January 30, 2010

Game Days

It's been a busy past three days. Chunky had a basketball game bright and early Saturday morning. They won 32-12 with Chunky making six baskets and four assists! Sassy was in a volleyball tournament at the Mpls Convention Center from Friday night through Sunday. Their team was up and down - winning only half of their games. Today we had a four hour break between games. So all 18 of us - girls, parents and coaches - wandered the skyway system and found a restaurant that would accommodate us. Here's a team photo - Sassy is farthest on the right.Update:
We got 10th place (out of 30 teams) and most of the teams ahead of us are bigger clubs (Northern Lights, M1, etc.) so finishing in the top third is a huge accomplishment!

Gifts From Around the World

I have been blessed with many lovely and thoughtful gifts over the years, but I received three in particular with an international flair that I adore.

I LOOOOVE this bag. My mother purchased it with Sassy in mind while in Guatemala last year on a medical mission trip (she is an anesthetist). I opened the box when she sent some goodies from the trip and claimed it. It is THE perfect travel bag - hands-free crossbody style, soft construction, deep but not bulky with an easy-to-reach outside pocket and secure inside pocket. Great colors too! Mom, I'll take at least one if not two on your next trip. Please!!!

My mother purchased this scarf for me on a recent trip to Italy. I love the colors and pattern. It's luxuriously soft too! A perfect match with my grey peacoat.

These earrings (there are two) were an early gift from my MIL while on our recent trip to Mexico (Costa Maya). I love the metal work - bold yet delicate and understated. And I'm a huge fan of mixed metals - gold and silver. These aren't heavy and the lever back closures offer the perfect combination of security and dangle.

Workout Buddy Update: Impatiently waited for the floor work (that's my interpretation per the incessant meowing or whining), then pounced on my back as soon as I got on all fours to do "cat" stretches. Ironic don't you think?!

January 29, 2010

Workout Buddy

I enjoyed two massages on vacation and judging by the knots in my back that each masseuse desperately (and painfully) tried to loosen, I have some major stress and could lighten up a little. I decided it's time to incorporate more exercise and relaxation into my life. So I started doing my reliable mommy workout. I do the first 12 minute routine each morning before I hop in the shower and start my day. It'a alot of stretching with some leg and ab work. Sookie ("the devil cat" as my kids call her, but they're just jealous) has been very interested in this new morning activity. The first day she sat on the sidelines, meowing support every now and again. At least I think it was support. It could have just as easily been "what ARE you doing?" The next day she perched close by on a table offering zero support. Yesterday she sat even closer. Today she was about two inches from me at all times - moving around when I moved with intermittent meowing. She also decided to get in on the abs action - she sat right on my chest for situps, pelvic tilts and kegels, meowing encouragement with each lift. Is that TMI? I can't wait to see what my workout buddy will do tomorrow.

January 27, 2010

Viva Mexico

I want to go back. It's 9 degrees here. I probably won't see another 80 degree day for at least six months. boo hoo We loved the Riviera Maya area. There's more sun, blue sky and turquoise water than ought to be allowed. I'm thinking our next trip may need to be to a resort in the area so we can immerse ourselves in the carefree sangria/margarita/guacamole ways to which I've become accustomed. I know I'm tardy on photos. I'm envious of all the amazing ones MckMama took on her cruise (not the same as ours). Here's what you get from me -

Costa Maya (5 hrs south of Cancun). That's our ship in between the two "huts". These are actually two restaurants with a huge saltwater swimming pool. MIL and I did a bit of shopping and snacking while Chunky swam his little heart out.

After they went back to the ship I got a massage on the beach.

Sassy and I on formal dinner night

Hubby and the chipmunks


We all snorkeled together for awhile - Chunky was a bit tentative as he didn't like to go out into the open water so Sassy and Hubby found a sting ray and followed it out into the lagoon while Chunky and I got something to eat and communed with nature.

Macaw parrots at XelHa - there were so many I lost count

I think we need one of these at home - it would keep him occupied for hours!

We loved our cabin attendant - Anderson Hamilton from Trinidad & Tobago. He makes the nicest towel animals.

January 25, 2010

The Heat Is On!

We're cooking with Crisco now! You too can go from 55 to 70 degrees in no time at all for a sum equivalent to some small country's GDP. The tech said there's rust in the heat exchange and asked if I wanted to just go all in on a new furnace since it's original to the home which is 23 years young. Ah, sure. I just spent a small fortune on Christmas, vacation, kenneling my dogs and taxes are right around the corner. Sign me up for a $5k furnace. Not! We're going to gamble and hope we make it through this winter and see what our options are next summer. What happened to global warming anyway?

January 24, 2010


This is a view of our cabin - This is the view from our balcony as we arrived in Costa Maya -
This is a view of heaven on earth, also known as XelHa - This is a view of our sunset the last night - I woke this morning hoping breakfast was waiting on deck 9.
This is a view of our balmy arctic home -
That says 58 degrees! It was 59 when we arrived home last night. I'm hoping it doesn't dip below 55 before we leave in the morning.

I'll post more trip details following my morning at work, afternoon heater repair service, dry cleaning run, dog pick up, basketball game and volleyball practice

Ah, home sweet home!

