Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Traveling Fool

31 States done!

Meg and I are finishing up our trip to New Orleans. Louisiana makes state number 31 for me, woo hoo!

We've been posting pictures and stories as we go on my travel site here. For the most part it is exactly what we expected which has been nice.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Family Time

We're in Washington with Burt & Billie to spend the holiday with the
in-laws on Bainbridge. Found ourselves in Seattle for the day to see
my sister-in-law and took advantage of the photo op.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kid Crowd Pleaser

How cute is this?

The Mom is saying "How big is Will?" and the kid (Will) raises his hands to demonstrate and the crowd just goes wild.

If I reproduce, my offspring will be this cool.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


When did America turn into a bunch of shirkers? It seems like everyone wants to shirk responsibility whenever possible. On top of all of the companies right now that are shirking, I hear of another example today on the news.

You can view the video here. A three year old fell through a fence and barely escaped plumitting 300 feet to her death. The parents had a three year old leaning against this drift wood fence with a huge gap in it. One news story I saw said that the parents agreed not to sue if the park repaired the fence. I'm sorry, sue? As a parent you're responsible for your child's safety. You're responsible for having the common sense to say, hmm, that fence offers no protection for my tiny daughter, maybe I shouldn't allow her to stand there and pose for a picture. How is this lack of common sense the park's fault?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where's the Line?

So most people know that I intentionally don't watch the news. The stupidity in the world just gets me angry with no real way to turn that anger into action which is a situation I don't do well with. However, with what's going on in the country right now you can't realy avoid the stupidity.

First it was a mere $700 Billion for some financial based companies, because if we didn't willingly donate our tax dollars to help them the economy would crash. Thank God we did that! Oh wait, we didn't willingly donate - it was taken from us. Oh yeah and the economy still sucks.

Now we have the auto industry asking for something like $150 Billion.

Seriously, where do I get in line? I want some tax dollars!

Before long there's gonna be a line around the block in front of the White House of companies asking the government to fork over our tax dollars to save them from their own stupid decisions.

I'm not saying that I know the solution. I'm not saying that I want to see America suffer. I am saying that there is a natural cycle, if the government keeps interfering it can't lead anywhere good.

If anyone knows where the line is, let me know. I'd like to get some of our tax dollars too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heat Images

This will be an anti-climactic post.

I saw a quick news story on a unversity study that found a way to get images of heat waves. They looked like thermal images and there was one of a person coughing but if you had to guess you would think they were blowing fire. Another was of a hand and the heat rising off of it. It was all very cool looking and a series of sorts.

I really wanted to post them but I can't find them anywhere on the internet. Can anyone help?

Thanks Wade:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cheap Xrays

You have to check this out. How weird and random is that?

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Hi, Thanks for stopping in.

You've reached my blog. Sorry I'm not here right now, I'm off exploring Spain and Italy. If you would like to track my travels, please feel free to do so here. Otherwise leave me a comment after the beep and I'll get back to you just as soon as I can.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Palin's Interview is Humorous

Chris was just watching a SNL skit that was a spoof of Katie Couric interviewing Sarah Palin and it was hilarious. I was curious though, wanting to check out the facts I found the actual interview. The scary thing is, there are a lot of places in the skit that they are just quoting the real interview.

See for yourself.

SNL Skit Video
Actual Couric/Palin Interview

This all goes back to my belief that McCain chose Palin because she is a woman and he hoped she would bring in votes, not because she is the most qualified. Check out this story for more.

Palin to Obama - really?

I am sad to say that I have been provided with an example that supports my fear of folks voting for Palin for President and forgetting the Vice part.

I received an email containing this article. The way it starts off you think it is going to be about supporting kids with Down Syndrome but then it takes a twist and starts talking about abortion and the Born Alive Infact Protection Act. It goes so far as to compare aborting disabled babies to the Nazis and the Hollocost. Then it ends with a blunt comparison of Obama and Palin and strong support of Palin.

I feel the need to respond to a few things here. First, in Obama's book he states (I'm paraphrasing, but it is in Chapter 6 of The Audacity of Hope) that he firmly believes that politican's faith should stay out of their political decisions - morally he disagrees with abortion, but consitutionally he believes that women should have a choice. Second, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was written to protect an infant that was aborted and then lived - no matter what stage of development. That means that if a 4 month old fetus is aborted and still has a heartbeat when removed from the mother, the doctors are legally obligated to try to keep it alive. Finally, the fact that Palin is anit-abortion should have virtually no impact on whether you vote for McCain or Obama. Palin would be the Vice President - she wouldn't get to vote on issues before congress, bills or acts - McCain will be doing that. Please don't forget this!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Compare Candidates

First off, let me be clear that I do not yet know which candidate will get my vote in November. I do know that for the first time since I have been old enough to vote that neither candidate terrifies me - I think that either solution will be worlds better than what is in the White House now. That said...

My first thought when McCain announced that his running mate was a women (without knowing who) was "what a media ploy!". All of the debates around Palin's experience aside, I really think that McCain chose her to get votes, not because she was the most qualified - and that really bothers me.

My second thought was "I wonder how many will vote for McCain because the want to see Palin win?" I'm worried that many will vote for McCain/Palin because they like Palin and her extreme conservitive views. The thing is, unless McCain suffers a terrible tragedy, Palin will have minimal power - it is McCain who will be in the Oval Office. I think it's important to keep that in mind.

