Visit Las Vegas While It's Cool!

Vacation in Las Vegas at Polo Towers February 23-March 1, 2020

3745 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109 USA

Vince said, “Cut the price in half!”

One-bedroom suite $1,022  for a week! So here you go! $511 for one WEEK in Vegas!

Polo Towers Resort Las Vegas
Polo Tower Suites right on the Las Vegas Strip

We have the perfect opportunity for you to relax and enjoy the Las Vegas Strip, or get out and enjoy the excitement – either works!

Las Vegas Strip outside of Polo Towers.

This beautiful 602 square foot one-bedroom suite with a full kitchen is located on the Las Vegas Strip within walking distance from all the huge casinos. It conveniently comes with a free parking pass. 

Situated between the Miracle Mile of Shops and a strip mall which includes Ross, ABC, CVS makes your stay very comfortable and economical. The resort boasts two pools, a BBQ area, business center services, fitness center, laundry facilities, free WiFi, and local phone calls.

Las Vegas Rental Polo Towers

The view out of our Polo Towers suite on the Las Vegas Strip across from the Aria.

Showing that week are the Cirque du Soleil O, Michael Jackson One by Cirque du Soleil, Zoomanity, Penn and Teller, Blue Man Group and David Copperfield, and Chris Angel.

If you want to sightsee try Hoover Dam – 1 hour, Valley of Fire – 1 hour, Grand Canyon 4.5 hours, or Zion National Park 2.5 hours, Bryce Canyon National Park – 4 hours, and the other three National Parks within 7 hours of Las Vegas.

Polo Towers

Las Vegas Polo Tower Suites February 21-March 1, 2020

This beautiful 602 square foot one-bedroom suite with a full kitchen is located on the Las Vegas Strip within walking distance from all the huge casinos. It conveniently comes with a free parking pass.

$511.00

End of the Cancer Journey

It’s way too weird to say that it’s been a joy to have cancer, but it has been. Mentally I know that God doesn’t send cancer or any sickness as a punishment. However, cancer changes you. For me, it has brought me into a closer relationship with God and with my husband and friends.

Remember when you were a kid and you did something wrong? You tried to hide it, but your parents found out and punished you. Afterward, you realized that they still loved you and you felt better.

That’s sort of how it’s been with me. I’ve been a Christian for a very long time, but it didn’t stop me from either making some terrible decisions or sinning. I was in a rut.

When you get cancer, everything else falls to the sidelines while you rush around going to doctors and hospitals trying to conquer this monster called cancer. Even those pesky bad habits that you know about and a few more that you never realized you had can’t hold a candle to the time and effort it takes to get cancer out of your system.

Like it or not. You’ve got other things on your mind. Praise God. He is merciful. Cancer has been a blessing.

But I’m exceedingly glad to be at the end of the journey – I hope. I am super tired of going in an getting my tissue expander filled with saline solution only to have it leak out before my next appointment. That doesn’t happen to everyone, so don’t panic if you have cancer and decide to do reconstructive surgery.

I complained of pain about two months ago, and to relieve the pressure, the surgeon put a needle into what he thought was the second fill port, only it wasn’t. There may be a moral of the story but I’m not sure what it is. Sometimes complaining is a good thing.

My plastic surgeon has had mercy on me, throughout the process.

