Tuesday, November 30, 2010


"Song For A Winter's Night"
by Sarah McLachlan

[Written and first sung by Gordon Lightfoot in 1975]

The lamp is burnin' low upon my table top
The snow is softly fallin'
The air is still within the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly callin'

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon the page
The words of love you sent me

If I could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are liftin'
The mornin' light steals across my windowpane
Where webs of snow are driftin'

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
And to be once again with with you
To be once again with with you


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh, My Stars!

If you know me, you know I love to decorate.  Huge passion.  I wish I would have gotten my degree in it just about every single day.  I absolutely love making my home feel cozy and welcoming.  The biggest compliment you could give me would be to fall asleep on my couch, not out of boredom, but comfort. 

My favorite is the country look, just shy of  true primitive.  I love the lived in feeling of it.  The "life" and story in it.  I think it fits so well with raising a family.  I love filling up and living in every nook and cranny of my home. The girls and I were watching an episode of "Little House on the Prairie," yesterday and I honestly think my love for this look started back when I was about my daughters' ages.  To this day, I would live in the Ingalls' house. 

One of my most favorite magazines is Country Sampler.  I literally get giddy when it comes in the mail and have to wait until it's quiet in the house (ie. no interruptions), grab my coffee or glass of wine, and kick the cat off the coziest part of the couch, cuz Momma's sitting for a while.  I want to liiive in this magazine every single time.  (see pics above--you feel me?)

You can imagine one of my favorite pastimes is decor shopping.  For a few years I was an Independent Consultant for Southern Living at Home and At Home America. I LOVED these jobs that didn't feel like jobs at all to me. I got to decorate my house at huge discounts and pay for Christmas!  Craig's List was a good friend when we moved here and I needed to furnish my house. I have a great affinity for the stores, Real Deals and Simple Folk.  Momma's gonna have my own store some day.  You watch.

Thankfully I have ONE friend in my life that gets the goosebumps along with me.  She gets me.  I get her. We shop together (though we've made a pact not to garage sale together to maintain our friendship), pick each other's decorative brains, and sit side by side reading our latest issue of Country Sampler together.  It's written on our calendars.  It has status.  Priority. 

Occassionally we get grief about our decor passion from people who don't get the goosebumps.  Rolled eyes. Near-snarky comments.  She mentioned a recent convo to me and I got my back up about it as well.  Might as well've been said to me. 

Side Note That Totally Fits With This Story:  Last night, my daughter decided to count all the stars in our house--"for fun".  Amazingly, she got The Hubbs to participate.  Well, we have just under 600 stars...downstairs. 

So this morn, I was talking to The Hubbs about said convo my friend had and The Hubbs then proceeded to bring up the 600 stars bit to me.  (Oh no you didn't)  He was on the verge of complaining about (gasp) my decor (my passion), the way I decorate (make our home!).  He was very close.  He knew how close I was to bringing up his passion--BEER--and just how much he spent on beer in one pop and oh yeah...did I mention the beer glass collection that makes my head want to explode?  I was very close to doing that.  So you can see--my friend's convo/argument just about became The Hubbs and mine. 

So I took a deep breath and asked him (all sweet like)--what DO you want our house to look like?  When we got married, what did you imagine?  He thought about it for 5 seconds.

Here's what he said:  Battlestar Galactica. 


Battlestar Galactica Bedroom

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Just Like This, That's All (and you should too)


Why no,really, Thank YOU...

With every day getting closer to Thanksgiving I notice a lot of (Facebook) friends reflecting on things they are thankful for. Their lists vary from being thankful to be alive to Peppermint Mocha's.  I love it!  I love that there is just always something to be thankful for.  Really. 

So here's my, extremely random and in no particular order, list (thus far...you know I will think of five more things, the moment I click "publish"):

I am thankful for my family.  All of them.  Even the one that says the "f" word on their Facebook status updates. 

I am thankful for my hubby and children. Even though they make gray hairs.  Make me cry.  Make me turn into a werewolf.  Make me long for an island.  They make me happy MORE.  They make me have purpose MORE.  They make me laugh MORE.  They make me want to do better MORE.  They make me believe in God MORE.

I am thankful for my dog.  She's my best friend.  We are ((tight)).  Sometimes I wish I could text her and say, "Hey girl...you watching the house?  Everything good?  Staying out of the litter box?  Good giiiiirl."  But that would be weird. 

I am thankful for my mean old cat.  He makes me appreciate the dog and *sometimes* he likes to cuddle.

I am thankful for "select-a-size" paper towels.  Where have they been all my life?

I am thankful for music that says what I want to say better and can take me away when I can't literally get away.

I am thankful for Jazzercise, cuz it really, really works.  AND I can pretend I'm a ballerina, Blazer dancer or background dancer in an Usher video.  And it really works.

I am thankful for books--especially fiction--cuz they help me go to sleep every single night.  And again, the whole getaway deal.

I am thankful for teachers, cuz every single night when I'm working on homework with my kids (specifically multiplication at the moment), I know I could not be a teacher.  How in the world do you explain THAT at a 9-yr-old's level of understanding? My head wants to explode every time. 

I am thankful for flush able wipes.  (aren't you?) 

I am thankful for a sister-in-law that loves to play Farkle at the kitchen table.

I am thankful for friends that feel like family.

I am thankful for my PTO position.  It makes me use my brain and I love when those kiddos wave and say, "Hi Sunshine!"  They might as well give me money. 

I am thankful for Cracked Pepper Triscuits.  (it's a meal)

I am thankful for Google--it knows stuff.

I am thankful for Dr. Laura.  Even Dr. Laura.  Cuz she *sometimes* says some good stuff.  AND I can turn her off when I get mad at her.  Cuz she can be a real "B". 

I am thankful for forgiveness, cuz I can be a real "B" sometimes too.

I am thankful for Gap's Long & Lean jeans.  They make me feel skinny.

To be continued, cuz there sure is more...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tina, Call Me

And now...for your reading and viewing entertainment, I will break it down and show you how ABC and NBC are following me around, digging into my past and basically using my life to make the funny.  I know there's a word for this...you know where people think that the world revolves around them. The fact that I know this word, uh--the round-a-bout definition of it, shows you that I am NOT one of these people. Right?  Say yes. Let me enter these words--Dorothy Hamill haircut.  That helps considerably.

