Posts Tagged ‘tina’

Happy Birthday to Me, and Gratitude in Pictures

Happy birthday to me!

I haven’t always been a huge birthday person, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more and more into them. It’s funny. I am now 34 years old, officially in my mid-30s, and I feel younger than ever.

I have decided to post a few things I am grateful for.

I am grateful for my amazing wife. I adore her more each and every day. I see far too many people unhappily married around me, and I am so grateful I get to come home to my best friend. Life is smooth sailing with Tina, and I love everything about our marriage.

I am grateful for our healthy pregnancy. We are also having our first child later this year, and I am choosing today, my birthday, to announce our baby’s sex.

We’re having a boy! For some reason, I was convinced that Moon Pie was a girl, but I was proven wrong, and I could care less. I can’t wait to have a son. I look forward to playing catch, going on hikes, teaching him how to shave and how to tie a necktie, and even the birds and bees talk. I want to have an amazing relationship with my son, and I am grateful that I have the tools and abilities to do so.

I am grateful for my health. My weight is slowly but steadily dropping (I actually posted a loss today, but I’m going to share it tomorrow). I can walk. I can lift weights. I am strong, and I am getting stronger daily.

I am grateful for my job. I work with amazing colleagues who I value as friends, including one I’m writing a book with this summer! I have the most amazing boss ever. I enjoy what I do. I don’t dread Sundays like I used to (because Sunday meant Monday was almost there). Maybe it was because my lost two jobs were utter hell, but for whatever reason, I am grateful for everything about my job, even the stacks of grading papers I have to do.

I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. I have so many amazing friends and family members.

I am grateful that I live in a country where I can share my thoughts freely and worship as I choose, without fear of punishment. I am also grateful for the men and women who have died for me to have this right.

I am grateful for my sense of humor, and I love that my wife shares it. We have spent hours laughing together at stupid cat pictures, lame jokes, awful horror movies, and other random crap that I’ve never seen anyone else but me laugh at. I don’t believe in soulmates, but if I did, she would be mine, because I’ve never met anyone as well suited to be my partner.

(Sorry. We really like funny cat pictures.)

I am grateful for the Hunger Games. Don’t judge. Book and movie were both awesome.

I am grateful Tina is not into Twilight, and in fact hates it even more than I do. Bella makes me sad and a little angry.

I’m grateful that Tina heartily endorses my desire to become a Power Ranger tolerates my obsession of the Power Rangers.

I am just grateful, and I need to be more grateful everyday.

And to close, happy birthday to me!

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367 Weigh-In: Friday the 13th

I am now at 367! Actually, I’m a bit below that. Yesterday, my weight was 367.03, but it hadn’t quite reached 367, so I waited, expecting today would be the day. It was, and then some. 366.73. Woo hoo! Let’s see how quickly I can get down to 366.

One pound gone forever! Hallelujah!

Oh, and it’s Friday the 13th! For horror buffs like myself, today is a national holiday.

I’m just going to give a quick hodgepodge of points today.

As you may know, my wife is pregnant with our first child. Our official public announcement of our pregnancy was via a fake horror movie trailer. Well, it’s fitting that today, on Friday the 13th, we found out the sex of our baby. I’ll post a more detailed post in a few days about it. If you are friends with me on facebook, you’ll find out sooner, if you are so interested. And if you aren’t friends with me on facebook, why not? Friend me!

I am dealing with some major stiffness. Some time ago, I was diagnosed with a slipped disk in my lower back. I went to the chiropractor for several months and my resulting leg pain was pretty much eliminated. Well, stiffness is creeping into my OTHER leg, and I expect my weight and related back issues have something to do with it. I’m going to start going back to the chiropractor to see if I can get adjusted. Best yet, I found a chiropractor here in town who addresses more than just physical ailments. She also deals with nutrition, emotional therapy (of sorts), and holistic healing. Yeah, it’s a little granola hippie crunchy, but really… so am I. I’m looking forward to starting that soon, hoping that the combination of losing weight and a few good back crackings might get me back on the right path.

Despite my back pain, I am still making my way through my bracket. As a result of my stiffness, I do have to modify some of the movements, but fortunately, I know enough that I can easily do that without giving up my workout. Yay sweat! I am quite behind in my posting (I think, as of right now, I have three match-ups to post), and in the coming days, I’ll try to catch up.

That’s all for now. Talk to you soon!

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Date Night: Sips ‘n Strokes

With a baby on the way (five and a half months to go and counting), we know that our Date Nights are going to be limited. Granted, we have parents who will jump at the chance to baby sit for us, but we know that, like every other couple since the beginning of time, baby equals less couple time.

As a result, Tina and I try to go on a date night every week, even if it something as simple as just packing up our dinner and going out for a picnic.

