Running from the Law: 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween Party 2008

This year’s Annual Haunted Halloween Costume Party was better than ever. I was pleasantly surprised with what a great turn-out we got, especially with so many other parties (and new babies) this year. The weather was perfect and the food was great, but I was absolutely blown out of the water by how good the costumes were this year!! Talk about creative and fun!! Here are some highlights…

Me as Madonna and Ryan as "The Dude" from the Big Lebowski

Winners of the Couples Costume, the Reno 911 cops

Winner of the Best Individual Costume, Busch Stadium Beer Man

Best Couples Costume Runners-up, Michael and Debbie Phelps

Jennifer Beales from Flashdance

The religious contingent

Newlywed Prizefighters

Redneck Fishin'

Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol and high school hockey star & baby's daddy

Monday, October 27, 2008

MU Homecoming 2008

This past weekend, Ryan and I ventured back to the University of Missouri, my alma mater, for Homecoming. Did you know that the tradition of "Homecoming" was actually started at Mizzou??

In 1891, the football border battle rivaly between MU and KU began, as the Tigers faced the KU Jayhawks on the college football gridiron. This rivalry would become the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River. Perhaps because of this intense war between the states, the battle always took place at a neutral site, usually in Kansas City. In 1911, a change in conference regulations required that all intercollegiate football games were required to be played on campus. At this time Missouri trailed in the series by a count of 12-3-5 so there was a need to renew some excitement to this series. Fearing low attendance, Chester L. Brewer, MU's Director of Athletics, invited the alumni to "come home" for the game. As part of this celebration of "coming home," there was a parade and spirit rally to coincide with the actual game -- and the tradition of "Homecoming" was born. Since that time, the University of Missouri has served as a model for the various Homecoming celebrations that take place across the nation.

This year’s Homecoming weekend was fantastic and exciting as usual!! The weather could not have been better and we had the most amazing tailgate location (thanks Jewell!). Ladder golf, beer pong and BBQ were all appreciated. Both my brothers were there, as well as tons of friends. And although our team is highly ranked, the losses in the last two weekends to Texas and Oklahoma State (both top ten teams) had us all a little nervous. However, Colorado was no match for our Tigers, winning 58-0. MIZ-ZOU!! Here are some pictures of the tailgate and game.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Catching up on Birthdays

Since we have a bunch of birthday celebrations coming up soon (Jaquie, Heather, John, etc.), I figured I should post the pictures from the last few birthday parties we had.

Ryan's birthday was in April, he turned 28. I threw him a nice little Fiesta birthday party with mango margaritas, a taco buffet, cerveza, sombreros and a fantastic homemade birthday cake.

The next day, we drove to Columbia to celebrate Kirsten's birthday with the whole gang. Even with all the spankings, I'm pretty sure she had a good time. :)

And happy birthday to all those that have had birthdays in between: Chris, Lindsey, Alice, Stuart, Will, Jay, Annie and Freckles.

"Stand By" for Tarpon Madness at Location X

I know, I know. It's been forever since I last posted. I'm sorry, Mom - I know you've been impatiently waiting for tarpon pictures and the story, so here they are!

It was a GREAT trip!! The first morning, before it was even light out, we met our guide at a little dump of a bait shop, boarded our flats boat and were off! As soon as we got settled in our magical spot, Ryan began "warming up" by casting and stripping. It wasn't light enough to see any tarpon more than 5 feet from our boat, but unbelievably, on his second/third cast...tarpon on! Our guide starting coaching Ryan through the process but his hook set was a little too aggressive (can you blame him...he was really excited!) and the fish snapped the line. We couldn't yet see the fish, but we now knew they were there - VERY promising!

The water was pretty muddy, which is apparently a good thing. It was bright and sunny, with very few clouds. The conditions were "perfect" and excitment was in the air. After another few sightings and stalkings, Ryan finally hooked and landed his first tarpon! It was a little guy (only about 60 pounds), but put up a hell of a fight. Upon getting hooked, these fish take off like wave runners, jumping and splashing and fighting. We chased it for quite a while and Ryan did great reeling it in and manuevering the rod. So, after three years of chasing silver, he finally landed one!

And then it was on! The next two were much bigger, 90 pounds and 110 pounds! We ended the first day with three tarpon caught.

Day 2 was very different than Day 1. The water was like glass that morning, with no waves and no wind. The guide was able to spot a tarpon over a quarter mile away and then position the boat to where Ryan could cast to it. Once the sun came out and warmed the water, the tarpon stopped moving and laid up on the top of the water, where we could happen upon them and surprise them. It was a completely different kind of fishing, and very exciting to watch. Ryan caught one enormous tarpon of about 120 pounds first thing in the morning. He had a few others that he "jumped" and chased. By the end of the day, the waves were pretty intense. I felt like I was riding a bull with all the bucking and rocking - not ideal fishing conditions, but we still managed to chase a few more. We ended our fishing expedition with lots of smiles and excitement for next year!

