Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Aloha Umbrella

There were some helluva storms in Honolulu earlier this month. I found myself out and about in one of them, with a full cart of groceries. Not wanting to melt, I asked the cashier where their non-Barbie umbrellas were and he told me they had sold out. I was weighing my options when the woman in the next line gave me hers. "Take it," she said, "I have plenty."

I was speechless.

So I hugged her.

And then left, with my new aloha umbrella in hand.

You may not find this particularly touching, but it's not often that I stumble across a genuine act of kindness - especially directed toward me! I find myself reflecting upon this often when I help a friend, or a stranger, and think about giving in an entirely new light.

So Mahalo, my umbrella-giving friend, whoever you are.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No mid-life crisis is complete without a tattoo ...

This past year has been one for the recordbooks. I went from being 38 and content to never leave my house, to 39 and a little effin crazy. What better way to top off my bout of insanity than a tattoo!?

This photo was made just seconds after Doug @ Hawaiian Tattoo Company finished torturing me. Does it look painful? Because it freaking was! I don't think I'll be rushing out any time soon to do another (although I am kicking around re-piercing my belly button when I go back).

I've finally been inked, in true farewell to youth style.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Waikiki Apartment

It sounds funny saying that ... I haven't been an apartment dweller in well over a decade. But 10 years of maintaining a house, houseS if you include the rental property, has me very appreciative of the simple living an apartment provides.

Plus the apartment is in Waikiki - so there's that extra added bonus.

For those of you familiar with the area, I'm off of Kuhio, very close to Lewers St and the Wyland Hotel. For those of you not familiar, I'm in freaking Hawaii, in the heart of all the hustle and bustle of Waikiki.

Wanna see wanna see? I made a little video tour, with some very lame narrations. Just mute your machine and check it out:

I know it's a bit excessive, but I wanted a place to call my own on-island so I can leave my stuff and just bring my fabulous self when I travel back and forth. Since I don't pay mortgages any more (yay me!) I thought that paying rent somewhere wouldn't be the end of the world. Hopefully it will get me back here sooner rather than later too :)

This visit has been considerably kinder and gentler to my body. No crazy parties or hanging out with young boys (well, not a LOT of hanging with young boys) ... mostly I've been getting settled in, revisiting friends, and diving. Oh yeah, DIVING!

I've been working on my Advanced Open Water Scuba Certification since I got here. As of right now I'm about 4/6 of the way there - I need to log two more adventure dives to get my new card. So far we've completed: Night Dive, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Navigation, and Drift Diving. We were supposed to do the deep dive and something else (hopefully scooter!) today, but that charter got canceled. There's a hellofastorm on the island right now - I hope it passes soon!

So that's about all the news I've got. I go back to NM on Monday and need to get back to work and holiday stuff.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Welcome Home, Your Cat Is Dead

After 19 days in Oahu, and five in Las Vegas (which appropriately ended with a jerk cabbie berating me for tipping him $3 on $27 to the airport - I hate Vegas), I finally got home from my mid-life crisis rendezvous yesterday. My dogs were happy to see me for 5 seconds, my kid mustered the energy to give me a hug for another 5, and within the hour I was doing laundry, working around the house, and twittering until way past when I should have been twittering. Life as usual kicking in way to early for my liking.

This morning I slept till noon (much needed), and headed to my neighbors when we discovered a pile of hair, most definitely my cat's, in my front yard. A big pile. I'm not very hopeful at this point and can only assume that I won't be seeing my beautiful, wonderful, Mozart ever again.

So welcome back to the place you can't wait to leave. Your cat is likely dead. We hope you enjoy your stay.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


So, through Twitter I met @Roxannedarling and @Shane - I'm not sure how. They are very active in social networking and run some very popular podcasts. Turns out they used to live in Santa Fe but now reside on the island of Oahu. I love Hawaii. No, I LOVE HAWAII. Only been there a couple of times, but to me, it's paradise. I always said if there was a work event on any of the islands that I'd go.

Well, not long ago Rox and Shane announced Podcamp Hawaii 2008 - I thought about going, but for whatever reason, let it slip away. Till yesterday. I woke up thinking, I should be in Hawaii this week. It didn't take me long to stumble over to where I amazingly found cheap last minute airfare! Within the hour I had booked my flight to Honolulu, registered for PodcampHI, and reserved my hotel room at the Waikiki Prince Hotel for tomorrow. Yes, TOMORROW.