**I would like to make a note here that this is going to look like I watch a lot of friggin' TV.  That's not true.  What IS true is that I watch a lot of friggin' Tivo.  I am very busy.**

Okay, so time and again when watching my fave ABC and NBC shows, I see references to my very own little life. How do they do that, these writers? How in the world do they get so specific?  Are we really all the same like that, and we can relate at such an intimate level?  To the select few I've shared my Ponch and John dreams with, I think not.  The reactions I get back are not, the "Me too!" kinds. 

And really, how do the writers of The Middle and Modern Family portray the very exact conversation I had with The Hubbs the night before?  Verbatim.  Or that Tina Fey had the crush on Grizzly Adams AND Larry Wilcox back in the day.  It's freaking me out.  Or just very much proving that Tina and I would be instant BFF's.  She'd suggest me moving in with her and Matt Damon and it would be AWESOME.


Onwards--let's talk about ABC's, The Middle.  I can relate to this show so much. The parents.  The kids. The decor (right down to the insides of their master bedroom closet). The very same Rockin' Red piggy bank with the black polka dots that I made at Ceramic Cafe last year, that was sitting on the hutch in the dining room of last week's Halloween episode.  Oh yeah, and church on Halloween.  True. And look right there--Sue's ("Sue"--that's a laugh right there) big ol' glasses.  Accurate.

And then there's Modern Family.  This show.  Fantastic!  Do you even know how much I Facebook status update quotes from this show?  Just to draw one little example (of many, many) from the Halloween episode--Phil freaks out when he finds out his neighbor is getting a divorce for what he sees as no good reason.  Phil needs a reason why they are getting a divorce, so that he can make sure he doesn't screw up in his own marriage.  So he spends the whole entire episode overdoing it on the lovey dovey and over analyzing his own "stuff".  In one part of his analysis he makes a list of things about their relationship that make him feel like things are "good".  I love it when he says, "I'm a monogamous, social drinker and Claire only sleep hits me."  Mmmmhmmm...accurate.  The sleep hitting part stands out in this one for me, because well--every. single. night. 

Phil's character is The Hubbs a very good chunk of time.  Did you see last week's episode where the smoke detectors were chirping--YEP.  Accurate.  And I would say the picture above of Claire about to go into Freak Out Land...that's me a very good chunk of time.  Accurate. 


Okay, now for 30 Rock.  All I need to say right here is that Tina Fey and I have the same brain.  Please refer to all of my Dorothy Hamill, Grizzly Adams, Larry Wilcox and Matt Damon comments, pictures and videos.  The end.

Look how cute you are, Larry Wilcox.

Larry Wilcox on 30 Rock.  Tina--CALL ME.


And last but not least.  The Office.  The last two episodes have rocked.  I just have to point out in the Halloween one where Pam and Jim dress up as Popeye and Olive Oyl for Halloween.  SAME.  Yes, yes yes..Snooki was a close second for me, but you can go right ahead and ask Cindi, Val, Bridget, Rachael, Jennifer, my mother-in-law, the cashier at Party City, the waitress at The Carver Cafe, Amy and Gabe in the teacher's workroom and like five more people--I had the Popeye and Olive Oyl costume idea before I watched The Office.  Freak.it.y.


So there you see.  You see it, right?  Say yes.

Tina, call me!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Goosebump Incident

Over the last couple of years, Halloween has steadily become one of our favorite holidays.  I suddenly realized it gives me an ((other)) excuse to decorate the crap out of my house, and not only adorn my house with all the fixings of fall (my favoritest season of all, all, all), but also the cute little Halloweenie stuff...the lighted jack-o-lanterns, the candy corn, the spookity kitties and creepy little spiders, the Casper-like ghosts, and only witches that look like Glenda from the Wizard of Oz (or your favoritest grandma).  I have a strict rule of only cute, not scary--MUCH to my kiddos' dismay. We don't do blood and gore or anything with eyes that follow you everywhere you go.  Don't even mention (devils)--I will punch you.  Seriously, my kiddos will thank me later (otherwise known as 2:00 a.m.).

And then there's The Goosebump's Incident.  My niece, who is one year younger than my youngest, is completely into the scary stuff.  She loves blood.  Her dad works for The Red Cross, so it's not weird.  Anyway, she really loves the Goosebump books and movies.  I remember those suckers as scaring the ever-living out of me when I was like 15, so I can't imagine how a 4-yr-old (at the time) could handle it, but she totally loves it, and can still sleep through the night. 

Two Halloween's ago, we were at grandma's house for a family thang and ((someone)) brought a Goosebump movie over for the kiddos to watch.  My kiddos hadn't read the books, never mind seen any of the movies.  Normally, I know better.  My radar went up and everything, but I ignored it, because of the peer pressure (I don't do well with that).  So I totally caved and let the girls watch it, knowing FULL WELL, how it would turn out. 

Well, my girls played it ever-so-cool during the movie, insisting that they loved it (every single of the 10 times I checked on them).  It was the Goosebump movie called, The Mask--something about a mask getting stuck on your face for eternity.  I saw one glimpse of it and had to get the heck out of there (checking on them after that from the stairs--"everybody all riiiight?").

After the movie, everyone was all smiles and insisting it was "the best movie ever".  Hugs.  Kisses.  Time to go. So, as we're loading them in the car, the second we hear the seat belt locks pop into place from the back seat--HYSTERICS.  WEEPING. We hadn't even put the car into reverse yet.   This is the part I knew was coming, yet, I was still shocked.  Really?  Two seconds ago you were chasing each other around grandma's couch with fake masks on your face.  I wasn't expecting them to lose their minds in the driveway.  I really thought it would be around 2:00 a.m.  Huh.

So yeah, we don't do scary, no matter what they say.  Plus, I think I have a little of my childhood still with me.  We totally didn't celebrate Halloween when I was little.  My parents didn't believe in it (that's where ((the devil)) comes in).  Can I just tell you how much I hate typing that word out, let alone thinking, or saying it.  How old am I?  Some things just never ever go away. 

