Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On the way to Boston!: Driving to Incubus (Ohio)

Apparently despite sleeping about four hours Monday night, and six hours last night, my body does not want to sleep. Bah. I care more because I know today is going to be just as long as yesterday and being tired is just not an option! Well, it is, but coffee as a pick me up. I hate that, knowing that you can't/shouldnt go to the bathroom any time you want, and then that just making you think about it ALL THE TIME, and then have to go ALL THE TIME. Oh well. Yesterday I did pretty well.

We were up at 4:30 (despite being up til near 1) and on the road by a few minutes after 5. There isn't much you can really say about 9 hours of driving. It happened. At seemingly a turtle's pace. By 8am, it felt like mid afternoon. It got a bit better as we realized that our original calculations were quite a bit off and we would be there really early (which would have been nice to know before getting up so freaking early). We raced to make it to Dayton before 2:30 so we could make it to a First Watch. I mean, yogurt and apples and beef jerkey are great, but a real breakfast meal would be fantastic, and First Watch? HEAVEN.

We made it in time that we called about 20 minutes out, ordered takeout, and picked it up about 10 minutes after they closed. Eating in the car wasn't exactly super comfort, but it was still delicious! Stopped at the Macys in Dayton, more to kill time and stretch. Then was the most roundabout backwards way of finding the Wright Brothers/Dayton Aviation National Park Site so I could get my stampie! Worth it though, three stamps in the one location!

Two hours onto Columbus, drove past the venue, went through town (and insane traffic) to find a Whole Foods in order to get a post concert snack for the road. It was seriously the biggest Whole Foods ever. It has to be the largest in the country. It was ENDLESS. It was good we had a time constraint, I would have wandered that store all day. It was so large, there was more than one prepared food station. Like, not just more than one kiosk, but numerous throughout the store. Holla!

Escaping only with one bag, we took the much faster highway back to the venue, got in line, and were annoyed that the concert was supposed to start at 6:30 (we are a-ok with missing the opening act), but they didnt start letting people in until 7. The outdoor grassy area facing the back half of the building venue/stage was ridiculously nice. I'd go there again. Good job PromoWest. Got a good spot, but after so long in the car, sitting longer just wasn't top of the list. Waited, opening act, Young the Giant, was decent. Kind of a 50s vibe, but with the voice of The Killers. Waited some more, finally around 8:45/9:00 Incubus came out. I adore them, and their shows are always so so worth it. Outside you could still smell a LOT of other people more illegally enjoying it too. But their light/CG show is so good. This year it was like a screen save from earlier computers on steroids in the future. Yeah. Like that! ;-) They also know their audience and play at least half of their setlist from old albums. Loved it.

Back in the car, snacks eaten, two more hours to the hotel. Too tired to care about anything else, we crashed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On the way to Fargo: Minneapolis Eve.

Last weekend (which felt more like a month long experience), Tim and I headed north for the wedding celebrations of one of his college friends. By wedding celebrations, I mean not only wedding, but rehearsal/rehearsal dinner, and bachelor party. And by north, I mean FARGO NORTH DAKOTA. And let's be honest, that might as well be Canada. I figured Fargo is well known, it should be a decent sized city, wrong. This speck that we live in in Iowa is more culturally diverse than the capital of North Dakota.

But first was the bachelor party in Minneapolis, a city I could definitely dwell in, if it weren't for the arctic tundra that takes up reidence from September to May of every year. Heated seats can only get me so far. But mid-August, I can handle it. Especially when, as the female, I am left on my own to wander the city while the boys go get blitzed and watch baseball. But first things first, food. Not just any food, but the Common Root Cafe, a friend of ours works in the catering department and had them cater her wedding, so we knew it was the place to hit up. And since we ate there a total of three times in three days, I think that speaks for it self. But if it doesnt, feast your eyes on what our stomachs feasted upon. (Josh, our hotel room partner on this leg of the trip also joined us for this early lunch).
My Tomato & Mozzarella Panini

Tim's Bison (yes, its Minnesota) Tacos

Dark Chocolate and Orange Bread Pudding.

