Wednesday, August 12, 2009

VOTE NOW! Voting closes August 15th!

The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier publishes a "Best of the Best" in the Cedar Valley list each year. I have not been on their website recently, so I just discovered that voting is going on now. The categories range from grocery store to oil change company to photographer. Hmm....photographer. Do I know any outstanding photographers in the Cedar Valley? Actually, I do. - Yep, that's the one. If you think Ashley's photography is the best of the best (which I do!) why not take a minute and nominate her?

Go to and click on "Best of the Best" logo in the upper right hand corner. You can fill out as many categories as you like, or just photography. Seriously, it will take you a minute.

My regret in all of this is that I didn't see the voting going on sooner. Voting closes August 15 - so hurry up and vote, already!

Ashley, I'm sorry if this post embarrasses you terribly, but for those of us who know your photography truly think you're the Best of the Best. : )

Sunday, August 9, 2009



"2 tickets for the 10:40 ferry to Boston, please."

From the recommendation of our rental car dude, we took a ferry into the city from an outlying suburb yesterday. It was such a neat way to make our way into Boston. It was scenic, relaxing, and incredibly cheap!
Once checked into our hotel, we headed for the Museum of Science. It was on our list of "things we'd like to do in Boston", and we wanted a way to kill a few hours before I forced Jay to take a Duck Tour of the city. Truth be told, I was not in a mood to be in a museum. I was feeling impatient, and had a short attention span. Once inside however, we ended up learning a lot. I lightened up and had some fun, although it was rough going for a while. Jay discovered an exhibit called "Mathematica", which was pretty much my idea of hell on earth.

One particular exhibit was for kids to understand classification and how museums make exhibits.

You were supposed to pull from a bucket of random objects, and Make Your Own Musuem. Here is my museum:

And here is Jay's:

The non-English speaking people next to us could not understand what we were laughing hysterically at. Oh, just ourselves.

After the Museum of Science, we took a Duck Tour of Boston. I thought it would be a fun way for us to get a quick sweep of the city and see where we'd want to go later. Also, I really think it's cool that a vehicle can drive on land, and then float on water.

Our tour guide was actually really cool, and we learned a few things about the city. I took this picture of our boat in the reflection of the tallest building in Boston about a block from our hotel.

The tour also gave us the confidence we needed to conquer the city by foot. We both felt assured that we now had a pretty solid mental map of some major locations within the city. Seen it once, seen it a million times, right? Sure. We could totally get where we needed to go.

After the tour, we decided that since our hotel was near the tallest building in Boston, we'd just keep our eye on that building, and walk back to the hotel. A couple of miles later, we confidently arrived HERE. This building is NOT the tallest in Boston, it just looks like kind of like it. Whoops.
The good news however, was that this building was next to the Old State House and Quincy Market. An open market/street fair area with lots of shopping, restaurants and fun things to do. Jay said it was really no accident, but rather it was God's will that we found our way to Quincy Market that night. He thinks God really wanted him to have a beer. Here, Jay experiments double-fisting a bucket of meat with a large beer.

Here I am with a street performer in Quincy Market - my hat is from our waitress at Dick's Last Resort. It said "Pole Dancer", ha ha - yah right.

After our run-in last night and since we had not yet picked up a proper map of Boston, we pulled out the GPS to get us where we needed to be this morning. Jay got this from my parents for Christmas, and we've used it so many times! Unfortunately, thanks to Joe, Jay downloaded a Homer Simpson voice that can be our GPS tour guide. It's not obnoxious at all.

Most of our day today was spent walking the Freedom Trail. We opted to take a guided tour, although I was originally reluctant to pay someone to walk us through something we could do for free. Most of the tour guides dress in costume and stay in character throughout the whole tour, and I thought that would be kind of hokey. Our guide was a history professor from Quincy College and although he was dressed in character, took a teaching approach to the tour. I'm sure he's the kind of professor whose classes are always packed, because he had us hanging on his every word. I know we learned a whole lot more with him than we would have walking through on our own.

This is the building where the Sons of Liberty decided they were going to dump the tea into the harbor for the Boston Tea Party.

