Sunday, April 10, 2011

Notes from Spring Break

It's definitely over.  Lots of driving and neat things to see, but there's a certain finality about coming back to a dirty house, three half-wild cats, and mountains of laundry that says, "Yes, it's time to get back to your regularly scheduled life."  But really, did we need the littlest one to get a stomach bug, too?

Phoenix.  Did you know residents of Phoenix are called Phoenicians?  It somehow brings up images of the Punic Wars and Scipio vs. Hannibal.  They have a new museum, The Musical Instrument Museum or MIM, that is really cool.  You wear headphones that change soundtrack according to what exhibit you're standing in front of, and there are instruments from every country on earth.  There are at least four different names for the instrument my Dad brought back from Ethiopia (lamellaphone seems to be most common). I, personally, would like to learn to play the hammered dulcimer, or "struck zither."  At the end there is a room with all sorts of instruments you can play with your own hands, including a big ol' Chinese gong.

Las Vegas -- Ten reasons to pray for its soul, if it even has one.
  • Spotted a sign: "Meet your future ex-wife"
  • Another sign: "1-800-DIVORCE.  Affordable. Aggressive. ASAP"
  • Multiple video signs that I can't describe on a family blog.  Let's just say I found myself wondering if it was legal to show women in that state of undress, and then reminded self that the people who enforce such things are probably getting kickbacks to ignore it. 
  • What is "an early dinner" for a family of 6 is "happy hour" for everybody else.  And the older guy, drinking alone at P.F.Chang's, didn't look too happy but kept staring at my pre-teen daughters.  Ick.
  • "Gentlemen's clubs."  Really?  For what gentlemen?
  • Rampant materialism.  Shopping and overspending seems to be the only "wholesome" alternative to vice.
  • The Blue Men.  Apparently they are a kind of surreal mime show, with blue facepaint instead of white.  I have to admit I'm curious, but not that curious.  After all: mimes.
  • Donny and Marie are still doing a show together, apparently.
  • The Strip is really a bit too much of an assault on the eyes.  We didn't drive the whole thing, no matter how cool the replica Eiffel Tower is.
  • On the breakfast end, the lady at McDonald's seemed overjoyed to have actual children in the store... as if they didn't come there very often.
California.  Despite having made the homeward trip from Arizona at least 10 times in the past carrying citrus fruits with nothing more than a bored wave at the entry point into the most self-important state in the Union, our oranges and most of our yellow grapefruits were confiscated yesterday at the US 395 entrance northwest of Reno.  (Some of the yellow grapefruit had rolled out of the overstuffed bag: we didn't tell them about the pink grapefruit.  Barney Fife Jr. let us keep the lemons.  He probably was the kind who stole kids' lunch money when he was in school.)  We had even been in California the day before, driving through several snow squalls in the Sierra Nevada, and no one cared at that crossing.  They supposedly will test the confiscated fruit for some fungus before disposing of it -- never mind that we were a half-day's drive from the nearest California citrus tree and heading northward.  The only fungus they should test for is the one that infests the state government.  I'm just disgusted with a state that steals food from travelling families and then bellyaches about its own economic woes.  It would be nice if they would at least donate it to the local food bank.

I had half a yellow and half a pink grapefruit for breakfast this morning.  I felt like Robin Hood.

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