Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Update With Good News

I just want to offer a sincere thank you to all of you who took some time to pray for somebody you've never met this weekend. It's working.

Benji's is doing great. Updates from his family have been so encouraging over the past two days! They took out his breathing tube and he's able to suction himself. He's alert and seems to have better use of both eyes and can answer yes and no to questions. He was able to tell the nurse his name and tell his wife he loved her. And got them to turn the TV to ESPN, which is pretty typical! This morning's update was that he has some movement in all four limbs and was able to pull his knees up to his chest. That's fairly amazing 48 hours after a brain stem stroke, people.

If there's anything I've learned over the years it's to try not to question the "why's" and be grateful for God's willingness to answer when we pray.

Benji's wife posted two this as her FB status earlier:
Faith is the refusal to panic. I just remember Phil. 4:13
Phil 4:13 is the classic "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

If she can remember that right now, we should be able to remember it too.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Most of you know that I don't publicly ask for prayer for other people often. When I do, it's usually something big. And if you are friends with me on Facebook you may have seen that I did indeed ask for some prayers last night.

Greg's cousin, Benji, had brain stem stroke yesterday morning. He's 35, a few months younger than me. He just celebrated his first wedding anniversary earlier this month. He had recently gone back to school and just finished his degree. He was looking for a teaching job. He works as a ranger at Roosevelt State Park. For those of you who attended the MRBA picnic last year, he was at the guard shack taking the entry money. Greg and I stopped and talked to him for a while that day, which was probably the last time I saw him, although Greg's seen him since and we always enjoy some online trash talking during March Maddness.

It was several hours before his wife found him and a couple more before they got him to UMC. Yesterday he couldn't move the left side of his body, this morning he could use the left but not the right. He's having trouble breathing, one of the involuntary functions controlled in the brain stem. He's in the ICU. Nobody seems to know what to expect from here.

I didn't sleep much last night. I kept waking up and praying some more. This morning I woke up pretty mad at God. Benji is too young for this. He'd finally found some real happiness, was making some positive changes in his life and was ready to move forward. Why does this have to happen to him. Why now.

Part of that anger is fear. It could have been one of us.

When these things happen it's hard to remember that God isn't the only force at work in this world. He doesn't cause bad things to happen to good people, but he doesn't always stop it either. We don't know why. Sometimes there's no reason, it's just failure of the human body. Our bodies aren't perfect. Our choices aren't perfect. Those things aren't God's fault. And we never know how he's going to use the things that happen to us. I saw that when my mom had cancer. It was awful, but she stayed strong and came out of it a better person.

And that's all a nice way of saying that this sucks. But it does me no good to get angry at God. Not that He minds. He has an infinite store of forgiveness and understanding when it comes to these things. And I certainly won't stop praying for healing and restoration.

Friday, May 27, 2011


So Greg just informed me that after revising our expectant budget we need to save $12,000 by the end of the year.

And then I passed out.

Ok, so that's not "in order to eat" money, it's the extra stuff that isn't in our monthly budget. Insurance, taxes, my IRA, Kaycie's college fund, paying for Micro-tot...

I think I need to work on a big post about our budget. It would make more sense.

Sometimes I wonder how in the world we paid off so much debt so quickly. Then I remember that we had twice the income at the time.

In the meantime, we need to find a way to come up with about twice as much each month as we're currently saving. On the other hand, we have until April to make the contributions to my IRA and Kaycie's college fund, so we'll have a few extra months for that. Of course then we need to fund two college funds next year. And if Micro-tot doesn't arrive until January, we won't get the extra tax deduction this year. Think we can get an SSN before the baby actually arrives? Or talk Dr. T into inducing Dec 31??? My luck she'd induce but I'd have a really long labor and M-T would arrive after midnight Jan 1. Not even early enough for all the "first baby of the year" freebies.

We'll figure it out. We always do.


I bought a graduation card for a special young lady this week and I was surprised to find the perfect sentiment on my first try. That never happens, and it always takes me forever to pick out a card for anything. Frankly, I wish it wasn't a graduation card and was just blank inside because I can think of a dozen people I could send this to just as a little happy. Since many of you are on that list, I thought I'd share:

'The future doesn't lie ahead of you, waiting to happen... It lies deep inside of you, waiting to be discovered."

