Sunday, June 29, 2008

Deep In The Heart Of Texas

I finally have a moment to sit down and write. More than likely this will have to be a post done in segments because it'll be too much to write at one time. Texas was awesome. I'm so glad I got to experience and even better that I got to experience it with someone. That person being mom. I couldn't imagine having gone alone, as I wouldn't have had any of the experiences we had because more than likely I would've been holed up in a hotel room.

Tuesday started out well. No problems with our ride to the airport, check-in, flight, or arrival. Upon getting to the rental car center we found that there were no cars available. Even the "Emerald" club members were waiting. As a car would arrive they'd ask who wanted it. You could pass or take it. Of course most cars that were available were SUVs, which no one wanted. Our turn came and we had the option of a Toyota Highlander, Chevy Equinox, or a Chevy HHR. We went with the HHR given that it's American and more than likely the best on gas. It was a huge upgrade from our economy reservation. Spacious, sun-roof, and a leather interior. Nice. I did learn that after our car fiasco in Hawaii and this I more than likely will not be going with Alamo again. It's great to get upgrades but I question their management/organization.
We jetted to downtown Dallas and started out at the Sixth Floor Museum. It's a museum located in the old Texas Book Depository where it's believed JFK was assassinated. Mom was an admirer or JFK when she was younger, which she then passed on to me when I had to make a school project back in 2nd grade. His history and story intrigue me, so we thoroughly enjoyed the museum. Following the museum we checked out the Dealey Plaza, Old Red Museum, and the JFK Memorial a few blocks away. We stopped by the Pioneer Plaza to get a few more pictures and then walked throughout the downtown area. I must say that we were totally surprised how quiet the city was. The only thing we can think is that it's so hot during the day that people stay inside. Don't get me wrong, there were cars, but nothing like other big cities. Another thing is that no matter where we were it was clean. I can only imagine what they think of us when they come up here to all of our litter.
We finished the day by going to a mall called Northpark Center. We ate at PF Changs (a fav!) and did some shopping. This trip was full o' shopping. I'm not a shopper but I could've proven anyone wrong this past week. It helps when you get some good deals. A funny thing did happen. I've been wanting a specific shirt that says, "Jesus, please holla back." I saw it a month ago in Cleveland at a store called Metropark. I didn't purchase it and have been kicking myself since. Well, we came across a Metropark store and lo and behold they had the shirt. I had to try it on so I went up to a person and asked them if I could try it on. Of course it ended up being an asian person who I couldn't understand. And when I did he said, "You want me to try it on?" and tried taking it from me. I pulled it away and thought he was just joshing me. I already feel totally uncomfortable in stores like Metropark because I stick out like a sore thumb and at this point I just wanted to turn inside out. Then my mom realized and said, "Do you work here?" He said, "No." and we just said, "Oh, never mind" and walked away. Yeah, big idiot here! Guess you had to be there but we had some good laughs about this the entire trip. Actually we had many of those moments. Some that I remember, so I don't. If I sat a wrote them all we'd be here for a long time. It was late so we went to the hotel and found it to be quite nice for a Holiday Inn Express. Great warm continental breakfast with cinnamon rolls, cereal, eggs....the works! Our room had a microwave and fridge. It had a super nice shower and comfortable bedding. We were quite surprised.

Even though it was a nice hotel we didn't find ourselves sleeping in much. Everyday I woke up and ran 3 miles on the fitness room treadmill. It may be vacation but I can't slack on that. Especially with all the food I was eating! Most of the day was spent in Fort Worth checking out the Stockyards. It's a pretty cool area where you think you've stepped back in time. It's an actual location where livestock exchange occured. They have all of the steakhouses and even had a herd move through the street twice daily. I truly felt like I was in Texas after visiting there.
Lunch was at La Familia a local Tex Mex restaurant. Whew, was it good. Everything was so fresh and their drinks were strong. I wasn't even a quarter way done with my drink and I was feeling it. Needless to say mom was on her own for a bit after lunch. I wasn't much help as a navigator. If you're ever in the area check it out. Great food, service, and ambience. We did a bit more shopping the rest of the afternoon and had a late dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (can you tell why I definitely made myself get up each morning to run?). On our way back to the hotel we got stuck in a downpour. In the south when a downpour occurs they slow down a bit, put their hazards on, and keep a movin'. We did the same and made it safely to the hotel.

