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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

eye see animals!

our next adventure in dallas was a family outing somewhere super fun:

our visit was well-timed, too.

the bean was out-of-her-mind excited.  she loves zoos and aquariums and all things animal related.  i couldn't even keep up with her as she bounced around from one exhibit to the next.  it was really cute to watch her.  she was mesmerized at the anteater, who wasn't really doing anything but sloshing in the water, pacing from one end to the other.

the icky, humid dallas weather is perfect for a rainforest-style exhibit.  and to add to the stickiness, they had misters going in there.  my hair looked GREAT.  but it was pretty neat in there.

see the giant manatee in the water down there?

hello, toucan sam.

i saw this sign long before i realized that there were two just hanging out right over my head.

we had lunch in the cafe.  i went with the enchiladas...which turned out not to be the greatest choice i could've made.

on our way to see the rest of what there was to see, we saw this guy just kicking it.

and there was some...action going on above our heads.  you get yours, monkeys.  get it good.

i got the heebie-jeebies just at the sight of this sign.  no, thanks.

have you ever seen polka-dotted rays before?  we hadn't either...till now.

below ground, we got to spend some quality time with lots of creatures.

the tunnel with the sharks swimming overhead was a big hit.  i could've sat there and watched them for hours.

this guy apparently felt the same way about us.  he parked himself directly above us and hung out there for a long time.  that face haunts me in my sleep.

i asked him how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, but he just stared at me like i was crazy.

on our way out...

and then as we got back in the car to head back home, something caught our eye.

always watching...always watching.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

deep in the heart of texas

because the hub manages to find clients or colleagues pretty much wherever he goes, we left the girls with the ILs for an evening while we headed off to see a hockey playoff game between the ducks and the stars.  i personally thought it was pretty funny that we'd gone all the way to dallas to watch our local hockey team play, but hey - why not?

we started the evening off with a casual dinner here:

and since i was being on my best behavior and not snapping away at everything in sight, i have no photos of our meal.  we all shared a fresh mozzarella/prosciutto appetizer and a thin-crust pizza - nothing particularly outstanding, but it was delicious and light and perfect.

then it was a short walk across the street to the american airlines-sponsored arena.

while our seats were pretty high up, that was okay with me.  we had a great view from up there, and everyone in attendance got one of these towels:

happy campers.

i damn near jumped out of my skin when the entire crowd yelled out "STARS!" both times during the singing of the national anthem.  i thought i was gonna shit myself.

game time!

i was amused to be rooting for the other team amongst a sea of very rabid dallas stars fans.  like, this guy off to the left brought a homemade stanley cup.  hilarious.

the group we were with hooted and hollered and high-fived each other whenever their team scored a goal, and when one of the guys turned to me with his hand up, i just grinned and waved.  "hey, how you doin'?" i shouted.

he looked really puzzled, with that puppy-dog-side-head-tilt, until someone whispered in his ear:  "they're from l.a."  and then the light bulb went on, and he smiled back and nodded.  yup.

alas, we never got the chance to do any cheering of our own.  the ducks were completely shut out, and when the final seconds ticked away, there was much rejoicing in the arena.

oh well.  it'd been a fun night, anyway.

Monday, April 28, 2014

boston strong

being part of the running community is still a relatively new thing for me, and not something i really ever imagined.  i mean, yeah - i've participated in a good number of races now, and have quite a few more on the calendar in the coming months.  and while i don't love training for half marathons so much (those long runs get boring, especially since my routes are so often the same from week to week), i sucked it up and registered for the costume party run, a half marathon that's part of superhero events' lineup.

now, although i typically say "never say never," the one thing i am pretty positive about is that i will never run a full marathon.  the thought of doing training runs up to 20 miles and beyond…no, thanks.  i don't want to turn something that i'm supposed to enjoy into a chore.

that doesn't mean that i didn't feel super duper inspired by the boston marathon, though.  i watched the live coverage of it online and got major goosebumps watching the winners cross the finish line, and maybe a little teary when it was an american runner who took the top honors for the first time since 1983.  that was really cool to watch.  i'm still never running a full, but i have mad respect for those who do it.

anyway, i'd asked MIL to help me find somewhere to run a virtual 5K i'd signed up for (you pay a fee, run the distance wherever you are, and a medal is mailed to you afterwards) while the marathon was taking place, and she knew exactly where to take me.

there's a paved loop around this park that she and a few buddies walk a few times a week, and each loop is 1.1 miles.  perfect.  and it's a pretty route, with lots of greenery and fountains and wooded areas.

if i'd had any desire to stop and browse, i would've gotten a nice little history lesson, too.

 i finished off my run here, at the veterans' memorial.

and so i wouldn't sweat all over MIL's car seats, i'd brought something to change into.

since the marathon, there have been several reports of people banditing the race.  basically, this means that they ran it without having qualified or paying the registration fees - which is pretty much the equivalent of stealing.  the registration fees cover a lot of things that a lot of people don't think about - not just water stops and finishers medals, but stuff like road closure permits, police support, insurance, timing devices, post-run festivals, donations to the charities supported by the race.  some bandits will go so far as to reproduce bibs to wear so they look like they're legit.  and most of the time they get away with it - i read that there are lots of runners thieves who consider banditing the boston marathon a tradition.  but there are at least four bandits who've had their pictures splashed all over the internet because they all wore the same number.  the woman who that number was assigned to looked up her photos and found the photos - their faces are all clear, and one of the female runners was dumb enough to wear a shirt with her name on it.  idiot.

one of the stories i read last week reported that the founder of foursquare had issued an "apology" for his wife, who ran the marathon with a fake bib.  i put "apology" in quotes, because he really wasn't sorry for what she'd done - only that she'd been busted.  they had run it last year, but she crossed the finish line just before the bombings occurred.  he wasn't able to finish, so he was granted an automatic entry for this year's race.  the story said that they really really really really wanted to run it again this year and cross the finish line together.  but because they apparently couldn't be bothered to secure a real bib for her - which could've also been accomplished with the charity program, where an entry could be guaranteed by fundraising for the charities supported by the BAA - she decided to go the chickenshit route instead.

ugh.  the moment i read this, i deleted my foursquare account and wiped the app right off of my phone. i've had a lot of fun with foursquare over the last few years, but no more.  good riddance.

it's probably a good thing anyway.  the hub always hated that i was on foursquare.  you win, babe.  heh.

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...