Sing a New Song

It may be somewhat surprising to learn that, despite having grown up in Oklahoma, I was not a fan of country music.  All that twang and depressing subject matter just wasn’t of interest to me.  One of my favorite jokes was always, “What happens when you play a country music song backwards?  He get’s his wife back, his dog back and his truck back.”  This was only made that much better when I once saw a country music video showing an overhead shot of a cowboy lying in the back of his truck with his girl and a dog lying on the ground next to the truck.  As the video progressed the woman disappeared and then the dog disappeared and I burst out laughing thinking, “what happens if you play this video backwards…”

I was forced to listen to, and then eventually came to like, what was then modern country music, in the mid-90’s, when I was dating a girl who I thought I was going to marry and who decided that she was going to become a country music fan and always had it on in the car.  I listened to country music pretty regularly for a while after that and it was only after I moved to the bay area where there is no country music station that I quit.  I had a number of country music albums by that time though and most of them have made their way into my iTunes and therefore, fairly regular rotation in my music listening routine.

Michelle doesn’t dislike country music though it is a LOOOONG way from being her preference.  Our tastes overlap fairly well, though she does like some of the more… urban?  R&B?  stuff.  I’m not even sure what you’d call it.  Let’s just be really tacky and say that her tastes are more ethnically correct…

Michelle also doesn’t like anyone to hear her sing.  She thinks she has a bad voice.  Truth is, she sings fine.  She may not be recording any albums anytime soon, but she shouldn’t be embarrassed for anyone to hear her singing.

On the way to Cache Creek Wednesday afternoon my iPod in my car was, as always, on random and there wasn’t anything that she might object to that came on.  At one point I even heard her singing.  I started to say something, only, every time I tell her I can hear her singing she stops  and I didn’t want to embarrass her or have her stop singing, so I didn’t say anything.  I was surprised at first at the song she was singing, because it was, shall we say, more ethnically appropriate for me…  Also, it was from October, 1994 and it surprised me that she’d be familiar with it.  But she does have a couple of years on me and she was actually far less sheltered than I (I didn’t really come to know the song until about five years ago, so…)

As we were driving through the parking garage at Cache Creek, a song by Terri Clark came on.  The song is called Cure for the Common Heartache.  If you have iTunes (and who doesn’t these days) do me a favor and go listen to the preview.  I tried to find a way to post a sample here, but I’m just not that technologically savvy…  Anyway, the song is quite twangy:  “This mornin’ I’m achin’ all over.  Cain’t eat.  Cain’t sleep.  Cain’t rest….  Is there a cuuuuuure for the common heart ache.  An unknown prescriptiooooooooon, any loser can take…”

(By the way, for the record, there has only been one Terri Clark song, ever, that I didn’t really like a lot, so I’m not saying anything bad about her!)

I turned to Michelle, right before I turned off the ignition and said, “This is a country music song… In case you were wondering…”  I was making a joke, because the song is the epitome of country twang (though I still like it,) but she thought I was apologizing, or in some way making a joke that suggests she doesn’t like country music.

“I was singing that other song,” she said somewhat defensively.

“Which song?” I asked.

“You know.  The one about the cowboy and the horse.”

Now this is not much of a description to know which song she was talking about, except that I immediately thought of the song I heard her singing earlier and had a feeling that’s the one she meant.  I sang a few bars, “I’m a cowboy.  On a steel horse I ride…?”

“Yeah, that one,” she said as I was unable to keep from laughing.

“Honey,” I said a little more condescending than I meant to, “that wasn’t country.  That was Bon Jovi!”

(Also?  Heh.  The clothes!  My Goodness!!!)

Stay-cation Done Right

It’s the last work day of my stay-cation.  I don’t have to go to work until Monday, of course, but still, today is the last day that everyone has to work and I do not.  It’s been a really nice break and it has gone surprisingly slowly.  After the first week was over, I felt like it had already been two weeks and so I was super excited to still have another week before I had to go back to work.

