Well, Dad and I are back from our un-Christmas in Vegas, complete with pictures and memories of holidays in the very big, very weird city. ;-)

We had a touch of trouble actually GETTING to Vegas, since we were due to fly through Chicago *ahem*. Instead we did what Dad dubbed a "circular tour of the United States" by flying from Evansville to Memphis, Memphis to Dallas, and Dallas to Vegas.

But hey, we got there!

So what did we do while we were there?

Gawked at the Chihuly ceiling and Conservatory in our hotel, the Bellagio...

Chiluly Ceiling

Bellagio Conservatory

We rambled through enormous hotels like the MGM Grand, New York, Paris, and our favorite, the Venetian...

Our Turn

We ate a spectacular Christmas dinner at Sensi, complete with a glassed view of the kitchen. It was like sitting in Kitchen Stadium on Iron Chef!

Christmas Dinner

We ate crepes poolside, because, well, we could. ;-)

Breakfast

We marveled at the Bellagio fountain shows - once we caught them!

Huge!

We watched dolphins frolic and big cats (leopards, lions and tigers) eye us warily...

Lookie There!

We watched the Sirens show at TI, and the volcano erupt at the Mirage...

Volcano VI

We also wandered through malls, ate delicious food, watched the Mystere Cirque du Soleil show, and generally walked our legs off every day. But for me, the highlight of the trip?

Taking a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon.

Not only was it spectacular, but I totally want to learn how to fly a helicopter now. So. Much. Fun. What an memorable trip...

Let's go!

Rawk!

The Strip from the air...

Amazing View

Lake Mead...

Lake Mead

Hoover Dam...

Hoover Dam III

And the Grand Canyon itself...

Colorado River II

Veering Off

We're Here!

Detail

What a great un-Christmas trip! Wanna see the whole trip set? Check it out on Flickr (warning: there are a lot of pictures of drool-worthy food, mostly taken for Don to gawk at!)...

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So, because this is the first Christmas without Mum, we're all doing things a bit differently this year.

Dad and I talked about it, and after discovering Don and Michelle were planning a trip, we decided maybe we should get away as well, spend Christmas somewhere completely distracting.

We made reservations, we found the perfect hotel, and we're jetting out on Christmas Eve, heading home on December 28.

Where else can you forget your sorrows of the season?

Vegas, baby.

las vegas

A room at the Bellagio, some gambling, some food, some sightseeing, and I think we'll get through the holiday after all. Expect lots of pictures and touristy gushing when I return!

But until then, I want to wish each and every one of you a happy, precious, fun-filled, safe, lovely and warm Christmas. You have all certainly made this holiday brighter for me with your comments, emails and warm wishes.

Thank you.

Happy Holidays!

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I know, I know.

It's been a stupidly long time since I blogged anything other than book reviews, NaNoWriMo and my trip to England, so let's catch up with each other, shall we?

What's Marissa been up to? Well...

We've continued to paint walls at the library, culminating in a quote above the circulation desk, painted by the lovely Hilary...

("A good book is the best of friends" - English Proverb)

Quote Wall

I turned into a giggling 14 year old girl when I went with the girls to see Twilight (which I totally loved, of course!)...

November 22

I got lovely flowers from Dad for Thanksgiving...

November 25

We got through our first Thanksgiving without Mum, by celebrating in TinyTown, and Michelle and I cooked!

The Feast

I've got my Christmas lights up on Sunnymeade for the first time...

Done!

I took my father BOWLING for the first time in about 50 years, he thinks...

November 28

We went for a "walk in the woods"...

Harmonie Walk

And you can come along too!



I saw my first Evansville Iceman hockey game (a new league formed this year)...

November 29

I watched the last of the leaves fall...

Leaves II

And I giggled when a piece of the library roof fell in too (but then I got kinda ticked off)...

Destroyed

So, what have you been up to? :-)

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So, about a month ago, Dad and I took a trip back to England to visit family for a couple of weeks. Most of our time we spent hanging out with family, catching up, and just abdicating responsibility to the world for a while, though we did manage to squeeze in a few tourist-y things, as well as some new adventures. And hey, I even managed to write 10,000 words of my novel while we were there. ;-)

Though the weather didn't cooperate, we had a great trip with a lot of family, food, and of course, photos. ;-)

Enjoy!

I do love a pebble beach...(the beach in Eastbourne, where my grandmother lives)...

Self Portrait

Dad and I took a boat ride to see the lighthouse on Beachy Head in Eastbourne...