I am baffled when I see news stories and articles that compare Palin to Obama - it's apples to squash. We need to look at apples to apples - Obama to McCain and Palin to Biden.

On another note, I have seen and heard a lot of comments made both about Obama and McCain that just don't seem accurate. I have read Obama's books, and while I don't agree with all of his politics (specifically healthcare, but other issues as well) I truely think that he is a good man. I have not yet read McCain's book but based on his past decisions (in life, not necessarily politics) I think that he too is a good man. My time over the next 6 weeks will be limited, but I hope to research as many of these potentially inaccuracies as I can. Here is my list so far - if you can provide factual input on any, or if you have suggestions for additions, please comment.
  • McCain & Obama - % of voting history with Bush?
  • Obama - won't wear a flag on his lapel?
  • Obama - if wins, insists on swearing in on the Koran?
  • Obama - has Muslim family members?
  • McCain & Obama - voting history around oil issues?
  • Palin - bridge to nowhere, true history on
  • Biden - history with efforts in Iraq
  • McCain - political accomplishments?
  • All four candidates education and voting history (a document for comparison through debates)
  • Research Michelle and Cindy
  • Compare policies around major issues of healthcare, oil, war, education, jobs, abortion and economy

Sunday, September 21, 2008

MiniMama's doin' shots!

Of Birch Beer that is. I've been sampling local beers as we go and we
finally found one that Mom likes at the Firehouse Brewing Co.


Mom standing at the center geographical United States in Belle
Fourche, SD.

Montana Flopped

The drive to MT was gorgeous. We saw tons of Antelope! The destination
however was a flop. The saloon was yucky and the only employee didn't
even say hi :( I'll just have to get back to MT another time, maybe
hit YellowStone.

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Wait until you see the pictures on my camera, this one doesn't really
do it justice. The cool part is that there were people scaling and
climbing it which was fun to watch and they gave perspective, this
thing is huge!

Sensory Overload

Today was just....it was....I can't even describe it. I'm on sensory overload.

We went through two states, prairies (which were on my bucket list) and mountains, we saw antelope, deer, prairie dogs, buffalo, turkey, mountain goats, hawks and chipmunks - all wild. We saw Scottsbluff, the Oregon trail, Needle Peaks, Mt. Rushmore, Spearfish Falls and the Pigtail Bridges.

I posted a handful of pictures here.

Tonight we're in a pretty spiffy Comfort Suites in Spearfish, South Dakota. Tomorrow is an easy day, we're going to see Devil's Tower in Wyoming and then go to Alzada which is a teeny tiny town in Montana, but it has a saloon and it will get me to Montana. Then we hope to make it to Ruby's for dinner where they have an acutal gun-slinger!

Good night for now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The big dudes

We made it!

Wild mountain goats

Again on the side of the road!

Wild Buffalo

Taken from the safety of our rental car but it's not zoomed in at all,
he was that close!

Wild Prairie dogs

Wide open spaces

Though there's not much to see, what there is to see seems to go on
forever! It's awesome and beautiful in its own way. We're just past
the Nebraska stateline in South Dakota enjoying the Great American

Nebraska - Check

Mom and I are on a road trip together. Thursday we were able to meet in Salt Lake City (SLC) where we rented a convertible and drove into town to check out Temple Square (shown in my last post). We enjoyed a home-cooked lunch at the Lion's Club and got a tour of the Mormon Conference Center. We got stuck in Salt Lake City for an unexpected night, but we made the most of it by having dinner at the Red Iguana and then slipped onto the AM flight to Rapid City, South Dakota.
You all know how I want to hit all 50 states so from Rapid City we have all sorts of fun plans.
Pictures for now, we can fill in details and links later.
Our goal in Nebraska was Scottsbluff, but on the way we couldn't help but stop at Car Henge - words cannot describe....wait until you see the video!

We did make it to Scottsbluff though, the museum was closed but it was cool to see. It's fairly flat terrain and then this huge rock structre. It's right on the Oregon Trail and it was the way they knew that they had survived the plains and were entering into the mountainous part of the trail.

Chimney Rock was near by and caught our attention too.

The trains in the area are insane! Mom counted 142 cars on one, we have no idea how long a car is but we figure that train was easily more than half a mile long.
We had a very delicious, Mid-West Gourmet meal at the Whiskey Creek Saloon and now we're resting up for tomorrow. Check back tomorrow for more.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Salt Lake City Fun

Mom and I spent yesterday exploring SLC. I'll give details later. The
Mormon/LDS temple is shown here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

All Hung

Chris randomly scored 11 days off in a row. We've been using them to entertain and finish the little things around the new apartment. We FINALLY got some wedding photos on the wall (I know, it's been two years, sad huh?).

We also finally did something with the art we've been collecting on our trips.

I've been trying to hook myself up with a headboard for year and it just hasn't happened. Well, we finally found one! We finished staining it and brought it home this week.
Oh, and Chris hung my new magic bookshelves, notice how the books seem to be floating?

Since we are both gone so much we had to start packing about a month before we actually moved, this meant a month of coming home and having to move boxes to get to the dresser, of having to dig through boxes to find a shirt or sissors. Then once we got here we both had to leave right away to it's taken us almost a month to completely settle in. I think we are actually done. As in, completely settled, everything hung and organized and in it's place.

I still think I might paint a few walls, but that is a project for another month.

