Friday, July 29, 2011

The Fragments

FF is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

Overheard in the office (while Lady 1 is taking a picture of Lady 2): "Ok, smile! Now, don't look like a dinosaur, stand up straight."


Do you like "People of Wal-Mart?" Then you'll love Transit Peeps. Don't get me wrong, I love public transportation. I'd live in DC for the Metro, alone. Even with this gigantor escalator.

Charlie is BIG into Star Wars. He's also big into asking random questions about characters that don't really exist - like "What did Chewbacca have for breakfast?" and "Where's Obi Onobi's house?" I usually just make stuff up, but I was too busy dying laughing at the irony of his latest question on the way home from school - "Where's Luke Skywalker's daddy?" Poor kid has a lot to learn.

Speaking of Star Wars, I came across the Depressed Darth blog a few weeks ago. Depressed Darth shares his thoughts on "life, love and how to get rich quick. Plus general dark side news from across the galaxy…" Also, his thoughts on Obi-Wan marketing the smartphone that isn't a Droid.

In keeping with the Star Wars theme, I'll share this awesome cover from February's New York Post.

Who else is BEYOND excited that football is back?! Yes, I'm a baseball fan first and foremost, but I also love football. New York Jets football! Go Green!

NFL pre-season just wouldn't be NFL pre-season without Brett Effing Favrerererere taking up more space in the headlines (space? get it? theme week? hahaha). Come ON! You're seriously thinking about coming back? Just sit down and shut up.

NFL pre-season means that the hot, hot days of summer (seriously, we're on 14+ days straight in the 90s) are coming to an end. We've stepped up our time at the pool so that we can suck every last ounce of enjoyment out of it. Did you have a pool when you were little? We were lucky, because both sets of grandparents did. That didn't stop us from begging for a slip-and-slide with a splash pool at the end. It turned out to be a big disappointment. I'm Remembering has put together a compilation of "Expectations vs. Reality" in honor of fancy kiddie pools and disappointed children everywhere.

I have a haircut appointment at lunch today, a few months overdue. I haven't actually blow-dried my hair in over a month, it's just too long and overgrown. I'm also in desperate need of highlights, but I can't find three hours in any day to go and sit at a salon. Woe is me.

50 days until Air Force Marathon! Can't wait to have one of these shiny hunks of metal around my neck.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hey, I Put Some New Shoes On, and Suddenly Everything is Right

Goodbye, clunky old ProGrids...

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Helllllloooooooo Kinvaras!

I have been wanting lusting over these (much lighter) shoes for a long, long time. I've been going to the running store pretty much weekly to buy gels for my long runs, and I always stop over at the shoe wall to visit them, imagining the day when they would be able to come home with me to be my New Running Shoes. I'm at that point where there are only seven weeks standing between me and the Air Force Marathon - running low on time to get enough miles in so that I can wear these shoes for the race. Yesterday, they were finally mine. Tonight, I will run in them. And I'm so excited about running in them, that I just might run outside rather than on the treadmill, even though it will still be in the 90s at 8:00 this evening. I just. can't. wait.

As a bonus, the guy at the store taught me the "correct" way to tie my shoes so that they won't come untied while I run. Want me to share?

Also, big props to my running buddy, who survived her first Olympic-distance triathlon! Way to go! You can read about it on her blog. She almost had me convinced to do a mini tri with her next weekend, but I decided that shoes were more important :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fulfilling My Own Prophecy

So the other day, I talked about how I must be getting old because the TV shows from my childhood were about to debut on the new version of "Nick at Nite." I also jokingly referenced the fact that Nirvana is now considered to be "classic rock."

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Nirvana isn't only a "classic," it's Vintage. Did you know that?


It must be true, because Target says so.

ZOMG!!1!!!!1! 1993. Nineteen ninety effing THREE! I can just imagine the teenagers back-to-school-shopping with their moms, ooohing and aaahing over the "vintageness" of this faded old Nirvana t-shirt. I mean, they weren't even BORN yet! It would be way rad if they wore it to school, they would be totally tubularly cool. Majorly awesome. Cowabunga! What, am I dating myself?

Not only is it vintage, but it's vintageness is on par with The Beatles, who were next to them on the "Vintage Varsity" shelf.

Is this how my own mother felt when I wanted to wear tye-dye Grateful Dead shirts and peace sign necklaces?

