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My Weekend Was Better than Yours: November 22-25

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Heidi Kyser at the Rain Tree on Mount Charleston

I’m a simple girl with simple needs — a warm, strenuous yoga class, some homemade French pastry, the occasional live theater performance, and time in the wilderness. Oh yeah, and live professional hockey! Duh. As it happens, I got all these things over the Thanksgiving holiday. Hashtag that.

The Thursday feast itself was fine. Inspired by the restaurant Tacotarian (SHAMELESS PLUG: See DC’s December issue for my review), my stepson’s girlfriend and I switched the traditional turkey meal for a taco buffet. Our family is mostly vegetarian/vegan, so we’re free of the roast beast obligation. And, let’s face it, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green beans on their own aren’t that special. If I have to go to the trouble of cleaning the house and taking a shower for company, then I’m going to put something on the table that inspires “Ooh”s and “Ahh”s. Like tacos.

But the real fun began Friday, when my husband and I went to see the Vegas Golden Knights welcome Nate Schmidt back from his totally bogus suspension with a revenge-win against the Calgary Flames. Like most Las Vegans, I didn’t know how fun live hockey was until the Knights came along. My husband, however, grew up in New Jersey and started lacing up skates to play on his town’s frozen pond around age 8. Not only does he totally love going to hockey games, too, but he also knows what the hell he’s talking about. So, I get the bonus of a personal translator. Go, Knights, go!

Of course, you can’t watch hockey without drinking beer, and since it was a holiday weekend, we kind of cut loose on that front. Thus Saturday began with tacos-and-beer penance at a yoga class taught by my all-time favorite teacher, Rachael Sellars. Somehow, she always reads my mind and plans a class that focuses on the one thing I really don’t want, but probably need, to do. In this case, it was shoulders, which I had apparently strained with excessive clapping and mug-hoisting. After dolphin, eagle, and various other animal-themed poses had put me right, I met a couple girlfriends at La Belle Terre for croissants and cappuccino. Did I mention it was a holiday weekend?

Later that day came the theater part. I’d gotten a press invitation to see Jordance Studios’ production of “The Nutcracker With a Latin Twist”(their emphasis), and honestly couldn’t wait. The producer billed it as demonstrating that “classical ballets are more than just an outdated art form, and they can be reimagined with an ethnically diverse background.” I’ll admit, I went out of morbid curiosity — significantly lowering the “we’re reinterpreting a classical ballet” bar — and I wasn’t disappointed. It was kids' show, with all the snicker-filled moments that implies, but it was also a top-notch amateur production, beautifully danced at times, and the ringleted toddler who played the Moro Doll with fierce earnestness more than made up for any shortcomings. My only complaint was that it could've used more Latin twist. I would have liked a few more of the flamenco-inspired numbers like the one featured in the Land of the Sweets scene. And, while they’re at it, maybe Jordance could throw in some Bollywood- or African dance-inspired scenes next year. I’d pay money to see that.

One thing I’ll never have to pay for, provided the current administration doesn’t succeed in its apparent plan to privatize all our public lands, is the privilege of hiking the beautiful open spaces around Las Vegas. On Sunday, my husband and I did a classic, the six-mile North Loop Trail to Rain Tree at Mount Charleston. We suspected it would be less crowded than usual, due to the holiday and low temperature (high of about 35 degrees), and we weren't disappointed. The higher, north-facing parts were dusted with snow, and just as we reached the mythical bristlecone pine, the sun broke through the clouds. Perfect for picnicking at 10,000 feet on the last day of a nice holiday weekend. Thanks, Las Vegas.

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