Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Recap

Christmas has come and gone, and we are barreling toward 2012. How is that even possible? Wasn't I *just* in Hawaii the other day?!

I suppose you could say our Christmas season began on Thanksgiving. That's when I dragged all the Christmas stuff out of the attic, discovered we did not have a single full, working strand of lights for the outside bushes, and trekked out to Wal-Mart, which for some strange reason is OPEN on Thanksgiving Day. Over the course of the weekend -- in between the kids' hockey games -- I decorated the house.

The following Friday was my company's holiday party. Hubby and I got all fancied up and made the marathon drive -- on a work night -- to Greenbelt, MD for a very nice shindig. Alas, neither of us won the ginornous flat screen TV or the game system or any of the other gadgets that were given away. But we had a good time, and the food is always good. :)

I did most of my shopping in the month of December this year. How unlike me. I have discovered Amazon Prime, which I highly recommend! My 30-day free trial is about over, but I think I will be paying the annual fee. SO worth it!

We took a break from holiday stuff to go to Lake Placid the second weekend of the month with Keeper Boy's hockey team. What a fabulous trip to a small town with such a history. I think its entire identity revolves around the events of February 22, 1980, but that's okay. We had a blast -- even though we rode up and back on a bus with a hockey team of 13 and 14 year olds.

Gma G arrived on the 22nd. By then we were all done with our shopping, and the cookies were all baked. Gma G and I attended the Grandparents Day Sing-a-Long at J-Mav's school. That day also signaled the beginning of the boys' break from school. And our cousin K and her new hubby arrived for an overnight stop before heading to the airport the next morning for their honeymoon. It was a fun evening!

On the 23rd, Hubby and I worked, and Gma G and the boys hung out, shopped, and wrapped gifts. We celebrated Gma G's birthday that evening (a few days early because she actually flew home on her birthday).

On the 24th we all got up early and drove up to PA for my family's annual Christmas Eve dinner. It was the first time Gma G had been to my parents' new home, the first time my family had all been together since my grandfather died, and the first time we got K-dog to successfully use the steps I bought her to get into and out of the truck (what a show). We arrived around 10am and were able to visit with our niece and her mom before the rest of the family showed up. That was nice. We had a great day... always lots of laughs. And we were back home by about 8pm. There was work to do. We put out cookies and milk for Santa, got the kids in bed, and did what needed to be done.

We managed to hold the kids off until 8am on Christmas morning. Then they opened stockings and we had some breakfast before my parents arrived. Once they arrived and brought their gifts in, the chaos ensued. We opened gifts for about two hours. Lots of awesome stuff all around. Then we had a relaxing day of games, food (steak, gourmet potatoes, garlic sauteed spinach...), and family. It was awesome to have all three grandparents here at the same time as it was the first time in many years that that happened. We talked to Uncle Hooter and Jenrie and kids in Hawaii a few times on FaceTime, as well as my aunt, uncle, and cousins in PA (love that iTechnology).

The day after Christmas was all hockey. Tournaments for each of the kids... at two different rinks.

And Gma G flew home on the 27th. It seemed like a short visit. My parents left last night. Their visit seemed short, too. It was nice to have everyone here, and we are looking forward to my parents coming back at the end of January and Gma G coming back at the end of March before she and Keeper Boy leave on their European adventure!

Hubby and I have returned to work, although I worked from home today and will do so again tomorrow. Cousin K and her hubby return to town tomorrow and will stay with us tomorrow night before heading out. And then we have a New Year's Eve party to attend, as well as a Winter Classic Party on Monday. And then I guess it's back to normal life as hockey craziness will resume.

But I can hold on to Christmas by a thread for as long as I have the tree up and decorated. Maybe a couple more weeks. Or maybe I can just take the Christmas decorations off and put hearts on it... then shamrocks... then eggs...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Really?! Does He have a great need to haul stuff around?

Friday, December 2, 2011


Here's a new idea... things/places/people/services I love and would recommend. :)

blinc mascara
A co-worker told me about this product when it first came out almost ten years ago. Back then it's the only product Blinc, Inc. sold, it was called Kiss Me Mascara, and it only came in black. Now it comes in a variety of colors and it's called blinc. It's waterproof, but at the same time, it washes off with just water and a little pressure. I know, sounds weird. But it's true! And it doesn't smear or flake off, which is great for those of who wear contact lenses. At $25/tube, it's expensive. But I think it's worth it!