PS - I really think that there is a test labratory near our new apartment where they try to see how large they can make a lizard. I swear there are more lizards around here, most of which are practically the size of a small iguana - they're almost so big that they don't bother me!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gifts from Spain

I have friend in Spain. I've mentioned them before, they found me by looking at my wedding pictures on Flickr. Carolina loves to go barefoot and admired my barefoot wedding day. Ever since she and her husband Gerardo and their twin daughters Patricia and Sofia have been emailing me reguarly about live in Spain, sending photos etc. We have become great friends!

Last Christmas I made a something small for each of them and sent them a Christmas package. To return the favor they send me a housewarming gift, it was awesome! They sent a calendar with scenes of Cordoba (they're home town), four bookmarks which are so pretty that I framed three of them. The girls sent paintings they created which are amazing and Carolina picked out an Indian ankle bracelate for me the has bells and jingles. See?

They also included a letter telling me how much fun they had getting to know me and how they hoped that the calendar would make me want to come visit. The coolest part? Chris has two weeks of vacation in October and we decided earlier this week that we want to use some of that time to try and visit them! So, we are trying to figure out the details but I think we will soon get to meet my Spanish Family! I am VERY excited, if you couldn't tell :)

Political Advocate

No, I'm not getting into it.

All I will say is that I'm incredibly frustrated by how extremist everything is. Where is the rational thinking person who falls somewhere in the middle? The person who I can agree with on more topics than I cringe at?

Chris's grandpa Jerry is a very political person. His views are also extreme, he is very conservative. I rarely agree with everything he says, however I very much respect his opinion and his is very well spoken and articulate. He has written several papers over the years on the political climate and recently decided that he wanted assistance building a website to get his thoughts out there.

Chris went over there yesterday and got the 83 year old Jerry set up with his very own Blog. The coolest part? Jerry has already written and successfully published a post all by himself! Check it out. I would love to hear the response of a very liberal person to Jerry's thoughts, just to see the two views come together.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Over the holiday weekend Chris and I went shopping for more new house stuff. We finally found a headboard we liked that wasn't insanely expensive, we ended up at WoodYou with one that we will stain ourselves. We also decided to buy the flat screen TV that Chris has been dreaming about for the past year. With the holiday they were on sale and we had some coupons from moving so we got a really good deal. Chris got it setup while I was gone, and it is pretty nice. We're planning on having a house party soon to show of our new place.

Moving back to town got me reminiscing about when we had our first place together, out in Lake Mary. Just about everything we owned was a hand-me-down or purchased at a garage sale. Our big exciting purchase was a dorm style desk at Walmart. Not that there is any way anything wrong with any of this, it's just that we have come a long way in five years... Actually, a lot has happened in the past five years since we first became "an item". I finished school, Chris getting the airline job, five seperate moves including the one north, I've had a total of five jobs if you count the silly ones, the wedding, the travels - we've been pretty busy. And just wait, there is even more to come :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Untraditional Family

Over the holiday weekend Mom and I drove out to Ocala for some family time with the Pratts who I lovingly refer to as my pseudo-family.

The orignal intention was to have a game night. In the end we just had good food and hung out. We went to the Quary by Hannah's school and were eaten alive by massive mosquitos :)

We also played some 6 player Euchre. At 11pm when we were still there, we decided to stay the night rather than drive the 1.5 hours back. With that settled I wound up staying up until 4am chatting with the adults (the kids all went to bed, pansies!). We talked about all sorts of things including how incredibly luck I am to have grown up with such an odd but tight support group around me. We talked about politics, religion just a little and all sorts of crazy things. It was particularly nice to spend so much time with Alan in particular. All in all it was a great time, one of those nights I'll never forget.
There seems to be a trend where I spend Labor day with the Pratts. Two years ago I went to Naples with Megan - another time that I will never forget.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vegetarian Adventure

Meg and I got together at my new place tonight to try some new Vegetarian dishes. We both prefer Vegetarian cuisine but neither of us really know anyone else to experiment with so it was a treat for us both.

After perusing my Vegetarian Times colllection we decided on Jamaican Curried Tempeh Tacos (only 4 WW points!) as our main course and then we make Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes for desert (6 WW points, which isn't terrible for a sweet splurge).

Neither of us had tried Tempeh before so we were a little dubious but it was actually really good. Better than Tofu, good consistency. The lime juice was a little overpowering though. We decided that next time we might switch out the pineapple juice for coconut milk and serve it over rice...yum.

The cupcaks - oh my gosh - SO good! You would never know they had avocado instead of butter/eggs either. I was sad that I couldn't find the recipe over at the VegTimes website, but I did find it here, which was nice. It was also nice to seee someone else trying out new Veg recipes.

Anyhow - it was a nice night of catching up and digging in. I think those cupcakes will be made again soon too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Weather Wonders

So I'm trying to figure something out. I know that the hurricane names are chosen ahead of time. I know that they are alphabetical (skipping a few odd letters like Q) totaling 21 each year and that they alternate genders. My understanding is that when a tropical depression becomes a tropical storm (over 39 mph winds) it receives a name. Since Fay was the F name for the 08 hurricane list I assume that they use the same list for storms as hurricanes. Now, when the winds reach 80 mph it becomes a hurricane which seems to me is a more appropriate point to assign it a name from the HURRICANE list.. But anyhow. I found out that if there are more than 21 storms in a year (which is mormal since there are about 100 storms each year) they start naming the storms after the letters of the Greek alphabet.

