Category: Trippin’

Dehydration & All That Jazz

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Last week’s blog hiatus was caused by a heinous stomach flu.   Dropping 5 pounds in 3 days had me at a 9.5 on the Wiggles worry scale.  My doctor’s nurses were useless, one even asking me what PediaLyte is.  I have an appointment with Dr. F. tomorrow.  Maybe I should bring a bottle to show Nurse Clueless.

Being on bedrest and unable to eat real food,the thought of spending a long weekend far, far away from my bathroom proved daunting.  I took enough Immodium to drown my stomach bug and render me travel-ready by Thursday.  Here’s a quick rundown of the weekend:

Da Flights: I spent the two and a half hour flight between Houston and Chicago watching MStew and Dr. Oz.   That almost makes me forgive Continental for their craptastic merger with United and their bullshit snacks-for-pay policy.  Almost.  On the way back, I watched a fellow passenger down three Bloody Marys.  Bitch.

Da Hotel:  We stayed at the snazzyriffic Hotel Palomar.  Having seen a special on its heavily female management team, I could see all the feminine touches.  From the Tom’s of Maine toothpaste in the mini bar to the weather forecast cards at turndown service, this hotel was choc full o’ amenities.

I’d definitely go back there.  (Travel tip: if you join their Kimpton InTouch Loyalty Program, you get free WiFi, $10 in honor bar snacks and upgrade offers).  During check-in, the desk clerk asked us if we’d like a key to the mini bar ($10 in free snacks – hells yeah!).   Dan, hearing “bar” and thinking “booze,” declined. I gasped. He said “But you’re pregnant…”   I snapped back with “Wha??? So! Don’t stand between me and the potato chips!”  Our Lucy and Ricky antics greatly amused the desk clerk.

Da Food: The fear of relapse left me hesitant to delve into Chicago fare.  It meant opting for Subway while Dan and Dadshteyn chowed on Xoco tortas and eating a corndog while they downed Hot Doug’s uberdogs.  I chanced deep dish on Sunday morning, but it wasn’t Chicagotastic.  Lou Malnati’s was closed so we had Pizzeria Due, a place owned by a Texan.  Yeeehawful!

There were two take-one-for-the-team foodie dinners in between:  Publican and Avenues.  The latter gave me fully caffeinated coffee and molecular gastrointestinal issues.  Having made the Chicago trek to eat at Alinea, I’m sure it will sadden Dan that there will be no more in-womb exposure to foodie chemicals for Wiggles.  (As he feeds me sodium alginate in my sleep) 😉

Da Shopping: Dan and I did a quick stint on the Magnificent Mile, making our mandatory pilgrimage to H&M.  The Saturday shopping crowds were too much for us, so we hightailed it back to the hotel after only an hour.

Da Sites:

  • Friday was spent being a backseat observer to one of Dan and Dadshteyn’s random roadtrips where they seek out funky food, old school record shops and ghettos.  They love them some hood.   Thankfully, they didn’t venture to the infamous Chicago South Side, but I’m pretty sure that was only because I was there.  As a reminder, I’d occasionally shout “Precious cargo back here!”   We  spent the day cruising various immigrant communities (Ukrainian, Polish, Italian, Vietnamese), which turned out to be pretty cool.  I saw parts of Chicago I never would’ve ventured to without the daring duo.  In between Eastern Europe and Asia, we toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s house.
  • On Saturday, Dan and I hit the Art Institute of Chicago having no idea what to expect.  I feared it would be all contemporary art.  I hate contemporary art.  I joke that you can stick a coke can in the middle of the room, call it “Existence” and bam – it’s modern art museum worthy.  We were completely blown away by their collection, ranging from Egyptian antiquities to Lichtenstein.  I did have one contemporary art moment.  I watched this guy intently read a wall describing the artist’s process and inspiration.  He turned turned into the exhibit,  rolled his eyes and walked out.  I rounded the corner and started laughing when I saw what I call “Vivacity”:

It was a fun weekend, just what the doctor ordered for getting my mind off work and gastroplague worries. I look forward to taking Wiggles there one day. On a previous visit, I loved the Fairy Castle exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. It would be so much fun to see her reaction to the detailed dollhouses.

