Wednesday, January 18, 2012


One of the wonderful things about living in Florida is that we get to meet up with friends on their Orlando vacations. Over Thanksgiving, we were lucky enough to meet Ryan and Trace for a day of tourist traps. We started off at Ripley's Believe it or Not museum before heading to Downtown Disney to gorge ourselves on food and ice cream. While the museum was a joke, we still had a ton of fun goofing around.

Last weekend Tim and I destroyed Downtown Disney once again, as the Petrie family was on their Disney vacation. Friday night we went out for drinks with Garrett and Ginelle in preparation for our big day at Animal Kingdom on Saturday. We started Animal Kingdom off with the safari. I was really impressed, as we were able to get really close to the animals.

Expedition Everest (the roller coaster) was a lot of fun (we rode it twice) and the shows were really well done. I especially liked the Lion King production. The Tree of Life is pretty neat and we had an amazing dinner at The Tusker House before driving back to Gainesville full and tired.

My favorite part of the day was seeing Animal Kingdom through the kids' perspective. Belen and Oscar, and their cousins, were so excited and overstimulated by everything. I think that that childhood excitement in the big and the little things is what life is all about.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wag-O-Ween, Savannah

Last year when Tim and I were in Savannah, we noticed that there were a lot of dogs dressed in costumes. We asked about it and found out it was Wag-O-Ween, dog trick or treating. It was a lot of fun to see what people came up with (my favorite was a tiny dog dressed as an elephant) and when we adopted Otis a month later we knew we had to start planning his costume. We came up with a lot of ideas, but our favorite was the one-armed drummer for Def Leppard, Rick Allen.

I sewed a Def Leppard tee-shirt to fit and made back stage passes.

He was the star of the show!

Keith and Theresa also came to Savannah with Otis' BFF, Wilbur. Wilbur went as Super Dog.

We didn't just go to Savannah for Wag-O-Ween. Tim and Keith also had a cyclocross race that night. It was fun to see how many other people came to Savannah for the race and also brought their dogs for Wag-O-Ween! My favorite costume this year (other than Otis' and Wilbur's) was a big black dog dressed as a skunk. I thought it was creative.

We also had to take our photo next to the Forsyth Park Fountain. Check out Otis' tongue!

When we got back to the hotel, Otis curled up on the bed and slept until the next morning. We spent Sunday morning walking around Savannah again. Otis and Wilbur kept stopping at the stores expecting treats. It was pretty cute.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Otis is Rad

Tim's dad and step-mom just put a pool in. We drove down there this weekend, hung out in the pool and caught the NSC MN Stars vs FC Tampa Bay game in St. Pete.

I knew that Otis loves to swim because the dog boarder has a pool and he always comes home soaked. I was really excited to see him in action, and a little curious if he would swim in circles. Otis has a pretty amazing swim technique. He swims with his right front and his back left, then uses his back right as a rudder! When he wants to turn he just kicks his back right leg and spins around. Brilliant dog. I forgot my camera this time around, but I'll be sure to take some video next time.

I hadn't been Al Lang to see a soccer game yet, so Tim and I went down to St. Pete on Saturday night. The stadium is great for soccer. It has a neat grassy area where we watched the game up close, and the supporters' section sounds really loud. I was disappointed that the Stars lost, but I still had a lot of fun in Downtown St. Pete.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Beer World Tour

I met Jordan at Hogan's yesterday for a sandwich and a beer. I decided to stamp the USA on my World Tour card in honor of the US Women's National Team beating Colombia in the World Cup.

