Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving Tim and I have had a lot to be thankful for. Getting into a PhD program, teaching jobs, new home, new adventures. We had a fabulous Thanksgiving to celebrate it all.

We met up with some people in Tampa on Wednesday to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Rangers. But the best part of the night was the free MC Hammer concert afterward. It was a ton of fun, but lets just say you get what you pay for.

That night we drove up to Tim's dad's house in Spring Hill. We spent the night there and had a great Thanksgiving dinner Thursday afternoon. We were still full hours later when we sat down to play Taboo and Scattergories!

Friday morning we had a great breakfast and met up with Dan Wold. Turns out he lives in the next town over from Tim's dad! It's pretty amazing that after all the moving we've all done, we end up so close to each other. He took us out on the boat into the Gulf of Mexico. We boated to a nearby town for lunch and just enjoyed the day. It was really great to see him!

Perhaps the biggest news is that we added a new member to our family. Meet Otis! He's a 1.5 year old German Shepherd, Shar Pei, hound mix (we think). We picked him up yesterday and things are going well so far. And yes, he only has 3 legs. He had a deformed foreleg when he was picked up as a stray and brought to the shelter. He may have had an accident, or he may have been born that way. No one knows. The vets decided that the best thing for him would be amputation. It hasn't slowed him down a bit! You should see him run the three flights of stairs to the apartment!It's been interesting with the cats, but I think we'll all live in harmony (eventually).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October

It's been a fun-filled October in Gainesville! Tim and I have found time to go on a few adventures despite the hard work we have been putting into our new jobs.

I took advantage of student discount for tickets to the Bob Dylan concert at the O'Connell Center on campus. I heard a lot of bad things about Dylan concerts in recent years, but I had never seen him live and wanted to go. I quickly learned that all the negative press was unfounded - it was an amazing show! He played a good mix of old and new songs, he still sounds like the Dylan we know and love, and he can still rock out the guitar, organ and harmonica (although he only played guitar for a few songs). He and his band of amazing musicians played for 2 hours, and I definitely got my $20 worth! Tim was impressed by the intimate atmosphere and how close our seats were to the stage. It was a great night!

The following weekend I met up with Sarah and Najwa for the Gators homecoming game against Mississippi. I'm really not into football, but I wanted to experience what all the hype was about. We got to campus early to tailgate on the plaza and we had a blast at the game. We sat next to the band (my favorite part of college football). I quickly learned all the chants and gator chomps. Despite the loss, it was fun to experience a Gator game day. I can see why Florida football fans get into it.

The following day, Tim and I drove a few miles north to check out the Alachua Harvest Festival. Since it's still 80-90 degrees outside there wasn't anything harvesty about it, but it was fun to walk around and people watch. We ate lunch on a patio overlooking Main Street and I bought a pair of orange and blue earrings for the next game day!

Last weekend we drove to Savannah. I've wanted to visit Savannah for awhile now, and a bike race was the perfect excuse to convince Tim to make the drive. We got in late Friday night. We took a trolley tour Saturday morning and spent the rest of the day walking around and enjoying the city. Tim had a cross race Saturday night. It was fun to watch the race, despite the beautiful weather and beer, there were few spectators. It made me miss the MN cross scene. We headed home early on Sunday due to rain. We're hoping to make it back to Savannah sometime soon and make more of a vacation out of it. Oh, and we met Frank Viola at a bar near the hotel.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Butterfly Rainforest

A couple of my new friends (both named Sarah, and spelled correctly) and I hopped a bus yesterday morning and visited the Museum of Natural History to see the Butterfly Rainforest.















This is a really amazing place. The butterflies are everywhere and live amongst birds, koi, giant goldfish and really pretty vegetation.


















While we saw many very bright and colorful butterflies, this one was my favorite:

















It's called a Satyr and it's native to Florida! One of my favorite things was watching the butterflies eat. Sliced melons and bananas are placed throughout the rainforest and are covered in butterflies. It's neat to watch them stick their tongues (which look like antennas) into the fruit and suck out the juice.

I never knew I had so many questions about butterflies until I spent time among them. Luckily for me, placards appear along the path relating fun facts. Did you know that mating is the female's choice and she picks the most colorful butterfly to mate with?

The museum's current exhibit is called CSI: Crime Scene Insects. It's about the insects found at crime scenes and how they help solve crimes (mostly murders). It's interesting, but gross. We saw this exhibit after spending time at the butterfly rainforest. It was a depressing way to end our field trip, but I had a great time!



*note: pictures taken from google images.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

L: Gainesville, FL

We've been in Gainesville for 3 weeks now.

The move went well and the cats did better than expected. We've only got a couple more boxes to unpack and the apartment is coming together. I like where we're living and it's nice having space and natural light!

Our new life started here not long after our move. The following Tuesday I started my two week teacher training with the University Writing Program. School started for me last Monday. Teaching is going well, but lesson planning is a lot of work. I like my students and I think we'll have a good semester. I'm taking two classes, which are already tough but that's what I signed up for!

Tim also started school on Monday. He's enjoying having his own classroom and navigating a new school in a new community.

