Thursday, August 13, 2009

West Baden Springs!

And this is Jen doing just that!
This is if you twirl around like a child under the dome

French Lick....the best name for a town, ever - hands down!

They were all holding their noses because the "springs" smell just like rotten eggs from the sulfur, it was pretty smelly - evidently people thought if it smelled bad it would be a good idea to soak in it!

Don't think I'm a vegetarian eating this huge hunk of beef, but was good, and I tried to balance it a little with the asparagus

So we went with Grandma and Grandpa Wilkey to French Lick, Indiana for a few days this week. It was crazy, crazy fun!

French Lick, Indiana was a resort town in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There are sulfer springs located there and all the rich and famous of the day went there to relax and recharge. It is very pretty. There are two hotels, French Lick and West Baden Springs. When the hotel at West Baden was built it was the largest dome roof ever attempted and was not surpassed until the 1960s. The bummer part of the story is that both hotels were closed during the depression and both fell into disrepair.

In the late 1990s they were purchased and renovated at a cost of $500,000,000 - yes that is right, $500 million dollars. They were reopened in 2007. It is seriously gorgeous and seriously expensive. There is also a casino there, and my grammy loves the slots!

We played, shopped, gambled, grandma and I had spa treatments and Nate golfed. We ate out at great restaurants.

Really, really funny story about gambling - I HATE gambling, cause I DO NOT want to lose money. However, for first time gamblers who establish an "account" they give you $20 free gambling money for the slots. So all four of us got $20 "seed" money to gamble with - here is how we all ended:

Grandma - came out with $7
Grandpa - came out with $11
Nate - came out with $13.50
Jen! - came out with $25

Oh yes, I WON! Everyone says I am lucky - really, I do tend to do better than everyone else - a little bit of money usually lasts me longer and most always I break even. I sure wish I were the kind of lucky that won "big" money, but alas, it is not to be!

Everyone else spent all their money, but I chose to buy a Christmas ornament with mine so I have something to remember the trip by!

On our way home we also went to Nashville, IN in Brown County - we had a great lunch at the Nashville House, which was delicious - but I am still working on digesting those fried biscuits! We shopped around a bit but then had to head back to Indy to pick up Hansy from our great friends who kept him for the second time in a month!

At least this time we could help them by watching their dog, Sadie, while they go out of town for a few days.

That really brings us to today. I did a BIG list of errands and things that had to be done today. We were pretty much out of food, had to do banking, print off pics, go to the library, and just some odds and ends.

Just a few more days until Nate starts school back up. On a more serious note, I am not really sure where that leaves me for right now. I guess just trust and take it a day at a time for a while, we will just wait and see what falls in to place.

Lots of love to all! More updates and insights soon!

Laundry is for the birds!

After arriving home at 4:00 am on Friday night/Saturday morning, we slept in until nearly 11:00.

The we had WORK to do!

Grandma and Grandpa were coming in to town on Sunday - had to tidy up/clean and most of all do all the awful laundry! Also wanted to get the pics printed off to share with the g-rents. Nate had tons of lawn work and our flowers were darn-near dead!

We worked our little butts off!

Sunday we went to church and waiting on Grandma and Grandpa to bring Hansy back! We decided home is just not home without the Hansy!

Are we there yet?!?!

Friday was the last day of our adventure. We had intended to leave by 12:00 because we were driving all the way back to Greenwood (about 13 hour drive).

However, when we woke up on Friday we had a few more sites we had intended to see the day prior that we had not gotten to.

We took the subway to Wall Street and the financial district. We took some great pics with "The Bull." We looked at Trinity Church and then walked to see the World Trade Centers site.

Wall Street was fun and it was really cool to see the 9/11 site. It was a more solemn attitude knowing what happened there and remembering the event ourselves. Currently it is just a VERY large construction zone. We took some pics so that years from now if we go back and it looks different we will be able to compare photos.

By the time we made it back to Manhattan it was nearly 3:00, and we had a BIG drive ahead of us.

Obviously, we made it.....although not until nearly 4:00am! I am pretty sure Nate heard me say "Are we there yet?!" about a million times.

Also, to my defense, I offered to drive numerous times, but did exactly 0 minutes of driving for the entire trip. Nate did a great job all around! All the way from the build-up and planning to a flawless execution! Life is ALWAYS an adventure for the two of us!

The best laid plans......

Full day #2 was fantastic, we had different plans for exactly how the day was going to pan out....needless to say, it did not happen exactly that way, however, had it happened how we had initially planned, some things might not have happened the way they did.

