Down With The Sickness

So I’m down with the sickness. ūüė¶ It’s not fun. I took nyquil last night around 7PM and I’m pretty sure it kicked in at 6:30AM this morning. Don’t get me wrong, ¬†I slept for 9 hours and 50 minutes last night (according to my fitbit. Ah such a great thing!!!), but yeah. I was dying at work this morning. I’m hoping the worst of it is over!

You gotta put the past behind you! ¬†So says my favorite movie. ¬†Which, yes, also came up at work today. You know you’re in a good place when you can have a legitimate ranking board of Disney movies at 6AM. ¬†What more can you really want from life? ¬†Except maybe to be still sleeping at 6AM. Details.

Anyway. Sleep is beckoning. Hopefully this cold will kick it tonight. But it was the end of the month. Go OCD! ‘Til February, fellow blog readers!

Hakuna Matata (yes, The Lion King was a unanimous #1)!

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Silver Things

I love my birthday. ¬†Birthdays in general, actually. ¬†But I especially love mine. ¬†My first birthday was spent in Disney World. ¬†Maybe that’s part of the reason why I feel the need to return time and again. ¬†A pilgrimage of sorts. ¬†I’ve had a myriad of birthday parties and the like. ¬†Bowling was a recurring one when I was still in those single digits. ¬†There was a year that an amusement park was opened just for us (my brother and I share birthdays in the same week) because my dad was buddies with the owner. ¬†I’m not a huge party person, though. ¬†As I got older, the more I realized the large groups of people was not my style. ¬†So it became sleepovers and dinner at Gino’s (my favorite restaurant) and a hike or trip to Great Adventure ¬†or carving pumpkins with my closer friends.

Instead of a Sweet 16 party that probably costs more than some people’s weddings the way some people throw¬†these festivities, I went to Disney World with my family. ¬†Way better than a night of getting dressed up and dancing and being with a lot of people who you really don’t get to spend time with. ¬†To me at least. ¬†People like different things and that’s good for them. ¬†I like spending time with me and my close people. ¬†And even that has to be controlled. ¬†I am close to a lot of people. ¬†I never thought I’d say that, but I am. ¬†I have a LOT of close friends who I would literally do anything for and who would reciprocate that. ¬†But I still don’t won’t to spend time with all of those people I love and care about all at once. ¬†If I ever get married, that’s going to be a struggle! ¬†Anyway.

When I turned 20, I was living in Germany and my boyfriend at the time came to visit me for the weekend. ¬†He got there on my birthday and we did touristy things in Munich before heading to Austria to go skiing on a glacier. ¬†I like to go all out for my birthdays! ¬†The very idea of being by myself on my birthday was outrageous to me. ¬†I couldn’t be alone! ¬†That would be more than depressing. ¬†But merely five years later, I almost welcomed the idea. ¬†At first, I was disappointed when I found out I had to work on my birthday. ¬†I haven’t had to work or go to school on my birthday in six years! ¬†And that meant I couldn’t go to the Big Island with my parents as originally planned. ¬†But I ended up making the most out of the day.

After work, I rented a jeep and set off for Aulani, A Disney Resort (I swear, they don’t pay me to advertise). ¬†I thoroughly enjoyed their hydro garden I had access to at the spa prior to my massage (this experience deserves it’s own post: I promise you it’s worth it though if I don’t get to writing about it in more detail), and then I had dinner at their fancy restaurant on the water. ¬†A table set for one. ¬†I’m pretty sure my waiter felt sorry for me (or maybe he didn’t care at all, but he seemed confused nevertheless). ¬†I was once in those shoes. ¬†I distinctly recall a woman who ate at Gino’s every week on her own. ¬†I know this because I too ate at Gino’s every week back in the day with my mom or a friend or anyone really. ¬†Sometimes multiple times in a week! ¬†I used to feel bad for her. ¬†She was older and usually¬†had a book. ¬†I thought of her often when I was going to meet people at a restaurant and I was the first person there and the like. ¬†It was uncomfortable being there alone for 5 minutes, let alone a whole meal.