The funny thing is that that took an hour, before noon. And the 12 hours, I only have two pictures to show for it, and they don't even involve me! The boys half of the itinerary had them on a Pedal Pub around to different bars (which I heard incessant bitching about) and then a Twins baseball game before I was called to come pick up Tim and Josh a little before midnight (and then on a wild goose chase of a Perkins hunt for muffins).

So yeah, it looks like they had fun. But I have to say that aside from the driving portions of the afternoon and evening (I have no idea how people get anywhere in Minneapolis, its like Picasso painted the map of the road system, completely illogical and insane), I had a great time. I had the opportunity to catch a hot yoga practice at the Corepower at St Louis Park, which was absolutely amazing. I wish I lived up there so I could get certified through them. The practice was great, the instructor (Dylan) was fantastic, and the facility is just, awesome. Can you tell I dug it? Hit up Mall of America for a titch bit of shopping. I only got through the first floor, but it took much longer than it usually does. I ended up with a $75 pair of Gap jeans for $23. Score. But I ended up spending far more than the difference at Lululemon....oops.

Picked up dinner at Whole Foods after getting caught up in a hot mess of traffic. Thought I made a great decision by getting a to go meal of steamed salmon, veggies and rice. Not thinking that I had no way to HEAT said food. Now, dont get me wrong, I can eat a lot of things cold, but rice? Ehhhh....bad choice. Plus I felt like my mother in the fact that I would have done ANYTHING to find a speck of salt. But it was tasty for what it was....and Love Crunch was on sale. I mean, that alone is happy.

Hotel gym was next. I ended up watching the same episode of Jersey Shore twice in a row, but whatever, that facility was killer. It's ALMOST the biggest hotel gym I've seen. A full room for weight lifting, and at least a room and a half of cardio equipment. Good stuff too. I'd work out there on a regular basis. Ok, I just realized I dedicated this much space to a hotel workout. I clearly have priorities messed up. Im not even picky, I just like my vacation workouts, and when its at that level, it makes my sweaty heart happy.

Then as I said before, drove downtown (made me think and miss Boston hardcore) and picked up Tweedle Dee and Tweedle "I need a bathroom, my head hurts, Im going to blast AC even though youre sweaty and cold, the Pedal Pub sucked, people suck, I have to pee" Oh my.

And yet, that was the best day of the weekend.....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wrapping up Colorado!

So thanks Mom and Dad for a great week in Colorado. Full of fun, food, and family frenzy. From dad's "magic tricks" to mom's spoiling us with Daylight Donuts, it was worth the long drive there. Thanks for loving us and taking us with you, especially over your anniversary! And thanks for always making us laugh :-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Breckenridge is a must when going to Colorado. We go every visit. At least one run down the slides and shopping through downtown. This year's visit might have been my favorite day of the week. Tim had never done the Alpine Slides before, so that was a fun new experience. DESPITE the fact that a chipmunk decided to run across my pathway, making me break in order to not have a rabid injured chipmunk attached to my face.

Christophers way down was far more slow though, due to a kid (on the fast track nonetheless) basically riding the breaks the entire ride down. He wasn't too pleased. But it was still a good time.

Not only does Breckenridge have super cute and quaint shopping (I could easily spend my life savings there) but they also have some utterly tasting looking places to eat. But leave it to my mother to bring the Nordyke attitude into this picture.

The boys got all you can eat ribs (they took awhile, and Dad was beyond ready to eat by the time they arrived), but I was far more pleased with my turkey wrap and sweet potato tots. Yes people, SWEET POTATO TOTS.

But there was a scary downside to the day. Since the last time I was there, Breckenridge has added a city chair lift to the top of their mountain. Chair lifts are devices of doom and they are terrifying and awful. But I went with the family (the things I do...)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Tim and Clare Day.

One day on the trip seemed totally dedicated to Tim and I. First stop was the Coors Brewery. Tim and I have been to breweries before, but Tim could go to every one in the country and be totally fine with that, and my parents had never been to one ever, despite their extensive travels, PLUS Christopher JUST turned 21, so it seemed obligatory.