This is John Hancock's grave. This was also the burial ground of many historical figures -Sam Adams, Paul Revere, Ben Franklin's parents, the five "victims" of he Boston Massacre, etc.

Below is the pub across the street from the burial ground. Our tour guide told us the joke that this is the only place in the world where you can have a cold Sam Adams while looking at a cold Sam Adams .

We saw SO much more on the Freedom Trail, but there's just not time in this day to pass it along on my blog. If you're ever in Boston, I highly recommend you check it out for yourself.

Jay and I have maneuvered through nearly every neighborhood in Boston in the past 2 days, and we have done miles and miles of walking. I've really enjoyed all of the access to history and information here. I've been impressed by the friendliness of the people and the pride they take in their city.

Lastly, tonight we walked to the Fenway district and planned to watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees at a local pub with some true Red Sox fans. Unfortunately during dinner, the people in the table next to ours kept sneaking off to smoke pot in the alley outside the patio. After about 2 innings, we decided this wasn't quite the crowd we were looking for, and that we'd have just as much fun watching the game back in our hotel room!

Tomorrow will be our last day in Boston and we're headed to Fenway (hopefully) to watch the real deal. It's supposed to rain and as my blog and the game are wrapping up, the Red Sox haven't won in 6 straight games. Ouch. Cross your fingers that the sun will shine on the Green Monstah tomorrow. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

On a Boat...

We thought we'd catch you up a little more on vacation so far! Tonight we're calling it an early night because we leave for Boston in the morning. While you have been going about your normal lives, here is what the Schmeebs have been doing.

**All italicized sections are written by Jay**

Kayaking the Bass River:

Our second day in Cape Cod, and 3 meals out under our belt, we felt we needed to do a little something active. So we thought we would explore the option of kayaking.

After arriving at Howie's Kayaks on the Bass River, we wanted some details:
- How much will it cost to kayak?
- How much time will we get?
- Can we kayak together?
- Lastly, what's a kayak?

Jay's athleticism showed its true colors during our trip. Apparently he has been secretly rowing at the rec center in preparation for this day to come. He wanted to leave me stranded and helpless in a river.

Kelsey promises me that she was not pouting or angry when she violently shook her oar at me. She loved the fact I got so far ahead, and she did not initially hate kayaking because the tide kept pulling us apart. She promises.

A peaceful moment on the "Ocean River" as Jay calls it.

Experimenting with Food:

We're smart enough to know that you're not interested in knowing about all of the wonderful meals we've eaten while in Mass. We have tried to do a little sampling of some foods outside of our comfort zones or a little more true to the area, because when in Rome...

Kelsey decided to try the lobster. She took the obligatory, look at me I'm doing something new picture. She really liked the meat she took from the lobster claw.

Jay has done a lot of experimenting with ice cream. Mostly it's been, "Will ice cream taste good after such-and-such a meal?" to which he emphatically answers, "YES!" every time. Here, Jay samples the double fisting method with ice cream....and beer.

Was it good? YES!

Unfortunately for Kelsey, she did not finish or enjoy the rest of her lobster post-claw. When she started to eat the body of the lobster she noticed her dead lobster's eye staring at her. She did not like this. She prefers not to be reminded of the innocence of her prey mid-meal.

Eyeballs, GROSS.

Golfing Prestigious Golf Courses:

Our 3rd day in Cape Cod was rainy (see it pouring behind me?) and overcast. We had planned to hit up the beach this day, but didn't want to risk driving an hour to get to a wet beach. Instead, we golfed one of the Cape's finest courses.

This picture was taken for Johnni. On my Plymouth blog, she asked why Jay was standing so funny while posing by the fake Mayflower. She was unaware of his heritage and the fact that THIS is the way captains stand. Here is further proof, my Johnni dear. : ) He did rest his leg on the fence though, instead of mid-air like last time.

For those of you who have never vacationed with Kelsey, here is what happens: Kelsey sees something that she can act strange around, she stops doing whatever it is she should be doing (in this case putting on the third hole), and she runs to the something she saw. She then hams it up until I ask, "Do you want your picture taken?" She acts surprised as if she didn't plan on having her picture taken. She then hands me the camera and I take as many photos as it takes until we get the perfect strange shot.

