Saturday, March 31, 2007

The details, per popular demand

It's good to be reminded.

Geosister sent me an e-mail requesting I go into more detail about this entry. Here goes:

During my visit to Las Vegas, I suffered my worst bout of depression in years. Not only that, but come on? Being in a fun city, surrounded by numerous attractions not available in any other U.S. city?

Didn't matter. We got there Sunday late morning after a pleasant drive. I got to fulfill my desire to watch the tourney selection in the sportsbook (already shared that with you). And as eager as I was to visit Vegas, bear in mind that I don't gamble. (I have no major moral or religious objections to it. Gambling just does not appeal to me.) But the next morning, while out on a drive to obtain certain food items and other supplies, I felt sad.

More than the blues. Really down.

This mood persisted for the remainder of our stay. And it lasted until about Wednesday of the following week.

What happened?

Hard to say. Depression is one of those conditions that can have numerous and varied causes. I do keep in mind that it seems to run in my family. In my case, though, there may have been other factors. I'll share them here.

1) Isolation. Geogal was there for a conference (she has about three of these per year, and sometimes I will tag along. There were even occasions in the past where all three of us would travel, and Geoana and I would take in the sights while Geogal sat in meetings. This time Geoana stayed in Arizona with one of her friends, as Las Vegas is not known for being the most child-friendly city. I am an introvert and certainly derive strength from my times alone, but I am learning that I still need connection with other people on a regular basis. So, for most of the days there, I was disconnected from others. Sure, there are plenty of people moving about in these Strip resorts, but it's different from actual fellowship with friends or colleagues. And I'm sure I was missing my daughter.

2) Exercise. (The lack thereof.) I belong to a gym, and my routine nowadays is to drop off Geoana at school, then bust a sweat either doing cardio or weights. And yes, Caesars Palace did have exercise facilities, but with a charge of $20 per day. I did a considerable amount of walking during my visit, but that just isn't the same as aerobic exercise.

3) Disturbed sleep. Happened two out of our four nights there. I already described being awakened by the firework festivities followed by the Stardust implosion. Our last night in Vegas found us at the Mirage (the conference was over and we elected to go for a less expensive room). Advice to the Vegas visitor: don't get a third-story room at a resort. About 3 in the morning, we were awakened by the thump, thump, thump of loud music. Turned out it was coming from one of the lounges. The hotel manager got an earful from Geogal when we checked out. I learned that disturbing my sleep is one of the best ways to effect my mood--this being one of the many lessons learned from the time Geoana was born. That was the last time I suffered from depression of the level I am describing. Not only did I have no clue how to be a father or how to care for a newborn, but was dealing with a very dysphoric mental condition combined with Geogal having postpartum depression. After our sleep pattern was somewhat restored, the depression abated.

4) Spend spend spend. (And be gouged.) I'm trying not to be such a cheapskate, but yeesh! Stay at one of the top Vegas resorts, and it seems EVERYTHING costs extra. Want internet in your room? 10 dollars a day. Want a USA Today? 75 cents. Want to work out? I already mentioned that one. Want a cold nonalcoholic drink by the pool? 12 bucks. Tip not included. I could go on, but you get the idea. Maybe, just maybe my internal calculator added to my despondent mood. Particularly when I think about our road trip last October, when we stayed in medium-level hotels and got used to things such as free in-room wi-fi and a friggin' USA Today being provided at no charge.

5) Unmet expectations. I think this happens to anyone who travels to a particular destination, has a very enjoyable time, but on the subsequent jaunt things just are not the same, in the negative way. Both Geogal and I have been to Vegas previously so perhaps our mental expectations were just not met. I was looking forward to the trip, but as we were leaving for home on Wednesday, Geogal said she didn't feel any compelling need to ever visit Sin City again. I agreed.

Who knows? It may have been a combination of all the above items. Needless to say, Geogal's next business trip is to Colorado Springs in June.

I'm staying home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blurred insights

Geogal comes to me, shows me an article in one of the community-based weekly newspapers in southern Chandler. "Look at this," she said as she turned to one of the stories.

It featured my blog, along with some of the photos I used.