Thursday, May 26, 2011


It occurred to me last night that I didn't word that last post right. I don't have a problem with people giving advice. I have a problem with people being arrogant about giving advice. Especially when they don't really understand what they're talking about.

You see, last time around some people didn't really think I was that sick. They had never had a pregnancy or hadn't had one that bad and therefore seemed to think I was either a) faking it, b) exaggerating it, or c) a big wimp.

I knew I wasn't faking it. I knew I wasn't exaggerating it. That left me feeling like I was a wimp for taking it so much harder than everybody else. Now, I've been though some painful stuff (like 9 years of chronic back pain) and I never though of myself as particularly wimpy. That's one of the things that had me almost scared of this pregnancy. I didn't know how I was going to un-wimp myself enough to deal with it. Because clearly everybody else knew more than me, right?

This time around it's so different that I'm beginning to understand that it wasn't a matter of being a wimp, it was a matter of being really really sick. Not as sick as some people have been, but certainly sicker than I think is probably considered normal. It frustrates me to think that people who didn't know any better seemed to think I wasn't. They made me feel worse about myself because they didn't understand that I was having a harder time than they did.

I don't think it was intentional, I think it was just a lack of understanding. And that's what I was trying to say yesterday. If you don't understand, don't try to make it better.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On Second Thought

You know how before I said that if I wasn't sick I'd be freaking out that something was wrong because I wouldn't have that physical proof that I was pregnant? Wrong.

First, I'm in maternity clothes already. Seriously. This won't be quiet for long. Thankfully our doc appt is next Thursday and after that I'll probably make it public.

Second, there's that 9am off-ness. It's not nausea, it's not even a full-on queasy, just a not-quite-right feeling in my tummy.

And let's not forget the daily second lunches. And second dinner a lot of nights.

And here's the kicker. Today's second lunch, on purpose, is a chili cheese coney from Sonic.


But it's what the micro-tot wanted, so therefore it's what I'm eating.

I suppose the "every pregnancy is different" saying is true. Although to hear my mom say it should be more like, "It's different! You're having a BOY!" Regardless, I'm extremely grateful. I was rather worried that it wouldn't be different and I would be a wreck. As it is, except for the hot dog and the afternoon naps, I'm feeling pretty darn good. And I like that. It's also made me realize more clearly how bad it was last time. I was pretty caught up in the fog of wanting to die last time, but I do remember people telling me to eat when I was nauseous and I'd feel better. I remember wanting to punch those people in the face. Along with the ones who said things like, "If you get up and go for a walk you'll have more energy." With this one, so far, I can buy those two lines. Eating does help in the mornings most of the time. Doing things does sorta help my energy, while wearing me out at the same time. I have to be careful not to push myself too hard and remember that rest isn't a bad thing. But last time, those things didn't help. Nothing helped. And I don't think a whole lot of people really appreciated that fact.

The point I'm making is this - when a pregnant woman is feeling yucky, don't assume you know what it's like. My BFF has been suffering from pregnancy induced kidney stones. I don't want to know what that's like, nor will I be offering her any advice on how to manage the pain (although it's much better now and she's off her pain pump - WOO!) I was also careful not to simplify her suffering when it was just the morning sickness. I don't know how bad hers was, and I did tell her what helped me, but not in terms of "if you do this it'll be all better." More in terms of "do whatever you can for survival, these things helped me and may or may not help you."

This proves true with any situation somebody else is going through. It doesn't help to blow off their complaints, assume their overreacting, or minimize their situation. People are just different and we need to respect that. And that's the lesson I've learned over the past week. Pass the tater tots.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mash Up Round 2

Ok, I didn't get to finish my mash up earlier because I was called away by a mischievous little sprite who was politely asking for my attention (by trying to break her neck on our elliptical machine). So, to continue...

I know you've probably all heard this crazy talk about the world coming to an end tomorrow. I'm not buying it, but I have made fun of it a time or two. It's been all over FB and Twitter and people seem to be confused. Some are calling it the end of the world, some are calling it the rapture, and the ones making me a little nuts are using the two terms interchangeably. They are two totally different events. The rapture will most certainly not be the end of the world, just the beginning of the end, but it'll take a while to get there. Of course, let's all keep in mind that one of the big things about the rapture is that we don't know when it's going to happen, which means scheduling it for 6pm on Saturday is kinda silly. But I am going to go eat some really good steak around 5 just in case.

