Did Somebody Say Aebleskiver Asylum?

Okay, I didn’t really have any aebleskivers; yet, of course. And I’m not in an asylum. But yesterday I started off my three day tour of this strange Danish town by sharing with everyone the story of how my husband sent me to Solvang, CA, on a little bit of a “mental health retreat” since I’m Pookie-less and in a bit of a funk these days.

Yesterday we established that if you have a case of the funks, Solvang can provide a fix through: (1) the eating and drinking; (2) weird, bizarro-shit; and (3) shopping.

Today the trip continued into this faux Danish town and all it’s glories.

#4 If the fix for a case of the funks is shopping (which we all know it is, and already established Solvang is good for), Solvang is the place for it.

I won’t go into the entire list of things that I purchased; although, I will say this: the majority of it was not for me. It was for my family. I got food, I got souvenirs, I got rosemary olive oil that may as well be gold for what it cost. And while just about everything in Solvang is overpriced, I am happy to say I found some pretty good deals regardless.

The one thing I got for myself that I must discuss at length, though, is something that I never thought I would find up here: a zebra-printed apron. I almost screamed in the middle of the shop when I saw it.

#5 If the fix for a case of the funks is bizarro tourism crap, Solvang is the place for it.

I originally planned on hitting up the miniature pony farm to see the cute 34 inch ponies, but that got scratched after 15 minutes of driving around looking for it to no avail. Instead, I returned to the downtown area of Solvang and went to the Hans Christian Andersen museum.

The museum, itself, was a little drab. It’s a little larger than a room and has a bunch of old copies of the guy’s books, plus a doll house and a head bust of Andersen, himself. Below the museum, though, is the Book Loft – which had tons of amazing books I spent about an hour looking through. I could have spent more, but I was getting hungry.

Later in the day, I went to the Old Mission Santa Inez. The mission nearby where we live sits on a busy street, and is always noisy. There is a garden in the center of it, but “peaceful” is never something I envision it to be. Old Mission Santa Inez on the other hand, is a quiet gem nestled above rolling hills and vineyards. There is an awesome outdoors Stations of the Cross installation; and there are benches that you can sit on to just relax.

Clearly this mental health thing is working, because while I was sitting in the quiet outside the mission, I realized that this is the first time of true quiet I’ve had since my vacation almost six months ago, to Chicago. What is wrong with that picture? Everyone’s lives are busy. When you have kids, there is always noise (except when the kids are in bed). But I think in our house, we go beyond that. Something is always on – be it a radio, a cd player, a computer, or a TV. We never just sit and enjoy the quiet together.

This has got to change or I will for sure be admitted to Aebleskiver Asylum, and for longer than just a few days.

#6 If the fix for a case of the funks is gambling away all your life’s savings, then Solvang is the place for it.

I didn’t actually gamble away all our life’s savings. I only gambled thirty bucks. And I lost it all.

There is an Indian Casino just a few miles North of Solvang, and I’m familiar with it because my mother used to come up here all the time to gamble in the middle of the night with her boyfriend; and also because on my birthday this year I came up and won about 300 dollars on Keno.

No such luck this time. At 30 I gave up. During the day, the place is also filled with tons of old people smoking cigarettes, so 30 minutes and 30 bucks was about it for me.

So now I’m heading out again – for some more of #1 (the eating and the drinking). The credit cards are going to have to rest now, and my liver will pick up the slack. On the third Wednesday of the month, Solvang has a Wine Walk – $20 for a glass and 5 tasting room tickets. After the Wine Walk I’m going to venture up to Santa Ynez (the town) to eat dinner. Much like Solvang, Santa Ynez has it’s own theme – only rather than Danish, it’s the Old West. Who knew in the middle of wine country you could find so much weirdness?

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A Case For Never Returning to Las Vegas

Oh yes, I know you are all so offended by this; that I, your fearless blogger, would make a case against Vegas.  But given that the Sin City is home to the absolute worst humanity has to offer, are you really surprised?

Today I received in the mail a correspondence from the Flamingo Sports Book/Keno lounge stating that the ground rules had been changed for the bet I had placed on the Chicago Bulls making Best Record for regular season in the N.B.A.  They stated that “best now means the championship,” to which they attached my ticket (that stated “Best Regular Season Record”).  Seems unfair (dare I suggest, illegal?), but since I don’t know if that $20 is worth waging a war with a multimillion dollar casino over, I feel contented in just saying:  “I’m never going to Vegas again.”

And why would I?  With a crime rate of approximately 70,000 annual overall crimes (over 9,000 of which are violent), and a safety index of 0 (with 100 being the safest), Vegas seems to be the place to avoid.

The one friend I have that lives in Las Vegas spends a considerable amount of his time outside of Vegas, and has even gone as far as to complain about the people that live there.  As well he should.  From my summation of those  I have seen the few times I have been there, the majority seem to be:

Drunks

Gamble-aholics

and Prostitutes

And while I’m sure that not all of the people which live within the walls of the most scandal-ridden city in America fit into those three categories (I know my friend and his friends don’t), suffice it to say it’s around just about every corner.  And if none of those can be seen in the flesh, there are always fifty of these guys snapping their slut cards at you:

But moreover, it seems as if the obsession we all have with weekends in Vegas come from a deep desire to be one of those people.  We want to be so drunk we can’t remember a thing.  We feel exhilarated by the thrill of gambling (and often losing) money.  And what is the old adage?  “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

The truth, though, is that what happens in Vegas does not really stay in Vegas.  With such a high crime rate, incidences of sexually transmitted disease, the loss of money and property, and the very real problem of alcoholism in our nation, Vegas reaches well beyond its borders.  A friend of mine recently stated on his Facebook that he should design a t-shirt with a baby on it and the caption “Everything doesn’t stay in Vegas.”  Truer words were never spoken, my friends.

Now, I’m all for a good time, and letting loose just once in a great while.  For gambling urges, there’s always the lotto, the Indian casinos, or a local game of senior BINGO.  There are local watering holes in just about every town in the country as well.  But to contribute to such a degraded, degenerate, defiled city by letting them siphon off every dollar and ounce of dignity that comes within 100 miles of its borders needs to stop.  No more Vegas for me, baby.