Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Recap

This was one of the most friend-filled, road trip weekends ever. You could call me "Highway 70-Girl" and I'm not sure much more would be accurate after this weekend.

Friday, D and I met up with one of our favorite Bens for a send-off lunch at the Heidelberg. I dig this place because it's a self-proclaimed "campus tradition" (how can you proclaim yourself a "campus tradition"? Doesn't that need to be voted on or something?) with a super-ugly shield of armor. (See inset on right-who, in their right mind, makes
this color faux-pas? Yellow and brown? No freaken way
should those to ever go together. Just look for yourselves!) Apparently, the Heidelberg opened its doors in 1963 and was only forced to close down in 2003 when it burned almost unrecognizably! However, this little-restaurant-that-could managed to pull itself together and rebuild, despite its original uncertainty in having the funds to do so. (I'm a sucker for an underdog!) 

I had a salad with a seared tuna steak over top since it'd been a long while since I'd last come into close contact with tuna steak (such a fave!). The boys were knee-high in mashed potatoes and 'whiches and we were all thoroughly stuffed afterwards.

Ben is a friend we made during Dustin's first stint in community theatre (which was just a few months back, really). Certainly he's not the only awesome friend we made (Lynn and Co + Jim!), but we somehow get to see a lot more of Ben, which we are thrilled about! Friday was special because Ben is going away for a week long cruise to a few islands (names have now eluded me). Dustin fears he might contract chlamydia, which Ben assured us he'd do his best to steer clear of, and I just hadn't really gotten to see Ben in a while and wanted to wish him a wonderful relaxing cruise. He works for Netflix and has these ridiculously early hours. Hours I don't even consider to be real hours in a day because they're so useless to know the ones I'm talking about. It was 
bittersweet. We don't know if we'll ever see Ben again because, let's face it, would you come back from an exotic, gorgeous warm-climated island if you could steal away somehow? I can see Ben now...relaxing on the beach, some white suntan lotion securing the safety of the tip of his nose...pina coladas with baby umbrellas and ladies that might give him chlamydia all around...of course, the chlamydia part is Dustin's fear, not mine, just threw it in for good measure since it is OUR blog and all.

Anyhow, we hope we gave him a great send-off and hope, even more, that he has an awesome time, but thinks of us the entire six days he's gone cus we, of course, will be thinking of him!

Fi and I also took the dogs for a run through the park near our house after lunch. D took Bogey (small white one) and I took Byz. Lemme just say-these two are not the world's best canine running partners. They're working on it, yes, but Byz's metabolism goes on super-speed the second we hit half a mile and Bogey gets angry if he's separated visually from me. All characteristics D and I are still working out. For example, Byz took a pooh on the sidewalk about five minutes into our run and Bogey, when Dustin and he turned back for home while Byz and I kept running forward, started to angrily bark at every dog they saw and, eventually, lifted his leg and peed on poor Dustin. That Bogey is a Mama's Boy-always has been. And he has an acute habit of peeing on people if he's angry at them-i.e.-Dustin for not running with us longer.

When all was said and done, dogs drank a gallon of water each upon arriving home then proceeded to lay on the cool tile floor for the rest of the day trying to regain their energy. Moral is-we need to run them around more often!

Saturday I picked up my lovely friends Stephanie and Lexi and we headed east on 70 to St. Louis. For those of you who live in Columbia, you know why this trip is necessary when the seasons begin to change and the new issues of Lucky start showing up in your mailbox with photos of snakeskin ballet flats, lush and liberating fashion wear, and the all important boxy tops and trousers that are "in" this season...not to mention the floral scheme most of it should have if not graphic-ish. (I told a boy student in my fiction class the other day who was wearing a graphic-tee that "graphic tees are really in right now" and he looked at me like I was crazy. However, because he's so polite, soft spoken and attentive he said "Oh, really? I've had this shirt for about a year." I told him he was a trendsetter and I think it was the last thing he expected to hear in fiction class that day.) So we headed to STL and did up the city and all it had to offer, stopping to have a super delish lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (I had the can't-go-wrong-with-me-Cobb-salad) and envied the ladies french fries the whole time. 

