Thursday, July 31, 2008

The glass is half empty.

I am sad tomorrow is August 1st. The summer is coming to an end!!! We have another jam-packed August with some camping trips and other travel. So the month will fly and before you know it, fall is here. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the seasons. But I am digging the ability to play outside so much. And to drink fresh mixed berry margaritas on our deck. NH seems to have the most perfect summer – not too hot with the most awesome thunderstorms in the evenings. Woohoo. Or Boohoo for it coming to an end.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In and Out

No, not the burger joint. I wish. I’m talking about SILAdventure. She was here this week on a layover to Iceland. That’s right, Iceland. I wish again. She is going there for 2 weeks to celebrate her graduation from radiology school and for a wedding (how’s that for a destination wedding?). Her layover was just enough time for some kayaking, yummy dinner, ice cream and a hair-dying session.

Speaking of the SILs, it’s the big 3-0 for SILMeow. She celebrated with friends in Chi-town last weekend. How fun! Happy birthday girl!

We avoided kidnappings and hospitalizations; now that deserves a star

J and I babysat CurlyLocks and Bones this past weekend so QuickQuestion and Yankee could properly celebrate their 10-year anniversary by taking a cruise. Short on Coffee and Big on Lotto had the kids for the majority of the week, but Bones was in camp and CurlyLocks was in day care a few days. I was a little worried for my parents (and the kids) because my sister is the queen of well balanced meals and a clean house. My parents’ idea of cooking dinner is putting a frozen meal in the microwave and heating it up. And cleaning? Yeah, not so much. Still, they, and the kids, came out alive! J and I came in for the second half of the week. And we did okay too. Maybe it was my sister’s novel of an instruction booklet, or maybe J and I are okay guardians afterall.

Don’t get excited though, we still don’t WANT children of our own. Anytime we need a kid fix, there are plenty of opportunities to get it. I was all on my own Sunday afternoon/evening and my nephew asked who was going to take care of them for the day and night. I said, “me silly.” He said, “all by yourself? whoa. That’s a big job!” He’s not kidding! Again, kudos to all the parents out there! We are damn tired just from a few days. Here are some pictures of the fun-filled (and tiring) weekend!

And there’s something about meeting up with old friends lately. I’ve reconnected with a childhood friend via myspace and got to meet up with her on Saturday because we took the kids to a Life is Good festival in her town (I highly recommend the festival for those with kids, BTW). Hopefully I can see her again and we can catch up some more.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy 1-year anniversary to J!

J has officially been in his big-boss job for 1 year. It has gone way fast. And while I don’t want to say too much, I do want to give him kudos. Any manager out there can attest that it’s not an easy job, but I have seen J deal ever so gently with some of the biggest crap and politics. He tells me about his day and my blood just boils while he remains calm, cool and collected. I’m glad he enjoys it still and I hope he knows how fantastic of a job he is doing!!!

Vacay to the … cornfields?

This past weekend served as one of our summer vacations. Yeah! But to the Midwest? That's right. Roid and Peace's wedding was in Louisville, KY, on Saturday, so J and I decided to make a trip out of it. I'll try to keep my summary short and sweet.

Wednesday - arrived in Columbus, OH, to stay with theHoss.
Thursday - Went to Cuyahoga National Park near Cleveland, OH.

It only took us the whole day to try to figure out how to say the park's name, but in the end, the sights were pretty sweet.
Saw a little bit of wildlife--blue herons, snakes, ginormous turtles. This is our 15th NP we've visited out of the 54 (J has been to many more on his own, but we want to hit them all together).

Returned to casa de theHoss where we played a little Cornhole, a favorite pastime in the Midwest.

Friday - Drove through mounds and mounds of cornfields to hike Ohio's tallest peak (read, walk up hill) and Indiana's tallest peak (read, hill). By the way, farmers are outstanding in their field. Anyways, at least we never have to make a special trip to go back for the highpoints.

Arrived in Louisville Friday evening to pick up Mouth and NHBound. Mouth was NOT happy because his luggage was lost after a very long day of traveling from Phoenix. We joined theFr and Caliente to go to Roid's childhood home for some pre-wedding fun. Apparently Roid and Peace talked us up because a number of people came up to us and said they were excited for our "performance" at the wedding.

Saturday - The wedding. It wasn't just a reunion for us regular couples. QuietMouse and her new hubby were in the house, as was the priest who was our leader when we all lived together in Phoenix. He even performed the wedding! Also, another family we all knew well from the Phoenix church was there. The daughter is actually the girl we adopted as our LilSis. So we had extras for the show. The debauchery began immediately at the reception as we forgot where we were and began playing Urban Balderdash at a table. Maybe a little inappropriate? Oddly enough, I gave the correct definition of a jipple. I'll let your mind wander on that one. So then we proceeded (on the priest's orders) to play a little chandeliers.

