Sunday, December 29, 2019

Charities of the Quarter - Q4 2019

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

Dave’s been slacking big time at keeping up-to-date with posts so we’ll have three charities featured today.  It’s overall more efficient for you the reader.

The last charity we featured was Sandals Foundation - Hurricane Dorian Relief to aid hurricane relief in the Bahamas.    We also gave another donation while in Jamaica at a Sandal’s resort.

Q4 Charities

Toys For Tots

Adam’s Army:  We learned about this charity over the holiday’s on The Today Show.  Adam, the charity’s founder, was interviewed about being a former St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital patient and his work helping to raise funds for the hospital.  The next big challenge for Adam was to run his first marathon on December 7th.  He completed the marathon and got his organization to the $1 million donation milestone.  From their website:

The mission of Adam’s Army is to support the efforts of St. Jude by helping to be the “Voice for the Voiceless”.

The founder, Adam Cruthirds, diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 16 in 2014, created Adam’s Army to help carry on the legacies of friends who have died and help the little ones that can’t speak up. His grueling 2 and 1/2 year treatment plan that concluded in February 2017 was beyond tough, but it has made him realize that childhood cancer can and must end with us supporting St. Jude.

We seek to spread this message of faith and hope throughout the world and do our part to help realize Danny Thomas’ belief that “no child should die in the dawn of their life.” We are making every day count.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust:  A friend of ours picked this organization as her Facebook Birthday Charity of choice.  We are fans of any group that helps to protect Africa’s wildlife.   The organization cares for and rehabilitates elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and other animals rescued from all around Africa.  From their website:

Toys for Tots:  We kept the tradition alive by braving Walmart on a Saturday to fill the cart with toys and drop them off at a local brewery.   Since it’s too late to donate toys the organization can use cash for wrapping supplies and other logistical expenses.  There is still time to help out this season.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 - Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!   We close out this year’s countdown with some military homecoming videos.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 - Day 10

Today Tizzel is featuring a “Choose Your Own Adventure”.  He’s offering up Christmas fails and a multi-denominational choir singing a Bob Marley song in several languages.   It’s not a Christmas video, but the message fits with the season. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 - Day 9

Elves have been working hard this year to create advertisements with heart.   Here’s another example from Toyota.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 — Day 8

Tizzel has spent many hours watching old Christmas specials and has learned one thing.... Mask technology has come a long way.   The dancing Santas in this segment are scary!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 - Day 6

We are celebrating the opening of the new Star Wars movie with a Christmas song mash-up.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 - Day 5

Since we have been on a Macy’s kick... Here is a recent Saturday Night Live bit that Tizzel actually thought was a Macy’s ad until the laugh track kicked in.

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown - Day 4

Today we go back to 1948 to see a special holiday message from our local movie theater staff.  They wish us a happy holiday season, even the manager!   What kind of jerk is the manager if they have to call him out?

The video will come up stating it is unavailable, but there is a link right below that to "Watch this video on Youtube" and you can jump right there.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 - Day 3

Tizzel knows you are not happy that all the videos have been heartwarming so here is a video with a slight twist on all your favorite holiday classics.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 - Day 2

Today Tizzel has 2 videos for you from Macy’s ads.  The first is this year’s ad featuring a girl who wants to be Santa and the second one features a parade balloon making an unexpected visit.

Tizzel’s Christmas Countdown 2019 - Day 1

Ten days left until Christmas! Tizzel is ready to entertain you with this year's collection of holiday related videos. Each day he'll be posting something fun he found on YouTube.

Today’s video is a well-done piece of computer animation.  

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Never Homevember: 2019 Walt Disney World

Our travel schedule for November got full quickly.   Our traditional Thanksgiving vacation to Jamaica was booked in the summer of 2018 when we found a crazy cheap promotion for one of our favorite hotels.  We booked a short Disney World trip centered around the Swan and Dolphin Hotels’ Food and Wine Classic event and our wedding anniversary.   This summer a friend suggested we should join him in Las Vegas for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon - which of course was the weekend between the other trips.   We were on the fence about Vegas but when we canceled our Labor Day trip to Florida, due to Hurricane Dorian, we used the airline credit and budget from that trip to book the Las Vegas trip and then drowned our sorrows in Milwaukee (an hour from our house) over Labor Day Weekend.  That meant we would not be home 4 weekends in a row.  Of course this came at extreme busy times at work so lots of time was spent on the laptops at night during the work weeks.

Disney Highlights

Stayed at the Polynesian using our Disney Vacation Club.  We booked a lake view room which offers a view of the Magic Kingdom from the 2nd and 3rd floors.   We of course ended up on the first floor with no view.  Oh well...  One benefit of our location was the quick walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center to grab the Monorail to access to Magic Kingdon, several resorts, and Epcot.  Another plus was access to Trader Sam's Tiki Bar for the chance to get the Hat Box Ghost mug.