Here's what the website has to say (

Formerly known as Kiss Me, blinc is the original mascara invented to form tiny water-resistant "tubes" around your lashes rather than painting them like conventional mascaras. Once applied, these beauty tubes bind to your lashes and cannot run, smudge, clump, or flake, even if you cry or rub your eyes... Only when you are ready for removal, the tubes will effortlessly slide off your lashes into your hand without the use of a harsh makeup remover... blinc is better than waterproof mascaras. All it takes is the combination of lots of warm water and gentle pressure, from your fingertips, a washcloth or water pressure (i.e. shower) and the tubes will slide off your lashes effortlessly. Upon removal you will actually see the tiny beauty tubes in your hand! blinc mascara has been clinically tested to be non-irritating making it ideal for sensitive eyes, contact lens wearers, and active people in search of a mascara whose look, hold and ease of removal is without compromise.


Go ahead... ask me about political parties/processes in the United States. Or, ask me about the Pohawtan or Souix Indians. Or simple machines. Or the periodic table of elements. I've helped the kids study those things just in the last week or two, and I consider myself pretty knowledgeable.

Just DON'T ask me about Algebra!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


That which does not make us stronger might just kill us. I speak of Algebra.


Day 30
That it's the last day of the month and I don't have to think of something somewhat-profound to be thankful for every day. I am thankful EVERY day of the year for my family, my health, my family's health, and my life in general.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Day 29
For people who know how to heal my laptop when I make it sick by clicking something and accidentally downloading some virus that tries to take over my entire computer. Oy!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Day 28
To get back into a normal routine.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Day 27
That we are at a place financially where we can somewhat spontaneously decide to stay in a hotel for the night instead of driving home and getting up early to be be back up here at 6:30am the next morning.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Day 26
That our sports commitments this weekend are "local."

Friday, November 25, 2011


Day 25
For Black Friday bargains!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Day 24
That Wal-Mart is open all day on Thanksgiving so that when I go to put my outside lights up and half of very string doesn't work, I can just throw them in the trash and go buy new ones.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Day 23
For awesome experiences that my kids get to have.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Day 22
For three-day work weeks.


Day 22
For three-day work weeks.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Got this email from my sister-in-law on Sunday after the Ohio State/Penn State football game... regarding my nephew (Spidey). BTW, my sister-in-law is an OSU alum, and my brother-in-law is a big OSU fan, too.


After watching the OSU/Penn State game with Penn State friends, [Spidey] insisted he was a Penn State fan. [Spidey's dad] told him he had to go live with them if he was going to be a Penn State fan. He disappeared for awhile and I found him at their house (just down the street). He had packed a bag, complete with a couple school shirts, underwear, pull ups, pajamas, his Cowboys jersey [a hand me down from his cousin, J-Mav], his fishing vest, and some pop tarts!! He also had his robe and his sleeping bag. He is too funny!!!!


Day 21
For my family.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Day 20
For lazy Sunday mornings when I can sleep in a little.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


On a Christmas ornament while poking around online...

"Hockey is where we live. Life is just a place where we spend time between games."

Sounds about right...

Hockey Life

Today's travels...

Point A (home... labeled as Point E, but the same as Points A and C) to Point B for J-Mav's house game, and then back home (Point C).

Point C to Point D for J-Mav's travel game, and then back home (Point E).

Point E to Point F for Keeper Boy's game, and then back home.



Another one of keeper boy's journal entries. He'd not be pleased if he knew I even read this one, let alone that I posted it on my blog. So... ssshhhhh!! ;-P

Prompt: What are some things you are thankful for? It can be people, things, places, events, anything.

I am very, extremely thankful for hockey. I went to my first game when I was two weeks old. My life revolves around hockey. I am actually wearing my hockey pajamas while I am writing this. I am thankful for my family. They are so very kind to me. They have had many times where they were ready to beat me, but they haven't. I am thankful for my teachers who have been patient and have put up with me as I have struggled to learn. I am thankful for drums for at the end of a frustrating school day, my drum pad and sticks are there, waiting for me to unleash my fury from its cage. I am thankful for music that pumps me up or soothes my senses. I am thankful for my coaches for supporting every step of my life. But most of all, I am thankful for freindship [sic] for guiding me to freinds [sic] that I can laugh, play, work, and learn with. They are the best friends anyone could have. I am thankful for life...


Day 19
For cold medication that actually helps alleviate some of the symptoms.


I've been meaning to post this... it's one of Keeper Boy's journal assignments from earlier in the year. They had to read The Telltale Heart in English class. Then for this particular journal assignment, the prompt was to "rewrite a section of The Telltale Heart in a different tone. You may change the point of view." They each had to pick a word from a basket that told them to tone to write from. Keeper Boy got "annoyed."


