Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Garbage Truck Incident

This year, I am thankful for not being crushed by a garbage truck.

Because I came close.

Chris and I had a wonderful trip to see my friends and family up in Kansas this past week, however we also nearly got smushed by garbage. It’s a sucky story, and I wish it hadn’t happened. But it did, we are fine, but the miata is not.

This was taken while the car was on the tow truck. According to the police, it was not drivable. The steering and the front left wheel weren't communicating correctly. The police officer gave the garbage truck driver a ticket for an improperly executed right-turn, so technically I was not at fault. But still, be careful out there.

Besides wrecking my mom's car, our Thanksgiving break consisted of visiting with lots of people I love, eating many delicious foods, and seeing tons of Kansas.
We toured the Boulevard brewery.
Made a trip out to Lawrence
Feasted with the Kapka/Farris family.
And made it back to Austin in time for Nate's deep-fried turkey.

The weather was perfect for most of the trip (we had one 20 degree day) and I got to see most of the people I wanted too. It never feels like there's enough time to see everybody. I should be back there around Easter, but for now, cheers to the rest of 2012, sure is flying by.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What I Ate Last Weekend - Dining in Kansas City

Last weekend (why am I always so behind on my posts?!?) I visited my friends and family up in Kansas to make sure everybody was still doing well and hadn’t forgotten about me. It was the first trip in many trips that my mom didn’t feel like cooking for me, so we went out to eat so many times! Everywhere we went was someplace new and everything we ate was delicious. Kansas City is becoming pretty hip. I like it.

Friday, brunch at Chez Elle
My dad is totally digging this random intersection just west of downtown, around the corner from the Boulevard Brewing Company. When I was home for Easter, he took me to The Blue Bird Bistro, but this time, he picked this adorable creperie around the corner. The restaurant is in the old Summit Theatre, and there are condos for sale above. You could rent a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath for under $2,000/month. What a bargain.
Friday, dinner at Martin City Brewing Company
My mom’s been talking about “The Pub” since it opened and was delighted that I had the time and energy to check it out with her during this trip. Martin City is this tiny little town along the train tracks about 10 minutes southeast of Leawood. Growing up, we went there for gymnastics lessons, mini golf, or Sonic, and then later for Tropical Sno (mmm shaved ice). Martin City Brewing Company hasn’t been open for very long, and they aren’t selling their own beer quite yet, but the current selection of microbrews and the not-bar-like menu were fantastic. I highly recommend the scallops and risotto balls.
Saturday, brunch at The River Market
If you’re ever in KC on a Saturday morning, I highly recommend the trip to Downtown Kansas City’s River Market. For locals, there’s tons of fresh produce, flowers, spices, and other amazing things for sale. The prices we totally reasonable, and the samples were delish. After our coffees, my Mom and I had some spinach pies from a little Indian bakery. They were served with tzatziki, which spawned a lengthy conversation about Dahv Dahv, making your own yogurt sauce, and eating gluten free.
Saturday, dinner at Swagger’s
For my last night in KC, my mom wanted to take us all to Jack Stack, one of her standbys for a tasty spinach salad. Apparently a lot of other families were craving the same thing... Rather than wait around for a table we walked across the parking lot to the brand new bar and grill, Swaggers. While the name is less than desirable, the menu and beer selection was surprisingly vast. I chose a Swagger’s Light Lager while Reg spent about 20 minutes scouring the menu for the beer with the highest ABV. To eat, I tried convincing the bros to get The Dead Texan (knowing Chris would have ordered it, had he been there) but everybody choose slightly more reasonably, but still gigantic burgers and sandwiches, many that had been featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. Cool!
Some Kapkas, just before heading to the airport

And thus begins a seriously overdue health food binge.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Splendid Seattle

-I started writing this post weeks ago. I blame The Olympics, Canyon Lake, and an HR Certification course I started taking for the delay. Better late than never though.-

Seattle was wonderful. Seriously people, there is nowhere on earth like the Pacific Northwest. While Chris and I sweated through our errands last weekend, I couldn't help thinking how much more amazing errands would be in Seattle's weather. It was the perfect escape.