Since then I've been wrapping up loose ends, shopping, getting a spray tan (I didn't sit down afterwards this time), and now I'm putting off packing by blogging. I'm going to give Travelpod another shot, so if you want to follow me around Waikiki Beach, hop on over to my Oahu Blog (oh, and you can follow my antics 140 characters at a time on twitter too).

I'm so excited to go to Hawaii again. It's been about a year and a half since my last visit. Rox mentioned many condos for sale, so I may have to do a little real estate shopping while I"m there. We'll see. But for now I should pack and try to get some sleep before the 6am alarm. Sweet dreams are waiting I'm sure.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shannon's Travel Blogs

Ok, I broke down and made a Travelpod blog and will be posting my antics there.

Check it out here

And let me know what you think :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On the way to Italy!

Woo Hoo! I'm am on my way to Italy!

Despite the cab being slightly late, I'm here at the gate with a good 45 minutes to spare for the first leg of my journey. From here I go to Cincinnati, then Paris, then Florence, Italy where I get to kick around and do whatever I want for the day. I'll meet up with the travel group on the 12th in a little town called Monticitini Terme, which will be my home base for the rest of the week.

I'm thinking I may start a travel blog on Travelpod since I'm hoping more adventure lays in my immediate future :)

Anyway, I'm off! I hope to be able to log in while I'm there, otherwise, I'll see you in a week.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sunny SoCal

2008 is going to go down as my most traveled year so far I do believe.

It's been just two weeks since I got back from Silicone Valley & the biggest geek expo of my life, and here I am unpacking from a three day visit with Josh in Los Angeles. (You don't know Josh ... he was a friend and one of the brothers from way back when, turning into a better friend now.)

But I digress.

Southern California was much more fun than I remembered from my last visit in ... probably 1993. We drove up and down the coast (in a bad ass car), went to some lovely restaurants, watched ET (the movie) on the beach, met some very nice people, had a couple of great business meetings, and generally hung out. And don't you know I didn't take one - single - picture?

Oh well, now I have a great excuse to solicit another invite - photo ops!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Family Camp

Camp Shaver has family camp twice a year, Memorial Day & Labor Day. We had so much fun in the spring that we had to come back and check it out again!

As we expected, we had a great time. Well, mostly a great time. Our only full day at camp rained and rained and rained and, you guessed it, rained. I have never seen such a steady stream of rain in NM in all my life. But we made the best of it. We were still able to do archery during a brief dry spell and rifelry (thanks to the shelter), but we spent the best part of our day in the East Lodge.

The East Lodge is a rec room with ping pong, air hockey, foosball, and just all kinds of fun stuff. Casey and I played ping pong for a while, until kids her age started rolling in. That's when I turned into chopped liver (which frankly I didn't mind ... that gave me an opportunity to play on my Blackberry for a while). Our "camp fire" that night was moved into the Mess Hall where we all performed our skits (Casey and I sang in front of the whole camp!) and played a game of ... I don't even know what it was, but it was fun!

Monday, fortunately, was gorgeous, and we got to do almost everything that we weren't able to do the day before: high ropes, rock wall, a hike through the Jemez Mountains (to a beautiful waterfall), and a game of Rocks, which is reminiscent of capture the flag.

All in all it was a great weekend! Casey made a couple of nice new friends, I got to do a little backyard traveling, and mother daughter bonding is always good.

I posted my fave pics on Flickr, so click here to check them out!

Friday, August 29, 2008

See, I was at SESSJ!

SES San Jose Photo, originally uploaded by storyspinn.

I stumbled across this photo in Li Evan's photo stream ... Pic was taken at Gordon Biersch with all the SEO big wigs. We were invited because Li rocks like that :)


Monday, July 21, 2008


100_1827, originally uploaded by andi_thats_me.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am rather obsessed with Jason Castro. So when I heard that American Idol was touring 100 miles away from my dad's house in Ohio, of course I bought tickets.

Our seats were, meh ... on the floor, but about 50 rows back. I couldn't see the whites of any of the performer's eyes, which is my litmus test of a "good concert"

But I did manage to score two backstage passes. And what did I do with them? Gave them to my dd and niece.

Did I try to hitch-hike in with them? No.

Did I try to buy a third pass? No.