(Told from point of view of madman)

True! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous. I had been and am; but, seriously, will you STOP saying that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. I heard all things in the heaven and earth. And many things in Hell. So why is the question of whether I'm mad constantly rained down upon my head? Hearken and observe, just don't bug me as I healthily and calmly tell you the whole story.

Before I have to drone on with my story, I must ask, why must I tell this tale if I have told it about one thousand freaking times? Every time I recite the story, it pushes another one of my buttons. I am perturbed so much right now, that if I have to utter the words of the events that happened that night, I will erupt because of the agitation. So take your pick... I can either stop here, or push on with the story.

You pester me... but I guess I shall continue my story. The old man, he was kind and all. But his eye! It disturbed me so much. I was jarred every time it looked at me. Rage built within me. So I hatched a plan. I would finally free myself from the badgering of the eye!

I was never so nice to the old man than before I killed him. Seven days I cared for him. Seven nights I spyed on him. I had to be slow when opening the door of his room. That bugged me so much. I shined a beam of light from a lantern I was holding directly on the eye, but it was always closed. The eighth night, the eye was open. It irked me so much I let out an agitated cry and hurtled into the room.

That is all I will say. Don't ask questions, I am extremely ticked off. I am leaving.


Teacher's note in journal: Excellent tone in this journal! It was perfect!

Friday, November 18, 2011


We saw this vehicle in the parking lot at the rink last night. J-Mav read it and said something like, "SHOOTING people since 2002?!? That would be a lot of people You can't DO that!!"

(I explained that in photography, "shooting" someone means taking his or her picture. He was very relieved.)


Day 18
For Giant Gas Rewards... filled my truck at $3.04/gallon this morning! Yes, it's sad that that is "cheap" at this point, but I'll take it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Day 17
For doctors that actually care. We ran into Hubby's surgeon at the rink tonight and he actually stood there and talked to us for quite awhile about how he's doing and how his physical therapy is going. I think he would've talked longer but we had to go into the pro shop to check out some equipment for J-Mav.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Day 16
Today I am thankful for my niece and the fact that I've been able to watch her grow, over the past 20 years, into a beautiful, amazing, independent woman. Happy birthday!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Day 15
That this year, various circumstances allow that the boys will be able to spend Christmas with ALL of their grandparents! (Usually we alternate years.)

Monday, November 14, 2011


Day 14
For heated seats on cool fall mornings. Did I already use that one?... I did... I just checked.

OK. I'm thankful for good morning hugs from a sleepy little 8-year-old before I leave for work. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Day 13
For the opportunity to see family we haven't seen in awhile.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Day 12

Friday, November 11, 2011

I have questions...

From what I've read thus far, and one of the very first things I read was the full Grand Jury indictment, I absolutely agree that Joe Paterno needed to step down. It sucks that his long and storied career, his extremely successful career, will be remembered for this. But the fact remains that he knew. And he didn't do anything.

I think maybe the university should've let him retire instead of firing him though. He is clearly not the only one at fault in this debacle and by firing him in the dead of night, over the phone... well, that doesn't seem right.

What I don't get is why the current assistant coach who actually witnessed the act in the shower (McCreary, I think his name is) and reported it to Paterno is still on the coaching staff. How is what he did (or didn't do as the case may be) any different? He reported through his chain of command, but did nothing further.

Or anyone else who had knowledge of any of the reports (I believe there were multiple reports of incidents.) Why are any of those people still in their positions? Any one of them could have and should have contacted the police.

Why has Sandusky been allowed to be around kids for all of these years that the grand jury investigation has been going on?

Why is one of the victim's mothers doing all of this media now? Why didn't she say something back when this was happening. It's clear from her statements that she knew something was going on. My pessimistic side is disgusted at the possibility of the victims' families cashing in on this now. Not that they shouldn't be compensated in some way, but don't sell out like that.

Why are we not hearing anything about Sandusky -- the actual sicko -- who should be at the center of this story? Everything is about Joe Paterno. I think in the past two days, I've read two things about Sandusky... that he was spotted working out in a gym with his wife and that he is devastated about Paterno being fired.

It appears the university has botched this from the get-go. It seems that there were cover-ups on multiple levels... or maybe not outright cover-ups, but convenient omissions of information. Now the university appears to be in CYA (cover your ass) mode and is being very reactionary, but at an extremely slow pace. There's no way Penn State comes out of this looking good.

The football game tomorrow is going to be chaos. The team has done nothing wrong and deserves to be supported. Unfortunately, the entire program is now tainted. Bad draw for Nebraska to be the team that has to play THIS game.