I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to with this time off, but my list was pretty lofty and I’m happy with the things I did accomplish: clean and organized kitchen, tidied up living room, time with friends, a little trip out of town…  Actually, maybe we won’t list what I did accomplish; it’ll seem like too little. 😉

I think I’ve probably mentioned before that I crochet.  My mother taught my sister when we were kids and I wanted to do anything my sister did so I had to learn too.  Now, I find it very relaxing and enjoyable, even though I don’t do it as often as I would like.  Michelle has a friend who is having a baby in late March or early April and she asked me to make a blanket for the friend/baby.  We stopped last night on the way back from Cache Creek to buy yarn, and today, instead of being super productive on my last paid day off, I’ve sat around clearing out my DVR and crocheting.  I suppose one could argue that the crocheting is productive since I have an easily attainable deadline, but there’s still a pile of clothes to be ironed and a stack of papers to organize and put away and a–  You know what?  We won’t make that list either.

I did get a lot of good things accomplished and I had a nice relaxing and enjoyable break, too.

All in all, I think I did this stay-cation just about right!

Honey, I’m Home

That’s what I told Mischa when I finally got home tonight, about six hours later than I had planned.  I let him out of the cage right away and fed him (his bowl was completely empty, but I left him enough for a day and a half before I left at 11:00 yesterday morning, so we were pretty much right on schedule and he hasn’t scarfed down what I gave him so he must be OK.)

Michelle and her family have gone to Cache Creek Casino a number of times over the last several years but I’ve never gone with them.  Not that I didn’t think there was any fun to be had there, it just seemed silly to go to a Casino for a couple of hours and then turn around and come home again, and a casino not in Nevada, to boot!

When planning this stay-cation, I wanted to go on one over night trip, just to get away and not be at home.  The original plan was to go to Monterrey and spend the night and then get up and go whale watching, but Michelle nixed that idea when her sister reminded her that “it’s winter” and the water will probably be choppy.  Michelle has gotten seasick a few times when she’s gone before and she figured she’d stand a pretty good chance of getting sick again if we went “in winter” so we decided to go to the casino instead.

Cache Creek is an “Indian casino”.  One of those “on sovereign land – exempt from state gaming laws” kind of places.  I’m using quotes on the “Indian casino” because it had a lot of Asian influences, in both the casino and the hotel room.  Michelle had never spent the night there and neither one of us knew what we were in for, but I guess my hopes weren’t all that high, so when we walked into the room, I was blown away.

No sooner did I get out my camera to take some pictures than I realized my batteries were dead and I didn’t have any more, so all these pictures are taken using my iPhone.  They’re not too bad, considering, but cut me some slack if they’re a bit blurry.

We walked in the door of the room and the first thing I noticed was the beautiful wood flooring.

I immediately noticed the door on the left and knew it to be the door to the adjoining room next door.  Ignored that.  Wasn’t using it.  But here’s the deal; Michelle was supposed to send pictures to her sister, and I wanted to take pictures for you guys (you know you want them!) so I wanted all luggage and stuff out of sight.  I went looking for the closet to throw the luggage into and pulled the sliding door on the right back thinking it would be the closet.  You guys!!

The bathroom!

That door leads to a separate and private room for the toilet.  Look how all the towels are folded to look like little shirt collars.  Look at the “flower” in the Kleenex dispenser.

I wish I’d gotten a better picture of that tub!  My goodness!  It was so deep.  Sadly, I didn’t get an opportunity to use it, but I sat in it (how could I not) and it was amazing.  The only criticism I have is that it wasn’t a whirlpool tub.  How awesome would that be?  The shower could have been a little bigger, but it was pretty nice.  Also, it had one of those rain fall shower heads, which are supposed to be nice and luxurious, but I prefer more water pressure than that when I shower, so I could have done without it.  Clearly a matter of personal preference.

