Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! - UPDATED with pictures!

Happy late Thanksgiving to all! Right now i am sitting on my Aunt's laptop in Bristol, WI. Its snowing outside fairly hard. There's a Packers game on TV and leftovers in my belly. It was a great Thanksgiving.

We flew in on Thursday just in time for dinner to be served at my Grandparents house. Grandpa said it was the most people he had seen in the house at one time in a while (There was 12 of use all together). It was awesome to be with family on Thanksgiving, at my grandparent's house - my most favorite place on earth. Our family tradition is to go around the room before grace and say what we're thankful for. Grandpa put tears in our eyes as he talked about how thankful he was for all of us. For Family. He has been an angel to my grandma since she's been sick.

Friday we picked up my parents and brought them to the airport in Milwaukee (they had been there since monday). Before we dropped them off we went to Frank's Diner - another stop thanks to Diners Drive-Ins and Dives.

We ordered a 1/2 garbage plate and it was HUGE!!
We also, between the 4 of us, split 1 pancake. It was bigger than your head. See? It was also quite delicious I might add.

After dropping mom and dad off, we went to the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Even the parking garage was bitchin.

Every Day at noon the wings close, and open again. It's pretty spectacular.

It was the building that we wanted to see, more than the art inside it, but when we got there there was an interactive art exhibit that seemed pretty cool. It was unreal. It felt like real magic. Especially the wooden mirror. It's really worth the click. Then we went to "The Domes", again more for the architecture, but it was fun. From there we went to Mader's - an AWESOME german restaurant. I totally forgot to take pictures- i blame the food for making me forget how to work a camera. it was that good. And of course a trip to WI wouldn't be complete without visiting a cheese store! Wisconsin Cheese Mart has been affectionately dubbed "Barry's Heaven".
Shortly after that, it will become my hell. (HA!) I made that joke in the cheese shop... no one got it. (OH LOOK! I just noticed that Barry's Heaven has my Vera Bradley Bag in it (He 'affectionately' calls it my "Very Badley Bag")

Saturday, after an awesome "overnight french toast" breakfast by my Aunt Karene, we drove to Chicago. First stop - of course - was to Smoque, thanks to DDD.

I'm man enough to admit that our vacations are now governed by the DDD map. We need stickers on our luggage that say "We Go with Guy." Well, the ribs and brisket were amazing of course! But i was still full from breakfast so barry ate most of it. it really was delicious. Enough to buy the t-shirt.

We were walking distance to the El, so we just took the train into downtown. Our plan was to visit Millenium Park and take pictures at the Bean and then go ice skating. When we walked out of the subway stations we ended up being right in front of Marshal Feilds! I was so excited because it was something that was suggested to do by a client of mine, but i didn't know where it was. Marshall Fields is famous for it's christmas windows. Now its a Macy's, but they still do it up big. It was great!
When we got to the ice rink, it was a 2 hour wait for skate rentals, and there were some pretty speedy 16 year olds out there on the ice. I would've felt like an idiot floridian out there, so we just skipped it.

After taking some fun pics at the bean...

...we decided to go to Chinatown. :) Mmmm... Beef Chow Fun... It was delicious! After that, we headed home to Grandmas and spent a few hours with them. :)

These are my Grandparents. My Grandpa is helping my Grandma from her wheel chair to her recliner. He says that they're dancing and that this is how they make love now. How beautiful is that?

We woke up Monday morning to this:

This is my Grandparent's driveway. Something out of a Robert Frost poem, isn't it?

We made it home safe and sound, and only a few hours late, in spite of the weather delays. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Night of a Thousand Lessons

Maybe not a thousand, but it feels like it. We had to bike just 29 minutes today. Easy, right? Well, we waited for my friend Jen to come with us, and by that time it was dark. No biggie - that's why we bought lights.

Let the lessons begin:

  • If you have the opportunity to bike during the day, take it.

  • Before biking at night, make sure your front light is fully charged.