I sat in the bleachers like a good mom, waiting for them to come back and regale me with stories of how cute and cool everyone was.

To further rub salt in the wound, they had this picture taken. Just for me.

I am thoroughly jealous and slightly depressed today, but am thrilled that I was able to have a hand in this experience for them.

You can check out the rest of their pics in our American Idol 08 Flickr set if you want to live vicariously through them too.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lost: My Waverunner?

I woke up this morning to find out that 45mph winds and 5 foot waves took out the break wall at the marina, and subsequently, the marina was hit. Several boats floated away and some sank even. It occurs to me that I didn't tie up the Waverunner when I was there last (I thought I was going to go back out on the water Sunday but was vetod).

No one has called to tell me my pwc is gone yet, so I guess that's good news. I'm not too hopeful, though. This Video shows some pretty good damage :(

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dan & Fam

2008 was the year that my little brother and his family visited NM. Since it will probably be another ten years before they come back, I figured I should post a few pictures for posterity.

I think the thing we did most while they were here was eat. Green chili cheeseburgers, green chili breakfast burritos, Garduno's, grillables... from the time they got off the plane, and for the next six days, I blew my diet so far out of the water it's not even funny - and I didn't even go out with them every time!

Thursday, their first full day in town, we got up very slowly and headed to Old Town, where we walked around for about 10 minutes, did a little shopping, got all gussied up for our Old Time Photo, and ate mom's favorite cheeseburgers in the Plaza. Pretty mellow day, and I even got Teri to pose in this sombrero while we were out an about.

A couple hours later we were home, where half us got ready for dinner at the Rancher's Club, and the other half (my half) continued to digest lunch.

Friday we were off to Elephant Butte Lake.

I know, most people don't think to go boating in the New Mexican desert, but if you can stand the 100 degree shade-free weather, you can do it!

Most of the day was spent driving, settling in, and you guessed it, eating. More Mexican food at the top of the hill in TorC. It wasn't very good, nor was it particularly spicy. But it was filling and we all slept like rocks afterwards.

Saturday was to be our day-O-fun.

We got up, again slowly, and eventually found our way to water. Danny took to the wave-runner (until his wittle ahms stahted huwrting) and the gals stayed in the boat. We found a little cove, went swimming to beat the heat, and goofed around.

Next thing we new Danny's friend from Texas got to town so we got to hang out with them for the day and evening. Brit and his family were wonderful guests, and even played guitar and sang by the campfire (after we grilled out and ate dinner of course).

Come Sunday we had all had our fill of the lake so we headed back to Albuquerque, showered, and while Paige and I got make-overs at the mall, everyone else rested.

But then (drum roll please) ...

We went to Garduno's for dinner.

I was actually hungry this time, and drank probably the best margarita I've ever had (their Premium Marg - Yum!)

The next day we just hung out, played cards, played with Shaggy, packed, and ate left-overs.

Tuesday Danny & Teri headed home to enjoy their last day of vacation together, and left Paige to hang out with us for a couple of weeks.

Poor kid has no idea what she's gotten herself into.

Hasta la vista, Brother (and Sista)! If you miss us too much, you can always relive your visit via Youtube ...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And Justice Is Served

I don't know if you read my post about the blogger who took the money and ran, but I *finally* got a response from American Express:
We are pleased to inform you that a credit in the amount of $2500 has been posted to your account which can be seen on an upcoming statement.
So thank God that the cost of tuition for this lesson was only a few books on prenatal development.

Drinks are on me!

Monday, June 02, 2008

You should see the other guy ...

Today started out like any other crappy Monday. I woke to 2500 emails, and before my first cup of coffee had so much as a dent in it, my gtalk was blinking and beeping like there was no tomorrow.

Then I had the pleasure of dragging my daughter out of bed so she could make tennis lessons at 10. I got her there, miraculously on time, and afterwards headed to Target to buy furnishings for the rental home hall bath. $200 later I realized I had lost my shopping list, which was written on the backside of a business proposal. Yes, I know, not my smartest move. So I set out, with two tweens in tow, and retraced our steps to find my missing paperwork. After I walked the entire store, I found myself back at customer service without not only my list, but also two tweens.

