News about Nathan and Heather Straz

Saturday, 7 July, 2007
by nate

Yesterday we drove to the Badlands National Park. It was a hot day for the Badlands, over 100 degrees. We did two short trails, the Door and the Window. The trails are now handicap accessible boardwalks which were scorching hot on Baxter's paws. We took him down one, but Heather stayed with him in the air conditioned car while Chuck, Caleb, and I did the other.

But what about the Badlands? Breath-taking, amazing views. I'd love to come back and hike in the spring or fall. We stopped at a bunch of places and took pictures. We'll try to post them when we get back home. Feel free to remind us.

For the evening we dropped Baxter off at the cabin and went to Keystone for dinner. We tried Creekside Mexican Grill. It was hands down the best food we'd eaten on the trip. As with any Mexican restaurant they had fried ice cream on the menu which Heather had to try. She's always looking for fried ice cream as good as Margarita's in Augusta, Maine. Tonight she found one that was better. They correct description for fried ice cream is, "vanilla ice cream dipped in a cinnamon sugar syrup, lightly deep fried." No corn flakes, no batter.

Finally we got in a round of mini-golf at Holy Terror. We got there just as it was closing, but the gentleman let us play a round. It was a fun but difficult course. We set a stroke limit of 6 and we all took 6 on hole 15. Caleb won the match with a score of 51, par was 40.

11:04 | Tags: Vacations | 1 Comment

Friday, 6 July, 2007
Beautiful sights
by heather

Yesterday we saw two beautiful sights. We started and ended the day at Mt.Rushmore. In the morning we went to Mt.Rushmore and walked the Presidents Trail. We also walked through the museum and heard a talk about how the faces were carved into the mountain. I was surprised to hear that 90% of the carving was done with dynamite. At about lunch time we went back to the cabin to eat, rest, and exercise the dog. We spent the afternoon at another great carving that is still in progress. We were at Crazy Horse. We learned a lot about that project from the museum and the video that we watched. They still have a long ways to go on the carving, but its amazing how much they have done without any Government funding. We ended the day back at Mt.Rushmore watching the lighting ceremony. Yesterday was a great day! We are off to the Bad Lands today. Hopefully we don't overheat - its supposed to be close to 100 degrees today!!

11:10 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Thursday, 5 July, 2007
South Dakota!
by heather

It seems tradition to go on a road trip shortly after surgery. The past two years, we have gone East. This year we decided to go West. Yesterday we drove about 10 hours through a whole lotta-nuttin to get to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We are staying in a cabin at Hillside Country Cabins until Sunday when we make the exciting drive back to Minnesota. We rented a Ford Explorer so that we would have more room for all 4 passengers (Chuck and Caleb are with us too!), Baxter, and all the stuff we brought! Baxter rode very well in the back with all our stuff. He is a great little traveler!

Well, off to see the sights for Day 1! Check back for updates...we'll try to be "Good little Bloggers!"

10:36 | Tags: Vacations | 1 Comment

Tuesday, 29 May, 2007
Vacation Ends
Time for surgery
by nate

It's early Tuesday morning and I'm already sitting in the Surgical Waiting Room. We got to the hospital around 6:30 this morning and by 8:00 they came to take Heather to surgery. It turns out the hospital added free WiFi so I should be able to update everyone easily. Perhaps I can even get some work done. I also noticed a sign on the wall that they are building a new surgical waiting room, it couldn't be done soon enough.

Our weekend was great, we really needed the break. We drove up to Saratoga and stayed with Jer and Danielle. It was great to see them and Ian again. Danielle is ready to pop! She could deliever Campbell before we fly back to Minnesota. We also got to see Dug and Sharon and Chuck and Caleb. We played croquet and wiffle ball. I haven't swung a bat since I was in little league for one year in elementary school. I was surprised I could hit the ball at all. I think I was having a little too much fun hitting the ball because my right forearm is still sore.

On Saturday we started looking at houses in the areas around Saratoga. We didn't find anything we wanted to put an offer on, but we got a better idea of what was around and our realtor got to know our tastes better. I think it'll be a challenge to find a house remotely. We'll probably have to move into a rental after our townhouse sells then restart our house hunt in earnest.