In elementary school, I didn't get to wear a costume to school, or participate in that delightful costume parade that every single kid in the US of A got to do.  During trick-o-treating, we had our porch light shut off *tight*, and went to church. Did anyone see The Middle this week?  Yeah...just like that, minus Sue's crayon costume (we had no costumes).  You should Hulu, so you know what I'm talking about.

Okay, so things have changed over the years, considerably.  We do, do (my friend, JWoww, looooves when I say "do, do", so that was especially for her) Halloween now.  Cutsie.  It's for the kids.  They will not miss out on this tradition.  And meeeee neither.

This is The Hubbs and I in like 1997.  We were married for a year and had a dog (no kids).  I got this costume idea out of a Family Fun magazine (Hey--I worked in the schools--it's a great magazine!).  We're supposed to be Rold Gold pretzels.  Notice the--already opened--bag of pretzels?  We had to bring the bag of pretzels to prove that we weren't dressed up as piles of dog poop.  Doesn't The Hubbs looked THRILLED?  He obviously reeeeeally liked me.

The "Pretzels" were the last time I can remember dressing up with The Hubbs until now...or in this picture back in 2008.  He's a--what is he?  A tough guy, I think (I think he has some cigarettes rolled up in his other shirt sleeve), and I'm Pippi Longstocking (I looooooved me some Pippi back in the day).  I'm scrappy.

Last year we were--guesss...No, not Lucy and Desi.  A Stepford Couple.  Now you see it!

This year, I've been mulling over a couple things.  Snooki is VERY tempting for me this year, but you know, probably not THE BEST costume ever to be standing in my driveway handing out candy to the neighborhood.  I think we're doing Popeye and Olive Oyl.  Which was crazy last night--did you SEE The Office?  Jim and Pam were Popeye and Olive Oyl! My next blog post is going to be how ABC and NBC is freaking spying on my life--I have PLENTY of examples of this--which I will show you.  Next time.

Have a creepy little Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Outside my window... it is very wet, rainy, blustery even.  It's fat sock weather.

I am thinking... about Scrip orders and Tax ID numbered logo'd letters to Subway and 482 Ram fundraiser flyers, otherwise known as PTO.  Oh, and I'm thinking about you, cuz I can multi-task like a mutha.

I am thankful for... a great support system of friends who support OFTEN, a family that likes to dance all night, and caramel apple frozen yogurt.

I am working on... being home today more than I am at school, TAKING DOWN the laundry once and for all and dusting my bedroom.  That is seriously all I want to do.  Can she doooo eeeet?

I am going... to take Olivia to the library.  Girl just wants to go to the library!

I am reading... a ton.  Recently read, "A Dog's Purpose," "The Art of Racing in the Rain," and am now reading "Room:  A Novel."  I've been downloading books onto my phone, CUZ I CAN.  Love me my free Kindle app. 

I am hoping... for a salted caramel latte very soon.

I am hearing... wind.  It's probably going to be a hat day.

Around the house... it's cozy feelin'.  I've also decorated for fall and halloween.  AND, it smells like snickerdoodles. Yes, I am one of thoooose. 

One of my favorite things... BUXOM, big and healthy lipstick. 

Plans for the rest of the week: Jazzercise ALL week, ballet, Wednesday/Thursday night Tivo'd funny shows, jazz/tap, a Pampered Chef party, a bunch of PTO stuff, having great grandpa over for potroast, caramel apple frozen yogurt, officially moving the summer clothes out of the closet, fat socks, sweats, favorite WSU sweatshirt, ponytail, LIBRARY, Trader Joe's and I REALLY want to play Farkle again around my kitchen table. 

Here’s a photo I want to share: cuz I messed it up. My bruthas and sistahs look good tho.  (My "big" brutha, Josh's, wedding reception--5 days ago)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let Me Ask Me Something

Here's some more "Nonsense" that I stole from Jen over here -->  http://jmanullang.blogspot.com/.  It's blog fill and a way to get the picture of my broken toe to mooooove down.  I tend to do the questions when I have either way too much to say on the blog and I don't know where to start, or I got nothing. In this case, I've got a lot to say, but I don't know if I want to say it.  So for now...you get to know me some more.

1. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Paying close attention to Shutter Island with my sistah.  FINALLY, a really good movie (that I have to watch 4 more times to fully grasp).

2.What’s the first thing you did when you opened your eyes today?

Tried to decipher between my very vivid, real-life, GOOD dreams and the reality of my bedroom, my 7-yr-old draped over me and my cat roaring for food the instant he hears (yes hears) my eyelids pop open.  Then I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to go right back to dreamland.

3.Can you sleep in total darkness?

Yes, but tend to fall asleep with the light on, book sprawled out under my face all the live long night.

4.What do you wear to sleep?


5.Was this summer a good one? How warm was it where you live?

Fantastic summer, right up until the last three weeks. Then it sucked. 

6.Name one thing you love about winter?

The crock pot.

7.Tell us about an era of your life that you really miss.

Hmmmm...This answer seriously changes daily.  Right now...yesterday (totally an "era"), getting a kick-ass pedicure and having the spa's massage chair get frisky with me.  Good times. (obviously, I've been a "single mom" far too long)

8.Tell us about your favorite year when you were a student.

Probably sophomore year of HS...I was involved in a lot of activities (dance, choir, drama, etc...), had the senior boyfriend and really started making some sweeet memories with the same amazing friends I still have TODAY. That year was significant in that my life started "kicking ass and taking names".  It just got bettah after that.   

9.What is your favorite memory in the last year?

Way.too.many.  I can't pick just one without leaving EQUALLY good things out.

10.What was your best/favorite subject at school?


11.When did you laugh today?

At about 9:30 a.m., at the serious "dog pile" (dog, cat, children) on my bed.

12.What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

The fact that it's NOT Monday.

13.Is it easier for you to go without food or go without sleep?

Food.  This girl needs her rest.

14.What non-alcohol beverage do you enjoy drinking the most?

Coffee--it's such a treat.

15.Did you drink any alcohol this week? If yes, what?

Yes. I enjoy a glass of wine pretty much every day if I can help it.

16. Did you ever get into a bar and drink before you were 21?

It's a possibility.

17.Would you ever consider being a vegetarian?

I'm gonna say--NO.

18.What do you normally smell like?