Our day included but was not limited to:

Mastering the subway.....haha, as if....well at least we had learned how to use the subway on our 3 weeks in London 2 years ago, otherwise we would have been in a mess!

Taking the subway to the end of the city so we could visit Ellis Island and Liberty Island (where that statue-thing is :) The massive, and I mean MASSIVE amounts of people doing these attractions turned this into a VERY long trip!

We hurried to have lunch in Little Italy, especially since I had spent so much time researching this area and its people for my Senior Thesis Paper! Also enjoyed some "real" gelato, which much to my disappointment was pretty much EXACTLY the same as Ice Cream...haha, figures.

Bought tickets to a Broadway show.......really, REALLY long story involving wanting a particular show, which sold out literally about 3 minutes before we got to the booth to purchase them (after about an hour of waiting) and nearly involved some tears on my part!!! Long story short, perhaps Nate was wondering why he was still married to me at this point...quite ironic since this was our "anniversary" vacation. I think sometimes traveling with me must be like traveling with a child. When I am in a good mood it is fun, when I am hungry I am crabby, when I am mad or tired or have a pain of some kind, it usually involves whining and a high probability of tears......haha, it is pretty funny as I tell it now, not so funny as we were experiencing it last week.

Took the subway to see Grand Central Station, at 5:30 - never could I have even imagined there were that many people in the world, let alone in Grand Central Station in NYC at 5:30 - it was a "sea" of people........we got on a staircase so we could view it and not be part of it for a minute, and it was a little but unreal - really put some perspective into things.

Came back, to the hotel to freshen up a little bit - changed clothes and off again, this time to Carnegie Deli for a sandwich..... haha, calling that thing a sandwich was hilarious! It was a $23.00 sandwich and we had to pay $3.00 to share it, but it was well-worth it. This "sandwich" was a Reuben sandwich. A "normal" Reuben is 2 slices of rye bread, corned beef, swiss, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing.....this sandwich was one piece of bread then about 2 lbs of corned beef, sauerkraut, melted cheese, and thousand island dressing. Never, ever have Nate and I shared a sandwich and neither of us been able to finish. Some of you who know and love Nate and his appetite may find this especially surprising.

Went to see Chicago on Broadway. We sensed the irony a little bit in seeing the show "Chicago" in New York City. It was really good, one hilarious thing is that we were really thirsty during intermission and got a bottle of water, it was $4........yes, $4 for a bottle of water which in Indiana would be $1, even less if you purchased it yourself, probably $0.25. Oh well, we were thirsty and needless to say we drank the whole thing. Nate reminded me several times that each drink was probably $0.50.

I had one more thing I HAD to do before we left NYC. Well, really eat....or rather, drink. There is a restaurant called Serendipity 3 that has a famous thing called a "Frozen Hot Chocolate." It is also the same restaurant that on its menu features a sundae that is $1,000.....yes, $1,000 for ice cream. I saw on TV once that it is very "special" vanilla ice cream with edible gold, but still! We went there intending to drink only 1 and share it - it was about $9 - so we thought sharing it was reasonable. When we got there we were informed that the restaurant has an $8.50 minimum per person...hmmmm...never been to a place that had a minimum per charge person, so we each got one, and finished the whole thing! Granted, it was over $20 for dessert at midnight after tip, but a great experience.

We were glad to be back in our hotel room safely after walking down the street where our hotel an earlier post I told you why, but it was all good!

New York - Full Day #1

We got up the following morning and had breakfast at McDonald's, but not just any McDonald's, the Times Square was the same, but it was really lit-up!

We then proceeded to walk about 1,000 miles. Well, not really, but we walked FAR.

We walked through Times Square and played at the giant M&M's store. We saw Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. We looked around the NBC store. We began checking out 5th Avenue and made our way to the New York Public Library.

We went to the Empire State Building and we went up to the observation deck. It was REALLY awesome....expensive, but a GREAT view of the city. There were about a bajillion people. We waited about an hour to go up to the top. Had a great time.

Came down and got Papaya Dog for lunch. Cheap lunch, however, we decided that we prefer Chicago style hot-dogs to New York City hot-dogs. Also, I really didn't like how the entire city seems to eat while walking. I am not coordinated at all enough to pull this off. We found a building ledge to sit on and eat, but only for a few minutes, then off of the run again.

