Monday, June 29, 2009

30+ degrees of separation

Blogging from Phoenix for the next few days and I went from this:

to this:

Internet, don’t let anyone tell you Phoenix has a dry heat. It is M-F H.O.T. here. The best way to describe it is to put a pillow over your mouth and try to breathe.

I lived here for 4 years. I biked to work for one year. I trained for two half marathons during the summers. I hiked mountains on a weekly basis here. I seriously don’t know how I did it. There’s a medical myth that your blood thins when you live in a warm environment. That’s not it. It’s just your heat tolerance, just like a tolerance you build up for alcohol. When I lived here, my heat tolerance on a scale from 1-10 was probably a 9.5. Now, it’s a 5!

I had a company meeting today, but last night after I flew in, I went to church at St. Gregory’s and out to Hamburger Works with my S-G peeps. It amazes me how much this community makes me feel so much “at home” even after all these years. Each of these people had a great significance in my life. We do not keep in touch regularly and see each other even less, but that’s okay. The bond is still there.

Sunday was a significant day for St. Greg’s. For those of you who aren’t Catholic, you may not understand this jibberish. But the Holy Cross order took over St. Greg’s from the diocese right when I moved out to Phoenix through the Holy Cross Associate volunteer program in 2000. Holy Cross often comes into parishes like that. It’s an interesting concept, but I can tell you from experience that it makes a world of difference. The Holy Cross order is da bomb in my opinion. I can’t even begin to tell you the significant role they played in my own life. Anyways, Holy Cross is leaving St. Greg’s after 9 years. It’s sad, but the parish is strong now and the community will most definitely keep it at the caliber it is now.

I'll blog again soon as long as I don't melt here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Olde New England Brewfest

Our day started with a lobster hangover. With so much to do in NH, we wanted to make the most of the day before hitting the beerfest. So we settled on Franconia Notch State Park. TheHoss and Accessory were impressed. We looked and looked for the Old Man in the Mountain, but he was still missing. Guess we are 6 years too late ... After filling up on yummy food at Woodstock Brewery, we headed over to the Old New England Brewfest in Lincoln. And it did not disappoint. I was DD, but it was still a really fun atmosphere. By the end of the night, the rest of them probably had about 30-40 beers each (okay, they were only 3 ounces). Good beer and we met some cool people too. J and theHoss had a competition to see whose t-shirt would get more comments and Duck Tales Woo Hoo beat out More Cowbell. Our visitors leave tomorrow (along with me for a business trip) and we are visitor-free for at least 2 weeks. We won't know what to do with ourselves!!! I'll leave you with picture of the rainbow at Brewfest..

Saturday, June 27, 2009

J & P's B&B

After J's mom left on Tuesday, more visitors came on Wednesday! Seriously, this is great practice for the B&B we hope to open someday ...

TheHoss returned to NH for Jimmy Buffet take 2. There were many differences this year compared with last year.

For one, the Hoss brought his GF, Accessory. He also didn't sleep through the whole concert. As for me, I did not puke and pass out while tailgating. It also wasn't as hot as last year. Because, remember, we haven't seen the sun pretty much this whole month. Although the rain ceased for the day, there were reprecussions. The lawn was m.u.d.d.y! Being one of the non-drunkards out of the group, it was quite amusing to watch as every other person ate it, especially when their newly purchased $9 Bud Light disappeared. There was this one, holy cow, even if he tried, he couldn't pull the stunt he did. A faceplant, followed by a 100-yard dash and turn on his stomach.

The concert was really good, but again, the tailgating is where it's at. Grilling out. Cornhole. Jello shots in syringes (we had this one woman seriously convinced that we got them from the HIV clinic). We do it right.

Tomorrow, we're going to a Beerfest (just what the boys need. More drinking). Oh, and you'll just never guess what we had for dinner???

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Who needs sunshine?

Despite the threat of rain all weekend, J and I decided we desperately needed some QT with nature, so we opted for an easy paddle on Saturday at Hopkinton Lake & Stumpfield Marsh. It was marvelous. I think Mother Nature and I have kissed and made up. Okay, maybe not. Sunday was supposed to be rock climbing. But it's a little hard to climb in the rain ...
Also, do we resemble circus people? Cause that's what we were going for with this look. Yep, another dance on Saturday night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy 5th birthday Mr. McKinley!

The Mr. is turning 5 this month! We don't know his exact birth date, but we like to say his birthday coincides with Summer Solstice.

We adopted him from the shelter in Danville in December 2005 (we had been looking for weeks for the perfect cat to replace Fat Bastard). McKinley was exactly what we didn't want--a kitten and a stray. But, we couldn't resist his cute face and the fact that he didn't run away when we opened his cage ... he just snuggled in our arms and purred. It was love at first sight and he did turn out to be a the perfect choice for us.
This was taken the day we signed the papers to adopt him.