Here is where I get lost - there are 100 tropicsl storms each year, many of which are at sea so we never hear about them. About half of the tropical storms never become hurricanes. Wouldn't those at sea storms take up all of the hurricane names pretty quickly? Shouldn't we hear about hurricanes Beta or Pi at least once each season? I don't remember ever hearing about any hurricanes with greek letter names... So how does it work then? What am I missing? Do they only use the hurricane names for the tropical storms they think will develop into a hurricane?

Can anyone help me figure this out?

PS- writing this from my new iPhone so I can't link but I got most of my info from ww.about.com and www.NHC.NOAA.gov.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Local Happenings

I've jumped right back into life here in Orlando.

I invited Mom to go see Mama Mia with me this Sunday. I kind of wanted to see the movie when I was in St. Louis last week but decided that it would be better to see with someone else. Mom started inviting others and it turned into a big girl-fest which was great! My cousin Mari even tagged along which was a treat since I don't ususally hang out with her unless there is a family event. The movie was actually much better than I thought it would be. It was basically one long music video but the did manage to fit the plot in there and the hole thing was so off the wall that it worked. The dancing and choreography were great and the singing was honest, which I liked. It was fun to see it with a group - especially when pretty much everyone was tearing up for the mother/daughter scenes ^_- however I definitely could have waited to rent it rather than spend the $10 theatre price.

Tonight I had my aunt over for dinner. That was a real treat. I can't tell you the last time we had a decent conversation. I usually see her at family events and we never really get to talk. I got to learn more about what she does for a living and what's going on in her life. She lives really close to me now, so I'm hoping that dinner can become a regular thing for us (at least when I'm in town).

Tomorrow I'm having lunch with an OOOOLLLLLD friend, like haven't seen him since HS old, then Dad is coming for dinner. See? Told you I was jumping back in. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Constant Motion

We're moved in for the most part. We still have art and shelves to hang and a few odds and ends, but for all intensive purposes, we're done.

Man, we are not looking forward to doing that again anytime soon! First we had major issues with Budget and our rental truck. Then our friend Rick was supposed to come into town to help us drive down and thanks to weather and flight issues, he never could make it in. So here we have Chris driving a big rig that pulls insesently to the right and me driving Chris's M3 with minimal experience driving a stick. Yuck!

We made it though and Chris's cousins did a great job helping us unload. Mom and John helped us shop for some new furniture and they even stuck around to help us assemble it.

I posted pictures of the move and the new place on Flickr here if you're interested.

Last Friday Chris managed to organize a surprise party for me. I had NO CLUE! We even passed the Pratts on the highway and like a ditz I still didn't figure it out. Chris gathered most of my family and some of his at a swanky joint called Seasons 52 which I love. The hostess, I thought, was going to take us to an empty two-top, but instead she turned the corner and there everyone was waiting for us. It was great! Definitely a nice finish to a stressful week.

Then last week, just days after we got into town, we both had to up and leave. Chris had to fly out for work and I had to visit a customer lcoation. Thankfully it was good timing, we left just in time for the flooding and my parents had Roger so all was taken care of. The customer site in in St. Louis and I actually had time to scope out the city this time around - for the most part I got cheesy or artsy shots, but you can check those out here.

Oh, I almost forgot - the big news. Chris finally made the Utley family a true iPhone family - he got me one for my birthday. I'm testing it out for now, if I dont' like it I can always go back and he can take my new one. But so far I think I like it. It's nice to have access to so much information, some of the little widgets are really helpful, like UrbanSpoon - right up my ally.

Anyhow-I'm procasitnating, I should be working right now....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

FL residents

We're all moved in. Now we just have to unpack.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Birthday Thanks

Thanks to everyone who took the time to call, email or text me to wish me a Happy Birthday.

I wound up needed to spend my birthday in St. Louis for work, I could have gotten out of it, but it wasn't that big of a deal - I'm sure I'll celebrate another day. But it was nice to hear from everyone. :)

When I got done at the office I treated myself to a nice meal at Red Lobster (one of three options nearby) and a glass of wine. I was suprised, there must have been three or four other birthdays last night. Then I went to the sad little mall and bought a new book and spontaneously decided to get another peircing. I peirced the cartilidge of my right ear about half way up. I realized as she was doing it that it was 15 years ago at the Claire's in the old Winter Park mall that I first got my ears peirced.... then I stopped for a 6 pack and some chocolate and spent the rest of the evening in my hotel room watching TV and working.

Chris and I move in a week, our move in date is actually our two year wedding anniversary. I'm sure that once we settle in a bit Chris and I will find some time to celebrate both occasions :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cedar Point - Check

This weekend was HUGE for me.

I started my "bucket list" when I was about 12 years old and living in Orlando, FL. One of the first items added was a trip to Cedar Point located in Sandusky, OH right on Lake Erie. Cedar Point is universally known as the roller coaster capitol of the world. It is constantly setting new records with it's coasters and holds the most coasters (17) in one park. When I added this to my list it didn't seem any more attainable than "float down the amazon". Little did I know that I would end up living in Cincinnati, a mere 4 hours drive away from this roller coaster mecca.

Since we're moving away from Cinci soon we decided that we had waited long enough and we hopped in the car and drove up. I found an internet deal where for $10 more per person you can return to the park for a second day. So we spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning/afternoon wandering the coastery goodness.