The Lighthouse

We ate at several lovely pubs...

The Cricketer's Arms

Typical Pub

Dad and I toured the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, which was fantastic, then wandered around The Lanes...

I'm Here Too!

October 31

Dad Too!

We zipped up to London for a day to catch up with Dad's best man from 40+ years ago!

Smile!

Then we drove "cross country" to Wales to spend a week in Hay on Wye, the "town of books", where our cousin Pat lives...

Early Morning View

November 3

Hay Castle

Browsing

Dad and I took a day trip to Bath - home of Regency novels, Roman baths, and lovely architecture...

Famous Milsom Street...

Milsom Street!

Famous "Royal Crescent"...

Better View

Sigh

The famous, amazing Roman Baths...

We're Here!

First View

Sacred Spring

The (famous) Abbey...

The Abbey

The Abbey

And, of course, famous Pulteney Bridge across the River Avon, where shops are a part of the bridge...

November 6

Downriver

Pulteney Bridge Shops

I also very much enjoyed motorway driving. ;-)

November 8

But after a week of lovely food, meeting new people, watching elections, writing, reading and resting, it was time to cross the Severn Bridge back to Eastbourne to make our journey home...

Severn Bridge II

Goodbye, England!

November 9

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Last weekend, we battled the remnants of Hurricane Ike to spend three days at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

MotoGP has finally come to town. :-)

My bro-in-law is a big motorcycle fan, and over the last several years, I have morphed from a devout NASCAR girl to a bigger and bigger fan of international motorcycle racing, particularly cheering for Nicky Hayden, who is from just down the road (Owensboro, Kentucky).

It was so amazing to see the riders on the track at IMS, even if we did have to sport sexy ponchos for a few days. ;-)

It was SO much fun, and we even wore our Relay for Life shirts to the track on Friday, knowing that Mum would have enjoyed our trip as much as we did. She was quite the GP fan herself, after all...

What an awesome experience! I can't wait for next year!

The poncho crowd:



Rockin' the stylish gear, waiting for the race:



Nicky Hayden in the turn right in front of us (love the Colts helmet!):



Standing on the "Yard of Bricks", proud in our shirts:

Yard of Bricks II

Despite the rain, we had GREAT seats, and an occasional view of the Indy skyline:

City!

I only wish pictures could accurately depict the 70 mile an hour gusts we experienced from the top of the grandstand as they finally red flagged the race...

Good times. :-)

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Holy cannoli, it's been a while since I had a blog post that WASN'T a book review!

So, let's see...what's been going on...

Well, I finally jumped off the cliff with everyone else and joined Twitter. I've never been a text message girl (I barely know how to on my own phone), and it just seemed like it would be lame for anyone following me, because, you know, I'm boring.

And yet, I've decided to give it a go - I like the immediacy of it so far, and that it's not the same as having to post a full blog post about something that may be trivial, but memorable. Plus, I know the fam and a few friends might like to see what I'm up to at every minute, so there ya go. I'm a Twit. Follow me! :-)

Let's see...on the TinyTown front, this photo (taken at the local IGA) pretty much sums up the sentiment of the whole town...

Thank God

(I nearly drove off the road from laughing the first time I saw this.)

Between the Bookmobile vandalism (which seriously pissed off a lot of patrons), and the rash of other house break-ins, screaming stereos, fights and arguments all pointing to the older teen set in TinyTown, we're definitely ready for August 12.

What else...I (with the help of my fabu administrative assistant) wrote the budget for the library for next year. Of course, it's all a farce with the "restructuring" of Indiana government and the serious stalling of my county to get things reassessed, turned in and collected. I'm still due money from LAST year, and yet I'm writing a budget for NEXT year. Fun!

July 11

(Note the pink Disney princesses pencil, straight from Disneyland!)

In other news...

My whole family (Mum, Dad, sis and I) all went to a movie. This is monumental for several reasons: my parents go to the movies about once a decade, and even then under duress; we've never attended the same movie together; and we all LOVED IT!

(Mamma Mia. So, so very good. Lots of giggles and laughter, and of course, singing. Badly.)

July 18

(Mamma Mia!)

And in other news, yes, the AEROGARDEN LIVES!

After finally ditching the herbs from Christmas a few weeks ago, I got the "lettuce" kit. And that sucker grew FAST! Yay for salad NOT in a bag!

Lettuce

(mmm....tasty.)

