Friday, May 31, 2013

Da Gym

A couple of weeks ago I had this thought that I should post about the gym we (I) use.  I suppose I spend quite a bit of time there so I would definitely say it's part of the adventure here.  You'll agree especially after you see the photo evidence of it.  And since it's been raining like mad here this week I had a few good opportunities for getting some sweet pics of it. 

Elite Health and Fitness Club.  It sounds pretty fancy right?  It was one of 3 gyms to choose from here.  The other two were Anytime (Anycrime) Fitness and the local rec center.  I guess the main reason I settled on Elite was because it has some endless pools (I've used them once), and the classes were included in the monthly price (I've gone to one), and it was cheaper than Anytime and significantly nicer than the rec center.

That being's not that nice.  It caters a lot to the older people in the community - physical therapy, been around the longest here, etc.  Which is actually nice.  My later morning time of going there offers very little competition with any of the machines I want to use.  Lots of gray hairs counting laps around the 12 laps/mile track and using some of the "state of art" equipment :)  This is what you see after you walk through the foyer and pass the check in stand.  Always lots of older people hanging out at these tables for whatever reason.  The tiny door you can see on the left leads to weight room.  The next two pictures are of the equipment in the center of the track.  Weight machines to the left...cardio equipment to the right. 

There's a center area in between - room to do free weights or plyometric type stuff in boot camp classes or...if you're the skinny black kid I saw the other day...a great place for grooving to your dance moves in front of the mirror and not working out at all.
That's the weight room.  I always felt awkward standing there taking a picture.  Usually there's not that many people in there but the two times I went this week there were.  Mostly I'd just like to draw your attention to the "ghetto" in these and subsequent pictures.
 Can you tell the belt is slanting a bit to the right?  Not sure I'd recommend any 75 year old to use this one.  Or me for that matter. 
 Um...I'm not even sure what this piece of equipment is supposed to do.  I am baffled by it - but it does make for a great ledge for calf raises. 
 Ever seen any inner and outer thigh machines like this?  Probably because the only 2 left in existence are here in Williston. 
Sweet rowers, huh.  I don't even know if the one on the right functions.  Although the other one works nicely.
Anyone alive remember one of these bikes?  Haha.  Just kidding.  Tanner's family actually had one of these until his younger brother took it to some stoner's place of residence and it was never seen again...until now.  Not surprised the stoners ended up in Williston :) This gym is full of baffling things.  I'm not kidding.  This is just a mere smattering.  Oh - but we do have a climbing wall.  Holla.
 Look out Shane! (My wicked crazy climbing brother in law).  I'm gonna get some mad skillz on this thing. 
Oh crap.  We've sprung a leak.
Sweet pools huh?  They would be if they weren't heated to 95 degrees.  Doesn't make for the most enjoyable swimming workout.  Well - I guess the one time I used them it wasn't so bad because I couldn't swim longer than 5 minutes at a time anyway.  It is hindering my desire to get back into the swimming groove though.

I shouldn't be such a gym trash talker.  I just have been very spoiled by some other gyms in Utah.  Where there's actually water pressure in the showers.  And the water warms up before 5 minutes.  And there's towels if you forget one.  But it really has gotten the job done.  There are a few treadmills that work great and there's enough machines and free weights to do just about anything I need/want to do.  I am just BEYOND excited for the huge new rec center they are building.  There was a sweet video of what it's going to look like but it's not on the website anymore.  Dang.  But it looks awesome.  I hope it is as awesome as it sounds.  It will have indoor tennis courts and volleyball courts and a lap swimming pool and racquetball and batting cages and all manner of things.  All in one spot.  (Right now the racquetball court is in the rec separate, and the lap pool is in the high separate, and only open during the school year).  It's not supposed to be open till next Spring.  Hopefully it will be on time because I am seriously counting down the days.  It's my shining light here in Williston.  How pathetic is that?  Maybe a lot, but all the same...I am looking forward to it. 