To add insult to injury, check out this part of the definition:

vin·tage (vntj)

1. Of or relating to a vintage.
2. Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic.
3. Old or outmoded.

(of course, my cynical eyes skim right over the second usage. you bet I'm excellent, mature, and enduringly appealing.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 15

Welcome to Week Fifteen of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "A Song that Reminds you of Summer."

Is there anything you remember from your childhood or adolescence or early adult years that no one else remembers? Some candy, or some game, or some TV show that you can clearly picture in your mind, but no one else seems to know what you're talking about? I have one - the Out of Order Weekly Countdown with Jed the Fish. When I was a teenager, I wasn't so much into the Top 40 music - Casey Kasem was not my friend. I liked the grungy alternative stuff. Thankfully, they had a dedicated countdown every weekend on the single alternative rock radio station. It was called "Out of Order," and it was hosted by Jed the Fish. The gimmick was that instead of counting down from 20 to 1, they counted down from 20 to 2 in a random order and then saved the number one for last. No one remembers it, but thanks to Google, I can prove it existed. And wow, apparently it's still on the radio.

Anyway. I used to listen religiously when I was 14 and 15, before they replaced the one decent Cincinnati radio station with more country music. The number one song on Out of Order for all of 1996 also happened to be our summer anthem (I know I've mentioned the awesomeness of that summer before).

The Butthole Surfers, Pepper

Just add it to the list of songs that remind me of being young and stupid.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Fragments

Making a return to Friday Fragments just for my friend Katie, who apparently is absolutely lost without them. It's nice to know I have readers. FF is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

I'd bitch about the heat, but I bet everyone already knows that it's hot out. The good thing about blogging is that your past always comes back to haunt you. We humans are fickle creatures. Where do I need to go to get a nice, consistent 70 degree climate?

As the old cliche goes, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity!" True 'dat. I got the treadmill so that I could keep running all summer. Doesn't help so much when your basement feels like a sauna.

You know it's going to be a good day when you hear Biz Markie AND Paula Abdul on the way to work.

Biz Markie live at the Apollo? Wow, he looks so young! Did you know there was an official video for Just A Friend? Me, neither. Well, I've learned something. Guess this has already been a productive day.

I mentioned this yesterday, but my sister has a blog. A funny, clever, sarcastic blog. You'll love it, I promise.

I'm trying to plan my big 30th Birthday Extravaganza. I really want to have a big 90s-themed roller-skating Girls' Night Out, but the only place that offers such a thing runs them on Saturday nights starting at 10:30. I'm afraid that's too late and no one will come :(

Did you ever wonder what would happen if you went to Cold Stone Creamery (holy cow, that sounds amazing right now) and ordered every possible mix-in? No? Me neither. But now I know.

Speaking of Random Stuff on the Web, Lehigh University did a study and calculated exactly how much it would cost to send a kid to Hogwarts School or Witchcraft and Wizardry. WAY more than what I paid for my entire undergraduate education. It would be nice to have a pretty robe, though....

What? Two random website links weren't enough? You want a third? I can oblige that request. Two churches located across the street from each other. Doesn't matter if it's real or not, still funny.

Have you Urban Dictionaried yourself? I guess it's the new (and more amusing) version of Googling yourself.

Here's mine:


A french name originally derived from the Ancient Greek. The feminine form of John. People with this name are amazingly calm and sensitive to other people's needs. Being friends with them is a great investment of time. Once friends with a Jene, You will always be friends!

Friend: "Jene, You're my best friend in the whole world. Man you're so amazing!"

Jene: "Thanks friend. You're pretty amazing yourself!"

What are you?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I am NOT my Sister's Keeper

And after seeing the kinds of guys turning up in her online dating inbox, I'm really thankful for that :)

What kind of guys? Well, you can see for yourself, because little sister has decided to set up a blog dedicated to them.

I present to you... Stupider Cupid.

My sister is clever. Very clever. And funny. And she would be absolutely horrified that I just started two sentences with the word "and."

I've already got a few favorites:


hey u seem pretty nice im keith whats yours :)

Sorry, keith whats yours, I don't date boys who use punctuation strictly for emoticons and nothing more.

How did the weather treat you today?

Sunny with a 95% chance of stupid questions.

