Friday, July 10, 2009


Last week I went to the Grand Canyon and let me tell you, they don't call it 'Grand' for nothing. It was nothing short of spectacular! In fact, the Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the World. Husband and I debated during our drive (in our fancy Honda Civic) about the other six wonders and I promptly asked ChaCha. Oddly, ChaCha only responded with four of the seven natural wonders including the Grand Canyon, Mt. Everest, some waterfall somewhere, and something else--oh yeah, the coral reefs in Australia. (I'm sure that one of my two readers out there will enlighten me).

The Grand Canyon is in the middle of nowhere, which should not be a surprise to anyone. It is a National Park, which means it is run by the U.S. Government, which clearly should have selected a better location for a park of this size and popularity. Bureaucracy at its best, my friend.

Aside from its remote location, the Grand Canyon is perfect. Gorgeous! Flawless! Deep! Wondrous! We watched the sun set over the canyon while eating popcorn, we rafted the Colorado River and grasped the enormity of the walls, we bought souvenirs at the gift shop. But perhaps the greatest activity of all was the unbelievable helicopter ride over the canyon itself.

They say there is nothing like flying over the Grand Canyon and it's absolutely true. I highly recommend that first-timers to the Canyon take a flight as soon as possible after arriving, as it serves as a 'grand' overview to the canyon itself and because--to my great surprise--the Grand Canyon has huge signs right on the canyon walls to help determine your location. It was a great joy to see our tax dollars at work in such a fashion and the word needs to get out: The Grand Canyon sign is a must-see! It's even more impressive than the 'Hollywood' sign in Los Angeles!

Book your flights now and tell them 'The Trophy Wife sent you!'

Disclaimer: A tiny portion of the previous post may not contain absolute truth. However, let it be known: The Grand Canyon is TRULY spectacular!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Name Your Vana

Nirvana (n.) : An ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.

In an obvious little play on words, The Canyon Ranch Spa at The Venetian Hotel has a nifty little spot they have named "AquaVana". (Reminded me very much of "AquaVelva" and the "Aqua Velva Man" which then reminded me how old I am. I guess that buying men's cologne in the drugstore is a bit passe. Sigh. But I digress).

AquaVana was this place--no, this destination--no, this state of being that involved both bliss and water. The spa attendant gave me this awesome plush robe and slippers and I wandered through experiential rains (picture: hot and warm pulses of water with thunder sounding and birds singing) and heated stone seats and wave pools over my head and hot tubs and assorted saunas and steam rooms with desert themes, or tropical themes with fire and scents of alpine forests or cactus, I guess. I don't really know for sure what I was smelling but it wasn't stale Las Vegas cigarette smoke and it was AWESOME.

Based on this rapturous experience, I have come up witha couple of ideas for some "Vanas" of my own. I really should copyright them since I'm such a deep thinker and all.

"SodaVana": Endless supplies of zero-calorie diet soda (and air-popped popcorn) in every imaginable flavor combination including but not limited to Diet Twinkie Delight, Diet Peaches 'n Cream and of course Diet Hot Fudge Colada. These drinks are delivered poolside in a perfect environment--not too warm, not too cold--by a charming pool boy, perhaps the Aqua Velva man himself.

"ShoeVana": A shop filled with room-after-room of incredible shoes, all in your size. There are pumps and sandals and flipflops and platforms and flats and stilettos and sneakers and boots, yes lots of boots. And those pool boys walk around, or perhaps the Aqua Velva man himself, admiring your shoes and bringing you more shoes.

Which now brings me to the title of this blog post: Name Your Vana. Come on, I dare you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vegas by the Numbers

Here are a few facts about the city of Las Vegas with which you may--or may not--be familiar.

•Las Vegas has a population of 528,617 people
•Las Vegas boasts over 100,000 hotel/motel rooms
•Las Vegas covers 84,272 square miles
•Las Vegas hosts 37.4 million visitors per year (the population of California!)
•Las Vegas has no grocery stores

Astounding, isn't it? There are no grocery stores in the city of Las Vegas, and I get this information from a reliable source. As daughter is my witness, let me recount how this odd fact came to light:

We are in the Brendan Theaters off the strip at the Palms Hotel. The odd set-up of the building requires us to exit the theater area to use the restrooms after securing the best seats in the auditorium, just before the show begins. After the movie, we want to drop by a grocery store and pick up a few items--a baguette, brie, cherries, sugar-free jello and whipped cream--you know, real food. I figure that asking the charming boy at the entrance who is checking our ticket stubs for directions to a nearby store to be a splendid plan.

I swear the kid's name is Brendan. It says so on the tag, but maybe it's because of the Brendan Theaters. Whatever. I have to pry Brendan's sparkling blue eyes off Daughter long enough to ask the question.

"Brendan, can you tell me how to get to the nearest grocery store? We are starving for some real food."

Brendan shakes his head ruefully and explains. "There are no grocery stores in Las Vegas. There are Walgreens, but no grocery stores." His eyes return to Daughter and he smiles. "There are lots of grocery stores in Henderson, though."

Never mind my clever retort to young Brendan. None of that matters now, because there you have it. There are no grocery stores in Las Vegas. And that sad fact explains a lot about the hungry people asking for spare change on the streets. The fine citizens of Las Vegas are STARVING TO DEATH while we just sit back, doing nothing, pulling slot machine arms and sunning by the pool.

Please write to your Congressman, or your Handyman or your Mailman or Batman, for that matter.

Change! Change! Yes, we Can!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bladders and Bathrooms

Disclaimer: Okay, maybe not EVERY little detail of this post is COMPLETELY true, but a picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case: 340

We used a lot of bathrooms on our vacation. From lavender-scented handtowels offered at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas to understocked rest stops on the highway to "isn't the Colorado River a restroom?" But one that I never used stands out.

As we drove into town (which shall not be named for fear of retribution), finding a restroom appeared challenging. But desperate times call for desperate measures and we were getting pretty desperate. The diet sodas had done their thing and we needed to do our thing. Soon.

Now, I've driven through a lot of crappy little towns looking for crappy little bathrooms, mostly in Nevada, as it turns out. Sadly for my great trophy-wife state, crappy little towns are sort-of-alive and possibly-well here in California. In the desert. In the twilight.

We thought perhaps we had happened upon a Hollywood set of a crappy little desert town (probably depicting Nevada) as we searched for "FOOD-LODGING-GAS Exit Right." There was actually no sign of life; boarded up windows, broken-down cars, shops with bars. No cars. No folks.

Finally at the end of the road was a flashing red light with a sign pointing to the nearby hotel-with-rates-by-the-hour and the mini mart. We pulled in next to a couple of pick-up trucks and debated.

Bladders won. We were stopped outside the door by a previously unnoted man sitting in a chair outside the convenience store. "You ain't from these parts, is you?"

Judging from the excellent grammar of this gentleman, probably not. We turned to the gentleman. Large and sweaty, he tapped his big rifle on his fat open palm. "You city folk in your fancy cars. You don't belong here. You best be on your way."

Fancy car? (Picture a white Honda Civic).

We had a choice. Restrooms or being on our way.

We decided to be on our way out of the town-which-shall-not-be-named-for-fear-of-retribution. Bladders can wait.