Monday, April 23, 2007

Florida trip, take two...

Current mood: happy

Sunday morning we slept in, ate some yogurt and granola bars at the dorms, then headed to church. We attended the Coral Springs Ward. The bishop was really nice, and being from Santa Monica, laughed when we said we were from LA. He said "La Verne is NOT LA!" The most interesting part of sacrament meeting was a black convert to the church, who had just returned from serving a mission in Africa. He gave a really short talk, and then had the whole congregation sing all 5 verses of his favorite hymn a'cappella.

We had lunch at a place by the FXE called Moe's, which is basically a Café Rio/Baja Fresh clone. I had a DELICIOUS veggie quesadilla. The day was very rainy, so we decided that the everglades boat ride was out of the question. We went to Sawgrass Mills, a gigantic mall in Sunrise, to take Rosie to Wannado City. This place is a theme park for kids, where they learn about careers they'll "wanna do" when they grow up. The admission wasn't terrible because parents are included in the kids admission. You are assigned a security bracelet with a tracking device. If you get separated from your party, there are kiosks all over the City that you can scan your device and see where everyone in your group is at. There were so many different careers that Rosie tried out….nurse, dentist, pilot, jeweler, model, environmentalist, dance club DJ, and talent for a Cartoon Network tv show. She was in heaven! Until now, she had said that she wants to be an artist and a model when she grows up. Now she says she wants to be a nurse that takes care of newborn babies.

We had dinner at Bennigans, an Irish bar and grill. Taylor and I split the SW sampler and a steak fajita salad. It was really yummy, and the restaurant had a nice, laidback atmosphere. The dessert menus looked soooo good…but we refrained from ordering. We went back to the dorms and spent some time as a family before heading to bed.

On Monday, Taylor had to go back to class. He was lucky enough to get a few days away from class for studying for a test. So when he had spent the whole time playing with us for the weekend, he was sure that he'd bomb the test. To his surprise…the test was cancelled! The subject matter was really out of context with what had been taught to date, so that specific test will be given in a few weeks. While Taylor was in class, Rosie and I went over to 24 Hour Fitness so I could do water aerobics. This teacher was a control freak! When I asked for the hand buoys before she was ready she barked at me. She was an intense teacher, but it felt great to be challenged more than usual.

After 24Aqua, Rosie and I headed out to the Everglades, which was about a 30 minute drive. We went on a flat-bottomed airboat ride. The day was pretty chilly, especially with the windchill of the boat on the water. We sped through the Sawgrass and learned about the history of south Florida and the Everglades. When we got back to land, they had an endangered species park with alligators, tortoises, mountain lion, jaguar, birds, and other species. Rosie and I got to hold a baby alligator! We took lots of pictures there.

After the Everglades, we went a few miles south to Flamingo Gardens, a wildlife sanctuary. We saw a live show with some rehabilitated animals (king snake, alligator, vulture, opossum, etc) and then toured the park. Rosie was in heaven with all of the birds eating out of her hand. Peacocks were roaming free, and we caught a few with their tail fronds fully extended. The flamingos were gorgeous, and Rosie was excited to finally see a real flamingo. We had lunch, then met back up with Taylor after class. We went back to Ft. Lauderdale beach, but it was high tide, and there was a big storm rolling in. We played in the water a little bit, but it wasn't as fun as Friday because the undertoe was so strong. I got sucked in a few times and tumbled in the waves. We only stayed for about 45 minutes. We left to find a place for dinner. We were in the mood for some pizza, so we stopped at a PIZZA place called Shucks. When we were ready to order, they told us that they don't serve pizza on Mondays. We shared a wrap and some really delicious 3-cheese chicken pasta. Monday night was spent cleaning out the car, doing laundry, getting packed up, and savoring every minute we had together.

Tuesday morning Taylor came into the room early to cuddle and talk for a while. The reality of how long it would be until we saw each other set in, and was really sad. Taylor left for class, Rosie and I packed and had some breakfast. Rob Zender, our old neighbor from Utah took us to the airport. His wife Heidi and their baby Elizabeth flew in that morning, so we picked them up from the airport, dropped off our bags with the Skycap, and went out to lunch in the Las Olas area. We ate at a little Paris bistro that was what I'd imagine a real café in Paris would be like. I got a chicken salad plate, Rosie got a croissant with brie and turkey. And Zenders treated us to Bananas Foster for dessert. We drove back to the airport, bought a few souvenirs, and boarded the plane.