We went to Seattle for Chris’ friend from childhood Bryce’s wedding. It was the first time either of us has actually been in a wedding, and Chris had nothing but good things to say about the experience. And, because of his wedding party duties (suit fitting, chair setup, partying...) I was on my own for a portion of this trip. It was so great! Spending time apart from your loved one while on vacation is an excellent idea. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed my alone time.
The trip began with lunch on Thursday at Eastlike River Bar and Grill. I met the bride, Kristin, and the groom’s family for the first time. After leaving the fellas to try on their suits, the groom’s sister-in-law and I headed out for a several mile exploration of the University of Washington campus. Years ago, as an oblivious high school junior, I considered attending UW for college. Why? Eh... I knew I wanted to get away from Kansas and live in an urban environment... but I’m really glad I didn’t end up there. The campus was gorgeous, surrounded by lakes and ocean, but it definitely would have been too far from home.
In the springtime, this would have looked like this:
Guess I have to go back and see it, right?
That night we met up with our men and caught the party bus to Ray’s Boathouse for the rehearsal dinner.
This was also the first rehearsal dinner we’ve attended. It was excellent to hear the speeches, get to know the bridal party, and enjoy an outstanding meal.
The biggest piece of salmon I’ve ever had.
After dinner some of the youngin’s went to The Zoo for ping pong, darts, and more fun. I heard very good things about the bar, but alas, I was fast asleep in my cozy bed at The University Inn.
On Friday, the day of the wedding, I woke up to a cloudy and 60 degree day. It was so relaxing! Even though I’m a huge fan of sunshine, the typical-Seattle day was lovely. I started my day with a quick run along the Burke Gilman Trail followed by brunch with the wedding party at Portage Bay CafĂ© (that toppings bar, wow!). From around 1pm onward, Chris was on wedding duty, so I set out to explore the city with my backpack and a book.
A few hours were spent meeting up with the Sy family on Foster’s Island and at the Seattle Arboretum.
All in all, I walked nearly 7 miles around the city. I never would have been able to do that in Austin. With the heat and humidity, that trek would have been miserable.
The ceremony and reception that night were also amazing. Bryce and Kristin were so happy. It was perfect.
Hey there, groomsman.

Chris and the happy couple
You’d think we’d be done after that, right? But no! They’d planned a Friday night wedding so that all of their out of town visitors could join them on Saturday morning for one of their favorite activities, a hike!
About 20 of us drove 3 hours north to North Cascade National Park to hike to Cascade Pass.
Absolutely perfect weather.
So many hikes in the same month, what is happening?
I think I’d compare hiking to spinach... I hated it when I was little, then I was too afraid to try it... but now that I have the freedom to do it when and however I want, it’s great. Same idea. More hikes = healthier Jane!
We finished the trip with a fantastic meal at Ivar's and a night in, watching the Olympics. I already can't wait to go back (hopefully for Sasquatch 2013).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Canada Trip - Grande Finale

The main reason we even went to Canada in the first place was for the 100th Calgary Stampede. The Stampede is a huge deal for Canadians, and Chris used to go almost every summer. This year we were there for most of Friday and Saturday, so I'll combine those two days into my final post about the trip.

The Stampede Parade marks the official start of Stampede. The Leriger/Tutt clain woke up at 5:00am to get these seats. Chris earned major boyfriend points by walking back to the condo and picking me up at a much more reasonable 7:15am. We stopped at the infamous Tim Hortons (and thought of Kimber) for some Timbits and coffee (insert obligatory Canada joke here).
Chris took at least 200 photos from the 3 hour-long parade. I'll post one.

A lovely photo of Chris' family. His dad forgot to pack sunscreen and a hat. Later that day his faced looked like a tomato. Lesson learned.

