Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, February 27, 2009

Snuffy Loses The Sniffles


I'm recovering from a sinus infection. For the last month and more I haven't been able to breathe. My sniffer is just all jammed up. At first I blamed it on catching the cold that L had, and then I thought it was the winds in January - I was sure they'd kicked up some wierd allergy, and that all I needed was to get to Puerto Rico, and that nice, thick air, and my sniffer would clear right up. But it didn't. It was better, but not all the way better. And for the last month since our return it's gotten worse and worse - but not steadily. It would tease me with a good day, and then let me have it the next day after I'd gotten my hopes up for recovery.
I have sniffled and snuffled for an entire month. I've tried to blow, but it's all wedged somewhere deep in my sinuses and refuses to come out. Once I blew so hard that I felt air come out of the corner of my eye. I didn't know that was possible, and it creeped me out. It felt like you could blow your brain out, little by little. If it got really bad at night, (like: I can't breathe AT ALL) the only thing that would relieve it would be to creep out of bed all stealthy-like, and go downstairs and do about 10 Sun Salutations (a yoga posture flow). Now there's a picture: me in my undies down in a dark living room swooping up and down with sweeping arms, until the exertion opened my sinuses (or "snotrils" as Katie used to call them when she was three) enough to breathe and resume sleeping. The main drawback was that it also revs you up a bit, and there you are in the dark downstairs feeling hungry. And the kitchen is just in the next room. *sigh*
So yesterday I finally cried Uncle and went to the doctor, as clearly, I was not healing myself. I got my token Z-pack and Flonase prescribed. The Z-pack is making me feel better, and the Flonase I gave to L. With his allergies, he can always use a good nasal spray, and I'd almost rather eat Brussels Sprouts than use it. (In fact, Brussels Sprouts would probably do a fair job of clearing sinuses... NASTY veggie)
I have high hopes that I'll be breathing free and clear by the start of next week. LaMar can stop calling me Mrs. Snuffleupagus. Which is kind of mean, since I think he gave me the original cold, or whatever it was, in the first place.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We Got Our Hair Did

LaMarvelous and I both got haircuts over the weekend. Well, he got a haircut, and I just got mine "trimmed." During my trim, the stylist and I were just talking, talking, talking, and then she began to blow it all out. She said "Oops - I may have cut your bangs too short..." Sure enough, I have little kid bangs. *SIGH* No matter - they'll grow...
When LaMar was getting his cut, "Edward Scissorhands", his stylist, got carried away in the moment. LaMar has thick, wavy hair - I would kill to have his hair. But Scissorhands cut it to about an inch in length...so now it just sticks up like a little boy with a fresh haircut.
So now we both look like we got the 6 Year Old Special haircut. And of course, everyone looks at me and says "Oh - you got your bangs cut..." which automatically makes me smack my bangs with my hand to hide them. But they will grow out, and in 2 weeks I'll be glad that I don't have to trim them myself. So it's actually a good thing, right? If I can live with little kid bangs until then.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Try Something Different