Five minutes after the announcement for Casey and Mercedes to please meet their party at the front of the store, we were headed to Lowes to buy yet more parts for the rental house we are now affectionately calling the Money Pit. Of course Lowes didn't have the parts we needed, and the contractor was charging me to sit and wait, so we raced off to Ace Hardware for bits and pieces of plumbing parts.

$100 later I proudly handed my contractor the items he'd been waiting for all morning, just to find that most of them were not going to work.


Samons must have them, so this time we headed to the warehouse store, when my foot slipped off the brake and I found myself ass-deep in a Nissan Sentra. We pulled into the Jiffy Lube on the corner and I inspected my car ...

Not bad. A couple of scratches that I may or may not have repaired.

But you should see the other guy ...

If I ever wondered if it was worth it to drive an SUV, I have my answer now!

I wanted to be mad at the idiot two cars up who made an illegal U-turn instead of going left with the arrow and caused the car in front of me to suddenly stop two seconds after we all started to go. I also want to be mad at the Birkenstock company who made the shoes that slipped off the brake pedal when I tried to avoid colliding with the car in front of me. Thankfully, I have a medicine cabinet full of anti-madness, and a fridge that's been calling me out for my nervous eating all day. (In other words, there won't be a weigh-in this week :-)

At the end of the day I'm just glad we were only going 5mph, that no one was hurt, and that the other driver's boyfriend had a fake gun for a belt-buckle instead of the real thing.

Gosh I hope Tuesday ends up better.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Campers

Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peeeeeeeeanut just now ...

It's been over 25 years since I sang that song. That is, until this past Memorial weekend at Camp Shaver. Twice a year they have Family Camp, and this year we decided to check it out.

We had so much fun! The accommodations were a bit, shall we say, rustic? No electricity (i.e. no lights after dark or heat), no doors or windows (a tarp over cut-outs in the log cabin), and the bunk beds were made out of two by fours... but that's ok, we weren't there to enjoy the room.

The first thing we did was check out Soda Dam so I could take a couple of pictures. Jill, bless her heart, decided she was going to climb to the top of it. Me, with my fear of heights, not so much. That is until Casey popped her head over the side and yelled "Jill's hurt!" At first I thought she was playing a joke on me, but I scooched my way to the top, and found Jill, writhing in pain, telling me her ankle was broken. Thank God it wasn't - I don't know how she would have gotten down from there if it was! We waited for her to regain her composure, and made our way back to camp.

The rest of the weekend was spent hiking to the warm springs, watching skits by the campfire, playing capture the flag and participating in their structured activities like archery, riflery and rock climbing. Casey was a natural at the climbing, I of course stayed firmly planted on the ground. Turns out I was a pretty good shot with the rifle though, so you better watch out :)

All in all Casey and I had a great time and have already sent in our registration for the Family Camp in the Fall. Jill ... I don't think she'll be returning :)

Youtube Video Stream

You can check out a few more camp pictures on our Flickr stream, too, if you like :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pretty Kitty

Pretty Kitty, originally uploaded by andi_thats_me.

Well I haven't blogged or taken many pictures lately, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone.

This is Mozart, hanging in our pansies. With the 90 degree weather, they won't last much longer, so I had to take some photos for posterity purposes.

Other than that, I went to Denver for an SES Training Day and met Jason from Checkerboard, am making plans for a couple more seminars, and Casey and I are putting an itinerary together for Clearwater. I'm thinking of buying a vacation condo there (since it's one of the few ocean front locations we can fly to nonstop), so between getting out of dodge and working my arse off, I've had little time for much else.

But rest assured, I am alive (and so is my kitty cat :) )

Monday, April 28, 2008

The lost postcards

So I got a txt message from Sue this morning that said: I finally cleaned out my car.

My response was: um, yay?

Turns out she told me this because she found Casey's postcards from October in between the seats.

To Chris, Dave, and Cassidy - expect a hello from Alcatraz soon!

On a different note, my scale read 143.6 this morning the first time I hopped on. The second, third, fourth and fifth times it read 142.6 - which means I lost a pound since last week! So I'm having lasagna for breakfast to celebrate and will go to the gym later to work it off :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fool me twice, shame on me

I'm sad today.

I'm mad today.

I am embarrassed today because it seems that I never learn from my mistakes and now I need to vent.

