Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Florida 2011

Katie and I decided to go to Florida to spend some time with my parents and to enjoy the beautiful weather - and we were not disappointed on either count! We arrived on Saturday the 12th and were immediately impressed with the warm weather and sunny skies which continued for our entire stay!

During the first part of our trip we stayed at my parents' house in St. Augustine. One of the first things we did was stop at a running store, Jacksonville Running Company, for me to reboot my running career after the debilitating achilles debacle of last Fall. They did a video analysis of my stride and diagnosed me with overpronation and recommended the Asics GT-2160 which so far has worked wonders. I was able to run several times in Florida and roughly three times a week since. No more outlet mall running shoes for me!

Other highlights of the trip include bowling at Latitude 30, watching DVDs from my Dad's extensive collection, checking out the Sensus (my employer) water meter technology in my parents' neighborhood, walking around downtown St. Augustine, and visiting the Alligator Farm. The Alligator Farm was outstanding and is much more than just alligators, it is more like a zoo with a focus on alligators and crocodiles. It features every single alligator and crocodile species on the planet, a very impressive rookery, tortoises and other reptiles, birds, and even other animals like tapirs. They even have a zipline which I'd like to try some day. The frenzied alligator feeding was definitely the highlight of our visit!

On Thursday we drove down to Sunrise where we stayed for the south Florida part of our trip. On Friday we went to a Spring Training game in Jupiter where the Marlins played the Astros. I hadn't been to a Spring Training game since 1990 and I was reminded that it really is a great way to watch professional baseball! The game was great, albeit one-sided (the Astros totally dominated). It was an afternoon game and all of us got a little sunburn, in my case despite the fact that I used sunblock. I could definitely tell the difference between the Florida sun and the Idaho sun on this trip! After the game we drove through Palm Beach and stopped at the Flagler Museum, a converted estate. Sadly we couldn't visit because we arrived right as it was closing. However the view from outside was impressive enough!

Saturday we visited the other Miami (not the one in Manitoba). We were hoping to walk around South Beach but the area was totally packed and congested - it must have been the Spring Break crowds? After struggling to find somewhere to park, we instead we went over the main part of Miami and stopped at the Bayside for lunch and a walk along the waterfront. Bayside is right near the cruise terminal and was clearly a tourist shopping area. Once we checked everything out, we headed down to Key Biscayne to visit Cape Florida State Park. The causeway leading over there is beautiful as was the beach and historic lighthouse in the state park at the south end of Key Biscayne. The beach was super popular and for good reason! From there we headed back to Sunrise and a dinner at Scruby's was our final meal of the vacation.

Despite not wanting to leave, on Sunday the 20th we flew out of Ft. Lauderdale and returned to Boise with its 40 degree temperatures and rain. Boo!

Florida Vacation Pictures!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baby Vickery!

As most (if not all) of our "loyal readers" now know, Zach & I are expecting an addition to the family in the Fall! My official due date is Sept. 11, 2011 - yes, the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. Fingers crossed that the big day doesn't actually end up being that, although apparently 9/11 is also National Grandparents Day in the US, which would be fitting!

So far everything has gone fairly smoothly - no nausea/vomiting (knock on wood), and no other symptoms that have caused much discomfort...yet! I'm definitely not looking forward to July & August, as hot as it gets in Idaho, but I'm trying not to think that far ahead :-) We had an ultrasound last week & everything looked good - the heartbeat was strong & the baby was bouncing up & down doing lunges & using me as a trampoline. That better not continue, kid! I will not be amused!! We'll keep you all posted as things progress.

Here's a shot of the wee little Vickery spawn...currently looking suspiciously like a bobble-headed alien. Hopefully that changes before the big day ;-)In addition to the exciting announcement, we've also been lucky enough to be spending the week in Florida with Jan & Ron. The weather has been insanely gorgeous - in the high 60's & low 70's (15-20 Celsius) since we got here on Saturday afternoon, and should be climbing even higher later this week...not too shabby! We could definitely get used to this kind of weather, especially considering it's March...I know our Manitoba readers are likely more than a little envious of the Florida readers/visitors, what with the recent blizzard. Sounds like it's time for Spring to make an appearance!

