Sooner or later, everyone goes to the zoo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Friday night lights

One of our neighbors works in ticket sales for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he helped us out with tickets to the Bucs' preseason game against the Titans last Friday night. The only catch was Eric couldn't be too boisterous in his cheering for Tennessee. He gave us four tickets which meant we had to find people to go with us. We ended up inviting a guy that I met at a recent Wharton alumni happy hour here in Tampa and his partner and they were happy to join us.

Let me set the scene:
Most people probably know this but it turns out Buccaneers are Pirates! (Not those things the girl has to get for her date to the Homecoming dance.) The free Bucs schedule calendars that they handed out said Cannons Will Fire and it was true - they did. Eric was so startled he spilled some of his beer on his shoe.

Getting out of the house is not easy and we did not manage to pre-eat before rushing over to the stadium, so at the first break I went off in search of food. Our companions did a poor job of masking their horror but were good sports about accompanying me in search of reasonable, vegetarian sustenance.

I was trying to decide between a dinner of nachos, a soft pretzel or a Pizza Hut personal cheese pizza when one of them suggested we push on to the next set of food options, just to see. As it turned out, and I am not sure if he knew this or just got lucky, this was the vegetarian haven. I ordered a Sloppy Jane, a vegan sloppy joe made with tempeh, and a black bean burger. Eric would get to choose which one he wanted and I would eat the other. I also got two large beers to wash them down.

The presentation of the Sloppy Jane can be summed up in five short words: "cat vomit on a bun." This sandwich could double as a test of how imaginative you are. Anyone with any imagination at all would be incapable of raising it to their lips.

The black bean burger was dressed up pretty nicely with lettuce, onion, tomato and condiments and did not look at all disgusting. I believe Eric enjoyed it.

I went through a lot of my beer forcing down the Sloppy Garfield.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sunset over our pond

While we were out celebrating my birthday our babysitter captured this sunset over our pond. This is the view from our pool and hot tub. This is definitely on the list of Florida goodness.

This same babysitter, who I like a lot, told me today: "I always thought I wanted to have children close together like this but taking care of these two at these ages is really challenging! It makes me think I might time things differently with my own kids."

Well, at least she still wants to have children.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Year of Sweetness

Eric took me out to celebrate my 34th year on Sunday. It was all top secret until the very last moment and I enjoyed the anticipation.

First stop was a cozy hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant with a fake brick wall painted up to about waist-high on the interior walls. The food was delicious and the house wine may as well have been coming out of a hose (in a good way).

Next stop was...the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. I'm not kidding. We've passed this place on the highway and always wondered about it. Now we know what is going on in there: lots and lots of gambling. It was the most crowded casino I have ever been to, and this was 7pm on a Sunday evening. A Ghostbusters slot machine game experience caught my eye and after finding an open one (it was popular!) I sat down, put in $20 and pressed some buttons. I got down to about $15 and then I won big: $12.85! I know when to cash out. I took my $7.85 and we high-tailed it back to the car.

The next stop was a super-sketchy drive-in movie theatre. Neither Eric nor I had ever been to a drive-in and it was something we have both wanted to do. In the era of home theatre systems and generally really large televisions, you can imagine what market segment remains interested in drive-ins: us and really scary people in pick-up trucks. Unphased by our viewing companions (our car doors lock, after all) we reclined our chairs, tuned in the radio signal for sound, dug into some brownie bites and shared red wine out of a white plastic coffee mug. It was divine. It was a double feature but after Dark Knight Rises we had had enough and headed home to relieve the babysitter and get some sleep.

When I turned 33 a lot of people told me it was my "Jesus year" I guess because that is the year that Jesus died and then came back, etc. Turning 34, I have decided that this is my Walter Payton year. In honor of his nickname I am declaring this a year of "sweetness."
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Friday, August 10, 2012

A year in Florida

August 1 marked our first year in Florida. As Emerson says a lot these days: "Oh gosh!" (read: oh garsh!)