  • First of all my surgery date should have been December 26, but we had friends coming from Australia on the 27th and I didn’t want to miss them. We had a big trip planned through California and then to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve. So he kindly postponed the surgery to January 30th instead.
  • He offered to remove the damaged tissue expander and replace it. That would have meant an extra surgery and an additional two weeks minimum recovery. I went in for the preparatory step of removing and replacing all the fluid – a forty-five-minute appointment instead of the typical three minute one. I decided that I didn’t want to expand my breast to a normal size B or possibly a huge C cup, after all. (Pop, there went that dream) He gave me a reprieve and said I didn’t need to come in until my surgery unless I wanted a fill. Yay! Freedom!
  • By week two I had lost so much fluid that I developed two very long and deep wrinkles. Wrinkles in your breast are not like wrinkles on your face. They are not only unattractive (not that anyone is looking) but very uncomfortable. They are more like gullies or drainage ditches. Not only that, after about a month of deflation, your tissue unexpands. So you are back to flat.
  • The nurse took pity on me and slipped me into his busy schedule for an emergency fill. He filled me with 220 ml instead of the normal 60. When I sat up, I literally couldn’t breathe normally. Very weird to be stretched that tight!
  • Two weeks later, at the end of our vacation, I was on empty again and in tears, because surgery was still nearly a month away and I’d leaked out 220 instead of 60 ml of fluid. I could feel it drizzle under my arm and imagined the salty water finding all the unhealed scars when I felt burning – the proverbial pouring salt on a wound. I imagined that the $64,000 pieces of cadaver tissue that makes the implant reunite with my body so much better were dissolving by saline solution. The nurse told me was that saline solution is what hospitals give patients that are dehydrated. Nothing to worry about. I looked at my fingers – no wrinkles. I was hydrated. I felt better and he added an additional 240 ml of fluid.
  • Better than that, he told me he would move up my surgery even if he had to work late and perform the surgery at the hospital instead of next door to his office at the surgery center.
  • Fortunately for him and for me, someone canceled their surgery and he had an opening for January 13th, six days later. YAY!

So in two days, I will be on my way to Fresno for my final surgery. The cancer is gone. To the outsider, I look as normal as I ever did, and I can start living my life without weekly trips to Fresno.

Enjoying a hike on our vacation two weeks before my third surgery.

I’m so very grateful.

  • To God for healing me.
  • For my husband who stood by me, put up with my moods, drove me to appointments, and took on the extra duties that I couldn’t do after each of the three surgeries I’ve gone through.
  • To Dr. Alsalihi for referring me to the “Dream Team,” as they are called.
  • To the professionals who diagnosed and did the tests that found the tumor when it was between stage one and stage two.
  • To the Dream Team – Dr. Hadcock, cancer surgeon, Dr. Perkins, oncologist, and Dr. Askren, the ever-patient plastic surgeon who performed the only elective surgery in the process.
  • For my friends who had brought us food, prayed, visited, called and wrote to me. They showed me in so many ways how much they loved and cared about me.

I hope you never get cancer. But if you do, know that I’m praying for you. You can get through it and be better than you were when you got it.

Lots of love to you all.

Welcome to Sequoia Country, Travelers

Summer is here and it’s time to take off for parts known or unknown – cooler, warmer, more remote, more culture something new and different, or familiar. Where are you going this summer?

Kings Canyon National Park in 2018

Central California may be hot, but there are plenty of cool places to hang out to escape the heat. The Sequoia, Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks are all within a few hours driving distances from Visalia, Fresno and each other. Everyone knows Yosemite, but have you been to Kings Canyon and Sequoia?

That’s not all. Kaweah Lake in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Foothills is a sporting destination on the way to the Sequoia National Park. If you get to Three Rivers, CA, you passed it. You can’t miss over one hundred acre-feet of water, though.

Have You Tried Kayaking?

Kayaking on Kaweah Lake

Last year my adorable neighbors, Diane and Selena, treated me to a fabulous day at Lake Kaweah, less than thirty minutes from where I live. Lake Kaweah serves as a reservoir for irrigation, flood control, electric power source, and fishing and boating destination

If you are like me and used to seeing the land only, you might try a different perspective this year and hop into a kayak. Getting into and out of the kayak is a bit tricky, but once you get in, time melts away as the water laps up against the side of the boat.

See my paddle keeping me from going in circles?

The temperature on July sixth was a cool 9o degrees by late morning, so we wore plenty of sunscreen, but didn’t feel the heat. It’s a large body of water, so we had room to roam. Selena took off leaving us in her wake, circling back to check on her mother and me every so often to make sure that I didn’t spend all my time going in circles.

We Could Have Been Explorers

We could have been explorers.

There were so few people on the water when we arrived that we could have been explorers from another era seeing the mountains and foothills for the first time. If you know the history of the area, though, you would know that this lake never existed until Terminus Dam was completed in 1961. Before the Corps of Engineers built the dam, floods devastated the downstream communities. The most one-hundred-year flood in recent history occurred in 1955.