I heard this week that I smelled, "yummy", so that was good.  My goal is to smell good every. single. time.

19.How far away do you live from your parents?

About 15 minutes.  Thank goodness.

20.Was your dad named after anyone?

Not that I know of.  If he was, I'm sure they were AWESOME. 

21.What do you think is the minimal age to get married?

Well, considering I got married at 23, I think 30. 

22.Are you happy with your job?

Yes--very.  Friggin' long hours tho. ;D

23.Where do you work and what do you do there?

I'm the CEO of The Buzo House.  I do it all.

24.Have you ever been to Mt. Rushmore?

I used to live 20 minutes from it.  Which means my entire family and several visiting friends have been there.

25.How many states have you been to where all you saw was the airport?

Geez...A LOT. 

26.What countries have you been to?

USA and Mexico.  Sheesh, I need to get out of here.

27.What actor/actress do you consider hot at the moment?

Hot?  Zac Efron.  He makes butterflies. But really--I just saw "Going the Distance" and Drew Barrymore's boyfriend is a stinkin' cutie pie.  And Leonardo DiCaprio's partner on "Shutter Island" is freaking adorable.  Lemme google names--brb---> Justin Long and Mark Ruffalo.  There. 

28.What is your favorite album by a band?

I don't play faves.  My moods change all the time and I pretty much listen to mostly anything, depending on who or what I'm thinking about, what I'm doing (ie. dancing VS cleaning toilets), and if I wanna cry or shake my tail. 

29.What is your favorite album by an individual artist?

See answer to #28.

30.What was the last TV show that you watched?

Nancy Grace

31.What was the last video you watched on YouTube?

A 9/11 Tribute, followed by a spider video that Jen made me get sucked into.  What the heck, Jen?

Until next time...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yin Yang

** This post is dedicated to That Larry Guy, cuz he can be grumpy and likes it when others are too.

Okay, this post is not gonna be pretty.  I should have a little guarantee that you'll feel so much better about your own life after reading it--the very reason I watch Hoarders, Supernanny and Jersey Shore. 

There will be pictures.  Ye be warned.

This is what I get for going to Hawaii and having the best, most perfectest, funner (those two words were for Fancy Lori) time of my life--you know, right after my wedding, having the babies,Vegas and a girlfriend getaway in an Arizona desert. Okay, maybe Hawaii fit somewhere a little earlier in the mix, but things have been pretty darn good. Just sayin'...

Remember when I was rubbing my vacation in and you were getting all mad at me and (surprisingly) not happy that I was on an island and you weren't and you were one Hawaiian blog post of mine from unfriending me on Facebook? Okay, now remember when I said, Don't you worry your pretty little head (Larry), my life will balance out and something will not be all glittery and smell like coconuts everywhere I go?  Remember when I reminded you that I'm really good at that whole Yin Yang stuff? Well, I am here to tell you, I've done my job--I have not let you down pretty much since I have left the island. Here's my checklist:

Near-death experience (#2 by the way). Within an hour of getting home from the Hawaiian vacay, we witnessed a CrAzY driver cause an accident, that we would have TOTALLY been very much in if Addy didn't forget her booster seat at grandma's.  The guy took out a front yard and fence, started going down the wrong way of the street into oncoming traffic, corrected all crazy-like, right in front of us, and at full speed ahead, slammed into three cars sitting at the stop light, backed up (nearly into us) and sped off, leaving his bumper and license plate behind.  It was a BAD scene.  One that if Addy hadn't forgotten her booster seat, we would have been the first car he slammed into. CHECK!

Get flipped off -->  http://sowhatwasisaying.blogspot.com/2010/07/oh-no-you-didnt.html <--.  CHECK!

Dog Diarrhea. Went to the beach with a girlfriend, six little girls and two dogs for three days. Within 30 minutes of arriving at the beach/hotel, my dog drinks some ocean and proceeds to throw up AND have diarrhea on the hotel carpet.  Surprisingly, shampooing and scrubbing the Dickens out of dog vomit and diarrhea soaked hotel carpet didn't really phase me once I got it cleaned up (sorry, Larry). But you know...CHECK!

Bad dog.  Good wine.

Fall down and get hurt. My girls and I had just had a lovely dinner at my parents' house and were on their deck enjoying a beautiful evening. My girls were playing with my brother in the backyard.  Addy-girl ran down the stairs to chase my brother and missed the last two steps. I ran down to save her life and *I* missed the last step and fell right next to my girl.  Addy was (eventually) only bruised and fine.  I broke two toes.  A tiny frog jumped on my leg while I was doooown though.  That was cute. CHECK!

Bad Ju Ju.

Turned into a werewolf. I spent the entire week deep cleaning my house (MUCH to my childrens' dismay, cuz I am not a fun mom at all when I am deep cleaning) and just when I can see the light at the end of the deep cleaning tunnel and am imagining children asleep, a warm bath and a large glass of wine, I find that one of The Hubb's home brewed beers had exploded in the closet under the stairs for no damn good reason, all over EVERYTHING!  The walls, ceiling, carpet, coats, arts and crafts supplies galore, and Wii drum set were drenched in Porter.  I could pour you a glass of beer out of the drum set. It was a friggin' crime scene in there. I had to "go to another place" to pull myself together to clean that sucker up.  And of course The Hubb's is out of town until I don't even know when, so it was ALL MINE to clean up.  Don't worry, I SO have a list of demands for when he does get home. CHECK!

I didn't get an actual pic of the Crime Scene itself, cuz I was a werewolf, and wasn't thinking straight, but this is everything that was in that dang closet.  See the tub of beer?  Those were how many beer bottles were on the shelves (which I have since moved into that tub *with a lid*).  Imagine all those bottles sitting in puddles of beer on the shelves.  Mmmmhmmm...So glad one of the carafes didn't explode.  The Hubb's would be minus one wife.  And please notice the "baking soda" listed on the chalk board.  Mmmmhmmmm...Underneath *all that* is a really clean house...that smells like a dive bar now.

Thoroughly cleaned up after the "Crime Scene".

See (Larry), this is what you call BALANCE.  Yin and Yang. Maybe some bad Ju Ju.  Or as a good friend of mine said:  Life.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This Is Not A Dream (Finale)

The girls loved the art.