The lines were insane on Saturday but we had much better luck on Sunday and the weather cleared off so we could enjoy the day. Here is the list of coasters we road and our take on them
  • Mean Streak - not impressed, King's Island Beast and even Son of the Beast are better
  • Millenium Force - awesome, this was our first good coaster and was worth the 2 hr wait
  • Iron Dragon - don't bother
  • Top Thrill Dragster - what a rush, it is amazing and worth a long wait but be warned it's over quickly, you almost have to ride it twice to really appreciate it.
  • Power Tower - chris rode this and said it was fun, especially since there was no wait.
  • Magnum XL 200 - lots of air time, worth a wait but not the best CP has to offer
  • Gemini - not impressed, it's more about racing than thrills which is kinda boring
  • Cedar Creek Mine - we knew not to expect much but the wait was 10 minutes
  • Maverick - this was Chris's favorite and my second fav - lots of twists and turns, take out your earrings!
  • Raptor - Good, worth the 30 minute wait but a bit rough and not really a 5 thrill level
  • Wicked Twister - my favorite, the rush of dragster but more time to appreciate it
All of our pictures are here. With the rain on Saturday we focused on the locals to provide some entertainment and boy did they...we saw some really funny, traumatizing and interesting sites...
I definitely hope to return some day but for now I am very glad to have made it up to Cedar Point and highly recommend it to fellow roller coaster enthusiasts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I just got back from the annual family vacation. I had a distant cousing get married in Charleston and we used seeing him again as an excuse for a get-a-way. We stayed in a Wyndham resort on Edisto Island. It was amazing, we didn't do much of anything other than play cards and chill by the pool. Chris did beat Mom at ping-pong and Mom smothered all of us at putt-putt. Other than that, just relaxation. Pictures are up here.

Other than our mini-vacation our efforts have been focused on moving down to FL. Everything has panned out and the apartment in East Orlando has wound up our best option. It's about 1150 sq. ft. well within our price range and we can take Roger D. back from my parents, so we're happy. Another perk is that is is right off of the 408 so Chris can get to work easily. Our official move-in date is August 11th, we plan to arrive with the truck on August 12th.

In addition to the move, I have picked up another short-term corporate contract gig, so I'll be hopping over to St. Louis every week or so. That will add an interesting twist to moving huh? The boss knows about the move though, so hopefully all will go smoothly.

Now we just need to get the movers booked, a truck reserved and all of those dumb boxes packed, yet again. :) Wish us luck.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th

Chris has to work on the 4th, but don't feel too bad for him - he has
a long overnight in Boston. I've tagged along and we are currently
sitting on the banks of the Charles River listening to the Bostn Pops
and waiting for one of the best firework shows in the country to
begin. Sweet huh?

The picture is of the sunsetting on the Charles. Two F-15 Eagles just
flew over in full after burner just feet from the hairs on our heads
as the finale for the National Anthem.

Tomorrow I head to Otown to spend some quality time with the pseudo
sister. Not a shabby weekend.

While I haven't been particularly patriotic lately I have to say it is
pretty cool to be here with over 500,000 other people - to see the sea
of red white and blue swarming around me.

Have a great Independence Day!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oprah - pros and cons

I've said more than once that I really don't like Oprah. I've finally sorted through my thoughs on this and decided that it's not Oprah that I dislike - it's America's reaction to her that disgusts me.

Oprah as a person deserves a lot of respect, she's come a long way in a country that traditionally disapproves of both women and races other than pure white. I know she does a lot of good for humanity and I don't mean to discount that.

However, it makes me sad and embarassed is how the majority of the women in our country watch her show religiously, subscribe to her magazine and will basically to just about anything and everything she suggests. Fortunately for us she is a good woman and usually recommends positive things.

It concerns me that she has near as much social power as the president. It goes back to the Ant Like philosophy of American Society - it seems that we have collectively lost the ability to think and act for ourselves. We now need Oprah to tell us what to eat, read, wear, drive and often times, think.

Now, Dr. Phil - I still think he is the devil - but that's a whole 'nother post.... :0)

Monday, June 30, 2008

New Recipe

Traveling as much as I do I tend to make a lot of "snack sized" friends on flights. During the flight from Rome to Cinci I sat next to a gentleman named Howard. He was a very pleasant seat-mate. We chatted through meals and aside from that he was politely quiet.

One of the things we discussed was cooking and he shared a recipe that is a favorite in his family. He called it Salsa Chicken. Well, I tried it and added a few twists of my own and is yummy! I did the math and the dish is a bout 9 WW points and the salad I made to accompany it was another 3 points - still not bad for a hearty dinner! Click here to see the recipe.

Several years ago Chris made me this awesome cook book - Sara's Food Network. It has all of our favorite family recipes in the same format with little cards to give away etc. Well since then we've been stockpiling recipes to try and favorites, but I have not been diligent about adding them to the book. I've been trying to get caught up. As I go I have been putting my all time favorites here - so if you're interested....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rome Adventure

I told you I'd be busy, didn't I?

So let me give you the full scoop. I wanted to DO something with John for his birthday this year. Three years ago we went to Seattle together for a week and had such an amazing time, I wanted to recreate that, only bigger.