My dryer hose ripped earlier in the week. It is now fixed. I can't tell you how hard it is for me to go 24 hours without a dryer. And that's pretty sad.

While driving up Clinton Blvd today to pick Greg up for lunch I noticed a lot of fire trucks parked periodically on either on the side of the road or in the middle of the turn lane. They all had their lights flashing but weren't doing anything. After the fourth one, parked on the off ramp from I220 coming onto Clinton Blvd, I was really confused. It was moving into position to block traffic so I figured something was going on. A couple of blocks later I saw a funeral procession, with a Fire Department Chief's car (lights flashing) escorting in the front and back. I have to be honest, while I was pulled over on the side of the road I cried a bit. I can only assume it was a fallen firefighter who was being escorted to Lakewood Cemetery. The fire trucks were in position to block traffic at intersections along the route, usually the job of police officers. That was a tremendous show of respect and I'm glad I got to witness it.

Still no good plans for getting the blech detergent smell out of some clothes. Washing a load with baking soda and a vinegar rinse now. Occurred to me after I started it that it may not be the best combination. I use both in my laundry quite often, but usually not together. I couldn't help but notice a bubbly chemical reaction starting up when some of the vinegar from the "softener" compartment spilled over into the detergent compartment with the baking soda. Here's hoping I didn't just ruin an entire load of clothes!

Mash Up

On Glee, a mash up is a combination of songs that may or may not really fit together. Here on the Llama Farm, it's a combination of thoughts that have nothing to do with one another but aren't sufficient for their own post.

You know how I know it's going to be a bad day for my ADD? I wake up frustrated before anything happens. Today is that day. I'm frustrated at things that haven't even happened yet, as well as things that don't really warrant the overreaction of frustration they got. How do I manage? Well today I prayed really really hard then cleaned the daylights out of my kitchen. I feel better now.

Anybody know how to get a blech detergent smell out of clothes? On my second washing, with a vinegar rinse, and it's not really helping a lot.

We revamped our budget this past week in light of the fact that there's a Potamus 2.0 on the horizon. We'll have less individual stuff money each month but a little more food money to make up for my lack of energy and willingness to be in the kitchen. I'm feeling ok about that. But I'm afraid it's going to put a delay on my long-standing dream of a new couch. Again. These things happen.

I need to write a post about choices we make. Been thinking about that a lot over the past week. Not big things like having another Totapotamus, but little things like choosing how we speak and react to others. It's a bit of a challenge for me a lot of days but it's something I've worked on pretty diligently and for the most part I've seen a big improvement.

In an example of where I haven't done a good job of choosing to think happier thoughts, I'd like to express that I still hate the Walgreens Photo Center. They keep calling me about the photo order I placed before Mother's Day. I went to pick it up a few hours later and they said it would be three days because their machine was broken. I didn't have three days and told them to cancel it and I'd order from Walmart. Later that evening I was in Walmart, picking up my pictures, when I get an automated call from Walgreens telling me my photo order was ready. I didn't go pick them up, because I had reordered them from Walmart. Today I'm still getting calls to come pick them up. And pay for them AGAIN? I don't think so. But then again I wouldn't mind having another set. (It was Kayice's Easter pictures). Grrr.

I could use a nap.

Planting Flowers

So yesterday Kaycie and I planted some flowers. She wasn't big on getting her hands dirty (she'll grow out of that) but she's all about pouring water these days so I made her the official plant waterer. After we got the flowers planted I told her to it was time to water them, so she picked up one pot, carried it over to her table, and carefully set it down in the water. Brilliant child. Later I showed her how to use her little cup to water them, but that wasn't good enough. She needed the gallon pitcher. Which led to this:

I feel confident the flowers will die from overwatering. They were watered at least 3 times yesterday. But that's ok. We'll get some more. I also think it would be fun to plant some seeds in pots for her, since my garden is in a raised box and too high for her to see!