One of the bloggers I hired at Babies Online turned out to be very helpful, nice, and experienced in her field ... immediately I accepted her into our inner circle and considered her our go to girl. When she ran into financial problems I offered to help without thinking first. If I would have thought before I spoke I would have realized that irresponsibility is likely what got her into that situation to begin with. But as I said, I didn't think first.

You know, that phrase without thinking first seems to have gotten me into more problems than I care to admit. But I digress.

I offered to advance some money to her, thinking a few hundred dollars. She came back and asked for $2500, in return I would get 6 months of work, including one rather large project. I wanted to say no to that amount. I really did. But I've been tremendously blessed, and if that's what she needed to get out of her dire straights, then I should help. I sent the money, and don't you know, have had nothing but headache ever since.

I have to beg for examples of her work, and when she finally does send something, it's inadequate. My repeated requests for status reports and conference calls are ignored. She doesn't respond to email, her phone service was suspended, and she either doesn't get on IM or has blocked us from seeing her when she's online.

All is not lost. American Express will give my money back if and when I request a charge back. I have a date in mind when that will happen, but am still hoping she will come through and have some valid excuse for the disappearing act. I'm prepared to accept the fact that I was simply scammed, though, which makes me sad, mad, and embarrassed.

I thought I was smarter than that.

Ok, therapy for today is over. I feel much better now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Adventures in redecorating

I have company visiting this summer, and since I don't have fancy guest digs like my Uncle Kent, I thought it was time to buy a sleeper sofa. I found one that I like (it has a built in air mattress even) and will likely buy it today. It will go in the Rock Band Room (formerly my unused formal living room) and will be utilized mostly by tweens rockin to the oldies.

This room also houses our piano and has a large picture window on the right side. To complicate things further, I am not adept at interior design, as you can tell from the room design below.

This is how the room is currently laid out:

And this is how I'm thinking of moving things around ...

If I do this, the TV will need to go above the piano, and I will likely put a little DVD/Playstation/Wii table in the corner.
Here's what it will look like with the bed pulled out...

It's a little tight and busy, but it has more of a BHG feel to it this way,
don't you?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Timing is everything

Breaking News! The American Idols Live Tour 2008 dates have been posted. The second I heard I rushed to the tour web site and frantically searched for an Albuquerque date. Of course, nada.

Second, I search for Cincinnati - YAY! The Idol tour is going through my former home town ... scan left for the date ... oh lucky day ... they'll be performing the night that I leave Ohio to fly back to NM.

Please excuse me while I go throw up now.

Monday, April 21, 2008


So here I am, back to the same weight I was before the cruise.

I remember when I was in my 20s and a size two ... I would look at women my age (now) and just not understand how they could just let themselves go. I thought a little effort is all they'd need to be thin. Stupid me. I guess you need to be in your late thirties to understand how hard it is to lose weight when you're in your late 30s.

But I am resolved to do this. So stay tuned!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The end of Casey's soccer career

Soccer season is over! Oh how I live for this day each spring & fall. This year it is especially bittersweet, though, since Casey has decided not to play soccer any more. I certainly won't miss the practices and Saturday commitments, but she turned out to be quite the little player. I'm going to miss watching her kick &%$ on the fields!

Monday, April 14, 2008

My obsession with Jason Castro

I don't know if you watch American Idol - my dad got me hooked on this show a few years back and I've been watching it ever since. Never before have I completely fallen in love with a contestant though.

Season 7 has blessed me with the purest voice and most beautiful soul I think I have ever experienced: Jason Castro

This boy just turned 21 ... he is silly and sexy and talented and I just want to rub him and his dreadlocks all over my body (yes, you may call me cougar - mrrrreoooow!)

If you haven't had the fortune of listening to him yet, you should check him out on Youtube


Monday, April 07, 2008

Brie is the debil

I am starting to dread Mondays. Not because it's the beginning of the week, but because it's the day that I disrobe and walk myself onto the bathroom scale. I was hoping that somehow I would defy physics and find that I had lost weight despite my lack of exercise and over indulgence of brie and chocolate mudslides over the weekend.

No luck. 144.4

I guess it's time to break out the cron-o-meter and start hitting the gym again.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Greg made a bet

So I was looking at my calendar and found a long forgotten note that read:
Bet w/ Greg Randall: 2 years ago he said I'd be in a diff house than (mine) by today

At first it made me laugh. Then it made me think, you know, I have been in this house a long time. I should move. I should get a place that Casey will enjoy as a teenager; a place that can accommodate guests ...