As I traipsed through Europe and jet-setted throughout the US on my own, I avoided dining out alone. ¬†Take out and microwaveable options were my go to choices. ¬†Food carts weren’t too bad either. ¬†But eating a meal by myself in a restaurant¬†was the awkward experience. ¬†It’s crazy how much my thoughts on this have changed. ¬†Much like traveling by myself is one of my more looked forward to adventures now, eating dinner in public by myself is no longer an issue. ¬†While it’s still not at the top of my list of things to do, I don’t really care anymore if I want to try their food or simply miss eating somewhere. ¬†I find it remarkable how much a few years can change perception.

Cabin Fever

Happy New Year! ¬†I’ve been thinking about this blog and the posts I’ve been meaning to share and publish and all that jazz, so here I am. ¬†While I did intend for two other posts to be added prior to this one, I was feeling more in the mood to share these thoughts with you (it’s slightly more current than the other ones I’ve been intending to share).

As some of you may know, I recently graduated (another promised post that really is coming soon!!!) from uni – almost three weeks ago actually. ¬†Since then, I have had to take care of the final tidbits to start my new job; tie up loose ends with my school, old jobs, and former residence; move to another part of the country; Christmas; a ski trip with friends from high school; and the new year! ¬†Whew. ¬†It’s been a crazy three weeks. ¬†And yet, it hasn’t. ¬† While the week before Christmas involved moving and the week after involved lots of skiing and catching up with friends, this week has been rather uneventful. ¬†

I have nowhere to be, nothing to do, no one to answer to, and it’s been nice? ¬†I add the question because I’m really not sure. ¬†I am a doer. ¬†I don’t like sitting around twiddling my thumbs and not having any obligations. ¬† But the past few months have been extremely demanding and eventful that it has been somewhat of a relief to be able to “relax.” ¬†Relaxing in my vocabulary, however, is something very different than most people’s definitions I’ve discovered. ¬†Relaxing to me is a day at Disney, diving, skiing, volunteering to clean up a park, reading a good book, watching marathons of a favorite TV show. ¬†Granted, the latter two most people would agree with, but there’s only so long you can do those things. ¬†I haven’t found a limit on the Disney, diving, and skiing options yet. ¬†

Since this year has started, I have enjoyed lazing about my house as the sub freezing temperatures and winds threaten the outdoors. ¬†I read, I eat, I sleep, I watch Scandal, I sleep, I eat, I read, I play with the dogs, I sleep, I read, I eat, I watch more Scandal, I sleep, I go for pizza, I read, I go to bed, and then I do it all over again. ¬†Sure, there’s a few other errands thrown in there, but more or less, that’s what I’ve done the past three days. ¬†It’s been nice. ¬†But now I’ve gone mad doing it over and over again. ¬†I’m done. ¬†I am a doer. ¬†I need to be doing things. ¬†I think about some of my friends or their friends or other people who don’t have jobs, don’t have school, don’t have obligations and I can’t help but wonder what the heck these people do all day. ¬†There’s just only so long you can sit in front of a computer or read a book or watch TV before your eyes get tired. ¬†There’s only so much you can sleep and just sit around!

Or maybe that’s just me? ¬†I’m not sure, but I’ve got a terrible case of cabin fever. ¬†So I will be busy this week. ¬†I’m going to the gym (running in the snow was not my worst idea, but we’ll probably save that for some other time), I’m going skiing, I’m meeting up with people, maybe see a show, and not sitting around here doing nothing. ¬†Anyone who’s free, please join me! ¬†Heck, we could even go bowling – I know a place we can go for $3 a person so money can’t be your downfall! ¬†Just something. ¬†Something to keep it real. ¬†Let’s just do it. ¬†

Happy New Year, readers! ¬†It’s going to be a good one!