And yes, she's in her pajamas. I figured she'd end up soaking wet from the water table anyway, no point in getting her dressed just to have to change her clothes again!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A No-Win Situation

So far so good. That's all I have to say for fear of jinxing the rest of my week. We have dinner planned with my in-laws at Lee's Steakhouse Saturday night and I want to eat.

And just so we're clear, I feel confident that if I'm not sick in the next week or so, I'll be freaking out that something's wrong. Yes, I know every pregnancy is different blah blah blah, but I took a little comfort last time from the fact that every time I sick I knew that meant the baby was growing and safe. It's a no-win. I won't be happy either way until we get to the doc and I see pictures!

Today's to-do list includes cleaning out my closet and putting away the three bags of maternity clothes in my bedroom floor. Most of the clothes I had last time were borrowed and were returned to be passed on. Luckily a month or so ago a friend of mine had a baby and I told her I knew somebody who might need some if she was wanting to sell hers. She just wanted to get rid of them ASAP and dropped two bags on my carport a few weeks later. (Thanks, Danielle!) And I still have one bag of clothes that were given to me last time. All I bought myself were 2 pair of shorts. I won't need shirts for a while, but I could start wearing the shorts now. I was trying on stuff earlier and all but one or two pair of shorts appear to have... well... shrunk. In the hip area. Anybody know of any consignment stores with a decent maternity selection? I need two more pair of shorts!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Overusing Bullet Points

So I probably shouldn't have posted that pic of Kaycie quite so early, based on the tradition of not "telling" before 10 weeks, but I felt like I needed to do it for two reasons:

  • I needed to vent about some related stuff and this was the best place to do it. Figured it wouldn't make much sense if you didn't know what was going on.

  • A few extra prayers never hurt this early

  • If something does go wrong, I'll need a place to vent and well, I'll do that here.

So we've told our parents but don't plan to go public at least until after we see the doc. That will be June 2. I'm guestimating a few things right now:

  • I'm pushing 5 weeks.

  • Arrival should be mid January.

  • I should start throwing up tomorrow or Wednesday.

I won't lie, I'm nervous. I know a lot of people who had trouble the second time around, some with the pregnancy and some with serious medical problems after the baby arrived. It hasn't really sunk in yet, so I'm not flat out scared, but I have concerns. Yes, I know a hundred more people who had their second problem-free, but of course those aren't the people I'm going to think about, are they? And of course every time I think about it I remember another half dozen things I've done in the past 2 weeks that I shouldn't have. Like putting out flea/tick/ant poison in the yard, taking OTC painkillers that aren't approved, cleaning the carpets, eating things I shouldn't... I know it's too early to really matter, but that's not going to stop me from thinking about it. In addition to the general fear, I have a variety of other fears right now (yes, I'm digging bullet points right now):

  • I'm likely to start throwing up this week. If I'm as sick this time as I was last time, it won't be pretty.

  • I'm going to turn my kid into a couch potato because I'll be too sick to play and go places and have general fun like normal. She'll be a Backyardigans zombie by the time I'm out of the first trimester dolldrums.

  • My dog is gonna FREAK. Like he hasn't already.

  • How am I going to travel to Memphis for my cousin's wedding in a few weeks?

  • How am I going to feed my family while I'm so sick I can't stand the sight of raw meat? (Hence the reason I have 8lbs of ground beef cooked in my freezer and at least 5 meals of pork chops frozen ready to go straight to the oven without any additional prep!)

  • How am I going to keep blogging, on both blogs, if I can barely pick up my head? I have to work to carve out time to do it now! This past week I've been struggling with the 365 project because I've been very distracted (really?) and that's sucking away my creativity. Add the exhaustion that I fear is coming and my photography project may not survive, which makes me sad. I'm really enjoying it. But even if I can't keep up every day, I hope to keep up when I can and pick it back up when I'm able.

  • What if I go into labor during one of our freak ice/snow storms. We are looking at January...
And that's just a start. For the record, I've already had to break out the rubber bands on my shorts. I remember Rani talking about how quickly she started showing with her second, and I'm going to be the same way. I remember Greg buying me this bag of rubber bands when I was expecting Kaycie. He got them for me for Mother's Day that year. I was 4 months along, not 4 weeks!