OK - book club was good. I'll go back again. It was a good mix of ladies: young mothers, grandmothers, and some in between. Even one high school girl. Some were stay at home moms, some of us work, lots of variables. Attitudes were mainly conservative, but some were less so than others, so I was happy with the differing opinions and experiences. I had a raging headache, but I managed to keep myself together, and I'm glad I was able to stay. It was an evening well spent. When I left to walk home, I heard my husband's voice coming out of the dark across the street, and there he was, waiting for me! I guess he took his workout walk up and down the surrounding streets until it was time for me to head home, and so then he waited for me so I wouldn't have to walk home in the dark by myself. That kind of touched me, it was so thoughtful. I always wish I could think of things like that to do for him, but he's a much faster doer than I am. Before I'm finished thinking about it, he's already done it. I think I need to be more spontaneous, instead of analyzing every move.
I did offer to buy him a Starbuck's hot chocolate and some kind of little goodie tonight. I have a couple of gift cards, so we can mosey over there after the floors are mopped and chores are done for the week. He does love to be treated to a treat. Although if I were really clever, I guess I'd have baked or something. I used to do clever things, once upon a time. Somehow, just getting to work and back takes most of my energy these days. I'm trying to direct energy other ways, though. Like Book Club. My grandchildren. Get those creative juices flowing again. I've lately had a strong yen to join a joga studio. I'm going to check it out this week. I think it will be good for me to break out and do more new things - not to mention things that are good-for-you. I'd love to hear about things you all are involved in. New thoughts are good and stimulating, and I feel I've gotten a bit stale.
On a completely different note: please note that to the right I've added a little "Blog Follower" thingy. To date, no one has registered except for my daughter. I love her for that, but you just don't know how warm and fuzzy it would make me feel to have more of you on there. I know you're out there, somewhere on the fringe, just keeping quiet-like, not wanting to attract undue attention. And I respect that, but it would be just great if you would just register on there so I wouldn't feel like a huge idiot for even putting that thing on there in the first place. We all like to feel that folks are out there, interested in our ramblings, so stroke my ego a bit, won't you?
That said, have a wonderful week ahead. Let's all give life our best effort, and together we'll see what we come up with. Kumbaya.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book Club Tonight!

Oooooh - tonight is my first book club! I'm kind of excited, in a nerdy, bookworm kind of way. A whole evening devoted to something I love - reading! I haven't read the book they're discussing tonight - I was in the middle of another one and never got started on it. But I have to lead the discussion next month on "Three Cups of Tea" so I wanted to see how we do it. I'm kind of bummed in that if I do one thing I like (i.e. Book Club), I have to give up something else (i.e. my workout). Workouts are kind of crucial with me - they keep the joints fluid, and help me sleep. But I'm going to see this through, move out of my comfort zone and into some uncharted territory. Wish me luck.
On a related note, I'm about halfway through the book "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. It's pretty good. Has anyone else read it? I've just finished "The Secret Life of Bees", which I loved. Probably most everyone read that one awhile ago, but I was slow in getting to it. Worth the wait, and even better than the movie.
Book Club is the 2nd foray into church lady activities. The first one is Enrichment Night committee member. I think this is what they have you do when they don't know what to do with you. Luckily, there are people on the committee who seem glad to have me, so its all good. I'm trying really hard (and fighting the inner me the whole way) to be more involved, and give more of myself. Usually I go to these, help set up, and then leave. Maybe this time I'll manage to stay the whole time. But don't count on it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

*STORMWATCH*

It's raining like a mother today. I feel cranky and out of sorts. Kind of like this:
The rain makes me achey, and it's a holiday for a lot of folks (President's Day), which automatically makes me ask myself for the umpteenth time why I didn't take the day off so I could be home with L? Actually, we need the rain (California being a desert and all), but last night as we were eating dinner, I looked up at a corner of the kitchen ceiling, and noticed a leak. Now, you have to understand that our house has withstood more water damage than is right and fair. I don't know what happened before we lived there, but in the last 16 years the house has been soaked numerous times. We lived through the great flood of 1993 (when the pipes under the master bathroom cabinetry magically undid themselves, and water poured forth ALL DAY. ) I came home to policemen and firemen and all sorts of mayhem as water gushed through the ceiling, light sockets, and down stairs, making it's crazy escape. That was bad enough, but in following years there were other roof leaks, making it necessary to get a new roof.

The old roof was torn off on Christmas Eve about 6 years ago, when the worst rainstorm I can remember hit. The rain came down in buckets, and the wind blew so hard I was afraid that trees were going to blow over. Of course the tarps all blew off and down the street, leaving our house open to the elements...on Christmas Eve... The first hint that all was not well came when the chandelier over the dining table suddenly leaked a torrent of water on my mother's head. When we went into the living room, water was rushing out onto our hardwood floor from behind the baseboards, and through the ceiling at various points. Water was pouring from door jambs upstairs. My parents got outta there as fast as they could. We frantically tried to reach the contractor, all to no avail. He never even returned our calls until AFTER Christmas. Doorways and floors were warped, ceilings ruined. In my memory, I just remember my daughter running from neighbor to neighbor trying to borrow buckets, coolers, ANYTHING that would catch water.
But that wasn't the end. One day we noticed water standing in the pantry. When we called a plumber, he found that a pipe in the wall had been punctured by a nail, and that it had been slowly leaking for some time before getting bad enough to actually come under the walls. That got fixed and patched up, and life resumed.

