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Las Vegas was super, but it’s great to be back home in Dallas. I missed the snow here on Christmas Eve, but there are still traces of the white stuff in the shady areas of my back yard. We so seldom get snow in Big D that I hated to have not seen it.

We stayed at the new Palazzo tower at the Venetian, which was great. We’ve stayed at the Venetian before, but not in the new tower. The room was quite nice and the service was super. It wasn’t that long ago when the economy was booming that the traditionally great Las Vegas service took a turn for the worse. With the economy the way it is, hotels and restaurants have apparently put a premium back on service.

We visited the new City Center while we were there. Some of the hotels have recently opened and it’s worth the trip to walk around in the new spaces. They’re very modern with sleek lines, high ceilings, and natural surfaces. We ate lunch at Julian Serrano’s, which is a tapas restaurant in the Aria hotel at City Center. The food was great, but our waitress was a bit of a flake. They seated a gentlemen and two ladies at the table next to us and not less than a half-dozen people came over to say hello to him. He was a very distinctive person, reminding me of Alexander Godunov, one of the terrorists in the original Die Hard movie.

The next day we went over to the Fashion Square Mall to check out the Christmas crowds, then over to the forum shops at Caesar’s Palace, where we ate lunch in the bar at Spago. Talk about a small world, the same guy was sitting next to us having lunch at the bar. Amazing. I suspect you could spend a month in Las Vegas and never see the same person twice, and here we ate lunch next to the same guy two days in a row.

The Canyon Ranch spa was as wonderful as I remember it. They have an entrance on the Palazzo side as well as the Venetian side. They’ve revamped their wet area since the last time I was there. One of the additions is an experiential shower. You could select from a cool fog, a tropical shower, or a Caribbean storm. I tried the last two, and they came with both lighting and sound effects as well as appropriate “wind” for the storm. Pretty amazing. My massage was wonderful. We got a coupon, so I upped my regular 50-minute massage to 80 minutes. My therapist was this huge guy. He could have played on the offensive line on any NFL team (I barely came up to his shoulder), except that he only had one eye. But he was a great therapist and I would recommend him at any time.

Overall, the trip was wonderful. Few to no crowds at either airports or in Las Vegas, although they were starting to come in (as they always do) on Christmas afternoon when we left.

On the RA side, I did well. Las Vegas is another walking vacation. We spend several hours a day walking between destination or just exploring, like we did at City Center. I had taken my Enbrel a day early (the morning we left), so I wouldn’t have to deal with traveling through security with it. My knees and ankles got a bit tired, but nothing that I couldn’t say was directly caused by walking more than normal. I did have a small welt/rash come up at the injection site, which went away after a couple of hours. Interestingly, though, it came back after my spa visit, and stayed for about 24 hours. I don’t know if my trips to the steam room/hot tub, or the massage, or just irritation from my pants legs from walking around so much irritated it. I do think it’s interesting that this is my third injection and the two in my left thigh both caused a welt/rash, while the one in my right thigh didn’t. I’ll have to pay attention, although I can’t imagine that it should make any difference which thigh I use.

So now it’s back to the grind. I’m taking the next couple of days to get caught up around the house, clean out some closets, etc. January promises to be one challenging deadline after another, so I need to take advantage of the time off while I can. I work Mon-Wed of next week, off on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Monday is my next physical therapy session, and Tuesday is my next round of trying to get these root canals finished up. What an end to the year.

I hope the holidays have brought you lots of reasons to be jolly, and thanks for checking in.