Our date nights sometimes just consist of going to a “nice” restaurant. (I should note that for us, a nice restaurant is typically just one that has cloth napkins. I’m not talking gourmet dining – think more Ruby Tuesday with a coupon. Hey, we’re trying to be frugal, too!)

But last night, we did something we’ve never done before.

We went to Sips ‘n Strokes.

Sips ‘n Strokes is basically a painting studio where everyone is painting the same thing, guided by an instructor. Oh, and the Sips refers to the fact that you can bring in your own alcohol and get plastered while you are painting.

I’m not much of a drinker. Tina is pregnant (but otherwise could drink me under the table). As a result, we were more into the painting than the drinking last night.

This was so much fun! The painting last night was a bit of a musical abstract, and after three hours, this is what Tina and I ended up with. We could not be more pleased!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tina and I have had five Valentine’s together.

She’s the only woman I’ve ever had a Valentine’s Day with.

Here’s to the last five and the next seventy or eighty I plan to share with her.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Window Seat: Antigua Honeymoon, Day Two, 10.10.10

I have decided to consolidate all of my blogs, mostly because I can’t keep up with them. On one of my rarely updated Travel Blogs “The Window Seat,” I had some really nice posts about our honeymoon over a year and a half ago. I don’t want to lose those, so I am slowly migrating those posts here. This is the post for Day Two. You can read about Day One as well.

This is copied and pasted exactly as it was written in Antigua, back in October of 2010.

* * *

Again note – This was written while in Antigua on my iPad, hence the reason for any weird verb tenses. I’ve decided not to really edit, because I want to capture what I wrote while I was there.


We got up nice and early at seven o’clock. Okay, that’s really not that early, but things don’t open here until about 7:30, and Tina and I don’t want to miss anything. We can sleep when we get home in Kentucky and aren’t paying so much for a room.

The fountain outside our room…

The little lizards that are EVERYWHERE!

We went to Bayside Restaurant for their breakfast buffet, and it was beautiful. We were given mimosas as soon as we walked in, and we were allowed to seat ourselves, as it was a buffet. There were only a handful of couples in the restaurant, and they were all seated in tables closest to the open wall facing the sea. We chose likewise. Slightly warm (but really, I sweat in the dead of winter, so of course I’m going to sweat in the tropics), but there was a nice breeze off of the ocean. It was so much fun just sitting by the beach, listening to the waves, while we were eating breakfast.

They had a huge fruit spread, a tray table of typical breakfast foods (i.e. – french toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, etc.), and a table for cereal and oatmeal. The oatmeal was a make-it-yourself arrangement, and it was pretty interesting. One part that I found really neat was that the bar also had vases filled with guppies! There was also an omelet bar, but we were entirely too full by the time we were done to visit it.

Vases of guppies…

Lots of fruit…


My first trip was pretty standard breakfast food that I had to try because I had been craving them for weeks. First plate was scrambled eggs with mushrooms, hash brown, bacon, sausage links, french toast with the most amazing warmed syrup I believe I’ve ever had, and a fried plantain. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the plantain, but the rest was quite tasty.

My plate…

Tina’s plate…

For my second plate, I decided to do mostly fruits. I could tell I was already getting full, but I had to try some fresh fruit. Watermelon, kiwi (served, not in slices, but in halves!), sugar cane (I had never eaten raw, but quite interesting to bite and suck out the juice), pineapple, star fruit, and passion fruit. I had no idea what passion fruit looked like, and it was pretty ugly (looked quite nasty, actually) but it is now one of my favorite fruits! When I came to the table with it, I announced ugly fruit, which Tina interpreted as they actually had Ugli Fruit, which is one of our favorite fruits. Alas, they did not, but the passion fruit more than made up for it.

Me eating Passion Fruit…

Random pastries Tina got on her second trip…

Oh, and Tina made a new friend that she christened Boots. He just kind of roamed around the outdoor portion of the restaurant.

Funny lid on a box of sugar in the restaurant…

Random pictures from around the resort that morning…

We spent some time in the pool as well, slathering on sun screen repeatedly, even though we felt like we were already burning. The sun is bright here. It was nice just laying by the pool and reading, though.

We went to go sign up for an excursion, as we had gotten some money for the wedding with the directions “Enjoy on your honeymoon.” We signed up for one tour on Wednesday, later found out it was already full, but then changed that to a similar tour called Bird Island which sounds even better. We’re doing that on Thursday.

We had a spa appointment that we had later in the day, so we decided to track down the spa so we weren’t looking for it right before we were due. Near it, they had hot and cold plunge pools. Holy crap. One was hotter than a hot tub and the other was seriously probably fifty degrees or colder. Either way, it definitely made your skin tingle.