We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary not long after we moved in. We found a great steak house and celebrated in style. We've found a couple of other good restaurants, including Adam's Rib (not Oklahoma Joe's, but still damn good BBQ) and Satchel's Pizza. We even found a dive bar that gives a new meaning to the term dive bar.

We've been doing some exploring. We found a great little bar in the planned community of Haile Plantation to watch soccer games. This morning we drove to the Waldo Flea Market (which was a little disappointing) followed by a stop at the Humane Society to pet some puppies.

We're slowly but surely finding our footing. Gainesville is a lot different than the Twin Cities and it will take some getting used to, but overall I think I'll end up liking it here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nessy

Tim and I have season ticket to the NSC Minnesota Stars soccer games. We enjoy tailgating and sitting in the beer garden watching soccer with like-minded fans. This year was the premiere of the new NSC Minnesota Stars at the National Sports Center in Blaine. While the team doesn't officially have a mascot, the fans have unofficially named the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessy, the team's mascot (if you say NSC fast, it sounds like Nessy, get it?).

Nessy gave me an idea for an arts and crafts project: Nessy the sock puppet monster. I hand-dyed tube socks, stuck on eyes and nostrils, and sewed on ears. Viola! A sock Nessy was born!




Nessy at the World Cup in South Africa



Some fans created Vuvu-Nessys!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tennis

I just finished my last tennis lesson through St. Paul Urban Tennis. Prior to this, I have never even held a tennis racquet ( don't remember ever playing tennis in gym class), but for some reason I wanted to learn how to play. I was in the Langford Park warming house a few months back and saw a flier for beginner tennis lessons through St. Paul Urban Tennis and thought, this is my chance to learn! I signed up and had a blast! I learned all the basics of tennis and Tim and I even bought tennis racquets so we can play together! While I'm not very good, I'm not bad for having held a racquet only a handful of times. As they say, practice makes perfect, and I have had a ton of fun practicing!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Florida recon trip

Tim and I took a recon trip to Florida to find an apartment. We decided to drive so that we could take a load of stuff down and drop the car at his dad's. This way we won't have to worry about how to get a car AND a moving truck down there in a few weeks. Since we were driving 1500 miles, we decided to take our time and make a little road trip out of it.

First stop: Chicago
We stayed with Matt and Julie in Chicago and met up with some people at The Beetle for pub trivia. Usually I get frustrated with pub trivia because they ask a bunch of questions I don't know the answer to, or that everyone else also knows the answer to, and I never feel like I contribute much. But this time was different! Not only did they ask an Arrested Development question, but also an Always Sunny question that only I knew. Not only was pub trivia fun because I got to hang out with some great friends, but also because I could contribute. It was also nice being back in the old 'hood and across the street from my old work!

Second stop: Louisville
Tim and I had grand plans for Louisville, but since all of the touristy things close at 5 we ended up just going out to dinner. Lucky for us dinner was an experience in itself! We went to Lynn's Paradise Cafe. This place looks like a clown puked inside it, but it was fun and they serve great food!









































Before leaving Louisville in the morning, we stopped at Molly Malone's to watch the USA vs. Algeria game. It was great seeing Donovan's last minute goal in a bar of hundreds of people.

Third stop: Chattanooga
Tim and I wanted to stop in Chattanooga to see Lookout Mountain and ride the Incline Railway. Lookout Mountain was the site of a major Civil War battle and now you can ride a customized rail car up the mountain at a 73% incline! It's pretty amazing, and a little scary. After riding the railway, we found ice cream at the bottom of the mountain and enjoyed the night.
























Fourth stop: Gainesville
We spent two days in Gainesville apartment searching and getting acquainted with the city. We found a great place about 1.5 miles away from campus with two bedrooms, two baths, a screened porch, in-unit laundry and a pool. We're very excited to get out of the parents' basement and into a roomy new place! We found a little organic market and a coffee shop within walking distance to the new place and I'm very excited for the year-round farmer's market!

Fifth stop: Spring Hill
We headed towards Tampa to visit Tim's parents in Spring Hill. We spent a day in their friends' pool, went to a movie, watched some World Cup games and just relaxed before flying back to the Twin Cities.

The reality of our move is really setting in now that we have a place to live in Gainesville. Our official move date is August 3rd, which I know will be here before we know it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bittersweet Countdown

There's been a lot of buzz in our family lately! I finished my master's degree and will be attending University of Florida in August for my PhD. While I'm nervous, I couldn't be more excited. Tim is busy looking for teaching jobs and I'm trying to figure out the logistics of moving and relaxing before the craziness of a big move and a PhD program!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Bingo!

This Christmas, my family and I decided not to exchange gifts. Instead, we wanted to celebrate what Christmas is really about: family. In lieu of exchanging gifts, we all agreed to do something fun together, so last Sunday we went to Roseville Bingo. It was so much fun! I even got a bingo and won a whopping $16 ($50 split 3 ways). Before bingo, Tim and I had my family over for pizza and we sat around, chatted and watched football. Hanging out with my family over an intense game of bingo was the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

Tim and I played bingo this summer at Mystic Lake and had a blast. We had a ton of fun at Roseville Bingo too, but agreed that we both prefer Mystic. I think I'm hooked!