Wednesday, February 25, 2009

we interrupt these cancun posts for ... homemade pasta!

i love the fact that i can say to stephan:
hmm, it's been awhile since you've made homemade pasta. why don't we have that for dinner tomorrow.
to which he replies, sure. that sounds good.
then he goes a step further and puts lovely fresh herbs in it.
homemade stuff rocks!

Monday, February 23, 2009

cancun recap - post 2

day two in paradise. what bliss awaits me today? only the event i looked forward to the most, the dolphin swim!

i had no idea what to expect. would we be in the open ocean? how tame would the dolphins be? aren't all dolphins relatively tame anyway? will i get to ride on their backs? (yes, that was the ten year old little girl in me wanting that) i was giddy.

so we board another shuttle bus and settle in for a two hour ride to Xel-Ha. pronounced shell-ha - in case that was a burning dilemma for you, as it was for me. the ride was good. the anticipation was almost more than i could bear. my mom, however, was having a bit of anxiety over it. she is afraid of the water, especially water you can't see the bottom of. i did my best to calm her nerves, and applauded her in taking on her fear. bravo, mom!

Xel-Ha is a beautiful theme park. of sorts. you get wrist bands and enter in revolving gates much the same as you would at disneyland. but once inside you realize you won't be seeing costumed characters roaming the park available for photo ops. instead you watch where you step so as not to get in the path of a large kimono dragon. you look at each tree and try to spot a parrot. you gasp as you see the gorgeous cliffs and ocean before you. upon closer examination you realize that all those moving things in the water are droves of snorkeling tourists. identifyable by their bright blue life jackets (everyone is wearing one). this is perfect. i was afraid my glorious dolphin swim experience might be cheapened by occuring in a pool. no pool here. excellent.

this was what lie in wait for my mom and i:

but first we had to eat lunch. and go through a series of hurry up and wait scenerios. like, wait for the guide to take you over to the dolphin swim area. then, wait in the line to sign your, ' if-i-die-i-won't-sue-the-park' legal waiver. next you are ushered into a small arena of sorts, to watch a video on what not to do during your dolphin experience. we are told that the video is in spanish, but not to worry as subtitles will guide you through. um, unless you majored in speed reading, the subtitles were useless. it went fast! the only saving grace (and only thing stopping my mom and i from raising our hands with pathetic looks of "help, i seriously don't understand this") was that there were picutures. and whenever a forebidden action came on screen, there was a big red "X" drawn through it - with a swishing sound effect. it was clear. american-tourist-dummy proof. sigh of relief.

okay, now after the video, they haphazardly pass out life vests. many of us didn't get one, and there was a bit more panic. hands raising, looks of concern, all the standard 'don't leave me out' stuff. next you are sectioned off into groups of 6-7 and marched out onto your waiting platform (see above picture). and then, into the water you go.

the trainer (of both the dolphins and the humans) gives specific instructions, which the dolphins follow way better than the humans do. it's amazing how quickly intelligent adults can resort back to fifth grade behavior, and need to be gently reprimanded for. yep, that was us - all of us. they even made us do stupid human tricks disguised as dolphin commands. i have a video of the whole thing. it's hilarious, and the dolphins endure every bit of our stupidity. good dolphin.

no cameras are allowed, but for a mere $25.00 per picture you can have your dolphin memory for a lifetime. come on, how can you not purchase at least one?? yes, it stank of big business, but we all fell. hook, line and sinker.

brave mama with her triumphant smile!!! i think the dolphin was a bit proud of her too.
he rewarded her with a sweet (albeit a bit rubbery) peck on the cheek.

ah, this is the life!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

cancun recap - post 1

my friend natalie gave me an adorable little travel journal before i left. so handy, and i did my best recording my thoughts. here is a bit from that:

journal - day 1 and 2

our hotel is gorgeous! amazing. it is better than i could have hoped for. the view could only be described as breathtaking. i woke up this morning to the gentle call of the ocean waves lapping on the beach. seriously?! the water is clear blue, oh so inviting. it beckons me. even from the fourteenth floor of this glorious hotel.