8:44 | Tags: Chiari Vacations House | 5 Comments

Saturday, 17 February, 2007
Travel Nightmares
But we are in Maine now
by heather

I'm glad that I don't have to travel through airports again for a while (just over a week). Mom and I spent 4 1/2 hours at JFK on Wednesday looking for my bag. They were supposed to call me when it arrived and they would arrange to deliver it to me, but they didn't call and we knew that with all the cancelled flights, it would take forever to get my bag if we waited for them. So, we went to JFK (had to go there to get the rental car anyway) and spent nearly 5 hours getting different stories about where my bag 'might' be. After all that, we DID find it! It was in the Delta office..not really sure why, because I flew NorthWest and Jet Blue...But the important part is we got it!

We had a flight to return to Maine on Friday afternoon. That morning, we heard that Jet Blue had cancelled many of their flights and delayed many more so we knew it was going to be a long day. We got to the airport with plenty of time to return the car and stand in the massive lines of people at the check in area. The airport was mobbed with people who had been bumped from the days before and wanted to get out. The story changed multiple times about when and from which gate our flight was going to leave. When the gate assignment changed, we had to take a shuttle to another terminal and it was then saying the flight was going to be on time so we rushed over and didn't grab lunch because we didn't think we had time. We got to the other area, it was at least 85 degrees in that area and mobbed with people. Our flight was then delayed, but we didn't know for how long, so we couldn't leave to go some where more comfortable and get lunch. Anyway after all that, we boarded 2 hours late and then sat on the plane for an hour before we took off. We got different stories about needing to refuel and wait for luggage. So, we got to Portland 3 hours late and we went to baggage claim to wait for my bag. We watched them unload the entire plane and not a single person claimed a bag. None of the luggage on our flight was for any of the passengers on our flight. So, we have no idea where my bag is, or when I will get it! Jet Blue announced today that they have cancelled all their flights in to Portland for this weekend, to try to catch up. But at least we are here and I don't have to fly again until the 28th! Time to relax for a while.

12:18 | Tags: Happenings Chiari Vacations | 0 Comments

Saturday, 30 December, 2006
Quiet Week Off
by nate

I've been on "vacation" all week as part of Red Hat's annual holiday shutdown. I don't feel like I've done much all week. I intended to get some work done on a few programming projects, but alas, I procrastinated. Today I did a little bit of work on the layout of the web site. It should finally look right for all of you Internet Explorer users. I gave in and added a table to get the sidebar and content spaces in the right place. I really wanted to do the layout without using tables, but CSS just doesn't have a sane way to make it work on all browsers.

The week started out with Christmas on Monday. Heather and I were quite impressed with the number of presents under out tree. Our families sent a ton of presents. Thank you. After openning our presents, we stuffed and dipped a bunch of eclairs to take over to Deb and Jeff's for brunch. We spent the middle of the day there then took Baxter to the dog park for some exercise.

Tuesday we relaxed around the house. I probably spent too much time playing my new game Burnout: Revenge. Wednesday we dropped Heather's Mazda 5 off at the dealership and drove up to Albertville to do some post-Christmas bargain shopping. We found some great deals at Banana Republic and picked up some new shoes at Sketchers.

Thursday I returned a pair of gloves that Mom bought me at Lands End. Sorry, Mom I was really impressed with the return process. When they pick items for an order, they slap on a label each item. They can punch in a number from the label to look up the entire order. They put the balance on a gift card while I looked around the store. I ended up using the gloves to subsidize a new Primaloft pillow. Hopefully my neck won't ache so much in the morning.

Friday I spent most of the day playing video games. In the evening Heather and I went to a party in White Bear Lake. My friend Dean got married this fall and moved into a new house. His in-laws decided to throw a party to celebrate in his new house.

20:52 | Tags: Happenings Vacations | 0 Comments

Wednesday, 2 August, 2006
Yes, We're back
and yes, we're lazy
by nate

We made it back into Lakeville on Sunday afternoon. We were pretty wiped out from three days in a row of driving. The 100 degree heat didn't help either. We had a great time visiting all of our friends and family. I'll bug Heather to post the results from the doctor's appointment. The short summary is that they want her to do some physical therapy because her neck muscles are too tight.

