Rock The Ruins

After a long Corporate Challenge morning, I was ready to relax. My roomies agreed to chill with me at Rock The Ruins!

Untitled

Holliday Park has been raising money for 2 years to revamp and refresh the ruins sculpture at the park. I expected a good crowd but was delighted to see it packed with friends, couples, and families.

Untitled

Untitled

Toy Factory played for us, while the kids played in the new water splash area.

Untitled

Can’t wait to use that after my next run!

Zoo Brew

Mom’s been talking about this event for years but it sells out literally 3 minutes after tickets go on sale. She made some networking calls and finally we had 2 tickets to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo fundraiser called Zoo Brew!

Untitled

I can’t even remember the last time I was here, but I do remember my first job working with the ponies and horse rides. That lasted one summer due to my hay allergy. But it did give me a great memory of one car ride home with my Mom… I was 14 and couldn’t drive yet so she carted me and my lunch there every day. This was back in the day of the hard Igloo coolers. A rabbit had built a nest in the middle of the pony ring. Once the babies were ready to flee, my fellow co-workers were trying to catch them. Once you touch them, the mom won’t take care of them anymore. Dad and I had raised bunnies in our neighborhood quite a few times. So I thought, I’ll just bring them home. I put some grass in my cooler and in went 2 bunnies. Mom picks me up and asks

Why do you have grass coming out of your cooler?

I have 2 bunnies in there.

Natalee, you can’t steal animals from the zoo!

Duh! Back to present time… She got us VIP so we could get access to all the food and drink an hour before the general public. Very good choice as the lines got ridiculous as the night progressed. The zoo is laid out by continents so we headed to Africa first.

Untitled

Each continent had about a dozen food vendors and a dozen drink tastings. I was happy with my Mo’s tacos, but the caprese salad looked great.

Untitled

Bourbon tasting? Yes please!

Untitled

But we were really there to see the animals. A lot of the cats were sleeping.

Untitled

Hyena

Untitled

Zebras on the veldt.

Untitled

As we watched this monkey, he started to relieve himself from all ends. We hightailed it out of there. No poop thrown at us please!

Untitled

As we headed to North America, we hear the classic train horn. Mom got giddy like a little kid! She wanted to ride the train. I walked over to the empty station and asked the worker if it was open to the guests. It was so waited for it’s return… it had 4 people on it. 4. We were the only ones in line, everyone else was scarfing down food and booze. Alright Mom, let’s ride the train.

Alone. Seriously hilarious that we were the only ones. This is not a small train.

After our ride we headed to Austrailia.

Untitled

They turned the old bat exhibit into an interactive sting ray pool.

Roos hanging around the walkabout.

The huge aquarium is still a favorite of ours.

Puffer!

Untitled

Penguins weren’t very active in heat.

Untitled

I was excited to see the Lion drinking fountain was still functional!

Great day & memories with Mom! Thanks Momma!

Our Beach Return

Previously.

We. Made. It.

IMG_0334

IMG_0336

Herbie @ the beach! 4 weeks prior to this, I wasn’t sure it would happen. Fears of playing Aunt Edna kept entering my mind.

20160426_163743

Our first stop was for some big chair time.

IMG_0322

IMG_0323

Get this man some food!

IMG_0329

After a few days at the beach, the Indiana girls needed a shopping fix. And I needed to see if CS fit into this contraption.

IMG_0338

And we thought this was funny.

IMG_0343

CS was craving a po’boy the whole trip! With the help of some locals, we did find a few new eateries to try.

IMG_0387

Dad witnessed a Blue Angels fly-by over the beach, hopped on the internet, and we made plans to watch a public practice over in Peniscola. Bucket List! Mom, pack the Triscuits.

IMG_0345

My 2 favorite men in the whole wide world.

IMG_0346

They had an old Fat Albert plane you could tour. Might as well!

IMG_0347

IMG_0349

I love this photo of my Dad. He’s walking by, “Herb, stop right there. I need a pic.” Payback for all the pics as a kid I had to pose for. Parenting your parents is fun!

IMG_0355

The cloud cover kept the practice to just a few stunts, but still impressive.

IMG_0364

Video will be coming soon.

IMG_0367

Then ole’ Fat Albert took the stage.

IMG_0374

After the show, we visited the massive National Naval Aviation Museum.

IMG_0377

I was very impressed with the history of planes and equipment this place had. Imagine this R2D2 cage was your job for months or years.

IMG_0378

Front row seat!

IMG_0379

You can’t see shit out of this thing. Radio contact must have been crucial.

IMG_0383

We tried to figure out if we could put his on the pontoon and race some boats at the lake.

IMG_0384

Finally time for my repeat bucket item… Lemur play time. I was armed with more interactive video this time.

20160427_101302

COME PLAY WITH ME!