Other than that, it's been so humid and hot that I've pretty much hibernated inside as much as possible, except when I'm watering petunias or passing out from mowing the lawn. But the humidity does make for the pretty every once in a while...

Eerie
(Tree among the fields of Posey County, about 7am.)

And how are you?

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It's my sister's birthday today.

(She's the pretty one, I'm the smart one, but she'll ALWAYS been the older one.)

She's in Cancun, basking on a beach for a few days, which she so totally deserves after spending months "bringing the vision to life" for her multi-gazillion dollar company.

(I spent my week fighting for my capital project fund passage and learning our entire accounting and budgetary ins and outs in two days, which I will be solely responsible for for three months while my AA goes on leave. Sister got the better deal here.)

And yet, even though it's her birthday, I got MY prezzies from her today.

(My birthday is Monday.)

Aren't they perfectly pink and pretty?

I love hydrangeas...

Cool Vase

Tableau

Pretty in Pink

I'm off to the homestead tomorrow to see Chemo!Girl (my mum started chemo this past weekend) and Shopping!Dad, and to ring in another birthday with the fam. Good times. :-)

But how 'bout one more pretty posy picture before I go...

Blossoms

Thanks, Sis!

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I'm Speechless.

My parents came down to TinyTown on a whim this weekend.

(They also delivered dirt, but that's a different story.)

In addition to traditional Priddis weekend activities (eating, cooking, talking about food, cleaning up after a meal, buying food for a meal, shopping, watching bull riding and giving Dad chores), we also had several errands to run in the big city.

Several weeks ago, I turned over the last few years of my crafting life to the Michael's framing department. Two 18-count counted crosstitches (that would be them up there), a matched set, that took me years to sew, and have hundreds of memories of where I was when I stitched them.

Finally, FINALLY, they were done!

Actual conversation between my mother and I at 9:04am on Sunday morning:

Me: I looked on the internet. Michael's is open ten to seven.

Mum: Ten to seven?

Me: Yeah, ten to seven.

Mum: So we missed the opening then.

Me: No, it's only nine now.

Mum: I know. We missed the opening.

Me: No, they're open ten to seven.

Mum: I know. Ten to seven.

*beat*

Me: Wait. What the hell did you think I meant? 6:50am?!

*my mum dissolving into giggles*

Mum: I thought that was rather an odd time to open!

*me, hysterical by this point*

In any case, the framing turned out absolutely STUNNING, no? The black lacquer frames, the pops of colour on the mats? I just keep staring at them, thinking how I didn't think they could look any better when I finished them, and yet...they do. :-)

And now y'all know Michael's is open from ten to seven on Sundays. ;-)

(Crosstitch detail of Mr. Samurai, and of The Geisha Ladies)

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Pretty!

Time seems to keep slipping away from me, but I wanted to blog about my fabu weekend last weekend, when the parental units came down for three celebrations, one of which was Easter, featuring crayon artwork by yours truly! It was also Mum's birthday, and it was also her "cancer anniversary" - TEN years ago she was first diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.

IBC has a life expectancy of about 18 months.

No words can adequately express how remarkable that is, and though she's back in chemo, Mum's as feisty and opinionated as ever was. ;-)

So what did we do during this gala celebration weekend?

Well, we...

Had lunch at Nagasaki, where they light things on fire for you.

Fire!

We found me some porch furniture (yay Lowe's!), so that people will think someone lives in my house, rather than thinking its deserted, like the pizza delivery person did the other night...

Awww...

We had lunch at the Tin Fish, which affords a 6th floor view of the Ohio River in Evansville. And has oysters on the half shell. ;-)

March 21

Oysters

We explored nearby Newburgh, and marveled at the flood of the Ohio River. That dam represents where the river SHOULD be. Yikes.

(Yes, it was a tad windy on the outlook!)

Bit Windy

SOMEONE got a haircut for the first time in about five years (when you lose your hair through chemo so many times, you tend to become possessive of your hairs, they tell me. Having a pushy daughter, however, eventually works...)

March 22

I also hung oodles of things on my shiny new walls with the help of Dad's level and Mum's discerning eye.

Picture Man

The weekend was also filled with lots of foodie times (I made Easter dinner, steaks on the grill, etc), Easter baskets for the parentals, laying grass seed, switching shutters on the house, moving furniture around, spending too much money in Michael's, planting pansies, baking cookies, and wrestling with some computer cord management.

Le weekend? C'est parfait!

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