We didn't do much Thursday morning as I had school at noon. It was my lab animal day which included rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and rats. School ended up being surprisingly easier than I thought. At the same time it was informative. Everyone was quiet upon arriving but that didn't last long. We all soon started to talk and carry on conversations about our experiences. There wasn't a dull moment.
We finished sooner than expected which meant we could head out to dinner earlier. Dinner was at Maggianos and we shopped a bit more at Northpark Center. We were in search of another Dick's Sporting Goods, and were unsuccessful. Yeah, this is one of those times that has a funny story, but too long to go into here. Let's just say, I'm a good navigator and mom's a good driver, but I wouldn't recommend us going on Amazing Race. We never once yelled at each other and always kept calm but I'd love to have a video of us. Instead of finding a Dick's we unexpectedly found an area of house, no mansions, that were one after the next. Just amazing, gorgeous, mansions. My mouth was hanging open and I just kept saying, "Look at that. Holy shit. Look at that." We never found that Dick's but that's okay. It was still a fun adventure.

Friday morning started with another run and then right to school. It was my large animal day which was spent with horses and goats. We all did quite well, and as with the previous day, it was easier than expected. We were so kick butt that we got done with the animal portion in the morning and the lab portion in the afternoon that we didn't even had to come back the next day. Nice, but having a later flight the next day wasn't so nice. Wish I would've known that'd be the case because we would've left earlier. The evening was spent at a VERY nice mall. We finally found another Dick's where I got a pair of my running shoes for $30! Sweet. It's last years style but that's okay by me. The deals continued with me finding capri jeans for $15. Double Sweet. I was happy.

Since I didn't have school Saturday we checked out of the hotel and made a trek to an area north of Dallas and stopped at an outlet mall. We got some deals and then started back to the airport. That's when we hit a roadblock....but that will have to wait until tomorrow. It's getting late and I got to get to bed. Stay tuned.....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Adventure

Yesterday David and I started out real early and got our motorcycle permits. I hate those stupid tests. Heck, I hate tests in general. So much anxiety. But we passed and all that matters. We're waiting for our helmets to get started and then we'll start our training. This should be fun.

We headed up to CLE for the afternoon. We stopped to get my hair cut by Anna at Dino Palmieri. It's my 3rd cut from her and she never disappoints. Totally worth the drive and worth the money. At $4.09/gallon you know she's worth it. She's totally awesome. Easy to talk to and she does wonders with the scissors. I'm so excited to get my hair colored by her come time for the cruise. Having not colored my hair in years, and even then having only colored it a handful of times, I have nearly "virgin" hair and I know she's chomping at the bit to get ahold of it. Needless to say, I am now too and can't wait for September to roll around.

After that we stopped by Whole Foods to load up on some vegetarian options for me. Of course I have things here in Sandusky, but if you've ever been to Whole Foods, you can appreciate all the options. I got tons of different things to try out and loaded them into the ice-filled cooler. Now our freezer is full to the brim. I don't expect to always ship at Whole Foods, but it helps with the jumping off point and it's always an enjoyable shopping experience checking everything out. David totally surprised me by saying today, "You know, meat hasn't been sounding all that appetizing lately." You could've knocked me off of my chair. I don't see him going vegetarian anytime soon but I do see him deleting certain items from his diet. To a certain extent I feel bad, as I don't want to be pushy and I have made sure not to be. I figure let him choose the place to eat and I'll find something, which has worked out quite well. However, his issue doesn't have much to do with the humane side of things as much as it does with chomping down into grissel or fat. It gives him the heebie jeebies and can totally turn him off to the point of not wanting to eat it. Also, if he even thinks about where the meat comes from (having worked at Routh packing) he sort of loses his appetite. As like my previous diet, his isn't all that full with meat, but he does like to have a good steak every once in awhile. We shall see where this takes him.