"Wow," I replied. "I didn't know anyone beyond family and assorted friends were regular readers of this stuff I just type every few days."

Then suddenly I am no longer sitting at my kitchen table. I am laying face-down on my bed.

The clock reads 3:30 (a.m.).

Just what that dream meant, I do not know. For the record I don't know what the vast majority of my early-morning dreams are supposed to mean. I am aware that our dream life helps us maintain our sanity so judging by the off-the-scale weird factor of a few of my own dreams, I am very likely the most sane, lucid person you may ever meet.

And to have wide readership of this blog? No thanks. I am a private person by nature, and I enjoy the intimacy I have with the visitors to this site. In some upcoming posts I will share more about what was so troubling for me last week, and the insights I gained from the experience.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hook 'Em!

The game went about the way I expected it to. Actually, back up a bit. The final score was about what I expected. I'm glad the Aggies hung in there most of the game, and made it a contest.

But if they had to lose, well, no one better to take the "W" than the University of Texas.

As I alluded in an earlier entry, I watched the selection show from the sportsbook of Caesars Palace. I'm sure my expression was priceless when I learned who NMSU's opponent would be.

I'll be cheering for the 'Horns on Sunday.

And, since you asked, how was Las Vegas? Not that great, sad to say.

I won't go into much detail, but it was not the best out-of-town trip I had. And no, I didn't lose vast sums at the tables, nor do I have big guys with Italian surnames chasing me. No, I didn't get sick. No, I didn't get sunburned by the pool. No, Geogal and I did not have any conflicts during the trip. I just got broadsided by my own mind and body chemistry, something I never saw coming.

To quote Forrest Gump: "That's all I have to say about that."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Just another night in Sin City

I had a fleeting thought of attaching an image of the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign, but the only way I could do so would be to violate someone else's copyright, so I won't proceed.

You can imagine it, though. I'm sure you've seen it.

There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night (actually, make that having noise wake you up in the middle of the night), and realizing you are hearing the sounds of the Stardust Resort hotel implosion. I didn't even know it was scheduled to go down until Geogal clued me in yesterday.

Sure enough, about 2:30 this morning, pop, pop, pop. (Many more pops followed.) Unbeknownst to me, there was a fireworks display before the actual implosion.

There is a YouTube video of it here.

And no, we didn't see it. While our Caesar's Palace room window does face the general direction of the Stardust, not only were Geogal and I not about to get out of our warm comfortable bed, but our north-facing window view was blocked by both the Mirage and Treasure Island hotels.

Only in Vegas.


After spending a couple of days soaking in the culture of man-made Las Vegas, I will reward myself this afternoon with a visit to the God-made mountainous area west of here.

I think I need it.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Congratulations, NMSU Aggies!

Their ticket is punched.

Outstanding job kudos go to Reggie Theus and all of the Aggie basketball players.

See you at the big dance.

Madness in full gear (maybe)

Go Aggies!

So far, the high point of this Saturday for me was to inform Geogal that Nevada lost last night.

As we will be traveling to Las Vegas tomorrow, I plan to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show from the Caesar's Palace sportsbook. Although I am looking forward to the atmosphere I must acknowledge there will be no suspense for me. If NMSU wins tonight, they're in. If they lose, hello NIT. I won't hold out for an at-large berth.

I am not a college basketball historian. Yet I doubt Cinderella has ever been a small school in the southwest United States. Maybe the time is right.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Quiet weekend

Brain is still in slow mode. I can almost hear the message that is being fired from many neurons in the organ between my ears: "He worked hard for the last few weeks, give him the rest he needs."

Tomorrow, I am returning to familiar digs, doing a job I enjoy and at which I am somewhat good. So this Sunday is less stressful than the last several.

I do hope I can muster the needed mental and physical energy for the next couple of months. March features a sojourn to Las Vegas (starting a week from today!) and April contains two birthdays in the Geohouse, plus a third birthday in the extended family. April may or may not contain a visit from said family as well. Everyone reading this blog knows that even if family visits are congenial there is still a concurrent level of stress for everyone involved.

But there's always May.