As I've said before, I have no allegiance to Penn State. But I grew up in PA, so it's always been on the periphery of my life I guess. So I follow this with interest. And horror. And disbelief. As a mother of two young boys I can sit on my high horse and say that I can't believe someone could witness something of that nature and not go to the police. But there's an ever so small piece of me that gets the thinking that you don't want to get involved. Or you don't want to make a mistake and wrongly accuse someone of something so horrible that it will ruin lives. But then again, when you walk in on a man raping a 10-year-old boy in a shower in an empty athletic facility, there's not much room for mistaking the situation.

I guess if Joe Paterno was an asshole or a horrible, mean person his firing would be a lot easier to digest. But he's not. He's adored. He's like everyone's grandpa. And I guess THAT'S why the story is about him, even though it's really not. He's the most recognizable player in this story, so he's getting the most press. And that sucks. Because, as I said... he needed to go. But there's so many more heads that need to roll. And JoePa doesn't need to be the scapegoat.


Day 11
For all of those who have served, are serving, or will serve our country so that we may enjoy American freedom.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Day 10
For a job I really enjoy, working with people I genuinely like (for the most part).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Day 9
Today I'm thankful for all of the wonderful friends, experiences, and opportunities my love of hockey has brought into my life.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Day 8
For 70 degree days in November...even if I am unable to leave work until 9pm and enjoy them. :-(


I am not a PSU grad; unlike many of my friends, I never had any desire to go to school there. But since I grew up in PA and my dad went to Penn State, as did many friends, I have always had a passing interest, especially when it comes to the football and hockey teams. And I've always liked Joe Paterno. That said, I just can't find a way that he comes out of this favorably. The fact is, he should've gone to the authorities instead of just to the AD. It's a shame that instead of being remembered for all he's done for PSU and college football, he's going to be remembered his affiliation with a sexual predator, and the fact that he may ave prevented years of abuse had he reported Sandusky to a higher authority.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Day 7
That we kept the "hoopty" minivan as an extra vehicle when we got the truck. While Hubby mostly uses it to transfer the boys back and forth to the rink for practices, it is coming in handy for him to drive until he has enough range of motion in his shoulder to make driving his car more comfortable.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Day 6
For my mom, whose birthday is today. Happy birthday, Mom!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


It seems that we are accumulating an entire Franken-body here in our household... slowly but surely. Our latest edition comes courtesy of Hubby. Behold... Frankenshoulder!
Hubby had shoulder surgery on Thursday morning. This picture was taken Friday morning when we went back to the doctor for his first follow-up appointment. The surgery went fine. The doctor found nothing in there that he wasn't expecting to find, so that was a good thing. He was in and out in less than 90 minutes. I think Hubby spent more time in recovery than he did on the operating table.

He had a nerve block before surgery, so his entire arm (save his pinky and ring fingers) was completely numb until about 9pm Thursday night. This actually turned out to be an excellent thing as I had to take K-dog to the vet unexpectedly and ended up being gone for two hours over dinner time. Hubby was able to help the boys make dinner and do their homework without pain.

After the kids were in bed, the nerve block started wearing off. Before it wore completely off, he took a pain pill (Percocet) and the accompanying anti-nausea pill. And then I got him set up in the spare bedroom (propped up with many pillows), and he went to sleep.

I decided that I should sleep downstairs in case he needed anything. I would never hear him if I was upstairs in our room. So I made a bed up for myself on the sofa downstairs. Thank. God.

I had JUST fallen asleep (around 11:30) when I heard a loud crash. I jumped out of bed and found John lying awkwardly on the bathroom floor. The shower doors (which I assume he fell back against) were broken off their tracks and he was lying weirdly against them with his legs splayed out in front of him on either side of the toilet bowl. I said, "Oh my God. Are you okay?" He looked at me and asked me why he was on the floor in the bathroom and how he had gotten there.

I was worried that he might've hurt himself somewhere else falling, but he seemed to be okay. I think the Percocet was probably a blessing in disguise in that way. He was so out of it that he didn't know to tense up as he fell, which I think is how people hurt themselves in falls like that.

I managed to get him up, but then he promptly crumpled to the ground again. I had no idea how I was going to get him out of the bathroom without hurting him further if he couldn't stand on his own. After a minute, I got him to stand up long enough so that he could sit on the toilet seat. He was talking to me and telling me that he couldn't focus. He was there in the present, but he knew he was fuzzy and he just didn't know how he'd gotten there. He was a mess. We sat there for a good 20 minutes until he felt good enough to make it back to bed. In that time he decided wasn't taking anymore Percoset. Ever. Add that to the list of drugs he refuses to take: Vicodin, Tylenol 3, and now Persoset.