IMG_0461

IMG_0420

Carole was all about it.

IMG_0450

IMG_0435

IMG_0436

IMG_0402

IMG_0398

Chad found a new lover. In, this guy loved to lick is sun burnt forehead clean.

IMG_0412

IMG_0416

IMG_0433

I was in heaven. When I go back, I will likely do this every day we are there. Every day.

IMG_0403

IMG_0439

IMG_0441

Next animal encounter? Sloth! I sent this image to a friend. His response, “Nice stuffed animal statue.”

IMG_0467

Nope, he moves!

IMG_0473

There were 2 slothes in the cage. Let’s feed one.

IMG_0470

The sloth-y, as we will call him, would creepily move around the ropes.

IMG_0479

IMG_0480

IMG_0485

And I figured he was doing yoga moves.

IMG_0490

IMG_0485

Photo ops with a sloth. And again, video will be coming soon.

IMG_0492

IMG_0495

Another encounter was Kangaroos, but they put them in this pouch and you hold the pouch. Pass.

IMG_0508

CS had fun getting this guy agitated.

IMG_0503

Amidst all our fun, I found a little time for self improvement. Excellent Read. Highly recommend it.

IMG_0511

To my new favorite US beach spot… until next time.

Florida – Day 4

B and his family visited the in-laws on Day 4, so we were left to plan our own day. After a quick dip in our indoor pool, I knew what to do, Cirque!

20151126_144338

The show was La Nouba. It was fabulous. I think now that I’ve been to a number of these, I need to stay in the specialty line. Starting to look the same. Le Rev still tops the list of shows. We spent the day at Disney Springs for some much needed shopping! And closed that park down as well. There was really no resting on this trip!

20151126_194733

Really Orlando?

SUNP0007

Time to go home.

Close’er Up

It was time to check on the Minion and close up the cottage. Kevin had survived the weather and was shining bright at night. His brother lost an eye. We’ll have to re-engineer that part next summer.

Untitled

Biggest task each year is getting the boat out. With my party pontoon it’s a lot easier to clean it up and store it away. This year was my first year to officially take over this task. Dad’s done it for 50 years. He deserves a break. Which meant, I had to find a new boat captain and learn how to maneuver a 32 foot trailer. CS needed to practice his driving skills as I would be waiting at the ramp with the truck and trailer.

Untitled

As always with the lake, you see some fancy toys. On our final lap around the lake, I see this guy. Wakeboarding. Sans a boat.

Untitled

Closer look showed a hand powered gas steering throttle. WTF.

Untitled

We thought we needed jet skis and a paddleboard. Man, now there is another one to add to the list.

Herbie supervised the boat retrieval and we set back off to the house. As Mom comes out, I’ll driving the rig with CS and Dad just riding along. She about fell over in laughter. She forgets I’m a boy sometimes.

We tried to recreate the close of 2013 with our new buddy the Muppet!

Untitled

But we couldn’t get the birds to come. Thanks Muppet. He doesn’t leave CS’s side. It was love at first site.

Untitled

Gawd I’ll miss this.

Untitled

Sad face…

Untitled

As we were leaving, I spied Dad’s shoes. I sent him this picture and a note: I know I can never fill your shoes, but I’ll try damn hard. Love you Dad!

IMG_4938[1]

Taekwondo Master

There’s a shark in the water… in the Ohio River?!

IMG_4829

We weren’t there for any river activities anyway. We were there to ring in the b-day of our good friend JGirl at her requested locale.

20150828_230414

What a first night we were in for. After trying to co-locate our rooms, it wasn’t working. J’s were in the other tower. But with spiders. JGuy wasn’t having it. So before dinner they changed rooms to our tower. But the room wasn’t guest ready. Ok, we decided to give the hotel crew time over dinner to make beds, etc. We all met up in the Galt House apartment.

20150828_202733-1

How high up are we?

20150828_202733

Where’d B go?

20150828_202715

After our last attempt failed to introduce our friends to the Troll Pub, this had to happen.

IMG_4831

We returned to the 2nd J-room and it still wasn’t guest ready. Enter Maxine. She took care of it. Got the bags loaded, but I had a funny feeling a quality control check was needed. Good thing I did! JGuy left a shirt and sport coat behind. I escorted those items to J-room #3.

20150828_234337

After a long night of logistics, I was ready for some comfort food. Smashburger time, shake included!

IMG_4834

As the rest of our massive crew arrived, Saturday brought out the theme of the b-day event. Taekwondo Master. JGirl would have to overcome several challenges of the evening to earn all her Taekwondo belts! Let the games begin!

IMG_4830

To keep on the theme, we had to have hibachi for dinner with a limo ride for style points.

IMG_4837

They didn’t have Hana Awaka, so this Saki would have to do. Mmmmmm.

