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Pictures and More - The Real World Strikes: 2006

In January, I made a trip to Florida for about a week-and-a-half. I flew into Pensacola on the 12th and spent a few days at Jenn and Mike's in Navarre. It was a 2nd Annual Bielek-Leake get together down there and all were present but a couple of spouses (Tim and Patrick). During that time, we made the trip down to Homosassa Springs to once again visit the manatees. Unfortunately, due to stormy weather, most of them had taken shelter (question: WHERE do manatees take shelter?) and we only caught glimpses of a few, much unlike last year (see pictures from 2005). On Monday the 16th, I headed to Tampa to visit Jamie for a night. On Tuesday, I drove to Orlando to spend the afternoon before heading to Fort Lauderdale, where I was able to see Sondra and Catherine. Finally, on the second weekend of my Florida trip was SoFlex (South Florida Lindy Exchange). A couple other Clevelanders and friends also flew down for the occasion.
This includes some random pictures I took during the Winter of 2006. In February, a group of us was out in Willoughby for Suzanne's birthday. Also, some nights out on the town here in Cleveland as well as a visit to Columbus to see some of the OU crew.
Another somewhat random compilation of pictures, many of which were taken while out with the swing dancing crew. We hit up the Midnight Martini Show at Pickwick and Frolic here in Cleveland. Also covered is the 16-person Euchre tournament that Loreto so precisely organized (went off without a hitch). I'm still not convinced the winner didn't somehow cheat her way to the top. Yes, I'm bitter. At any rate...antics, suspense, drama, betrayal...this set of pictures has it all.
Hard to believe that it was time for the 5th Annual Seven Springs Ski Trip, brought to you once again this year by our chief organizer, Debbie. Yet again (I should cease being surprised), we had a great crowd that resulted in a fantastic time. The weather was not conducive to skiing (i.e. rain), but I don't even think that mattered. Fun time had by all, I daresay. Thanks, Debbie!
St. Patrick's Day here in Cleveland, a smattering of pictures. As has become tradition, I took a half day at work and met up with friends downtown, bouncing around to a few places. Having it on Friday helps. Another fun St. Patty's Day.
No, no. Not THE Boston Tea Party. Well, actually, yeah: THE Boston Tea Party. Every year there is a big swing dance event in Boston. This year it was huge with some of the best instructors from around the country. I think the final attendance numbers came in somewhere around 1200. Between workshops, dances, and competitions (no, I didn't...so don't even look at these pictures in hopes that I did), it was a busy weekend.
Our friend, Doug Wheaton, moved to Phoenix from Cleveland in March in pursuit of a job (and probably some adventure, I suspect). I met Doug through the swing (dancing!) scene here in Cleveland. The follows will miss Doug because he's a great lead, all of us will miss him because he's a hell of a guy. So we had one last night out with him at Tequila Ranch in Cleveland, where I not only had a blast but found out yet something else about him: that man can ride bull!
For the past several years, Cleveland has hosted what has come to be the premiere balboa event in the world. Yeah, yeah...I know...what is balboa? Well it's a form of swing dancing, you ninny. Hundreds of people from around the country and world converge on Cleveland for a weekend's worth of dances and instruction from the best in the world. This year, I had the opportunity to play at least a small role in the production; it was pretty evident that it was a great success.
Just somewhat random outdoor pictures I compiled from this summer. Some nature shots, some of an Indians game I went to in June.
Kind of another small collection of pictures taken while out and about in the Summer of 2006 at various local establishments.
In June, long-time friend and fellow Bobcat Josh Hubacher married his long-time girlfriend Bernadette in a ceremony in Vail, CO, near which they reside (yeah, rough life). Being the friend that I am, I decided to take it upon myself to tear myself away from Cleveland in order to visit Vail for an extended weekend. I'm such a martyr. Huss also made the trip and Caroline provided the much needed rose for us two thorns. We took the opportunity to spend some time in Boulder, too.
An annual rafting trip, brought to us by Maile. This year, I think there was something on the order of 70 or 80 people that trekked down to the New River in West Virginia. I few pics from the excursion...
A couple more Bobcats down. Mike and Jill got married in July in Youngstown. Mike and I became friends during my extended tenure at OU. I was able to see some fellow OU grads that I had not seen in quite some time.
A primer for the main event. Shannon and Ryan had a wedding shower at her brother's place in Columbus. Gorgeous weather, good friends, and spirits made for a great event despite the somewhat more somber "are you *sure* you want to do this, man?" conversation. Ah, just kidding, Shan. (No...but Huss...seriously..)
A guys-only primer for the main event. In August, we threw Huss a bachelor party in Windsor, Can. Signifying the gravitas of the event, I even golfed; we had perfect weather for the links. Throw in a group of old friends and life is good.
Cousin Dave was in town from Gemany for a few weeks in late summer along with his friend Nuria from Spain. One weekend I headed down to Columbus to hang out at with him and his sis. After playing some cards, a few of us went out on the town in Columbus's Arena District.
Well, I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. And I suppose I had to post the pictures sooner or later (this means it's official, you two!). Ryan and Shannon got married *way* back in September of 2006. Huss had the audacity to request my attendance as best man. I humbly accepted; it's an easy job when your best friend is marrying someone like Shan. The wedding was in Shannon's hometown (near Youngstown) and the reception at her folks' place. Of course, it was a veritable Bobcat reunion...
A fellow Ohio University alum and friend, Nate Gamber, married his college sweetheart, Lauren, in late September. Good time had by all, and it was an opportunity to see some folks I hadn't seen since the college days...
For about a year, beginning in the early fall of 2006, "Sunset Four" (Greg, Mary Ann, Jeff, and Caroline) held a weekly swing dance on Wednesday nights at the Sunset Lounge in downtown Cleveland. The event was a success, and always a great time. I took some pictures during the Fall of 2006...here they are...
For Halloween, Brad, Mike, and Jeff rolled on out to see Gary in Harrisburg. Just a few pictures from the event...none of which really do it justice, of course.
In November, Caroline, Jeff, Greg, and Mary Ann headed to North Carolina for a swing dancing event called the Eastern Balboa Championships (aka EBC) that Chris and Hollie put on in Raleigh. It's a great event and does not take itself as seriously as many others...kind of a refreshing change. A good time, to be sure....this is our story...
In December, Huss's groomsmen cashed in part his gift to us: a Cleveland Browns game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Here are some pictures from pregame to postgame downdown.