Totally winding down now to the end of my story.  Thanks for sticking with me.  I promise to talk about something else next time.  It's just that I had to get this down.  These are memories I never want to forget.  They are too good.  Would you be surprised that there is actually a lot I didn't tell you?  No?  Well, it's true.  Ask Dale, Erin and The Hubbs. (smiiiile)

It really did take The Hubbs and I too long to talk ourselves into a trip like this.  It was never "the time"...the kids are too young, can't get away from work, and of course we can't afford it. But a great opportunity came our way and it would not have made any sense to say "no".  I recommend when opportunity comes--TAKE IT. 

Being knee deep in parenthood made a trip like this hard to justify as well. It took me a while to work up myself to being away from my kids in general, and the idea of both The Hubbs and I being away from the kids at the same time, was a difficult place to reach. My world, like yours, revolves around them little life suckers, but something finally clicked and we (--> I <--) came to the place in our familial life that we could leave our girls (for 10 days).  They will be okay (with their auntie and their grandma)They can bathe themselves.  They can get to sleep at night without me.

It's not like my girls aren't used to traveling...we take them everywhere.  We have loads of family time all day, every day.  We do stuff.  I'm pretty sure they are sick of us anyway. It was great to leave them at home.  Erin and Dale make a point to go on vacation with their kids one year and the next without them.  They've done it for years.  That's probably why they call each other "Big Daddy" and "Princess" all in love-like--and mean it.  They should write a book.

And The Hubbs and I needed to make eye contact. This year we have for sure spent way more time apart than together. Way. more.  It was nice to be able to talk longer than it takes to give a child a bath, or make dinner.  It was good to make contact outside cell phone lines and Facebook walls. He's a busy guy.  It was good to see his face. 

Last Night in Kauai.

Kauai Wrap Up

Our last days in Kauai were spent relaxing by the pool or on the beach. Down time. Our last "adventure" was a very low-key water tube tour through an old sugar cane plantation. This plantation is known as "The Wettest Place on Earth" (I totally thought Oregon was). It was lush and beautiful and they had "Oops" trees.  You'll have to go on the tour to find out about that one. We got to ride tubes down old sugar can irrigation ditches. It may not sound great, but it pretty much was. The highlight was going through four tunnels. The longest tunnel was just under a mile long. We wore helmets with lights and gloves to protect our heads from, and push off the rocks on either side of the canals. It reminded me of The Pirates of the Caribbean ride, without the pirates. When we were in the tunnels, the guides would have us turn off our lights at points, making it quite the experience riding through the pitch black darkness, not knowing where you were going or how long it was going to take. I didn't know I wanted to do that.  It pleasantly surprised me.

We spent our last night out, listening to a Hawaiian band, eating a delicious assortment of Pu Pu platters (appetizers), and meeting very enthusiastic people (Do you watch LOOOOOOST?!) that we'd see at the pool the next day, share our brats with and give our leftover condiments, cheese, cooler and swimming noodles to. It was hard not being envious that they were just beginning their vacation, knowing what was in store for them. I guess it would make sense that we were so not ready to go home.

Oh!  One more thing--I recommend taking a trip with friends. The Fun Friends. The friends that you can spend ten days in and out with, face life and death experiences in ferocious riptides, eat a lot of shave ice and fish tacos, drink a lot of fruity drinks by the pool, listen to countless Bob Marley songs (or the same one over and over) with and still love to pieces (Bueeenos Diiiias!!!). I would do it again tomorrow, and not just because it's Hawaii. It's a good thing too, because they live three doors down.

Darn it that good things must come to an end and don't they every single time? So until the next good thing, Aloha!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

This Is Not A Dream (Part 5)

Are you still with me?  Hellooo?  Okay, we are nearing the end here, I swear.  Just have to share a couple more things (document).  So 'member when I said I did something I never (ever) did?  What did you think it was?  I am so curious.  You should totally tell me.  It might inspire me. 

Okay, so I ZIPLINED.  If you know me in real life, you know this is a BIG DEAL.  I just don't zipline.  I just don't RISK MY LIFE.  I just don't jump off cliffs.  It's *very* hard for me to let go and not be in control of thangs.  But I did it.  I still wouldn't skydive or bungee, but PLEASE be impressed that I ziplined.  Congratulate me.  Send me cards.  Chocolate cake.  It's a big deal.

Since we starting planning our trip a year ago, I KNEW I would zipline.  Dale and Erin had done it before and gave us the whole, You have to do this bit.  Which usually, I am really good at ignoring, because I want to live.  I have goals when I'm like 80.  Serious.  But for some reason, I was like--I am SO ziplining! I don't even know who I am anymore.  What the heck happens to you when you're approaching 40 that you just DO STUFF?  I should read a book.

So we ziplined.  NINE ziplines in one day.  You are so impressed.  The shortest zipline was around 400 ft. I know, I know...long, right? No?  I am so lucky to be alive. How many times have I been "lucky to be alive" on this trip? The last zipline was the longest, and was called, "King Kong."  I know, I know.  Wanna know how long that baby was?  1200 ft.  Crazy stuff.  It was tandem too, which means I got to race (and beat) The Hubbs.  There's still some controversy over that one, but if I can shorten the video, I can post it and prove it.  I *will* post it and prove it. 

You've got to see to believe.

The Hubbs.  This is what it's like.

This was actually a Zip N' Dip, which means we got to zipline and jump off of a waterfall and swim before lunch. I can't believe I jumped off a waterfall.  It looked MUCH bigger standing at the top of it. But I did it, pulling my bathing suit back on in the water, and everything.  Relaxing and floating in tubes with the gang, Erin reminded me to watch out for snakes (this was before I learned that there are no snakes in Kauai)--anacondas to be exact.  I'm like, What?! Cuz, I really, really HATE snakes.  I no liiiiike.  I didn't believe her about the anaconda part one bit, but wouldn't you know, as I go to get out of the little water hole we are swimming in, OF COURSE, there is a snake sunning itself right where we need to go to get out of the water.  Erin points it out and swiftly climbs over it.  I seriously work myself up and talk myself into walking over this snake.  You can do this.  Right about then, my favorite Zip N' Dip guide, Drew, comes over to save my life, offering to get it.  He picks it up and THROWS IT AT ME!  Of course I scream (37-year-old screaming in a waterhole!!) and realize it's FAKE.  *Frick*.  I hate people. Except, I don't hate Drew, cuz he's cute, even if he threw a fake snake at me.  