Meanwhile, Dustin and Beth's boy Eli went to Chuck-E-Cheese and played games for hours, or so it sounded when he relayed the story. They won enough tickets to get six Tootsie Roll suckers, two blow-up microphones and a near-brush with an angry mom who insisted they cut the line and kept calling her huge boyfriend, Jim, to come beat them up. D says Eli tried to reason with her to no avail. No fight ensued and the boys did, in fact, get their suckers and microphones.

When we got back from STL, poor Lexi was sick (and I kept praying it wasn't my driving and really was just cus she had solid food for the first time in about a week-she had a tooth removed...what a trooper!) and I dropped my ladies off, scooped up my ever-patient Fi, and headed back into town to catch up with my bridesmaid Liz!
Spending any time with Liz, even if it's five minutes, is ALWAYS a treat. She's one of my favorite people and not just in Columbia. We've been friends since the end of my first year in Columbia when we took both Spanish AND German in back-to-back summer-sessions all in one summer (brilliant, right?). We'd take smoke breaks together and talk about our hot/super weird German professor...make jokes about how our awesome Spanish teacher was conjugating "to give" of all the verbs he could've possibly chosen ("he gave it to her," "she gave it to him and he gave it to her" wouldn't you have laughed?)...etc. We've been meeting up at the Blue Fugue as often as our schedules permit since then and have shared tons, and I mean TONS, of stories and crazy moments (think-actual crazy people that we've had to deal with...right).

Fi ran into a few ex-students and drove us home and we all had a good laugh at a past colleague's expense on the way by recounting some humorous tales. Good times!

Sunday we met up with our favorite couple, Lance and Emily! These two are awesome. We try to catch up and have a game night with L and E once a week, but some weeks are too busy (we were sick one week, D had a play thing another week). Sunday, we got a full day with them and headed the opposite direction on 70 to Kansas City in Lance's car, Olga!

First stop-an insanely delish BBQ joint with the most enormous portions I've ever seen. It was impossible to think of calories on a day like Sunday when, clearly, the only thing that mattered was the company and our spectacularly planned adventure! So D and I shared a few things (including a ginormous brownie dessert) and we all had some fried mushrooms that, honestly, were each about the size of my fist. 

Once we sufficiently stuffed ourselves, we headed to the Boulevard Brewing Company for a free tour and beer tasting! 

As usual, when the tour-guide finished showing us a campy little flick (yet funny) about the company, complete with illustrations of "oxygen," "time," "temperature," and "light" (aka-the four enemies of beer), I had about a dozen-million questions. Since no one asked any but me, I kept them to myself and we enjoyed our walk through the brewery instead. Here is a semi-guided, photographic tour:
Outside the Brewing Company right before the tour began!
Lance and Emily heading to the "new" part of the brewery that is FULL of natural light (they're being as environmentally friendly as they can!)
Dustin surveying the "employee bar" where they gather on Fridays and hang out, have a few beers and enjoy the "fruits of their labor."
Me basking in all the glorious natural light!
The boys, loving the Brewery Tour and the beer we are about to taste-test at the end of it!

When it ended, they let us sample TONS of their beer...though they don't make THAT many flavors. Here is an idea of how that went:
The boys thoroughly enjoying their first, second, third and fourth beer tastings.
Me, finally finding one out of the four beers that I tasted to enjoy! What can I say! I'm picky about my beers!
Lance and Em as happy as always...see why we like spending so much time with them!?!

We finished our superb day up (thanks to Emily's spectacular planning abilities!) by ice-skating for two hours. I should mention that Lance is like a superhero. Yes, I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating here, but bear with me. He can do anything and he can do it better than most human beings. 

When I first met Lance, it was while Dustin helped prep him for his black belt in taekwan do test. Dustin was an instructor for a while (also a black belt) and was teaching me a little bit of the martial art, as well. Lance wanted to know how to do a back flip (completely unrelated to what would be on his black belt test), which Dustin couldn't help him with, and Dustin brought me in to help teach him No problem (I think I learned it in gymnastics when I was a little one). After two days of teaching him how to backflip-form and spotting...etc...he had it. Not long after he also passed his black belt test with flying colors. He places in just about every race I've been in with him (running). He bikes distances it takes us twenty minutes or more to drive to (we only know this because his bike broke and he couldn't fix it once...all in the middle of nowhere. This is MO...there are PLENTY of places you can refer to as the "middle of nowhere" and he was in one!). 

