What Happens in Vega$

Finally! I'm catching up on our trip to LasVegas. This will be a long post so I will report on Annalisse's awesome grad party in the next day or two. So let's begin...!!

Mary, Nicole, Annalisse and I left for Las Vegas the morning of Wednesday, July 10 (which seriously seems so long ago even though it was only 11 days ago...), and arrived about an hours and a half later than planned, around 9:30 LV time, which was 12:30am NY time. So, we were a little whipped. We got settled into our room at the Mirage and promptly hit the sack.

Then, the next morning I woke up early as usual (around 5am LV time, which was not too bad considering I'm usually awake around 3-4am until I begin to adjust to West Coast time), and we got the reluctant girls moving so we could see some sights before I had to report for my presentation around 2pm. (You seriously would have thought they were vampires the way they screamed when I opened the blinds and let the sun in.) For those readers who do not yet know this, I had registered Annalisse for the Mirage's "Trainer For a Day"program where participants shadow dolphin trainers and assist with training from 9:45am until around 4pm." It was quite expensive, and I went back and forth about whether or not to register her for it, but in the end I decided to do it as a graduation gift since as she told me over and over, "if I want to work with dolphins I want to be sure I like it."

So, on Thursday morning before we ventured out, I had the front desk leave a message that there was an enveloped to be picked up at the concierge desk. I told the girls it was "probably related to my meeting," and when we got there I went up to let the clerk know I had been notified and was there to pick up my message. When the clerk asked, within earshot of my excited teenager, "Are you Annalisse Baker?," I could feel the surprise building with A as she came up to the desk to get her envelope. Then she backed a way and started to jump slightly up and down sort of hyperventilating as she suspected what the contents would reveal. She took out the letter inviting her to participate in the TFAD program on Saturday, July 13 and started jumping around and screaming, "I'm going swimming with the dolphins!" And then the tears came. She was sooooo excited. We probably do too many crazy things for our kids, but it is SO WORTH IT to see them so happy.

Once we brought her back to Earth, we ate breakfast and went to a couple different shops then had a quick lunch before I needed to head back to the hotel to shower and change before my presentation (which went really well). Then, we hooked up again to go for dinner and plan the next couple of days.

On Friday, I had just a little time in the morning before I had to go to a luncheon for my association, and after lunch (and a $6 mojito with my colleagues), I went back to the room to force myself to take a power nap before my board meeting started at 4pm. We had tickets to see the 9:30 show of The Beatles's LOVE, the Cirque du Soleil show we had seen a couple of years ago (Nic had not seen it), and I knew I would never make it without a little shut eye. While I was power napping, the girls went to Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum and hung out with some famous (wax) folks. They had a blast! After my meeting I had dinner with my colleagues, then met up with the girls to see the show, which was simply amazing, again.

On Saturday, I was tied up in my meeting (literally) all day, starting at 8am and ending in the evening with the Board dinner which concluded around 9pm. Mary and Nic dropped Annalisse off for her dolphin day, then went on their way to the Titanic Exhibit and more/never ending shopping. I dropped in after lunch to the dolphin area but was not able to see the "trainer" in action as she was having lunch, but she did come out to say "hi." She had an amazing, unforgettable day. What a great program it was! One interesting thing came out of it: She had always assumed that dolphin trainers needed a degree in biology/marine biology, but it turns out that they mostly have degrees in psychology and, in particular, animal behavior/psychology. Very interesting, and makes a lot of sense. As a result her interest in dolphin training has diminished a little since she does not see her academic interests going toward psychology. We shall see, I guess.

On Sunday, I was once again tied up in my meeting from 8am until around 11:30am, so when I got out we headed out to see the sights and shop again until it was time to be picked up by our cousin, Patsy, to head to her place for dinner with her husband, Joe and our cousin Nancy (her sister) and her family. We had dinner then floated in the pool for a while (90+ degrees~wonderful!), just chatting and having a very relaxing time. Our time in Las Vegas was almost over.  :(

On Monday, we didn't need to leave for the airport until around 11am, so we mostly just packed and hung around the pool savoring our last minutes in Las Vegas (which was a vacation for some, and work for another - me!). The trip home was uneventful and exhausting, and we arrived home and collapsed into bed around midnight. On Tuesday morning, it was up early for me who had to work, while Mary, Nic and Annalisse had the rest of the week off (with the exception of Mary, who has the summer off).

We had so much fun! I know some people look down on Las Vegas and I have to admit that I did, too, but you don't have to be a gambler to like it.  (Obviously, I didn't hit it big with my $25 investment since I've returned to Rochester and still need to go to work!) There are tons of places to shop and eat, and lovely and interesting attractions to see. Since my term on the board is up on June 30, 2014, I'm not sure if I'll go back to Vegas next year as I would need to be asked to serve again by the incoming president. My time on the board may be over soon, but it's been a wonderful ride!!
Mom and Daughter
Watch this space...future Oscar winner?
Mary and her friend George. Maybe she's the one to make him settle down?
A dream come true! Sort of. 
Are we outside?
Beautiful Garden
Kid Cuzins
The best "31 days" ever! 
Dreams do come true
New spokesperson
The Venetian Gondolas
Trainer for a Day letter
Happy Kid! 

Chocolate fountains - such decadence!
Nic and her date Tim


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