Great job honey! I'm so proud of you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chasing Silver - Location X

As you may have learned from reading this blog, my darling fiancĂ© Ryan is obsessed with fly fishing. Actually, I’m not sure obsessed adequately describes his passion and commitment to the sport. Usually, he can be found fishing for his beloved brown trout in the rivers and streams in Missouri, Arkansas, Montana and Colorado.

But the ultimate saltwater fly fishing experience is flats fishing for tarpon. Tarpon are large silver coastal fish considered by many anglers to be the ultimate fly rod target. They grow up to 8 feet in length and sometimes weigh 200 pounds. The tarpon is considered one of the great saltwater game fishes, not only because of the size it can reach and its accessible haunts, but because of its fighting spirit when hooked; it is very strong, making spectacular leaps into the air.

A normal tarpon fly rod outfit uses 10-12 weight rods and reels spooled with appropriate line and using a class leader tippet of 12-20 lb. Pretty light tackle where the fish may weigh 10 times or more than the breaking strength of the leader! Typically an angler stations himself on the bow of a shallow water flats boat and with the aid of a guide searches for incoming tarpon on the flats (inshore areas of the ocean that are very shallow, typically no more than 3-4 feet deep). When a tarpon is sighted, the guide positions the boat to intercept the fish. The angler usually has no more than 6-10 seconds to cast out enough flyline and make an accurate cast to the fast moving fish. Accuracy and speed are paramount but the task is compounded by the inevitable excitement and nervousness of seeing a fish that may top 180 lb bearing down on the angler. Once the cast is made, hopefully a tarpon sees and pursues the fly. The hookset is difficult due to the hard mouth of the fish which has been likened to the hardness of concrete. For that reason many tarpon throw the hook on the first few jumps. If the hook stays secure, then the fight is on. Tarpon have tremendous endurance and are one of the most exciting gamefish to fight - frequent spectacular jumps, long runs, and stubborn bulldogging are all part of the game. The average angler can usually land a tarpon anywhere from just under one hour to more than three hours.

A few years ago, Ryan had his first taste of tarpon fishing in Key West, Florida. We flew down there for his birthday, giving him the chance to spend one day out on the flats with his friend John and their guide Joe. Towards the end of the afternoon, after "chasing silver" all day, Ryan had the perfect opportunity to catch the fish of his dreams. Although he’d been practicing the tarpon hookset all morning, he instinctively set the hook like he was catching a trout, and pulled the fly right out of the tarpon’s mouth. Fish lost…John’s turn. John, after learning the hookset lesson from Ryan’s painful loss, ended up catching a tarpon immediately. Although thrilled for his friend, Ryan was devastated and vowed revenge on the tarpon.

For the following two years he thought about the tarpon that got away. He became determined to have another opportunity to catch one. He read books and articles. And he began watching a show on the Outdoor Life Network called "Chasing Silver," all about tarpon fishing. Each episode of Chasing Silver was filmed in a different tarpon hot spot. Locations included Key West, Belieze, Boca Grand, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, etc. But his favorite episode was called "Location X."

Location X was an undisclosed location, where veteran tarpon anglers were blindly taken to experience the best tarpon fishing of their lives…on film. In a cloud of secrecy, the anglers are transported to a clandestine spot to fish with a masked guide, lured by reports of large, willing tarpon in shallow water. Passing through dark mangroves identified only by a lone stake with a black 'X' burned into its weathered surface, the unsuspecting anglers travel to wide, mottled flats backed by a featureless shoreline. It all looks normal enough, even sedate. Then they are awakened by some of the most spectacular tarpon eats yet captured on film. Pretty exciting stuff, and I don’t even fish!!

So last year for Ryan’s birthday I wanted to surprise him and take him tarpon fishing again. I knew he’d be thrilled about spending a few days fishing and hanging out in Key West, on the beach. Unfortunately, I waited too long to book Ryan’s usual guide Joe, who was unavailable (he said was completely booked by December). He looked into finding us another guide in the Keys, but no one had any days in April or May available. It appeared that Ryan was going to miss his chance to chase silver.

However, I had a call in to our good friend Steve, an incredible fly fisherman, who works for Orvis. He knew how badly Ryan wanted a tarpon and was determined to make it happen for him. One afternoon I got a giddy phone call from Steve who told me that he had two days guided tarpon fishing for us, but we had to say yes and not ask any questions. Hmmm…what does that mean? He needed an answer right away. That wasn’t a decision I was comfortable making secretly without getting any feedback from Ryan. I didn’t know where we’d be going, how long we’d be away from work, how expensive it’d be or any other details…and I couldn’t ask!

