas center for treatment and research of neurocognitive disorders. The center depends on local volunteers to staff the reception desk and library, greet patients, help out with fundraising and give tours of the unique Frank-Gehry designed building. A week ago Friday, the volunteers were honored at a luncheon. I was my friend’s guest. The luncheon, in the center’s banquet hall, was lovely in terms of the food served, the ambiance (love those windows) and the overall good feeling among the volunteers. The center’s staff attended and personally came from table to table to offer their thanks. No wonder the Lou Ruvo Center has so many committed volunteers.

Volunteers dining at the Lou Ruvo Center.

Sandy the Tornado..and Hurricane
When our family adopted a red-and-while beagle puppy, she came with the name “Sandy”. Most days, she was so full of energy, we called her our own little tornado. Well, we now have a hurricane named Sandy that has caused untold damage in the northeast states. Every news report about the hurricane’s aftermath seemed worse than the one before; the stories were heartbreaking. At the same time, as we in Las Vegas are safe and sound away from snow and most other natural disasters, we look over at the couch and see our own little tornado….exhausted and totally at rest. We wonder how long it will be before that same ability to relax will return to the northeast states. We who are not in danger need to help out.

Um..Um..Good (and Spicy!)
One of the food items that is good for us and tastes great is salsa. Over my life, I tended to buy premade salsa rather than make it myself. So six months ago when I attended a craft show and was offered some fresh salsa, I was in. The salsa was great. Then I was told it was made in 30 seconds by just adding a scoop of spices to a large can of diced tomatoes. Really? I bought a can of spices (mild, not hot) and have since made my own salsa many times. It’s mildly hot…but not too hot (for me). The spices also serve to spice up other dishes as well — even scrambled eggs. So H&H Brand Salsa is my recommendation. The cost for a can of spices is $19.99.

Neurofibromatosis Network Entertainers.

Generosity in Las Vegas
Several weeks ago, a friend bought tickets for the two of us to attend a benefit concert at Harrahs Las Vegas. The concert, organized by Jeff Leibow of the Las Vegas cast of Jersey Boys, was to benefit the Neurofibromatosis Network, the leading organization advocating for Federal funding for neurofibromatosis research. Stories told during the benefit concert about the genetic disease were chilling. Leibow’s daughter also has the disorder. However, once again, the Las Vegas entertainment community volunteered their talents, and the concert was a great one. This photo was taken during the show’s finale. Even for folks who are not particularly charitable, attending Las Vegas benefit concerts is a bargain in entertainment terms. For a modest ticket price, a million dollars worth of talent is on stage. Thanks, Las Vegas entertainers.

View from the Foundation Room at the Mandalay Bay.
Photo by Diane Taylor

The Great View
Do you know about the House of Blues Foundation Room? It’s a club high atop Mandalay Bay. The club is private until 10:00 p.m. at night and is open to the public after that. A friend of ours is a member of the club and invited us for a special evening that included a bit of dinner and music. The club facilities are actually some seven rooms including a restaurant. The most famous part of the House of Blues Foundation Room is the balcony overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. The balcony is large, lovely and has a spectacular view.

The Duke on an adventure.

The Duke of Fremont Street Returns
Speaking of the Foundation Room, I happened to re-meet, at the Foundation Room, a Las Vegas character that I had previously met at a coin show. He is a spats-well-dressed gentleman named Ron Wall, better known as “The Duke of Fremont Street” — a poker player, coin collector and, as his business card says, “a soldier of fortune”. As we talked, the Duke mentioned he had recently been on a 28-day around-the-world tour. “A cruise?” I asked. “No, he said. “Mine was an adventure… by camel, by elephant, etc. I went where most tourists don’t go: India, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, etc.” I loved that his vacation was called an “adventure”, and today he sent me the attached photograph, taken in September in Papua, New Guinea. I don’t know the Duke well, but he does keep a cocktail party from getting boring!

The Lemons Are Coming
Thanksgiving means many things. To us, it also means the time of year when our lemon tree finally boasts yellow lemons. This particular year, for some reason, our tree seemed overwhelmed with lemons, so much so that branches fell to the ground with the weight. Everybody who knows us and likes lemonade, lemon meringue pie, lemon dressing or fish and chicken with lemon…get ready. We’ll have plenty of product for you this year!

A bountiful harvest of lemons.


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