Monday, June 14, 2010


Em and I went to Chicago this past weekend to see the first Phish show of the summer tour at Toyota Park. It was one of the best weekend getaways I've had in a long time.
We decided to try taking the Megabus instead of driving. I would suggest this to anyone who was taking a short trip. It was a 6 hour ride to Chicago, and that is about as long as I would want to be on the bus. Overall, it was comfortable, easy and cheap. The A/C on our bus went out on the way up, and it got pretty toasty. That's really the only complaint I have about the whole thing.
We went to the show and stayed with our friends John and Cristin (our in-laws thrice removed?). As soon as we got off the bus, we walked to the hotel where Cristin works. She was just getting off as we arrived. From there, we had to bust it across town in a cab to meet up with John. He was waiting for us at a bar that was running shuttles to and from the concert. Our group was about 10 strong, and the rest of the bus was filled with strangers. I think there were about 6 or 7 buses leaving from this bar. Now, I'm not going to go in to a lot of details about what goes on in a party bus on the way to a Phish show, but let's just say that it is a pretty wild place to be. It's flat-out weird on the way back home.
The stadium was cool, and the show was great. It was filled with classics and even a couple songs I've never seen live (yep, even after close to 40 shows). I won't get all Phish nerdy on you since I know most of you won't know/care about anything that I'm talking about, but I am going to throw in the set list.....
SET 1. Down with Disease, Wolman's Brother, Possum, Boogie on Reggae Woman, Reba, Jesus Just Left Chicago, The Divided Sky, Golgi Apparatus, David Bowie
Set 2. Light>Maze, Ghost>Limb by Limb, Prince Caspian, The Horse>Silent in the Morning, Antelope, Show of Life
ENCORE. Cavern>Julius
The rest of the weekend was spent chillin' with Cristin and John. They live downtown, so they are close to everything. The Chicago Blues Festival was going on in Grant Park, so that's how we spent most of our Saturday (after a long morning/early afternoon of relaxing in their apartment and listening to/breaking down the show from the night before). The Blues Fest was a great time, and we followed that up with sushi and sake at a thai place near their apartment.
We had a great time and A LOT of laughs with those guys. I can't wait for the next time we have an excuse to visit Chi-town. Now we're home in time to do some laundry and start packing for our trip to OBX for the Full-Bra wedding extravaganza.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Matters of the Heart

Alright, I've been thinking about whether or not to blog about this, and I guess I'm going to go for it.

Some of you may know about this, and it may be a surprise to others (if anyone even reads this blog at all). This summer, July 13th to be exact, I will be having open heart surgery. Yep, real deal, cracked sternum, two-month-recovery heart surgery.

It all started about five years ago when I began working out and running on a regular basis. As I ran, I began noticing a numbness in my finger tips. If I kept going (which I usually did), the numbness would move up my arm and eventually lead to a sharp pain in my chest. I basically just wrote this off as weakness or a result of being out of shape. Looking back, this was a pretty stupid mentality. This went on for the next few years. Every time I would hike (which was actually what I was doing the very first time I felt the sensation), ride a bike, carry stuff up and down stairs or anything else that required much exertion, I would feel the numbness.

After Emily and I had been dating for a while, I told her about my situation. Being a nurse (and a clear-thinking human being), this didn't sit too well with her. I often made jokes with our friends about the "stick in my heart" and basically just laughed it off. She never laughed. After some time passed, we decided that it was time to get serious and get it checked out.

At the risk of writing a long, boring post, I'm going to leave it at that for now. I want to go in to more details about the actual problem, but Em isn't here and I can't remember the terminology. I'll be back soon with the details of the events that led up to us knowing that I need surgery.

I'm not sure why I feel the need to make all of this public. Maybe I could just use another place to vent my feelings, or maybe I want an easy forum to keep interested parties informed. Whatever the reason, if it leads you to pray, then please pray. If you have questions, feel free to ask (it's not really a touchy subject with Emily or me anymore as we have gotten pretty used to the fact that it's happening). If it inspires you to buy me Phish tickets for the fall tour to celebrate my recovery, then, by all means, feel free to do so. If it's a downer and you want to stop reading until its all over, well, I would certainly understand that, too. I'm sure I'll be writing about road trips and wearing my brother-in-laws underwear to Reds games again in no time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This One Must Have Just Missed the Grammys....