About a month ago, we noticed water leaking from the attic into the upstairs hallway. Drip...drip...drip... When L climbed up on the roof, it seemed to be coming from a vent during a rainstorm. But we were leaving on vacation soon, and so we just covered the spot, and decided to call a roofer when we got back. Well, we're back, and last night I noticed the spot in the kitchen. It appeared to be dry, and so L thinks its from the most recent roof leak. I'm not so sure. I think the house has something more sinister in mind, like a leaky bathtub or shower. I guess we'll figure it out in due time, but I'm concerned about this attraction to water that the house seems to have. When I was thinking about all of this on my soggy drive to work this morning, I cleverly dubbed our house the Price(y) Waterhouse. That made me laugh a little bit... (I love it when I make myself laugh.) I haven't heard of any water calamities in the vicinity of home today, so I remain hopeful, with one eye on the sky, and one eye constantly on the lookout for suspicious dampness, dripping, or outright puddles.
On a lighter note, L sent me this picture of a global warming protest. I laughed outright, and I think I have a couple of friends who will think this is funny, too. (Right, Natalie?) Anyway, cheer up *speaking to myself, of course* and ENJOY!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Every Day Is Valentine's Day

I don't want to brag, but I just have to say that my husband is the best. All week long, I'm thinking that Valentine's Day is Saturday, so I probably wouldn't be getting any flowers sent to work. (Believe me - he knows that's important when Valentine's falls on a work day!) And I know - it's kind of self-centered to even have the thought, but I think I'm wired that way. I have to know what to expect or not expect. So imagine my surprise when I got this delivered to my office:
I am overwhelmed: when I am the recipient of such thoughtfulness, and its totally unexpected, well... then it tastes twice as sweet. He's so good to me, and I guess I just had to tell ya'll what a lucky girl I am. I am going home now to reward him. *waggling my eyebrows and giving a wink*

Monday, February 9, 2009

Glasses Required for Valentine Shopping

I was at Target on Saturday buying Valentine cards for my grandkids and my husband. (Somehow the kids get skipped. Hmmmm...) Anyway, I picked out some cute cards for the little ones, and some little Valentine stickers to put inside for them to play with. I was feeling very pleased with myself for being so saintly and organized. The woman behind me in line commented that I had a lot of cards. I told her they were Valentines for my grandchildren. She replied "Oh how sweet! I thought grandmas handmade their Valentines!"
So now I'm feeling noticeably less saintly and organized. Is that true?? Are grandmas supposed to handmake their Valentines?? I'm sure many do, and it's not that I don't want to. It's more a time factor with me. Now I feel a little guilty for buying them but they are pretty, cute, and sparkly. Except for the one I'd bought for Lexi. It was a sparkly cupcake design - so darling. It wasn't until I got it home that I read, etched into the shiny red foil of the design: "To My Studmuffin"

I briefly considered sending it to little Matthew instead, but realized it would make me look like a sick and twisted grandma. So my husband will get that one next year (since he thought it was so hilarious) and I will get Lexi another, more appropriate one.

I should have bought red paper and little white doilies.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Puerto Rico Day 6 & Goodbye to Paradise

