Signs of the Times: Welcome to McDonald’s (but after 30 minutes, get the hell out!)

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

Las Vegas Strip, Nevada. I understand that on the Vegas strip, many people probably “linger” a bit longer than some businesses may like, but this sign is pretty clear. I also definitely get why you don’t want people who aren’t paying customers to hang out, but wow, if someone is enjoying a Big Mac bonanza, he or she should probably be allowed to at least begin the digestion process. I wonder if the people to which the sign is targeted think to themselves, “Wow, like the sign says, I’ve overstayed my “welcome,” I had better move on.”

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser 2013

On the other hand, this Mickey D’s further down on the south side of the LV strip where it’s less populated and glitzy, has a sign that says, “Here’s where the party is People!!” Now here is a welcome sign. I’m lovin’ this one!

Sign of the Times: Think of Your “Happy Place” — The Impound Lot

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

Colorado, USA: You have to love it when traffic sign writers use sarcasm. This one, in particular, caught my eye. Definitely, by conjuring up an image of my minivan being towed, I thought twice about parking in this spot.

Visualize being towed

Travel Oops: The Unfortunate Photo — Loving Our London Fogs

© Edward Schuck

Me, my sister, Suzie, and my mom, Judy. © Edward Schuck 1980

Monterrey, California, USA. I don’t think my dad took a photo from our family trip to San Francisco and the towns along Highway 1 in which we are not wearing our trench coats. Granted, the weather was fairly overcast and cloudy, but dang, we got more than our money’s worth with this rain-ready apparel. Clearly, I had a prominent Dutchboy bowl haircut.  Constantly being mistaken for a boy, I  definitely was in the awkward years.

© Edward Schuck 1980

© Edward Schuck 1980

Classic cable car shot: My sister and I look like we’re in a Rice-a-Roni — “The San Francisco Treat” ad. The guy in the red sweater and leather jacket brings some much-needed style into the photo.

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Travel Ahh…Seeing Wildlife in the Wild

© Edward Schuck

© Edward Schuck

I’ve always liked zoos; in fact, I was a junior zookeeper when I was in seventh grade, living in Santa Barbara, California. However, nothing quite compares to seeing animals in their natural habitat — in the wild (albeit some are in wildlife preserves.) The photo of the hippo (above) and the other photos of African animals were taken by my dad in Tanzania. I think they are fantastic and I feel as if I’ve seen the creatures myself. Someday I will get to Africa, until then, I’ll look at photos.

The other photos are various pictures I took on our travels.

© Edward Schuck

© Edward Schuck

Tanzania, Africa. A mother lion and her cubs.

© Edward Schuck

© Edward Schuck

Tanzania, Africa. An elephant herd.

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Friday Funny Sign: “Shovel Not Included”

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

Colorado, USA, Along highway 285. Dirt can be a hot commodity — by the truckload —  but this little snow encrusted pile seems like it might be better for a batch of mud pies. I saw this on the way to Denver International Airport and didn’t have time to take a photo. Surprisingly, it was still there when Kurt, the kids and I returned to Colorado a week later. I’m guessing it’s not going anywhere.

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

Travel Oops: What Happens in Vegas Sometimes Comes Back With You

© Stephanie Cadmus

© Stephanie Cadmus 1998

Two out of three Vegas cab drivers recommend Tattoos R Us to their riders who ask. At least those were the results of an informal poll about where to get tattoos taken by my friends Steph, Anne and me. This data, along with a prominent ad featured in the Las Vegas Yellow Pages, came in handy when, ultimately, I wanted a bit of rebellion — in a pretty mainstream sort of way.

© Lasvegaslover

© Lasvegaslover

Fed up with a brutal Minnesota winter and a bad breakup, I made a last-minute decision to join my friends Anne and Steph on a girls’ weekend trip to Las Vegas. A good dose of Vegas guarantees a distraction at the very least.

The schedule of pool time, nap time, get-ready time, dinner drinks and dancing time was perfect although no rebellion there.

Of course, one goal of my friends was to devote some time to the casinos. They went for Blackjack, Craps and Roulette.  I cranked ten dollars through a slot machine and declared I was done. That was the cost of a CD after all.