The #1 in this photo is very symbolic.
- It stands for the fact that Jay was the winner of our game (he beat me by 3 strokes)
- It was the hole he shot a hole-in-one on
- It stands for the number of times he has won in any type of competition against his wife

P-town Whale Watching:

Everyone in Mass says driving to the very tip of the cape is worth the drive, just to experience Provincetown. I wanted to go there to do a little whale watching, but the watching in town was almost just as exciting.

Our whale-watching trip was definitely one of my favorite things we've done so far. The boat we went on uses data from each whale watching trip as part of their whale research and education. They gave us lots of information on whales, like how humpback whales don't have teeth. They have this balean stuff - it works kind of like a net in their mouths. That's what Jay's holding.

They documented 17 different humpback whales on our trip. This group of whales literally had us surrounded at one point and came right up to the boat. I got some pretty cool video footage that I might post later, but for now these pictures will have to do.

This one really put on a great show. No words.

As for the people watching portion of Ptown...well we don't have any pictures. Not that there wasn't plenty to photograph--it's just really rude to see someone doing something strange and taking a picture of said weirdo. I personally don't know if my favorite person was the person who painted himself in shimmery green paint in order to look like absolutely no one anyone's heard of, or the four men standing outside of a dog accessory store wearing towels handing out fliers. I presume the fliers said, "Please don't have your children turn out like us. We hurt inside."

It was also enjoyable watching some of the more flamboyant residents of Ptown try to convince suburbanites from all over the world to attend their "spectactular, theatrical drag shows!"

And finally, we wrap this blog up with a portion of this post called,
"Places Around Town We've seen Jay's Name."

Cee Jay. Cee Jay's name. Cee Jay's face. Grumpy, Jay, grumpy.

Jay Mart, far superior to Kmart.

Okay, who farted?

Sorry to end on a fart joke, but that's all for now.

I'm a sailor pig, and I've lost my leg.

If you know that reference, we think you're cool.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Plymouth Rocks!

This is our first official day in Mass (as the locals and cool people call it) and our first day to do some exploring. To truly do Massachusetts justice, we thought we should rent something grandeuos like a ship real explorers came to America on. Hmm, how about a Kia spectra? Close enough.
After our 1:30 am arrival last night, and waking up in time to take advantage of free continental breakfast this morning, we were still a little owly. Captain Jay Schmithz, a descendant of John Smith, suggested we start our day with a real sailors brew. An iced mocha latte from Dunkin’ Donuts. Perfect.

After a scenic journey, our Spectra finally landed in Plymouth. Here we refreshed our minds on the history of our great nation. We learned of our ancestors and their struggles to start new colonies and explore the territory.

We also saw the actual Plymouth “rock”, although the rock has been fabricated into our nation’s history. There is no historical documentation of the rock in 1620 when the colony was first founded. The rock wasn’t mentioned until 120 years later when some elder of a church pointed out a rock and said that it was the exact rock his dad told him the pilgrims landed on years before. It was probably, in fact, just some guy telling a story to his kid, trying to get him to shut up about the Pilgrims already.

Captain Schmithz explained to me this fake Mayflower ship was very similar to the one his ancestors arrived on.

I thought it looked kinda old fashioned, so I looked for a rich man on a yacht with modern amenities to save me from this crazy sailor.

After filling our brains with history, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking the same streets, eating at the same restaurants, and shopping at the same souvenir shops the pilgrims did hundreds of years ago. Jay’s favorite part of the day was his authentic soft serve oreo cookie ice cream cone – just like Governor Bradford and Captain Myles Standish used to eat.

PS - We also spent the entire day looking for a shirt that said, "Plymouth Rocks!" as we thought that would be the coolest shirt ever. The only shirt we found of any interest was this one we thought Jay's mom would appreciate. She loves play-on-words, and we thought it'd make her giggle.

Monday, August 3, 2009

We're Off!

Off to Boston we go! I've got nothing to do right now because we're in an airport! I've got nothing to say about our trip so far - because we're still in the airport. If that's not exciting, I don't know what is.