I doubt very much that your only superficial requirement is that a guy not wear skinny jeans, but I intentionally buy jeans several sizes too big just to avoid anybody possibly making that mistake about me.

Just throwing that out there.

He probably also buys condoms that are several sizes too big, just to avoid anybody possibly making the mistake that his penis is tiny. Do you see how your logic is flawed? Just throwing that out there.

Aww, little sister is all grown up.

So go and visit her blog, and laugh at the expense of cheesy pick-up artists everywhere.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Compassion - I'm Lacking It

Husband Charlie caught the summer cold (or whatever) that I had last week. He was up all night coughing and sniffling and nose blowing and tossing and turning. Of course I felt bad for him, because I was pretty miserable when I was going through it, but around midnight I was starting to get irritated with my sleepytime being constantly interrupted and by 3AM I was downright stabby. He went to the bathroom to get more tissues, and I picked up my pillow and retreated to the Room of Requirement, hoping to get a solid 2 hours in before the alarm went off.

A few minutes after my head hit the pillow, I started hearing scratching noises and meowing coming from downstairs. Darwin had managed to get himself locked in the laundry room. Rather than having to listen to the whining, I took pity on him and let him out. He repaid me by attacking and biting my feet and knocking things off the table and windowsill for the next hour.

Sigh. Cats.

I wish that we had designated naptimes throughout the day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Know You're Getting Old When...

Back in the day, Nickelodeon reserved the late at night time slots for "Nick at Nite." Do you remember that? It was when they replayed all of the TV shows that had their heydays when your mom was a little girl, before TVs had color. We used to have sleepovers at my grandma's house with our two aunts, and we would cuddle up on the couch under the blankets long past our bedtimes and try really hard to stay awake through Bewitched so that we could get to the really good stuff - I Love Lucy (the chocolate factory episode was my all-time favorite). We learned the words to the Green Acres theme song and sang it constantly, making sure to crack our voices on "Faaaa-arm livin' is the life for me!" We danced to the opening sequences of I Dream of Jeannie and The Monkees.

I mean, really. How could you not?

And it was all so funny, because look at the funny clothes they're wearing! And look at how grainy the picture is! Ha ha ha, life was so weird back then!

But today. Oh, today. Well, well, well. How the turntables... (bonus points for guessing the reference).

The 90s Are All That.

Nick? Are you kidding me? Just in time for my 30th birthday. I'm looking forward to catching old episodes of Clarissa and Doug and Pete and Pete, but I'm also feeling fiercely protective over my old favorites. All the kids will be making fun of old TV shows. But now they're MY old TV shows! I don't want some teeny bopper giggling over Clarissa's outdated fashion sense. I loved her. I wanted to dress like her. I wanted those super freaking cool clothes that she always wore, and a funky headband and choker necklaces. I mean, really. LOOK AT THOSE RIPPED JEANS THAT SAM HAS ON! Those were so cool. How much cooler could one person be?? (I also wanted a best friend who was a boy and lived next door and climbed a ladder up to my window every day to visit like Sam did, but there was a shortage of boys next door. Probably a shortage of ladders, too. And WHY did Clarissa and Sam never hook up? It just always seemed like the next logical step.)

And the high tops. Oh, the high tops!

Clarissa wore Chucks. She was the bomb dot com. (not that we would have even known what a "dot com" meant in the early 90s)

I'm hoping for a resurrection of Are You Afraid of the Dark. I always wanted to start my own club. I mean, really, who among us didn't dream of throwing magic dust over a campfire and uttering those so important opening words - "Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society..."

Also missing? Ren and Stimpy. It's just not the same without them.

What's next? Nirvana on the classic rock station? Oh, wait....

Monday, July 18, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 14

Welcome to Week Fourteen of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "A Song that Reminds you of Somewhere."

"New York, New York," sung by the amazing Frank Sinatra, will always remind me of Yankee Stadium - both the old cathedral, and the new, grand mansion. They play New York, New York as soon as the last out is recorded. The funny thing is, they play the old Sinatra version following a Yankee win, and the Liza Minnelli version following a loss. Thankfully, I've been lucky enough to almost always hear Sinatra's crooning as I make my way out of the hallowed grounds.

So here's Old Blue Eyes, himself. To go along with the song, we have a delightful montage of Yankee-related images. If I close my eyes, I can almost smell the hot dogs and taste the cool beer....