©  Raul654 at en.wikipedia

© Raul654 at en.wikipedia

Because, at that point, I ranked everything in terms of loss, I couldn’t get into the mode of gambling. Every day at breakfast, our group would recap the winnings and losses of the previous evening. “I’m $2,000 down after last night,” said one of Anne’s friends. “But the night before I was $4,000 up.”

What the — Just cut your losses — GET OUT NOW was all I could think. After expressing concern over the up and down developments, I sensed outrage.

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Friday Funny Sign: Walk-ins Welcome but Leave Your Saddle at the Door, Please

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

Colorado, USA. The west may be wild, but you can still look good — even if you’re a horse, right? This part of the country does love their horses and people have a tendency to name anything from bars to beauty salons “Wild Horses.”

Travel Oops: The Unfortunate Photo — Here’s a ‘Little Ditty’ about a Rock Star Who Didn’t Really Want his Picture Taken

Look at how excited John Mellencamp is to pose with me.

Look at how excited John Mellencamp is to pose with me!

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA. In 1986, I posed in a photo with John (Cougar) Mellencamp, one of the biggest rock ‘n rollers in the United States at the time. “Jack and Diane,” “Hurts So Good” “Pink Houses,” “Small Town,” “Lonely Ol’ Night,” “R.O.C.K’ in the USA”  are a few of his “little” ditties.

You don’t need to be a body language reading expert to assess that the picture was pretty much taken against his will. That summer, Mellencamp was vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I was there, too, with my good friend, Melissa, and her family. The condo where we stayed overlooked Mellencamp’s penthouse. Word on the beach was that he was staying there, and that we might run into him.

One day I was walking on the beach with Melissa’s cousin, Catherine, from Pennsylvania. She spotted Mellencamp, and being a bit more…aggressive, persistent and “east coast,” shall we say, she immediately had a mission.  “Come awwwn, Steph…let’s go talk to him,” Catherine said as she trooped over to get his photo. She shoved me in the picture, and I felt very awkward, especially since it was clear John did not want to be bothered.

John Cougar Mellencamp's penthouse © Stephanie Glaser 1986

John Cougar Mellencamp’s penthouse © Stephanie Glaser 1986

The Travel Ahh…Bridges

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser 2011

I love bridges. They are artistic, functional and symbolic.  Just the idea of connecting two places along with a way to further travel is enough reason for me to appreciate bridges. It must have started for me at an early age because grew up in Eden Prairie, MN, USA. It was the town with the Graffiti Bridge, after which rocker Prince named his 1990 movie and album. The following are photos from my travels, and the majority are pictures of structures found in the United States, Europe and Australia. One of my travel goals is to take photos of bridges in Africa, South America and more from Asia.

Above is the Hood River Bridge that spans over the Columbia River from Hood River Oregon and White Salmon, Washington.

© Edward Schuck

© Edward Schuck 2004

Prague, Czech Republic. Prague has the bridges — here’s the Charles Bridge, which is sort of sandwiched in between two other bridges. It is a very recognizable landmark.

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The Travel Ahh….Life on a Frozen Lake

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota. In many cases winter represents an end to something: like an end to fall, an end to warm weather, an end to the year, an end to a life cycle. It can be a bit depressing, really. Consequently, I’m not a fan of winter or the cold, but when you travel back to Minnesota for the holidays, that is what you will get. This year I decided, however, to appreciate winter, in particular, the beauty and the mystery of a frozen lake.

© Stephanie Glaser

Seaweed in the ice © Stephanie Glaser

A frozen lake is just another phase of a life cycle. Actually, you see quite a bit of life, albeit some of it cryogenically preserved. Sensory details keep it interesting as well whether it is the crunch of snow, the cold on your face or the bright glare of the sun reflecting off the ice.

A somewhat unsettling, but cool, sound occurs when the ice contracts and expands, making noises like a whale or a thick wire reverberating. My favorite description is from my son Eddie, who noticed the ice sounded a stormtrooper firing his blaster in “Star Wars.” So really it’s like whales playing laser tag. Fortunately, this is normal activity for a frozen lake and while there are cracks that happen way down in the layers of ice, water seeps in and refills the cracks.

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