Anyhoo...So it was FUN and --> safe <--.  I would never have ziplined if I didn't feel safe. I wasn't scared at all, which is completely new.  You think you know yourself. It is an adventure every single day, if you let it be.  

p.s. I just texted with Dale telling him I was blogging, asking if they had anything to add.  Erin said, "The harness makes (things) look bigger."  So that's a "recommend," AND Dale loved the look on my face when Drew (my fave guide) freaked out just as I took off on one of the ziplines, as if to say I was about to die.  Again...just a big old faker that scared the livin' out of me! 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

This Is Not A Dream (Part 4)


I'll try to wrap up Kauai for all of you faithful readers (thank you, thank you, thank you...) within the next couple of days.  Trying to narrow down the highlights of a trip full to the brim of highlights has been challenging.  Plus, I have about 2000 pictures to choose from.  I need an assistant. 

Well, we're about six days in now and you know some stuff.  Aren't you blown away by all that you see here? All my stuff? This was our first trip to Hawaii so you can imagine that everything was extreeeey special.  Yes, I made that word up.  Dale, Erin, The Hubb's and I also decided that "funner" is a word now.  Go ahead, use it all day, every day. 

Since this was our first time in Hawaii, everything was exciting and The Best.  The Best Beach, The Best Taco, The Best Mai Tai, The Best Coconuts, The Best Rooster, The Best Near Drowning...I can see that getting annoying for ya. Before long I'll balance my Best Everything blog posts with the rest of my life.  I'm very yin yang that way.  Even though this trip was near perfection, I do have two things to complain about. You ready?

Remember when I mentioned spilling my first pina colada on the island?  'Member?  Well, it really stinks to spill a $10 pina colada--especially the first one.  Quite the disappointment, and for sure breaking some major island rule. It REALLY stinks when you spill the next two pina coladas in a row as well, on totally different days.  Apparently I have GIGANTIC hands. So it became a mission to find me a sippy cup,which the gang did and even though I tipped my sippy cup TOO, my pina colada never spilt again.   So, that was something that wasn't quite perfect, but what can I say?  I am here to entertain.

Okay, one more thing that wasn't perfect...The Hubbs worked pretty much the entire time we were on The Island.  Huge party foul of which he will never hear the end of.  Granted, the boy works hard, and he has stuff to do, AND it got us to Kauai, but come ON. He might have heard this about 1000 times--Dude, walk away from the laptop and stop SAVING THE WORLD.  We planned (which really isn't a word that is in our normal vocabulary) this vacay for a year and he just couldn't fully getaway.  If he had wi-fi, he was working. And if he wasn't able to work due to our activities, the boy was up until 2 a.m. working and up at 5 a.m. with a conference call.  So wrong.  So, so wrong.  I'm pretty sure he broke some major rules on The Island.  We all took turns alternating between razzing him and feeling very sorry for him.  Poor guy. 

Good Things.

Okay, that's all I got of the not perfect.  The rest of it was (minus the near drowning, but i think i'm working on blocking that part out).  We enjoyed a beautiful time at Poipu Beach.  The Hubbs surfed and Dale, Erin and I soaked up the sun (next to a Monk Seal) on the beach, snorkeled, and swam.  All good things. 

We were thrilled to attend a Luau.  Fabulous food (minus the poi) and entertainment.  There was something for everyone (smiiiiile). 


I have a couple more things to share, so please come back.  You'll see things I've never done before.  Ever.

Friday, August 6, 2010

This Is Not A Dream (Part 3)

Back to the story.  Now, where was I? On an island, shave ice, roosters, gigantic circle pool, almost drowned, yada, yada, yada...Right.  Still with me?  I'll try to make this one short and sweet. 

It's very hard to narrow down all that you want to do when you are in Kauai.  There is so much beauty to see and everything is so easy to get to.  There are many reasons not to be inside your hotel room.  BUT we only had so many days and so many coconuts, so we had to break it down.  We managed to get a great discount on a handful of activities. 

One of the activities we were lucky enough to do was a Catamaran cruise up the Na Pali coastline.  If you go to Kauai, DO THIS.  It's a 5 1/2 hour cruise/snorkeling/lunch/AWESOME.  It is beautiful.  You get to see parts of the island you can only get to by foot, helicopter or boat.  My prerequisite was dolphins and we sure saw dolphins--lots of them.  I was a very happy girl. I would show you the video, but I sound ridiculous in it, cuz I'm so ridiculous with the happiness. The Bottlenose dolphins swam with our boat and the Spinners spun. They were very leap-ey and talented. We saw sea turtles and one flying fish.  We swam with the feeeeeshes. A lot of fishes. Nemo, Dory and The Little Mermaid were there.

One thing you have to do in Kauai is snorkel. People will wonder about you if you went to Kauai and didn't snorkel. It's an opportunity to see life just below the surface, that you completely forget is even there, when you are not. Swimming in the ocean was amazing for me too. Like swimming in the way out there part of the ocean, the you are in the ocean, surrounded by nothing but more ocean part.  There were probably sharks down there.  I'm lucky to be alive.  Again.

You have to do and see stuff when you are in Kauai.  At least the first time you go. But it is also important to do absolutely nothing.  We had a very good balance of doing things and absolutely not doing things.  Many times we commented how long the days seemed there.  How slow time went.  Doesn't it usually seem the opposite, when you're on vacation?  Another bonus to Kauai, I suppose.  And the fact that we got up at 5:30 a.m. to do things like swim with dolphins had something to do with it as well.  I have to say, we totally found ourselves glad to hit the pillow early, like every night.  I don't know if that is age, or just what being completely relaxed and happy does for you.  I tried not to question.

p.s. See The Hubbs with the laptop on the beach?  Stay tuned, that's a whole other blog post.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Is Not A Dream (Part 2)

Onwards! On Monday, we swam gigantic circles in the Marriott's pool, basked in the tropical sun, drank Lava Flows and Pina Coladas (this is also when spill #1 occurred--to be explained at a later time) until they kicked us out (otherwise known as "check out").  Then we headed over to where we would be staying the rest of the time--The Beach Boy (Kauai Coast Resort).  I had to laugh at Dale being all sentimental, when the day we got back from Kauai, he was upset, thinking that there was someone else sleeping in "his bed" back in Kauai that night.  Poor Dale.  I get him.