Kaweah Lake Water Levels Fluctuate

Water levels in the lake fluctuate.

You can see the water levels marked clearly on this foothill. There are many levels below what you see here. What you don’t see are the whole trees and parking lots buried under the water.

Last year the water level was high because of the enormous amount of rain we had during the 2017-18 rainy season. In wet years, even though the lake is full in July, the Corps of Engineers makes sure that the dam doesn’t break by releasing water all summer. By September the water levels decrease significantly, although boats still dot the surface. You can see that the water level was near record level last year.

Near record level water in the summer of 2018

During the 2018-19 season, Central California had about eight inches of participation. That’s below the average of ten inches, but not a bad number. I haven’t been up to the lake for a while to take pictures this year, but when the lake is full they let out a lot of water for most of the summer to control for melting snow coming from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Our canals, which farmers rely on for irrigation, are full this year.

Relaxing Before Disaster Strikes

Watch out! I can’t steer this thing!

Don’t overlook the simple outdoor pleasures near you this summer. Learning and trying new things broadens and enriches your life and keeps you young. However, I’m glad you didn’t see me Selena trying to get me out of the kayak. 🙂

You’re right, I didn’t help much. Thanks to Diane and Selena who made this trip possible.

Tell me what you have planned for this summer.

Gourdeous Works of Art

I have long admired the work of Toni Best, a retired teacher. A couple of years ago my husband and I toured her house and studio where she does all her work. She teaches classes at home and around the country.

South Valley Artists' Studio Tour
Toni Best weaves a backdrop for one of her wood sculptures.

Active nationally Toni belongs to several national basketweaving organizations two of which include the National Basketry Organization (NBO) and the Handweavers Guild of America. She will be traveling to attend the NBO conference in July to display two pieces.

Free Form by Toni Best.

Toni Best, a Visalian, was one of the three featured gourd artists at the Exeter Art show that runs from April 14th to May 26th.

Diana Pearcy a Woodlake Artist

It’s so much fun to go to an art or an arts and crafts show and discover that people you knew in other settings are actually artists in disguise. That’s what happened this month at the Exeter Art Gallery and Museum.

gourd bowl woven with pine needles on the top.
Diana Pearcy from the Woodlake Foundation Gourd Artist next to her favorite piece.

What Do You Do with an Old Gourd?

You can poke and prod them, paint on them, oil them, coil rows of pine needles around the edges, and use your imagination to create almost anything.

Animal Totem made from gourds
Animal Totem by Diana Pearcy shows personality

Diana Pearcy grows her own gourds, her garden yielding over 3,000 gourds per season. She says they have different personalities, and we saw some of them on April 14th.

Gourd with maple leaf carved out
Maple Leaf

It’s hard to believe the same artist created these two very different pieces from gourds. This one might have been my personal favorite, although several others were close.

Female  gourd statue
Gourdeous! Spirit Shawl

Sam McKinney from Lindsay

Sam McKinney with her favorite piece
Sam McKinney with her favorite piece

Sam surprised me when we shook hands and she was not a man but a woman with amazing talent. Her time-consuming projects were vases rather than statues like Diana’s. This vase took front and center at the show. Sam’s work is almost like exotic clothing. I love the neckline and jewelry on this vase.

Free flow’s woven accessories and perfect eyelashes caught my eye.

Since I can’t even hold a pencil still for even a second, the thought of making all those little triangular marks in a perfect pattern made me swoon with envy.

This multi-sided vase is drilled and stippled, painted and carved. It would be beautiful with a digital flame inside. Sam, like Diana, also grows her own gourds.

gourd vase with beads
Cupid’s Arrow Beaded Gourd vase

At an art show at the Woodlake Airport on April 20th, my friend Jaime Beck drooled over the picture of Sam McKinney’s beadwork on this gourd. The perfect v or w pattern must have taken an enormous amount of patience to create.

When you come to the South Valley on your way to the Sequoia National Park, spend a few minutes of your weekend touring the Exeter Art Gallery and Museum. It’s open Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4. They change art regularly so there is always something new to see. To enjoy more from this show check out their Facebook Group.

