Saturday, July 12, 2014

Vegas Conference


I am finally home! *Huge happy sigh* The conference was a ton of fun, and a complete whirlwind. I carpooled with two of my teacher friends, Jen and Lainie, and we arrived in Vegas at about 2:00 on Monday. After getting checked in to the Treasure Island (pictured above), we enjoyed a couple of drinks and headed for the pool. Later a bunch of us met at Gilley's for dinner. My district gives teachers $80 a day for meals, so we're always sitting fat and happy during conferences. After dinner, some of my coworkers tried to talk me into going out, but I hadn't unpacked my luggage yet, and I was massively craving a bath and some alone time, so I opted out.

On Tuesday, I woke up early and four of us girls walked down to Starbucks for some wake-up juice. Then we walked over to the Venetian for our conference. Everyday we had four 75 minute sessions--two before lunch, and two after, with a half hour between each session. My Tuesday sessions were "okay." Three of my presenters were great, but they didn't teach me anything that I wasn't already doing in my classroom. The fourth presenter was nice enough, but the session was supposed to be on "project--based learning," and she never once talked about projects. Instead she discussed coming up with "key questions" for your lessons (a dead horse of a subject lately). It was frustrating, because I was excited for some more project ideas.

Once our sessions were over, I got together with my coworkers for drinks, and then got ready for dinner. This time we ate at the buffet at Planet Hollywood. I don't care for buffets, but the food was so good. I was so stuffed by the time I finished that I swear I looked like I was five months pregnant. Okay, thats a pretty big exaggeration, but I was seriously full. After the buffet, I had 15 minutes to get ready for a club I had agreed to go to with my friend/coworker Danielle--"Hyde" in Bellagio. I haven't clubbed in...well...probably ever, so I didn't even think to bring appropriate "club wear." I had packed a couple of my work dresses, and one of them was more curve-hugging and night-out-on-town looking (I thought), but apparently it wasn't slutty enough, because Danielle took one look at me when she walked into my room and was like, "Here." She handed me a short, slinky black dress. Danielle is shorter and heavier than me (I don't mean this as an insult--she is super cute), but she said the dress was "one size fits all," and as I held it up, I thought "Damn, this thing is actually going to fit." So I put it on and it fit like a glove. But I couldn't help but laugh because every single time Shannon and I go to Vegas, we make fun of all the girls wearing spike heels and little black dresses. It is SO CLICHE. Like, seriously girls, there are other lengths and other colors. If I ever go clubbing again, I'm going to wear a white lace dress or mint green or something just to break the mold.

Anyway, Danielle and I, along with our coworker Alfred, took a taxi to the Bellagio. Once we arrived to the club, it was...just...holy cow. The location was so beautiful, because it had an entire wall of glass that overlooked the Bellagio fountain/light show. It was STUNNING, seeing the show from that angle, over and over again. But that's where the fascination ended. The club was SO crowded. I love to dance, but it's nearly impossible when you're squished on all sides like you're the unfortunate innards of a sandwich.

Also, I don't know club etiquette. I was getting approached by guys and I would let them know I was married in the friendliest way possible (usually by smiling apologetically and pointing at my ring, since you couldn't hear a damn thing in that place). I was never mean and all "get lost" or anything, because, hey, it takes guts to approach a woman, and I'm not going to squash someone for trying. But one guy (from the $1500 section) wouldn't get the message, and started putting his hands around my waist and kissing me on the cheek even though I had told him several times I wasn't interested. Danielle got pissed when he cornered me by the restrooms and WOULD NOT LEAVE. She told him very point-blank that he needed to leave me alone and started to lightly push him away from me, and he pushed back--not in an intention to push her, I don't think...more holding his hands up in the air to keep her away, but the bouncer wasn't having any of it, and he kicked the dude out. Later, when we left the club and were walking out of Bellagio, the guy appeared out of nowhere and started asking me where I was going, etc. When Danielle caught up, he started yelling at her for getting him kicked out of the club. Danielle called him an ass and we jumped in our cab. She told me in the cab that I am not bitchy enough for clubs, and I laughed, because it is so true.