Checking out the new land in Disney's Hollywood Studios:  Galaxy's Edge.   We were really looking forward to experiencing the land, especially after missing opening weekend.  Since the land’s opening crowds at Disney World were low....but not on Veteran's Day Weekend.   The place was packed with lines out-the-door to get into shops.

We experienced a lot in a short amount of time thanks to Holly's tenacious attack on Disney's online reservation system.   The morning started with cocktails and beer at 10am in Oga's Cantina. "Fortunately" they still had all the collectible tiki glasses including the Rancor tooth flight glasses and tray.  Next we went to build our custom remote control R2-D2 style droids. Around noon we finally got in the 105 minute long line for Smuggler's Run - the Millennium Falcon simulation.  Holly let people go ahead of us at role assignment time so we could be the pilots.    2pm:  Time for more cocktails since we had another Oga's reservation.   4pm: Build light sabers.

Overall the world was very well thought out, just wish we could have had the non-crowd experience of the prior months.   Dave felt it needed a little more nods to the old era like having the Jawas trade with guests and more random creatures walk around the area.

Food:  This whole trip was supposed to be centered around eating, but we had to cram all the Star Wars stuff in after cancelling the September trip.   We had a great night at the Swan and Dolphin's Food and Wine Classic.  The event gets better each year with more offerings and themed areas.  Epcot was still hosting their Food and Wine Festival.   Our original wish list of 75 items was created in August when we had two trips to spread the eating.    We culled that down a bit before the trip and maybe ended up skipping a 1/3 of what we wrote down.    We enjoyed the new night time show - Epcot Forever. Too bad it's temporary.

We grabbed a drink at the new Enchanted Rose Lounge in the Grand Floridian. The bar is a lightly themed to Beauty and the Beast and replaces Mizner's Lounge in a much larger space.   It will be nice to spend some time on their outdoor deck during a longer trip.

We decided to celebrate our anniversary dinner at The California Grill.   Food was good as always, but we had some issues with the check-in desk.  They had us wait a 1/2 hour past our reservation time in some dank corner of the Contemporary 2nd floor and weren’t sure they would have called us if Dave didn't check on the progress.   We had it noted all over the place it was our anniversary - so where do they sit us?  A booth in front of the chef's pass.    Not cool.   We told them we were not happy and were reseated a few minutes later.    Kinda put a damper on the mood and we left 5 minutes before the fireworks.    We did catch them at TTC - good spot for them.   

We scored a Mickey's Christmas Tree popcorn bucket.   It's our Christmas Tree this year.  Dave was really tempted to buy more for ebay after seeing the after-market price, but we believe in letting people have a chance to get one in-park.

Once again we were able to squeeze a lot into a short amount of time and had a great trip.   

The video below is our experience making custom light sabers in Galaxy’s Edge.  Dave gets to show some Star Wars nerdiness when a cast member asks him a question.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Mount Desert Island Marathon Race Report and Video and Acadia National Park - October 2019

Holly’s Report

This was the Maine marathon I wanted to do for my 50 State Challenge, but it never worked into our travel/work schedule.   This would finally be the year.   The course pictures always looked great.   I was always scared by the hills, but figured I would give it a go.   The Mount Desert Island course is a point to point course that starts in Bar Harbor and ends in Southwest Harbor.  You wind your way along the course and through the edges of Acadia National Park.  We were staying a short walk away from the start and got there about 7:30 for the 8:00am start.   Enough time for one more bathroom break and then got in the corrals.    Pretty soon we were off on a nice downhill start.  Unfortunately that didn’t last long.   The first hill was crazy and long.   I was mildly concerned.  (Ok,  majorly concerned).   I decided to just enjoy the scenery and whatever happened, happened.  

The scenery was amazing.  Beautiful fall foliage, rocky coastlines and cute harbors.   No boring sections on this course.   Dave wasn’t sure how he would be able to get around, but he did fine and saw me several times (starting at mile 7).    I kept running up those hills (walking some of the steep sections) and was doing well.   I started to tire in the last miles, but I’m happy with how I did.   The camber of the road was tough as we were mainly running facing traffic on open roads.  That would be my only real complaint.

The finish was great and I got my name announced which is always fun.   I got a really cute lobster claw medal, a few snacks, and then we hightailed it out of there.  

Race video

I was motivated to finish quickly and get back to the hotel because we had a reservation at the Jordan Pond House for their famous popovers.   That was their last day of the season, so it would be our only chance.    Dave did a stellar job of parking the car close to the finish.   We made it back to our hotel, showered, and made it to Jordan Pond with 35 minutes to spare!   The popovers were worth every hill I climbed.   I highly recommend this race.