IMG_4854

We were delighted to the traditional volcano of fire!

IMG_4838

And rice catching.

IMG_4840

After the surprise Zombie Apocalypse traffic jam fiasco, we were ready to start earning belts!

IMG_4856

We had ice bucket walks, yoga poses, BOAW, then came the last, elusive, unknown, most important, pink P belt. Such a good look!

IMG_4864

We enjoyed the views from our final resting place.

IMG_4872

While playing the most offensive and hilarious game, Cards Against Humanity, this was a definite winner for me.

IMG_4874

Through out all JG’s room troubles, CS and I were safe because we had “The Blessing” in our room.

IMG_4878

So I am not the only one that hides photos in rooms.

Stranger Danger?

What do you get when you pair this girl with 2 strange racers I’ve never met? Apparently, this:

IMG_4624

45 mile map

map

Holy shit this was a crazy race. IMA to Marion to flaming arrows.

My normal team was unavailable for the 2015 IndyQuest race. I had some close friends say they would race with me. Hmmm. Nope. I don’t want to ruin that relationship. This is my COMPetition. I have a hard time disconnecting from winning this. Race was the same concept of running, canoeing, and bike pushing? Yes. Bike pushing. My new team mates were ridiculous athletes. Both were tri-athletes. Way out of my league. It became apparent very early on they were going to crush me. Thank heavens the race director (RD) thought I was cool enough to hang with these pros. I’m totally out of shape and these f’ers proved it. But I loved that. Push me. Well, I didn’t mean it literally but that happened. I was sooooooooo slow on the bike compared to them, I tried to draft and that wasn’t enough. D says, “How do you feel about me pushing you?” “Go for it!” D literally put a hand on my backpack and pushed me while we rode. I have never felt a closer feeling to flying in my life! I said “I need you at all my races!” 30+ miles this guy pushed me. Unbelievable. Thank karma these guys didn’t sell me off after course 1. On our way to course 2,  RD says “You are my odds on favorite!” I hate pressure! Glad we they held up expectations! I was there anchor and they never complained.

Afterward, I was ready to relax. Pedicure time.

IMG_4623

More photos can be seen here. Plus a little bad video I tried to shoot.

Indyquest2015

Meet My Minions

Swans were soooo 2014. Maybe ours aren’t this magnificent.

Untitled

But they are still very awesome. Maybe 2016 will bring bigger action in the swan arena. But what could 2015 bring? While on a trip around the lake this year, I spied 2 places that “borrowed” my swan inflatables. At first I was appalled. Then I remembered, imitation is the best form of flattery. Yes, let’s be a trend setter! So when I spied a buoy that was decorated like a Minion, I must have a Minion. 2 weeks ago, Qbert was dying. Qbert was our solar powered buoy at the lake. He had faded and barely glowed. The stars aligned and now was the time to turn Qbert into a Minion. Meet Bob.

Untitled

Meet Stuart.

Untitled

I had so much fun making these guys. They turned out SO MUCH CUTER than I ever imagined. PS and I launched them to the waves!
Stuart!

Untitled

Bob!

Untitled

Bob… BA-NA-NA!

Untitled

Lots of boat traffic, pointing, and even kayak selfies were taken with the Minions. We rocked it.

Lake Time Celebrations

She learned from the best and nabbed this guy!

Untitled

Mom, me, and PS were out on the paddle boat. With a small nudge, PS is on the front of the boat stretching out and BAMM turtle in hand! As always, it’s a catch and release program. Some of these guys, just don’t have direction?!

Father’s Day brought out Big Jenga! We are always reinventing ourselves at the lake.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Once the bugs kicked in, we headed for the house. What do you guys want to play? Headbanz won. We look amazing.

Untitled

Sweet 16 party came next! Who doesn’t want to celebrate on the water?!

IMG_4401

Where are you taking them?! Good thing I trust these people.

IMG_4402

Now comes the 4th of July jet boots. Man I want to try these so bad.

IMG_4413

I randomly found a 5k race at Lake Syracuse over the holiday. Sure, let’s do this.

Fwd: Flotilla run

Holy hell it smelt like pig shit for 2 miles. No amount of t-shirt holding over the face was working. We finished and got the hell out. It was time to celebrate the holiday with nails and metallic press on tats. Never wanted a tat. Still don’t. These were fun!

IMG_4418

And for the real fun! T-shirt cannon time. We needed something to do with the flotilla going by. Mom take aim!

IMG_4403

JM, Chef de Jour, hooked us up. Even had a Sous chef at the ready to assist. Dinner was devine!

IMG_4419

With the holiday schedule, we had a delightful time taking in the scenes at Shipshe.

IMG_4408

Happy 4th of July beeches and babies!

IMG_4410

Best people in the world!

IMG_4421