About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

California Dreamin - DisneyLand Adventures

I'm back - I know you've all missed me terribly. All two or three of you that read about my adventures and stop by this small corner of the internet that I call "mine".

Between being taken down by a sinus infection at the end of the week of May 15th and then leaving for a glorious ten days of vacation in California, I'll go ahead and call my absence a pretty reasonable thing. I know some people blog while on vacation...but when my family goes on vacation, we tend to be constantly doing something from the time the sun comes up until it goes down...there isn't usually much time for blogging...or anything else for that matter!

I should note - the next few posts will largely be photo dumps - I hope you enjoy!

On the...plane...again....
High above the clouds...

Smoggy foggy Los Angeles from the sky....
Hey - good to see you again!
My family left on Friday evening and flew out to California...arriving in Los Angeles around 7:00, which to us East coasters felt like it was 10 PM! After cruising (ha...yea right) through LA traffic to Anaheim, we arrived at our first stop on this ten day odyssey: DisneyLand! We stayed at the Grand Californian and spent Friday evening through Tuesday morning in a whole other world - because honestly, that's what it feels like when you're at Disney - you know? I love that feeling!

*Inner child explodes with happiness*
We escaped the Abominable Snowman & made it down the mountain!
Climbing the Matterhorn is tough....
I will confess here and now that I am a complete pansy when it comes to rides - I don't do heights, I don't do big drops, I don't do hanging upside down, I don't do "hang time"...I mean, the list goes on and on. I have not ridden Space Mountain in years and years; I rode it when I was in my early teens and wrote it off completely, but this year it was re-branded as Hyperspace Mountain (Star Wars mania!) and so I decided to give it a go once more. I didn't want to...seriously...it was probably pathetic how I said "I do not want to ride this..." but I shut up, sucked it up and climbed on board. Shockingly (ha!) I didn't hate it and I suppose when we return to the Disney(s) again in the future, I'll give it another go! I'm sure my sister loved having me sit beside her and quietly mutter/sing "Jesus Take the Wheel" as our spaceship banked all the turns in the dark of "space"...hahahaha!

Move along...nothing to see here...
Submarines, Monorails & Mountains...all in a day at Disney!
Ready to dive under the sea and find Nemo...
We battled Darth Vader on Star Tours and followed up with some Bantha Blue French Toast (Star Wars fans out there...) for breakfast before climbing aboard bobsleds to race down Matterhorn Mountain! The Matterhorn easily became my favorite ride at DisneyLand - loved it! We found Nemo under the sea on what used to be the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride; we had a rider along with us who will not grow up to be a submariner, she screamed in terror for most of the deep sea dive and even the sight of Dory could not console her. Oops! We boarded another watercraft, this time to ride It's A Small World - a ride my Dad absolutely loves - cue the eye roll and sigh. We make fun of him every time we ride this, he thinks we could let it be and not miss anything. But hey - I need to hear that cheery refrain on repeat for a complete Disney experience - don't you?

This shirt isn't even ironic for him...
So amazing to look at - very different from Disney World's version!
Sleeping Beauty Castle - objects in mirror are smaller than they appear...
A huge...or maybe not so huge takeaway from DisneyLand...Sleeping Beauty castle is quite small! I suppose I was expecting something along the lines of the grandeur of Cinderella castle at Disney World and when we rounded the corner of Main Street - we were floored by the size of the castle! I will say it looks larger the closer you get (forced perspective at work...) but from afar...man it seems tiny! After visiting with the grim grinning ghosts of the Haunted Mansion and having an early lunch at the Blue Bayou, which is located in Orleans Square and has a portion of Pirates of the Caribbean running through it, we spent a large chunk of the afternoon in Frontier Land and Adventure Land, we adventured through the Frontier. Okay...sorry...that was cheesy!

The River of the Americas
Thunder Mountain!
We cruised through the jungle and I was sad to see that Tarzan's Treehouse was closed for renovations...but oh well. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has long been a favorite of mine and I enjoyed every minute of our brief spin through the canyons, mountains and ghost town of Rainbow Ridge and we even took a quick spin through Winnie the Pooh's vivid imagination aboard some fat little honeypots! We actually passed on Splash Mountain completely on this visit - the wait time was over an hour! We took ourselves and our Fast Passes along to Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye and went along with Indy as he hunted for treasure and dodged spikes, curses, giant balls, skeletons and of course...snakes...and somehow made it out alive, ha! After watching the afternoon parade, we decided to spend the late afternoon in Fantasy Land!

