Viva Las Vegas.

No, I did not see any Elvii (plural of Elvis?) therein. I saw no teevee, movie, or music stars. I saw no big winners at the slots, blackjack, craps or roulette.

But I did see excess.

Lots of excess.

It is supposed that I am referring to the various casinos "city-within-a-city" theme productions, each trying to outsize, out-create and outlandish each other.

Theme hotels a.k.a. casinos based on the streets of New York with their own mini-Statue of Liberty and free-wheelin' roller coaster, or perhaps a skyrise hotel casino boasting the "to scale" version of the Eiffel Tower. There is the garishly ornate and overdone casino hotel attempting to reflect the canals of Venice, the Great Pyramid of Egypt, the Tropics, the French influence of Monte Carlo, and so on. If you can think of a theme, Vegas has your hotel!

But I did not go to Las Vegas to play. I went there to work.

Off the strip and away from the neon, paint and promises of glamour, glitz and gold ... the excess still prevails.

In a city where drought and water shortages threaten the very existence of itself, there are areas within the metroplex that reek of excessive attention to a landscaping philosophy that I associate with the Pacific Northwest.

Middle income homes with emerald green lawns in expanses that emulated the finest of golf courses. Bushes, flowers, trees, and shrubbery not indigenous to the desert (from which Las Vegas has grown) but instead mimicking the coastlines where rain and moisture prevail.

Medians within highways bursting with grass so lush that the thoroughbreds of Kentucky would feast en banquet.

A landscaping philosophy that requires water. Huge quantities of water. An excess of water.

Yes, I was charmed. I was awed. I was amazed.

Meanwhile, upon my departure, Las Vegas still had not received any measurable rainfall in 130+ days.

I am a desert girl, born and raised, and have grown used to the water conservative landscape of xeriscaping or grass that gets only "so green" because it requires minimal irrigation.

Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States. Spend three days in the city (avoiding The Strip) and visit the communities surrounding Las Vegas proper and you will witness the excess.

There is the excess of midday traffic that challenges your patience, your spirit and your skill to avoid drivers that simply turn wherever and whenever they like, without regard to your presence beside, behind or in front of them.

Rush hour traffic is a convergence of kamikaze commuters and road warriors.

There are churches that look like Hollywood theaters on steroids. Huge parking lots and very few religious icons identifying their function but instead boasting signage of flashing neon advertising their presence. An excess of presence to bring a community of excess to its religious knees.

Simple businesses that look the same in everytown America take on a new excessive look in Las Vegas: McDonald's has three story neon french fry cartons filled with blinking fries, the QuikLube appears to be a two story bordello of The Old West, and the carwash offers cappuccino, frappés, and scantily clad women to vacuum and wash your vehicular cares away!

Oh, and the very best: the hospitals. My, my, my.

Most of the hospitals of Las Vegas offer valet parking which, at first, seemed way over-the-top. But upon discovering the valets of the Las Vegas medical community a couple of years ago, I find that a few of the facilities in Phoenix have now also adopted this luxury.

But ... the facilities themselves ...

The once austere, purely functional entry areas of hospitals have now become lobbies of excess that reach four stories high navigated with glass elevators peering down into atriums filled with marble statuary, fountains and koi filled ponds, and terrazzo flooring that goes on for miles.

High tech circular black marble information desks that NASA would envy are surrounded by green neon.

Brass railings reflecting both the desert sun and the terracotta pots brimming with bright pink and orange oversized silk florals.

Crystal chandeliers so massive and grandiose that I know Liberace himself is simply coveting them from his Heavenly piano bench!

Hospitals, that from the exterior, look like resorts or perhaps reflect the excessive over indulgence of ornamentation found more centrally located on The Strip.

I actually thought, while searching for one facility so new that the road was not on my map, that I had stumbled upon Las Vegas's newest casino/hotel with a Mediterranean theme and then discovered it was actually my client!

A beautiful facility nestled in the side of the southern Las Vegas mountains, this stunning display of architecture truly did not look like a hospital with its massive circular red brick paved driveway, huge marble columns, and Greco Roman statuary.

