Friday, March 28, 2008

Me & my blog

I saw this meme on Mandi's blog and thought it was interesting.

why did you start a blog?

I like to travel and the past several years I have been traveling a lot! After each trip I'd often send out several emails to different people telling them about my trip. Then I started writing up a narrative of my trip and emailing that out. Blogs had started to intrigue me and it seemed like a natural platform for my trip reports. It has continued to evolve from just travel narratives to more of what is going on in my life.

how did you come up with your blog name?

As my original intention was for this to be for my travel narratives, I wanted travel or journey or adventure (something that reflected travel) and lo and behold I settled on travel with emily.

do your friends and family know about your blog?

Yes. I have friends and family all over the country and this is an easy way for people to see what I'm up to as I am not always the best correspondent and I am not the biggest fan of the phone. I don't know what it is about the phone, but I would prefer to either email/text or talk to someone face to face. I am not a good phone person.

how do you write your posts?

I come up with all sorts of ideas for what I will write when I'm running or driving or traveling but then when I actually get to my computer (or to a pad & paper) to write it down, it never seems to come out the same. And then of course at some later point I do remember what it was I had wanted to say, in the way I had wanted to say it. Sometimes I go back and edit, but usually I let it go because it is never as clever or witty as I had first thought.

have you ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments?

Just once have I had to delete comments from a troll.

do you check your stats? do you care how many people read your blog? if you do care, how do you increase traffic?

It hasn't really crossed my mind to check. It could be interesting though.

what kind of blogs/posts interest you?

I like glimpses into other people's lives. I like artistic posts. I love looking at other people's pictures, both of places I have been and places I haven't been. I am a very visual person.

what do you like and dislike about blogging?

I have always liked to write and this gives me a forum to write. It also can let me be creative, or at least try. Plus it is basically a record of my life.

The part I don't always like is the time involved. It can be a time-sucker!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Training - Week 1

I signed up for the Orlando Danskin triathlon and was all excited to start training and then I went on vacation. Back in the real world it has been a little hard to motivate myself. And then I looked at the calendar! Yikes! Only seven weekends to go (well, really 6 since the first weekend in April will be spent at work as it is the end of the quarter). Saturday I made it to the pool and started off easy - 10 laps. Jumping into a heated pool is much different than a lake or ocean! I was planning to ride my bike on Sunday and woke up to rain. Six weeks, six weeks, I kept telling myself and so after church I headed to the park. I started off thinking I could go 12 miles but soon revised that down 10. It wasn't long before I revised that down to 9 and then 8. I rationalized this decision with the purpose of today's bike ride was to get out there and start using the muscles I hadn't used since last year. As I passed the 3.5 mile marker I was feeling better so I ended up going to the 4.5 mile marker before turning (so 9 miles in total). A good start!

P.S. It must seem like I complain A LOT. Yes, I am a complainer. I don't mean anything by my complaints, it is just my way of getting it out of my system. I usually feel better after I complain.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I'm too excited to sleep!

Monday, March 17th
When we last saw our heroines, they had just gotten off the shuttle at the airport. I had been pleasantly surprised when Jana suggested we add on a couple of days to the end of the cruise and visit Disneyworld. So here we were about to board the Magical Express that would take us to the Happiest Place on Earth! We found out we had to catch the express in Terminal B so we decided to grab something to eat at the food court since we hadn't eaten breakfast. We ran into the other girls at the food court so enjoyed one last meal with them before saying goodbye again. The Magical Express dropped us off at our hotel, Coronado Springs, where we dropped off our luggage before catching the bus to Animal Kingdom!

Our first stop in the Animal Kingdom was to try and get a fast pass for Kilimanjaro Safaris but all the fastpasses had been distributed so we decided to come back later and headed for Expedition Everest. Standing in line a kid came over and asked if anyone wanted 2 fastpasses. Jana & I were a little slow in saying "Yes, I want them" so the people in line behind us got them and we waited. Fortunately the line kept moving and before we knew it we were boarding a train that would take us to the top of Mt. Everest. I'm a little chicken when it comes to roller coasters - especially ones that drop far or flip you upside down but afterwards I'm always glad I did it. We get off the roller coaster and Jana tells me she is on a roller coaster high and loves Disney!! After a lunch at Restaurantosaurus we went on the Kilimanjaro Safari, Pangani Forest Trail, and the Maharajah Jungle Trek before saying goodbye to Animal Kingdom and headed to Hollywood Studios (aka MGM - not sure when the name change occurred).