After surviving our adventure with Indy...
Lindsey & her hero - Mr. Toad!
Snow White Grotto...
I discovered in Fantasy Land that Lindsey was more than a little excited about riding Mr. Toad's Wild Ride; at one point I heard her quietly whisper to herself and when I asked her what she was saying, she confessed she thought she needed to lower her expectations of the ride because she didn't want to be disappointed! Ha! We took a spin through Alice in Wonderland's ride (aboard caterpillars...of course) and rode woodworking benches through Pinocchio's tale before boarding small boats to cruise through the Story Land Canal ride - which was so cool! The ride was just a simple boat ride through a small lagoon, but it featured incredibly detailed miniatures of so many Disney animated films: Aladdin, Cinderella, Frozen, the Wind in the Willows (calm down Lindsey...) Beauty & the Beast, Snow White...the list goes on and on! I loved it! We had dinner at a buffet style restaurant before trying to find a good spot to settle in for the evening parade and fireworks!

Mack - all in lights!
If you think Disney is letting go of Frozen any time...think again...ha!
Fireworks light the night...whoosh!
The parade and fireworks were new for the 60th Anniversary Celebration and they were pretty amazing - is it sad to say that I don't have that many pictures of the fireworks because we'd found a bench to sit on and I didn't want to stand up? Ha-ha...so true! I watched every bit of the parade from a standing position, wedged against people I didn't know - which is what everyone else was doing - but when we discovered a bench to sit on for the fireworks, it was on! I thoroughly enjoyed my first day at Disney Land and let me tell you...I fell into the bed and died on Saturday night...granted, that whole time difference might have had something to do with it...

The Grand Californian lobby!
So - that is day one - and I assure you, there is so much more to come! Exciting, right?

In Case You Wondered (Food & Lodging)

Galactic Grill in Tomorrowland: counter service; great for a quick meal!

The Blue Bayou in Orleans Square: sit down meal; awesome setting, on the pricier end (as far as Disney is concerned)

The Plaza Inn: sit down meal; buffet style; middle range on price

The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa: one of three hotels at Disney Land; gorgeous...rooms are a bit wee for four (grown) people...but still really lovely!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five on Friday

I'm doing this week's Five on Friday a little differently - I'll give you five confessions, ha-ha! Obviously nothing Earth shattering, but just something a little different for this Friday post. Sound good? Off we go!

One. I confess I didn't get to Watson Wednesday this week...I got a sinus infection and in between dealing with that, trying to be at work as much as possible this week and get things together for California...posting a cute little picture of Watson fell by the wayside. However, I will gladly share one now! I was at home most of the day on Wednesday and while I was napping, he sat vigil in the doorway to my room...because obviously he loves me dearly!

Sitting vigil by the bedside of the sick - what a little love!

Two.  I confess I may have a LOT of Nationals clothing. You'll notice I didn't say I might have too much Nationals clothing because in my mind, there is no such thing as too much. However, my family had me count the other day and I thought I was almost to an even 20...until I realized the other day I'd forgotten an article of clothing...or two...or three... Oh well - GO NATS!

Forget Gap or Old Navy or Loft...give me the Team Store...

Three. I confess that odd numbers weird me out - badly. I don't know why, but I need my numbers to be nice, round and even. This is especially true when I'm listening to the radio and adjusting the volume. I will never leave the volume at say...13...or 17...but 14 is fine, 18 is good too. Just no odd numbers. Unless they're multiples of 5 - a volume of 15 is fine. I know - I'm a complete fruitcake.

Four. I confess...that my fitness has fallen off the map this week! Oops! Between getting some sort of cold/sinus drainage/my body's revolt against the crazy weather and preparing to be in California...on vacation...for the next week, I just let it slide! I know - no excuse! However, I plan to get right back at it once I get home from the West Coast...but until then...because seriously, who "behaves" on vacation??

Five. I confess I don't have anything else to confess at present. At least, I can't think of anything else to confess, ha-ha! So that's all for this week!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Fish Fry in the Rain

I know you're looking at this post and thinking one of two things: one) why does the title mention a fish fry when this will obviously be about baseball and two) wasn't there just a post about baseball a few days ago? Well dear reader - when the Nationals play the Marlins, we hope to have a "fish fry" and yes, I went to not one but two Nationals games in one week. My joy truly knows no bounds.

Scherzer Poster - Love it!

The view from my lunch post.
This game was a make-up of the game we were originally supposed to attend on April 9th...however the weather couldn't decide what it wanted to do back in April and it was snowing/sleeting with winds blowing at something like 45+ mph...so it wasn't a good day for baseball. This past Saturday though, it started off as an absolutely beautiful day for baseball...sunny, fluffy white clouds and 75...basically made for sitting at the ballpark, munching on some peanuts (and Cracker Jack...) and watching the boys of summer!

Contemplating baseball...definitely...
Admiring the field.