So now I have a goal. New house in 2010. That gives me two years to save save save. We'll see!

Weigh Day

I don't believe it. All I've done for the past week is eat. Worked out only once, yet managed to not gain any weight! I would have never thought I'd be happy to see the numbers 143.6 appear on my scale, but I was this morning when I saw those numbers pop up. I even checked it twice. Using the stairs instead of the elevators paid off I guess!

Unfortunately my cold has settled into my lungs so I won't be working out again for I don't know how long :( But at least I won't have so much catch up to do.

w00t w00t!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Aaaaaaah home. My bed, my pets, my food ... I've enjoyed returning from this vacation more than any other. Still, I've spent the day uploading pictures & videos, and blogging (in between naps). Feel free to check out

Friday, March 28, 2008

Our last day at sea

Our last day on board was spent entirely at sea as we headed back to Fort Lauderdale. We got out of bed without the aid of a wake up call, ate fruit and breads ala room service, and didn't even leave our cabin until noon. Wilneau found us and spent about 15 minutes teaching the girls how to make the towel animals he'd been leaving for us each night.

Then it was off to eat yet again. I so am not looking forwarded to seeing my scale when I get home. After lunch the kids settled in with their Nintendos and I headed spa for my final service. The creme de la creme ... the hot stone massage. It wasn't as good as the massage I got in Kauai last year, but it was great nonetheless. And the massuere was adorable. I think his name was Pedro. He is from Lisbon and he can rub me down with rocks any day of the week.

$200 later I set out to find the girls who were still playing with their stupid video games. They didn't want to go the pool because it was too windy. Sailing at 15 knots tends to do that. So we settled for checking out our pictures that she ships photographers had been taking all week. $42 after that and we hear the intercom yell BINGO BINGO BINGO! $44 later we were recycling our losing bingo cards as we left the Metropolis.

We had enough time for a quick shower before dinner where we watched the wait staff parade and said goodbye to our table friends. Even though the food wasn't that great, dinner may have been the best part of the cruise. Especially this last night. It was reminiscant of the last night of summer camp when everyone is hugging and taking pictures and happy and sad all at the same time. The staff was especially happy since it was tip night for them :)

After dinner we hesitantly went back to our room to pack (and snapped this last photo on the way).

If you've never cruised before here's a little tid bit of information for ya. Your bags need to be packed and set outside your stateroom by midnight the night before you debark. It may not sound like a pain in the arse, but it is. It seriously is. How well we thought this through will be discovered tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I don't know about you, but when I think of Belize I think of Central America ... hot, steamy, tropical. For this reason we decided that we would spend the day on the beach when we got there. Our concierge, Carlos, booked us on a Sun Beach excursion for the every day low cost of $100. We boarded the tender at 9:00 am (7:00 am Belize time) and headed to an island 6 miles east of the ship. That's right. Island ... East. The opposite direction of the main land.

When our island came into view it was very quaint. Lots of beach chairs, a couple of water trampolines, volleyball net... it seemed like a great little oasis away from the hustle and bustle. But with clouds and wind following us like the black plague, it was too cold to do too much but lay in those lovely beach chairs and cover up with anything that didn't blow away. There were no stores to visit, no locals to chat with (save the pregnant bartender & Frank, who appeared to be a manager of sorts)... basically, NOTHING to do except to play in the sun that wasn't there. Unfortunately we didn't realize this until *after* the boat informed us they'd be back at 1:00 to pick us up and left.

The kids didn't seem to bothered by it. They combed the beach for shells and waded in the water up to about their ankles. I tried to zen out and relax. Then a wonderful thing happened. I glanced at the dock and saw our boat dropping off another round of poor saps people. I ran over to ask if he'd take us back, but three other families had already beaten me to it. Next thing I knew I was handing him a $20 bill and heading back to the ship.

We immediately took another tender to the touring area of Belize, which pretty much consisted of a lot of peddlers and a lot of stores. It really felt like in Central America here, and had even warmed up a bit! So we bought souvenirs, $4 ice cream bars, and great dreadlock hats for Crazy Hat Day. The lady selling them called me Sugarplum and posed for this picture with the girls. Oh, and here's a little tid-bit I wasn't aware of ... they sell prescriptions like aspirin there - right OTC. Check out the menu at this "pharmacy!"