But it's all good because I am pretty sure I am done with clubs. Not just because of the thing from above, but because I hate watching women act like they have no self-respect. Dresses tinier than lingerie, spiked heels, bending over so their ass-cheeks can gyrate against some stranger's groin...ugh. I am officially too old for this. I am glad I went with Danielle this one time though so I could get it out of my system, plus there were parts of the experience that were a lot of fun.

While I was at the club, Clint was making the drive to Vegas from his work. I got back to my room about 1:45ish, and he had just arrived about a half hour before. He stayed for the rest of the week, which was SO much fun. Clint meshes well with my coworkers, and I always feel more...well, I just feel like I can breathe easier when he's there.

Wednesday was sort of rinse and repeat, minus the clubbing. I woke up early, went to Starbucks with the girls, and then it was off to my sessions, lunch at the Outback, and more sessions. My sessions, again, were "okay" that day, or maybe I was too tired to fully appreciate them. All of us went to dinner that night at an Italian restaurant that served food family style. It was awesome. I think I went to bed at a decent hour that night, but it's hard to remember.

Thursday was the same as Wednesday, except for my sessions were wonderful. I was so thrilled by one of them on "warm-ups and sponge activities" that I was taking notes like a crazy person. The presenter was energetic, hilarious, and everything he suggested was ingenious. After my first two sessions ended, a group of us (along with the principal) enjoyed a drink around the pool. Later we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Canunita (or something like that). Once back in my room, I had an hour to relax before it was time for Chippendales. Yes, you heard that right--Chippendales! I have never in my life gone to a show where the MEN take off their clothes, and honestly, I've never had any interest. I've gone to Vegas showgirl performances, and I really enjoy those. The dancers are gorgeous with smooth skin and beautiful bodies and glittering costumes...why would I want to see a bunch of bumpy, greasy men?

But Clint kept telling me "Just go babe! You'll have fun," so I did, and he was right. The show was sheer entertainment from start to finish. The music and choreography was awesome, and the men weren't made to look like "pretty boys" like I was worried about. The producers did a great job of playing on women's fantasies by choosing settings and costumes that emphasized the mens' ruggedness, and by recognizing that teasing us with what we can't see can be so much more provocative and fun than baring everything.



We weren't allowed to take pictures until the end of the show, and even then I didn't take any (I'm a lousy photo taker), but I had a few sent to me by Irma. The show featured Ian Ziering, who used to play Steve Sanders way-back-when on Beverly Hills, 90210. And remember Jaymes and James from The Amazing Race?




I remember how adorable and enthusiastic those boys were on the race...they were definitely amongst my top five favorite contestants.

The only thing I managed to take pictures of during the show was the bathroom (I know, here I have almost-naked men parading around, and I'm fascinated by the bathroom). I swear it was the size of an apartment, with different nooks and sections with vanities and various seating areas.




Here we are, after the show, groping giant poster men:


(From left to right: Katie, Amanda, Nikki, Me, and Irma)

I got back to my room sometime after 1:00 a.m., I think. The next morning (yesterday) was my last day of the conference, and finally time to drive home. Clint packed us up and we headed out, stopping for a late lunch in State Line. I was so excited to get home. I missed the kids and the animals (although sadly Trin is still in Utah at horsemanship camp until tomorrow). Plus nothing beats sleeping in your own bed.

Now I'm trying to motivate myself to clean this house and do some laundry. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get a few hours to fill out Najla's requirement form for my book cover. By Monday I hope to be back to revisions again. I have to plan another pool party soon too, because my coworkers are bugging me for one.

Oh, Krystal over at Narcissistic Rose tagged me for a Versatile Blogger award, so I'll scratch down my seven random facts in a near-future post. Shouldn't be too hard...LOTS of randomness to choose from.

*takes nap now to avoid cleaning*