Anyway, so we hustled over to Costco and Walmart and busted out the groceries and then hopped in our Ford Flex (enter Bob Marley CD) to tour the island.  I take full responsibility for picking out the Flex at the rental car place, despite the protests over whether or not the car was "cool" enough. Hello?  I *only* do cool, and you guys were taking way too long to decide. I thought it was "beachy"...we named it lovingly "The Woody".  We chose well.  Plus, we could fit all our crap into it. Thank you, a-thank you very much.

So we drove The Woody down to the south end of the island and (of course) found a brewing company to lunch at.  That is The Hubbs job and he does it well. The boys enjoyed the drinks and nachos.  Erin and I enjoyed the rocking chairs and art (and drinks and nachos). On our way back up north, we stopped at Kauai Coffee and taste tested--they grow it right in their backyard, but the highlight was scratching our names on the leaves of a tree just outside.  Look for us, next time you're there.

Back on the road, we stopped at Koloa Rum Co. for some rum tasting.  Not my thang, so Erin and I walked around the beautiful grounds and I took pictures of a train for my brother (he was excited). We would end up coming back later in the week for an amazing Hawaiian Luau. Nevertheless, Dale declared the rum not tasty enough (that's his job) and too many coconuts, so we made our way back to the resort for pool, refreshments and homemade fish tacos.  We were full.

Where we regained much respect for the ocean.

We were thrilled on Tuesday to get to the beach.  We decided to rent boogie boards and snorkels and drive up north, beach hopping all the way.  It is just beautiful everywhere you look in Kauai. It's called the Garden Isle for a reason.  I love, love, love all the flowers growing on trees. There were actual bananas growing on trees too--in real life!  Kauai is so clean and you can tell that the people that live there take great pride in where they live and love on it.  They have one way bridges everywhere.  It's an unwritten rule there that you let seven cars drive over at once, before you go.  And they do it!  They even wave and smile while they do it! It's not even a rule.  Only in Kauai.

After we rented the boards and snorkels, it literally took us five minutes to be in the ocean.  We stopped at the first beach we came to.  We were so excited we threw our towels and flip flops down on the sand and ran into the surf.  Erin loves the water (that's her job) and so she and I swam out into the waves to swim.  It was wonderful.  I couldn't remember how long it had been since I had swam in the ocean.  You just don't do that in Oregon.  But I am a good swimmer--I wasn't too worried and I could see that Erin was a good swimmer too (again, that's her job).  When the boys came in with their boards, I clucked at them all Mother Hen-like (mostly to The Hubbs)--Take it easy--don't get all cocky out there.  The Hubbs is basically No Fear and I was just noticing how strong the current was.  It was pulling us to the right and not messing around.  I looked at where we threw our towels and flip flops...they were dots.  Within five minutes (ten minutes since we had rented the snorkels and boards) we were about 100 yards out.  That was my first indication that something was up.  I remarked how strong the current was (cluck, cluck, cluck...) and noticed that everyone was getting further out.  Everyone was smiling, swimming, high five-ing, etc...all along we're all getting pulled further to the right, and further out.  I rationalized--We're Oregonians. We never actually go IN the ocean.  This is what the ocean is.  This is what swimming in the ocean is, it's hard, you can't just relax, you have to actually swim and use muscles. 

Right about that time (we're still in the five minute mark), I see a lifeguard pull up and he's waving his arms at us.  I yell to the gang, I think we have to go in! I start swimming in.  It's not easy.  I'm definitely working.  I can feel muscles burning, so I flip over and swim on my back the rest of the way.  I make it in, preparing to get yelled at (We're from Oregon, dopey, dopey, doh...), and I see the lifeguard putting his gear on while talking on his radio.  It is then I know we're in trouble.  I turn around as he runs into the surf and immediately count heads...one, two, three.  Over and over I count heads...one, two, three.  I see a boogie board go flying and immediately think, Never let go of the board!  One, two, three...Time feels like walking in thick mud, though in reality everything is happening really quickly.  I'm praying out loud.  Please, please, please...

Dale recounts that he panicked when he saw the lifeguard, realizing he was in trouble.  The second he started to swim back in he just got slammed with wave after wave, no time to catch a breath, all the while getting pulled further out.  Erin and Chris had tried to help him, but they realized that was no good either, as they were in trouble as well.  One, two, three...

Finally, I see The Hubbs stand up--he's still far out, but he had found a sand bar (pointed out by the lifeguard as he swam by him).  I look to the left and see Erin stand up as well.  Okay, okay...Two more lifeguards show up.  At this point, I can now see the original lifeguard pulling Dale in on his back.  Even in Dale's panic, when the lifeguard finally reaches him, Dale's first thought is Erin, Save my wife...The lifeguard assured Dale that Erin was swimming, she's fine (you're not).  Sweet Dale.

Erin and Chris make it back, grateful and exhausted. When the lifeguard gets Dale to the shore, Dale and I make eye contact and I briefly think, he's okay...I see true relief all over Dale's face.  But he can't move.  He can't even sit up. The lifeguards lift him and bring him further up the beach.  He refuses an ambulance (though I think we probably, in truth, needed one), but gladly takes the oxygen.  I know Dale is in bad shape, because he's telling the lifeguards the oxygen isn't working.  He is exhausted, out of breath and probably swallowed too much ocean.  It takes him a good hour to recover.  He's in shock, slow motion, insisting he can drive, insisting he's not covered in sand from head to toe--I just don't want to get my hair wet. But he is okay.  He is alive.

The four of us had very quickly got pulled into a very strong riptide. The lifeguards told us that we were swimming in a "No Swimming" zone.  There were signs everywhere.  In our blind excitement, we just didn't see them.  The lifeguard that saved Dale (he totally saved him) said that he had pulled four other people out of the same area the week before, and that Dale was the first one this week.  We were swimming in the strongest current on the beach.  Boy, can we pick them!