The original plan was to go to NYC, but John had finals and it just didn't work out. Then I started looking at how pricey just one weekend was going to be and I started to think bigger. We threw around a few ideas and John decided on Cozumel, but I had just been there. Plus that isn't really so far from Florida. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted something bigger. I brought up the idea of Rome, John is an Art History major, so Rome is like a mecca. I've been there once before and loved it. So, it was finally decided.

Mom and I started looking for hotels or hostels, but it's so tough to know what you're getting into. My friend Fabio is back in Italy and he seems to have tons of connections, especially since he is Roman by birth, so I contacted him for advice. His response was amazing - you don't need a hotel, I am in Rome....we worked out all the details and he has invited us to stay in his home and will even pick us up at the airport. Even though he is Roman he hasn't done much "touristing" in his own city, so I think he may join us some as well. I am stoked!

John has been planning, creating lists and slowly getting excited. He has started a travel blog for the trip which you can view here. John flies into Cinci tomorrow morning and will hang out with us for the day. Then, at 7:30pm EST we take off for Rome, most likely in first class seats baby!

I'll be out of touch for a few days while we do as the Romans do, but I'll be checking email etc. so keep in touch and check the blog for details.

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Do

I got a new haircut.

I know it's super short, but I really like it, it's SOOO easy! Since life has been so insanely crazy lately that will be a very nice thing. I went to a different salon than usual, just because of time constraints, but I think I'm pleased.

What do you think?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Time to Move On

We've been talking for months about moving to Florida. It's become a reality.

Chris met me in Orlando this past week and we spent a couple of days looking at rental homes and apartments. We found an apartment that we really like that is a good distance from both family and work as well as shopping since it's only one exit from Waterford Lakes. It would be a three bedroom with around 1100 sq ft, they accept Roger, we can hook up our own W/D and it's right in our price range.

We didn't have so much luck with the houses. There were plenty in our price range but they most of the owners/realators just didn't call us back...it was really frusrating. We did look at a few but none of them felt like home.

We do have one option that might pan out. Some friends might have to relocate, but it depends on if he gets a promotion he's applied for. It sounds like a very good possibility, but it's all a big maybe right now. If it did work out it would be amazing, it's in a prime location, super nice inside and right in our price range.

For now we're planning on the apartment, but keeping our fingers crossed for the house. Either way though, we plan to have most of our belongings in Orlando by August 1st. Yay!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Travelin' Fool

Well, Chris and I had one whole day home together before Chris had to head right back off to work. Since he was leaving anyway, I decided to hitch a ride and I went back down to Otown.

My whole family drove North to Ocala to spend some time with my pseudo-family, the Pratts. We stayed the night on air mattresses and go an early start the next morning. All 11 of us drove even further North to the Ichetucknee Springs. We stopped for inner tubes and spent the day picinicing and floating down the springs. It was a lot of fun! It was great to spend time togethe again, it felt almost like a grown-up homeschool outing :)

The only advice I have is that if you're going to do this yourself, go early in the day. The later the day, the more people and the more stupid things we saw. For example, parents encouraging their young children to climb trees and jump off into the river, adults standing on tubes very close to others and trying to make the other fall down - very 2505 type of activity.

I have a few pictures from this weekend already, but we got a water camera to take with us too. The camera has mysteriously disappeared, but once it's found a developed, I'll add those as well.

Friday, June 6, 2008

West Coast Adventures

So we didn't make it to Paris, but it was just as well. I go a nasty allergy induced head cold that I am just now starting to ditch so I would have been miserable in Pari. We did have a good time in Seatlle though.

I have actually been all over the place lately.
First I to Orlando for one of our Family Gatherings and to see Prince Caspian on opening night. It wasn't bad by the way, just not true to the book. The book is always better, you know?

After Otown, I met up with Chris in Cinci where we hopped on a plane to San Francisco to see Jennifer (my sister-in-law) graduate from college. She finished up her B.A at St. Mary's College which is just outside of SanFran. Chris couldn't get the time off so he had to leave before the ceremony. I wound up staying with Jennifer for five nights and spent lots of time with her. I'd never really spent any time alone with her so it was a neat opportunity, we had a good time. Though it was really weird being in a college atmosphere again. We did all sorts of site seeing and spending time with other family that was in town for the same reason. You can see all the fun pictures here.

From SanFran I hopped down to LA to meet up with my old internet buddy, Eddie and his new fiance Margaret. We did all the typical tourtist things and had fun trying to find the illusive Hollywood sign and ate good food. He was an amazing host and had all sorts of little details in place to make me feel uber welcome. Pictures from LA are here.

From LA I went back up the coast to Seattle where I took a bus out to Mount Vernon to hang out with some of my new cousin-in-laws and aunt-in-law. I played with the kids, got a tour of the farm and just had a general good time. I stayed with Debbie and her family who's lives are just non-stop. I just tagged along for the ride and while I had a fabulous time and really respect Debbie for handling it all so well, I gotta say that it just reinforced that I am definitely not ready for that stage in life yet.

I spent a lot of time with Aunt Judy learning about the Utley family history, looking at old pictures and hearing about my newly acquired ancestors. It was really interesting, especially since it isn't something that Chris's family talks about a lot. Not that there are tons of skeletons or anything, just that it's not something they focus on, so most of the stories I heard were not only new to me, but new to Chris's family too.

