Stratosphere

Photo by Galleryhip.com

Photo by Galleryhip.com

 

This week, through February 28, the Stratosphere is giving free passes to the observation tower for locals. We went last night and it was an exciting experience.

The Stratosphere is the tallest building in Las Vegas at 1,149 feet tall. We decided to go at night to see all the bright lights. If we were to do it again, we would go late afternoon to see the view in the daylight and then see the night view as it became dark.

It was an exciting experience. We sat in the comfortable lounge chairs and looked out over Las Vegas. It was a peaceful feeling. It was like sitting on top of the world – or as I imagine sitting on top of the world to be.

Photo by Steve Brogan

Photo by Steve Brogan

The pictures I took, were not what I saw. Our eyes are so perfect and do so many adjustments to provide us a perfect view.

We did not take advantage of the coupons they gave us for bungee jumping off the tower.

Have you experienced the Stratosphere observation tower?

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You

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Chinese New Year

Photo by Steve Brogan

Photo by Steve Brogan

Chinese New Year is determined by the Chinese Lunar calendar. This year it was February 19, 2015. The calendar goes though a twelve year cycle represented by different animals. This is the year of the Ram. Steve and I had the good fortune to learn more about Chinese New Year celebrations from our friends Cheh Low and Yee Hua Tan.

In China, the New Year is celebrated by friends visiting each other in their homes. Sweets are set out for the guests to snack on while they are there. The guests bring snacks like oranges. The guests also bring red envelopes with money inside, usually one envelope for each child.

Firecrackers are also used in the New Years celebration.

Red Envelopes

The Lion Dances through the town to drive away any evil spirits that may be lurking around or thinking of coming into town. The Lion Dance we see in America is performed by highly skilled Kung Fu practitioners who mimic the moves of the lion. It is a true pleasure to watch them in action.

Owners of Island Malaysian Cuisine

Owners of Island Malaysian Cuisine

On Saturday we went to a New Year celebration at Island Malaysian Cuisine. In addition to the Lions who danced in and around all of the tables, was the food. They offered a traditional food sharing. Notice the various foods on the tray. Then everyone mixes the foods and takes a portion to eat. We were also served yummy coconut vegetable soup, mouthwatering vegetable noodles, and special holiday coconut desert. We were so honored to be invited to join this wonderful celebration. Also of note, this large presentation of food to the community was free.

Food            Food2

In China, the New Year is a time for families to get together. The holiday usually lasts for fifteen days. The more I learn, the more I appreciate culture from other lands.

Gate

Photo by Steve Brogan

 

On Sunday we attended the Las Vegas Chinese New Year Program at the Chinatown Plaza. It was a little cooler than usual for Las Vegas, but everyone was in good spirits and we had a great time.

There were many food vendors including Island Malaysian Cuisine.

Island

The Las Vegas Chinese New Year Program included many great performances from local groups.

2015

The Las Vegas Modern Kung Fu group presented many different disciplines of  marshal arts. Many of them were dance like in their presentation.

LV Modern Kung Fu

The performers from LV Modern Kung Fu were magnificent. They moved so fast, it was difficult to get pictures of all of them. I would like to see them again in a full length performance.

Taiko Drums

We were privileged to see the Taiko Drum performers again. They are truly dedicated performers.

The Lion Dance presented by the Lohan School of Shaolin was a big hit. The audience loved the very well done performance. I read that some people confuse the Lion Dance with the Dragon dance. As you can see in the video below, they are quite different.

In honor of the Chinese Year of the Ram/Goat/Sheep, there were real live representatives.

Photo by Corliss Eden

Photo by Corliss Eden

We wish you happiness and prosperity during the year of the Ram.

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try

 

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Company Coming

Horse

When Chris was about eighteen months old, I asked Steve to come in the back door as I had just waxed the floor in the front entry. In his cool calm voice he said, “Perhaps it may be better if I didn’t come home any more to dirty your floors.”