Now I don't like beer, never have, probably never will, so why I took the sample, I don't know, but one baby sip and I handed it back to the guy to toss for me. Nasty. I just don't see the appeal. At all.

But then! The highest appeal! It makes me the biggest nerd in the entire world, but I grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey, and those who know me well know that I just maybe might still listen to it when I drive in the car. I've been once before to the Mecca of Adventures of Odyssey, and I disagree with a lot of their standpoints, but I can't turn down ice cream at Whits End and buying a few old school volumes on cd!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good luck finding that Gold....

In Colorado, you can't ignore this history of thegood old fashioned west. Well, I could celebrate it by just looking upon the gold laden mountains, but my mother cannot be so passive about it. Brought on by her childhood of doing so, she must take us all out to the old crumbling mines and walk around staring at the ground looking for something nice and sparkly. I ususally forego the actual gold hunting part and just enjoy the scenery and amuse at the image of my family SCOURING the ground that has been searched for the past 10+ decades.

One plus to the days on the mountain though are getting to see these totally awesome run down, half demolished, miner's buildings. Getting to explore those is pretty interesting. Another is the picnic lunches on the side of the mountains. Always the same since I was little, chips and sandwiches made that morning. I think it tastes better in the fresh air...
Dad found his piece of Fools Gold. Maybe he can finally get that Ferrari!

But sometimes you just gotta get a cool yoga shot....
This trip though, we found this Mining Museum that Mom wanted to check out. Here's hoping that once was enough, lots of rocks, lots of displays from 1976. Although there was a section dedicated to the uses of the minerals found in the mountains. Here, Tim ponders his environmental footprint on the world...
We also took a tour up in this totally podunk town. We had a feeling right away that it wasn't going to be quite what most would expect from an educational tour. And oh my were we right. I can't even begin to describe how the tour went, but I think if I give you this one image of our "Guide" then you will understand how it ended up going for us. Let me also just say, her mental acuteness and social apptitude match her dental hygiene....

That's a good place to wrap up. Now go brush your teeth.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Birthday Rock Climbing and Mexican Delicious.

As I am laying on a hotel bed in Fargo, not really wanting to go to sleep quite yet, despite needing my beauty rest for Greg's wedding tomorrow, I figured a mini post from Colorado might be a good way to postpone slumber.

A week or two before we headed to Colorado, Chris had his 21st birthday, and that kid is the hardest person on the planet to shop for. It's virtually impossible to get a good gift for him. So when we had the idea to give him the gift of rock climbing while in Colorado, we were quite pleased with ourselves. Copper Mountain has the nation's largest outdoor climbing wall, so its the perfect place to start. Rock climbing on real mountains was pretty much out of the question since none of us had ever climbed before.

We got our tickets and scooped it out the day before we actually did it. Tim went first and scaled up the 35 feet like a spider monkey. He was half way up the wall before most of us realized he had even started. It was insane. He got all the way to the top, rung the bell, and gave me absolute determination that I was getting to the top too!

I was successful in getting to the top! Despite some major shaking calf muscles. Chris had some other issues. Not a fan of heights apparently. Oops. Guess it wasn't the best gift ever, but we tried! I think we all still had fun though. I hope.

And now for the obligatory food photo. We had Mexican one night in Dillon, and holy wow. This was my grilled veggies with rice. It was delicious. I thought I wouldn't be able to eat my entree because I ate so many chips. But trust me, I had no problems consuming way too much of this dish....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Apology mixed with Colorado Beauty.

If you just read this blog for the pictures, go ahead and skip these nice wordy paragraphs of me blathering on and on, and go straight to the bottom of the post for the fun stuff.

I feel like I should apologize to any of the one or two readers out there in the blogworld that actually try to read this. I have done a ridiculously poor job this summer in keeping up with blogging and all of the trips and things that I have been up to. I still haven't even posted about Kenya (although thats for reasons all on its own). And when I have posted, its been in a flurry of of a hurry and without much content actually to it. And frankly, I don't know if the next few posts will be much better.