And while we are on a little tour of some things in Williston - here's a piece of our classy movie theater.  We had a great double date tonight with the Andelin's - Buffalo Wild Wings - just opened...and then the movie Now You See Me.  Which was pretty good.  Let these pics speak for themselves...

It only costs $10 a ticket to use this gem.  Who's coming to visit?  Just kidding.  Remember my positive Williston post?  Me too.  I still like this place.  There's just some crazy stuff here. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A mini Minne Vaca

Minneapolis that is.  Oh my gosh it was so much fun!  We had been wanting to plan a trip out there to catch a few baseball games ever since we moved up here.  Didn't happen last year but we did book a trip a few months ago and the time for the journey finally came...and now unfortunately has went.  But we had a great time.  We had been worrying about the weather the whole week before going because it looked like a lot of rain.  We TOTALLY lucked out.  No rained out games. And we got to do everything we had hoped we'd be able to.  Here's a sampling of the pictures we took and a bit of our little travelogue - for anyone who cares :)

Waiting for the Metro to take us to the Mall of America
Tanner thought I looked ridiculous with my camera ready and backpack.  Yep - dead tourist give away.  As mentioned by several workers in different stores we went in.  Oh well.  I was a tourist.  Might as well own it, right?
Tanner loves Lego's.  So we had to hit the Lego store.  They had some sweet Lego sculptures.  I've never seen any up close and it was pretty impressive to see how realistic they were far away and how Lego-y they looked close up.  

These are cool Lego mosaics.

We made our Lego look alikes.  Pretty accurate, eh?

Let's see.  After wandering around the huge-ness that is Mall of America, we went to the Aquarium - which is also in the mall.  We got suckered in to purchasing a behind-the-scenes-tour after we went through the aquarium on our own.  But I do have to say it was absolutely worth it.  It was really cool!

Overall it was probably the coolest aquarium either of us have ever been in.  The touch pools were maybe not as awesome as they could have been but everything else was seriously awesome.  Especially the tunnel area.  Oh my gosh - so huge and long and soooo many cool fish and huge awesome sharks and rays.  And then we got to go on our own tour.  First was the lab.

 The guy up top is rehydrating brine shrimp.  Scoop em out and then let them spin for awhile to get reconstituted.  Then they dump them in another container (in the kitchen-pic in a few) where they continue to grow and then they take a turkey baster full and food the sea horses and jelly fish.  They said when the animals die for whatever reason, they like to save/preserve as much of them as they can.  They had a bunch of random parts - shark fins, jaws (where we saw all the cool layers of teeth that flip up when needed), etc.  Also that table that they are on can be used as animal surgery.  Yep - it's as crazy as it sounds.  They tuck the fish into Styrofoam packing kind of so they can flip them around and then they hook up their gills to water oxygen, give them some anesthetic and get to work.  They had a turtle there that got hit by a boat and it broke his shell so it got air in the layers of the shell and now his butt floats.  They keep gluing on a weight to him to help him swim better.  There's another turtle that has short fins (in the picture above).  Apparently they found him and some other turtles in a disturbed nest so it had some "birth defects".  Basically.  It was just so interesting to hear about all this stuff.
Then she took us on to the deck where they feed the fish and have other fish tanks for quarantine.  We weren't able to take pictures up there.  I tried to sneak a couple.  They didn't really turn out.  But there was a puffer fish she was telling us about that was the cutest thing ever.  She kept poking her head out of a big pvc pipe in the tank.  Apparently she has an anxiety disorder and every time she'd get put in a tank with other fish she'd puff up.  Well, that happened so many times, that she became perma-puffed.  Our tour guide said they tried to "burp" her to get her to go back down but with no success.  So now she just gets her own tank away from her anxiety sources.  So funny.  Little fish and their different "person"alities and temperaments.  They have another pool off of one of their big aquariums where they can keep bigger fish if needed.  It was open when we were there and while we were looking in one tank our tour guide turned and said pretty quickly and energetically to turn around!  (She had at one point mentioned snakes or something).  Tanner instantly thought the worst and he was going to get eaten by a snake so he jumped around/away so fast.  You did have to be there but it was REALLY funny.  She was just really excited because their 350lb sea turtle had swam into the little tank and we got a super up close view of her.  Oh my gosh so cool!  Then we got to walk around and see the aquariums from the tunnel walk from up above.  We got a way better view of the tropical fish and rays and the big sharks.  And we got to feed some turtles and fish from their freshwater aquarium.  This is my one stolen photo that turned out from up above.  I was bummed we couldn't get any of perma puff and the turtle.  Oh well - they're in my brain. 