January 21, 2010


We are in Cozumel today. The four of us will be taking an excursion to XelHa. Hubby and I visited a few years ago on a vacation to Cancun and it was one of the highlights of our trip. The other was visiting the Mayan ruins of Tulum. Gorgeous site but we thought the kids wouldn't like it as much as XelHa and we only had time for one.

January 20, 2010

Costa Maya

We are in Costa Maya today. Hubby and Sassy will be scuba diving in Mahahual on the Meso-American Barrier Reef. Chunky and I will find something fun to do. Perhaps shopping?! Chunky will be so thrilled.

January 19, 2010


You are 43 years young today. I still call you by your childhood nickname. We've been married almost 23 years and have known each other since the second grade. Your favorite foods are peanut butter, milk, steak and chips & salsa. You drink an insane amount of milk - between you and the kids we go through 6 gallons a week. I am not a milk drinker. You heart motorcycles and motorcycle racing - in a really intense, sometimes disturbing way. You also heart your truck, iPod (which I had to practically force you to try and now no one can touch) and your family. You used to travel for work frequently - gone two to six weeks at a time when Sassy was little. I'm glad you're around more now - the kids love that you take them to school most mornings as well to a lot of their games. The three of you love go-carting and running around in the summer shooting nerf guns or paint ball. Your favorite words are "really" and "nice" - you say these in response to most everything. Note: they can be said with either an approving or sarcastic tone. You are good cop to my bad cop in the parenting department. You like my cooking most of the time. When we were first married and I was a budding chef, you often mentioned that your mother made things better. I suggested you give her a call and have her send it. You are fun-loving, generous, moody, and THE biggest mama's boy. You definitely make life interesting. Love You and Happy Birthday!

January 17, 2010

Random Thoughts

I bought this bouquet at an upscale grocery store the other night for $7. I heart flowers. Especially simple, elegant arrangements such as this. I think the pink and white ones are sweet peas. Those were my paternal grandmother's favorite flower. She told me many times these were in her bouquet when she married my grandfather.

The aforementioned family drama is a non-issue. I won't be able to attend Erma's service so no need to worry about any "interactions". whew!

Both Chunky and Sassy had tournaments this weekend - basketball for Chunky and volleyball for Sassy. Both came in 2nd!

The Communications class is going okay. I went way over time for my first speech (thankfully everyone got an "A") and did better for my second. I handed in a draft of my oped on health care reform financing. The next assignments are tough - an "I believe" essay (simulated radio broadcast taken from NPRʼs, This I Believe, program) and a position paper with call to action speech. I'm thinking of writing about why you shouldn't shop at a popular retailer due to their unfair/unjust business practices (social justice perspective). I was thinking of writing about health care reform, but the topic is very broad and I'd really need to focus on a very particular position.

I'm going to make a prediction that the Vikings beat the Cowboys today. I have faith.

Off to pack for vacation. Adios y vaya con Dios!

January 16, 2010

5 Ways to Help Haiti

I'm borrowing an idea from another blog. The devastation and suffering in Haiti is great. If you're inclined to help with the recovery effort, please consider these organizations.

1. Click HERE to donate to the American Red Cross.
2. Click HERE to donate to Samaritan’s Purse.
3. Click HERE to donate to Doctors Without Borders.
4. Click HERE to donate to Compassion International’s Haiti Earthquake Disaster Relief fund.
5. Click HERE to find the charity of your choice.

January 13, 2010

Get Your Party On

Last weekend we went to my BFF's for her youngest's third birthday party. That girl can party!

This is Eva and her cousin Audrey. How cute are they?!

Eva wanted to take pictures with my camera - I had to help her out a bit. I don't think I look half bad here.

Eva loves Sassy -

Chunky helping Eva with her new Sit & Spin -

I let Sassy drive home - it's about 25 miles. Notice her perfect form.

We missed the turn from the country road to the road that connects to the highway. Oh well - it was scenic.

January 11, 2010

Family Drama

A dear friend of the family, Erma, has died. She, her husband, my maternal grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and several of their friends had a swinging card club when I was a kid. I view those early days of my life like a TV series or movies I've watched. I know I was in them but those experiences seem other-worldly to me now. I probably last saw her at a funeral in December 1999. She called me a few months ago looking for my mother's phone number - my mother has lived in the south since 1994. I gave her the number and we ended up chatting for quite some time. She was always a lovely lady - kind, motherly, nurturing, generous and tenacious. I feel a bit guilty that I didn't call her up to speak with her again or coordinate a visit. I hope she and the rest of the gang are having a rousing game of cards!