48 Down

As you may or may not know, Emily and I just returned home from a whirlwind trip to Fargo, North Dakota. Spring Break 2010!! As most people would, you might be wondering what in the heck is in Fargo. Well, not much. The exciting part of the trip wasn't the city itself, but the reason for the trip instead.

A few years back, I became obsessed with road trips. Every chance I got I was hopping in the car and getting out of town. More often than not, I travelled for concerts. Sometimes I did it just for vacation. I try to make as little plans as possible and just figure it out as I go. Some of my most memorable road trips are as follows (in chronological order as best as I can remember)......

1. Cincy > the Rockies > the Tetons > South Dakota > back to Cincy

2. New Orleans (3 times)

3. Cincy to Vegas.

4. The East Coast, to Bar Harbor, Maine. This trip included a pilgrimage to a bar called Nectar's in Burlington Vermont - a college bar where Phish played and recorded many of there first shows.

5. A flight in to San Francisco, a drive up the coast with a flight home from Seattle.

6. A flight in to Reno, Nevada with some time spent in Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National park with a flight home from Los Angeles.

7. A round trip flight in and out of Denver with a road trip though Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and New Mexico in between.

8. And, most recently, Cincy to Fargo with stops in Iowa City and a brief tour of Emily's childhood town, Champaign, IL.

These are just a few of my big trips. Sprinkled throughout are numerous small trips and mini-Phish tours.

Let me get to the point. A few years ago, I realized that I had a lot of states under my belt and decided that I would make sure to hit all of the lower 48 states by the time I was 30. I think I was about 25 at the time. I made it to all of them except North Dakota. Honestly, I had no idea why I would go to North Dakota, and I kinda doubted that I would pull it off.

That's where Emily came in. A while back, I told her about my goal, and she said "so when are we going to North Dakota?" She was immediately on board to help me finish it. Being that I turn 30 in a couple months, we decided that it was time to get on the road. We planned on going up back in February. The day before we were to leave, we realized, well, that it was February and we would be insane to go to Fargo in the middle of the winter. We opted for a weekend getaway in South Carolina instead (another great trip to the only other state that I was yet to visit). We made plans to hit North Dakota this past weekend.

So, there you have it. A goal met with not much time to spare. I have a million stories I could tell about the time I've spent on the road, and I plan to have a million more before I'm done. The continental united States is done. Now, it's on to the rest of the world.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


From time to time, I get obsessed with things. Long ago, it was Star Wars. When I got a little older, it was BMX bikes, then rock climbing (mostly indoor or in trees using all of the gear). A few months back, Cirque du Savory controlled the majority of my free thoughts. Most recently, I had a brief obsession about what it takes to look like a real lumber jack.

These days, my primary obsession is grad school. I can't stop thinking about it. I can spend hours at a time on line looking at different schools and their programs. When I see a school I like, I start looking at prices of apartments near the school and lists of hospitals near by that might need an amazing nurse.

I don't think its the actual thought of grad school that has me so obsessed. I think its the idea of adventure and change. Its not knowing where Em and I might be in a year that gets me all worked up. I'm not good at sitting still for too long. I mean, I moved out of my mom's house when I was 17, and I've lived in 14 different places since. The thought of possibly moving to a completely different part of the country, and especially doing that with my amazing lady, has me pretty excited. Obviously, I want to go to a good school, but location is playing a huge role in the schools we are considering.

The thought of moving isn't the only thing that makes me excited, though. It's also the idea of putting hard work to use. I'll explain. I got my job at Ford because my grandpa worked there. When I left, I started going to Raymond Walters which doesn't exactly have stringent enrollment requirements. I later transferred to main campus, and worked hard to keep my GPA high. Now, I'm looking at grad schools and teacher assistantships. The idea is to get in to a good school AND to get it paid for. For once, I am trying to reap the benefits of something that I have actually worked for. I've honestly never been in this position before, and its exciting.

Anyway, sorry this isn't a very exciting post. I just needed a break from looking at college websites and university rankings. I better get back to it.