I got him back to bed, and he told me that when I came in at 1, which is when I was going to go in and give him his next pill, that he only wanted Tylenol. So that's what I did. I dozed in and out until 1, not really sleeping because I was worried that he would forget that he promised he would yell if he needed to get up, and then I took him some Tylenol. I did the same at 5:30. He was much better at 1, and pretty much fine by 5:30 as far as mental focus and stability on his feet. He said the Tylenol took away the throbbing and that he could deal with the achey feeling.

So, that was our experience with Percocet. He's taken nothing but Tylenol since that first pill. We went out to dinner last night, and he coached Jack's hockey game this morning. He's achey, but it's nothing unbearable. He slept in two long chunks last night, waking only because I went to ask him if he needed anything at 3:30 when I got up to use the bathroom.

At this point, the sling is optional... he will likely wear it only when we are out and about, more so people don't jostle him or slap him on the shoulder or try to shake his hand than because he needs it medically. His biggest issue last night and today has been muscle twitches in his bicep, which are extremely uncomfortable. He starts PT sometime this week. And he completed dressed himself this morning. I'd say he's further along and doing better than I expected at two days post-surgery.

As for the Percocet... well, it has been relegated to the back of the linen closet with the other drugs that Hubby can't tolerate. :-)


Day 5
Our "hockey family," members of whom are always ready and willing to help out when necessary.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Day 4
Trite, yes, but today I'm thankful for the heated seats in my truck. Baby, it's cold outside!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Day 3
Today I am thankful for good medical care... for both humans and canines. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Day 2
Warm sunshine on crisp fall days.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It's baa-ack... 30 things I'm thankful for over 30 days in November...

Day 1
Friends... in particular, I'm thinking of three today:
  • My BFF, who is willing to do whatever we need later this week after Hubby has his surgery.
  • C.J., whom I've known for years (since Keeper Boy was playing for that OTHER travel hockey team), and with whom I'm having lunch with today.
  • M.D., another friend from Keeper Boy's days at that other rink... her family moved out west, stayed there a few years, and then came back. Her three boys are now playing hockey at our rink, and her youngest is on J-Mav's team. And M.D. is going to a hockey event with me next week, and a Caps game later in the month. Much fun to be had!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hockey Life...

Here's what I did yesterday between 8am and 4pm:

Keeper Boy had a game at Point B at 10:45am (needing to be there by 9:45). J-Mav had a game at Point C at 2pm (needing to be there at 1). We knew there was no way we could all do both, and Hubby needed to be at J-Mav's game since he's an official Assistant Coach on that team. So I took Keeper Boy. He had a great game in net, after which we stopped for a quick lunch and then headed down to see some of J-Mav's game.

Had I realized it would take more than two hours to get to Point C, I likely would've just headed home. But it was J-Mav's first travel game, and I really wanted to be there!

We did not go back the way we came because there was a charity walk going on in Baltimore (which we hit the beginning of going TO the rink), a home Ravens game, AND a home Redskins game. Instead we went out Rte 70 and down route 15. Beautiful day for a drive... Unfortunately by the time I got to the two-lane part of Rte. 15, we were behind some folks who were ONLY out for the lovely drive. They didn't appear to need to be anywhere anytime soon. :-(

Long story short, we made it to Point C with about 10 minutes left in the game, and saw J-Mav score a goal. I guess that made it worth it, but man was I tired by the time I made it back to Point A!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I'm reading...

Recently finished two books: Maine and Summer Rental. Both dealt with relationships among a group of women. Both were good summer reads and I would recommend them.

Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan description: In her best-selling debut, Commencement, J. Courtney Sullivan explored the complicated and contradictory landscape of female friendship. Now, in her highly anticipated second novel, Sullivan takes us into even richer territory, introducing four unforgettable women who have nothing in common but the fact that, like it or not, they’re family.

For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.

As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.

By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.

Summer Rental, by Mary Kay Andrews description: Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction….

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she's made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds--has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can't hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life. And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina's Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he's hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he's ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity. Show More

Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them.

Next up: some more serious fare... I just downloaded Pride and Prejudice to my iPad. I've never read it. And I downloaded The Scarlet Letter, which I've read several times, but it's one of my favorites.


I lied... one more post about Grandpa. :-)

My youngest cousin wrote and delivered the following eulogy in honor of my grandfather on the day of funeral. I asked her to send me a copy because I thought it was great. She and her brother called him Poppop; my other three cousins called him Grandpop. My brother and I called him Grandpa. But no matter what we all called him, we shared him as our grandfather.