 

Disney Princesses

So I’m probably one of the biggest Disney fans you will ever meet. ¬†I have no problem randomly breaking out into Disney songs or quoting a line from a movie or driving the hour and change to go to Disney for a few minutes. ¬†I’m obsessed. ¬†I love Disney. I do. ¬†I really, really do. ¬†But as I’ve grown older, I can’t help but think of the despicable role models Disney has created for girls and young women (and older women and subsequently how boys perceive the female gender)! ¬†Think about it.¬† I will say they are getting better and as I go through them, you’ll see I run out of reasons to be disgusted, but anyway…

We’ll start with the first Disney Princess, Snow White. ¬†She’s the only woman among seven dudes who does the cooking, cleaning, laundry – the “woman’s work”. ¬†Tell me that’s encouraging girls to become rocket scientists, let alone leave the house to pursue, I don’t know, a career or something. ¬†Then there’s her stepmother, The Queen. ¬†Does she even have a legit name? ¬†I’ve heard Queen Grimhilde, but it’s not mentioned in the movie or in the original tale told by the Grimm Brothers. ¬†Interesting. ¬†But an entirely different subject. ¬†Anyway, you don’t exactly get the warm fuzzies¬†from this lady. ¬†Comforting for those kids whose parents are getting remarried – this is their impression of good, old step-mom. ¬† Then Snow White is kissed by The Prince (spoiler alert! ¬†But come on people, if you didn’t know that, you seriously should not have been allowed to make it this far in life). ¬†Again, do we even know his name?! ¬†Florian comes to mind, but I’m still not sold on the fact that this is mentioned anywhere in the movie…

Moving on we have Cinderella. ¬†Everyone loves Cinderella. ¬†She’s friends with the mice for crying out loud! ¬†She’s seen as being the most famous Disney Princess – her castle is the icon for Disney World, if not the entire Disney franchise. ¬†Once again, she cooks and cleans and is responsible for all the chores. ¬†Charming. ¬†At least this time she among other women, although that’s really not any better. ¬†Again, the villain is the stepmother, but now she has help from her deranged, obnoxious daughters. ¬†Good job with that comfort thing for kids who have parents remarrying! ¬†So Prince Charming rescues Cinderella and they live happily ever after. ¬†Hold up, though, “Charming” is NOT a name! ¬†Charming is a verb. ¬†An action word. ¬†Not a name! ¬†There are arguments that his name is Henry, but I’m pretty sure that came from Ever After, not the original Cinderella (please, correct me if I’m wrong here!!). ¬†So it took Disney 48 years to figure out a proper name for this guy? ¬†Hmf.

Third, we have Aurora. ¬†The hopeless romantic. ¬†She’s sheltered and somewhat dimwitted if you ask me, but she was sent off to live in the woods with three fairies, so can we really expect much from her? ¬†She was betrothed, so while she at least ends up in a respectable family with a decent guy, she’s got no choice in the matter. ¬†Luckily for her, she’d already fallen deeply in love with Prince Phillip – FINALLY! ¬†A guy with a name! ¬†But they did randomly meet in the forest and the whole love at first sight deal is as good as Disney putting up bulletins reading:¬†WANDER THROUGH THE FOREST AND TRUE LOVE WILL FIND YOU! ¬†AND THEN PROTECT YOU FROM DRAGONS! ¬†Another interesting note, the villain is once again female.

Next we have Ariel. She’s tired of being trapped in the ocean and wants to be on land. ¬†Someone may have forgotten to tell her that she’s got about 40% more space under the sea, but details. details. ¬†Probably one of the bravest moves a Disney princess makes to this point, she deals with the, hmmm, FEMALE villain (didn’t see that one coming) so she can go find her man. ¬†At least she sort of knows¬†Eric (yes, I guess Disney realized having Prince and Prince Charming would eventually get confusing if they continued with that trend). ¬†And by know, I mean she’s stalked his ship with his awesome dog. ¬†But again, at least he’s not a completely random stranger. ¬†She has a statue of him and everything. ¬†And who could forget her classic, “Daddy, I love him” revelation. ¬†Encouraging for women at any rate to be independent and resourceful. ¬†Oh wait.

Belle. ¬†Belle is intelligent, loves the idea of adventure, kind, she’s the real deal this Belle. ¬†She even turns down advances from the physically attractive, yet megalomaniac, Gaston. ¬†There’s a woman with power! ¬†She trades her freedom for her father – finally a princess who defies some convention! ¬†She even reads! :O ¬†Belle is probably my favorite Disney Princess. ¬†She’s easy to relate to (alright, I will admit, I haven’t met a beast who’s attempted to imprison my father, but there have been some guys…) and she wants more than the provincial humans she’s surrounded by. ¬†So obviously, I should be happy, right? ¬†A successful role model for women. ¬†But now I’m getting greedy. ¬†Because let’s look at the big picture here. ¬†Gaston is clearly the over privileged brat he was brought up to be, thinking women should bow down before him. ¬†Just listen to the lyrics of the song, Gaston. ¬†Even better, read the lyrics to the less known song “Me” sang by the great and powerful Gaston featured in the musical on Broadway:

You’ve been dreaming, just one dream
Nearly all your life
Hoping, scheming, just one theme:
Will you be a wife?    <РARE THEY SERIOUS?!
Will you be some he-man’s property?
Good news! That he-man’s me! ¬†<– That’s definitely an attractive thought…
This equation, girl plus man
Doesn’t help just you
On occasion, women can
Have their uses too ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† <–Isn’t that sweet?
Mainly to extend the fam’ly tree
Pumpkin, extend with me!    <РFlattering

That’s just the opening. ¬†There’s some dialog in between, but then it goes into this:

I can see that we will share
All that love implies <– Disturbing
We shall be a perfect pair
Rather like my thighs  <Р Gaston is humble too!
You are face to face with destiny!
All roads lead to…
The best things in life are…
All’s well that ends with me!
Escape me? There’s no way ¬†<– Not only creepy, but wow. ¬†Just wow.

Finally, he asks Belle this question, which I can’t get over.

Gaston: So Belle, what would it be? ¬†Is it “yes”, or is it “oh, yes”?
Belle:¬†I…I just don’t deserve you!
Gaston: Who does?  <РLike I said, humble.

Now, I rather happen to like this song. ¬†But the message it sends is horrifying. ¬†But Belle ends up with Prince Adam (yes, this one is mentioned in the movie too!) so I guess that’s some improvement? And the villain, is, dare I even say it: male! Gasp! What is happening here?

Moving right along, we’re introduced to the rebellious Jasmine. Another independent woman who’s tired of the social conventions mandated by the males in her life. She meets Aladdin and even uses her power as the princess to save his thieving hands. Impressive. But then there’s Jafar¬†and his disturbing, domineering ideas. Granted, Iago is his minion so he does get bonus points, but another topic at any rate. Anyway, Jasmine becomes all infatuated with Aladdin once he takes her on a flying rug –¬†let’s get¬†serious here, who wouldn’t be sold on that?! Once she finds out he’s not really a prince, though, she’s pissed. Can someone say gold digger? But she comes to her senses and decides she loves him. Charming. Not the prince though! Anyway, an upgrade on the role model thing, but still not a fan of the whole Jafar imprisonment deal for Jasmine. It’s saying, ladies, this is your place. Thanks Disney!

Next, there’s Pocahontas, the wise, crazy one who talks to trees and jumps off cliffs.¬† She’s one with nature.¬† And then she meets a guy and it all goes downhill from there.¬† She starts lying to her family, she ditches her friends, it’s no good.¬† Then they came out with that second movie and she’s with an entirely different guy.¬† Ignore the fact that it’s loosely based on history.¬† She could be portrayed better!¬† But not much complaint from here.¬†

Now we’re at Mulan.¬† This is the first Disney Princess movie I remember seeing in theatres.¬† Mulan¬†is awesome.¬† She speaks out, she’s not this dainty, perfect lady – she trips and writes on her arms and, well, you get the point.¬† But once again she becomes besotten¬†over some guy.¬† Shang is definitely a hunk.¬† We’re not contesting this at all.¬† But let’s get¬†real – why is it that all the princesses(and that’s another thing – Shang is a general – where does this translate to princess for Mulan?¬† She’s a general’s wife – that’s NOT a princess!¬† Maybe that’s why¬† I can’t find too much wrong with her.¬† Hmmm) end up hopeless and head over heels for these men?¬† This is not a great message, Disney!

For the first time ever, we get a black princess, Tiana!¬† Whoo!¬† Tiana is awesome and well worth the wait as she shows women you have to work hard to get what you want.¬† Go her!¬† And Disney!¬† Her prince, Naveen,¬†is kind of a tool, but he improves over time.¬† Tiana’s friend, though, the spoiled brat – not a fan: “Daddy, Daddy, I want another…”¬† Awesome thing to show girls.¬† But go Tiana and her hard working-ness!¬†

Rapunzel is the penultimate¬†princess.¬† Stolen by this crazy lady, she’s locked away and yada, yada, yada.¬† We all know the story.¬† Rapunzel is simply sheltered in life.¬† She has no concept of the outside world.¬† So then this guy comes along.¬† Awesome.¬† Again with the rescue story¬†by a man.¬† Flynn’s not a bad guy, but it’s that same story.¬† Kind of irritating.¬† Disney!¬† Can we get over the damsels in distress please?!