  • Animal Totem made from gourds
  • gourd vase with beads
  • carved gourd vase
  • gourd bowl woven with pine needles on the top.
  • Sam McKinney with her favorite piece
  • Female gourd statue
  • Gourd with maple leaf carved out

If you loved these, please press like, share the post, leave a comment or do all three. I love hearing from you. 🙂 Marsha 🙂

2019: Where Are the Unknown Super Blooms in California?

The desert super blooms in California attracted thousands of tourists this year to the desert for the second time in three years. Some blooms get lots of publicity, “like the explosive color along the Fresno County Blossom Trail—and there’s more to come. From late winter through May, the blossoms will span across the coast and foothills, and by June and July, flowers will festoon the state’s highest mountains.

Here’s how to plan your prime flower-viewing this spring, listed in order of appearance. To track the latest on blooms, check updates from the Theodore Payne Foundation Wildflower website or the California State Parks wildflowers page.” from Visit California

Boyd’s Grade Super Bloom

On the back way to the Sequoia National Park, through a small community named Elderwood, up the hill to Badger, just past the Rodeo Grounds is a little known road called Boyd’s Grade. It winds down the foothills to the small Valley town of Cutler-Orosi. My husband and I chose this as our destination last week to check out the local super blooms.

One large patch of poppies waved from the side of the hill.

The afternoon skies sparkled with wispy clouds and the cool breezes keep the flowers from wilting in the warm spring sun. In the foothills around Woodlake and towards Three Rivers, you will happen on many delights as you round the corners of the lonely country roads.

Boyd’s Grade view

Bellavista Super Blooms


In spite of the pleasant drive, Boyd’s Grade disappointed me. We only found one strong display of wildflowers. Maybe we were too late to enjoy the poppies.

When we moved to Elderwood twenty years ago, Vince named our home Bellavista, Italian for a beautiful view. I’m obviously prejudiced but our display of larger blossoms at home spoiled me. Many private homes in the Central Valley foothill communities have stunning poppy displays in their yards. March blooms were still thin but in the cool spring temperatures they continued to reseed and grow.

Our kitty Porsche loves to hunt for bugs in the flower garden.

April found the poppies at home out in full bloom. The snapdragons wintered over from last spring and must have reseeded. That has never happened to us. Our cat Scardy enjoyed a cool place to sleep. He’s been guarding the garden for seventeen years, and it’s worn him out.

Dry Creek Road Super Blooms

Several friends recommended a drive up Dry Creek Road on the east side of Woodlake. I’ve been excited to drive up there before the hot weather sets in and wilts all the wildflowers. For those of you who don’t live near Woodlake, it is a town of about 7,000 people situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about thirty minutes from Sequoia National Park.

Wicky-Up view from the parking lot.

My friend Monica grew up here, then did what most people do – she left and then returned to her ancestral home, Wicky-Up Ranch. She and her husband turned it into Woodlake’s only Bed and Breakfast. It is between Woodlake and Highway 198, the main road to Sequoia National Park.

Wicky-Up Ranch Bed and Breakfast – her 100+-year-old ancestral home. Enjoy this picture as a free puzzle.

Monica and I started at Wicky-Up and ventured on a photography shoot of Dry Creek Road. The last road before you turn left on Highway 198 to go to Sequoia National Park is Dry Creek Road. Turn left off Naranjo and prepare to be transported to a fairyland of beauty.

“The Valley of Dry Creek in Tulare County is better known and protected due to rare biotope – sycamore alluvial woodland community. In total there are only 17 such woodlands known in California and the one in Dry Creek is third largest and considered to be healthy. The area contains many species of rare plants.” Dry Creek Wildflower Meadows. Some of these flowers we could identify and some we couldn’t. I got help from two Facebook Groups, Plant Ident 101, and California Wildflower Tipline. They caused a flurry of debate. If you know what they are, please let me know.

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Travel Opportunities

If you are interested in travel, here in our Central Valley, or have someplace else on your bucket list, for a limited time I may be able to help you. We have a timeshare with more points than we can use. Contact me if you are interested in using our points to travel at a discount with no high-pressure sales pitch.