At Hollywood Studios, we headed straight for Rock 'n' Rollercoaster to check out the fastpass situation. As they had been all distributed and the single rider line was not open and the wait time was 100 minutes we decided to skip it this time. After all, there is always next time. And again, a little to my surprise, Jana was excited about making a return trip. As Michelle says, sometimes people don't get Disney until they actually go. Next was the Great Movie Ride where the "second" ride operator scared Jana as he walked by to steal the treasure and yelled at her. She jumped about a foot in the air. We walked through the Streets of America and took a journey to Endor on Star Tours. We ate dinner at the Prime Time Diner and did a little shopping before watching Fantasmic, which is one of my favorite shows at Disney. And then it was time to head back our hotel. In our hotel room Jana tells me she is "too excited to sleep" just like the Disney commercial.

Tuesday, March 18th
We woke up ready for a full day and got on the bus for Epcot. First stop was to get a fastpass for Soarin'. After grabbing some breakfast, we went on Living with the Land, a boat ride through greenhouses where they grow all sorts of vegetables and fruits, some of which are used in the different restaurants at Epcot. We then took a ride in a clamobile to find Nemo. We then headed for the World Showcase, taking a boat ride in both Mexico and Norway. We had lunch in where else but Italy. I looked for margherita pizza, of course, but it was not on the menu. Instead I had penne caprese which is basically margherita pizza without the dough and instead with pasta. It was good. After lunch we finished touring the world, stopping in France to get our picture taken where the photographer kept asking if I had a cell phone I wanted to sell him. We didn't get it until he pointed out the logo on my shirt, which was my employer's logo. Oh, that's why he was asking! We headed back to Soarin' and had just gotten in line with our fastpasses when they closed the ride due to mechanical issues. Oh well, another thing to do next time. We headed for the monorail and were on our way to the Magic Kingdom!

We arrived at the Magic Kingdom just in time to catch the end of the Dreams Come True parade. We headed over to Space Mountain to check out the fastpass situation. Once again all the fastpasses were distributed and the line was fairly long so we decided to check back later and see if the line was more reasonable. Next was the teacups (or coffee cups as Sydney calls them). Ever since Jana saw the Jon & Kate plus 8 episode where they went to Disneyworld and rode the Dumbo ride she was excited to ride the Dumbo ride so that is where we headed next. Snow White's Scary Adventures was next followed by getting fastpasses for Big Thunder. We then headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean (one of my all time favorite rides), Haunted Mansion, It's A Small World, and then got a fastpass for Peter Pan. Last time I found a new favorite, Mickey's PhilharMagic which ended up being a favorite of Jana's as well. We had dinner before heading back over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to use our fastpass. When we got off of Big Thunder we saw the wait time was only 20 minutes so decided to ride it again. We chose the right time! We breezed our way through and they let us into the fastpass line again. It was time to head to the castle for the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. Disney definitely knows how to do fireworks! We headed over to ToonTown and rode Barnstormer before touring Minnie's house, followed by Mickey's house. We waited in line for a bit to meet Mickey but the line was long and not moving so we decided to leave (we really tried Michelle!). We survived the Pooh ride (the ride operator greeted us with "Welcome back, you survived the Pooh ride" which both of us found hilarious). It was still another hour or so before we could use our fastpass for Peter Pan and both of us were tired and sore so we decided to see what the line was like for Peter Pan. The wait time said 60 minutes, but the line didn't look that long. We asked and they told us the it was more like 40 minutes so we decided to go ahead and get in line. It ended up being only about 20 minutes. With that, we decided to call it a trip. We got on our bus and where our bus driver entertained us with trivia questions such as: How many cast members play Mickey? Answer: zero, Mickey is real! Getting off the bus I basically fell apart. The shoes I had worn the day before had given me blisters which had been further aggravated today. At the Magic Kingdom I could power through the pain because after all we were at the Magic Kingdom!! But off the bus there was no more magic left. I debated taking off my shoes, thinking my feet couldn't hurt any worse, but decided against that and ended up walking on the grass as much as I could. I was so happy to get back to our hotel room so I could take off my shoes!