After the never-ending parade we made a quick stop at Crepe de Licious for some non-fried pre-Stampede lunch. My chicken cesar crepe was another delicious meal. We walked a few blocks further and caught the C Train to the Stampede. The first thing we did was take the chair lift ride across the midway to check out the park.
Some of my favorites rides were the swinging chairs, the mini-roller coaster, and the fun house.

Those clouds were full of 15 minutes of rain. We got drenched
(even in my poncho) but then the sun came back out and we dried off rather quickly.

That night the lot of us had tickets to the Chuckwagon Races and the Grandstand Show.

Chuckwagon races are difficult to explain, but pretty fun to watch. They're also quite dangerous (for both riders and horses). I don't think they do this version of them anywhere in the states, but I could be wrong.

After the races there was a spectacular show featuring a bunch of Young Calgarians, acrobats from around the world, stunt-bike riders, and tons more. The show was well worth the price.

Family breakfast

The next day we headed out to Chris's Aunt and Uncle's house for a family breakfast, where I was appalled to learn that Calgary doesn't have Target. His poor cousins.
Chris' uncle works for the Stampede, so he seriously hooked us up with some Rodeo tickets. We sat right at the end of the infield with all of the wives and girlfriends of the cowboys.
Chris blended right in.

The rodeo was exciting, especially sitting so close.

After we'd seen enough cow wrestling and bull riding to satisy us for a very long time, we went back to the Midway so Chris could spend the rest of his tickets on games and ride.
I'm not as good at rides as I used to be. But roller coasters don't make me sick, yet.

One of Chris' proudest moments was flipping the chicken into the pot on his first try. He won me an adorable giraffe with a slight resemblance to Bevo. Similar to this guy.

We spent a few more hours exploring the Stampede Grounds, then caught the C Train back downtown for a relaxing dinner at home with the family.
Once we'd woken up on Sunday, we packed up our things for the airport. We didn't need to leave until after lunch, so we used the time to walk around Prince's Island Park and Eu Claire Market.
Last day of vacation = last ice cream cone

I got one final bag of All Dressed Potato Chips and we enjoyed some sunshine and people watching. Time to go back to Austin!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Canada Trip - Part Six

See? Sunshine! Jasper was exponentially more beautiful with the sun peering over the snow-capped mountains. Thursday was our day of departure, so after we packed up our things and checked out of the Best Western Jasper Inn & Suites, we drove over to the highly rated, SnowDome Coffee Bar. SnowDome's concept is quite peculiar but amazingly logical. It's part coffee bar, part laundromat, part internet cafe. I mean, all of those things compliment each other perfectly, dontcha think? We didn't try their washing machines or their internet, but Chris' latte was delicioso.
As we left Jasper, there were a few cars pulled over on the side of the road. Everybody wanted to see some elks having breakfast.

Driving down Ice Fields Parkway in the sun was a completely different experience that it had been a few days prior.
Tangle Falls

One of the most beautiful drives in the world.

Finally, we saw some Bighorn Sheep!

Pictures don't do them justice. They were so funny looking! They were right on the side of the highway, eating the salt deposits in the dirt.

Bow Lake

It was nuts, we got out of the car to take some photos of Bow Lake (on the west side of the highway) and there were a bunch of people taking pictures of the east side of the highway. I was like... "dudes, the lake is behind you." But then we looked closer and there was a grizzly bear up on the hillside.
Our final stop in the mountains was back at the Castle Mountain Chalet. I bought another bag of All Dressed Potato Chips and we enjoyed a quick picnic lunch before finishing the trek to Calgary.
Returning the rental car was a bit of a hassle. Driving around downtown Calgary the day before the Stampede, during rush hour = not the best idea. But, we made it! When we left the Avis building, I looked up, and we were directly under the Calgary Tower. Not a bad view.
Our walk to the grandparent's condo from the Tower took a bit, so we ended up being rather late to dinner with the fam at The Keg. My Chicken Oscar was fantastic, by the way. After dinner, Chris and I walked a few blocks further to Beer Revolution and Brewsters Brewing Company. We tried about 14 beers between the two bars.
Around 11pm we started walking home. Oh right, the sun was just setting... kind of surreal.