Since I wasn't feeling so hot, instead of heading back to Cinci to meet up with Chris and head towards Paris, he came to Seattle to meet up with me. We stayed in his parents new house, saw some old friends and went back out to Mount Vernon to see family, while there Jen fed a cow and Chris fell in love with a kitten.. All the Mount Vernon pictures are here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Travel Changes

I've been hopping all over the place. We had planned on a quick trip to France next week but decided against it. It's a long story so I won't bored with the details. The outcome is that I am in Seattle and Chris will be meeting me here and we'll spend his days off hanging out with family before heading back to Cincinnati.

I have been all over the place and will have pictures and stories soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stow Aways!

Chris found some tag alongs in his suitcase during his last trip. When
interrogated the excuse they gave was that they have never been to CA.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Upcoming Travels

Chris has six days off at the beginning of June so we plan to head to Paris for a few nights. It's a bit overwhelming to hunt for hotels in such a large city with no idea what area's are sketchy etc. Luckily my mom has a friend who has spent a lot of time in Paris so she has given us some direction. However if anyone else has suggestions, we are always open to more! :)

Oh yeah, I'm also taking Johnny to Rome. We plan to go at the end of June for about a week. Our friend Fabio has graciously offered us a place to stay and may even ramp around town as a tourist as well! 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Movie Catch Up

Between free movies in First Class and Netflix I have watched several movies lately:

August Rush - I was pleasantly surprised by this. The script and overall plot weren't very cohesive but the music was fantastic. The actors themselves did a good job and I like the general feeling I had after watching it. Vague, I know. But I think it's work Netflixing. Again, I really liked the music.

27 Dresses - As if you didn't already know - this one was cheesy with a bad script. But, it was free on the movie and I had nothing better to do...

The Bucket List - I didn't have high expectations for this one but I do like Nicholson and Freeman so I had planned on giving it a shot and when it was available on the plane - why not? I was actually impressed. The plot was cute and there is more to the movie than just old guys doing crazy things. Definitely worth the time.

Juno - Everyone talked about this like it was the next Garden State so I went in with high expectations. I have to say I didn't get it. I mean the idea behind the plot is nice and the casting was good. I definitely liked the sound track and the leading lady (Ellen Page) was unique. The actual direction the movie went in didn't really make sense to me...I think if I hadn't expected so much I would have been more impressed.

Across the Universe - Wow. Talk about trippy! If you go into this knowing that it is just an excuse to re-do Beattles songs and that the script was written with the sole purpose of incorporating as many Beattles songs as possible - it's not half bad. It was very inventive and creative and the sound track was great. I think it's definitely something that everyone should 

Cloverfield - Really awesome concept. It could have been totally creepy and a great psychological thriller. Instead it was just a dumb teeny-boppper flick. Don't bother.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day

I went to Orlando this past weekend to surprise Mini Mama for Mother's Day. We had a family brunch, hung out at the beach and took Mini Gma to dinner. It was really nice.

I was cruising Post Secret and found these. I didn't write them, but I could have.

Love you Mom

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back in the States

I'm back in the states. The trip to Greece was beyond amazing. It was very roller coaster esque however. First we had flight issues and some of us spent an unexpected night in NYC, then we got to ee the Acropolis. We weren't sure if we were going to have to ride mules up a cliff, then we got the spectacular views of Santorini. Chris's pinky finger got all nasty and infected, then we hiked a mountain and saw the sun set in Oia. Then we had car trouble but had a grat adventure as a result and so on and so on.

Overall we had a good time and I would definitely recommend others to visit. Our pics are up on my Flickr here and there are some videos on my YouTube here.

We haven't yet decided where our next adventure will take us.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Hi, Thanks for stopping in.

You've reached my blog. Sorry I'm not here right now, I'm off exploring Greece. If you would like to track my travels, please feel free to do so here. Otherwise leave me a comment after the beep and I'll get back to you just as soon as I can.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Cancun - Finally

So we leave for Greece in just over a week so I figured I'd better get caught up and post my pictures from our last trip.

Here is my summary of our trip to Mexico. I can give you all sorts of details if you want them, or you can read more on Chris's site. All of the pictures are up here as well and they are definitely more interesting.

To get a visual of our trip check out the map.

3/25: Fabio land at Blue Ash. Dinner at Teak. Watch "Catch me if you Can" together.
3/26: Shop for a Mac. Pick up Chris from work. Dinner at BoneFish. Load up Mac. Develop Flight Plan.
3/27: Leave Blue Ash. 3.5 hr flight. Lunch in Rutherford, NC. 4 hr flight. Dinner w/ parents. Night in Orlando. Brownie pudding.
3/28: 3hr flight to Key West. Lunch in Key West. 3 hr flight to Cancun. Dinner at El Parillo Mexican Restaurant.
3/29: Italian for lunch. Mexican Mall. Max cook tomato pasta for dinner. Metro club.
3/30: Beach day. Dinner at Adriana's crazy, beautiful, eco-friendly home.
3/31: Fly to Cozumel. Snorkeling with friends from Seattle. See amazing things under water. Lunch at the Money Bar. Dinner at El Minsion.
4/1: Fly to Chichen Itza Mayan ruins. Lunch at buffet near chinote. See ruins. Max teach how to make Carbonara.
4/2: Really early delta flight through Atlanta. Barely make flight in Atlanta to Cincinnati. Chris's tire blow.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I'm still here

Sorry that I have been absent for awhile - though I admit I often wonder if anyone even notices when this happens. I haven't had a comment on this site in ages!