Following that, we decided to take another swim as the swim-up bar was open. Big mistake. I had gotten too much sun and apparently not drank enough water, because two drinks (which normally will not wipe me out) made me feel AWFUL. I don’t know how alcoholics do it, because when I get to feeling that weird, I just turn into a big ole baby. I seriously contemplated making myself throw up, but Tina suggested that eating lunch would help. (For the record, the two drinks were a Chocolate Monkey and a Mai Tai. We’ve done an all-inclusive before, and the drinks there were very watered down and were basically just smoothies. I’m okay with that. Here, they use lots of alcohol.)

We went back to Barefoot for lunch, this time with Tina getting the Jamaican Jerk Chicken and potato wedges, while I got a chicken baguette sandwich and fries. Both were delicious, and the bread definitely helped soak up the alcohol and made me feel tons better. For dessert, she got a Banana Coconut Pastry and I got roasted apple with vanilla ice cream. Both were good, but Tina once again picked the better dessert.

At 12:30, there was an activity called Bracelet Making, and I had the idea that making bracelets could be transformed into cool Christmas decorations later. Only a handful of people were at the activity, but it was still fun. My bracelet is pretty random and… well, odd, while Tina’s made hers have a nice pattern. Regardless, it was still fun.

The pavilion where we did bracelet making…

The bracelet I made for Tina…

The anklet Tina made for herself…

We got some pizzas to have in the room in case we get the munchies (one all cheese, the other Mexican), and we took a short power nap before we went to the spa for our Champagne Celebration.

*sigh* I SO miss their pizzas…


A picture of the outside of Red Lane Spa later, at evening…

The Champagne Celebration was pretty amazing. Tina and I were escorted to different changing rooms when we got there to put on robes and sandals, as well as fill out a little questionnaire on any problems we were experiencing we wanted addressed and how much pressure we wanted, ranging from light to deep tissue. I chose medium; I’ve heard deep tissue is pretty rough if you aren’t used to it. My robe was pretty tight – they did a decent job of estimating my size, but while it fit, it didn’t fit well enough that I would be comfortable parading around nude in it in a public-ish place. As a result, after I put my robe on, I also put my swim trunks BACK on.

Our masseuses were Kadie-Ann (for me) and Jeana (for Tina). They were warm, friendly, professional, and still joking, which was a good thing. The first thing I told Kadie-Ann was that I had never really had a massage. She promptly got a faux shocked look on her face and said, “You’re a spa virgin?” She assured me it would all be good, and I asked if I should keep my trunks on. I was informed that massages should always be trunk-less, if you want it to be a good massage.

We were given a moment to get under the sheet, and then they came in and gave us a full body massage. I wasn’t sure what type of a massage it was going to be, but they basically covered us head to toe, front to back. Very professional, and while I’m sure Kadie-Ann saw every square inch of what God gave me (poor girl), they also did a good job of keeping the sheet strategically-ish located so we didn’t feel completely exposed. Even the “turn over” portion of the massage was very well handled and not at all awkward, as I had feared it would be.

I should also mention the room; it was gorgeous, covered in candles and flowers. There was even flowers under the “face hole” in the table for me to look at, although to be honest, I was so blissed out during the massage, I kept my eyes shut.

Following our massage, they directed us to our bubble bath, filled with bath salts. They even escorted us into the tub while still “sort of” maintaining privacy with sheets. Again, I’m sure they saw everything, but I choose to, I can pretend the towel they held up provided privacy. And then we were given about twenty minutes to just relax in the hot tub and drink champagne and eat fresh fruit. They even provided grapes still on the stem, and it was a lot of fun to feed them to each other. Fruit tray also came with watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, and blueberries.

After the bath, one came back in and helped us get out without flashing her. It actually worked pretty well, and we were then left alone to dry off and change back into our robes. We were also given a pretty low-pressure sales pitch on some of the oils they used today, and one smelled so good and is for the release of stress, aches, and pains, so we bought it. Twenty bucks, and it was a pretty big bottle, so I consider it money well spent.

We left feeling EXTREMELY relaxed and mellow. I’ll be honest; I was very skeptical about the massage, as I’m supremely ticklish, but except for when she was massaging my upper arms, chest, and armpit area, it was fine. She used firm enough pressure that no tickle sensation was created. It was definitely worth doing.

A rainbow before we went to the spa…

The sunset view from our room after the spa…


Couples photo before dinner…

A cool dragonfly we saw on the way to dinner…

After the experience at the spa, we went to Bayside for the Steak House Buffet Dinner.