Following our trip to Whole Foods we decided to head down to the city for the Ohio City Run and Crawl 5K. After almost reaching the city and getting misguided (by ourselves) into the ghetto, KD called to let us know we could follow them down. We turned around, made a quick change at their place for the race, then headed down to the city again. Of course, just in time for the rain. And we're not talking sprinkles. We're talking full out pouring, gusting rain. Fun. When we arrived it was still pouring and upon getting out of the cars we found it to be 10 degrees less. We sprinted to the check-in location. It was so cold and wet that I was even able to keep up with Erika, Jen, KD, and David. I was moving. I couldn't believe how drenched we were. Our shoes were soggy and my shorts we sticking to me. Not knowing what was going to happen I kept my cotton t-shirt on from earlier in the day. It was my Haliewa shirt from Hawaii. I should've known....Hawaii, the dreaded vacation with the worst luck. Lightning was in the area so we thought the race would be canceled but they said they wouldn't call it until race time. At 7pm it was still raining and we found ourselves lining up outside. The race organizers must have been watching the weather as they postponed the race for 10-15 minutes, and at the start the weather was clear and started to warm back up. It ended up being a great race. David surprised us all by bookin' it and coming in 75th with a time of 23:14 (7:31min/mile). He's flippin' awesome. Of course I'm the slow poke and didn't get a personal best, but I'm consistent with my times, which pleases me. The rest of the night was spent at the Bier Markt/Bar Cento and the Garage Bar...both awesome places, and had great company. I wish we were able to stay later but having had a long day and another hour drive home we headed back home at 10pm. It was a ton of fun, even with the rain, and definitely a race I'd like to repeat. We're eyeing the Winking Lizard 4 Mile Race in downtown CLE next month. Anyone up for that??

I'm almost all packed and ready to go for Texas. As usual I'm nervous but I know everything will be fine, and more than likely be a hoot! Keep an eye on my Twitter for updates.

I'll leave with you with some pictures from last night, compliments of KD....

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mo Has Arrived

Our Aprilia Mojito 150 arrived yesterday. David took it out for a test run.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Never A Dull Moment

Boy, have things changed since my last post. And that was only last week! On the "business front" it looks like it's a no go. Everything was fine until we got to the bank. There were no problems with our credit but given the economical situation of our area, heck, our country, loans aren't as easy to come by. And if they are, you have to have a down payment, are paying out of the butt, or some non-attainable options. For instance, not only the bank but the Small Business Administration requires 20% down along with a second mortgage on your house (so if you go bust they can take your home), and it would only be a 10 year loan. Yikes! So, we definitely don't have the 20% down, taking a second mortage on our house would be too big of a risk, and the 10 year loan made for a pretty high payment. In addition, we had hoped to apply for a larger loan for improvements, etc. but they didn't recommend it as we'd have to "prove" a need for it and it'd also make our down payment that much more. So needless to say purchasing a business isn't our calling. At least not at this time. Of course our minds are constantly churning about things we could build our own personal business on and we'll never rule out purchasing a business in the future. We firmly believe things happen for a reason and at this time it wasn't meant to be. So, that's cool. Just go with the flow.

With not having a business to think about we had an enjoyable relaxing weekend which finished with a day spent lounging at Soak City's adult pool and celebrating Viking's birthday and Father's Day with all of the 'rents. Ah, gotta love summer. Getting out, enjoying the weather and getting things done. I feel as though we haven't made much progress on home improvements this summer as we've had in the past. Mind you, it's early in the summer but still. I don't really know if that has to do with money or our mindset. Probably both. My medication has definitely helped me relax and go with the flow. Add on top of that not having extra money and you just kind of let things go. It's not like our house has fallen to disrepair but we're not constantly working on an improvement like we have in the past. Hopefully next up will be insulation and siding. That's going to be costly. Don't really know how that loan situation's going to work out. Ah well, we shall see.