Some guy – literally, some random guy (so much for stranger danger) –¬†comes and sweeps these girls (yes, girls, Snow White is 14, Cinderella and Tiana are the oldest, ageing in as old maids at 19) off their feet to make everything better. ¬†Pathetic. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the romantic happy ending deal. ¬†But seriously?

Finally, we have Merida.¬† My favorite Disney Princess!¬† AND THE FIRST PRINCESS WHO IS NOT “RESCUED” BY A GUY!¬† She’s rebellious¬†(OK, telling your mom you hate her is SO not a good example to set, but rebellious nonetheless), she does archery (a sport dominated by males!!), and she defies all convention by challenging her parents and age-old¬†traditions of getting married and all.¬† While she’s come a long way from Snow White, she’s still not the greatest of role models.¬† She’s disrespectful (granted, the situation is frustrating, but it’s still not justified to yell at your parents, regardless of your gender!), she embarrasses her suitors (again, admirable in my book given the circumstances, but they didn’t ask for it either, so slightly unwarranted!!), and she runs away.¬† Not all kids can be that safe when they encounter some random shack in the woods!

Coming soon to the Disney Princess collection is Anna from Frozen.¬† We’ll see what she has in store for us, but hopefully it’ll be in the right direction.¬† Disney’s getting there, but they still have a long way to go.

I am… why am I hungry?

Blog world:

I sincerely apologize for the epic failings of my updating this.  In the future, I will try to improve on my shortcomings regarding this matter.

Yours truly,
LT

Nah, who am I kidding?¬† I‚Äôm terrible at this, but I write to make some of it up!!¬† SOOOOOO!!!!!¬† I have been‚Ķ¬† yes, you guessed it: BUSY!¬† I have not stopped since, well, whenever I last posted something.¬† I‚Äôm checking this now because I haven‚Äôt even visited the site in that long! Wow.¬† It‚Äôs been a while.¬† Before my birthday.¬† Craziness.¬† So I‚Äôm just going to dive right into all of my adventures and whatnot and well, hopefully I‚Äôll keep the length to something manageable and you‚Äôll still be able to make it to the end and find everything interesting. ¬†I did start writing stuff from my birthday onto Alaska in mid-November, but I think I will start with January-ish and go from there. ¬†Even that will take some time. ¬†Bare with me… ¬†I’m still working on my Hawaii adventures! ¬†And now from my b-day to January-ish. ¬†It will eventually all get here. ¬†Thanks for sticking with me, readers!

So January: ¬†Two of my awesome friends from the Italy group flew up to New York for a few days to explore the city and then drive back down to Florida with me. ¬†I introduced them to proper NY pizza, we meandered about Central Park, Times Square, Union Square, you know… all the touristy places. ¬†I think the highlight of our trip was seeing The Phantom of the Opera and then going backstage due to some awesome connections with one of the clarinet players from the pit to see the costumes and wigs and the stage and, well, meet the Phantom! ¬†It was awesome. ¬†Plus the evening had started with Junior’s cheesecake – I don’t think you can really go downhill from there anyway! ¬†The drive down to FL was also enjoyable. ¬†It’s always great catching up with people you haven’t physically seen for almost a year and a half!

Then I was back at school. ¬†At first it was nice. ¬†It was good to see everyone from classes and be back at the office and whatnot as I had missed everyone a lot. ¬†Before things got too hectic, we got some Disney trips in and all that, but then I ended up flying back home for a funeral for one of the people in my church. ¬†She was an icon there and an incredibly sweet woman who will be greatly missed. ¬†Being back at school after that was just difficult. ¬†Aside from the summer semester I did, I HATED being back. ¬†Sure, it was nice to be around friends again, but people changed or graduated and being away from work for a year and a half essentially while I interned in Germany and Houston and did the study abroad in New Zealand was hard to get back into. ¬†It didn’t help that I was taking 6 grad level credits and ¬†11 undergrad ones. ¬†Insane. ¬†It was literally torture. ¬†I missed traveling and not having school commitments and just working. ¬†As much as I loved college before I did my internships, being a part of the working world was so much better.