Open Source

Last night I had to take emergency measures and take the privacy lock off my 365 Photopotamus blog since Blogger was being stupid and I needed to get something posted for somebody to see (temporarily, I took it down when Blogger straightened up and I could post it here). In the process, I discovered that Wordpress will let you open it up to people who have the address, but keep it out of search engines.

I like it.

So for now I'm going to leave it open, unless I start getting wack visitors. I don't mind people I know visiting there, I just didn't want to deal with the crazy people. No, wait, that overlaps... I didn't want to deal with crazy people that I don't know...

Now the question remains, will new developments kill my 365 project? It's possible. But I'm going to try to keep it alive, even if it sucks for a while.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Little Something Extra

Cause I love you guys more than most of my Facebook friends (even those of you lurking who I know are there even though you think I don't), you get a blog exclusive photo of my sweet girl. Enjoy.

It's a Doozle of a Poozle

Ummm. I just realized that my post about my new dehydrator is gone. Poof. I responded to a comment on it yesterday, so I know it posted originally, but today it's missing. Do you think I ticked off the Interweb Police and they took it away? I didn't think they felt that strongly about dried food...

To Do List - Updated

Today's Nap Time To Do List
(With the "Ice Cream and Cake and Cake" song stuck in my head)

1. Check Facebook and blog as a method of procrastination
2. Pack for trip to Philly this evening
3. Finish laundry when I realize half of what I need to pack is in the washer
4. Check Facebook again, just in case I need to waste another 30 minutes
5. Exercise, since I won't be home to do it tonight
6. Dink around with variety of food I've dried/am drying
7. Brown 3 more pounds of ground beef for the freezer
8. Check the mail to see if any of the books I've requested from PBS arrive today
9. Vacuum, cause my carpet is crying out in pain.
10. Check Facebook again, cause this list is too long already
11. Put away rest of the laundry
12. Straighten up the living room so Kaycie can destroy it again after naps
13. Take a picture for my 365 in case we get to Philly to late to take one there
14. Eat second lunches
15. Exercise again after second lunches

16. Dump new bag of dog food into dog food bucket
17. Spill dog food all over the kitchen floor
18. Clean up mess while the dog stands 3 feet away and eats his dog food from his bowl.

Thanks for the help, pup!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I have a new toy.

A Nesco FD-75PR 700 Watt Food Dehydrator.

I saved up my Stuff Money (yes, that's a budget category, Greg and I each get cash each week to spend on whatever we want) and bought the best one I could find that wasn't ridiculously expensive.

I was originally motivated by the veggie chips at Fresh Market. I can eat them all day. I bought them hoping to increase the variety of veggies Kaycie would consider. And yes, she loves them too. Yummy yum yum. However... they aren't dehydrated. They are "vacuum fried," whatever that means. It gives them a tasty texture that I know I can't recreate. But in the meantime I started researching dehydration and decided to buy one anyway!

One of the biggest resources I found was the Well Preserved blog. This guy will dehydrate anything. And find a way to use it. Mushrooms, dried and powdered as a thickener. Spices and spice blends - onion, garlic, and celery powder. Tomato powder - rehydrated with different amounts of water to make paste or sauce or soup. Spinach and kale chips, along with squash and root veggie chips. Fruit rollups! I've made apple already and have grape drying as we speak. (I'm also munching on Fresh Market chips as we speak, but...) And of course I'm going to experiment with beef jerky. Cause I like it.

My first experiment went a bit wrong, but it was my own stupidity. I put several trays of root veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, etc) on to dry overnight, since the book said 8-12 hours. I figured by the time I got up it would be around 8 hours, so it'd be the low end and I could leave it on longer if I needed to. The pup woke me up at 3:30 begging to go out, so I went ahead and checked it. They were already overdone... Whoopsie. Guess by 8 they meant 4?? It's ok. It's all an experiment until I figure out the best way to use it.

I'm pretty stoked about my new toy. Unfortunately, dehydrating takes a lot of time. Not so much energy, but it has to run for a long time and you kinda have to be nearby to watch it until you get it figured out. I'm afraid that circumstances over the next several weeks will be such that I won't get a lot of chances to use it, so I'm doing as much as I can while I have the chance. I'm even thinking about taking it with us to my parents' house this weekend!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

18 Months

Wow. Really? Kaycie is 18 months old today!

