Saturday, December 29, 2007

Having fun in sunny Jacksonville

Keith and I have been in Florida for 4 days now and I am just getting around to blogging! It has been a busy few days (mostly working for me and lounging for Keith!)

We arrived in Jacksonville, FL on Wednesday Dec. 26th. We got off of the plane and I said, "Is this really Florida?" It was damp and a cool 50-something degrees. We were hoping to arrive to warm weather, after being in southwest PA's 20-30 degree weather just a few days earlier. Thankfully by Thursday, the temperature was rising and today it was a very balmy 79 degrees!We were sitting by the water today eating lunch and we couldn't believe it was actually December 29th! It's weird to see men in shorts and women in bikini tops just a few days before New Year's Day. The weather forecast is for it to remain in the 70s tomorrow and Monday and then by game time on Tuesday, it should be a very comfortable 65 degrees! :-) Perfect!

Since I don't have a lot of time to blog (and you don't want this to be 10 pages long), I will give you a list of what's been going on down here:

  • We are staying at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel. It is a very nice hotel located near the St. John's River. We are on the 8th floor in an Executive King room (lucky for us, I was the one who made the room assignments for the UVA travel party so I put us in a good room!) We have a splendid view (especially at night) of the water and the area around it. The football team, support staff, families and fans have pretty much taken over the hotel so you can't go anywhere without seeing someone you know (that can be good and bad! haha)

  • The Football office staff (including myself) have taken up shop in one of the meeting rooms in the hotel. We are supposed to only work from 8:30am-12:30pm every day, but I haven't gotten out of there before 2:30pm anyday since we got here (except for yesterday - more on that to follow). We are mostly assisting the coaches and other support personnel with practice preparation and anything else they ask us to do. It hasn't been bad so far, except for the part where I have to get up at 7:00am and Keith is still in bed!! That part sucks pretty badly. :-)

  • The Gator Bowl committee has set up a Hospitality suite in the hotel that is open 7am-10am and 4pm-midnight every day. They have light breakfast stuff in the morning and finger foods, beer, wine, soda, and liquor in the evenings. They have snacks and candy in the evenings too. We have gone up there every night since we have been here and I am planning on heading up as soon as I finish typing this (Keith is watching a movie so I think he is going to pass tonight - since he doesn't know a lot of people, its not as much fun for him as it is for me). It's a fun place for the coaches, their wives, and us support people to go and hang out in a relaxed setting. (Not to mention free alcohol and food....Not bad!!)

  • The hotel is located one block from The Jacksonville Landing which is a shopping/dining/nightclub area. It is really nice because they have it all decorated for Christmas. We have gone to a few of the restaurants that are located there and we have gone to two nightclubs. One is called Mavericks and it is a country bar (although they were playing classic rock music on Thursday night when we were there). They have a mechanical bull that Keith thought about riding (he decided against it when he saw a few others make fools of themselves on it! haha). Last night we went to The Twisted Martini which is another dance club bar. They played good dance music and we had a really good time. Unfortunately, staying out until 1:30am and then having to get up and work the next day isn't too much fun. I am not sure I am going to stay out quite so late tonight, but we'll see!

  • Yesterday, my boss allowed me to have the day off so Keith and I rented a car and drove to St. Augustine, FL. It is about 45 mins south of Jacksonville. We had a really fun day. We visited the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, which is really old fort. We also went to the Alligator Farm where we saw 23 different species of alligators and crocodiles. We even saw a live feeding show where a VERY brave zoo keeper got inside an area containing about 20 very large alligators. It was really interesting to see but a little bit creepy. We ate lunch along the river and ventured into an area containing a bunch of little shops. It reminded us of areas we saw in Europe. It was really nice to walk down the street of shops and window shop. It was nice to be able to take a day away and relax.
Well, I guess that is pretty much a not-so-quick synopsis of what we have been doing. While I have been working, Keith has mostly been reading or venturing around the Landing area. I am worried that he is getting bored, but he assured me that sleeping late and lounging around the hotel room is fine with him!! :-)

We have three more full days after today and then we fly home early on January 2nd. I'll try and blog again before we head home, but I won't make any promises. Like it does back home, time just seems to be flying by here!

Here are a few pictures to share:

Keith at the fort

At the fort, with the beautiful
water in the background

This is the brave zoo keeper

Us with an alligator

The Christmas tree at
Jacksonville Landing

Thursday, December 20, 2007

So much to do and so little time!!!

I have been very much out of the blogging world for the past few weeks. I have barely found time to check other people's blogs for updates, but certainly haven't had time to update mine. For the past three weeks or so, I have been extremely busy at work preparing for our upcoming Bowl game and trip to Jacksonville. I have quickly learned that even though all year I have been praying for the UVA football team to do well so we can go to a good Bowl game, I am now rethinking some of those wishes! I never realized how much preparation goes into ONE FOOTBALL GAME! It's unbelievable how much time my co-workers and I have spent getting everything straight. We have worked past 8:00pm the past two nights and have worked through lunch for many days recently. We have basically been travel agents, event planners and secretaries for 250 people - making flight and hotel arrangements, figuring out who is going to what event, putting together itineraries, information packets, and any other information you can think of, gathering info about things in Jacksonville - shops, restaurants, bars, fun places to name it, we have done it! Oh, and then there is also the game to prepare for, so in my case that means my regular week-before-a-game practice work - typing practice schedules, scouting reports, practice scripts, making copies, and anything else that the 10 assistant coaches would like. Oh, and did I mention that in all of this hoopla the University decided to change voicemail systems???!! So, starting yesterday everyone was supposed to log in to the new system, record their name and a new greeting, and update their "message waiting" button on their phone so it goes to the new voicemail system and not the old one. Unfortunately, none of us have had time to do any of that - other than record our name - and in the case of most of the coaches, I was supposed to do that for them but other things have taken precedence! We found out today that the system seems to have some glitches so people aren't necessarily getting their voicemail messages, even if they did all that they were supposed to do. Oh well, who has time to return messages right now anyways?! :-)