About 42 seconds in, you'll see Freddy Sez. He's been a stadium icon for as long as I can remember, with a new "Freddy Sez" sign every game. Sadly, he died during last year's postseason run. Poor Charlie will never get the chance to bang on the pan.

1:07 shows you the most iconic photograph of Manager Joe Torre - being carried off the field after a World Series victory, good old Bernie Williams immediately to the left. A classic Jeter fist pump at 1:36, and one of my favorite baseball memories, ever, at 1:43 - the Yankees and the Diamondbacks lining up to pay respect to the flag just weeks after 9/11. The Ground Zero Flag, itself, at 1:57. And the midnight magic - what baseball fan doesn't remember the late-inning heroics by the boys in Blue that year? To come from behind and win all three home games in New York, in super dramatic fashion, at a time when the city (and America, at large) needed just such a release. Yes, baseball is just a game, but in so many ways it's also the glue that holds people together - something to bond over, something to celebrate about, and something to distract you from the more painful parts of life. This was never more true than post 9/11. Baseball, Yankee Baseball, was exactly what the city needed to start recovering.

Jeter at the bat!

With my little cousin Danny, at his first Yankee game back in 2005. Bernie hit a Grand Slam!

The new Digs

Next week's topic will be another vague one - "A Song that Reminds you of Summer."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter!

I was going to return to my Friday Fragments roots to cheer up my friend Katie whose 2 year old had to get stitches yesterday, but today is Harry Potter Day! Next week, Katie, I promise.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, was released at midnight. I'm old and boring, so I didn't go to the opening show, but we have an afternoon date planned and we'll be seeing it at 1:00! Only a few more hours to go! I'm a little sad about it, because I so loved the book series and now it's all going to come to an end.

Even sadder, because BFF is out of town this weekend, so no fun group date this time :(

I must have a lot of geeky friends, because everyone I know is getting all fired up about it. Jen over at Beantown Baker made these awesome-looking cupcakes.

She also posted a recipe for Butterbeer that sounds absolutely amazing. If we weren't in the midst of a heat wave I'd try it right now, but the idea of drinking something hot (even if it does have alcohol) is just totally unappealing. I think it's going to be a staple in our house this fall, though! Lucky Jen also went to the midnight premiere. I'm a jealous girl!

My super crafty friend Kristin also went to the midnight show, complete with her own wand.

According to Facebook, it's Elder with a core of dragon heartstring. You can learn how to make your own Harry Potter wand here! I wish I didn't have to spend my morning working.

Instead, I wish I could spend it looking at cool Harry Potter stuff, like these Golden Snitch earrings.

And reading funny Harry Potter parodies, like this.

If you're a Potter fan, are you going to see Harry Potter today? Are you coming to my blog still half asleep because you stayed up all night going to the premiere? CAN'T WAIT!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


As of an hour ago, our house is on the market.

Where are we going?

Not sure.

Kicking around a few possibilities.

Maybe just down the road a bit, closer to the city lifestyle that I crave.

Maybe across the country.

Maybe to an apartment closer to the city, while we try to decide what our next direction will be.

Probably not to the East Coast, which is what my heart truly pines for.

For some strange reason, houses in our neighborhood have been selling quickly at fair prices, so we decided to go ahead and try our luck.

It all happened a lot faster than I thought it would. We flew back from Colorado sure that we needed to get out of our not-the-right-fit neighborhood.

Not that this was a rash, spur-of-the-moment decision - we've been planning towards this for over a year now. Actually, oddly enough, it was exactly a year ago today that we met with our old realtor and decided that the timing wasn't quite right.

Just that now that we've decided that it's really time to jump in, I'm a little overwhelmed. A little stressed out. A little anxious, but hey, I get tied up in knots over deciding which shampoo to buy.

I'm also feeling pretty guilty because we haven't told anyone about our plans. Haven't told my mom, who I will have to call tonight because she's coming over for a visit tomorrow and the giant "For Sale" sign will surely tip her off.

I feel most guilty that I didn't tell my BFF, because I tell her everything else. In my own defense, it all just happened so fast. We set up a meeting with the new realtor this week, and I thought we would just be talking about the process and making some decisions. I didn't realize that we'd actually be LISTING the house today. I just hope she gets my gchats before she reads this blog - sorry, BFF :p

Monday, July 11, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 13

Welcome to Week Thirteen of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "A Song that Reminds you of Someone."