Anyways, they estimated his age to be 6 months at that time, so hence the made-up birth date of June 21.
I don't know, do you think he's grown a little bit since 2005?
On a side note, what's up with all this rain New Hampshire? I'm not one to really complain about the weather, although I love talking about it, but I feel like it's been raining here nonstop since 2008 (okay, perhaps only a few days or weeks). We're a little water-logged. Not to mention the rain is ruining our plans for outdoor activities. We tried kayaking last Sunday with zero success. Take 2 tomorrow, plus plans to go rock climbing outside Sunday. Rain, rain go away, P & J want to play! 'Nuf complaining. But thankyouverymuch in advance for the nice weekend, Mother Nature.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gee wiz, lobsters for dinner again?

You ever feel like you make the same thing for dinner week after week?

MamaF has been in town all week for a visit and we just had to get $4.99/lb lobsters for dinner. I don't think I can get tired of lobsters on a weekly basis though.
This time, our landlords joined us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Until next season ...

Indoor soccer has ended for us until the fall. It's bittersweet because I love playing, but it's summer (supposedly!) and it just doesn't make sense to spend time indoors.

We ended up with a decent record, considering with how we started last fall. We played 4 sessions and so we've lost and gained many teammates. But, overall, we improved as a team. Last night was our last game. The other team was out for blood, I tell you. They beat us 5-3, but they also tried to kill us literally. So we ended our season with a number of injuries. Including J. He may or may not have broken his forearm. I swear his physical therapist must think he's a glutton for punishment. He started with the hip issues because of a soccer incident, then shoulder (from playing goalie) and now this ... we shall see. But at least he has a lot of time to heal!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer indeed

The weather may not show it, but one thing that tells me it's summer in New England ... lobsters!!!

Last night, J & I got lobsters for dinner. We were out on our monthly shopping trip (food bill=$75, gotta love coupons), and had to stop at a different store for one food item. It's the food store that normally has the cheap lobsters. And sure enough, they were $4.99/lb. I think this may be the only area J is willing to splurge in when it comes to food. So after a few more items in that store, our total food shopping bill came to $100. We have visitors this month, so I'm telling J we'll have to go again in a few weeks, but he is convinced this will get us through July ...

Another sign of summer ... fresh fruits and veggies from our landlord's garden. ShortShorts brought some freshly picked strawberries by this morning. Yummy!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Paradise Lost

We expect Mother Nature to change around the furniture in her room once in awhile, but I am still sad to hear that Havasupai Canyon was hit hard. The popular backpacker’s destination west of Grand Canyon National Park just reopened since major floods wreaked havoc last August and the buzz is not good.

Oh, and I'll just apologize in advance. This post contains a lot of photos. I just loved it there ... can't you tell??

You may have heard me mention this magical place before. It is the place of my first official backpacking trip in 2001 (you have to hike 10 miles to get to it), which turned into the first place (and hopefully the last) where I was lost for several hours. On a much better note, it was at Havasu Falls where J proposed to me in 2005.

I swear this place is akin to pure paradise. Towering blue-green waterfalls and lush cottonwood trees are not something you regularly find in the desert. Which is what made it so magical. We have no immediate plans to revisit the spot, but I am so curious about how it looks now because from the sounds of it, much of the paradise was lost. They say the most noticeable changes are to the waterfalls and campground because of the mudslides. Navajo Falls was lost and the others are changed.

Boo hoo. Navajo Falls ... according to reports, this one is all gone. It was never my favorite anyways, mostly because the first time I was there, I tried jumping off of it like everyone else, and instead I slipped and fell the whole way down it. I had a bruise the size of my leg. We made amends over the years, although I never attempted to jump again.

Beaver Falls ... Not sure the status on this one. You have to hike an extra 4 miles beyond camp to get here. And not just hike, but bushwack. It's quite the thrill to get there though. Plus, there's also a 70-foot cliff dive nearby for the brave (J & I have both jumped it twice, but I wouldn't do it again even if you paid me. I just about had a heart attack both times). PS - My hair is REALLY short in the first photo (2001). Mooney Falls ... there's been some damage here as well. To get from the spot in the first picture to the spot in the second picture, you have to do some serious rock climbing without the equipment. It's intense, but fun. According to reports, the rocks are even more unstable then they were before, so I'm not sure it's smart to try anymore. Wait, was it ever smart in the first place?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Sucky Tray

I’m sorry to report an epic fail at the Tricky Tray.

It all started when we got kicked out in the first 5 minutes. Because of Hallmark4Ever’s 9-month old.
Me & GoodEgg4ever after a nice stroll at Horseshoe Lake, some old stomping grounds.

I specifically called and asked if babies were welcome. “Yes, of course. People bring their babies all the time,” was the response I got. From an idiot apparently.