Boy, did that bring back memories from when we all lived together. People watched and wondered, then decided it was all very fun and they wanted to join in. What a great crowd! Lots of dancing followed, but we had some competition from Roid's (or Peace's) cousins. What the??

After the party, we took LilSis out to the bars on Fourth Street.
Yeah, she's not so little anymore. She drank us all under the table. When we all lived together, we took her to her first bar. Um, she was 14 then (see picture on left). I guess that's where we went wrong ...

Sunday - J and I met up with my friend from high school, Burris. She and her husband showed us
the behind-the-scenes version of Looo-ville. Such things as Lynn's Paradise Cafe and seeing
where Colonel Sanders is buried. And of course we hit up the Louisville Slugger Museum. That was
pretty sweet. In the evening, we drove back to Columbus to fly out on Monday.

And that, my friends, is how you make the most of a trip to the Midwest.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

US citizenship

Chile's husband will be taking the citizenship test and awhile ago, we were flipping through his study book (which is HUGE) to quiz ourselves. Phoebes did pretty well, but some of the questions really required you to take a trip back to your 7th grade history class. My aunt sent me this link and I took the sample test. I only scored a 55%, meaning I would be denied citizenship! Yikes!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The best way to improve your writing is to read

That was always my most favorite piece of advice I learned from my schooling. So I am proud to say I finished editing theFr's book, my first-ever editing gig. When he originally asked me (or I offered, I don't remember), I said I really wasn't sure how I'd do. I love writing. Editing, not so much. But, I told him I'd give it a shot. And that I did. I may have to edit it, or parts of it, again, but I am just grateful for the experience. And I think I did OK. It took way longer than I ever thought it would, but I have no idea what the norm is. Now if he could just get the darn thing published ...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tag, you're it.

In the blogosphere, people like to "tag" you to fill out surveys. Much like those floating around in the email world. So I've been tagged. It was a pretty unique one, so why not?

* Write a six-word memoir. I chose:

There’s no second chance at life.

* Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.

I'm not that creative.

* Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogsphere.

Gerald's memoir was pretty awesome.

* Tag 5 more blogs with links

Besides Gerald, I only know 3 other people with blogs (Kellie, Michelle and Casey). So humor me. But I know far more myspacers and y'all could post this as a bulletin.

* Don’t forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bear haven

The jury is still out on this guy, Charlie Vandergaw. In my opinion, he's missing a few screws, but I give him credit for for finding a way to survive over 20 years with da bears. He definitely has some sort of bear sense that the rest of us lack. But I'm not sure I want that bear sense. Talk about playing with fire. But he's such a cute little man and just loves bears and wants to prove that they are not all bad. I just can't help but wonder how long he'll last before he ends up like Timothy Treadwell. Hopefully the law will stop him from feeding the bears before it's too late.

Newsflash: J completes New Year’s resolution …

… from 2004, that is. When I met J, he immediately expressed interest in learning to properly drive standard.

Because, well, in college, he drove his buddy’s car when the guy was too inebriated, but that doesn’t count.

So anyways, he claimed it as his 2004 resolution. We were living in Phoenix at the time and I thought, hey, what a great place to learn to drive stick (that’s where I learned on the nice, flat roads). Attempt #1 took place when we were driving up to Laughlin in February. He did well until we reached Havasu City where there are a few hills. We had to play Chinese fire drill to get him out of panic mode.

Fast forward to 2007. Keep in mind that every year he made the same claim, “this year, I will learn to drive your car!” J made several attempts in Danville. I was always in the car with him on these attempts and it seemed he got a little frustrated and nervous.

So this year, when he made his bold statement on Jan. 1, 2008, I just plain ignored him. I mean, NH could quite possibly be the worst place to learn with many, many hills, lots of traffic and potholes the size of my tires! But then, the gas prices started rising and we had planned for the Is/Was family to borrow his truck for the 2 weeks they were visiting in June. It seemed he had no choice.

It is with deep pride that I now officially say that J is a master driver of Fernando … which he has affectionately renamed to Lolita. We took a different approach this time … I handed him the keys and said, “it’s all yours. Go forth and teach yourself.” It didn’t take long before he conquered the skill. That is of course until we put him to the test in Boston … hehe.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend Update

A ridiculously busy and tiring Friday and Saturday called for a day of rest on Sunday.