In other exciting news we've been eyeing some scooters. Yes, us, looking at scooters. We've come to the conclusion that we want one and it'd be smarter for a variety of reasons. 1-David has a work vehicle, meaning his personal vehicle sits here and almost is never used. It's a 2004 with only a little over 30,000 miles. We're basically paying on it and have insurance for almost no reason. We'd like to just get rid of it but the buyback won't totally payoff the loan. And it's not like a dealer will just buy the car and not have you buy another car. 2-Even using the Aveo we go through about a tank of gas a week. I'd like to reduce this if possible. 3-it's a little more "green" 4-and you can't deny that they are pretty darn cute. So we found a dealer in Norwalk that deals Vespas and some of the other quality brands. Yesterday we went to check them out and get a quote. It looks like they'd give us a good trade-in amount for David's car. The only roadblocks are that we got to check with the bank to see if they'd take an negative amount left from the car and put it on the loan for a scooter (it's a small amount, but still, it's a negative amount) and we found that we'll have to get a motorcycle license. We weren't expecting this as we had been told we didn't need one. However, there are a multitude of sizes/powers of scooters and the ones we're looking at can go up to 55 mph. Anything that goes over 35 mph requires a license. However, you can get your permit and still drive it. There are stipulations such as only driving during the day, no passengers, and wearing a helmet. As for getting a license, you can take the test or take a class to receive your endorsement which automatically gives you the license. The problem with the class is that looking at the schedule all of them are full 'til September. Bummer. But, we'd at least be able to get permits and drive it alone if need be. As with everything, this is just an idea that we're pushing around at this point.

As for me being vegetarian, I'm still going strong and am enjoying it. As I tell people, eating meat is a non-issue. I don't even think about it. If I had been a huge meat eater before I can see it being an issue, but that wasn't the case. The biggest issue would be fast food places, which are best to avoid anyway, so that's what we're doing. And any place where I think I may have an issue I ask for no meat and they kindly oblige. I'm still gaining information to research and reading making sure I'm eating the right things and getting all of my nutrients/vitamins. And I've already had to deal with people's snide remarks and negative reactions even though I don't really bring it up. For instance my office manager saying, "She's gone off the deep end. How much you want to bet she's anemic?" Of course I proved her wrong and gave her a specific reference as to educate her. She was surprised by my answer but accepted it and walked away knowing that she had made a wrong assumption. The thing is, I'm not out to prove anyone wrong or to try to convert people. I just don't want people to make wrong assumptions or non-founded statements. Something I may have an issue with is becoming adventurous in the kitchen. I can see that most vegetarians/vegans make some awesome recipes and adjust them as needed. Just like the meat situation, I wasn't really a cook before so I don't see myself becoming anymore cook-like with my change. It's just not my forte and time isn't on my side when it comes to cooking. Thankfully there are other options out there that make it easier. I can only imagine trying to do this 10 years ago when it wasn't so readily accepted and you didn't have many pre-made/easier food options available. So far everything I've tried has been great. I absolutely loved the corn dogs and the Boca burgers were delicious too. David's even dabbled with some of the food. He won't be changing over, but I appreciate his interest. This is a good thing that I've done and am content with my decision.

I'm gearing up for Texas which is next week. Hopefully mom and I will have a good time. I have a few things on our "to-do" list including Sonic. I may not be able to eat they're burgers, but I can still get an ice cream treat!

This weekend we're heading up to Cleveland for the Ohio City Run and Crawl 5K. It seems like forever ago we ran in the Half Marathon. It's definitely time to get back on the horse for another 5K. It should be fun.