Wednesday, March 19th
We woke up, packed and checked out. We still had time before the our Magical Express would leave for the airport so we took the bus over to Downtown Disney for lunch and shopping. I had discovered Earl of Sandwich last time and was excited to eat there again. But the line was long and so we decided to eat at Captain Jack's instead. It was good! After doing some shopping we got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel to catch the Magical Express. We said goodbye at the airport. My flight was late getting in and then further delayed due to weather issues but finally we arrived back in Seattle. Walking towards baggage I ran into a lot of people standing around. Turned out there was some sort of security issue and all the exits were locked. I was so tired and sore that all I wanted to do was go home and here I was standing, waiting for the security issue to be resolved. Finally they let us through and my trip was over.

Until next time!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Is it Fruity Drink O'Clock yet?

Taking a cruise had never really crossed my mind until my friend Michelle told me what a great time she had on a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas. So when she sent out the invite for the girl's cruise this year I was on board (pun intended!). There ended up being six of us that went - Michelle, Kathy, Renee, Stacy, Jana & myself.

Thursday, March 13th/Friday, March 14th
Who thought taking a red-eye would be a good idea? It was a good idea until I was at the airport waiting for an 11 p.m. flight instead of home in my bed. As I was walking towards my gate I ran into my friend Kristi, who was coming home from a business trip to Vegas. You never know who you will run into at the airport!! It was fun to see her. My flight took off late, but we must have made up time in the air. I didn't get much sleep so I was a bit out of it on Friday. After landing, I met up with Kathy at Starbucks. I really could have used a Starbucks! Only two more weeks of Lent... Michelle, Kathy, Renee & Stacy had flown in the day before and had gotten a hotel room at the airport. Kathy & I went upstairs where I was able to take a shower which made me feel a little more human. Jana's plane arrived and we met her at baggage and boarded the shuttle for Port Canaveral. After boarding the ship, we headed for the spa to make our appointments. Before the ship could sail, we had to do an emergency drill which involved us putting on our life jackets and evacuating to the 7th floor. To make it more interesting as we were about to evacuate we noticed there was standing water in our bathroom. After the drill was over, we called maintenance to check out our bathroom. With the drill over, the ship set sail and it was time for a fruity drink on the top deck! We made our first visit to Johnny Rockets (one of several) where Michelle & Kathy danced with the waiters. And then it time for a nap before dinner. Normally I am not a good napper but I was so tired it was not hard to take a nap. Before dinner, we went to a comedy show. After dinner we played bingo where Michelle was the big winner!! It wasn't much later after that I went to bed as it had been a long couple of days.

Saturday, March 15th
Jana & I had massages scheduled for 9:15 a.m. so we requested breakfast to be delivered to our room between 8 and 8:30 that morning. The phone rang at 7:44 a.m., waking us up, to tell us our breakfast was on the way. Jana & I both jumped out of bed to answer the phone and ran into each other in sort of a 3 Stooges moment. Gotta love the small rooms! The massage was good. We met up with the rest of the girls at Johnny Rockets for lunch. After lunch we left the ship to explore Nassau. Jana & I went to the Pirate Museum before heading to the beach while Michelle, Kathy, Renee & Stacy headed to Senor Frogs and then the pool deck. Jana & I went to the Captain's reception before meeting up with the other girls for dinner. The ship was to set sail around 12:30 a.m. and I didn't think I was going to make it that late but when I realized it was just about that time and we were still sitting in the bar chatting. Michelle & I headed up top to watch the ship pull away from Nassau before heading to bed.