The two hour flight to Atlanta was a snap. Snacks, good tv shows on the plane to watch, and Rosie was in good spirits. The Atlanta airport was HUGE. We had a three hour layover that we thought would drag by so long. But we took the tram around to different terminals, did some window shopping, grabbed some dinner, and it was almost time to board the plane. The in-flight movie was "The Holiday" which I liked pretty well. Rosie was a bit bored on the 4.5 hour flight, and complained more on this flight than any other point of the trip. But she listened to music and colored, and we eventually made it home. Gary picked us up from the airport, and we went home. As nice as the vacation was, it sure was nice to sleep in my own bed!

Currently listening :
Music and Lyrics
By Hugh Grant
Release date: 13 February, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Buddha's Delight, 5k and Honolulu Harry's

A few people have commented on my profile song, Buddha's Delight. It's the song that's been stuck in my head all week, and it's on the "Music and Lyrics" soundtrack. It makes me laugh everytime I hear it. It's a parody of Britney Spears' "Toxic."

I completed my first 5k this morning, running approx 1/3 of the race. My time wasn't stellar (54:14) but for my first 5k I'm proud that I made it through. I used it as more of a social walking time to chat with my WW buddies. I was greeted at the finish line by the cartoonish LA County Fair mascots, a horse, cow, and pig...who gave me a high five and I ran through the finish line. I am sore, but empowered. Take that, Dr. Tello!

After the race, I grabbed a pineapple smoothie at Podge's, discovered a cool little thrift store in old town La Verne, ran some errands, watched a few things off my tivo, went to an Open House for a family in our ward that is moving, and helped Rosie go through a bunch of clothes to donate or sell.

I went out to dinner with Liz and some of their friends to celebrate Emily's b-day at Honolulu Harry's (which is owned by Dr. Lally). I met a lot of new, fun people, had some excellent food, showed off my Florida pics, Rosie entertained the crowd, and I had an all-around good time.

All in all, it's been a good day. I'm going to take my motrin and go to bed.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Florida Vacation Details

Current mood: content

Thursday I had to work a few hours at Chino Valley for the Emergency Department meeting. Afterwards, Melissa picked me up from the hospital and dropped Rosie and I off at Ontario Airport. I had done the internet check-in before I left work, but it ended up making it harder to check our bags. Luckily the Delta terminal line was pretty short. Rosie and I shared a smoothie and chicken chipotle salad in the airport before getting on the plane. The flight to SLC was pretty uneventful, but more turbulent than I've experienced in a bigger plane in recent memory. I was happy that Delta serves some healthy snacks and Sprite Zero (my current soda of choice.) We met up with my dad in the baggage claim for our 90 min layover. He brought me a Café Rio salad, which made me really happy. We chatted and got caught up until we had to head back through security. We had another boarding pass hiccup trying to go through security because our passes said ONT to FLL, and didn't mention SLC because it was a continuing flight on the same flight number. I had to go back to the Delta check in to verify my boarding passes, then have the Delta employee escort me back to the front of the security line. Rosie realized that she forgot her MP3 player back in CA, but wasn't too sad because there were plenty of radio stations to listen to on the plane. The in-flight movie was Freedom Writers….eh, it was okay. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale just after midnight. After picking up our luggage, we met Taylor out on the curb with a big hug and kiss. It was about 15 minutes back to FXE, which is the airport that Jet University is located. The dorms aren't terrible, but we realized that the room that Rosie and I were staying in was practically a closet, and it did not have a bunk bed. Rosie sleeps on the floor, and I've got a twin bed. We stayed up until 2:00 am, and then Taylor headed back to his dorm room.

Friday morning we went to the gym for a really intense workout. The 24 Hour Fitness "Sport Shaq" was the most impressive gym I've ever been to. I did 35 min on the elliptical and about 25 minutes of weights. I showed Taylor some of the workouts that I've been doing with my trainer, including the correct way to do crunches on the stability ball. We had lunch at Chick-Fil-A, relaxed at the dorms for a while, ran some errands, then headed off for the beach. We went to Fort Lauderdale Beach, which is on A1A... "beach front avenue!" (Like from the song "To the Extreme" by Vanilla Ice) This beach was so beautiful….free parking, showers, clean sand. The water was sooo warm compared to California. We swam, played water games with Rosie, and took lots of pictures. The weather was just perfect….upper 70s so not too hot, just HUMID. We relaxed on the beach for a half hour, then went back in till we'd had our fill of salt water. We cleaned up reasonably well at the showers, then drove to Kyojin. This is an upscale Japanese and Sushi buffet. It's the most pricey buffet I've ever eaten at ($20 a person) but it was delicious! The sushi was fresh and expertly prepared, there were lots of fresh veggie dishes to choose from, the gyoza was amazing, and the Japanese ice cream was marvelous. I had the biggest meal I'd eaten in a long time, but at least it was super healthy! We then went to see "Meet the Robinsons" at the local Regal Cinemas. We came back to the dorms, watched an episode of Roswell, and went to bed fairly early (it was a FULL day of fun!)