  • Follow the "Rules of the Road"; they are there for a reason. (i.e. Don't bike on the sidewalk just because you're afraid of the road.)

  • If you are prone to accidents, you will always fall on your bike right in front of the 2 scary black guys selling firewood.

  • Scary Black Guys selling firewood will ask if you are OK, then rightfully laugh as you fumble getting back up. Scary Black Guys are not usually as scary as they seem.

  • If you see a pot hole in the side walk (that you shouldn't bike on), you will forget to unclip and fall.

  • Know your route before taking it. Know where the bike lanes are. Know the well lit roads just in case your front light goes out.

  • If you are on an unfamiliar, dark road, your average speed will rise by 2-3 mile per hour.

  • Sunday evenings, after dark, are not the best time to pop your Share-the-Road-Cherry.

  • Cycling on the road after dark is scarier than falling out of a perfectly good airplane and your main shoot not deploying.

  • Wear contacts or get laser surgery before biking on a road shared with cars. Turning your head behind you to check for clearance is moot when its all a big blur.

  • Talking yourself through a situation will help get you through it.

  • As soon as one bruise heals, 3 more will surface.


Friday, November 21, 2008

My Mom's Scare

My mom told us last week that the doctors found blood in her urine. This is a big red flag for bladder cancer. Scary right? Well times that by like, a bazillion, because that's what her mother had. Twice. and eventually killed her when it spread to her stomach. So when she told us that, it was... well, scary beyond imagination.

She had an MRI done on Friday and got her test results back yesterday. It's not cancer!!! I was over come with joy when she called. She has to go back every 6 months for the next 18, but I am just so relieved.

I love you, Mom!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Training Update

I can't believe it's been a week since i've blogged about my training! The week was pretty typical. I haven't skipped any days. Thursday was my long swim day. It was supposed to be a 24 minute swim, but Friend Dave used to be a competitive swimmer and had a whole workout planned for me. I ended up doing about 1200 yards in about 40 minutes. I did some laps with the paddles and some with flippers. Lemme tell ya, using the flippers was AWESOME. we did sprints, and i swam twice as fast, if not faster, than Dave with the flippers on than he did without (i would do 25 yards when he did 50). And the next day, for the first time since we've started this training, I was sore. It felt good to know i had a hard workout.

Friday night was the shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral. I though it'd be good to go run on the beach and watch the launch at the same time. We ended up seeing my sister by Jax Pier and just stayed w/ them while the shuttle went off and ran afterwards. The shuttle was awesome! The run, however, sucked donkey balls because i had to pee the whole time. The only reason i stopped to walk was because i was about to pee my pants and had to compose myself. It sucked. Also, I didn't quite think through running at night on jax beach. It's not the safest place in the world and it's quite dark at night. We probably won't do that again - at night anyway.

Sunday we went back to the Rail Trail. My goal was to go farther in the same amount of time. And that's what we did. We went a mile farther and did 13 miles in 58 minutes. Thirteen miles is the length of the sprint, so now we just need to cut our time down. I really enjoy cycling and I look forward to going for longer rides. :)

Over the weekend I found something... Two tickets to the GUN SHOW! HA! We've been training now for 5 full weeks (this week is the 6th) and I haven't really been paying attention to my muscle changes. I keep watching my belly wishing it would go down (it hasn't - i've only lost 5 pounds). I felt my biceps and was like WOAH! All that swimming is starting to show - no more flabby arms! And my quads are like rocks. They always say "you'll start to see changes in 6 weeks" when you see those infomercials... I guess they're not all blowing smoke. :)

This week is our recovery week. I'm glad - I think i need a break. Last night's workout felt so short, but it was nice to be home in time for Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. :)

Priceline Negotiator!

I am a Priceline Negotiator, not some Mamsy-Pamsy.

I love that website.

I had to book a rental car for our trip next week to Chicago. The cheapest i could find was $28 a day, and w/ taxes and fees it came out to about $170 bucks. But I made 'em sweat and I got 4 days in Chicago for $97 - taxes and fees included! BOOYAH!