Sunday, March 16th
We did not order breakfast for this morning so we were not woken up early! Instead we slept in. We took the little boat (tender) out to the island of Coco Cay (the island's real name is Little Stirrup Cay). Coco Cay is the cruise line's private island and we did nothing but enjoy the beach. The floating mats were fun! My last trip to a more "tropical" location (Cabo) resulted in me getting extremely sunburned. I learned my lesson and continually reapplied sunblock, but I still got sunburned. Not as bad as Cabo, but still painful. Jana & I headed back to the ship a little earlier than everyone else because we had massage appointments at 3 p.m. I had a hot stone massage. The massage was not as relaxing as it could have been due to the fact the spa was located directly underneath the basketball court. Whose genius idea that was I'm not sure. It also would have been more relaxing had the attendant not tried to sell me all sorts of products. Jana & I grabbed a slice of pizza afterwards and ate on the deck. We should have realized a storm was potentially brewing when a piece of pepperoni blew off of Jana's pizza. We watched the farewell show before heading to the dining room for our last dinner. We had all gotten sunburned and were all in some degree of pain by that time which is probably why several of us ended up getting two desserts. Yes, two desserts - I'm on vacation! :) It was not the best tiramisu I have had but the warm chocolate cake was good (I ate the middle). Renee & Michelle were not having dessert and left to do a little duty free shopping. After we finished with our desserts, Stacy left to do some shopping as well. Kathy, Jana & I went up to the 14th deck because I wanted see what was up there. I had thought maybe we would be able to go outside, but it was enclosed. We walked back across the top deck, almost getting blown overboard! Okay, I exaggerate just a bit. But it was very windy. In fact not long after we went inside to Johnny Rockets they closed off the outside deck. Michelle & Renee were already there enjoying a milkshake for their dessert. Stacy joined us after finishing up her shopping and we sat chatting for awhile. We had to have our non carry-on luggage packed and outside our rooms by midnight and me being the rule follower I am was determined to do that so I headed back to my room to frantically pack (it was a little after 11 at this time). Jana and I packed while glancing out our little window at the massive waves. Hm, our ship is in Bermuda Triangle in the midst of a storm. If this was movie, it would be the scary part. I finished my packing with minutes to spare and put my suitcase out in the hall. I went to bed and listened the waves crashing before falling asleep.

Monday, March 17th
We had been given a departure time of 8 a.m. which meant another early morning wake up. Being the good Irish girl I am, I had deliberately packed a green shirt realizing that I would be gone for St. Patrick's Day. Looking around at the people in line at customs, I was not the who planned ahead. Finally through customs we collected our bags and boarded the shuttle back to the airport. We said our goodbyes as Jana & I were headed for Disneyworld, but that is another story.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The decision

I am now signed up for the Orlando Danskin Triathlon so be prepared for several posts about how my training is going. Especially considering the triathlon is in May and coming up fast!!

In other news, I did the 10K (approx. 6.2 miles) portion of the Mercer Island Half Marathon. My time goal was to finish in under an hour and a half - I finished in 1 hour 20 minutes which equates to right around 13 minutes a mile, a slight improvement on my per mile time from December's 12K race.

And in yet another change in subject, the countdown is on for my next mini-vacation. I leave at midnight on Thursday for Orlando where I will be boarding my first ever cruise. I can almost taste the fruity umbrella drinks now!!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What to do?

The last two years I have done the Seattle Danskin Triathlon. I have been watching their website to sign up for the 2008 race as the Seattle race sells out fast. Registration opened for Seattle and I signed up with no doubts that I wouldn't be able do it. This was a week or so ago. And today the light bulb turned on. I am potentially going to be gone on a work thing (which I can't really talk about yet) right when the triathlon takes place. I felt instantly deflated when the dates clicked and I realized it most likely will not be possible for me to do it. I have been contingency planning to find another triathlon to do this year as I did not want to not do one at all. And I did find one that would work with my time frame. But I am still feeling a little sad at not doing the Danskin. So I can't do the Seattle Danskin, but the thought came to me - can I do a different one? I've been thinking about the Orlando Danskin for awhile and had finally decided to do it next year (2009). But with this new development, do I do the Orlando Danskin this year as well? Hm, this will take some thinking...