Dave’s Race Chasing notes

The race materials cautioned to only spectate at several locations and made it very clear you couldn’t follow the course easily.   I figured out some back roads to get to mile 7, which ended up being a very isolated section of the course.   After seeing Holly I was able to follow the course until mile 14.   I connected backup with the course at mile 17 and followed until 21.  After that, I took the long way around to get to the finish area.  

Bar Harbor and Acadia

First the positives:   The area is very pretty, especially with the foliage this time of year.   The town of Bar Harbor was really cute and everyone we encountered in shops, restaurants, and bars were very friendly.   Bar Harbor is a town of about 5,000 residents that shuts down by November.   The business district is 2 blocks x 4 blocks and it’s filled with bars, restaurants, and lots of shops.  This is a great launch point for Acadia National Park touring, whale watching and puffin sighting tours, and lobster boat rides.

Now for the negative:  This small town is a popular cruise ship port.   Some days the cruisers outnumber the population.   Driving in town is difficult when ships are in because the cruisers do things like stand in the middle of the road, don’t look before crossing streets, and block narrow sidewalks with their indecisions on what shop to go into.   The grocery store parking lot is a nightmare!  Our hotel, The Harborside, was next to one of the cruise ship tender docks which provided us some entertainment.  

Some highlights of town were Atlantic BrewingFinback’sSide Street Cafe, and our favorite was Cottage Street Pub.

Our time in the Park was fun.   We started at the Visitor Center to figure out what to do.   We ended up driving to Cadillac Mountain observation for a panoramic view of the island.  Next we took the Gotham Mountain Trail to its summit for some pretty views.   That picture by the summit marker was taken ten seconds before Dave had the rocks slip from underneath him and he fell hard.  The camera and Dave are both fine.  

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon Ace Report and Video - October 2019

My marathon for the year is the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Maine.   I have been training all summer for it and my motivation was not there.   The training was a grind mentally.   I had a 50 State hangover!  I had one more long run before the Maine Marathon and was dreading one more boring 20 mile run by myself in the neighborhood or on the treadmill.   I saw that the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon was the same weekend.   I had wanted to do this one some day so now seemed as good as any.   I would get a supported long run and hopefully it wouldn’t be boring.   

The marathon is a point to point and starts north in Grafton, WI and ends at the Milwaukee Summerfest grounds.  With the race on Sunday we dropped Dave’s car off in a garage in Milwaukee since he’d leave for work from the city on Monday morning.  We stayed at a B&B in Cedarburg, WI since it was close to the start and we had heard it was a cute town.   It is a cute town, but not that much to do.   An afternoon was perfect.   Touring included Fermentorium Brewery, lunch at , chocolate shopping at , bourbon tasting (for Dave) at Handon Distillery.  The town was also hosting Oktoberfest this weekend so we made a stop in for a beer.  Dinner was Holly’s traditional spaghetti and meatballs at Tomaso’s.

We got to Grafton High School early and there were a lot of people.  It was nice that they let us in the school, so you could use a real bathroom.   Long lines though!   Soon we had a Disney race day like walk to the start corrals.   The course is flat with more uphill sections than I thought there would be.   It was a beautiful day for a marathon.  

The course had some boring parts in the beginning as you ran through farmland.  Then you started going through some beautiful neighborhoods by the lake.   I was feeling good and having fun.    I did have a volunteer tell me to stop walking and get to running.   I admit I yelled at him.   Not cool dude.   He obviously doesn’t know the Galloway Run/Walk/Run method.   I may have said, I have run 60 of these, I think I know what I’m doing.  

My only other complaint was the water on course.  Every stop but two of them used a garden hose hooked up to people’s houses.   I don’t know if it was the hose or Milwaukee’s water, but the smell and taste were awful.   Thank goodness for Dave to fill up my bottle.

The finish area was great.   You were immediately greeted by a medical person to see if you were ok.  Then got your medal and then they handed you a huge bag of snacks!   Dave had procured me a free beer and we sat and enjoyed that, the snacks, and listened to a great band.   All in all a pretty good day for a last minute “training” run.

Video from the race

After the race we were going to explore the Brady Street section of the city but decided to just hang out by our hotel downtown and hit up some of our favorites.  We hadn’t been in Milwaukee since our Labor Day Disney World trip was cancelled due to the hurricane so there were a few places we missed on that trip that we enjoy.   The burgers at AJ Bombers were excellent as always.    We tried to visit Uncle Buck’s in the new entertainment district by the stadium but it was crazy crowded with people watching the Packers.    We moved over to Ale Asylum Brewery and then Buck Bradley’s (we are done with that place - turned tourist trap).   We discover a new bar (to us) called The Trio with $5 Absolut drinks.  Score!   We had a dinner of Mac and cheese at Water Street Brewery before heading back to our hotel (Saint Kate) bar Giggly for a champagne cocktail nightcap.   It was nice to see Dave’s commute to work from Milwaukee was only 20 minutes longer than it is from home.