I've had a lot of friends over the years. Some close friends, some not so close. Some that I've stayed in touch with, more that I haven't. Erica is my absolute oldest friend. And when I say oldest, I mean oldest. As in, our parents were close friends before we were born, our mothers were pregnant together, and we were born just weeks apart.

If I had time to scan in a picture, I could post countless shots of us together as babies, in our walkers, in our puffy snowsuits, on the train to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. For now, this one will have to suffice - this was taken at our 7th grade dance.

Erica is front row on the right, not sure why she's making that face, but it's one I've seen her make a thousand times. I'm in the middle of the back row, mostly hidden, which, now that I think about it, is an interesting metaphor for my social life in middle school. I think they put me back there because I was wearing jeans.

We attended every single one of each other's birthday parties, played on the same softball team, and had probably hundreds of sleepovers. We were like sisters, there for each other through thick and thin. Junior high marked the first time that we were actually in the same school together. I was so excited about being in the same school! Unfortunately, my transition to junior high didn't go quite as smoothly as hers did. Erica was always the people person - bubbly, funny, popular - and I was, well, the complete opposite. I was shy, quiet, and bookish. Our social worlds didn't really mesh so well. In fact, one of Erica's friends really seemed to enjoy bullying me and made it a point to make my life miserable on the softball field, in school, and in the summer reading club at the library. I can only speculate as to why she was so nasty to me - I was a geeky, scrawny 12 year old with a boyish haircut, I didn't dress well, I was a nobody, I had other dorky friends. Who knows? Eventually, other girls started making fun of me in the halls, too.

This would be where most 12-year-old girls would choose sides - would take the side of the popular clique and abandon their childhood friend who was now not deemed cool enough to hang out with. But not Erica. She always stood up for me, and she always stood by my side. She was always there for me and always defended me, which is a very brave thing to do in teenage-girl culture.

The next year, when we were in eighth grade, her mom (who was like a second mother to me) became very sick and passed away. It was very unexpected, and a very difficult time for all of us. I tried to be there for Erica the way she had always been there for me. I hope that I did a good enough job being a friend, but sometimes I feel like I failed her, especially since we moved out to Ohio shortly after we lost Annarose.

Erica is one of those people that no matter how much time passes between meetings (and right now, I'm embarrassed to say how much time it has been, mostly through my own fault), we can always pick up right where we left off. Our lives have gone in very different directions and I'm guilty of letting time and distance get in the way of being a good friend in recent years, but I still count her among the handful of people who know me, through-and-through.

This song pretty much sums it all up.

Next week's topic will be another vague one - "A Song that Reminds you of Somewhere."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weekly Fitness Feature - Oh, The Places You'll Go!

My husband has a different fitness philosophy than I do. He couldn't care less about working out in order to look good - he says that's not what it's all about. He's probably right, but I'm (wo)man enough to admit that looking decent in what I'm wearing makes up about 30 50% of my health and fitness goals. His main concern is all about what he's able to actually DO.

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He wants to be able to just pick up whenever he wants and go hiking in the mountains, or rafting down a river, or biking down a mountain. All of which we did last week. (Wow, was it really only last week?!) He also likes to mop the floor with the younger guys on the paintball field. I think that probably accounts for a good 75% of his motivation - not looking like the "old man" around the college-age kids out there.

After our big vacation, I'm starting to see his point. Everything that we were able to do and enjoy would have been made more difficult, if not impossible, had we not been exercising regularly. The hiking took some serious stamina and cardiovascular fitness. Even though we weren't exactly sprinting through the woods, the constant pushing onward and upward and the higher elevations were tiring on the lungs and heart. The running I've done was definitely helpful, since my legs were already conditioned for keeping me moving for hours at a time.

The rafting trip required a surprising amount of physical exertion. I was really shocked at how sore my core muscles were after the morning trip down the river, but I guess it makes sense when you think about needing to keep your abdominal and back muscles engaged nearly 100% of the time just to remain upright in the boat. Add in the bending and leaning for the paddle strokes, and you've got yourself an ab workout that would even make Tony Horton (P90X creator and exercise guru) proud. Each paddle was a crunch.