How Do!?

Ninety-seven years is a long time and we could sit here for hours talking about Poppop and everything he did for his family and friends, but we would be here forever. Instead I am going to keep it just like him, short and sweet.

I would like to share a few things about him ~things that if you knew Poppop at all you already knew about him:

He had an eternal acceptance of everyone ~ he never judged anyone, except maybe the Phillies when they were losing ~ then they were “Bums.” He always put his family first and had an overwhelming sense of pride in his children and grandchildren and made sure he attended every single high school and college graduation. He also never once hesitated to take care of Am when she got sick.

Other than his family, his other passions included making wine and pickles, boating and fishing, classical music, history, reading, and learning. He seemed to know how to do or fix anything and everything ~ and had the tools to do it ALL. Even in his 80s he could water-ski better than most of us. And, until the age of 95, he dove into and swam in the bay every day.

We will also always remember all of the things he taught us:

How to bait a hook, how to dig for clams and mussels, drive a boat, pick crabs, use a ringer washer, a push mower, and rotary phones, and most importantly that “crabgrass is the enemy!”

Poppop was the definition of a gentleman. He put everyone’s needs before his own always making sure everyone was at ease; never complaining or wanting to make a fuss, even throughout his final days. The evening before he passed when mom and I walked into his room he said “Hi Mert!” The last sentence he said to us was “Everything is quite pleasant, Julia, thank you.”

Right now I know he is happy he is finally able to be with his wife again after twenty-six years. He is no longer weak and is looking down on all of us ~ most likely drinking his gin and riding his bicycle.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Recap

Somehow, I find myself a week and a half away from the end of the summer (i.e., the first day of school), and I'm not sure where it went!

We started off the summer with a bang, leaving for our Hawaiian vacation on the last day of school. I already covered the Hawaii trip in detail, so I won't say anything else about that here. Suffice it to say, it was awesome. :)

We also spent a week at Smith Mountain Lake again this summer with BFF and her kids, as well her her boyfriend and his kids. Everyone got along great, the house was in a perfect location and worked well for our group, AND BFF's boyfriend has a boat, so we got to do a lot more water skiing and tubing this year. With the kids all getting older, we're not sure how many more years we're going to be able to do the week at the lake, but we're going to try our hardest to keep it up!

Keeper Boy had dry land training for the team he was supposed to be playing for both right before we left for Hawaii and the morning after we returned. Other than that, he hasn't done much this summer as he strained his chest wall right before he was supposed to be in hockey camp for a week and had to pull out. We found out a few weeks ago that a goalie from the Bantam Upper A team (Silver) had left the club, and as a result, Keeper Boy was asked to join the Lower A team (Black) as one of the Black goalies moved up to take the vacated slot on Silver. So we've been figuring out the new schedule and getting used to the idea of a different team. It's all good though. He's played with more than half of his teammates on other teams, and we really like the coach. Keeper boy also gets along really well with the other goalie on the team as they were the goalie team on Pee Wee Silver last year. So all-in-all, it's a good move.

J-Mav did a week of power skating camp in July and wow! We went to a public skating session soon after and were amazed at the difference. Of course, he hasn't been on the ice since, so we'll see how he is when the season starts. He will be playing Mite House again this year.

Keeper Boy participated in the Capitals Shootout competition a few weeks ago, though he hadn't been in his pads in about two months. He did really well, and looked good; however, he didn't advance out of the preliminary round. It was weird, he was the shortest goalie out there! There's a big difference between Pee Wee and Bantam/Midget!

Oh, and Keeper Boy got new leg pads last week. Cha-ching! :-( Hopefully he won't outgrow these anytime soon!

For my birthday, Hubby, Keeper Boy, and I went to see Rock of Ages at National Theatre. What a great show! J-Mav would've LOVED the music, but I'm glad we didn't take him. It was a little risque for him. Actually, it was a little risque for Keeper Boy, but we thought he could handle it.

J-Mav did power skating camp for a week (full days) and tennis camp for a week (half days). Not a camp, but Keeper Boy spent a week in Annapolis with his best bud. Both of the boys went to VA Tech for sleep away camp for a week (Keeper Boy's fifth time; J-Mav's first as an overnight camper). They both had a great time, and weren't even phased by the five-hour lock-down they had while there because of a possible gunman reported on campus. I can't say it was as fun for Hubby and I. Anyway, Keeper Boy studied Rocketry and Digital Music for a week, and J-Mav studied Lego Robotics and took the Dangerous Class for Boys. Last week, J-Mav did Treks and Tours camp. They went somewhere different every day: The Air & Space Museum, a water park, a reptile/amphibian place, a park... And Keeper Boy did Water Adventure camp. They also did something different every day: white water rafting, white water kayaking, tubing, Kings Dominion, and a water park. This week they are at "Camp Grandma and Grandpa." J-Mav has one more day camp next week: Basketball and Flag Football at the rec center.