We walked up 5th Avenue and went to Tiffany & Co. The original, REAL Tiffany & Co! We rested and relaxed a little bit on a seat in Saks 5th Ave. We went towards Central Park and played for a while in the Apple Store and FAO Schrwartz.

Really, for being two 23-year old adults with no children present, we probably played with all of the toys longer than we should have at FAO Schwartz. But it was REALLY fun. We walked up and around the south end of Central Park and saw The Plaza.

At this point we were hot, sweaty, tired and hungry. I was getting kind of witchy and complainy, so we decided we should eat. We had one more Chicago vs. New York comparison to make......yep, you guessed it, PIZZA!!!!!

We went to John's Pizzeria in Times Square, which was about 16 blocks from where we were. I almost made Nate carry me several times, but it turned out to be well worth it.

The pizza was pretty spectacular. I think that we decided it we absolutely HAD to choose, we like Chicago style a little bit better. Part of that is due to the fact that we are mid-westerners, after all. We had to give allegiance where allegiance is due!

We also decided that Pizza Hut trying to do either of these pizzas justice is CRAZY, no contest at all...........

We went back to the hotel and looked up a place to try "authentic New York cheesecake" and had a slice of it from a place called Junior's - which had really good reviews and was within walking distance, turned out to be pretty disappointing. It was OK, but we have had better cheesecake a LOT of other places.

Wow, big day, fun, but rest assured we slept really well that night!

The trip through the Lincoln Tunnel and the hunt for Pinkberry

So to continue the story where we left off yesterday - after a rough Tuesday and some mishaps, we were a bit tired. Only at that point did Nate let me know where our final destination was.....NEW YORK CITY, BABY!! The Big Apple!!!

It was about an hour drive to NYC from Philly and we got to travel through the Lincoln Tunnel (for those of you who are "Elf" fans, you will know why I laughed a bit) to our hotel just a few blocks from Times Square. For those of you who say there are no modern day miracles, you must not know about hotel was nice and a great location for a REALLY reasonable price! However, that being said it was on a kind of dark-ish street right next to a series of porn shops, the parole office, and a couple of liquor stores - fine during the day, a bit scary at night.

We found the hotel quickly, but missed the parking garage the first time around. We went around the block (but really probably a few blocks) and somewhere along the line I saw a Pinkberry. (I have heard a lot about Pinkberry, it is frozen yogurt with fruit, I thought everyone had heard of it.....turns out I am wrong...which makes this story all the more hilarious).

When we arrived at the hotel we wanted to go out and look around. I also remarked we should get dessert at Pinkberry....hahaha, little did I know that this was quite a large statement.

First of all, I had definitely seen the Pinkberry, but I didn't remember exactly where I had seen it. Second of all, I generally have VERY good sense of direction, little did I know, however, that my good sense of direction is completely ruined when I see lots of pretty lights, turns out the two things negate each other. And by the way, Times Square has A LOT of pretty lights and things to look at.

We literally walked around for about an hour, maybe a little bit more. By this point, we are tired, our feet hurt, and I was getting pretty p/o'd that I couldn't find the Pinkberry.

Nate suggested that perhaps the Pinkberry was a figment of my imagination, and maybe we should just give up. Let me tell you, this only strengthened my resolve. Eventually we did find the Pinkberry!

Nate was probably a bit less than pleased when it was almost $6.00 for a small and thought it wasn't really anything that special to begin with. I thought it was pretty fantastic and was glad to have it...perhaps not worth all the trouble, but once I couldn't find it, it was more of a challenge to myself anyway!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The day of some bad ju-ju

Nate is the tiny figure at the top in the blue shirt doing the "Rocky" arm-thing - you may want to get a magnifying glass out, but it was pretty funny!

We stayed overnight in Denver, PA - which is in Amish Country in Lancaster County, PA - for those of you who know and love Middlebury, you will know why this is funny......also I am pretty sure at some point I told Nate that my dream vacation was in Amish Country, completely sarcastically!

However, we must back the story up just a little bit - on our drive into PA on Sunday, the car started shaking and vibrating violently when we were braking on the 8% grades through the hills. We were a bit worried and thought we should probably have it checked out.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning while in Denver, we had the car looked at. It could have been much worse, but we did require new brake pads and rotors for the car - $244 and two hours later than we had intended to leave, we were on our way, but feeling pretty good about the brakes.

We made our way to Philadelphia, PA! Things continued to go amiss when we parked and payed for 20 minutes on a meter, then came back 28 minutes later to find a $36 parking ticket (well $38.50 after paying it online with a credit card.....) A little bit frusterating to say the least.

