Tag Archives: velociraptors

Great Expectations… Jurassic Disappointments

I set my alarm for half an hour early this morning with every intention of getting up to spend 30 minutes on the elliptical.  Unfortunately, I have set my alarm half an hour early almost every single day for the last two years with the same intention, but it has happened a grand total of perhaps 3 times.  Maybe 4.  And today was much like most of the others.  The elliptical did not happen.

So all day long, I hyped myself up– 30 minutes on the elliptical, a chance to move my legs a little bit after a long day at a desk!  And I held this blog post hostage to ensure it got done.  Posting is my reward for exercising my legs and sweating through my shirt.  Victory!

Before I get to the good stuff, I just want to share with you a sad little story about a lady with a dog she loves too much.  That lady is, of course, me.  And what did I do that makes me kind of pathetic?  Well, my dog, Curly, just had knee surgery and she can’t go up or down stairs for another 7 weeks.  Unfortunately, our elliptical is in the basement.  My husband is out of town all week and I just couldn’t bare the thought of leaving my sweet Curls upstairs alone for another half an hour.  So I picked her up, all 65 lbs of her, and carried her down for the work out and back up afterward.  The way down wasn’t so bad, but up was pretty rough.  A little bonus workout and a weird ride for my pup, I guess.  Sometimes I even disturb myself.

Anyway, on to my point…

I talk about a lot of different things, but as you’ve probably noticed, it’s not very hard for me to relate pretty much all of those things back to either Harry Potter or Jurassic Park.  And you guys, Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure Theme Park in Orlando, Florida is home to not only the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but also Jurassic Park.  A nerd girl’s dream come true!!

Respect the Spell Limit

Spells and velociraptors!

Butterbeer and pteradactyls!

Hogwarts and insects trapped in amber!

Harry Potter AND Jurrassic Park!

Hogwarts #2

So when the opportunity arose to visit Islands of Adventure as long as we were a mere two hours away in Jacksonville for a wedding, my husband and I jumped at the opportunity!  (Ok, I was the one who jumped… but my sweet husband did the driving!)

I was pretty dang pumped and since we were coming straight from a dream vacation in Cabo san Lucas, my expectations were sky high.  Oops.  Because, if I’m completely honest, Universal kind of failed to deliver.

Don’t get me wrong, Hogsmeade was crazy well-done, butterbeer and pumpkin juice were every bit as amazing as I had anticipated, and being able to see Hogwarts castle through the Jurassic Park arch was unreal.


However, Universal charges a heck of a lot of money to get into the park for the experience… and then gives you opportunity after opportunity to buy, spend, and pay more and more and more with a relatively small amount of actual “experience” sprinkled in.  Everywhere you turn– another souvenir stand, a food shop, airbrushed t-shirts and commemorative photos for purchase, hair wraps or glitter tattoos to be had.  No joke, even Ollivander’s Wand Shop was a long line for a 30 second demo only to be shuttled straight into a gift shop.  (Ok, maybe I’m just pissed that they picked a little boy to be chosen by his wand rather than me…  Maybe.)

And Jurassic Park?  Well… kind of boo, to be honest.  This is what I wanted:

raptor chase!

I wanted to be in that car, chased by dinosaurs, and I honestly expected that as a ride.

But this is what it actually was:

raptor reality

Photo-op, picture for purchase.


Have you ever read a book that put your imagination into absolute overdrive?  To me, Harry Potter was like that, and amazingly, the movies did not disappoint at all.  They were amazing too and while I was watching the movies it felt like someone had pulled the scenes straight from my head.  (And captured them like a memory poured into a pensieve.)  But the parks… wah wah.

Oh well!  Back to my imagination place– now that I know what butterbeer actually tastes like, I feel like I can retire there comfortably!



I get by with a little help from my friends.

What would you do if I sang out of tune?  Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Lend me your ear and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key.

Good song, better message:

I get by with a little help from my friends.

(Are you thinking of The Wonder Years right now?)

Because don’t we all get by with a little help from our friends?  That support system?  I posit that the answer is yes.

I tend to think of my life in terms of distinct phases, defined primarily by where I was in school… because until recently, I was always enrolled in one kind of school or another.  So the way I think of my life is a lot like the way we (you know, we, like me and all the real paleontologists) classify dinosaurs based on when they existed.

Everything through the end of high school was essentially precambrian… early, unformed, and frizzy.  I wasn’t really sure how to have curly hair yet and many pictures exist to remind me of that.  (Many… frizzy… photos…  Want to see one?  Too bad!  It’s far too awful and I’m not that secure.)