In all sincerity, I don't want to think about if the lifeguards weren't there.  There are beaches there that do not have lifeguards.  We were lucky.  Dale was so lucky. We had rules now:  Read signs and beaches with lifeguards, ONLY.  Duh.


Thumbs up, we're alive!

After our near death experience, we were starving, so we headed to Tropical Taco and devoured plates of fish tacos and glasses full to the brim of ice and Coke.  Dale was slowly coming back, starting to make jokes that had nothing to do with what we just went through, because it wasn't funny yet, and we recounted our experience over and over.  What just happened? Dale called his family.  He knew how close he came.

We managed to beach hop two more beaches that day.  We made it all the way to Ke'e Beach.  That's as far as you can go in a car.  Beautiful beach for snorkeling. Dale, admired the water from afar. Erin was very quiet.  The Hubbs and I snorkeled. After a while, we were all sitting together and realized that we all weren't feeling quite right.  I was dizzy and nauseous.  They agreed they felt the same.  We think the shock was wearing off, the adrenaline.  What we had gone through, what could have been our day, really sunk in.  We packed up our things and headed south. 

On the way back we regained our spirits (thank you Bob Marley) and decided to stop at another beach.  Finding a spot in full view of the lifeguard station, we settled in.  Dale tried the water.  Not ready.  Too soon.  The rest of us got in.  It was a beautiful beach (they all are), but again, the current was really strong right at where it hits the shore.  We didn't go far in at all, but even just where the waves break was rough.  Not scary rough though. We had fun.  Erin and I got beat up.  The waves would slam you on the sand, push you up the shore and immediately pull you out, not far, just this constant back and forth scenario.  We had SO MUCH sand in our suits.  We were literally packing.  Erin was looking very Bo Derek-esque with her hair covered in sand pebbles.  It made Dale happy. It was fun, and it made us laugh.  We really needed to laugh.  We were a sight, literally rolling all over the sand, squealing, trying to outrun the waves, showing each other how much sand we had in our suits--oh look, coral!

We finished the day good.  Grateful.  Alive.

p.s. while we were at that last beach, the lifeguards did another rescue, firetrucks and ambulances included.  Respect the beach, y'all.

Friday, July 30, 2010

This Is Not A Dream (Part 1)

We've been home and back into the swing of all things that fall under, "reality", for just over a week now and I'm finally feeling like I'm officially "off the island" now.  It took me a couple days to let that euphoric feeling go and shake off my "I'm so sad I'm changing the litter box right now and not laying out under a palm tree, drinking a pina colada" mood.  I think I was getting on The Locals (Portland, that is) nerves, wearing my bathing suit under my Hawaiian wrap to the bank, leaving the scent of coconut lotion everywhere I went, constantly playing Bob Marley, sharing little random Kauai facts with anyone that will listen--there are no snakes in Kauai...if you see one, you have to kill it and call authorities; there are roosters everywhere, because they have no natural predators in Kauai; I had rainbow shave ice from the ORIGINAL shave ice stand--did you know it was in the movie, The Perfect Getaway?; I saw a flying fish-- and on and on.  I do this.  I made people sit down and watch unedited slide shows--I can explain-- of our vacation.  I was totally one of THOSE PEOPLE--Look, more BLUE water!  I think I lost a few Facebook friends over my "rubbing it in" updates.  But dang, you cannot just be in Kauai one day and changing the litter box the next all lickety-split like.  It's painful. 

Rooster & Shave Ice

Okay, so yes--Best Vacation Ever.  I totally recommend.  The Hubbs and I were so lucky to have been able to do this (a bonus to him leaving me with our children way more often than not--we joke that he has another family somewhere else--I think Italy...). Besides little trips to the Oregon Coast, this was actually the very first time we went on vacation without the kids--just the two of us.  It only took us nine years.  I don't recommend waiting that long, y'all.  I'm sure you're smarter than us.  But when our good friends and neighbors--Dale and Erin-- invited us to go, flashing a *very affordable* deal in front of our eyes for um...Paradise...we could not, not, not turn it down.  God bless time share owners that rent them out to people that don't own time shares.  10 days, in Kauai, at a resort, on the beach.  I mentioned no kids, right? Um...YES.  One of the best parts is that we went with friends--also recommended--along with a two bedroom/two bathroom (muy importante) condo, for 10 days, in Kauai, at a resort, on the beach. And yes, we are still friends.  We bonded...more on that later.

We arrived in Kauai on Sunday afternoon, around 4:30 p.m., Hawaii time.  We had been up since 5:00 a.m., Seattle time (we flew out of Seattle), flown in two planes, logged 8 hours of actual flying time, crossed an ocean, and went three hours back in time. All of that (hard work) meant nothing, we were on an island, WIDE AWAKE and ready to party.

Just off the plane--ALOHA!

 The first night we stayed at a Marriott.  Dale and Erin were worried that we would be disappointed to go from the Marriott to our resort (Don't be silly!).  They had stayed in Kauai, at the resort two years before, and felt we'd think the Marriott was "better" (Ridonculous). True, true, the Marriott was beautiful--let me show you the view from our room (rubbing it in)--

--just an incredible place, loaded with a killer circular pool with a bridge and five hot tubs, that the four of us took full advantage of (who knew swimming in a gigantic circle over and over would be so awesome?). We dined on huge plates of food and cold, colorful drinks by the light of Tiki torches and the blue/green glow of a gigantic, circular pool, and the constant song of the ocean.

The Marriott had a Grecian theme going on--elephant fountain statues, pillars, marble everything--total five stars. Trust me--I would be very happy staying there the entire time, but it was it's own little paradise--within a bigger paradise, if that makes sense.  It wasn't until we moved to the resort the following day, that we actually felt like we were in Hawaii. Once there, it felt like--we're really here now, this is what I had been imagining it would be.  Authentic.

This is not a dream...

This is only the beginning, as I have much more to say and show you, but I have children and need to get off the computerYou understand.  Forgive me for "rubbing it in", which I totally don't mean to do, but this is all very blog-worthy in my world. This is like--Did this really happen? blog-worthy.  I need to document.  So, if you still like me and want to hear and see more.  Please come back.  I will tell you just about everything.