And lastly, obviously you have all see my last post with David's new 'do. When I walked in the door I saw him trotting toward me. I still had my sunglasses on so I couldn't tell what I was seeing. I couldn't believe he did it but I absolutely love it. I'm still wanting to add a little color to my hair. Not my whole head, but a bright strip of color. Not sure how the boss would like that. According to him he says, "Well, let's put it this way, clients judge us by what we look like. And raises are based on production. That's all I'll say." So in other words he's saying if you want a raise you better not do it because people aren't going to come in because of your hair. Right, I believe this. If anything I can see people liking it. Maybe I'll do it for our cruise. It's only 3 months away. I think I can wait.

There's never a dull moment with us, which always makes for an exciting time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Husband's Hot

I came home to this after work.....

David said, "I'm 26. If I don't give myself a mohawk now, I'll never have one."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy 6th Birthday Viking

Viking's birthday was last week so we celebrated today. Daddy made a homemade cake and all the 'rents joined in for the fun.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hello, anybody out there?

Yes, we're still alive here. It's been pretty busy 'round here lately, and it doesn't look like it's going to let up anytime soon. In a nutshell, I'm in my last semester of school trying to accomplish certain tasks (closing 20+ surgeries...yes, actually suturing skin, placing 10 jugular catheters, taking 15 oral x-rays, just like you get at the dentist, plus my normal school stuff on top of that). I'm also gearing up for my trip down to Texas to wrangle pigs, cows, and horses. In addition, I get to deal with "lab" animals like mice and rats. Yeah, looking forward to that. (sense the sarcasm?) I have yet to reserve a rental car, something that is on my list of things to do today.

David's hauling butt at work since the other mechanic is out of town for the next 2 weeks. Not that the other guy does much anyway, but having only 1 mechanic during a summertime schedule blows. He had 20+ service calls plus 12 downed machines yesterday. That'll raise your blood pressure.

Another big change is that within the past couple weeks I've been playing with the idea of becoming a Lacto-ovo vegetarian. At this moment I do not have the time to go into they whys and hows but I've done a significant amount of research and done very well with the transition. I feel that this is the right decision for me and will go into more detail at a later date when I have a few more minutes.

A few weeks ago David and I were determined to start some big home improvements such as insulating and siding. However, that has changed within the past week. It's still on our "things to do" list but something else has come about. For the past several months we've had interest in buying a certain business, but we didn't know if it was for sale. Well, we made a few phone calls to find that it is indeed for sale and at a very affordable price. Once again, this isn't something I necessarily want to go into just yet as we're making baby steps at this time and nothing is for sure. We've had positive and negative feedback from those around us in regards to the idea. We know that owning your own business can be a life changing experience, both in a good and bad way. At the same time we feel that this may be what we need for ourselves and that hardwork now may produce our payoff later. And I'd hate to look back 20 years from now and say, "What if?" So at this moment we've made a verbal agreement on a price and will now attempt to see if we can qualify for financing. It's all very exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. We'll keep you posted.

With all that's going on it's been tough to fit in running. I haven't run since last Wednesday I believe. I don't expect things to settle down, but I hope that things fall into place to make it a little more easier to organize our schedules. In addition, we totally forgot to celebrate Viking's birthday. We're such bad parents. We'll have to have a blowout this weekend.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Gorgeous Weather

I believe Spring has finally sprung. For the past 2 weekends we've had absolutely gorgeous weather. That means that we've been able to get out and about, getting things done and having fun too.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Thistledown for Ohio Derby Day. At first we were fish out of water. Not really knowing what's going on, how to place a bet, or when things got under way. We were just going with the flow. In all honesty we still don't understand it all, but we still had fun and even more fun trying to figure it out together, and enjoying the sun. Watching the horses makes me miss having a horse. But reality kicks in and I realize that's not the lifestyle I want to live, having an animal depend on you even more than a cat or dog, nor could we afford it. We didn't do much else the rest of the evening but hang out with the kids in the backyard, soaking up more rays and enjoying what's around us.