It "felt" excessive.

I felt that at any moment Robin Leach would emerge welcoming me to "The Lifestyles of the Sick and Infirmed" and invite me inside for an afternoon tea of paté and caviar!

In four days, I saw every crook and nanny of metropolitan Las Vegas. I got lost twice due to the increase of new highways and byways. I visited North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Henderson, Nellis AFB, Green Valley, etc.

I witnessed excess. A city that depends so heavily on the excesses of the gaming and hospitality industries has truly taken itself seriously.

Viva Las Vegas.


Well kats and kittens, I am outtie until Friday, July 28th.

Be good to each other. Be kind. Be loving.

Play nice.



Art is subjective. No surprise there. But why am I my own worst critic?

I remember being in perhaps, um, sixth grade and my parents had returned from one of those evening parent/teacher conferences.

[I never knew what to expect upon their return because my grades were always very good, but I tended to disrupt class with my silly antics and chittering with my lil' girlie friends. I can still hear Mom's voice, "You have a special gift Jann, and not everyone is that smart but EVERYONE can behave themselves!"]

Anyhow, that particular night they returned from a conference with Mr. Shyrock.

Sitting at the desk attempting to look penitent yet studious, Mom and Dad came in and stood there staring at me blankly.

I cautiously asked, "Well?"

Dad simply said, "Jann, Mr. Shyrock said you are your own worst enemy".

With that declaration made, they kissed me goodnite and that, m'dear, was that.

What in the Hell was that supposed to mean to a sixth grader?

As my life progressed through my adolescence, struggling teenage years, university life and emergence into the world as a young professional woman, those words came back to haunt me:

"Jann, you are your own worst enemy".

I was recently hired to create numerous web page templates for a client whose only stipulation was "conservative, businesslike, no jewels." Other than that, I was given carte blanche.

Whilst working on the templates I told my sweetheart, Jason, that the graphics sucked and the client would be horribly disappointed; I told my designer buddy, Kelly, that the client would probably fire me before paying me the final installment!

I was convinced that I sucked, my art sucked, and life sucked because of the aforementioned suckage.

"Jann, you are your own worst enemy".

Said client called yesterday upon receipt of the graphics CD. I held my breath.

"Jann, these are exactly what I wanted! They are perfect! I am so excited, I knew they would be beautiful". Oh my.

Yeah, art is subjective ... but I AM my own worst enemy.

Kelly ... thank you sweet friend. For your strength, your spirit, and for the sunflowers to brighten my week!

Thank you Jeff for the sweet words and for sharing Daisy and Toby with me.

Kandee! Congrats! See? All good things come to those who wait. I am just beaming with joy for you and for those who love you!


First things first: a thank you. Actually many thank yous. The words of comfort, support and caring so sweetly given in the passing of my little buddy Pepper have meant the world to me.

So... Anna, Becky, Jane, Kelly, Kimbley, Leah, Moni, Nancy, Susan, and Tammy

... I thank you. Sincerely.

Pepper was a great little guy.

He was not your yappy little dog poodle. No, he had a deep "manly dog" bark and would not hesitate to use it upon the approach of dogs twice his size.

He loved everybody.

But, I have to admit, he was a "man's dog." If you are a pet owner and know them well, you know what this means. Sometimes animals just seem to take better to one gender or another.

He was my Dad's best friend. Pepper was there with him when my father died washing the car - - and I am sure that Pepper was great comfort to my Dad as he drew his last breath. I just know that lil' Pepsi-doodle is having a game of fetch with Dad.

After the passing of my Dad, Pepper became hopelessly attached to my brother. And yes, Bob became equally attached to Pep. Bob even once stated that the only reason he remained living in his current house was to remain close to Pepper.

The day we buried Pepper was so hard on Bob. Here was a 40+ masculine man, full of physical strength and courage, weeping heartbroken over the loss of this wee furry creature.

