Eat, Drink and Get Sandy

Take me back!

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K and I took a great escape down to FL before the bitter cold arrived to the Midwest. As we enjoyed the warm salty air, this washed up and scared the shit out of me as I was blissfully taking pictures!

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I had seen a bright blue jellyfish on one of my previous beach walks, so I was hyper sensitive. We ventured out one night to see how the locals do it. Meet our Florida snowmen.

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K found this man more appealing. At 10 pm, it was half price tequila shots. Twist our arms.

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This vaca was all about good food, great drinks, and sand.

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After being beach bums for a few days, we needed to get some culture. Florida style. We found a holiday lights boat tour on the Intracoastal Waterway. I was hoping for a boat like this…

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Just kidding. That’s Steve Spielberg’s boat. Our boat was more this style…

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But it came with a tree. I’m not the only one who puts Christmas trees near water.

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The yachts and homes on this waterway were unbelievable and massive. Like stuff you see on TV.

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According to our guide, this family fell in love with the Harry Potter movies, then had there home updated to reflect the homes in the movie. $$$$$.

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Our farewell toast to the beach. Who needs stemware and flip-flops?!

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Who’s that? BMW Edition

Previously & From the archives…

I secured a front row seat the 2016 BMW Championship. I love calling in favors because I don’t mind repaying them. I was excited to see a lot of the newer players this year. I really wanted to see the Stache.

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There were a bunch others, like Jordan Spieth, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace. Since it’s been a hot minute since the event, I have no idea who this is or who is in several of my other pictures but I’m going with Dustin Johnson.

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Great way to spend a day with a friend!

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As we dodged the rain clouds and hydrated, we stumbled across someone’s lost stash not stache. After trying to find the hidden cameras or undercover cops, the table in front of us noticed our awkward behavior.

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It ain’t legal here, but they were taking the goods.

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!

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Bourbon tasting? Yes please!

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

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Hyena

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Zebras on the veldt.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Penguins weren’t very active in heat.

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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.

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

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Our first stop was for some big chair time.

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Get this man some food!

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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.

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And we thought this was funny.

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

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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.

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My 2 favorite men in the whole wide world.

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

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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!

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

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Video will be coming soon.

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Then ole’ Fat Albert took the stage.

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

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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.

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Front row seat!

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

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

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

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COME PLAY WITH ME!

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Carole was all about it.

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

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

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

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Nope, he moves!

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

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

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And I figured he was doing yoga moves.

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

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

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CS had fun getting this guy agitated.

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

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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!

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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!

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Really Orlando?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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

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Gawd I’ll miss this.

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Sad face…

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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!

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Taekwondo Master

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

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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.

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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.

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How high up are we?

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Where’d B go?

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

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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.

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

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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!

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

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

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We were delighted to the traditional volcano of fire!

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And rice catching.

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

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

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We enjoyed the views from our final resting place.

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

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

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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:

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45 mile map

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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.

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

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