But just watch. I can see it now… I’ll offer up the dollhouse and she’ll say “Scwew that, mommy. I want mowecuwar gastwonomy. Take me to Awinea!”

That Was Fun!

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

After a crappy work week, I was stoked when Dan suggested Mexican food on Friday night.  (“Mexican food” is Texan for “yummy goodness with margaritas”).

Two frozen sangria margaritas and the Del Rio plate later, I was a very happy camper.  Sloshy happy.  I don’t think we were home 30 minutes before we passed out on the couch.  We finally dragged upstairs when it occurred to me.  Oh shit. We had to get up at 7:30am!  For a child’s 10:30ambirthday party! In AUSTIN!  I downed a glass of water, crossed my fingers and hit the pillow.

That 7:30 alarm was painful.  I dragged my butt though getting ready and packing.  By 8:30, we were on the road with an important pit stop at Starbucks.  I ordered a Grande Soy Extra Coffee Caramel Frappucino with an extra shot of espresso.  Now when the Barista hesitatingly asks “Did you say you want an extra shot in your extra coffee Frappucino…” that’s a sign you’ve made a huge mistake.  Baristas spend their days hopped on coffee.  When one calls you out, they might as well stamp your drink with a big red A for addict.  Still feeling the alcohol aftermath, I told him to proceed with reckless caffeination.

I took a sip expecting the typical, sweet, milkshake-like pick-me-up.  Instead, I was hit with a java jolt that promptly removed all tequila traces.  Starbucks should market this medical miracle.  Think of how much money they’d make off Soberccinos!

We made record time to Austin, arriving respectably tardy for our nephew’s 5th birthday party.  I say “our nephew,” but it’s still surreal to call him that.  I’m used to him being Dan’s nephew… but it’s cute being called “Aunt Tehwuh”  again.  My 10 year old niece and 12 nephew have been able to pronounce their “Rs” for quite awhile now.  🙂  The best part was when I spotted the birthday boy’s 3 year old sister sitting inside a netted in bounce house.  When I called out her name, her eyes widened and she flashed the biggest surprised smile.  She came hopping over to us, so we couldn’t just leave her there.  We jumped inside the bounce house and jumped with her.  Dan and I represented our mad Pump It Up skills.  We played hoops and ran through the obstacle course like champs.   We totally need to change our names to Hanz and Franz.

After the party, we headed for our hotel.  I noticed so many highway signs alerting us to watch out for motorcyclists that I said something to Dan.  He surmised that the warmer weather meant more motorcycles would hit the road.  Mkay – fair enough.

Then we reached Downtown Austin.   We were greeted by an abnormally high ratio of leather-skinned, butt short-clad grandmas straddling bikes driven by chain-smoking, off-duty mall Santas.   We’d done it again.  We’d happened upon another major Austin event.  Last time, it was Relay Weekend.  This time?   The Republic of Texas Biker Rally.   Between flag-drapped World Cup spectators and the bikers, it made for some awesome people watching.

Later that night, we met up with 5 friends we typically only see on holidays, when they visit family in Houston.   Good times were had over Mexonesian food and beverages.

We got home this afternoon with some time to spare for Sunday grocery shopping, green drink making and house cleaning.

Now it’s 10:00pm, and tomorrow is Monday.

I had a great time this weekend, but I could use an extra day to catch up.

Come on, freakish climate gods, Tara needs a snow day!

Spring! Bounce! Collapse.

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

As soon as the clock stuck 5:00pm on Friday, my weekend choc full ‘o activity sprang into action.

I hauled butt home and packed my overnight bag within 10 minutes.  By 5:45pm, Dan and I were Austin-bound.  We arrived to find our hotel packed with young, scantily clad kids and several candy-painted cars with massive wheels.  It turns out it was Texas Relay Weekend, an annual Austin track and field event that draws high school and college athletes.  It’s a huge party weekend.  We soon discovered just how huge of a party when the bass from a concert 25 floors down and across the street thudded past midnight.  We somehow managed to sleep through it.

We awoke bright-eyed, bushy tailed and in prime party shape for our flower girl’s park-side fourth birthday bash.   There was just one problem:  the birthday girl did not like being the center of attention and proclaimed she would stay three.  The happy birthday serenade and candle blowout? Forgetaboutit.  However, she did muster enough inner strength to attack her gifts like a champ.

