Thursday, December 29, 2011

Viva, Las Vegas

This year was our first Christmas without my Mom. My sister and I were kind of at a loss as to what to do, since we usually spent the holiday at home. We were tossing around ideas and decided to do something completely different, so we went to Las Vegas.

We flew out on Christmas Day and had three hour layover in Milwaukee. We were really lucky that the weather was mild (we were worried that we would get stuck there with snow) and even more lucky that a friend of mine was able to come out the airport to meet us and let me monopolize her baby.

We got in very late on Sunday night and had Christmas with my sister and room service. We stayed at Treasure Island. She had been in Vegas for about 8 hours already and had done all kinds of reconnaissance for us. Then we crashed.

Monday morning, Jim and I went on a tour of Hoover Dam. This was really an amazing sight. The construction process and how they had to divert the Colorado River is just a marvel. We took the tour of the power plant and got to go 540 feet down into the dam. On the way back, we stopped at Ethel M Chocolates (the M is the Mars candy people). Unfortunately they weren't making candy because of the holiday, but we still got a sample and bought some chocolates.

Monday night, we had a fantastic dinner at StripSteak in the Mandalay Bay casino. Big thanks to whichever friend it was that mentioned the Black Friday deal on, because we never would have eaten there otherwise. They brought us an amuse of duck fat fried potatoes with matching dipping sauces and Sara ordered the bacon lobster fritters appetizer. Jim had the biggest slab of steak I've seen in a long time. I had the loup du mer (sea bass) and my sister had an absolutely divine waygu rib cap steak that melted in your mouth. We all shared a side of bacon creamed spinach and scalloped potatoes.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about Tuesday.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day #18

This is really the card for Sunday, but this weekend has been so messed up that we ended up doing it tonight. We love driving around and looking at holiday lights. My sister (wave hi, Sara) and family used to do this at home and she invented the term Christmas Craptactular to describe this particular type of holiday excess.

In the last week or so, we saw both of these houses on television and made it a mission to find them. The first one we saw on HGTV's Extreme Christmas: Bigger and Brighter. After the show, Jim somehow figured out who and where exactly this house was. We drove down there and there was a huge line of traffic, but so worth it. The lights were synced to music and if you tuned your car radio to the right channel, you could listen along to the show.

From there we went to the second house. This one we saw on the nightly news. Unfortunately, it was there because some teens were caught on home security vandalizing the display. The homeowner was out, handing out candy canes and talking to visitors. He said that whatever those kids were up to backfired, because he never had more support and help from the neighborhood in restoring the display. However, this will be the last year that they do the decorating, as it is just too much work. I'm really glad that we made it by.