In February we had a three day weekend and I took advantage of that for a trip to San Francisco.

The Golden Gate Bridge

It was an amazing time. ¬†The Golden Gate bridge was actually visible this time (not sure if I ranted on how the other times I’ve been to SFO I’ve not been able to see the bridge, but it will be coming if it hasn’t already!!) so I was thrilled about that too. ¬†I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend in SFO. ¬†I pretty much removed myself from my phone and internet, so it was just nice. ¬†I think it’s necessary to get rid of the technology sometimes so you can have time with the people you really love and care about without all the distractions and all that. ¬†It was a pretty spectacular weekend at any rate.

Then it was back to the grind until Spring Break. ¬†In the meantime, I learned of this program called NUPOC with the Navy. ¬†The more I learned about it, the more interested I became. ¬†Well, come Spring Break, I’m being sent over to D.C. by the Navy for an interview with a four star admiral for acceptance into NUPOC. ¬†There was a technical phone interview and then two in person interviews before meeting with Admiral Donald, but everything went well and well, now I’m in the U.S. Navy! ¬†Once I graduate, I will be off to OCS (Officer Candidate School) and then working to become a SWO (Surface Warfare Officer). ¬†Eventually I will be on an aircraft carrier working with nuclear propulsion. ¬†I’m excited! ¬†And in the meantime, I get paid to be a student and get all the benefits of active duty! ¬†It’s an awesome deal. ¬†If you’re interested, let me know – I can get you some more information!

But anyway, I did also get an awesome few days to explore D.C. ¬†I hadn’t been there for almost a decade so it was pretty sweet to see all the monuments. ¬†It was perfect weather and the same time as the cherry blossoms blooming, so an awesome trip through and through. Then it was back to school until the beginning of May. ¬†Man, this semester tore me down. ¬†It was a nightmare. ¬†More than once I wanted to simply give up and say forget this. ¬†But of course, I stuck through it – didn’t exactly have a choice. ¬†My last final was literally like taking a two ton anvil off of my shoulders. ¬†What a relief it was to turn it in. ¬†I also pulled my first all nighter of the year studying for it. ¬†It was some fun times. ¬†I didn’t go crash like most people would. ¬†Instead, I began (and completed) the moving process thanks to my brother, his girlfriend, and a few friends. ¬†The new apartment is awesome! ¬†No crazy, obnoxious, eight-hundred speed bumps to get to my apartment or the crazy upstairs neighbors who always were partying!

After settling in there, I pretty much wrapped things up in Daytona, went¬†para sailing, and then went off to pick up my mommy in Orlando. ¬†We did a day at Disney and then hit the road to go back to Texas. ¬†I was excited to be driving my car to Houston because having no car there is just not feasible. ¬†It’s wrong. ¬†It’s horrible. ¬†It’s a crime against nature. ¬†I digress, though. ¬†The drive was fine. ¬†Half of it was Florida and then the rest went by pretty fast. ¬†We stopped in New Orleans for lunch the second day, which was also pretty cool – Mom had never been there! Sadly, she had to leave early Monday morning. ¬†After dropping her off, I went to work. ¬†It’s been great being back. ¬†I get to do a lot more now that I know some of the ropes and I feel like I’m treated even more as a full time employee than I was last semester, which is saying a lot! ūüôā ¬†So far I’ve gotten to travel to San Francisco for a department meeting, Chicago for an intern gathering, and Tampa for a project I’m working on. ¬†Another trip to Greensboro is in the works as well. ¬†It’s been awesome!

Aside from the work trips, I went home to New York my first weekend back for some graduation celebrations, singing for a confirmation at my church, and good food! ¬†The following weekend I enjoyed meeting up with my old study abroad group from Italy. ¬†Unfortunately one of the nine of us is no longer with us. ¬†It was devastating to find out and we hadn’t seen each other in way too long. ¬†This deemed some calling in favors and getting the troops together. ¬†We were all able to make it save for one other person as she was doing another study abroad. ¬†We missed her as well as our departed friend, but it was really good to see each other. ¬†The reason behind it was extremely sad, but it reverberated that life is too short. ¬†The Siena group showed me the time of my life – I loved getting to see them all again in Ft. Lauderdale for Memorial Day weekend!