13:27 | Tags: Chiari Vacations | 0 Comments

Saturday, 15 July, 2006
Road Trip!
by nate

Today we're getting ready for our summer road trip. The main purpose of the trip is Heather's follow-up appointment at the Chiari Institute. As bonuses on the trip we're getting together with the Clarkson gang and our families in Maine. We leave bright and early Sunday morning. Baxter is travelling with us, but Rex is staying in Lakeville with our friend Derek. We should have some connectivity during the trip so we'll try to post some pictures. I hope gas prices don't make it to $4.00 before we get back.

11:21 | Tags: Chiari Vacations | 0 Comments

Friday, 9 June, 2006
Pets on Vacation
by heather

The other day I was checking the Kennebec Journal online. For those of you who aren't familiare with it, its the newspaper from my hometown area. There is a blog there that I like to check often. Its called 'A Dog's life'. I found a link to pictures of pets on vacation in Maine. I remembered a picture that we took of Baxter last summer and uploaded it to the site. Click here to check it out. We took this picture while on a hike on the Maine coast with Mom and Dad Straz.

0:09 | Tags: Sites Pets Vacations | 0 Comments

Wednesday, 23 November, 2005
A Bailey Thanksgiving
by nate

Instead of flying home right after Heather's appointments at the Chiari Institute, we decided to extend our stay to visit our friends, Jer and Danielle and their new baby Ian. They invited us to join them for Thanksgiving at the Bailey house. I think the last time I was at the Bailey house was just before I moved to Minnesota, over five years ago. During my four years of college I visited the Bailey house many times. I always had a good time and this visit was fun too. It felt good to return to a familiar place. I enjoyed seeing Jer's parents, brothers, sisters-in-law and their kids. I hope it won't be another five years before I get to see them all again.

22:42 | Tags: Chiari Vacations | 0 Comments

Thursday, 25 August, 2005
Amanda's Wedding
by heather

My college friends Amanda and Pat got married a couple weeks ago. I was very fortunate to be able to attend their ceremony. I don't think they could have asked for a better day for a wedding. It was absolutly bueatiful. Here are a couple of pictures from their reception.

Amanda & Pat

Amanda & I

0:31 | Tags: Vacations | 1 Comment

Sunday, 21 August, 2005
Traveling Fool
by heather

I have been traveling so much that sometimes I wake up at night (in my own bed) and am not sure where I am. Two weeks ago I went to Maine for Amanda and Pat's wedding. I stayed for 4 days and within 12 hours of being back in MN, I was on a plane headed for Gerogia. I went for a week to work at Fort Benning.

This Thursday I will be driving to North Dakota with Leslie and our three dogs. We will stay until Sunday when I will jump on another plane for a short trip back to Benning. I'll be there just until Tuesday night when I will be home hopefully for a while!

17:17 | Tags: Jobs Vacations | 0 Comments

Saturday, 23 July, 2005
Catching up
by nate

You may have noticed that a bunch of entries just showed up in June. If you've checked the blog since then but don't remember seeing them, you're not going insane. I just wrote them and back-dated them. I still have more to do but I'm tired of writing blog entries at the moment.

21:22 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Sunday, 26 June, 2005
New York City, Day Two
by nate

Today was a pretty busy day of walking around New York City. We got to see F.A.O. Schwarz, Grand Central, and Ground Zero. We had dinner at my favorite NYC restaurant, Cara Mia. After that we walked around Times Square before heading to our evening entertainment, Stomp. Stomp was simply awesome. I managed to get row B (front row) tickets and you really get to feel the rythmn.

0:00 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Saturday, 25 June, 2005
Witnessing Ground Zero
by nate

When I was in college I visited NYC several times, many times walking right past the World Trade Centers. This was my first time back to New York since 9/11. The site is now surrounded by a huge fence and along the east side of it are signs about the site and a timeline recounting the events on 9/11. There were a lot of people there quietly reading the signs and paying their respects. The silence was broken a native shouting, "If you had been here that day you would understand that it's not a tourist attraction!" No, it's not a tourist attraction, it's a historical site. We saw the events unfold on television and now we've come to witness the site with our own eyes and reflect.