Tina enjoying her glass of water…

The only part of the buffet was soup, salad, and dessert, but the salad bar was pretty amazing. It was by no means a standard salad bar; there was even some type of seafood salad that had some type of calamari in it. Very delicious. The main salad bar also didn’t have any dressings that I recognized, so I got something that was yellowish and quite good. Tina got the caesar dressing, which I did not because I really dislike caesar. However, this caesar dressing was amazing. I wish I had gotten it.

Our salads…

Me sweating at the table, even after the sun has set (and really ecstatically happy, for some reason)…

The one downside we’ve found to this place is that service is SLOW. Perhaps that is because tips aren’t allowed? At Aventura Spa Palace in Cancun, you were allowed to tip, which we did, and service was pretty speedy. Here, it’s often quite slow, and I’ve yet to be able to actually drink my fill of any beverage (except for at the swim-up bar, and I don’t see myself doing that again).

The food, though, is absolutely incredible! Tina ordered the rack of lamb, which came with couscous and steamed vegetables. Oh God. Delicious. I ordered the surf and turf, which was honestly one of the most amazing steaks I have ever had. It even beat the one from last night, which was also pretty freaking amazing. It was served with mashed potatoes and the same steamed vegetables that came with Tina’s. The serving, though, was pretty small, which actually works out quite well because we’re going to Eleanor’s at 9.

Tina’s dinner…

My dinner…

We also shared four different desserts – a creme brulee, chocolate cherry cake, some type of chocolate mousse, and a little pecan pie-type treat. So good! (Not sure why the pictures came out so blurry…)

Eleanor’s is one of the restaurants on the resort that requires reservations. You can’t always get reservations, so we decided to take the 9 o’clock slot in case there aren’t any later in the week. Frankly, we’re so active here, I’m finding myself starving all the time, and I promised myself from the beginning that I was going to eat what I wanted and just make up for it with exercise. (I did weigh myself at the spa. Weight is about the same, so maybe I’m doing something right. I definitely need to work on drinking more water, though. I’m sure I’m dehydrated here.)

Quick break from the evening to watch The Simpsons, decompress a little, and then we’re heading out to eat again.


When we came back to the room from dinner, we found that they had left some towel swans and flowers petals on our bed. Nice touch. (I also just realized that I forgot to take photos of it, apparently.)

Quick funny story that happened while we were watching The Simpsons. Tina has some OLD nail polish on her toes that is pretty cracked. She wasn’t able to get a pedicure the day of her wedding, so the nail polish was quite literally a few days old. She brought nail polish with her, but no nail polish remover. So what does my new wife do? She uses gin from the room’s concierge bar to take it off! And it actually worked really well. In her own words, she’s MacGuyverWife!

Eleanor’s was a very elegant dining experience. Unfortunately, I must disclaim one quick thing. I sweat. A lot. Even at night, when it isn’t really that hot, it’s just so humid, I find myself literally pouring with sweat. So all of my photos are probably of me with a nice sheen of sweat on me. I’m definitely “glowing” here. That’s one thing that I am definitely hoping changes with more weight loss.

We had to walk to the other side of the resort to get to the restaurant (not really that far, but it’s still a bit of a walk), and of course, my face was drenched by the time we got there. Oh well. Small price to pay for getting to live in paradise for a week.

Table decoration…

The ceiling…


And me…

We shared a very small appetizer of coconut shrimp. It was literally three shrimp with a nice tropical fruit chutney. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a photo. Guess we were hungry. It was the best fried shrimp I have EVER had. I could have easily made an entire meal out of them.

Our second course was, for me, a Chilled Conch Salad. Fairly skimpy on the portion size (as I’m finding many things here are), but okay. It wasn’t something I would get again, but I’ve never had conch before (even though I dig the shells) and I wanted to try it.

Tina had coconut shrimp soup, served in a coconut halve and garnished with grilled shrimp. Hers was fantastic.

We each got grilled, Antiguan lobster for our main course. Apparently, these are caught locally, split, grilled, and served with butter, potatoes and peas, and some steamed veggies. I’ve only had lobster tail; this was a new experience, and it was excellent. I am definitely a fan of lobster, even if it is a bit tough to eat.

Our fourth course was dessert, which was bread pudding (just okay) and pineapple beignets served in a martini glass with vanilla ice cream (amazing!).

A lady singing in a band near the Caribbean bar…

A kitty friend that Tina made on our way back to the room…

Upon returning to the room, I made us a champagne-and-guava-pineapple-fruit drink. It may have a name; I don’t know, but we both liked it.

I think I’m finally full. We did lots of walking, some swimming, definitely some relaxing, and some sun. Neither of us burned, even though we got close. Tomorrow promises to be a great day of relaxing, lounging, reading, swimming, walking, and, of course, eating. I love Antigua!

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12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)