College was my jurassic period, and I think that’s fitting considering that hearing the word jurassic tends to conjure dinosaurs.  I learned a lot, but when I think back on it, I feel like a lot of the time I was more or less stomping through the jungle trying to learn how to open door handles.  (And if anyone points out that velociraptors actually lived during the cretaceous period, not the jurassic period, I’m going to tell you to get over it– it’s my metaphor and the visual of a stegosaurus trying to use a door knob is just absurd.)

Grad school was the start of my cretaceous period, mammals were just starting to evolve, but they were angry and confused… certainly not human yet.

Fast forward just a couple years to life as I know it now and it’s amazing how quickly this person has evolved.  Fully Homo sapiens at this point.  Good deal.

In each of those time periods, there was one constant– amazing friends.  Friends that were there for me in the toughest of times (remember, what feels like a tough time is relative to the toughness of the times you have experienced to date, so no judgement for what someone else considers “tough”).  Now that I’m living what I finally consider real life, I can truly appreciate how important the support of those friends was then and is now.

When I skipped a grade and life was kind of hard (because things feel tough when you’re 8!), Emily was such a constant.

Emily, the precambrian princess…

When I was dumped and heartbroken my freshman year of college, Aimee lived next door and held me up through all of that (and 17– that’s another time in your life when things feel really big).

Aimee, the jurassic giant…

When slogging through grad school took it’s ugly toll, Jess ran mile after mile after mile with me (and she didn’t even like running then! ha! now she’s about to run a marathon! hard core!) and talked me through the tough stuff.

Jess, the triassic talent…

In my current job, my co-workers are like that– more than just people I work with, but friends who offer support and encouragement on a daily basis.  (Also gems like this video of poo pourri… too awesome).

My coworkers, queens of the quaternary…

Now, every single time I need to get away, Melissa is waiting for me in a safe, supportive, and happy place (seriously, I can’t even tell you how many different cities we’ve had pedicures in).

Melissa, the angel of all ages…

And finally, the friends that I thought may be friends of the past, but have surfaced since I began this blog to add so much more to my life than I could ever have hoped.

Dawn, Lara, Nicole, Laura, and on and on, to you, dear reader, the not-as-extinct-as-I-thought coelacanths

For a long time, I’ve been ok with being an introvert, a person who needs some alone-time, some quiet-time, and who has trouble with new social situations.  But when I really think back on my life– starting with that precambrian period– I can see how insanely important a social network and meaningful friendships have been.  With few exceptions (the exceptions being those impressive homesteaders living “off the grid” that you see on tv… dang, good for them, but I’d be pretty darn lonely with nothing but trees for friends), none of us can go it alone.

And someone out there can’t do it without you or me.  Kind of a neat thought.  And I hope I can be… that I am… the friend for someone else that so many people have been to me.


(How’s that for dinosaur references?  Not all Jurassic Park this time– had to consult Wiki for this one!)

There must be some toros in the blog-o-sphere…

Do you like blogs?

Hint: the correct answer is YES because unless you hate the internet, which you obviously don’t, there are tons and tons of blogs out there and there’s bound to be at least one that’s just right for you!  For example, Under the Tapestry.

(See how I just linked you right back here?  Clever, girl*…)

Personally, I looove blogs.  Some because they are written by people I love.  Some because the content is absolutely fascinating to me.  Some because the people are so different from me and incredibly knowledgeable about something that is otherwise very foreign and I find them completely engrossing.  I love different blogs for a lot of different reasons, but every day I think I am becoming more and more blogophilic.  (I’m hyrodphilic too– always thirsty.)

For that reason, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from each of the aforementioned categories.

I know lots of people with awesome-dot-com blogs.  (Awesome.com is a trademark of one of my former labmates.  It’s his, totally his, I can claim no credit for that excellent turn of phrase, but I use it anyway.  Hopefully, he’s out there somewhere, like beantown, saying dang, dang, dang.  Because then we’re even.)

First and foremost is my good friend Chris Lema over at ChrisLema.com.  He’s a big WordPress guy and knows pretty much everything there is to know about the interwebs and how to make it work for you, plus a little bit (ok, a lot) about everything and anything else.  (Except being a mom.  His wife is waaaay more knowledgeable about that.)  While his subject matter truly boggles my mind, he speaks my husband’s language, and he’s married to the most amazing woman on the planet, so I follow him.  Every once in a while I learn something– you know, like how to pay for lunch.  (True story: TWO times, I have managed to pay the check while out for a meal with Chris.  I’m still waiting to hear back from Guinness Book, but all signs point to a world record.)

