cifarelli: (Ember)
The masses have been clamoring for a writeup of my trip with [livejournal.com profile] beckyboo83 to Las Vegas two weeks ago to see Madonna's Confessions tour.



It went well, though we ended up walking so much that our feet were killing us Saturday night after the concert. I don't think either of us were wearing the proper shoes for that much walking, though, so that was probably a major contributing factor.

We stayed at the Stratosphere on the far north end of The Strip (that's what's in the picture above) because it was the cheapest hotel that got decent reviews online. It turned out to be a pretty nice place to stay, though I suspect it's old enough that it's got some mold or something else that I'm allergic to in it, because I was sneezing the entire time I was there and woke up congested Sunday morning. I sneezed much less during the day on Saturday when we spent most of the day on the south end of The Strip, and my congestion had cleared up by the time we got home on Sunday. We had a $60 (for two) lunch at their Top of the World restaurant on Saturday before we trekked off to the southern end of the Strip; the service and view was excellent, the food was good, and we enjoyed our chocolate Stratosphere dessert way too much. A couple pictures from up top are below the cut (down below). Definitely worth doing if you have the money to blow on it -- we were glad we'd chosen to have lunch there instead of dinner, though.

The concert was worth making the trip for. I was amazed by their lack of security, though. It being Madonna, I was expecting security to be really tight, so I'd left my camera and my cell phone (which is a camera phone) in the hotel room all day -- missing out on many opportunities to take pictures during the day as a result -- since the tickets clearly said "No cameras." We got to the show, and all we had to do was walk through a metal detector. No searching of our bags, no patting us down, no nothing. Inside, cameras were all over the place. As we were leaving the show, we walked past two girls who'd handed their camera to an usher and were having him take their picture for them. I grumbled.

For the show, she performed most of the songs from her newest album, interspersed with one song from most of the rest of her albums (except Ray of Light, where she did two -- Ray of Light and Drowned World). I don't know if you've heard anything from the new album or not (singles so far have been Hung Up and Sorry), but Hung Up uses a sample from ABBA's Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight). For the finale of her show, she started out with Lucky Star, sung over that sample from ABBA, and transitioned that into Hung Up. Amazingly, it worked. Overall, it was definitely a "show" -- it was all very choreographed and worked out ahead of time -- but very well done. There was no encore.

You can read a review/description of the show here: http://www.teenhollywood.com/d.asp?r=124318&c=1038
That link goes to a review of the Los Angeles show, which was the first one for this tour, but it's the same show she did in Las Vegas.

Pictures behind the cut; a few bronze butts, so maybe NSFW )

You can see the full gallery of pictures here: http://pics.livejournal.com/cifarelli/gallery/00015xbw
cifarelli: (Ember)
So I'm taking the day off work because I am miserable with what is probably "just" allergies. TMI ) I have a dr. appt. for 3:15 today; hopefully there is another allergy med she can put me on that will take care of this. Claritin doesn't seem to be making much difference. I feel like I've been dealing with allergies to some degree off and on for the last month or so, and it's wearing on me. I honestly don't understand how those of you who have been dealing with this on an almost daily basis for years do it. I feel like a wuss after reading about how you guys manage to keep plugging, but man....I have respect.
cifarelli: (Ember)
I'm allergy girl again today. Runny nose and irritated nasal passages that result in frequent sneezing. The eyes aren't too bad so far, but they're slightly irritated, too.

We re-joined the gym last night. Well, I rejoined it; Andrew joined for the first time. It's a lot cheaper than fencing was, and he was getting kinda fed up with fencing anyway by the time he had to quit for financial reasons -- it was aimed more at folks who want to fence competitively, rather than recreationally. Plus the gym has the advantage of being 5 minutes from the house, rather than partway across town. So we'll see how this goes for a while. Hopefully we'll use it consistently and get ourselves in a bit better shape than we're currently in. :)

59-S is open to (what I believe is) its final state between Fannin and Kirby now, so my evening commutes have been heavenly this week. Not having to sit in traffic while we crunch down to two lanes in there has shaved about 10 minutes off my trek home. They haven't opened up the northbound stuff yet, though, so the morning commute is still about the same (though it's been light this week due to lots of places being on Spring Break). This morning, however, was a dream! It was like driving to work on a Saturday. Better than a Saturday even -- I got here in 23 minutes; best time I made on a Saturday was 25. :) Likely due to the combination of spring break, the fact that friday traffic is usually lighter than the rest of teh week (flex-time), and the fact that the UH main campus is completely closed today and a lot of folks here took vacation today. Wish my commute could be like this all the time -- it'd make me quite happy, 'cause I like being able to get on a freeway and just drive for a while. :)

Hrmmm....you know, I really have nothing exciting to report here. I just feel the need to write sometimes -- partly so you, my readers, know I'm still here, and partly because sometimes if I start writing, I'll hit on something that I really wanted to ramble about. But that doesn't seem to be happening today. Or rather...I'm writing a fair bit, but it's not very interesting or substantial. So I guess I'll go do some work instead. :)

Shopping!