So we finally get to the last day in paradise. Sooooo sad. But so fun too. We (L, Katie, Mia and I) took a trip to Cerro Gordo beach. It's beautiful there, and snorkeling is good. I wanted to snorkel - I really did. But it kind of creeps me out, so I didn't want to do it by myself. L didn't want to. A couple of Katie's friends showed up unexpectedly, and one of them, Amy was out snorkeling before anyone. I started floating and swimming out her way, and she showed me some places where there were shells. But then I stepped on something spiney and sharp, and I had to go pull it out. We agreed it probably wasn't a good idea to do this without water shoes or fins. But I did see a little bit! And then - nice surprise - Amy swam in with a big sea urchin shell. Nothing alive here, folks, so no harm done. I took it home as a souvenir. So pretty! She also found a smaller one for me as well. A little later, Amy swam in again -this time with live sea urchins for us all to look at. They were waving their little spines, and we had fun looking and touching (gently). After a few minutes, Amy swam them back out into the water again.
Mia was having such fun playing with all of the little girls that came with Nellie and Amy. L was building them a wonderful sand castle, and Mia was having a very hard time keeping herself from tromping on it. At the end of the afternoon, Nellie took Mia home with her, so the playing could continue, and so Katie and Zach could come out to dinner with us.
On the way home from the beach we stopped for some late lunch. It was the best treat EVER. In Puerto Rico, they have something called Pinchos. They are either huge pork or chicken chunks on a skewer grilled with BBQ sauce. We were salty and hot from the beach, so we ordered some pinchos and ice cold Diet Cokes. And let me tell you, those Diet Cokes had ice bits in them, they were so cold. I've never had anything so delicious in my life! I've been craving them ever since.
Early in the evening, Katie and Zach arrived to go to dinner to their favorite restaurant in Old San Juan: The Dragonfly. Their cuisine is Latin/Asian fusion. It was really good, and we had a great time. I don't think L was as enthused about the menu as I was. What you do is order several small tapas plates, and everyone shares. I like to do that - then you get to taste everything. L prefers his own food, his own plate, but he was a good sport about it. And he's a master with chopsticks! I am very bad with them. It's a lefty thing, I think. But the food was to die for: rock shrimp tacos, duck nachos (Katie and I loved them - Zach and L did not), 2 kinds of rice rolls, and churrasco. We had such a good time, and I'm so glad they introduced us to this restraurant. After dinner, we parted company. L and I were fried, and we had a big travel day the next day. But as I was heading up to our room I got a little teary thinking about leaving. I really miss my Katers, and it had been so much fun sharing the week together.

The next morning we almost missed our flight, as the airline had moved the time up, and we didn't realize it. So we were scrambling. There was a snafu with our reservation - they always think that L's first name is his last name, etc. But we made it on the plane in the nick of time. It was probably a good thing. It was so nervewracking I didn't have time to be sad. But as we took off and flew away over the island, I sat back and relished all of the great memories we'd made over the past several days. It was a really good week. One to remember always.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Really Love Puerto Rico on Day 5 & 6

I loved these two days. On Wednesday, Katie had her friend Mardy watch Mia so we could take a long day to go to the beach at Mar Chiquita. (Thank you Mardy!!) This was one of the most amazing beaches I've ever seen! The "beach" was really like a pool, surrounded by volcanic rock, which the waves from the outside ocean crashed over or made their way through small openings. The result is that you have very calm water to swim in, with little tide pools all through the rocky openings. The water was so blue and warm, and it was just lovely. We set up camp, climbed all over the rocks, and then basked in the sun. A few minutes into that, the sky darkened, and rain poured down...for about 5 minutes. Then the sun came out, we dried off, and the rest of the afternoon was beautiful. There were several small dogs on this beach that were very friendly and hopeful for some small treat or attention. (I did notice that there are lots of stray dogs and cats in PR) While they were sweet, and didn't really bother us, I was hesitant to touch them. Fleas or worse - who knows? But no matter - they just flopped down a small distance away, and took a sunbath along with us.


When we'd had enough sun (and were done taking millions of pictures) we made our way back to pick up Mia. She was NOT happy to see us, as she still had some playing to do. Oh well. Katie dropped us off, and left us to clean up while she took Mia home, made dinner, all of the normal things. When Mia was in bed, with Zach to watch her while he studied, Katie came back and the two of us walked around the harbor and up the hill to the fort. In the dark you couldn't see the dings in the old architecture, or notice the flaws that time, hard living, and sea air placed upon the city. In the evening light, it was almost magical. And what a good time the two of us had together. We talked, and laughed, and solved life's problems -if only for a little while. I always love time spent with my "sister friend." It was a good day.