From sun up to sun down on the 4th of July, we worked at J’s Family Fun Day. With more than 1,000 people enjoying the numerous activities of the day, J felt proud to be the Rec Director. And he should be because it was a truly awesome event. Worth all the hard work.

I worked at a variety of stations. The 5K race in the morning, which brought me back to my 3Discliplines days. I was a judge for the kiddie parade too, and I must say even for the non-kid person, it was heart-warming to see 150 kids dressed in their most patriotic garb. Then I was the concession stand attendant for the remainder of the day. Being the big kahuna, J ran around the whole day.

You’d think we would want to rest Saturday after all that craziness. But instead we took a 7-hour Intro to Kayaking course. Before enrolling, we thought, Pssh, do WE really need the intro level? J has been canoeing for years and a certified whitewater canoeist. And he TAUGHT intro to kayaking on a very basic level in Danville. But, we figured we should take a “refresher.” Besides, our health insurance reimburses us for things like that, so why not?

Let me tell you, it’s a good thing we went back to kindergarten because we learned more than we ever could have imagined! Some things we were probably doing wrong all along, in fact. We learned so much about our boats and how limitless the sport really is. We even practiced a little rolling (that is the term for turning your kayak upside down and then back up – it happens when you get in rough waters and you have to know how to rescue yourself or someone else). We will undoubtedly be taking more classes!

So Sunday came finally. Phew. It was a long time since we just sat around and read on our deck over breakfast. Lazy summer days. It was awesome. We still did some work around the house—cleaning cars, laundry, billing. Then grilled out with our landlord and his wife. They are mean cooks, yum, yum.

And now we are reeling with anticipation for Roid’s wedding this weekend! We leave Wednesday. We will see NHBound, Mouth, Caliente, theFr, Roid of course, and others (maybe?). We will try our hardest to outdo Roid’s other friends as the craziest people at the wedding and shock the parents. Fun times! But first, I won tickets to see the Fisher Cats (minor league baseball in NH). So that’s on the agenda tonight …

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

And like clockwork ...

we are in the middle of our daily thunderstorm. Actually, it only rained for about 3 minutes, but it's been rumbling out there like a very hungry tummy! In about an hour, J and his volunteers for Friday's event (myself included) are supposed to go out onto the huge open field and layout the event, even doing some setup. Oh no, I think I am having a flashback from last week ...

More boarders, err, visitors

That’s right, we had more visitors this weekend. QuickQuestion, Yankee, Bones and CurlyLocks came from CT. Not for 2 weeks like our last visitors, just for the weekend.
We planned a lot of outdoor activities because
1) the kids are allergic to cats and
B) these kids need activity to wear them out (I don’t think they really ever get tired).

The weather participated only somewhat. I’ve determined that it pretty much rains here everyday in the afternoon, which makes it hard if you want to plan, oh I don’t know, any summer activities!

In any case, we did get to the ocean (and made it back to the car before the big thunderstorm and downpour), went to a science center, played a little bit in the lake in J’s town and played a lot in our yard. But we didn’t get to go canoeing, hiking or camping (in our backyard for Saturday's Great American Campout) as we planned. That was a bummer.

Bones is turning 6 tomorrow, so we celebrated his birthday with some I-C-E C-R-E-A-M C-A-K-E (excuse me, I’ve been used to spelling everything out from the weekend) and sparklers. On a side note, I cannot believe he is 6. What the? I remember when he was born. Heck, I remember a time when my sister had no kids! Oh well, time does fly. He is entering the 1st grade come fall. Teachers, watch out.
So I think my favorite part of the weekend was the beach. I can’t remember the last time I actually played in the ocean and the sand. It brought back some major childhood memories. Just look at the kick-ass fortress with a moat that my nephew and I built! And running from the waves … that always gets me. Actually, I did involuntarily go into the ocean last year in California. I was actually on a business trip and one chilly night, my coworkers and I were stomping for bio-luminescents (don’t ask, it’s a nerdy science thing) as the waves came in. As I was trying to run from a wave fully clothed, I tripped over my own feet and fell smack on my face as the wave washed over me. But somehow I just don’t count that as fun in the ocean.

So that concludes our June o’ visitors. July is jam-packed with some travel, a few stray visitors (no one more than 2 days) and some babysitting of the kids. But first, J has a huge event this Friday for the 4th of July. Last year, they had over 1,000 people at it. We actually came to it, but didn’t work it, because he wasn’t employed by the town yet. They introduced J as the new Rec Director. Yep, we’ve been in NH just about a year now. Wow. So, who knows what the event will bring for this year. But it’s certainly going to be a long freakin day!

Happy Birthday Bones and America!!!