Mar. 8th, 2006 09:33 am
cifarelli: (Ember)
So I spent Sunday and Monday being miserable with allergies (hay fever all the way, yo!). Not non-functionally miserable, as I was busy all day Sunday and went to work on Monday, but just sneezy, runny nosed, and with the itchy, watery eyes thing going on all day. Ended up going to bed at 9 Monday night, 'cause I was so allergy'ed out. The sleep must have helped, though, 'cause I felt like my normal self again by about midday yesterday. I've been taking my Claritin regularly, but I'm not sure how much it's helping. On the other hand, I wonder how badly off I'd be if I weren't taking it. *shrug*

Anyway, since I was feeling better yesterday and actually had energy when I got home from work, we went shopping at the Galleria. There's a bunch of stuff I need that has been being put off due to lack of income, but since Andrew's working now, we're starting to work on remedying the lacks. Last night, I picked up a new watch, two new belts (one nice, thin black one to wear with work pants, as I discovered when I put on my suit yesterday for work that the only belt I had that was thin enough to wear with the pants was in horrible shape, and one clear rubber, double-grommeted one that I stumbled across that was on sale for $10), and three pairs of shoes (unfortunately, all black, as the pair I wanted to get in brown didn't come in brown). Andrew got a new pair of shoes, too. Oh, and just for fun, I picked up a little black t-shirt with a green fairy on it from Hot Topic. That should be good St. Patrick's Day wear, assuming it doesn't fall on a workday (which it now occurs to me that it does, *sigh*). Ah well, is cute and will be worn regardless.

Gah! I have just done some hunting, and now I see that the pair I was told don't come in brown are in fact available in brown on the web site; now I am torn as to whether or not I should return the black pair and order the brown online; I had a 20% off coupon for my purchase last night, which I'd no longer have for purchasing from the web site...though I do have a $10 coupon that I was given last night, which is probably close to 20% of the price of one pair of shoes. Hrmmm.....

I need to recruit someone to go clothes shopping with me sometime soon. I need a couple new pairs of jeans and some new work clothes, and Andrew will be bored silly if I force him to accompany me.
cifarelli: (Ember)
I slept really well last night and had a hard time waking up this morning. Unfortunately, when I finally did drag myself out of bed, I discovered that I was extremely sneezy and sniffly. I'm less sniffly now after being up for three hours, but still sneezing way more than I'd prefer. I'm vaguely wondering if I have a low-grade cold rather than allergies, because the Claritin doesn't seem to be having much effect. Or maybe I just don't want to admit that I'm going to feel like this always and forever for the rest of my life. Blah...that's a happy thought.

There's a Homeowners Association meeting tonight at 7:30. They always seem to schedule these things on Wednesdays when we're supposed to go to Bob's. I'm thinking we'll go to Bob's for dinner tonight, and just leave early to go to the HOA meeting.

It seems like half the homes in our neighborhood are for sale these days. We've been happy with our house for the most part, so I wonder why others are moving out in droves?

Notes

Aug. 11th, 2005 09:23 am
cifarelli: (Ember)
Andrew has jury duty today, so I don't get to chat with him on ICQ.

I'm as sneezy today as if I weren't taking Claritin, and the nasal lining in my right nostil is very irritated.

There's a gnat flying around in here, and it seems to enjoy spending most of its time in my face. Nonetheless, I am unable to slap it down.

I am having dinner tonight with some friends of mine from high school who live in Houston but weren't able to make it to the reunion two weeks ago. I'm looking forward to that, but hoping I don't sneeze all over them.

And I think that's about it. Please move along. Or comment to entertain me.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Well, I've taken a Claritin for each of the past two days, and I seem to be sneezing LESS, though I am still sneezing some. My nasal lining is a bit less irritated-feeling, I didn't wake up sniffly this morning, and I don't have itchy watery eyes for once. So, guess the Claritin is making a difference. Darnit...I was almost hoping it wouldn't, so that I wouldn't have to spend the money on it, and add another daily drug to my routine. I just don't like the idea of putting "unnatural" things in my body. I'm weird that way.

No other real news. [livejournal.com profile] beckyboo83 is visiting this weekend, so we're going to have a full house, between her, Jonathan, and another of Sprite's friends. I cleaned Andrew's and my bedroom last night -- put away a bunch of stuff and vacuumed up all the dust, except for the top of the dresser. Still need to tackle that, hopefully tonight. I'm hoping I'll be in the mood to clean some more tonight, rather than going home and just wanting to veg.

I've changed too many things at one time -- it's possible my lack of sniffly this morning was due to there being less dust in the room rather than the Claritin. *shrug*

Stuff I want to get for the bedroom:

-Poster frame for Amy Lee poster I was given for Christmas (to go in bathroom)
-some sort of laundry-sorting system (like what I have heard [livejournal.com profile] onefishclappin talk about) so we can stop throwing our dirty clothes on the floor
-chest of drawers
-dry cleaning done so those clothes will stop being clutter
cifarelli: (Ember)
Lo and behold, I must be back in Houston as I am now Sneezy!