Beer #6: Anchor Steam

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kansas City Highlights

  • Arrived in the afternoon. Got Super Shuttled to the wrong hotel and had to walk to the correct one (not Super Shuttle's fault, just too many people playing the telephone game).
  • Others staying in our hotel: Jim, Julia, Sawyer, Missy, Ryan and his friend Evan. Let's call this the Holiday Inn group.
  • We all went to Jack Stacks in Country Club Plaza for BBQ. Great way to start the trip.
  • Went to Power and Lights District for some drinks and people watching. Drinks were weak and overpriced and the Monday night crowd is nothing like last year's Saturday night crowd.
  • Got breakfast at Simply Breakfast. It was simply yummy.
  • Tim and I walked around Country Club Plaza and stopped in some shops.
  • I got my picture taken with Ben Franklin.
  • Tim and I stopped into Cheesecake Factory for a quick dinner. Jim and Julia were there so we joined them.
  • The Holiday Inn group wanted to relive the 2010 destruction of Kansas City. Last year we went out on a Saturday night, started at the Zoo Bar and ended up at the Power and Lights District. We again started at the Zoo Bar for some stiff drinks, wall writings and good times. Sam's Army was having a party at Power and Lights so we stopped by. They ended up being a horribly drunk and lewd bunch of people (one even groped Julia), so we left.
Tuesday - Game Day!
  • Simply Breakfast again
  • Swimming at hotel pool
  • Met the 1st MN Volunteers at Oklahoma Joe's. I ordered the Z-Man (again).
  • Tailgated at Livestrong Park.
  • Watched US beat Guadalupe 1-0.
  • The stadium is pretty amazing. We had front row seats in the supporters section which was neat. This also meant that we had access to the member's club. I loved the bathroom signs in the Member's Club.

  • Walked down to the Plaza with Jim and Julia for a bagel.
  • Tim and I went to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. It reminded me a lot of the Weisman. Our favorite exhibit was Jules Olitski. Seeing his paintings in books left me with one of those "I could do that" feelings modern art sometimes induces, but seeing them up close was really remarkable.
  • The Kemper gift shop had some really neat jewelry. I bought a necklace by Inedible Jewelry. Two sisters make polymer clay jewelry that looks like food. I fell in love with everything because it is so quirky, and bought a toast necklace!
  • From the Kemper we walked to the Nelson-Atkins museum. This is a gorgeous building and they have a neat sculpture garden. Giant birdies litter the grounds. Tim said that it looks like God just played a game of badminton! The museum was showing one of Monet's water lilies triptychs. I saw the Monet exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art years ago and this was a very different experience. The Nelson-Atkins wasn't very busy (but maybe this had to do with us going on a Monday afternoon?) and we were able to move freely around the exhibit. This meant that we were able to view the paintings from up-close and far away, which I think is imperative for Monet. Up close it looks like a bunch of brush strokes. The yellows and reds really pop out from the pastel hues. But from farther out you really see how it all comes together. The beauty of impressionism!
  • We flew home through a storm and spent the night at Mike and Marilyn's. It was great to be reunited with Otis!
  • Drove home to Gainesville

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kansas City Via Tampa

Friday night Tim and I drove down to Spring Hill to begin our Kansas City vacation. We had two things to do before we boarded the plane on Sunday: 1) spend some time with Mike and Marilyn and 2) go to the US vs. Panama game at Raymond James in Tampa.

Tim picked me and Otis up after his last day at work and we drove down to visit his folks. We took them to dinner at Magdalena's since they were kind enough to take care of Otis while we were gone and drive us to/from the airport. Magdalena's is a great family run restaurant in Weeki Wachee that has the best soup and schnitzel. It's a little hole-in-the-wall (which is always the best) and Tim and I joke that one day we'll see it on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. We always eat way too much and leave happy.

Saturday we relaxed with the family before meeting Keith and Theresa in Tampa for the US National game against Panama. We met at International Plaza and had a great dinner at the Gallery Eclectic Bistro and a drink at Bar Louie. Tim thought it would be best to walk to the game from International Plaza to avoid traffic and parking fees. I agreed, and as we walked along the ditch beside the highway remembered that Florida isn't known for its walkability.

The game was a lot of fun. The US looked disorganized in the first half and lost 1-0. While it's no fun to lose, I was excited to see the the team play in person. After the game, we found a better route back to the car, said bye to Keith and Theresa and drove back to Spring Hill to get some sleep before our flight to Kansas City the next morning.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hawthorne Trail

I'm really enjoying living in Gainesville. One of the neat things about Gainesville that it's surrounded by farmland. This makes for great biking, especially along the Hawthorne Trail. It takes me 15 minutes to bike there and then it's miles of peaceful paths, interesting flora and fauna, and (despite what you may have heard about Florida being flat) hills! The trail runs along the northern border of Paynes Prairie federal park preserve and provides numerous overlooks into the prairie. It reminds me of River Road, only instead of the river there's the prairie, instead of maples there's willows, and there's never any cars honking at you to get off the road when they're driving on a parkway! And unlike the Greenway, it's used enough that it's appreciated but doesn't become a major thoroughfare. A very peaceful ride. I even saw two deer on my ride this morning!