My cousin Holly has a great blog too (well, she’s my husband’s cousin’s wife, but cousin works here I think… we have the same last name).  It’s called Mom Taught Us and she shares all sorts of amazing and delicious kitchen creations.  Yes, I’ve actually had some in her kitchen.  Jealous?

My friend Dawn has a beautiful, beautiful blog at cupsruningover.com.  She’s.  Flipping.  Fascinating.  You will love her, she’s impossible not to love.  Go read her blog, be impressed, be inspired, but then come back and love me too!  (The fact that we recently reconnected at this moment in time is absolutely bizarre and I can’t wait to write all about it in some sort of super special feature sometime very soon.  Plus, we wear the same size shoe, which means I automatically love her.  Without giving anything away, it’s larger than average, to be sure.)

Another grad school friend, the very talented doctor Lara Lacombe is a real life writer– of romance novels!  How sweet is that?!  (Yes, I am technically a writer for a living, too… but my writing is significantly drier than Lara’s, to say the least!  Except one time I did write a case report about a woman who suffered a stroke as a result of sexual intercourse.  Decidedly un-sexy.)

Last, but most certainly not least, is my favorite day-job client and friend Dr. Rajan Kanth.  His website is full of all sorts of wonderful medical and self-learning tools!  Dr. Kanth is always teaching himself new things and I love it when people love to learn!!  Also, before I met Dr. Kanth, the only thing I knew about Nepal was that it was the location of Mt. Everest.  Now I know that Dr. Kanth is from there, too 😉

Then there’s all those other people.  The internet people that I don’t actually know, but that I absolutely adore.  For example, I’m pretty sure that if I saw CaitlinHTP on the street I would give her a hug, behave as though we’d been best friends a while, and then be hauled off to jail for being the biggest creep ever.  Seriously though (the other part is only not serious because I am not much of a hugger by nature), Healthy Tipping Point is a revelation.  I love it.  I also love Bridget from Stumbling Towards Perfect because she makes me smile and makes me cry.  It’s heartfelt, nearly local, and gorgeous.  I love Jeannett at Life Rearranged because she’s totally mom-spirational, even though I don’t have any kids, and I love her take on life in general.  Her Sunday Smiles are 100% inspirational 100% of the time and InstaFridays are genius!  Same goes for Tsh & Co. at SimpleMom.  Speaking of amazing mom’s, I can’t forget the Crappiest mom of all.  Seriously, go read her Target post, catch your breath, and then come back.

Did you read it?  How hilarious is she?!

And the subject matter people.  They are amazing too.  I wonder if I could ever write something so meticulously researched, so very expertly explained.  (But then again, that is my day job… which is precisely why I don’t do it here.  It is really, really nice to write without citing, to just say whatever you want with the justification of “because that’s what I think.”  I don’t think most reviewers would buy that.)

My favorite ever is Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of Weighty Matters.  Dr. Freedhoff is an MD and when I say MD, I mean it like he’s an actual, practicing physician who isn’t trying to make money selling you the latest miracle weight loss drug (ahem, “Dr.” Oz).  He presents the radical notion that the best life to live is the healthiest one you can enjoy and I love him for it.  If you know me, you know that weight is a thing in my life.  Something that plays on that dreaded second track and cultivating a positive attitude toward myself and others in that respect is paramount to me.  Dr. Freedhoff has a great perspective if that’s something of interest to you.

Other subject matter experts I love to follow include Oh She Glows (even though I am far from Vegan), PhD Comics (because Jorge Cham gets it), PostSecret (because yes, I consider Frank the world’s leading expert on the subject of secrets), I F*ing Love Science on Facebook (I learn SO much!), and the list goes on.

If you’re a friend of mine and blogs have never really been your thing, I would encourage you to branch out and try subscribing to one or two.  Perhaps even this  one 😉  I used to use Google Reader to subscribe to blogs, but switched to Feedly when they shut down.  Feedly is super simple… I highly recommend giving it a try.  But there’s also the email subscription option (see the box on the right).  If you subscribe by email, every time I update, it will come straight to your inbox.  I’m nothing if not convenient.  (And begging for subscribers.  Is this begging?  It might be begging.  Subscribe.)

If you’ve been around the blog-o-sphere for a while and you find me somewhat intriguing, then I am truly delighted to be part of your life!  Thank goodness for the internets, yes?!  Bringing people like you and me together since… ummm… what year was it when I first started IMing via AOL?  It’s been a while anyway.  (I wonder if I still have an away message up…)

So glad you’re here!!


*Clever girl… that’s what the dinosaur hunter says in Jurassic Park when he realizes that the velociraptors** teamed up to hunt him.

**Trust story: I look an awful lot like a velociraptor when I run.  Ask any of my high school cross country teammates.