Then to the kitchen for a look at the massive quantities of frozen fish and other stuff they feed all the watery wonders...
Brine shrimp bins

This is just the defrosting fridge.  They have a huge deep freezer where they can buy all their fish in bulk and keep frozen for as long as needed.  

Pretty wild stuff!  After that we got our sushi/asian fix in the mall.  Probably one of our most expensive lunch meals ever - and in a mall at that.  It was delish though and our server was sweet and gave us a free appetizer.  I like food pics.  Sorry...

Okay - Mall of America complete.  Whew.  Now off to the Marriott downtown.

View from our room and also half of the gym they had.  Definitely the biggest nicest hotel gym I've ever had the luxury of using.  So sweet.  After unloading and relaxing for a bit we made our way to Target Field, about a 5 minute walk from our hotel.  Like I said - the rain had all but stopped by game time which was awesome.  Still a tiny bit chilly and windy throughout the game but I was just happy we didn't get rained out - or on!

They played the Red Sox (both nights) and Red Sox won both nights.  Both were really good games actually.  Tanner was rooting for Red Sox so it worked out.  I have to admit I didn't really care.  It was just fun. 

My first ever college roommate lives in Minneapolis with her husband and little almost 2 year old.  I hadn't seen her forever and was excited for a perfect opportunity.  It was pouring in the morning and lightly raining as we made our way to Minnehaha Park and by the time we got there and met up with them the sun was starting to peek out and it turned out to be a PERFECT day.  And my heart was so happy seeing her and spending time outside in TREES!  It was awesome and we finished it off with an amazing lunch at a sweet spot called Birchwood Cafe. 
(Oh - and I forgot to mention when we were on the train to the park, there was a black guy and his wife/girlfriend going to missionary town on this other guy.  Inviting him to church and telling him how blessed they've been because of God.  After he got off the train they both started talking about how God is working through them and there was a reason they got on the train and how they were "Angels, baby...white shirt, white pants.  Angels."  I don't mean to sound mocketory (It's a word - ask my friend Anne or Brooke) because I probably could learn a lot about their willingness and boldness in talking about God's awesomeness.  He really is, btw.  But it was funny how they were doing it and saying they were angels and then singing gospel songs on the train.  We liked it anyway).

 Okay - now for the real pics of our afternoon with Patty and Eric and little Henry...

The graffiti up there says "Fajita".  I'm sure it means more to whoever wrote it than what it means to me.  But I still thought it was funny. 

Then Patty was kind enough to drop us off closer to downtown at the outdoor sculpture garden where we wandered around briefly before walking back to our hotel to get ready for game two.

Art perplexes us.

Our seats for game two were great outfield seats.  But the bleachers weren't as kind to the bum and they kind of sardined you in a little more.  And there were obnoxious fans yelling at the visiting team outfielders.  And it was a tiny bit harder to stay in the game being farther away.  Saw some good outfield action thought and it was still a baseball game.  You really can't complain.  So I wasn't - just sayin.  The weather was awesome, by the way. 

And there you have it.  Minus our final food shot of Cap's Diner on our way to the airport this morning.  Tanner's first experience with a steak and egg breakfast and my go-to blueberry pancakes.  A great end to an even greater weekend.  We might have to do this again...soon!