Well hello and hallelujah. Just because I was a stay at home mom now, didn’t mean we had to live in a sterile house. I decided to back off a little on the cleaning.

Then Thom came along there was one me and three guys. With the cat and the dog, I was one female and five males. It was time for negotiation.

We agreed that I “the mother” would not be a tyrant about maintaining a perfect house, IF, the guys would help me clean and make the house look presentable when we were having company. It worked very well.

When Grammy came, she would tease Chris and Thom by saying: “Oh, I guess you knew I was coming so you put vacuum cleaner marks on the rug.” She so adored her grandsons.

Steve and I love having company come to visit. After all these years, we still issue the battle cry “Company Coming” and prepare the house.

We have been busy this past week cleaning out the closet in the guest bedroom. It is a great feeling to eliminate things we no longer need. Things we know our children will have no use for, but that others may find useful. Goodwill is a wonderful organization.

Our son Chris often says that when we die, he will open the door to our house and just throw a lit match inside. He also says that if it isn’t digital, it has no value to him.

We did come across an old polio immunization certificate that made us smile. We found it in some papers that belonged to Steve’s parents.

Form

The most valuable thing we own are pictures. I am very proud to say that Steve and I have been making great progress at digitizing our pictures. As data storage becomes smaller and less expensive, we can someday hand over a small black box to each of our sons and say: “This is your heritage.”

It is interesting to realize that an object we own can bring back wondrous memories of great times in our life with only a glance. Yet that same object has little value to our children because they did not live the same adventure. That is why “our stuff” has little or no value to them. It is only a fact of life. It is no disrespect to us. It is only a fact of life.

I read an article that said, “When we no longer need our stuff, we will get rid of it.” I believe that to be true. In the meantime, I have enjoyed the stuff we have. Seeing the Dr. Seuss books on the book shelf reminds me of the many fun times we had reading to our sons and grandchildren. That helps when homesickness sneaks up.

Life is a continuing book that has many fabulous chapters yet to be written. I hope you are embracing life and looking forward to tomorrow as much as we are?

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If you Try

 

 

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The Gods of Guilt

Gods

See our review below:


The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly is a Lincoln Lawyer novel staring Mickey Haller, the lawyer you defends anyone for a price.

This time the price is personal as Mickey searches his soul to learn why the victim, a high end prostitute, has been murdered. The woman, using a new name, is the same person Mickey knew many years ago. The same woman who Mickey funded to get a new life and walk the straight and narrow.

Her business associate is being accused of the murder. He is the one who arranged her meetings with men via various online computer postings. Prostitution in the modern era of computers and cell phones.

The book not only tells an interesting story, but shows the workings of the defense and the prosecution. It is not always above board and what we would like to see in our legal system.

Connelly shows how the Gods of Guilt – the jurors, have a responsibility to sort out all the information and make the decision of guilt or innocence.

This compelling book is read by Peter Giles.

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try

 

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How Old Do You Feel?

Steve

When asked how old I am, I usually have to stop and do the math. I don’t always do age appropriate things. I have been known to slurp drinks when I am with my grandchildren – and – sometimes when Steve and I are alone. A chocolate shake is always better if you get all of it right down to the slurpy sounds.

Being an adult I have to be aware of my body and high cholesterol and the fact that I can’t have a chocolate shake every day, just sometimes. So I don’t think about that. I think about the Green Goddess Smoothie I can have instead. Yummy!

On those occasions when the body is a little lame or there is an unwanted cramp somewhere, I don’t complain about getting old. I say hmmm, guess that body part needs a bit of attention.

Walk and talk has also helped my exercise level. Like most older people, I don’t exercise enough. I just think about it. I recently learned every little bit helps. Now when I talk on the phone, I walk.  I intentionally move more.

I make additional trips from one end of the house to the other when putting away the laundry. That may sound silly, but every step helps. I read a health article that said a person should get up and move every hour and I have found that to be true. It makes a major difference in the way I feel. The bones and muscles don’t get stuck in one position. As my physical therapist says, Motion is Lotion.