“No one under the age of 18 years is allowed in here,” said the mean lady who clearly needed a hairbrush. We tried to assure her that the infant was not going to put tickets in the baskets or claim any prizes, but she wasn’t having it. First WTF moment. So GoodEgg, being the good egg he is, ducked out with baby in tow, leaving just Hallmark4Ever & I to collect the, uh, winnings.
Despite the bad start, I was feeling lucky. J sent good luck vibes through the phone so how could I fail? Then the calling started. Along with the losing. 200 trays later, and we might have been the biggest losers in there. We couldn’t even win a door prize (bottle of soda, which was just strange). The biotches around us, though, they won at least 17 prizes each. No exaggeration. They didn’t even look at their prizes. “Just add it to the towering pile,” they giggled. We were really tempted to swipe one on our way out. They wouldn’t have noticed and they were really pissing us off. Seriously, everyone around us was winning.
Some of the trays we did NOT win
We thought maybe our luck was being saved for the 50-50. You know, good things come to those who wait. But still nothing … Maybe if we brought our cowbells or clappers, we would have had more success.
Hallmark4ever & I exploring our alma mater after our unsuccessful Tricky Tray.

So I am left with a bad taste for the RHS Ice Hockey Spring Tricky Tray. I think I will boycott it in the future. J and I, though, have our sight set on the RHS Band Tricky Tray in the fall. J is just convinced he has all the luck. No doubt Hallmark4Ever and GoodEgg will leave the baby at home and join us for attempt #2. Plus ShortonCoffee and QuickQuestion, the veteran Tricky Trayers who always win, plan to show us how it’s done. Clearly we need help with the winning part.

All in all, the trip to NJ turned out to be a roller coaster of emotions, but I did have a lot of fun. I do want to publicly thank my awesome friends for making time to visit. I really couldn’t have gotten through the week without them! I didn’t have my camera with me, so I couldn’t document my outings. Which may be a good thing because I would have to come up with more nicknames and confuse my readers even more!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tricky Trays

My list of the things I strongly dislike about NJ is far too long, so instead, here are some of the things I DO like about my home state (besides friends and family):
Deli Bagels
Cheese Gravy Fries
24-hour Diners
Jersey shore/boardwalk (this is 50/50 for me - it was fun when I was young)
Having gas pumped for you (I never realized how nice of a break this is)

I'm very excited because there's a Tricky Tray on Friday! Most people don't know what tricky trays are, so I will try to adequately illustrate their awesomeness. It's like a silent auction, but BETTER. There are usually about 200 "trays." All the prizes are donated and new, so the tray could be anything from a mix of smelly lotions and bath soaps to a 32" LCD HDTV. You buy tickets and you put them in each bag representing a tray. You could put hundreds in for one prize if you wanted. Then they pull the winning tickets one by one and OMG, I think I just wet my pants from excitement.

The best part ... this one is at my old high school! Memories ...

I haven't been to a Tricky Tray in probably 10 years, nor have I been in my high school in even longer. I went to so many TTs over the years. My Catholic grammar school used them as a fundraiser each year. So they used to let the kids whose parents would be at the event that night go down early and look at all the trays and put their parents' tickets in for what they wanted. That's about the level of anticipation I have right now!

Any Jersey people want to join me Friday? So far, Hallmark4ever and her husband theGoodEgg are going with me, but maybe also theAccountant ...

J, send your good luck my way!!!! I know you are jealous!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Living in my rents' basement

I'm in the garden state this week. Been here since Sunday and will be here all week. I came here to be a good daughter and deal with ongoing family problems (which you should be thankful never really make the blog).

It's always so strange to be back in Jersey. I spent roughly 21 years here. And lived in the same house that whole time. Over the years, I would often come back for a specific occasion--birthdays, holidays, weddings, showers and funerals. The visits were always jam-packed and short.

But this year, I've spent more time just being here. I still try to see lots of friends and family, but overall, I have more time to reflect. So excuse me as I do so.

I stay in the basement bedroom, which my sister claimed as hers for many years until she got married. Then it was mine. But by that time, I was in college and only living in the house on and off again.

As long as you can get past the musty smell, the basement has its advantages ... cooler (my rents like to keep the upstairs a sauna, thank goodness for separate thermostats), less smoky (my mom still smokes, and although not inside, the smell is pretty much stuck in the walls) and a twinge quieter.

I say a twinge because you can hear every step taken. My mom goes to bed at 3 and my dad gets up at 4, so that leaves about an hour of peaceful sleep?? But it used to be worse. When I was in college, my mom babysat 3 neighbor kids before they got on the bus for school. So from 6:30 to 7:30, there would be a lot of jumping. Or at least that's what it sounded like. Probably kids just being kids. Also, we used to have this boiler or water heater that would whistle (loudly) every other day. Did I mention it would do this around the 3am hour? It would scare the bejesus out of our visitors.

Anyways, I'll stop my reflecting. For now. This is going to be a long week . . .