In the midst of all of this craziness at work, there have been other things to do at home also. The biggest one of course being preparing for Christmas. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful husband who has done a lot of the shopping and wrapping while I have been working. We got our tree and other decorations up a few weeks ago, so we have had some time to enjoy the season of Christmas. We have also been packing for the past few nights - one suitcase for Jacksonville (which is going down on a truck on Saturday and will be delivered to our room) and one for our PA/Richmond trip. It has been hectic trying to figure out what I am going to wear in 60-70 degree weather in Jacksonville and then also what I might need in PA, where it may be in the 20s and 30s! I guess whatever gets packed for both locations will be what I wear - let's hope we pack enough underwear! :-)

Our time with family is being cut short this year due to the Bowl game trip. We are leaving tomorrow after work, which hopefully will be around 5pm and not too much later, and heading to Southwest Pennsylvania to visit with Keith's mom. We will be spending some time relaxing along with doing some shopping, watching movies, and whatever else his Mom wants to do. We are staying there until Monday - Christmas Eve day - and then heading to Richmond to spend some time with my family. We are planning on going to the late (11pm) Christmas Eve service at our old church and then spending Christmas day at my parents house. My grandparents are flying in from Rochester on Christmas day and I am excited to see them. Unfortunately, we will have to leave my parents house late on Christmas day because we are flying out of Charlottesville early on the 26th to head to Jacksonville. It sucks that we can't spend more time with my family, but at least we are able to be there for Christmas and spend some time with everyone. I'm looking very much looking foward to a break from work and some fun time spent with family.

We will have internet access in Jacksonville, so I will try to post a few blogs while we are there. I am looking forward to our trip there also, but I will also be happy when it is all over!

I hope you all have a very blessed Christmas and that you are able to enjoy special time with family and friends! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The cutest nephew award.....

.....goes to none other than my nephew Pierce!! Yes, I am extremely biased but if you look at the pictures on my sister Katie's blog - click here - you will probably agree that he is one of the cutest little boys that you have ever seen!

His birthday is on December 24th and he will be 1 year old! Once again, I can't believe how fast this past year has flown by. He is growing into such a big boy. I think I echo my sister's feelings when I say that he is growing up way too fast! Luckily, Karen & Brian will be adding a new baby to our family in April so we'll get to experience the joys of a little baby again soon! :-)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

We're headed to Jacksonville!!!!

This afternoon, the Virginia football team accepted an invitation to the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl! Virginia will play against Texas Tech on January 1st in Jacksonville, FL.

Although the "official travel schedule" has not come out yet, Keith and I will definitely be heading south at the end of this month, probably on December 26th. It is nice to know that we will be able to spend the holiday with our families but we are also excited about the fun that we are going to have in Jacksonville! What a way to ring in 2008!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Apparently working in the Athletic Department means that you often participate in "athletic-type" events. My first such event occured this past Wednesday night when the "Broomball 2007" battle was played. One of my co-workers, who used to play football at UVA and is now one of the Recruiting Assistants, organized the event which featured Football Office & Equipment Room staff, student workers, one spouse and a previous football player who happened to be in town. Keith was originally supposed to join us in the game, but he had not been feeling great that day, so he decided against it.

For those who don't know what Broomball is, the easiest way to explain it is that it is like ice hockey, but without skates. You play on ice with regular shoes on and use a "broom" which has a wooden or aluminum shaft with a rubber rectangular-shaped head. Instead of using a puck, a small hard ball is used, similar in size to a small soccer ball. Helmets are required but pads are optional (we didn't use them when we played). The Equipment Room staff made us all shirts with our names on the back and the teams were divided by those wearing pinneys and those not (luckily, my team won the coin toss so we didn't have to wear them!).

Our game was played on the only ice rink in Charlottesville - the Charlottesville Ice Park at the downtown mall. Due to it being a popular site for open ice skating and hockey team practices, broomball is scheduled fairly late at night - our game was at 11pm! Needless to say, we were all pretty tired (and a bit bruised up) on Thursday morning.

The game was really fun and at one point, I thought I was going to wet myself from laughing so hard. The best part was watching people try to "run" on the ice and end up slipping and falling. Not that anyone wanted to see anyone else get hurt, but the slips and falls were some of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. One particular participant, who is one of our graduate assistants who used to be on a practice squad in the NFL, was constantly falling! He would go for the ball or just be walking along on the ice and he would slip VERY un-gracefully! It was hysterical.

All in all, it was one of the most fun things I have done in awhile. I wish Keith could have been there, but it sounds like we have many more events planned over the next few months so hopefully he will be able to participate in those. Some of the future games include Volleyball, Softball, Flag Football, and possibly another Broomball game. Sounds like a lot of fun!