I've been incredibly busy working and having fun.

Chris and I just got back from a really amazing trip to Mexico and I am curently sitting in CVG (cinci airport) trying to hop a flight to MCO (orlando airport) to see the family.

Chris already posted about our trip so you just can't wait for the details you can check them out here. Otherwise, be patient and I will have a trip summary and lots of pictures up soon. Videos are already available here.

I'll be back soon! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Movie in the Making

This really excites me!

I thought the book was really well done - especially if listened to.

The idea of a movie is awesome and since I love Abigail Breslin the casting couldn't be better in my mind. I'll have to keep an eye on this one.

Yes We Can

I know it's propganda. I know. But regardless of who really wrote it, I think the speech and delivery are great and the video that follows is neat.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom. Yes we can. It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness. Yes we can. It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land. Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can. We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change. We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics...they will only grow louder and more dissonant ........... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea -- Yes. We. Can.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Movie Review - Goya's Ghosts

I recently rented Goya's Ghosts. The name of this movie caught my attention because I recently read an article on Goya in Mental Floss and he sounded like an interesting character so a movie about him peaked my interest. It turned out that the movie wasn't really about Goya as much as it was a few of the people he painted. The movie didn't really impress me that much overall but I was very impressed with Natalie Portman's performance. She plays both a mother and a daughter and her performance as the mother was just outstanding. The makeup however was disappointing. Overall I would say it's worth a watch but I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in theater's.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Post-Blizzard Update

Chris made it home on the one flight that left Columbus on Saturday. He arrived at our house around 8pm. He couldn't find our driveway through the snow so he parked across the street in a plowed lot and hiked through knee-high snow up our driveway carrying his flight bag and suitcase.

Being the first time we've both been home in nearly a month we enjoyed a quiet dinner and then slept until noon on Sunday. We finally got around to shoveling the snow around 3pm and found that it was sunny and nearly 50 degrees out - practically spring! Crazy! Thanks to the warm weather the snow was starting to melt making for heavy, slushy muck. We made quick work of it and got it done in less than two hours.

Pictures of our snowy weekend can be found here.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blizzard in Cinci

I finally made it home for the first time in three weeks of traveling for work. The plan was for me to arrive Friday evening and get settled and then Chris would arrive home from a trip Saturday afternoon.

Well, on Thursday the weather guy in Ann Arbor warned that a big snow storm was heading their way and would hit Friday afternoon, coming up from the south. So I changed my plans and left Ann Arbor Friday morning hoping to miss it. Nope - stupid storm changed direction and concentrated on KY, OH, TN etc so I drove right into it.

It took me about 4 hours to get to the outskirts of Cincinnati and another hour and half to go the remaining 12 miles to our house. GRR stupid snow and dumb drivers. By the time I got home there was 4-5" on the ground. It took me three tries to get my poor little car up the hill of our driveway - I finally had to back across the street and get a running start.

I shoveled myself a walk way and unpacked my car. Once done I tried to move my car into the garage - no such luck. I gave up after the 6th attempt and just rolled it back again. It seemed like such a lost cause to try and shovel so I just left it alone.

Last night Chris's flight was cancelled and he told me that it was supposed to keep snowing through Saturday evening. I woke up this morning and sure enough... more snow. I ventured out around noon and shot the video below. Notice the steps I shoveled yesterday around 3pm are gone...

If the video doesn't work you can view it by clicking here.

Hopefully Chris will find a way to make it home soon. There has been talk of renting a car and just taking the typically 1.5 hour drive slowly. I checked the road cameras and it does appear that people are driving... We'll see.

I think I'll bundle up and walk to the grocery store for provisions now.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Photo Weekend

I went to Orlando last weekend. Here is my weekend in photos:

The way cool pet snake at Jamie's Leap Day party.

An alligator in a pond in front of houses in Celebration where we wet to the yearly huge yard sale.

My family waiting for a table for lunch in downtown celebration.

A video of my cat who is still living with my parents due to our never being home :(

If the video doesn't work you can view it by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Movie Review - Waitress

I watched Waitress on my laptop in my hotel room the other night. The story line wasn't anything revolutionary but I really like the style of the movie. The plot is that a Waitress (the ever beautiful Kerri Russell) hates her life and has an affair with a new-comer to the small town. It just so happens that the waitress is an excellent pie baker and when she gets upset she invents new pies in her head.

Overall it's nothing amazing but it is pleasant to watch and well done.

Monday, February 25, 2008


I went to Seattle with Chris last weekend to see his parents' new house and meet their new puppy Charlie. His parents had just moved in two days before we got there so things were still in boxes etc but I thought they had done an amazing job in such a short time! I took lots of pictures of both the house and the adorable girl (Charlie). We also saw Chris's aunt Judy and his cousin Debbie and her kids. Pictures Here.

From Seattle I rushed back to work and off to Chicago. Chris joined me for a couple of days. We had dinner at an amazing Italain place and we were even able to get downtown for an afternoon. We lucked out and there was an Ice Art exhibit in the park. It was really cool looking. Pictures Here.
From Chicago I was off to Ann Arbor where I will likely be for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chris's Music

Chris has written several songs, the latest of which I really like. It's about a relationship in turmoil (not us) and I think it's catchy.

He gave a live performance for his family earlier this week and I caught him on video. To check it out click here - it will take a bit to download.

I'll post the words to the song soon.