Even when we weren't actively seeking adventure and excitement (Wow, I can't even type that without thinking to myself "Adventure? Excitement? A Jedi craves not these things."), we were constantly on the move. We covered miles every evening, walking through Vail and Lionsgate. Sure, maybe some of those miles were treks to the gelato shop or to the bar, but hey, after days full of activity, we deserved it. All the more reason to indulge in a variety of local beers and handmade sweets - carbohydrates for recovery :)

The whole time, I just thought about how lucky we were that we were able to take a mini vacation at all, but, moreso, how lucky we were that we were actually able to enjoy it in the form of some amazing physical activities. Had we been out of shape, I'm sure the trip wouldn't have been nearly as fantastic.

How else would I have been able to take in such magnificent views?

Well, I guess I could have just rode hopped in the gondola, but that wouldn't have been as rewarding, now, would it?

The Joy of Reading

So, everyone and their mother has been blogging about the Hunger Games series lately, which is funny, because the trilogy has already been written and movies are already being cast. I guess there's just a large group of us who are way behind the times.

Rarely do books and movies live up to their hype, but the first two books have been the best books I've read since Harry Potter. Best to the point where I started Catching Fire (book 2) at 8:30 on Wednesday night and stayed up until 2:00 the next morning because I just couldn't put it down. I haven't had a reading marathon like that since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Back in the day, reading like that was a regular occurrence. I loved nothing more than sitting up late at night, lost in a good storyline.

I'm number 13 on the holds list for Mockingjay (book 3) in the local library system. I pitied myself on Facebook and was inundated with offers to lend me copies of the book, but I think I'd actually prefer to wait for it - it gives me something to look forward to. Drags the experience out a little more.

I'm always mindful of the fact that my mother did an excellent job instilling the love of reading in all three of her kids, and I hope to do the same for Charlie. I can't wait to share some of my all-time favorite books with him - Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing, Harry Potter, Henry Huggins, Goosebumps - all the classics! Right now he's very much into his Star Wars sound book, which is really meant for grown-ups. Go, Dogs, Go! and Where the Wild Things Are still make regular appearances at bedtime readings.

Although, Go, Dogs, Go! is making me feel a bit stabby, lately. It might have to "disappear" for a week or so ;)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


"D" as in "Dentist." I hate the dentist more than almost anything in the world. I've hated the dentist since I was eight, when I got my first teeth pulled. I was cursed with a small mouth (though those who know me would never believe it) and stubborn teeth, so in twos and threes all but two of my baby teeth were pried from my mouth. I used to hide in the toy cubby under the fishtank in the waiting room, and my mom would have to drag me out kicking and screaming. Then there were the 6 years and change in braces, including the dreaded headgear. No, I won't post a picture. Then the wisdom teeth and the root canal. Ouch!

Going to the dentist gives me so much anxiety that I've been known to cancel appointments the night before. I have to be there at 10:00 today. I feel like I'm counting down to my doom.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 12

Welcome to Week Twelve of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "Your Favorite Road Trip Music."

I originally picked this topic in honor of my upcoming days of travel, but now they're behind me, and apparently I'm a slacker blogger when I'm on vacation. Good thing I still have another road trip ahead of me in August!

I've mentioned a million times that I'm a Jersey Girl, and Bruce has already made one appearance on my song challenge list. This will be number two. We moved to the OH when I was a teenager, and in the following 15 (!) years made many, many, many trips across the states to visit family and friends. I would guess that I've made that trip a good 60+ times. Our tradition when we were younger was to blast Bruce Springsteen for the last hour of the trip, finishing the 10 hour drive (depending on the driver) off with Born to Run. It was our "Welcome Back" anthem at 3:00 in the morning. After we pulled up at my Aunt Annie's house, we would go inside, eat some cold pizza (which they pretty much always had waiting for us), and collapse on the floor/couch/air mattress for a few hours of sleep. Amazing how some things never change. I'm sure the August road trip back east will end similarly, as I re-create the tradition for the next generation :)

Alison, I hope you're not sad that I didn't pick Limp Bizkit :)

Next week's topic will be "A song that reminds you of someone." Vague, yes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Vacation Recap

We took a mini vacation this week. It was our first real vacation in five years, longer if you don't count the 3 days we spent at an Alabama resort back in 2006. We never even got to take a proper honeymoon. When the opportunity to get away for a few days was presented to us, we went around in circles trying to figure out what we should do. I wanted a nice relaxing time at the beach, feet in the sand, drinks in my hand, maybe a massage.... He wanted to go camping. We eventually met in the middle and settled on Vail Mountain in Colorado. There was plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, but we would be able to stay at a freaking sweet hotel (thank you, offseason discounts!).