Old Faithful – Yellowstone National Park

The following weekend I ventured out to Idaho Falls and Yellowstone with a slight detour in Jackson Hole before returning to Idaho Falls for my return flight to Houston.  It was awesome РI had a snowball fight in June (in the Northern Hemisphere for all you SH folk that may follow this, it is our summer!!!), saw a brown bear no more than a few hundred feet away from me on the side of the road, and crossed off yet another state on my list!

At some point, I went out to Houston Space Center. ¬†That was neat! ¬†I like Kennedy and the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville better, but this was still pretty cool. ¬†We got to see the training center, so I was happy. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Plus I had dippin dots. ¬†Life is good!

The next weekend was Dad’s birthday, so we got my brother to fly out to meet us all in LA. ¬†We drove around the West Shore for a bit Friday night before the birthday man’s dinner. ¬†The next day we did the tourist thing and checked out Rodeo St., Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Stars, and all that fun stuff. ¬†We drove for hours trying to find a lookout point for the Hollywood sign and failed miserably. ¬†My dad has a friend out there who was in the lead car. ¬†He doesn’t do many touristy things, hence the driving forever. ¬†I had a headache – not so much fun. ūüė¶

The brother left Saturday night to catch a redeye and then me and the parents drove

Along the coast

down the coast to San Diego on Sunday. ¬†Gorgeous views. It was a perfect day. ¬†We ended up checking out the San Diego Zoo as well. ¬†Turns out airline employees get a 50% off discount for two people and military people get in free, so the three of us got three tickets for the price of one essentially. ¬†It was expensive regardless, but cool. ¬†We went on a bus tour since we got there kind of late, but it basically covered the entire main exhibits at the zoo. ¬†After the bus, we took the gondola over to the Polar region, but I was disappointed ¬†– no penguins! ūüė¶ ¬†For a world famous zoo and ranked as one of the must see zoos in the world, I was not impressed. ¬†I actually like the Bronx Zoo better. ¬†But that may just be some bias. ¬†I don’t know. ¬†The Munich Zoo is better the best I’ve been to so far. ¬†My favorite at this point in time.

Next weekend was the trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin! ¬†More fun adventures – I got to cross off two more states off my list, so I only have nine left before I’ve gone to all fifty! ¬†We went to Lake Superior and then drove through Duluth back to Minneapolis where the sun decided to finally come out. ¬†We checked out the Mall of America, of course too. ¬†I didn’t know there was an amusement park inside! ¬†Craziness! ¬†It was another awesome weekend! ¬†I also got to hear from my friend from high school who’s doing a study abroad in China, so that was another pleasant surprise! ¬†The weekend after I was still in Tampa and had to stay into the weekend, so I decided to stay in Florida. ¬†The parents came down so we visited my aunt who lives not too far south of Tampa Friday night, drove around Siesta Key, and all that fun stuff – quality family bonding time. ¬†Then after I finished working on Saturday, we went over to Daytona to visit the brother and his girlfriend who’s birthday was the day prior. ¬†More enjoyable times – saw Brave and had a tasty dinner at Takara’s – a Japanese hibachi restaurant. ¬†Yum! Again, more quality family time.

Whoo – finally up to this weekend! ¬†This weekend I went to Vancouver and drove up to Whistler. ¬†Originally we were trying to go to Victoria, but the ferry cost $82 and we were being cheap. ¬†This was nice too, though. ¬†We did the Sea to Sky Highway and just enjoyed the views. ¬†Even though it was raining, it was gorgeous! ¬†I haven’t uploaded pictures yet, otherwise they would be here too! ¬†Sorry! ¬†Anyway. ¬†I think this should be enough to keep yu faithful readers busy and reassure you that I’m still alive for now! ¬†I will try to post my future travels soon and then go back to my much more detailed and random descriptions of weekend and life in general once I get caught up!

Thanks for reading, y’all! ¬†=]