...a free moment at work, where all the emails have been sent and am just waiting replies. Let's see how long this will last. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blogger's To-Do List

I have so much to blog about, but our internet at home is effed up and i've been too busy at work! So... before the internet goes out again, here's a list of things i want to talk about:

  1. DDD
  2. Training!
  3. Priceline
  4. Frustration w/ Returning Phone Calls
  5. Thanksgiving
  6. Tired
  7. Work

There may be more... but this'll give me a good list to start when i find a good few minutes to devote.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Stop on the DDD Train

Bloggers Note: I started this post, as you can see, a few days ago. My damn computer at home is messed up and I'm sick of seeing it in my Drafts. I'll update it when i figure out how.

While we were in OKC we were able to eat Leo's BBQ, another one of Guy's Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. :) Lemme tell you, It. Was. AWESOME. Here's some pictures:

The outside. It looked like an old auto repair shop/garage.

[Ok. Here's where the pictures WOULD be, except for whatever reason my internet is not allowing to upload them. Use your imagination...]

The Menu

The Damage.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


So, I've been MIA because of the unexpected trip to Oklahoma City. Here's a rundown of what's been happening lately:
  • The funeral of Uncle Howie was pretty hard, but other than that it was actually a great trip. Its sad what brings families together, but we had a great visit with them.
  • I didn't get to the gym on Thursday or Friday, and i ate crappy because we ate out the whole time, and my body was not on it's normal schedule - if you know what i mean - so i gained a few pounds over the weekend.
  • We got back about 2:00 on Sunday, got some food and watched a portion of the Jags whooping Detroit's ass at my sister's, then got home to quickly change for a bike ride before it got dark.
  • We biked 12 miles on Sunday on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail. It's a 14 mile paved pathway that used to be an old Railroad track. It's really nice to bike w/o worrying about cars, but it's really flat so we'll have to find something more hilly to kick it up a notch for our NC Tri in March.
  • Yesterday we ran and swam. It was only 14 minutes each, but for some reason i felt like i struggled through it. Oh YEA - It's because i didn't work out all weekend... go figure!
  • Today is Veteran's Day. So - THANK YOU to all my veterans who protect me and keep me free everyday.
  • Because it's Veteran's Day, we got the day off. Barry and I did some errands during the day and went over to my mom's for our usual Tuesday dinner, but when we got there we got a surprise THANKSGIVING! YUM!! We're all going to be scattered for Thanksgiving, so mom surprised us all with a family thanksgiving today, complete with the pilgrim salt n' pepper shakers and everything. so i get left overs tomorrow for lunch, MMM!!! Now it'll be forever before i loose those poopy pounds from the weekend.
  • Here's a random thing to do for fun: Weigh yourself before and after you go to the bathroom. It's better if you have a scale w/ a tenth of a pound option. It's fun to see how much you loose, literally. :) heehee.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Heart

is in these two boys right here:

A Not-So-Little Thing

With the news of Uncle Howie, and Uncle David just a few months ago - both of heart attacks - and with Barry's Dad's heart issues (he had a quintuple bypass 5 years ago), I am soooo greatful to be doing this triathlon with Barry. His family is just crawling with cholesterol and bad hearts. I hope that with this new sport we can stick with it and keep Barry's heart young. I don't want to be a widow before 65.

Hammerheads & Last Night's Workout

We got to the gym last night shortly after 7:00pm. There's a Triathlon club in Jax call the Hammerheads. They happened to be meeting at our gym, so we decided to go and check it out. There were about 35 people there, and there's about 400 people in the club! Check out the website for all the stuff they do. Membership is pretty cheap ($65/year per couple) and you get discounts and other fun stuff. I think i'll wait a little longer before we decide though.

