Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Growing Up, Down, and Sideways

For so much of my life I was a really good journaler. Every night I would lay down on my bed with my newest, sparkly gel pen and record for all my posterity my hopes and dreams of filling out a bra and casting voodoo spells so that the boys might one day grow taller than me.

But don't worry posterity, I wasn't completely one dimensional. I could also fill volumes with the tributes I gave in loving memory of my first dog, Belle. For years after she died -- and I'm not kidding when I say years -- I would end every journal entry with "I love you Belle." Repeated 10-50 times depending on how melodramatic I was feeling that night.

And while historians aren't exactly going to find my journals useful for anything other than tracking the evolution of Lisa Frank merchandise, it was always good to be in a habit of spewing all your embarrassing thoughts out to a source that couldn't think you were crazy once you were done. Plus, it gave you a really good excuse to buy more gel pens, like the milky ones that could write on black paper with and made you feel like you were in space. Or something.

Then I got this blog and thought I would be so forward thinking by ditching the paper trail and recording all my thoughts on the worldwideweb instead of keeping them behind a literal lock and key. But now that I am no longer using witchcraft to make boys grow taller I guess my journaling seemed a little less purposeful and I slowly fell off the journaling train.

This whole preamble is essentially to explain to myself why I should feel really guilty that I haven't recorded anything now that I am doing things cosmically more important than going to Bath & Body Works. Most specifically our summer in Cincinnati.

So now I would like to take the time to chronicle some of those things that have happened while we were in Cincy just in case my posterity wants to look further than the Lisa Frank journals.

Growing Up

A few weeks ago we took the big step of buying a new car. Our dear old CRV started giving us all sort of lip and bad mouthing us behind our backs so we decided he had to go. The fact that the drive shaft terrifyingly broke right after we got here (and mere yards from us getting on the freeway) and the AC went kaput also helped us shove it on its way. So now we upgraded to the Acura MDX that Heidi, Jason's mom, gave us a great deal on and we are feeling super grown up to have a car with four matching hubcaps.

To add to our grownup swag from the new car, we also went to DC for a week and got our knowledge on at every museum we could get to. When I was a kid, family vacations usually meant one of two things: hiking, or going to museums. And as a snotty pre-adolescent who just wants to go to Disneyland, neither of those options were exciting.


But along with puberty came a huge crush on museums. So Jason and I spent the majority of our days on a natural Smithsonian-high. We even got my dear friend Anna, who basically runs the Hirschorn, to give us a personalized find-the-Harry-Potter-in-modern-art tour. And planetarium movies narrated by Liam Neeson and Whoopi Goldberg on the house!

We stayed with my aunt Jolie and uncle John who were the best of hosts and even took us to Baltimore for a day. The Orioles lost, but the harbor was beautiful and dinner sublime. Jason and I also got to see his friend from home, my friends from London and Jerusalem, and even some friends from freshman year. Mormons are ALL up in our nation's capitol. Just one more reason I'm proud to be an American.

Growing Down

But this summer hasn't been all about adult things and jobstuffs. We've been making sure to keep our inner kid alive. Cincinnati has an absolutely phenomenal zoo that, though I hate to admit it, blows the Hogle Zoo right out of the water. We got to feed giraffes, watch bonobo monkeys get freaky, and see a huge bird knock a guy into a little pond. They even had a shalom garden! And the bird house was too cool.

But the coolest kid thing we have done here -- BY FAR -- has been Cedar Point. About a million years ago I saw Cedar Point on the Travel Channel right after I got my wisdom teeth out and I don't know if it was the vicodin but I absolutely fell in love. So I made a vow to myself that someday we would go there. And that someday was a few weeks ago.

Cedar Point says it best.
 We planned it out like amusement park bosses and absolutely killed it. And I must say that there can't be anyone that is more fun to go to an amusement park with than Jason James Sandvik.

Like a true recovered bedwetter he was more than a little nervous about each ride. So as the roller coaster would be climbing or getting ready to shoot us off Jason would be giving himself a good old-fashioned pump up chat before he would scream all the way down. So I spent most of the ride laughing so hard I could barely concentrate on the fact that I was going 140 mph.

On this ride Jason shakily said "I'm doing it!!!" as he put his hands in the air.
Also, check out that guy's shirt. Some seriously classy clientele.

 Growing Sideways

For the most part, I have been growing sideways on this trip. People here are serious about their food and I don't take that lightly. Although I'm not crazy about Cincinnati's famous Skyline Chili, I have loved about every other thing I have eaten here. Including Cincinnati's own Graeter's ice cream which is just too amazing to describe. They sell it at Kroger (Smith's for the Utahns) grocery stores so if you can, GET IT. You will not regret it. It's even HRH Oprah's favorite ice cream!

We also went to a grocery store called Jungle Jim's which was unlike any grocery store I have ever seen and, I'll wager, anything you have ever seen. Seriously though. It makes Trader Joe's look like a Food 'n Stuff.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating, know that Jungle Jim's HAS ITS OWN MONORAIL. There was so much imported pasta that there was a whole section devoted to gnocchi. The produce section on its own was easily the size of a Costco and was filled with so many fruits and vegetables I had never seen before that I felt like 50 Cent when he saw a grapefruit.

But there could have been none of that and I would have still been singing its praises because of all the cheese. Aisles and aisles and aisles of it. Whole sections were devoted to cheeses from different countries. You better believe I was dancing through those aisles like this:

But the summer isn't over yet! We still have a few more days here and then a few in Chicago before we cross the Rocky Mountain curtain and go back home.


Amy said...

Alex, your posts seriously are the best I have ever read. The only thing that would make them better is if you had a streaming voice recorder with your voice reading out loud what you wrote. Ha.

Jordyn said...

Not sure how I just barely saw this post but CHAPEAU to you, to Jason, and to Cincinnati. So so amazing. I'm glad you guys had a blast this summer!!