On Thursday, we decided to give L a break. He'd been so good and understanding while working around a two year old's schedule, so we cut him loose to hike around and take pictures to his heart's content. Katie and I planned a Mia Day: a whole day spent doing things that were fun for Mia. We started out by walking to the darling Children's Museum in Old San Juan. Once there, we swept with brooms, we stacked giant checkers, we made teetering towers with huge vinyl blocks, and knocked them down. And that was just the first floor. A little girl from Minneapolis came in and played for awhile with her mother, but other than that, we had the whole place to ourselves. Upstairs, we played with musical instruments, brushed a set of giant teeth, tried our best to make hula hoops twirl, and bought groceries at a little store. You could also look at mosquitos and mosquito larvae under a magnifying glass. Eeww.

After a very fun morning, we walked up the charming cobblestone street to a cute little cafe. They had a walled in patio, where we chose to eat. Mia was able to have chicken nuggets (and she scarfed them down!), and Katie and I shared salmon with mango sauce, and mahi-mahi with guava sauce. (Did I mention how delicious and fresh the seafood was in PR? SO GOOD.)

Totally refreshed after lunch, we made our way back down through the city, and Mia and Katie went home. They returned a bit later with Zach/Daddy, and we met them in a plaza in the middle of the city for dinner. After dinner they came back to the hotel for some time in the hot tub at the hotel. Mia swam like a little fish, and Katie and Zach were able to relax and unwind a bit. It was a good day, and a good evening with everyone. Tomorrow would be our last day spent in Puerto Rico. Sad...

Photography Plug

Before we go any further, I want to mention that many (most) of the really good photographs of Puerto Rico that you've seen or will see on my blog were taken by my daughter, Katie. She lives there with her husband (who is in med school) and her cute daughter Mia. She sells many of these photographs, which you can see on her photography blog here: Or... you can also visit her other photography blog listed to the right as Katie Hatch Photography. She is really talented, loves using her photography talents, and this helps her make a little cash while she is serving time as a struggling med student's wife. Soooo... if you're interested (and you should be) please contact her via the blog listed above regarding the purchase of beautiful photographs. If you're in Puerto Rico in the next 2 years - inspired by my amazing vacation, of course - contact her for a photo shoot with your family. You'll love the images she captures!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Love Puerto Rico - Day 3 & 4


When we arrived in Old San Juan on Monday, Katie took us to one of the old forts (I think it's called Cristobal) located there. It was fascinating to think that it was over 400 years old, and still standing guard over it's charming city. It was hotter than anything, the tour guide was moving really, really slowly, and so we just did our own tour. Mia fell down at least four times, but she was still in a pretty good mood. After all, she did have her "cecils" (that's "pretzels" to all of you), and her juice pouch. We climbed all over the fort, and took a million pictures from all angles. I was completely damp and sweaty from the heat by the time we left, but I wouldn't have missed it. We checked into the hotel, (the Sheraton right on the harbor - highly recommend it!) and after getting settled in, we took a trip out into the city to forage for food. A short distance from the hotel, there was a Puerto Rican/Haitian place that we decided to try. Aaaand... we all decided we didn't really like Puerto Rican food, except for the Churrasco (marinated and grilled skirt steak - YUM!) The rest was deep fried plantains and really salty chickin gumbo-like soup. Oh well - you have to have the experience!
On Tuesday, we planned a beach day at Escambron Beach - really close to the hotel. I slathered on the 50 sunscreen, and tried to get a tan. But you know, the older I get, the less I can sit still just baking. Pretty soon, both LaMar and I were up playing with Mia and building sand castles with her. It was a gorgeous day, and we had a great time. We even got to meet up with Katie's friend Amy, and her cute daughter Kaely. Again, much picture taking. We even got to hear the exciting story of how Amy's husband (who is an FBI guy) had arrested the PR governor just a couple of days before! Good times.