After the meeting ended, barry and I headed upstairs to the bikes. They've got this cool program called Expresso that simulates different routes. As you go up hill, the pedals get tighter. You can change gears to help you also and the handlebars move so you actually have to travel through the road and beat your pacer. There are other programs where you have to catch dragons and you can ride through space. It's so cool! (We did the "Bent Spoke" route) So we did that and then went to the pool. I decided that for the 18 minutes, i was just going to swim w/o stopping and see how far i go. I was able to swim 10 minutes, back and forth. I need an abacus at the edge of the pool, because i always loose count and i couldn't tell you how far i got. I think it was 300 yards. I took a short break and went again. We probably ended up swimming for closer to 25 minutes, but i was practicing my turns and stuff.

For the competitions sake, i have a new goal: Beat Barry. I never really thought I would be able to because he has always ran faster than me, but if i could beat him in the pool and bike portion, maybe i can actually beat him! That'd be so awesome. :) Last night in the pool, barry kept saying that he has to go all out to keep up with me. YESS! I love having something that im better at than he is. He was making the excuse that his shorts were too baggy and dragging him down. Typical man, making excuses. :)

This Weekend

We're flying to Oklahoma City tonight for the funeral tomorrow morning, then returning Sunday. We won't make it to the pool today, which sucks because it's the first day of training we'll miss. Tomorrow is a long run (22 minutes). I hope i can find time to go running - i did pack a sports bra - hopefully that will help motivate me to hit the pavement tomorrow. Saturday is our off day, and we're back in Jax by 2:00 on sunday, so we'll try and get the bikes out Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Hate Wait.

It's amazing how one sentence can throw your world into an upspin.

"Uncle Howie died."

'There's no way; David just died in the spring.'

"He had a heart attack about 2 hours ago. That's all I know. The funeral may be Saturday, but there's no plans yet."

WTF? Now I sit here at work, with things to do but no motivation to do them. There's no reason to leave because there's nothing to do other than wait for the phone call. So, I will blog, and talk to you about our Uncle Howie.

I didn't get to know him very well, just at family gatherings and on our first cruise. Howie and his wife were there to share in our engagement, and in fact gave us the gift of the cruise. His voice was loud, scratchy and sometimes annoying, but he could always make you smile - even if it was from embarrassment. :) Howie LOVED his family, loved to laugh, and loved to have a good time. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He and his wife just retired fully and moved to Oklahoma to be closer to his grandchildren about 6 months ago. It's sad that they will never get to hear his boisterous laugh.

Goodbye, Uncle Howie.

Professor Swedlow

Barry is going to the Jr. High to see if he can observe a classroom today. :)

I don't remember if I've mentioned this, but Barry has decided to go back to school and become a teacher. High School history to be more specific. We've registered for classes and purchased books. He also got his substitute teaching certificate and "green card".
We've been joking about him finally getting his Green Card since we heard about it. (Funny Story: he was opening up his mail last night on 'The Throne' and i hear from behind the door, "It's not even green!")

He wants to observe classes for a few days before he gets his own classroom to sub officially. I'm so excited for him! He's so passionate about learning new things and he's an excellent teacher when it comes to Martial Arts, I know he will be a great school teacher.

I love you, Babe!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


As we were running on Sunday, there was a guy on a stairmaster w/ a hiking pack and hiking shoes on, just trekin' away. We had a chance to talk to him after our workout as we stretched. He was in his late 60's. Sometime ago, after watching the majority of his family die between the ages of 45-55, he decided that he will not be added to the list. At age 55, he exercised for the first time in his life. 10 or so years later, he has climbed Mt. Denali (McKinley), The Grand Tetons, Kilimanjaro, and most impressive of all: Everest. 3 times. (not sumit, but as high as possible w/o oxygen - still at 21,500 ft). He didn't look much older than 60, but we asumed he was in his late 60s because of all he has completed.

If he can start at age 55, I can start at age 28.

I think this triathlon is just the beginning.