We had quite a lineup planned - we flew out on Saturday, picked up our rental car (we got a Beetle!) and headed for the mountains.

First glimpse of the mountains!

Absolutely amazing to see them right in front of us.

We got checked in at the hotel and then spent the evening wandering around Vail Village and Lionsgate. They're both walking- and biking-only towns, connected by a walking/biking path that runs along a whitewater creek. We probably covered a good four miles that evening.

Enjoying the local cuisine

Doesn't it look like Hogsmeade?

We got up bright and early the next morning to go hiking in the mountains. We had a plan of making it to Booth Lake, which is a lake set in the bowl between two peaks.

We had to sign in before entering the trail. I thought it was like a guest book, but then C pointed out that it's so that they know who's out there in case you don't come back. Super reassuring.

We're going up there!

What do you mean, "Just walk across the logs?!"

We made it to the first landmark, Booth Falls, without any problems.

When we started to continue up to the Lake, we were thwarted by snow and ice and bad shoes. Vail got more than 160% of their usual snowfall, and the hiking trails were still covered in snow.

70 degrees and... SNOWY?!

To make matters worse, the path to the lake took you across a boulder field that ran right by a whitewater river that fed into the waterfall. I don't have proper hiking shoes, and neither of us were wearing ice picks on our shoes, so we decided to turn back. If either one of us had fallen into the river we would have been in serious trouble.

The ice covering a boulder field - this is what thwarted our effort to see Booth Lake.

Charlie was rather disappointed that we had to turn back, but that just means we'll have to try again some day.

The next day we were up even earlier for our rafting trip. On our walk the night before, I noticed that Gore Creek was overflowing its banks and moving pretty freaking fast, so I was a little apprehensive.

Gore Creek, in Vail Village

My anxiety was heightened when we got a call saying that our original rafting trip was cancelled due to high water and dangerous rapids - they were bumping us over from our Class IV to a Class III route down the Arkansas River, called Brown Canyon.

The raft that carried us down the river.

I don't have a waterproof camera, so I stole this shot of Brown Canyon from the interwebs - we had more water, but the rocks were still there.

All of my stress was for nothing, though, because rafting turned out to be super freaking awesome. Our guide was amazing, and shouted out perfect instructions to us as we maneuvered around whirlpools, waves, and giant rocks. We all stayed in the raft, which was good, because the river was icy. It was bad enough getting the spray from the waves, I can't imagine how awful it would have been to go for an involuntary swim. I wish we had planned far enough in advance that we could have taken an overnight rafting trip. I also wish that we had a camera out there with us. I can't wait to do it again! (we won't talk about the bruises on my palms from gripping the paddles for dear life)

The next day, we decided to ride the gondola to the top of Eagle Peak at the height of Vail Mountain. The views from up top were just breathtaking (literally, it was over 11,000 feet).

I had been itching to get out for a run since we arrived, but the daily activity levels left me wanting to do nothing more than sit in the hot tub every evening. I decided that I might as well just go ahead and do it, just to say that I did, so I ran a mile along the mountain ridge. I'm sure it took forever, and by the end of it I was completely whipped.

We decided to come back later in the day and do some downhill mountain biking.

On our way up the mountain!

Part of the bike trail

All was going well, although I was scared shitless - I, apparently, do not have the need for speed. Then, about a mile into the second 6 mile run, I swerved to avoid a giant rock, my tire slid in the loose dirt and gravel, and I felt myself being thrown from the bike and sliding across the dirt. I could honestly feel the pebbles cutting into my skin. I knew it was going to be bad, and I was afraid to get up. I was afraid that I had broken something. Luckily, I was able to pull myself up and get back on the bike, bruised and battered and much worse for the wear. Unfortunately, I had to get back on the bike and get myself down the mountain. That sucked.

Back on the bike after the fall

Before I cleaned up the mess

Giant knot on my knee. There's one on the other, to match.

It actually looks worse now that the dirt has all been washed off. My left arm is a total mess. I'll spare you the ickiness.

Recovering after the fall

I'd totally do it again.


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