I wish I could totally relate the fun of playing with a very cute 2 year old. She says the most hilarious things, and has so much spunk and personality. But all of you who have had 2 year olds know what I'm talking about. She followed her "Papa" around like a little baby duck. He built her a wonderful castle with a moat, which she had great fun destroying, before becoming endlessly fascintated with burying her legs and feet in the sand over and over. Before we knew it, it was time for Mia's nap, so we packed up and headed back. It's hard to remember everything, but I think LaMar and I just took our own little quickie tour of the city that night. I remember we had a Blackout (Coke and ice cream) at a little local place, and then we just walked around for awhile. We're kind of old (notice I say "we" to make myself feel better) and we were tired from the sun so we didn't last long. We'd planned a trip to Mar Chiquita the next day - without Mia, since it was a little distance away - and we were looking forward to that. And so ends Days 3 & 4.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Love Puerto Rico - Day 1 & 2

I have to say that our week in Puerto Rico ranks as one of my all time great vacations. I had so much fun, and Katie was the best hostess ever! The island is beautiful - much like Hawaii - and has so much charm. The weather was great - a pretty consistent 85 degrees. It rained a little bit almost every day, but it was not intrusive. Again, much like Hawaii. One afternoon we did get caught in a shower for a few minutes, but the rainbow we were rewarded with made the soaking worthwhile. But let me back up and put events in order.

We arrived Saturday evening, the 24th. Katie and Mia met us at the airport, and I was so excited to see them. Mia had heard our visit hyped for so many days, I think she was over excited: she spent almost the entire time driving to our hotel with her head under her kiki (blanket) - and that was about an hour drive. It would have been a little shorter had we not gotten totally lost. The hotel was way out of San Juan, and the GPS didn't read the address properly, so we were taken over hills, and in all sorts of nooks and crannies of Humacau, PR, trying to find the freaking hotel. We finally stopped, in sheer desperation, at a Texaco station and begged directions from the first English speaking person we could find. Luckily, the correct street was only a turn or two away. (Part of the problem is that there are no street signs. Anywhere. Welcome to Puerto Rico.)

The hotel, when we finally got there, was lovely. Beautiful, lush grounds, a gorgeous pool area, hundreds of little coqui frogs singing their little lungs out. The service, however, sucked. We had so much stuff to lug to the room (and there were only stairs - no elevator), and there was no one in sight to help us. No matter. I watched Mia, and LaMar and Katie packed everything up to the room. I think I got the much better end of things there. By that time, Mia had had it - she'd opened her doggie sleeping bag, she'd loved up her lion cub toy we'd brought her, and she was ready for bed. After she was asleep, and we were all settled in, I went over to Katie's room for a bit, and we sat in the dark under the covers, and talked for awhile. I'd missed those talks so much, and it was so great to just giggle together, and yak away - being our Sister Selves. We were a little worried about how far away the hotel was from everything, and how confusing it was to find. But we were so tired from the travel we decided to worry about it the next day.

In the morning we first went to the pool, but that wasn't quite what we wanted. We ended up going down to the beach, where Mia played for a bit, and we enjoyed the warmth and the sunshine. The sky was blue, and it was a glorious day. LaMar had made arrangements to move from that hotel to another Sheraton in Old San Juan the following day. But we still needed to get Katie and Mia back home, so we got their stuff packed up and into the car, and off we went. For some reason it wasn't hard to find our way to her house - the GPS was a champ at that. We soon arrived, and Katie fixed us a nice little dinner, while Mia insisted that we "Sit, sit!" and watch a Princess movie with her. Soon enough it was time to make our way back to the hotel in Humacau for our final night there. And soon enough, we were hopelessly lost again... the GPS had directed us up into the hills again and had told us to turn onto this really small street. Just as we were about to do just that, 3 or 4 men on horseback suddenly rode down the street out of the dark and we almost ran into them. We backed off of that street and decided to backtrack a bit. In time we (miraculously) found our way back to the hotel again. We were glad it was our last trip back there. The hotel in Old San Juan turned out to be the perfect place to move to for the rest of our trip. To be continued...

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