Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend in Williamsburg. We were dog-sitting for my boss so Annie had the distinct pleasure of having a playmate 24-7! She and Obi, a shih tzu, had a grand time chasing each other around the house in circles and going on walks together:

Although Annie and Obi got along swimmingly we think that Annie was secretly glad when Obi left so that she would no longer have to share our affections or attention with another dog.

Things are good in our neighborhood, but there have been complaints about partying and even a recent article in the Virginia Gazette about the "trouble on Indian Springs". Don't worry; we don't live at 117 Indian Springs Road mentioned in the article so we weren't (directly) fingered in the partying complaints. Although I wonder what the neighbors would say if they saw Annie's most recent celebrations while strolling through the 'hood.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Dan and I just got back from beautiful Curacao in the Caribbean. Our hotel was centrally located on the outskirts of Rif Fort in Willemstad. Dan was attending the Association of Caribbean Historians Conference while I was enjoying the beautiful island. What did I do while Dan was attending his meeting? On a typical day I would start the day lounging at the hotel's luxurious salt water infinity pool.
Where Mary could be found lounging
Sailboat in the ocean

Then I would leave the hotel and venture through historic Rif Fort (which has been turned into a tourist trap of bars, restaurants, shops and ice cream stores). After a quick walk over the pedestrian foot bridge I'd make my way to downtown Willemstad. Curacao was a colorful island not only downtown but all over the island buildings were vividly painted.
Rif Fort

Bright beautiful Willemstad from the floating footbridge
In Willemstad I did lots of exploring which I will detail in my next post. For dinners we enjoyed tropical drinks and lots of seafood. For lunch Dan snuck away one day with me to hunt down Willemstad's highly recommended lunch markets. We shared a delicious creole dish featuring plantains, saltfish, rice & beans and a coconut soda to wash it all down.
Yes there's blue Curacao in that drink!

Dan enjoying a scrumptious lunch

The people of Curacao are amazing - not only are they fluent in four(!) languages (English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamentu) they are also incredibly nice. Highlights of the trip include a trip into the island to learn the history of the 1795 slave rebellion, a day at the beach, touring Curacao's slavery museum and of course the annual conference fete! More to come . . .

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Queen City of the Ozarks

Dan and I just got back from Springfield, MO where we were looking for a new home for Annie (and us). Dan has accepted a tenure track teaching position at Drury University.

Before we found a place to live we had to explore downtown Springfield. First on our list was discovering the local cupcake shops - luckily they have two downtown!

Amycakes Bakery

The Cup Bakery
We sampled the Cup's treats but will have to wait until we move to Mizzou to sample Amycake's cupcakes. Did you know that Springfield is the birthplace of Route 66? We walked along historic Route 66 which runs right through the downtown Park Central Square.

Historic Route 66

Park Central Square

The downtown area was cute and had a bunch of fun, funky coffee shops, antique shops and artsy stores in addition to bars and restaurants.

City Mural in front of Historic Theater
Me in Park Central Square

We had a great time visiting with Dan's future colleagues and had a whirlwind trip of house hunting - we looked at rentals, lofts and lots of homes! In the end we found an adorable brick bungalow in a great neighborhood and we made an offer that has been accepted contingent on the owners having their offer on a new house accepted - hopefully this time next week we will be under contract on a new house for little Miss Annie! It has a great big fenced backyard for the pup to dig lots of holes in :-)
House we made an offer on

Going Ape

- Guest blogged by Annie - 

After you've turned thirty, new birthdays can be "Ruff" ;) So it's always a good idea to celebrate your birth like you did when you were a kid, just to temporarily ward off the ever-maddening reflections on death that only grow stronger with each passing year. It was Mary's birthday a few weeks back, and she and Dan celebrated by "Going Ape.": http://goape.com/

"Go Ape" is a ropes and obstacle course built into the treetops. To give you a better sense of how radical and Xtreme it is, here is a video of Mary zip-lining on it:

Two Apes 

"Go Ape" should not be confused with "Go Monkey" which is a less evolved, more primordial form of tree-based ropes courses popular in the nineteenth century:

Safety is priority number one at "Go Ape." Well, priority number two after Xtreme Adventure! Then again, it's really priority number three after Xtreme Adventure, and Xtreme Profits (it ain't the cheapest form of entertainment, if you didn't catch my drift).

Dan, scoffing at the required "safety training" needed before scaling the trees

The course started out easy enough, with some simple wooden bridges to cross.  Mary and Dan didn't seem to have too many problems here:

Things got real - real Ape, that is - when they had to start jumping off platforms, onto awaiting nets:

Plummeting fifteen feet on a harness into an awaiting net - as apes do - definitely put Mary into the celebratory mood.  The next set of obstacles, however, proved to be some of the most difficult.  Walking across a set of hanging rings was perhaps more frustrating than fun, but the sense of accomplishment made Mary realized that life is like a ropes course: sometimes you get the chance to jump, metaphorically, into a set of rope-nets; other times you have to carefully traverse the proverbial series of rings foot by foot.  

Now she knows why apes are some of the most contemplative and existentially tortured of the greater primates.  By the end, though, Mary was a pro.  She walked across many of the obstacles without any hands - and also without a tail, just like all apes.

Dan, on the other hand, wished he had a tail for even greater safety assurance.  He kept up his spirit, however, and eventually took the lead:

Such hubris eventually got the better of him, though.  When he reached the last zip-line, he insisted that he could do it without the safety rope:

He will be missed.

Happy Birthday Mary!