Happy half-birthday, baby girl!

I can't even tell you how much she's changed in the past few months. She is loaded with curiosity. In the past two weeks it seems like her vocabulary has doubled and her comprehension of what other people are saying has increased drastically. While we were in Tampa she stayed with my parents. When she got home, after just 4 days, she was doing all kinds of crazy things she hadn't been able to do before! Things like successfully putting together her wooden puzzles. She had gotten fairly good at matching up the pieces to where they went, at least withe the animal puzzles, but had a really hard time getting the pieces to fit. Last week she not only put both of her animal puzzles together without much help, but she correctly matched up and fit 15 of pieces of her alphabet puzzle without much effort! She could have done more of them, but she saw a shinny and moved on after 15. But seriously. She had never made much effort of any kind with the alphabet puzzle. It was just too many pieces and, frankly, not animals. Suddenly it's her favorite.

She's also made a lot of progress on processes. She not only likes to push anything with wheels, but I got her a little plastic shopping cart and she's started filling it up with things and delivering them to places. And she put her baby doll in the top part where she usually rides! She's figured out how to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and turn both of them on. She'll name the different items of clothing as she puts them in the dryer. "Shirt. Pants." And of course she's infatuated with shoes. This morning she made me take off my sneakers and put on my sandals before we left to run errands!

One thing I've worked pretty hard at lately has been manners. She's learning her "please" and "thank you" and is starting to use it a little more without prompting. And I think she's finally getting the hang of telling me what she wants out of the fridge instead of running to the door and whining until I open it and let her browse for her drink of choice. Now she's started trying to tell me, "Milk, please!" It's adorable. Especially because she knows the sign for "please" and will rub her little chest just as hard as she can.

She loves being outside. She would stay outside 24/7 given the chance. This is going to come back to bite me as the summer gets hot, but hopefully we can keep on getting outside at least once a day! She wants to play in her water table and I bought her a little blow up pool that I haven't given her yet, but I'm sure she'll go nuts over. I also bought a sprinkler, but I'm not sure if it'll be a hit or scare the daylights out of her. You just never know...

Ahhh. My sweet girl is getting smarter by the day. Have I mentioned that I adore her beyond words?

Monday, May 9, 2011


Remember the last post regarding painful, scary dental procedures?

Never mind. I canceled it due to unforeseen health issues.

Can't say I'm sad about that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I have an appointment with an oral surgeon to get one of my very back teeth extracted on Monday. I'm not looking forward to it. I don't remember the last time I was this nervous about having a dental procedure done. Probably because it's not really necessary right now, but the last filling was a bit too close to the nerve and it's causing a lot of sensitivity. My dentist is afraid the trauma to the nerve will kill it, causing either an abscess or infection or require a root canal. The easiest way to avoid the potential suffering from either of those three options is to go ahead and have it removed. The one above it was taken out many years ago (in college) because it had cracked, so this one is really serving no purpose anyway. No point in keeping it.

Except the thought of having it pried out of my mouth will probably keep me up half the night.

To make it better, when I filled out the preregistration forms earlier today it mentioned something about having somebody to drive you home if you're having surgery. I suppose this is considered surgery, but I'm not having the IV to knock me out, just the local anesthesia. So do I need a driver? I hope not, because if I do Greg will be entertaining Kaycie in the waiting room for a while. And she does not like waiting rooms! I have to call in the morning to clarify. Life will be much easier if I can drive myself.

And lets not talk about the things I can't eat afterwards. Like the big box of veggie chips sitting on my counter after my trip to Fresh Market today. (There's no way those things can be healthy. They're too tasty!). And I can't drink from a straw. I can only have "soft, nutritious food." Pretty sure I should have made a grocery run on Friday. Whoops. Wasn't thinking.

Sigh. My appointment is at 10:15am. Here's hoping it goes smoothly...

Happy Mother's Day!

You know what makes Mother's Day awesome?