She’s definitely my kind of girlie girl.  She refuses to wear pants; she’s a dress only kind of gal.   When I emailed flower girl dress options to her mom, the pint-sized princess made the call:

Her mother’s had to return shoes that didn’t meet the mini-fashionista’s standards.  This is the same athletic, anti-girlie mother who, when expecting, made it clear that pink, stereotypical clothing and gifts were verboten.  So, of course, her daughter’s favorite color is pink.   It’s how the world works.  Daughters and mothers are supposed to be polar opposites.  This scares the crap outta me.  I foresee having a tomboy daughter who listens to classical music and espouses vegan principals at three.  Maybe flower girl’s mom will trade….

The birthday girl gave our gift a thumbs up: two dresses, a Strawberry Shortcake dance-along DVD and a bath time Cinderella doll.  Cha-ching!  By 3:00pm, Dan and I were Houston-bound for an evening birthday party.  A quick stop at Sonic for a Cherry Limeade kept me going, but the scenic bluebonnet-strewn highway views lulled me to sleep.  I awoke an hour outside of Houston refreshed and ready to par-tay.

I didn’t know what to expect from Pump It Up.  I thought it was just a bunch of moonwalks/inflated bounce houses.  Instead, it was a  fun-filled smorgasbord of slides and obstacle courses.  With a 35 29 year old birthday girl and all attendees over legal drinking age, the supervising staffer tossed out the rugratcentric safety rules.   He took a liking to Dan, so he showed my daredevil all the cool stunts like slide-surfing.  In return, our guys showed him how to bum-rush the inflatables to create a more slippery slope.  Several of us left winded by the exercitement, so we ended the night refueling on margaritas and Mexican food.  Party attendees dined while wearing mini tiaras.  Good times!

Dan and I dragged our butts outta bed for Easter brunch with my mom.  Luckily, I was alert enough to notice shrimp in my fritatta before taking a bite.  I’m allergic to shellfish.  That could’ve been funsies.  I haven’t really accomplished much since.

Unless you count watching The Family Channel’s Julie Andrews’ marathon.  Maria’s about to sing her list of favorite things.

I’ll add this weekend’s activities to mine.

Rock Steady

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

This past weekend, the hubs, the Marr/ieds and I hit San Francisco for a mini vacation.  I went having done absolutely no pre-planning whatsoever.  I didn’t so much as search for must-see sights let alone look at a map.

That wasn’t such a great idea.  Poor pre-planning on my part meant I didn’t realize how spread apart certain city landmarks are… which meant I didn’t pack the proper layers or footwear.   It also meant that I didn’t discover Alcatraz’s after-dark guided tour sells out weeks in advance.   This oversight turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

I’m a haunted history buff.   A big part of me would love to see a ghost.  But an even bigger part knows I’d pee my pants if I did.  Having taken the day tour, I see Alcatraz as a freaks come out at night kind of place.  And while it could be cool to come mug to mug with Al Capone and giggle over that Geraldo excavation mess, I’d probably run into a bitter whackjob with a serious grudge.

Or worse…


Thursday, February 18th, 2010

It’s been six weeks since the hubs and I returned from our Australian honeymoon, so my “What I Learned Down Under” report is long overdue.

Here’s my Top Ten Things to Know About Australia:

  1. Adding an “ie” or “y” to the end of most words is fundamental.  It increases the chipper factor.  For example, breakfast is essential; brekky is adorable.
  2. Burger King – creepy mascot = Hungry Jacks.  They sell Whoppies.  Okay, they don’t, but they should.
  3. Melatonin and Ambien have nothing on koalas.  Their eucalyptus-induced narcolepsy is contagious.
  4. Said lovable, huggable koalas are highly guarded in zoo settings, making it ridiculously difficult to swipe rescue one.
  5. Dingos eat carrots not babies.  I know, we were shocked, too!
  6. Wallabies will let you touch them for a sugar cone.  Wallabies are the whores of Australian wildlife.
  7. The Blue Mountains are breathtaking. Literally, if you’re phobic about plummeting to your death.
  8. You pay more at their Payless.
  9. Aussies love the Buble.  Almost as much as he loves himself.
  10. It takes a hell of a long time to get there, but it’s worth it.  Just make sure you do so on an A380.  It’s p’yimp.