I believe that being happy is a decision. I think happy thoughts. When my brain is in neutral, I look for things to make me smile. Pictures are one of my favorites. There is just so much to see on Instagram and Facebook.

Happy people make me happy. I surround myself with happy people. Most are on line, but that does not lessen their impact on me. Every day they are up and about with a happy thought or a positive word. It does make a difference.

You can be any age your want to be – in your mind. My wish for you is that you be happy.

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try

 

 

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Hope to Die – A Book Review

Cross

Alex Cross is alone. His family has been abducted by a madman who keeps taunting him. Alex must find them, dead or alive. This breath taking book will take you through all human emotions. Startling truths are revealed about what shapes us into adults. We highly recommend this who done it mystery.

 

The book is written by James Patterson. It is read by Michael Boatman and Scott Sower.

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try

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Las Vegas Life

2015-01-17 14.18.45

Lohan School of Shaolin

I love the wonderful people of Las Vegas and the various cultures they share. Now is an especially wonderful time as the Chinese New Year approaches on February 19th.

This weekend the Charleston Heights Arts Center presented the Celebration of Asian Arts and Culture. We had a wonderful time. We saw an Origami Workshop.

The lovely lady explained that she was wearing a male costume. Female costumes dip down in the back. She also explained the significance of the crane.

I mentioned that I had made one and I know how difficult it is. She smiled and said, “Use YouTube.” Her young helper is an exchange student from Japan. The young lady expertly made a beautiful crane and presented it to me.

I am impressed that she speaks perfect English. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal by John McWhorter, “English is rapidly becoming the primary medium for communication among different nations.”

Other examples of origami are shown above.

 

One table had dolls displayed in many different Thai costumes showing the ways people used to dress.

This lovely Japanese lady was showing how to write in Japanese. She was very surprised that our friend, Cheh Low, already knows the language. His word is “speaks.” She guided my hand to write the word happiness – the last one on the right.

CELEBRATION OF ASIAN ARTS & CULTURE PROGRAM

The Lohan School of Shaolin presented “The Lion Dance.” It was so beautiful and so well done without a single mistake. It was magical. The handout explains the Lion Dance:

According to traditional Chinese belief, the lion signifies courage, stability and superiority. The lion’s dance is performed to chase away ghosts and evil spirits, and since the monster, ghosts, evil spirits and giants like Nian are afraid of loud noises, the dance has become a natural complement to the fire crackers’ noise. Clashing cymbals, a gong and drums usually accompany this lively scene. The lion’s every movement has a specific musical rhythm. The music follows the moves of the lion, the drum follows the lion, the cymbals and the gong follow the drum play. Throughout the performance, the Lion will mimic various moods and demonstrate similar physical gestures allowing the Lion to look life-life.

The Lohan School of Shaolin provides Eastern Martial Arts such as Kung Fu, Tai Chi, or Chi Kung. They “offer tuition on all levels, a strong commitment and welcoming atmosphere.”

After the initial lion dance, each discipline was demonstrated. The whole performance was most enjoyable. And they ended with another lion dance.

2015-01-17 14.59.55

Six brilliant Thai ladies performed Thai Cultural Dances and gave a fashion show after. From the program we learned:

Supatra Chemprachum was born in Thailand, and moved to Las Vegas in 1986. She learned folk and classical Thai dances and how to teach them from her mother, who was a well known performer in Bangkok. Supatra founded the Thai Cultural Arts Association (TCAA) in 1993 to preserve and promote Thai traditions in Las Vegas. It is her mission to not only bring her native culture to the wider public, but to instill in young people of Thai ancestry a pride in their own ethnic background.