I plan to attend the service. I want to out of respect for what she meant to me, my mother and my grandparents. gulp. I'm not looking forward to seeing other family members. My mother and her two brothers don't speak. We don't speak either. The youngest brother was only eighteen or so when I was born. He is my godfather. I thought the world of him. He's probably the reason one of my dream cars is a GTO. I was kind of a chubby kid growing up. I was also kind of smart with thick, Coke bottle-bottomed glasses. Add these to unusual first and last names and it's a recipe for childhood disaster. I was teased A LOT. I grew up tough on the inside. Side story - Chunky came home from school a couple of years ago crying because someone had teased him about his last name. It rhymes with a vegetable. A boring, benign vegetable. I told him to go back the next day and tell them to get more creative. Anywho ... my uncle married a beautiful, fun lady and I thought they were the cats pajamas sorry, I'm old. As they matured in life, they had kids and their own drama. My aunt began to berate me at dinner if I had an extra helping or goad me that I didn't need dessert. It didn't feel good and it felt even worse because I had looked up to her. I began to resent her. Other family drama ensued over the years I should really write a book ala Carrie Fischer - I'd be a gagillionaire. Finally at one family gathering, words were exchanged and I stood up for myself I think my mother did first and then I found my voice. My grandma just wanted everyone to get along and more words were spoken, sides chosen and I walked away with a severely wounded relationship with my grandma and a pledge to exorcise the aunt and uncle from my life. My grandma and I eventually made up, albeit several months later. I never really said more than a sentence to my aunt and uncle again. I got married, moved away, grandma died, we moved back, had kids, and we never interacted with my aunt and uncle. Until four or five years ago. My uncle called out of the blue to say he was at a crossroads in his life and reaching out to make amends to people he'd wronged. He apologized to me for any part he may have played in the breakdown of my relationship with grandma and said he'd like to get together to talk. I thanked him for the apology and said I'd be okay with getting together at a public restaurant. He never called back. I never think of him or that time in my life. If an errant memory ever crops up, I simply think geesh, some peoples' kids! I'm thinking that Erma's service may lead to an interaction. I've already planned my response. If approached, I will be courteous and if pushed to discuss our relationship I will politely say that it is not the time or place for an in-depth discussion. I want to honor Erma. Her service is not the the occasion for our family drama. If it is the catalyst for a separate meeting and discussion, that's fine. We'll see how it goes. Mom - we'll have to talk about a book deal. Names may need to be changed to protect the guilty :)

January 9, 2010

Speechless? Not!

I've been battling a nasty cold. I sound horrible and feel crappy. The up side is I'm feeling better each day so should be back to normal before vacation. I had my first class of the new term last night. I prepared my extemporaneous ethical speech, wrote a one-page self description and psyched my sick self up. I picked up my graded portfolio from the last class and was thrilled to see the instructor wrote "I would have given you an A+ if the grading system allowed it!" She underlined the plus sign. I'm just sayin'. 'Cause I'm proud. I met a lady from the last class for dinner on campus and it was nice to catch up and compare notes - she's in the Thursday night Communications class and I'm in the Friday night class. I love my instructor - he's about 65 yo, witty and very expressive. We were assigned numbers for our speeches. I am #15 - there are 16 students. We ran out of time and had to stop after the 10th. I was not happy. Now I have to give two speeches next week - ethical and anecdotal. The anecdotal should be easy - there are many embarrassing moments in my life from which to choose. Hundreds occurred in the last week alone.

I also have to turn in a rough draft of my OpEd (a 350 word personal newspaper commentary) next week. I'm not 100% sure, but am thinking it will be on healthcare reform funding. I'm hesitant to discuss things of a political nature here because a) I intended this to be a place for lighthearted thoughts save for a few deep reflections here and there, and 2) I acknowledge my political views are my own and somewhat complex. I'd hate to sound self-righteous or arrogant. I consider myself a progressive Republican as I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I don't hate Obama. I'm on the fence about Palin. I support the right for anyone willing to make a life commitment to marry, regardless of race, creed or gender. I believe abortion is wrong for me yet a decision each person must make for themselves without my interference. I believe in investing in all things green, especially energy. I'm not the "greenest" I could be but have made small steps via recycling, driving a compact car and turning the home heat down. I believe in fighting for our beliefs and rights, but not every fight is our business. I believe in a higher power and am a semi-practicing Catholic who also embraces Buddhist philosophy. I don't believe in judgment regarding someone or a situation for which I do not know all the facts exceptions are made for celebrities and fashion. I love debate and honestly believe one of the reasons we've become so politically polarized is we don't talk openly and respectfully enough. We judge, we shout and we criticize without understanding or assuming best intent. In closing, I'd like to buy the world a Coke and teach it to sing in perfect harmony.

January 3, 2010

Lazy, Linking Days

Yeah, my first post of 2010!
I've been doing a little post-holiday clean up but mostly flitting from one project to another. Wrap a birthday present for next weekend ... sort Christmas gift bags by size ... shopping trip to MOA ... organize empty to be reused boxes by size ... check clothing needs for vacation ... box Chunky's oversized uniform clothing (hand-me-downs from the neighbor) ... much needed haircolor ... supervise Chunky's study of U.S. capitals ... work project ... and so it goes.

I am already planning for Valentine's Day. I will be making cake pops. Yum! This is the same site from which I obtained the Fast Food Fun recipe for Chunky's birthday party.

Today Chunky and I started a puzzle. While we were working, we were visited by one of our cardinals. I heart my new camera (thank you hubby!).

Off to watch new episodes of Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters while cuddling with my furry kids and keeping my -11° feet warm.