I sneezed a little bit while I was in Germany, but since I got back it's been a lot more frequent, and the lining of my nasal passages almost constantly feels a bit irritated. I never wanted allergies -- someone take them back, please! I'm wondering if I need to start taking Claritin. I don't like the idea of it (it's just another drug that one must take daily), but I don't like feeling this way all the time, either.

I tried to make a post yesterday, but somewhere in the midst of playing with alt-key combinations to try to make the o with the little dots over it, I hit something that made everything I'd written go away. I didn't feel like writing it again, so no post did you get.

At any rate, we made it back to Houston Monday afternoon, after nearly missing our connecting flight from Amsterdam to Houston. The flight from Dusseldorf to Amsterdam was supposed to leave at 8:30 Monday morning, but it ended up being about 45 minutes late. This meant we touched down in Amsterdam at 10:15, and were allowed off the plane around 10:30. To catch a 10:30 flight leaving from a gate on the other side of the airport. Thus much running and fast walking ensued -- the end result was that after arguing with the gate personnel, we were allowed onto the plane, but our luggage didn't make it. This same thing happened to Andrew when he came home from Germany a month ago, though, so we weren't too worried. We'd be without our luggage for one night (thankfully, at home), and the airline would deliver it the next day. Luggage arrived at 8:30 last night -- a little later than I would have liked (only one load of laundry was able to be done, and that was still in the dryer when we went to bed), but not really worth complaining about.

We spent our last weekend in Germany seeing the sights in Cologne. Saturday we walked around the shopping district, but didn't really end up buying much of anything. Sunday, we toured the Cologne Cathedral (or K├Âlner Dom, as it is called in German), including climbing up the 509 steps to the top of the South bell tower. My legs are STILL complaining at me about that. I will also say if you're claustrophobic, you definitely don't want to go up there, as it's one interminable stone spiral staircase. There are windows spaced out along the way, but I was starting to feel a little like the place was closing in on me, and I've never felt claustrophobic before. I think it partly had to do with the fact that I was working hard to do all those stairs, and I think it was the combination of being out of breath and closed in like that that did it. I didn't really have problems going back down again. The Dom is beautiful, though, and you should see it if you ever get the chance. The web site is http://www.koelnerdom.de/, but it's all in German. You can still poke around it to find some pictures, though. And yes, I'll eventually get around to posting some pictures that Andrew and I took. I haven't gotten them off the digital camera yet, though, so I don't know how well they actually turned out. We should have taken [livejournal.com profile] martinhesselius or [livejournal.com profile] kashent along with us though, as the Gothic cathedral would have been a great spot for a photo shoot. ;)

In other news, Andrew and I purchased our Dragon*Con memberships and plane tickets to Atlanta last night. Still need to make the hotel arrangements, though. Those of you that we know that are going -- which hotel are you staying in?
cifarelli: (Ember)
Had an overall productive weekend. Friday night Andrew and I stayed home and played World of Warcraft like the lazy bums that we are, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Saturday afternoon I had to go to work, in spite of having myriad other things I would rather have been doing with my time. However, it turned out to be a rather uneventful shift (and slow, to boot!), and I picked up a really interesting little book off the "New Books" cart that sits next to the Reference Desk. It's called The M-Word and consists of several essays by prominent writers containing their thoughts on the gay marriage issue. There were a couple that I found really thought-provoking and that I may write more about at a later date if I can find the time. I ended up checking the book out so that I could read the rest of it, but I haven't actually done so yet.

Sautrday evening, Christi and David came over and we went to Carrabba's for dinner. We had vague plans to do something else afterward, but they had to be somewhere at 6:00 Sunday morning, so those got ditched since it was 9:45 by the time we got back to our house after dinner. Andrew and I went to bed shortly after they left; we've both been more tired than usual lately, and I don't feel like I've been sleeping all that well. Andrew ended up skipping the Cthulu LARP Saturday night/Sunday morning 'cause he didn't think being up for 24 hours would be a good idea given the general state of tiredness (and in his case, congestion) we've been in lately. Probably a wise decision.

Sunday we did laundry and other general housekeeping tasks. Andrew built one of our three new bookshelves and got it installed next to one of the old ones; now we only have two more to go. I suspect that the third one is going to be a doozy to get attached to the other three. Ah well...I trust that we'll get it done somehow. And then I get to re-arrange all the books on the bookshelves, and there should actually be SPACE left over for us to grow into. I know we'll eventually outgrow it (and possibly sooner than later), but as it is right now we're out of shelf space completely, and books were just getting piled on top of other books. Also last night Bob came over and did our taxes. We owe the IRS a small amount of money that will get paid when it gets a bit closer to April 15. Nice to have that out of the way, though, and to know that we don't have to cough up large sums of money like we have the past couple of years.

As I was driving to work this morning, I found myself repeatedly next to and just behind a small Mazda Protege with a bumper sticker on the back. The type on the sticker was pretty small, so I was having a hard time making out what exactly it said, but I think it said the following:

Librarian, Pst.
Streetcar.........Librarians
[some URL I couldn't read because it was in an even smaller font than the rest]

Anyone have any clue what that was about? Made no sense whatsoever to me, but being a librarian I'm rather curious.

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