17:30 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Friday, 24 June, 2005
Touring New York City
by nate

We got a late start into the city on Friday. All we ended up doing was the three hour Circle Line Tour and a carriage ride through Central Park.

1:00 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Thursday, 23 June, 2005
Lunch on the Jersey Shore
by nate

Today we drove from Aunt Kathy's in Virginia to my friend Corey's in New Jersey. We took a long detour to have a seafood lunch on the New Jersey shore. The Crab House at Two Mile Landing does have good food. I had crab for the first time there. I found that I really like crab meat, but it takes a lot of time and effort to eat crab. We drove up to Wildwood to walk on the beach and the boardwalk. All in all, a very good travel day.

1:00 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Tuesday, 21 June, 2005
International Spy Museum
by nate

The Spy Museum was hands down the best thing I saw today. We went to Arlington National Cemetery in the morning and Tony Cheng's for lunch but I could have spent all day at the Spy Museum. Several people recommended going there and I would have to recommend it too.

1:00 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Monday, 20 June, 2005
Washington D.C., Day One
by nate

There is so much to see in D.C. and the lines are so long that it's hard to see everything. We started out at the Air and Space Museum. We walked down to the Capitol. From there we stopped at the National Gardens. We were going to go into the National Archives, but there was a really long line to get in there. We trekked all the way past the Washington Monument to the new World War II Memorial. Even though the fountains weren't running, it was still a very impressive memorial. It fits very well at the end of the reflecting pool. From there we continued down to the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and Korean War Memorial. It was quite the long day with a lot of walking, but we were happy to see everything that we did.

1:00 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Sunday, 19 June, 2005
Arrived at Aunt Kathy's
by nate

Today we made it to Aunt Kathy's house. Heather's friend Kat arrived shortly thereafter with Uncle Dave in the Corvette. This afternoon I got to see my cousins Todd and Chad and their families for the first time in many years. They all looked good and we had a great time.

1:00 | Tags: Vacations | 0 Comments

Saturday, 18 June, 2005
Made it to Pittsburg
must be the easiest place to get lost
by nate

We made it safely to the Holiday Inn in Pittsburg tonight. I've never been to Pittsburg before. I wasn't expecting to see so many hills or to get so lost. My first wrong turn was getting on I-279 at the north end instead of the south end. Then I didn't see to get over in the right lane to stay on I-279 while going through Pittsburg and accidently exitted. After getting back on I-279, I missed the exit onto Route 121. So I got off exit 2 and thought getting on I-79 south would help. It didn't. I got off the next exit only to find the on ramp in the other direction was closed and had to take the detour, which brought me back to I-279. After all of that I was able to find the Holiday Inn without any more wrong turns. We decided to eat at the hotel restaurant instead of trying to find somewhere to eat.

22:47 | Tags: Vacations | 1 Comment

Thursday, 16 June, 2005
Road Trip
by heather

We are going on a road trip! We'll be gone just under 4 weeks and I'm sure we will have many adventures along the way. Check back often for updates and stories from the road. Got any suggestions of 'must see' places we should stop at?

23:43 | Tags: Vacations | 2 Comments

Baxter, the happy traveler
by heather

Baxter flew to Maine this morning. I was a nervous wreck when I dropped him off at the airport, but he seemed quite content laying in his crate with a few toys and some blankets that smelled like home. The flight went well and Baxter's welcome crew was there to meet him when he arrived in Bangor. Here is a picture of Baxter and his new little friend, Caleb. Looks like a pretty happy puppy to me!

19:06 | Tags: Pets Vacations | 0 Comments

Friday, 25 February, 2005
Starting to plan sabbatical
by nate

One of the benefits of working for Silicon Graphics is that we get a three week sabbatical every five years. This June will be my five year anniversary. Heather and I are planning on driving back East to visit friends and family. We don't know the dates quite yet but we're open to suggestions.

15:08 | Tags: Jobs Vacations | 0 Comments