I haven't really done much all summer, but somehow felt very busy. It seems like the entire first half of the summer was dedicated to preparing and dealing with the Kenya trip, adding quite nicely to my back drama (which is totally healed, with exception of the massive scar across my back). I've been avidly working out like normal, and that takes up so much time in my day that you really probably wouldn't even believe it if i told you. However, I also spent time this summer seeking out a cause for my problems in that. I finally hit that wall where I really couldn't stand it anymore. Over a year and fighting the same battles clearly wasn't going to be able to last much longer and still have my brain on the same sanity levels that the rest of you dwell upon. So appointments were made, and finally, FINALLY, progress has been made. Months (years if you want to go to the very beginning) after this pursuit of health of mine, I am gaining information that could potentially change the rest of my life (fingers crossed). But that literally took a total turn just yesterday, so that's a post for the future.

But now, as summer winds down, now is when the actual crazy starts. Somehow, I feel like I might actually get better posts while I am getting busier, but we shall have to see, won't we? But for now, I have the family vacation to share. I mentioned in a Throwback post about how we used to go to Colorado far more than we have in the past decade, but this year the five of us made it back for a full week at Copper Mountain Resort. The resort has grown so much since the beginning memories I have of it, but its still in the perfect location and full of enough relaxation for a great week.

The first day we took the chairlift (aka contraptions of death and doom) up the side of the mountain. The boys and I hiked all the way up to 12,000 feet and retreated back down to have a great bbq lunch with mom.
It seemed like the first few days were just to get us in the feeling of being there and not at home. I can't say that the 14 hour car ride wasn't exactly the most relaxing part of the trip either. But on the first night there we ate even more delicious barbecue near our lodge at JJ's where I witnessed my brother, a full week and a half after his 21st birthday, order his first drink.
We actually got to celebrate his birthday a bit later in the week as well when he got to use his Birthday present from Tim and I, but more on that later....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Throwback Thursday: Castaway Sunshine.

This was eleven years ago. ELEVEN. I almost don't believe it. I remember going to Castaway for the first time. I don't even know how to begin to describe it though. It was always explained to kids as Club Med for high school kids. And really it was. A crazy fun experience for a week of the summer. Other than telling you to hop in a time machine and go back and experience it for yourself, I really don't know what else to say.

I remember singing Matchbox 20 with Julie during programming, entering the dining hall to Men Without Hats EVERY night, going parasailing, the banana boat, laying in the hammocks, volleyball tournaments, water fights in the dark, eating a shake of chocolate and vanilla mixed for the first time, totally chickening out on the rockwall, pool tables in the basement, falling asleep on the floor of the bus on the way home. Good times and sunshines.

Although, if you read this and got to go to Castaway, with me, or at some other time, I would love to hear a few memories that you have.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Feel free to judge me.

Can I whine for a second? I know a billion people have it worse off than I do, but I swear my wallet is the opposite of the forever filling cup. I fill it, and the next time I look, its empty. A few months ago was the total bottoming out paying taxes. But the last month alone has brought on pretty much every random expense possible. So besides the regular utilities, I've shelled out for numerous medical consults, dental, car registration, car insurance, condo insurance, my personal trainer (yeah, wah wah, I know, but still) and seemingly continuing travel expenses for two out of state weddings coming up (again, I know thats my choice, but I love celebrating love with my besties).

Like I said, I know I have a swank life. I travel, I have an awesome family, I don't want for an necessity, or rarely any realistic luxury, but sometimes, living Swiss Family Robinson style with no bills to pay doesn't sound so bad.

Mom, I know you are thinking of all the things I have and that I really think I have no money. Re-read last part of this. I KNOW I DON'T HAVE IT SO BAD. Besides, I'm watching the movie about the girl surfer who got her arm chomped off by a shark, I have both arms, right?

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 2011.

Olivia says Happy August to you!!! From prison. For being cute.