That same night it rained in Phoenix. Mom went outdoors to check the weather. Looking into the pouring rain across the late night darkness, she found Bob soaking wet and squatting graveside "talking to Pepper" ... looking for something to cover the freshly turned earth so "Pepper would not get wet."

... and Mom. She is crushed. Lost in anguish of losing her precious little boydog. Straining under the weight of having to decide when the time was right to "put him down" ... whilst being caring, loving and responsible to not let Pepper continue to endure his painfilled days. She will miss him. She grieves as though her child has been taken from her. Her tears break my heart.

And Leicee Jae ... my sweet little canine angel. She was Pepperpot's cohort, 'bestest' friend, sleeping pal, and "adopted" little sister. He watched over her, protected her, and loved her endlessly. They played together like tireless children and Pepper taught Leicee all his bad habits: knocking the pillows off the couch and how to beg at mealtime.

Neither dog was particularly fond of water ... yet just a few days ago, Mom went outdoors to find both furry little aging critters romping in the sprinklers like wild young puppies in the hot summer sun! Guess you are never to old to learn a new trick, eh Pepper?

Leicee misses Peppy. She wanders looking for him. She did not eat. She would not sleep in the bed. Gawd, I wish I could explain it to her.

But then again, who will explain it to me? Who will teach me how to make the ache go away? Who will explain how a puppy's warm wet nose creates deep feelings that spans almost two decades?

I guess it is simply because Pepper was a great little guy.


My heart is heavy and the lump in my throat will not go away. My spirit aches. Tears flow releasing the anguish of loss.

How do you say goodbye to something you have loved so very much for almost 18 years?

Thank you Pepper, for being my lil' buddy and bringing our family so much joy.



Now little friend, you run with the angels.


I have been having an inner 'mental discourse' on the love/hate relationship of teasing.

Oh, I am not referring to the teasing of our childhood i.e. "You're a poopie head" nor am I referring to the teasing of flirtation i.e. the sexual ballet of mental foreplay.

I am referring to the adult level of teasing that often begins with, "Did you hear...?" or perhaps "Oh guess what...?" and then inevitably ends with, "Um, oh nevermind. Just forget I said anything".


I recently experienced this with a business associate.

He intimated that something was going to happen, or did happen, or might happen ... but wanted to know what I knew FIRST before he told me any of the details.

I naturally inferred that something foreboding was transpiring.

Since I knew nothing of the subject to which he was referring, I turned it back at him and found myself begging (yes, Virginia ... I begged) to know just what in the heck he was attempting to learn from me.

Oh, the silly games we play!

Of course I do not believe he was purposely attempting to cause me to play mental slap-myself-stupid games ... but upon disconnecting the phone, I found myself wondering just what in the Hell was going on? Was something 'brewing'?


You know how the old adage, "Curiosity killed the cat"? Jann-The-Incurable-Curious was long dead and buried about 24 hours ago! Curious my arse!

I could not stand the mental ruminations: the scenarios created within my goofy blondie brain and the wild "what ifs" that totally skewed my sensibilities.

Let me herein interject, I am known for my cool, levelheaded approach to life and all of its twist, turns and obstacles; this particular gentleman does not have a history of mental teasing tennis ... so I thought there was perhaps substance to his gamesmanship.

Afterall, this is the fortnight of Wimbledon, no? Perhaps his lob of suggestion was a bit more of a base line volley?

I broke down this morning ... a Saturday ferchrissakes ... and called him!

Oh, the humiliation!

I just flat out said, "You are driving me nuts!" and then with all the force of Pete Sampras serving to love-40, I slammed him with a "Tell me now or I am going to have to kill you!"

[By the way, he is safely over 1000 miles away and a dear friend/coworker for over ten years; the "killing" reference was simply for shock value]

But I digress ...

Bottom line: he was asking simply because he did not know. No more, no less. He thought I would know. I know nothing.

Except this: don't go there unless you plan to 'splain yourself up front. After all, didn't your Mommy teach you that it is not nice to tease others?

*wink, poke ... and a grin*

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