I hope you get the picture. Anyhow, Lance had NEVER been on ice skates before, which means he'd never actually ice skated before, of course. Dustin used to skate on a pond near his house. My parents used to take us to Central Park once or twice a year when we were growing up to go ice skating on Woolman Rink and Emily had skated before, as well. It's not that we expected Lance to fall, we just didn't expect him to be doing one-skated turns by the end of our two-hour extravaganza. When all was said and done, we each fell once, but Dustin. D was the only one of us that could skate backwards. Lance and I learned how to spin and Emily must've circled the ice seventy dozen times. 

We were feeling pretty good about our skating up until these two mini-girls were unleashed on the ice, complete with their Olympic Gold-Winning Costumes. They settled into the very middle of the rink and began practicing what looked like a variety of choreographed routines that had half the people on the ice so intimidated they skated off and a few others so intimidated they fell on the ice-constantly (esp. this one guy in a yellow shirt. Every time we looked at him, he was on the ground and we had to contain our laughter)! (Side note: I did wonder where the little ones' parents were and hoped they didn't turn out to be all screwed up because their entire lives were geared toward being Olympic champions. These two were TINY and had clearly been skating for ages. I just hope, in the future, they make the choice to skate or not skate if they desire and aren't forced into it...think "stage parents!" AAAAAaah!)

We skated for hours under the canopy with twinkling white Christmas lights in the background and a choreographed water fountain show that played periodically outside the rink. We skated in doubles and singles, in the middle and on the sidelines. We tied and retied our laces, fell and got back up, helped strangers get back up when they fell and even posed for pictures. There was something about the ice skating rink that encapsulated the cheer of Christmas. Everyone there was so happy and kind to one another. Even the people that worked there seemed inherently happy. I didn't want to leave, though I'm not sure any of us did. Had it not been for the two hour drive home and the soreness of our ankles where our socks had fallen down, I think we might've stayed til closing. We know there's a rink in Jeff City, thirty minutes away, and I really want to go again now that we had this successful adventure...I just hope they keep it open until we get one more time on the ice in before spring is officially here!

On that note, I leave you with our ice-skating montage and hope they inspire you to get out and try something new or something old that will feel new all over again! It's completely worth it! And when you do-remember that little kids fall so much more than adults because they take more chances...and are closer to the ground. But there's no reason why we can't take some chances, made the experience a even more exciting!
Lance and Em, just after Lance perfected his ice-skating abilities to no one's surprise.

Remember the movie "The Cutting Edge"? (I totally own it. I'm such a dork!) "Toe-pick!"

I swear I'd been posing with my leg up in an arabesque for a while before I actually fell...this picture is just more fun than the one where I'm not falling.

My wonderful, non-falling, talented, backward-skating Fiance and Me! Aka-the luckiest girl in the world!

Watching the fountain/orchestra choreographed show from just off the skating rink. Note the Christmas lights in the background!

To make up for all the crap-food-eating...I ran six miles today. I hope that helps :)

Thanks for planning a fab day, Em! And for driving, Lance! And for coming with my to STL, Lex and Steph! And for meeting me for drinks even though I kept pushing it back, Liz! And don't come back with chlamydia, Ben! We miss ya! And D, you are the greatest and I love the hell out of you!

Seven miles tomorrow? ;)



  1. OK if you own The Cutting Edge then we need to have a DVD night PRONTO. You, me, my sofa, that movie...what sayest thou?

    love you!

  2. Wow! Love all the fun pics!! I hate that brown/yellow combo too... eek! Heart that you called him a trendsetter for his graphics tee! LOL
    Are you freaking kidding me?! Cutting Edge is one of my FAVORITE movies - I have it on tape and could quote Moria and D.B. all day long! "maybe you should just chuck it all and start your own think tank" CLASSIC! Glad you had such a good weekend! I want to dig out that movie now! Have you watched the two "sequels"? Horrible.

  3. LOL...I haven't seen the sequels, Kelly, but I totally wish I had. I wanted to, but I knew NOTHING could compare to the original. It's just so dang fabulous! I loved it! It seriously made me want to learn how to figure skate (but I can't stay up that long! Oh, well!)

    Steph-we will watch it! We'll have a movie night and invite everyone to come watch cheezy flicks...we've got em all and D has never seen HEATHERS!!! Can you BELIEVE IT!?!