While a part of me welcomed the adventure of moving to a place as random as Florida, it has been no secret that I have struggled this past year to make Florida feel like home, or even a place that could one day feel like home.

I appreciate Florida a lot more now than I did a year ago. Having a wonderful home, albeit still largely unfurnished, helps a lot, especially since with the two little ones there are many days we don't even make it out of the house. But we swim in the pool, play tee ball in the yard, run laps around the house and play with water on the patio so we don't feel too cooped up. This is all Florida goodness.

While it is a lot better, there are still ways that life in Florida is not totally figured out. My professional identity is kind of homeless here and while I have moments of confidence that a fulfilling career is still within reach (without always traveling to work), I also spend more time than I would like to admit trying to remember that thing I was just going to tell you. It was really interesting. Just give me a minute.

And I am still waiting to make my first real friend here. Not for lack of trying. It seems I am too weird for some and not weird enough for others. But these things take time. More than a year, apparently.

I don't hate Florida. But I don't love it (yet?).

Let's give it another year. 

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

A few recent good ones

Here are a few of my favorite recent Emerson-isms. We are at the age where everything we say comes right back to us. For example, Emerson is now often heard saying: "Does that sound like fun to you?"

I don't know if I've been speaking in British lately but Emerson has started inserting "rather" in a very proper way. Would you like some yogurt Emerson? "Yes, I'd rather like that." I think he has thrown in "quite" here and there as well. Maybe Emerson is seeing too much of the Olympics with Eric while I am not around.

Just today I overheard Eric saying to Emerson: "Your brother is not a pinata," after Emerson said that perhaps he could hit his brother with a stick and candy would come out.

And finally my favorite one: in just the last few days Emerson has pretty much potty trained himself. He decided he was done with diapers and has been using the potty for all of his business with only a couple accidents. How great! So the other evening he is on the potty and we are expecting the evening poo but it hasn't arrived yet. I am reluctant to take him up for bath until he has pooed, and I think he can tell that I am wanting things to move along. He says to me:

"Mom. Put your hand on my head and push down really hard. Then that will make the poo come out!"

I laugh and, to be a sport, put my hand on his head and give it little gentle pressure.

"No!" he says. "Like this!" and puts his hands on top of mine, pushes down really hard and grunts.

It didn't work, but we did have a good laugh.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The hipster cure

In my ongoing quest to meet interesting people and do interesting things, we accepted a dinner invitation from a gay couple, one member of which I met at a Wharton alumni happy hour a few weeks ago. He suggested a spot for dinner that I had not heard of and it turned out to be a fabulous funky hipster type place with organic hamburgers and a band where the lead singer also played a washboard with her really long fingernails.

The dinner was made especially entertaining by the fact that Eric and I were both teetering on the edge of what turned out to be just moderate food poisoning, but we didn't know that at the time. As we were standing waiting for our dates to arrive, we both confessed to having eaten week-old Mexican left-overs for lunch and experiencing waves of nausea all afternoon, and then agreed that we would try to stick it out but we would warn them that there was a chance of abrupt departure. As it turned out, a beer and a polenta with buffalo mozzarella and tomato pepper relish appetizer was all we needed and we even managed to stay up long enough to have a drink on the patio with the steam-punk statue figure things that were all over, one of which appears to be waiting tables in the photo above.

I have not yet made a final ruling on if there are enough interesting people in Tampa to make it worth living here, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Where's that playground

We spent the better portion of this past week in Lancaster, PA visiting Muz (my grandmother) and my aunts Barbara and Penney. The kids had a great time exploring Muz's house, enjoying the hotel, and seeing new scenery from their carseats, but it was a deviation from our normal schedule of spending many hours per day at playgrounds around house.

The third morning in PA as we were turning into Muz's neighborhood, Emerson says from the back seat:

"I'm just trying to figure out how to get to the playground."

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