The main room was delightful as well.  I loved the benches at the ends of the beds, the pillows and cushions, the linens.  The lighting fixtures and options were really nice too.  The only problem was that there were halogen light fixtures centered over the head of each bed, but they were both on the same switch.  Michelle kept turning on the light without warning and blinding me.  I loved the chrome flexible reading lights next to each bed.  I didn’t use it but I thought it was a nice idea.

I always get the bed by the window.  I like it cooler and brighter and Michelle likes it warmer and darker so it works out.  If it was up to her, the curtains would be completely closed and the room would be oven warm, but we manage.  Or should I say, she manages.  She always manages to sleep anyway and I know this because long before I’ve had a chance to get situated and go to sleep, she’s ALREADY STARTED SNORING…

That bed looks beautiful right?  Unfortunately, it was terribly uncomfortable.  Clearly everyone who ever slept in it, slept just on the side closest to the night stand, because that side of the bed was all broken down and sagging. I suppose I should have complained but it was 11:30 PM before I got into it and I didn’t want to move at that point, even if they were able to offer.  Between the snoring and the bad mattress, I didn’t get much sleep last night.

The room had one of those nifty Kuerig Coffee makers.  And in the cupboard below was a small refrigerator.  A must for any hotel room, as far as I’m concerned.  Do I even need to say that I’m not being compensated by Kuerig for this post?  ‘Cause I’m not.  Although…  If they wanted to send me a free coffee maker in exchange for my mentioning them here, I’d gladly accept it and amend this post to say that they did!  Just, don’t send me this one.  I want a bigger, prettier one that has a reservoir to hold water and keep it hot.  This one took a little while to brew because it had to heat the water first.  (By the way, I wasn’t compensated in anyway by Cache Creek either…  Am I really required to say these things?)

So, earlier, when I said I always get the bed by the window, because I like more ambient light than Michelle does…

This hotel is literally out in the middle of no where.  It’s about 80 miles north of San Francisco surrounded by very rural land.  It’s winter so nothing is growing but we drove past a lot of groves…  Olive groves, grape fields, I don’t know, but there’s not much around this hotel for miles.  It was nearly dusk when we got into the room and this was our view…  Well, if you looked up and straight ahead, that was our view…

This was the closer view.  What’re ya gonna do?

We arrived at the “resort” at about 1:30, but the room wasn’t available to go into until after 4:00 so we spent some time in the casino.  While it’s not nearly as bad as a Nevada casino in this respect, there is smoking allowed at he casino and the air inside was a little thick with smoke.  Normally I wouldn’t have cared, much, but I’m still trying to get over this bronchitis mess and it was really irritating my airway and triggering the coughing, so I was glad for the “fresh” air of the hotel room.  We sat in the room for a little while talking and when we were about to go back down and find some dinner, Michelle went into the bathroom.  While I was waiting for her, I was sitting in one of the chairs by the bed and I saw a reflection of the view outside through the mirror on the wall.  For a moment I thought the hill outside was on fire and I was reminded of a scene, late in the TV series M*A*S*H.  Colonel Potter is standing outside looking at the glowing horizon and one of the other characters walks up to him.  The other character (don’t remember who it was) comments on how beautiful the sunset is and Colonel Potter says, “Yep.  Only the sun sets in the west.  That’s the east.”  They had to pick up the camp and move until the fire passed.

What I saw in the mirror, was, of course, the sun setting over top of the distant mountains, which were, thankfully, to the west of the hotel. 🙂

It was really nice to get away, even just for a night.  Unfortunately, I didn’t win big.  In fact I didn’t win at all, but I went there we $73.00 and I came home with $20.15.  My philosophy of casinos is I don’t gamble, I pay to play games and sometimes I win a prize, but usually I just entertain myself for a little while.  So if you look at it that way, $52.85 for a day of game playing, isn’t so bad.  And I had a good time.  That’s all that matters!