On Sunday night we went out for a celebration dinner to an excellent Italian restaurant in Jacksonville, Enza's, along with Jan's friend Susan. The food was delicious - Zach had Grouper (a white fish that we can't get in the Northwest) and I had a grilled chicken & veggie dish with a garlic sauce. Everyone's food looked wonderful, we'll definitely need to go back next time we're in town!
Here's a shot of the group at dinner:
We've also enjoyed a lovely lunch at Ted's Montana Grill (owned by Ted Turner), which is known for serving Bison in addition to Beef & Chicken. Zach & I are big fans of Bison, but Jan & Ron had never tried it before. They really enjoyed it, too! Bison is a healthier alternative to Beef - you get the meatiness of beef without any greasiness. It's much leaner, with lower calories, fat & cholesterol than beef, and is higher in iron & protein, so it's a great alternative.
Now that my apparent endorsement for the National Bison Council is over, back to your regularly scheduled blog...
Apart from these delicious meals, we've also checked out Whole Foods (Boise is getting a Whole Foods this year, so it was great to see Jacksonville's version in anticipation of Boise's), as well as Jacksonville's Costco, which is MUCH bigger than Boise's, and I found a whole bunch of interesting stuff we don't get. It's always nice to comparison shop!
Today we went to Latitude 30, a restaurant combined with a bowling alley, pool tables & an arcade. Zach & I bowled a game (he whooped my butt, but if it had been 5-pin - which doesn't exist in the US - I'm certain I would have been victorious), and then Ron & Jan joined us in the arcade & we played skee-ball, air-hockey & did some faux-NASCAR driving. All in all, it was a fun time, and would be a great option for a birthday party!
Tomorrow, we have plans to check out the St Augustine Alligator Farm & maybe Jacksonville Beach - we'll be sure to get some pictures for all to enjoy! On Thursday, we head down to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami for a few days, which should be awesome - I can't wait to see all the Art Deco architecture, the Cuban culture & what will likely be some amazing food!

We'll post more once we're back from the trip...we have to say goodbye to Ron & Jan on Sunday morning & fly out of Ft. Lauderdale back to Boise :-( but we're SO glad to be down here soaking up the family time & sharing the big news!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


On Monday I picked up my first ever pair of glasses. I was actually quite surprised to see how much of a difference they made in my distance vision - time had eroded my concept of clear visibility (especially at night) and it was stunning to suddenly get it back.

Anyway, here is the (eagerly awaited?) picture:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Recent Happenings

On the 20th of February, I left Boise in the morning for a 5 day business trip to Raleigh, the location of my employer's headquarters. It was a very productive trip as we discussed various strategic topics regarding our future product development. On Tuesday a group of us attended a Carolina Hurricanes game, which was great entertainment. The Hurricanes tragically lost to the Rangers in an overtime shootout despite holding a lead late in the 3rd period.

Before leaving town, we took a quick tour of downtown and checked out the North Carolina capitol and environs. It dates from 1840 which makes it far older than the much more impressive looking Idaho State Capitol!

North Carolina Legislative Building

After getting home late Thursday night, I worked Friday and proceeded to attend the Boise Code Camp on Saturday. That was an all-day affair and was a good learning experience despite me not winning any of the raffle prizes.

On Monday we had a patio cover installed, which turned out pretty well. Of course now I have to stain it...

Finally, I went to the eye doctor today for the first time in roughly 15 years. I've noticed my distance vision getting worse and I nearly failed the eye test for my recent driver's license renewal. Needless to say, the prescription was glasses. They will arrive next week, thus ending my glasses free existence.