However, the day got a lot better. We enjoyed Colonial history as well as movie sites from National Treasure....and it was really great. We saw and toured Independence Hall, saw the Liberty Bell, went through a museum and saw the site where Ben Franklin's house was, and enjoyed a really cool dinner at a tavern-type place that was still like it was in the 18th century - really fun, but really expensive - in the end worth it!

Nate also finished up our time in Philly by running up the "Rocky" stairs, what I thought was the end to a fantastic day - oh boy, I WAS WRONG........

Stop 2 - Hershey, PA

We made a short stop in Hershey, PA on Monday afternoon on our way to yet another destination.

Our big "thing" that we did here was enjoy a sampling of chocolates from around the world, it was so good, but so rich - yummmmmm, chocolate shots!

Anniversary Extravaganza of Mystery!!!!!!!!

Us in Gettysburg, on the battlefield where they put a monument near where "Pickett's Charge" occured nearly 150 years ago!

So many of you know that Nathan plans trips or surprises sometimes for us, or probably more me - and I LOVE it!

We are getting ready to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary, but also kind of a "send-off" to summers since Nate is in Med School and there really aren't any more summers - Since we sold Nate's beloved car, Violet, we had some money at our discretion, could we have spent it in other ways, yes.....could we have had more fun if we had spent it in other ways - NO WAY!!!!

The fun all started weeks ago with the lead-up to the mystery.....some clues were left around and I was told a general idea of what to pack - however, that being said, the clues are usually VERY misleading - for instance, one clue was that we were "going to a different time zone" - to me that meant that we were not going to be in the time zone "eastern standard" so I assumed we would be going west - instead we went east and the clue actually meant "Times Square" in NYC - EAST!!!!!!

On Friday July 31st we drove up north and had an evening of fun with my "baby brother" and took him to see Harry Potter, yes, that was our third time seeing Harry Potter in the theater, and yes, even for us that is WAY too many times in the theater.....but Mike really wanted to see it, so it was good!

Saturday we had Nate's mom's family reunion, it was good to see everyone, we also got to see Mikey and Tosha and our little Godson Wyatt, who is getting really big! We also got to see the Reimer family and catch up with them and their four girls!

Sunday we were up and left at 6:00am - early, early, early!!! We made our way to GETTYSBURG, PA!!! I am a huge history buff and Lincoln is pretty much my favorite, ever, so we enjoyed the town - we spent the night there and went to the museum and battlefield the next day.

Sometimes technology makes me mad, and even more mad when I can't figure it out by myself...

Nate told me I needed to explain the title of this blog, it is just because I nearly threw a hissy-fit when I couldn't figure out the pictures for the previous blog - I just gave up, but only after some yelling, some vein bulging, and Nate telling me to cool it....hahaha

This is Hansy in the kiddie pool, not so happy!

These are a few of my gifts

This is the "love basket" of gifts for Nate

It's About Time!!!!

Wow, so after a LONG time, I am finally back on this wonderful blog! We have had a VERY eventful few weeks. Since the last blog we have enjoyed some fun both in Greenwood and out exploring the world! To begin with we had some fun in the days leading up to our Anniversary Extravaganza of Mystery (well mystery for me!)

Nate and I are just getting ready to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary (and yes, saying that makes me feel old!) I know we got married at 19, quite young, but even so - 4 years is quite a while! I don't feel like we are any older, but everyone else just seems to be getting younger than us - or kids we know are just getting old! Haha! I suppose that is the way of life and we should just get used to it already!

For our anniversary I planned a "love basket" for Nate -

There were 8 gifts and they were as follows
1.) Polar Ice gum and Post-It notes
2.) Lime juice concentrate
3.) Jim Gaffigan CD
4.) Corvette hot-wheel car
5.) Another Jim Gaffigan CD
6.) Nerf football
7.) Scrat and Scratte toys from Ice Age
8.) A book I made called "Goodnight Hans"

Nathan brought the "love bag" of our early romance back out of hibernation and filled it with:

Play Dough
A stuffed Koala I lovingly named "Hank" and Hansy instantly wanted
A beautiful pair of "Tiffany" black Onyx earrings - yes, Nathan went to Tiffany by himself, and yes I was EXTREMELY impressed!!

And last, but surely not least - a kiddie pool for Hansy and me!!!!

As you must be imagining, most of these gifts mean nothing or close to nothing for most people, but for both of us it brought back a lot of awesome memories and fun of our time together - I sure do love that boy!