This morning we got up at a decent time and went out for a good run. David stuck with me for most of the run. This helps me keep a good pace, but boy does it kick my butt. We took a mid-run "break" taking a hike down River Ave, checking out the canoe launch area. We had been there in the winter for a city clean up but hadn't been back since, so we took a side jaunt to check it out. It was much greener this time around, which also meant more wildlife. Some wildlife I don't really want to see, including snakes. Yes, snakes. As most of you know I have a phobia of snakes. As we walked along I saw one slither across the trail. I just screamed, started shaking, and didn't know what to do with myself. I sped up my pace but within a couple minutes we decided to turn around. I was nervous as all get out and actually was holding on to David with my eyes closed. I started to calm down and tried making light of the situation singing, "Snaaaake, Snaaaake, ooh, it's a snake!" from the online video I've told you about before. Well, as I was starting to sing, my funny, "Snaaaaake...." it turned into a frightened, "SNAKE!!!!!" as I saw another snake coiled up on the side of the trail. My nerves were completely on edge to the point of wanting to vomit as I continued to shake. I was determined to get out of there without seeing another one. The beginning/end of the trail is a wooded area. I had hoped there wouldn't be snakes in the area as they tend to want to sun themselves out on the rocks. Yeah, not so lucky. Out of the corner of my eye I saw snake jump and slither away, more than likely scared of us. This made me jump out of my skin and scream once again, making David do the same. Mind you, he's not scared of the snake, but I scared the shit out of him. Needless to say I booked it out of there and didn't look back. Never again will I enter that path again. Thinking back, we used to go out to Sheldon Marsh quite a bit and never thought about having this issue. We haven't been there in forever, but after today I can't see us going there anytime soon. I'm kind of bummed because I used to think of myself as a nature lover. Mind you, I'm not the rugged type but I still like to get out, hike every so often, and check out all the wildlife. Yep, guess I'm not as much of a nature person as I thought.

After we finished up our run we worked on the yard for a bit, knowing that Cedar Point wasn't open yet. We trimmed all of the bushes and I edged. It was turning out to be another beautiful day.

Mid-afternoon was spent at Cedar Point riding several rides and walking the park. The joy of having season passes means we can go over there for an hour or two, ride a few rides, and leave if we want. Today's rides were Blue Streak, Magnum, and Mean Streak. Blue Streak kicks your but. We ride it at least once a year and every time we get off regretting our choice. It's so rough. Not only on your back, but on you chest area, if you get what I mean. I don't even attempt to hold my arms up. They're trying to secure my extra baggage. Magnum was cool. It's also getting rougher as time goes on but still enjoyable to ride. I can't believe that I was in kindergarten when it opened. That's crazy. And even more, that it was the tallest rollercoaster. Ha. On to the Mean Streak. I had never been on the Mean Streak before. Can you believe that? It's true. I had heard so many horror stories about how rough it was that I never wanted to give it a chance. David had been on it, but it was years ago and he stayed away from it for the same reasons I did. We figured today was our chance since we had already had our bodies rattled on the Blue Streak. We walked right on (as we had also done on Blue Streak and Magnum) and it took off. The first hill gave us a run for our money and we found ourselves looking at each other making faces of, "What have we done?" After the second hill I heard David yell, "Keep your back off the back of the seat!" So I leaned forward a bit and found it to be much more enjoyable. Once again, I had issues with my extra baggage, but nothing like the Blue Streak. It may sound crazy but we both found it enjoyable and will probably ride it again. I guess it's all how you ride it.

The rest of the afternoon was once again spent chilling in the backyard with the kids. We're laying low tonight, getting ready to head into our "summer running schedule," which means waking up before work to run. Although we dread getting up so early, once you get into a rhythm it becomes tolerable and quite enjoyable. As you run in the peace and quiet of the morning it's an even bigger stress reliever. That also means you don't have to try fitting it in after work. With the weather finally taking a turn for the better we thought it was about time to start back on the schedule. Hopefully it will help with consistency in schedule and running with David regularly again will help with my pace.