Saturday we spent most of the day in the car (approx 300 miles). We started the day out with a moderate (45 min) workout at the 24 Sport Shaq and got some trip food at the Winn-Dixie, including fresh pineapple chunks and peach soda. I was trying to navigate with some travel brochures (not to scale) and a 10 year old atlas. Taylor wanted to avoid the toll roads (which are everywhere here!) so we went a pretty roundabout way to get down to the Florida Keys. We were going to visit the Micosugee Indian Reservation and take an Everglades airboat ride...but once we'd gone about 10 miles, with multiple freeway changes, into a 45 mile trip, wasting almost 2 hours, we realized that the map was not to scale and it would take forever to get there. We did a little shopping, including the most clean thrift store I've ever seen (It was the Goodwill Megastore LOL) Throughout the day, I got a new memory stick for my cell phone, a cute new kimono-looking dress, some tanks, new swim bottoms, some souvenirs, and some clothes for Rosie....including a cute pink shirt with a skull and crossbones that says Pirate Princess.

The Florida Keys are beautiful!!! The water is all sorts of amazing colors, and the kitschy little old resort towns were entertaining to travel through. There weren't a lot of beaches to stop at...most were rocky or had no parking. We drove about 45 miles into the 120 mile drive towards Key West, but the drive already took much longer than we expected. We got dinner at Ruby Tuesdays, and then paid a whopping $1.25 to take the toll road to a more direct freeway towards home (which shaved off about 90 minutes off our drive back.) After stopping for some groceries and a blanket at SuperWalmart, we came back to the Jet U Dorms to chill for the evening.

Today we'll try to hit a sacrament meeting, and then do more sightseeing with Taylor before he's back into the focused-student thing again. We might go to a different airboat Everglades place that is much closer, and maybe Flamingo Gardens today. Taylor will be in class tomorrow, so Rosie and I will do Wannado City and Sawgrass Mills mega-mall. Heidi Zender, our old neighbor from across the street in Balmoral, is flying in on Monday too. We'll probably eat dinner with her and Rob that night.

Currently listening :
Little Wonders
By Rob Thomas
Release date: 19 April, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Florida, Here I come!

I can't sleep...I've been up since 3:00 am...and I'm totally into that "kid-on-Christmas-Eve-who-knows-Santa-is-coming-tonight" mentality. I will be landing in Ft. Lauderdale in less than 16 hours to the loving arms of my husband. Yayyyy!

I'm about 97% packed now, just showered, and have almost 3 hours to kill until I leave for work. I've got a morning meeting then I'll leave for the place my hubby's called home for the last month. Well, maybe not home, but his temporary educational domiclie.

Jeers to, though. I ordered a new swim suit on their website on April 5, with shipping that was supposed to take 3-5 days. It was supposed to be here by yesterday. Even if it was delivered today, I'm not coming back to my house after 8am *sigh* I guess I'll wear one of my worn-out ones.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

24 Aqua

I went to water aerobics tonight and pushed myself harder than I ever have. I was doing the kicks...but totally kicking out of the water and above my head. I used heavier weights, did more reps, and exercised some muscles I didn't know existed. Now I'm soooo sore. I can hardly walk up stairs. My poor glutes.

If anyone wants to join me, I go to 24Aqua at 24 Hour Fitness in Upland at 6:00 Monday nights. It's a killer class...I've gone down a size in my swimsuit in the last month.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Weight Loss Kick

As I've mentioned a few times, I've been on a big (pardon the pun) weight loss kick since October. I was just scanning through a few pictures from last summer and couldn't believe that those pictures were me. I was sick of how I looked and how I felt, and decided to make the changes necessary to be healthy and fit. The endorphins are so addicting. I've been sleeping better and having more energy during the day. It's easier to find clothes that fit, and I have so much more confidence. It's much easier to stick with what is healthy when I see the results. Let's hope I can keep this up...I'm going to Florida later this month!

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