let me backtrack a moment to when we arrived in mexico. arriving in another country is truly something. almost as soon as you step off the plane, you are greeted by a series of long lines. the first of which is the longest - to have your passport checked and stamped. then it's off to your next wait...retrieving your luggage. this is where everyone is clearly waiting around with bated breath. will my luggage arrive? will it have been rifled through? deep breath. go to my zen place and recite a calming mantra. all will be well. ahh, there it is! my well-loved, slightly-worn, red bag. seemingly unrifled through. my mom had a less straight forward experience. the luggage gods made her wait a bit longer. but then, her luggage made it's appearance. all is right in the world. okay, off to our final line - customs. it's curious how this works. you stand in, yes another line, and when you at the front of said line a custom agent waves you to them. then you press an "oz-like" button and hold your breath. you want a green light. green is the color of freedom. green mean no invasive luggage search. red is a different story. i don't want to know the red side of things. alas! once again, the travel gods have smiled upon us...we both recieved green lights. now what? surely we simply board our appropriate shuttle and are whisked off to our lovely hotel. not quite. what happens next is what i call my "celebrity experience". you exit the airport, step out into the humid cancun air, and are facing a large semi-circle of native faces holding signs and banners. it took us a little while to spot ours. once inside the shuttle, and a bit crammed in, it hits me that i am in paradise. we were handed ice cold towels that smelled of fragrant flowers, and a bottle of cold water. how refreshing!

our experience thus far has been lovely. truly enjoyable!

(i opened the drawer of the bedside table and saw a book of mormon. fabulous!)

breakfast on our balcony each morning. nice.

i had to take a picture of this "coke light". you ask for a diet coke, and this is what you get.

paradise found.

Friday, February 13, 2009

i *heart* stephan!

today, whilst preparing myself for my upcoming vacation, i saw this on the kitchen table: (click image for larger view)

it is the menu he has prepared (and corresponding shopping list) for next week. he will be cooking these fabulous meals. not to impress company. not to 'wow' a patron of one of the many great restaurants he has worked in. he will be cooking them for our three boys. i was a bit overcome by his efforts - and definitely appreciative of his stellar fathering skills!!

oh, and he also made four flavorful, gorgeous loaves of french bread. and a loaf of irish soda bread. last night. just cause he felt like it.

stephan, my sweet husband, simply put: you ROCK my world!!
happy valentines day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

four days and counting....

i leave for gorgeous cancun in four short days!!! my mom was chosen to be a part of the winners circle (with her job). an elite few get to go to this amAZING resort:
she was able to take one guest, and she chose ME!! how lucky am i?? i never dreamed i would ever get to go to such a place. ever.
these are actual photos of where we will be staying.

a photographers paradise, don't you think? maybe i will get in a blog post or two whilst enjoying the sound of the waves and the ocean breeze. ah, cancun.

Friday, February 06, 2009

happy birthday ben

as it was brilliantly stated on the office last night, on a banner designed by dwight: it is your birthday.

my oldest child, benjamin, is 13 today.
a teenager.
my head is spinning just a little bit. it's surreal at best.
i am so pleased with the person he has become.
ben is truly an amazing individual, with personality to spare!
he is caring, loving, funny, talented, smart, spiritual.
i am lucky to be his mom.

happy birthday, ben.
you are a brilliant individual who contributes to everyone he meets!!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

thrifting bliss!

it's been awhile since i've shared the fruits of a trip to the thrift store (actually, it's been awhile since i've shopped!). the purpose of this trip (yes, i do usually have a purpose) was to buy some books. i was hoping to get lucky and find any one of the six jane austen books. i knew it was a long shot. i did, however, find two books involving jane austen. one is a biography, the other, is, um...well i'm not exactly sure what it's about, but i was intruigued.

the books are stacked upon a LOVELY - seriously lovely, cake stand. it is crystal, with a silver base (hard to tell due to the extreme tarnished appearance) there is a sticker that says italy. sigh and swoon! how lucky did i get? a cake stand, which i have been wanting, and with such a gorgeous vintage-ness to it. and made in italy, to boot? thrilling! oh, and the price? $5.95. that, my friends, is what they call the ICING on my gorgeous, thrifted, vintage cake stand.

then we come to the item behind the books. it is hard to tell, but it is a cabinet housing a few shelves. it will most likely reside in my studio space. on the wall, after the chicken wire is installed. details on that in a later post. the price for this? $3.20.

sweet sassy mollassy, that's what i call a good day of thrifting! not "original seatbelt bag" good, but good.

and speaking of miss jane, i am a bit obsessed these days. obsessed with all things victorian, romantic and "regency" themed. if i could i would love to step into a jane austen novel. for just a few days. i would miss my flushing toilet, and maybe my car. though i think i could get used to bumpy carriage rides. as a result of this recent obsession, i have taken up calligraphy. again. i dabbled a bit in high school. i love the feeling of the nib on paper. the smell of the ink. the slight raised appearance of the letters. so satisfying and tangible. the complete opposite of sending a text message, which frustrates me. don't get me wrong, i do text. but it is such an inferior form of communication - as far as i'm concerned. i don't like to waste words (which is why i am not a phone person, either). when you HANDwrite a letter or card, you are forced to think about what you are communicating. and the recipient feels special. really special. who doesn't like to get any kind of written word?? i have determined to hone my hand lettering skills and put them to good use. not sure what use that would be, maybe just sending letters to those i love and care about. that in and of itself would be well worth it. no?