The line-up for Saturday's game...stretching along the wall...
The Espi Beard lives on...even if it's not on the jumbotron!
...take me out to the crowd....
We invited our friend Doug along for the day since we had an extra ticket and the drive into DC was surprisingly easy; not too much stop and go traffic, which is pretty close to a miracle on any given day! We had lunch at the Budweiser Brew House, formerly known as the Red Porch, but since Budweiser is a big sponsor this year...there was a name change! The food is still good and you can still sit right on the field and watch batting practice while you eat your meal, so that's really all that matters...at least to me.

I ducked into the Team Store to grab t-shirts for Lindsey and I - since we'd played witness to Max Scherzer's history making 20 strikeouts earlier in the week, we had to have the new t-shirt that says "Strikeouts are sexy". Ha-ha!

Peering out from under the Budweiser Terrace...
I do love the ballpark!
Cheese! It's baseball time again! Yahoo!
Our seats were a bit higher up than I'd normally choose, but they were purchased as a part of a holiday ticket package, so we'll be sitting there two more times this season. Hey - a seat in the ballpark is a seat in the ballpark, right? The usher in section 226 was a lively one, giving everyone a high five before showing them to their seats, dancing with the music and just generally being awesome. She scored awesome points from us because when she saw that we were on row T...basically at the top of the stadium...she told us to take the three seats on the fourth row and as long as no one claimed them, we could stay parked right there. Guess what? No one claimed them! I couldn't have been more pleased since I already felt like we were sitting up in heaven...but then again, I think we all know I'm only slightly obsessed with my Nats.

From Section 226 all the players look like ants...
Getting in a warm-up before the game.
O Say Can You See...
Saturday's game was at 1:05 and was game one of a split double-header against the Miami Marlins. The game started with a bang...literally...as the Marlins got in a one run homer in the top of the first, but the Nationals would get that back and more in the bottom of the first. The Marlins pitcher walked the first three batters to load the bases and then Murphy hit a sac fly to tie the game up, followed by Zimmerman's sac fly that made the game 2-1. Harper stole third base and then raced home on Werth's single, making the game 3-1 before the inning would finally end. The Marlins fought back again in the fifth and scored a run on a double, making the game 3-2...but the Nationals fought back yet again with Taylor singling, promptly stealing second base and then racing his way home on Rendon's single, making the game 4-2!

Let's play ball!
Bases loaded for Daniel "Hits" Murphy...bring on the runs!
An amazing blue sky - perfect for baseball!
20 K's = $20 Tickets...on the silly blurry jumbotron...
The weather was holding...but about the time that score went to 4-2, the ever darkening skies began to creep closer and closer to the field... The sixth inning started with the wind whipping and the Marlins whipping a hit, followed by an RBI that made the game 4-3...and as the sky opened up and the rain started to fall, causing most people to retreat into the concourse, Wilson Ramos again made it a two run game by smashing a home run out to center field and securing the score at 5-3.

Dark skies on the horizon...
Teddy took the win in this running...go Teddy!
The menfolk discussing....who knows what?
The rain getting closer with each inning...
Retreating under the overhang for the top of the sixth...
Watching the seventh inning unfold from under the concourse, the Marlins struck yet again...a lead off double and an RBI single once again put them within one run of the Nationals, who would score no runs in the seventh and the game would be at 5-4. The wind continued to whip, the rain continued to pour and we all figured surely they'd just call the game - right? A game only has to make it through five innings to be considered official; just 4.5 innings if the home team is in the lead, so why were they continuing to play in the downpour? We ended up moving around the field in an effort to find a better viewing spot; it's always so ironic to end up watching a baseball game at the Park...on a TV under the stands. All the action is literally feet away and you're watching the game on a TV. Oh gee.

The rain...and a home run from Wilson Ramos....arrive in the bottom of the sixth!
Watching Harper bat from the cover of the concourse...while the rain poured...
No-Hitter Number Two...
No-Hitter Number One...
Max in Motion...pictures courtesy of being in motion around the concourse to find better baseball game viewing...
Shawn Kelley pitched for the Nationals in the top of the eighth and kept things scoreless for the Marlins, while the Nationals added a run in the bottom of the eighth when den Dekker reached on an error, allowing Taylor to race home and make the game 6-4! Jonathan Papelbon came in at the top of the ninth...amidst the puddles collecting on the field...and worked around a leadoff hit and two walks to secure the game for the Nationals. We fried the fish in the downpour, winning this game 6-4 and allowing everyone to head for home happy...albeit a little bit soggy...

Watching the game through the window of the PNC Diamond Club. *sigh*
Curly W! In the rain! 
Waving good-bye to DC for the day!
So - two games in one week. Awesome! Recapping two winning games in a week...even more awesome! It will be a few weeks before I'm back at Nationals Park for another game but I'm sure I'll find plenty to "talk" about between now and then!