2015-01-17 15.18.05

 

The Las Vegas Kaminari Taiko Drummers were magnificent. The handout we were given has the following information:

Las Vegas Kaminari Taiko is Las Vegas’ premiere Japanese Taiko drumming ensemble. It has the privilege of being the “first” and longest running Taiko performance and teaching group in Las Vegas. Its instructors and performers strive for improvement and bringing high energy music and entertainment from Japan to every performance! Established in 1993 by the late George Goto its mission is to share, spread and teach the art form that is taiko to the Las Vegas valley. The goal is to share the member’s passion for Taiko and the art and music of Japanese culture that coincide and contribute to our ever growing and diverse Las Vegas community with educational and cultural performances.

We had a wonderful afternoon enjoying the Celebration of Asian Arts & Culture. Thank you to everyone who participated and to the Charleston Heights Arts Center.

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try

 

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Alive

Badge

 

I just may be the luckiest person alive – or one of the happiest people alive. I am able to get up in the morning and appreciate the great outdoors and thank God for the blue skies and the sunshine. Others may curse the snow, the rain, and the cold, but if you stop and think about it, weather and the many changes of weather is really quite magical.

This has been an exciting year so far and we are only on day twelve. So far we had a fabulous celebration with friends to welcome the New Year.

A real biggie was celebrating Calvin Lee’s birthday with Charise and John Strandberg. We are so honored that they made time in their busy schedule to have dinner with us.

Then it was on to CES – the Consumer Electronics Show. We saw things that are so exciting. The advancements that have been made in the world of 3D Printing since last year are phenomenal. I look forward to the future and what it will bring. I am most excited about 3D printing in the health sector and how body parts are being replaced. So exciting.

On Saturday we met Catherine and Jeff Huggins, friends from Twitter. They live in Iowa. We also got to meet their traveling friends Joe and Lisa Standefer.

On Sunday, our dear friend Cate Colgan dropped by from Florida. Steve and I are truly blessed to be living in Las Vegas.

On a more personal side, I mentioned that I have been compiling stories for my class reunion in July. One lady said:  “I am an elite member of “cancer survivors.”  I was told that I had bladder cancer on my 66th birthday.  I have lived for my 67th and look forward to my 68th!” What a great attitude to have. When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.

Another guy told me he has three great children. One is already retired and his daughter is talking about retiring. Imagine living long enough to see your children retire. Pretty cool I think. 

Enjoy every minute of every day. It is good to be alive.

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try

    

                       

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Your Story

2014-12-30 13.15.47

Venetian New Year 2015 – Las Vegas

The New Year is here and I am full of hope that it will be a year of inspiration. My intention is to inspire others to recognize how special they are. Everyone has an interesting story to tell.

Fifty years ago I graduated from high school. I have asked my classmates to submit a story of what they have done in the last 50 years and we will make a book. A few have sent me great stories. Most have told me they have done nothing special. I disagree.

Anyone who has lived during the last 20 years has a lot to talk about. Just think of all the inventions that have come along. I can remember the first cell phone I held in my hand. I put it to my ear and I heard “dial tone.” It was a miracle.

I recently saw a Facebook post. A boy saw a pay phone and asked his mother what it was. She explained. He exclaimed, “Why would anyone ever pay to make a phone call?”

Times have changed so much. When I was growing up we had one black wall phone in the kitchen. We paid for calls outside of our local calling area. Long distance calls were expensive and few. Today we call all over the United States as part of our calling plan. We take it for granted.

Taking things for granted is fine, but we must never take people and their accomplishments for granted.

My son disagreed with me when I said one of my accomplishments in life was making puff pastry. He thought me silly to even consider that an accomplishment. But to me, it was a big deal. I tried several recipes before I got it right. Getting it right took a whole eight hours and my shoulders were sore at the end of the day, but I did it. I bet Pepperidge Farm thinks their puff pastry is a big deal. I only made it once, because Pepperidge Farm provides me quality goods without the labor.

People make a beautiful tapestry. Everyone has something wonderful to give.

What is your story?

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try

 

 

 

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