Not The Kind of Crown a Queen Expects

I had to go to the dentist last week because a tooth that had a recent filling (Oct. 2nd) was hurting when i bit down. Well, the filling got 'debonded'. Aparently only 1 out of 100 teeth do this - don't i feel lucky? Instead of just a quick fix or a promise that it will go away, they slap me w/ the news that i need a crown. CRAP. I've never had that before. So that's what i got to do on my training-day off today. Go to the dentist and get drilled for an hour. Yuck. Its a good think that I get nitrous oxide and a TV on the ceiling. I love Sanford and Son (Ba-Ba-Bwah-nuh!), especially w/ the laughing gas!

Right now i've got a temporary cap in. They took a digital imprint and photos of my tooth nub and emailed the impression to Israel, where they will create my tooth and mail it back within 2 weeks. Weird, eh? Israel. So for 2 weeks i get to wear this temporary thing that feels like a denture. it's all smooth and stuff. I hope the permanent one feels more like my real teeth...

The Latest - Weekend Training

Since we stuck it out, we were able to have a great day off on saturday. I'm wondering if they do more harm than good because it seems that on my off days i eat pretty badly. (see below post). It was nice to relax on saturday.

Sunday's task was to run 20 minutes. It took me FOREVER to get barry up and ready to go. I was minutes away from going w/o him when he finally got ready. I walked to warm up for 3 minutes and then set a 4.3mph pace. Unfortunately, i got a stitch in my side and had to walk it off for about a minute, but as soon as it was done i got right back to 'running'. My average was less than 4mph. I must improve on that. Happy side note: Anne of Green Gables was on so that time went by so quickly!
The rest of the day was spent lounging. I found PBS on TV and finished the Anne movies. :) It was a great relaxing day.

Yesterday was Run/Swim. I switched our days around a bit so we can have our long bike day on the weekend, that way if we want to do more trails we can. So, w/ the run, I kept at 4.5mph the whole time, even if it was just for 13 minutes. I'm realizing that just when i find my groove in running, i have to stop. :P I guess i have to trust in the training program though. From the run we changed and I got in the pool. I concentrated on technique that Dave taught me on thursday and i felt really good. Barry said that i was making him push harder, and that made me feel good. The time to swim was only 13 minutes, but i think i did more like 15-20. I like seeing the progress and i really enjoy the pool, so it's hard for me to get out. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good Mandi, Bad Mandi

Yesterday I was sooo good. I was able to pass up Vanilla's Cupcakes. oh yes. I have the power.


HAD the power.

Today was my neice's 1st birthday... and I couldn't resist Publix birthday cake. Bad Mandi...

The Tacky Cyclist and the Tale of the 37 Minute Ride

I was a Tacky Cyclist for Halloween. Imagine, if you will, a pastel pink helmet, a bright yellow/blue top, baby blue gloves, black bike shorts, "Wicked Witch" green socks w/ sparkly skull and cross bones, and pearl white cyclist shoes. That's what I wore last night.

Tonight's 'mission' was to bike 40 minutes. We left for OP (Orange Park) at about 7:30, got to the Industrial Loop (big loop, little cars), got the bikes off the rack, helmets and shoes on, and lights flashing when it starts sprinkling. No biggie. Then about 1/2 way through the loop it starts RAINING. I can't see shit because I'm always blinking and it's my first time riding in the dark, not to mention that i feel like I'm coming down w/ something (scratchy throat, etc). So we cut through the loop, get back to the car, get the bikes secured back on the rack, gloves, helmets, and shoes off. We drive 2 minutes to Barry's dad's to pick something up, get back in the car and it stops.

We go back to the loop and discuss for a few minutes whether we should attempt to try again or just take our Saturday off to cycle in the morning. We decide to give it a try. So, cycle-cycle-cycle... 35 minutes go by. And it starts sprinkling again just as I'm passing the car. I say F this. I can handle 5 more minutes. And it starts RAINING. Again. I get around the loop the last time, and cut my ride 3 minutes short. Barry says "I will not be defeated!" and does another 1/2 loop to finish up.

We finally got home and cooked dinner at 10pm.

All-in-all it wasn't so bad. It sucked, but I'm glad we stuck to the schedule and got our ride in last night.