That's it. That was our day in Belize. No more than a few hours, and really, that was probably a few hours too many. We had more fun at the pool and at dinner with our Wisconsin friends I do believe. Casey and Mercedes, of course, deserted me for sports night in the kids club and I realized that I had a cold that needed to be slept off. So that's what I did.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dolphins Rule (in Cozumel)

The wake up call came at 7:00 ship time. I say that because the ship stays on Eastern Time despite the actual time zone we visit.

Cozumel, for example, is in the Mountain Time zone, but the ship still sails at 5:00 eastern. They made this point over and over again since apparently the ship won't wait for us if we're late.

Our excursion for today is ... Swimming With Dolphins at Chakanaab Park at 8:00 am, Cozumel time. I had no idea what to expect as far as travel time to get there, lines, etc. so we ended up getting there before 7am local time. With an hour to kill we walked up and down the shore line and grabbed some primo beach chairs. Finally it was time to check in for our Royal Dolphin Swim!

The weather was cloudy and windy, so the waves were rockin pretty good. No sooner than we stepped into the water, Casey decided she wanted nothing to do with swimming in the deep water. So she stayed on the platform while Mercedes, me, and the rest of the group swam out to play with Tatiche and pregnant Ichelle.

Even though Casey didn't do the swimming part, she did get to kiss the dolphins, be kissed by them, and tickled them on the belly button (which she thought was very cool).

The dolphin adventure lasted for about 30 minutes, then we were escorted to a little room where they showed us the DVD and photos that they took. $200 later we left the gift store and headed to the pool & beach where the kids played.

Mercedes and I decided to go for a quick snorkel and were happily surprised by all of the fish we saw!

Good thing I glanced at my watch ... before we knew it it was almost 2:00! With the whole time change and needing to be back on the ship by 2:30, so we rushed to the taxis. At the port we had to walk past all the stores selling their seriously inexpensive wares, and got back to the boat with time to spare.

Plenty of time to spare, actually.

We were stunned when the clock in the Royal Promenade read 2:15. Yes, I am a time miscalculating genius. I wanted to head back out and do a little shopping, but Casey and Mercedes didn't care to do that (big surprise there), so we spent the rest of our day at the pool and napping in the room. We skipped dinner in the Nutcracker - the food there is mediocre at best - and I headed back to the spa for a lime & ginger body scrub & massage while the kids went to a pajama party at the kids club.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Formal Night

Our first day at sea was pretty much a lazy day. The kids swam, despite the cold and cloudy weather, then went to the Adventure Ocean kids club while I hung out and tried to locate the ships hotspots. Since tonight is our formal dinner, I went to the spa for a little cut and style in the afternoon so I wasn't sporting spiked hair with my cocktail dress.

Turns out we clean up pretty good!

We had a nice dinner and were not surprised when the monster children were back in the window again. We were surprised that the parents ignored our glares, but at least they were gone by desert. The only thing worse than monster children is monster children hyped up on sugar.

We got back to our room to find that our state room attendant, Wilneau, left us a bunny towel! We love Wilneau. He rocks.

Tomorrow we have an early day in Cozumel so we crashed out shortly after dinner. We are party animals!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Royal Caribbean Cruise Day 1 - Liar Liar Pants On Fire

Embarkation day went smoothly. We scored a late checkout from the hotel, got to the port (thanks Melissa!) around 1pm and figured out the process for boarding.

First thing we did was register the kids. The second thing on my to do list was to pick up the "cyber cabin kit" that allows me to connect to the internet from my room (so I can blog of course).

Problem. They don't do in-room internet anymore. They discontinued the program 4 1/2 months ago because it was messing up their network. So instead of having unlimited access in my room, I have to go to a net cafe and pay by the minute (upwards of $.57 depending on the package you buy). At least I won't spend my entire vacation online that way.

After the net fiasco we headed up to our room - 1282 - the Grand Suite on the 10th deck. It's a beautiful room. Big bathroom, huge balcony, a dressing table, bar, two large closets ... we're traveling in style on this ship.

We didn't spend a lot of time in the room since our luggage hadn't arrived yet, so we headed our to explore and swim until the 4:30 muster drill. Oooooh doggy that was fun. We looked so stylish in our purty orange life jackets ... the teenager down the hall even called me a rock star. Little punk :)

Shortly after we set sail. It was pina coladas for everyone on the pool deck where there was a party goin on! The kids swam while I watched Fort Lauderdale slowly drift away.