To be really honest, every day of the past 18 months has been Mother's Day. Every time I'm greeted by that loud, boisterous laugh, it's Mother's Day. Every time Kaycie crawls up in my lap with a dozen books and shoves one in my hand, it's Mother's Day.

Every time she wakes me up at 3am for reasons she is unable to explain, it's Mother's Day. Cause I love her.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Let's Go Bolts!

So I mentioned in the last post that there was a teeny tiny little (HUGE) hockey game going on in Tampa while we were there. What I didn't mention was that it was basically across the street from where we were. Well, across the channel, anyway! About a 3 minute walk over the bridge from our hotel. Close enough that some of the Washington players were staying at our hotel!

My one day (hour) at the pool and these guys were hogging water! I never even got wet! I had no idea who they were, but from all the talk about having to skate in half an hour and how one guy used to play for Edmunton and what they thought about the Lightning, it was obvious. They were Caps. At least one was staying on our floor, I'd overheard him on the phone at the elevator. And yes, I took this slyly with my cell phone...

We'd tossed around the idea of getting tickets but were kind of ambivalent about it until Kristi (one of Greg's coworkers who was also attending this conference. Did I mention this was actually a work trip for Greg?) brought it up again after our trip to Bern's where they told us about the wine. Late Tuesday afternoon Greg sent me a message asking me to get online and see if I could find tickets. So I did. And they weren't terribly expensive. They were also 2 rows away from the roof of the arena.

So the three of us ditched our prior dinner plans, hopped on over to the arena and ate some sports stadium food while we waited for the game to start. And like 3 seconds later it was over and I was deaf and we'd had the best time ever! Well, maybe not ever. But in really really long time. And definitely top 5 best times. We were cheering and jumping around and screaming and clapping... Shoot, we even got free shirts just for having seats!

Tampa won the game and the place was wild. I was glad we didn't have to try navigating the parking lot! They had one more game to win to advance to the next level, so Wednesday night we got home and realized the next game was being televised on a station we didn't get. So Greg got online and ordered it! HA! We watched the game and Tampa swept the Caps to advance. If they win one more series of games they'll advance to the finals and we'll be watching to see if that $30,000 bottle of wine shows up!

Catching Up

Home! Well, we've been home since Wednesday afternoon but still...

I had about a dozen things I wanted to blog about while we were in Tampa, but where did the time go?? My quiet, peaceful, boring poolside vacation turned quite busy. I walked all over the freaking town looking for a cool retail location, convinced there had to be one. The closest I found was a Publix Supermarket. Where I bought hamburger buns that I had to carry on the plane to get home.

I walked so much Monday and Tuesday that I could barely walk Wednesday when we had to get on a plane. Brilliant.

But aside from that, here's the view from our hotel room:

The hotel was quite nice, if you ignored the carpet and the fact that housekeeping absolutely would NOT leave more than 2 washcloths (and 47 towels). It was hot. I took a lot of showers.

Now for the real highlights.

Monday night we ate dinner at a place called Bern's Steakhouse. I dare you to go look at their menu. This was an awesome 4 hour dining experience. The French Onion Soup! The salad with macadamia vanilla bean dressing! The steak... Yum. And that's just a sample of dinner. Then came the tour of the kitchen (amazing) and the wine (a huge, yet small sampling, of their total wine collection, which is the largest in the world at over 100,000 bottles). Then the dessert room, which requires separate reservations! I can't even tell you how awesome that meal was.

During the wine portion of the tour we saw several "last one in existence" bottles of wine, as well as a $30,000 bottle (I will never remember what he said it was) that our tour guide said would hopefully be served in the Stanley Cup trophy if the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Cup. They're in the playoffs, you know. And it just happened that they were playing game 3 against the Washington Capitols the next night...

That's the St. Peete Times Forum, where the Lightning play. I'll save the rest of that story for another post, because there are more pictures!

And finally, on Tuesday Greg and I spent much of the morning at the Florida Aquarium. It was pretty darn neat. Here are a few samples of the creatures we met.

And then on Wednesday we came home. Thankfully I had a good window seat on the first flight out so I could get the traditional "Head in the Clouds" shot.

It was a great trip. We ate some fantastic food (the salsa... I still miss the salsa!) had some serious fun, and I now have another sports team to follow! Let's Go Bolts!