We hired a contractor and had the upstairs hall bathroom gutted and re-done. It's beautiful. Hopefully the boys won't trash it. :) We are in the process of picking out tile to have just the shower in the master bath redone by the same contractor.

We spent lots of time with family this summer, some for good reasons; some not. Either way it was a blessing.

Overall, it was a wonderful summer. As always, it went by too quickly. I am not quite ready to deal with the stress of getting the kids to do their homework before they have to leave for hockey practice in the evenings, needing to plan dinners and actually eat by 5:30 or 6, and keeping a more rigid schedule. Things are much more loose in the summer, which leads to a lot fewer arguments with Thing 1 and Thing 2. The first couple weeks of school will be a rough transition to earlier bedtimes and earlier wake times, wearing real shoes, and going back to the no TV/Wii on weekdays rule. But we'll get through it. We always do.

And hey... there's only 310 days until the last day of school!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Coincidence that Tropical Storm Irene (now Hurricane Irene) formed on August 20, the day of my grandfather's funeral? You make the call...

(Irene was my grandmother's name.)

Interesting side note... the very first named storm of this season was Tropical Storm Arlene... my other grandmother's name.

Weird, no?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


My grandfather died yesterday.

We, or at least I, had high hopes for some improvement when he entered the assisted living place in March 2010. However, it soon became apparent that it would simply be his last address before he went to be reunited with my grandmother. No one knew the time frame, and ultimately it didn't really matter. I just hoped that he was comfortable and that as the dementia creeped further in, that he wasn't aware of its presence.

Very soon after he moved into the home, he had to move to the locked memory unit for those with Alzheimer's and dementia. He had his own room and free reign of that unit, but the exit door to the rest of the facility was locked. Of course, I heard that his engineer-trained mind figured out the code to the door by observing others coming and going and that he either tried to or did let himself out on at least one occasion. Ornery... not hard to see where my dad gets it!

As time passed, he spent more and more time in a wheelchair; his walker used less and less. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and started wearing oxygen. Recently, he battled Shingles. And he celebrated his 97th birthday.

I saw him several times over the year and a half he lived there. Each time he was a little thinner and a little less in the present. But Grandpa was still in there somewhere. He knew me up until the last time I visited over Memorial Day weekend of this year, although I'm not sure that last time that he knew me until I told him who I was. He did know his three children right up to the end, and I was told he knew my brother when he went to visit last month. He had a bookshelf that my aunt kept stocked full of family photos. And there were beautiful photos of my grandmother on the walls that I had never seen before. I always asked him about some of the photos he had in his room when I visited... it was somewhat of a meter of how he was doing on that day, depending on who he knew in the pictures and what he said about them.

My aunt, uncle, and cousins live very close to the home and I believe at least one of them saw him every single day he was there. They stayed on top of his healthcare, and made sure he was getting what he needed. For that, I am pretty sure I am safe in saying our entire family is grateful.

Recently, he wasn't eating or drinking, and he was sleeping a lot. Three things that are not good signs when you are 97 years old and already under hospice care. Friday or Saturday of last week, the hospice people told my aunt that it wouldn't be long... I believe the timeframe was two weeks, give or take. Sunday, my dad, aunt, and uncle (Grandpa's children) and their spouses visited him for about four hours. I don't think he was awake at all, but I'm sure he knew they were there. I'm sure they all talked to him, and I would guess that he heard them and knew they were there to say their goodbyes. Perhaps that's what he was waiting for; he died the next morning in his sleep.

He's been gone now for about 24 hours. I am enormously sad, but I know it was for the best. And it makes me happy to imagine the joyous reunion going on with my grandmother right now. She's been patiently waiting 25 years for her love.

Saturday we will gather to say goodbye. It will be good to see all of my cousins. I don't think we've all been together since... well, I don't even know. Maybe my wedding, which was 17 years ago! I just wish it wasn't only at weddings and funerals. We will celebrate 97 years of life... more than 90 of which were of excellent quality. We will cry; we will laugh. We will be thankful for the family he built and for his giant presence in all of our lives.

But in the end, even giants fall.

“The sense of death is most in apprehension;
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.”