I immediately called Ryan and told him what I’d done. He was incredibly excited at the thought of tarpon fishing, but was apprehensive about agreeing to something without having any idea what it was we were signing up for. He called Steve and convinced him to give us the basics. Turns out, Steve got him two days of tarpon fishing, in Location X, with the guide from Location X!!!! Ryan was freaking out!! Steve said this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and not to pass it up. We still didn’t know where it was, but we agreed to go and booked the guide!!

A month later, now having all the details, we boarded our plane and headed to Location X. It was an amazing place. We had the guide booked for two days, but unfortunately, due to bad weather, Ryan only got one good afternoon of tarpon fishing. I even got to tag along and take pictures! We got up hours before dawn and headed to our top secret destination. The morning wind was rough and the water was choppy. Since tarpon fishing is all done by sight, it didn’t really work until the sun came out. In the afternoon, we saw about 15 tarpon, 6 sharks, some dolphins, and all kinds of jacks. Ryan did great - he hooked a couple, but didn’t manage to land any. Those fish can really jump!! But he learned a lot about tarpon fishing, and had an amazing experience. Still, the silver fish eluded him again.

However, the days we booked with the guide became ours – meaning we have them every year until we cancel. So, we’re going back!! We leave on Monday for Location X!! This year, it’s ON!! Happy hunting Ryan!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Scouting Trip - Jackson Hole

As most of you know, Ryan and I are getting married next summer. We had a difficult time deciding where to have the wedding. Neither St. Louis nor Louisiana seemed like the right place. We wanted a destination wedding, somewhere a little exotic, with our closest friends and family there. We opted against the traditional beach wedding (we'll save the beach for the honeymoon) and decided we wanted to get married in the mountains! Exciting! But, there are a lot of mountians in this country...where do we go?

We started looking at a number of places online: Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Telluride, Lake Tahoe, Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Park City, Steamboat, Keystone, Big Sky, etc. We liked the idea of Jackson Hole, Wyoming - its an up-and-coming but laid-back Western ski town nestled in between the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Jackson Hole had the most amazing quintessential mountain views and we really loved the feel of it's open ranges and roaming bison (they are NOT buffalo). The more we tried to convince ourselves that it would be closer and maybe cheaper in Colorado, the more we really started to love Jackson Hole more. So, after about a month of discussing pros and cons, we picked Jackson Hole.

So, I leave for Jackson Hole tomorrow for my first scouting trip out there to look at places and venues for the ceremony and reception. I can't tell you how excited I am!! Most appropriately for this Mother's Day weekend trip, my mom is going with me. Isn't that sweet?! My wonderful wedding coordinator has set up about a million appointments for us with hotels, ranches, photographers, florists, restaurants, and even a band. We're going to be busy, but I think we're going to have a fantastic time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cabo San Lucas

My post marathon reward to myself (one of the many) was a 5 day girls’ trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with eight of my sorority sisters (I was an Alpha Delta Pi at MU). This was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and become closer to a few girls that I didn’t really know too well. By the end of the trip, we were all definitely feeling like family (sisters, if you will ;-) haha)!!

We stayed at the Riu Santa Fe, a brand new all inclusive resort right on the beach – directly across the harbor from Lover’s Beach and the famous Cabo rocks. The food was pretty good, and the tequila flowed like water (without the bacteria). We had a number of pools (with bars) that we definitely took advantage of. The waves on the beach were killer (Kirsten and I got mauled and almost died), but were spectacular and beautiful. We did some zip-lining (canyoning) in the desert; we kayaked out to Lover’s Beach (and its opposite, Divorce Beach); we had an incredible meal and margaritas at The Office; and spent one fun party night out on the town of Cabo dancing (Cabo Wabo, the Zoo, Squid Row). The weather was fabulous, sunny, warm but not hot or humid. My only complaint was that I think I wore too much sunscreen! I have more tan lines from 5 hours of running the marathon than I do for 5 days in Cabo. Go figure!

I don’t have everyone’s pictures yet, but here are a few of my favorites so far.

All the girls in the infinity pool.
Zip-line (Kirsten above, Traci below)

Kirsten dancing on the bridge.
Lindsey and Jenny kayaking.
(Pictures are a little blurry due to sunscreen and massive waves)
Traci and Debbie battling the waves.

Me, Jen, Jenny and Lindsey.

Pictures of Lover's Beach and Arch.

All the girls on the beach.

Behind the bar at Cabo Wabo.

The Office.