Next on the agenda was dinner. Our restaurant is the Nutcracker on the third floor and our assigned seats are right next to the window. Awesome! We met our tablemates for the first time too: a banker from Wisconsin, his wife, and nine year old dd. All very nice and chatty. Unfortunately the table next to us has a table full of children who can't seem to stay in their seats. My view was obstructed by children using the windows as slides. I broke out my camera for evidence of the monster children (they name they quickly adopted) and don't you know they even smiled for the camera.

I wonder if it's illegal to beat OPKs on international waters?

After dinner the kids grabbed their nintendos and I headed to the spa for a facial.

The vacationing is on.

He Is Risen!

Our Easter Sunday was not spent searching for colored eggs, or celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, it was spent traveling to Fort Lauderdale. I didn't think much about traveling on this day when I made our Spring Break plans, but I felt a little guilty not doing anything traditional. Good thing Jesus loves me anyway! :)

The airports were surprisingly busy, and we were very happy when we finally made it to our hotel room. A few phone calls to let everyone know we arrived safely, a little room service dinner, and minimal unpacking later, we were settled in and trying to sleep off the excitement of boarding our first cruise the next day.

So here we are, now Monday, waking up at what feels to us like 7am on our first day of vacation. Let me rephrase that. I woke up at what feels like 7am to us, opened the blinds, made coffee, turned on my computer, got lectured by Kelli for working while on vacation via IM, and am now blogging about our trip so far while Casey and Mercedes are still snoozing away.

At 10:00 I am getting their little butts out of bed so they can enjoy a few minutes of Florida before we take off for the ship place. Pretty soon I'll have the lingo down, but until then, enjoy our view!

Monday, March 17, 2008

This is what dining out will do to ya

So I've worked out quite a bit this past week - took a couple of yoga classes, a pilates class, and tried to get some cardio in before or after. I was excited to hop on the scale only to find that I put on almost a pound!

The scale taunted me with the numbers 144.4


Then I realized, I ate out almost every day last week, and when you eat out, you must get dessert.

So I am banning sweets, as soon as I finish these six boxes of Girl Scout Cookies :)

Monday, March 10, 2008


That's how much I weighed this morning, naked. My highest weight was with clothes on, but I have probably put on at least a pound of muscle weight so I'm telling myself it's a wash.

Oh, and my scale also says that I'm 35.1% body fat.

I'm no where near my goal for vacation, but I have a couple of weeks to at least get into the 130s, and I'm on track to be one hot 39 year old for summertime :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

10,000 steps a day

That's what they say you should be walking.

It'd be a miracle if I see 10% of that, so I bought a pedometer to find out.

This combined with my 1200-1500 calorie a day diet should get me close to bikini weight by Easter, I'm hoping at least.

Update: At bedtime I checked the pedometer and it read roughly 5,000 steps. This was after purposefully walking more than I normally would (like parking in the farthest spot, etc.)

No wonder I've not dropped weight like I thought I would. I gotta get movin!

Update 2: I just did a little math with my pedometer, and 10,000 of my steps is equal to about 4.5 miles. I went for a walk this morning, and my pedometer now reads 4102 (3671 of which was aerobic). I need to find a 4 mile walking path!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Extreme Team is in town!

They're letting spectators come watch starting Thursday ... Casey will be so excited. She LOVES Ty Pennington!

Check it out

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary Danny & Teri!

4 years married today
17 years together


My Dad's big day

My daddy, The Cincinnati Kid, was inducted into the Billiards Hall of Fame tonight, in Louisville, KY. My brother Danny drove him down for the ceremony and to chat with the guys playing in the Derby City Classic.

Here is a video of his speach ...

And he was also interviewed by Inside Pool ... check out the video here!

Congratulations, Daddy-O!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


So here I am again ... weighing myself two months before my vacation only to discover that I've put on ten pounds in the past year!

I tell you what, I thank God every day that I was finally able to quit smoking two years ago, but this pound a month I've been putting on since then is starting to get on my last nerve.

So I must drop 20 pounds, preferably 30, before I can be seen in a bathing suit again. That Chicago pizza that Melissa dropped off sure isn't going to help my plight!