~ William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act III, Scene I

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Camp update

Well, the boys are half done with camp. More than half done, really. We've seen them in photos and videos on the Internet and it appears they are both having fun. Perhaps we needn't have worried so much about J-Mav. He appears to have participated in his colony's karyoke last night, and Keeper Boy appears to have had the lead singing part with his colony. I don't think we need to worry about him being shy anymore.

We've seen pictures of both of the kids in their classes (Legos and Dangerous Class for Boys for J-Mav; Rocketry and Digital Music for Keeper Boy), and they appear to be enjoying themselves. So I think it's all good.

Hubby and I head down tomorrow night after work so that we are there for the 9am parade/closing program on Friday morning. And that'll be it for sleepaway camp for this summer (unless you count them going to Camp Grandma and Grandpa in a few weeks). We will all stay in a hotel on Friday night and then head to our lake vacation for a week on Saturday. Woo hoo!

What I'm reading...

Well, what I've recently read, really...

Two excellent books... both on eReaders. I'm so relevant. Ha!

ESPN: Those Guys Have all the Fun
by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales

This is a really long book, told in an oral narrative style. Thousands of hours of interviews must've been conducted with all levels of people associated with ESPN -- both past and present. I found it absolutely fascinating. Hubby is reading it now.

Here's a description from
ESPN began as an outrageous gamble with a lineup that included Australian Rules Football, rodeo, and a rinky-dinky clip show called Sports Center. Today the empire stretches far beyond television into radio, magazines, mobile phones,the internet, video games and more, while ESPN's personalities have become global superstars to rival the sports icons they cover. Chris Berman, Robin Roberts, Keith Olbermann, Hannah Storm, Bill Simmons, Tony Kornheiser, Stuart Scott, Erin Andrews, Mike Ditka, Bob Knight, and scores of others speak openly about the games, shows, scandals, gambling addictions, bitter rivalries, and sudden suspensions that make up the network's soaring and stormy history. The result is a wild, smart, effervescent story of triumph, genius, ego, and the rise of an empire unlike any television had ever seen.

Before I Go to Sleep
by S. J. Watson

This book, too, was fascinating, but on a completely different level. A woman who has suffered trauma has amnesia. Each morning she wakes up and has no idea where she is, who the man in bed next to her is, and why she's 20+ years older than she should be. Her husband explains everything, and she can retain any information she gathers during the day; however, she loses it all as she sleeps each night. So she starts keeping a journal... and then she has no idea who she can trust in her life. I couldn't put it down.

Here's the description from
Every day Christine wakes up not knowing where she is. Her memories disappear every time she falls asleep. Her husband, Ben, is a stranger to her, and he's obligated to explain their life together on a daily basis--all the result of a mysterious accident that made Christine an amnesiac. With the encouragement of her doctor, Christine starts a journal to help jog her memory every day. One morning, she opens it and sees that she's written three unexpected and terrifying words: "Don't trust Ben." Suddenly everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion. What kind of accident caused her condition? Who can she trust? Why is Ben lying to her? And, for the reader: Can Christine’s story be trusted?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

School supply update

I think J-Mav's list is complete now.

J-Mav's 2011-12 School Supply List

2 packs wide-rule loose-leaf paper - $1.50
4 black & white marble composition books - $1.60
10 large glue sticks (I actually got 18 of the smaller size) - $5.91
1 box crayons (24) - $.40
1 box washable markers (8) - $.99
1 package highlighters - $1.47
1 pair of scissors - $0 (had from last year)
2 post-it pads (3x3) - $1.00 (only bought one; had one unopened from last year)
1 package white board markers - $0 (had from last year)
5 pocket folders without brads (red, yellow, green, blue, black) - $3.48
10 red pens - $1.00
1 package pearl pink erasers - $0 (have several of these from previous years)
1 zipper pencil pouch - $0 (have from last year)
1 ruler with inches/centimeters - $0 (have from last year)
24 #2 pencils - $.94
1 clipboard, letter size - $0 (had from last year)
1 large boxes tissues - $4.49 (actually got a three-pack)
2 boxes baby wipes - $1.89 (maybe getting 3 boxes of tissues will make up for only getting one box of wipes)
1 box quart ziploc bags - $2.49
1 box gallon ziploc bags - $0 (have several boxes at home as a result of a trip to Costco)

Grand total spent (with tax): $50.12

Didn't quite make it under $50.

Still won't be able to do anything with Keeper Boy's list until we see who his teachers are. And even then, I'm not sure I'll do anything with it before school starts as the middle school and high school teachers seem to require things other than what's on the list, anyway.


And then there was THIS convo with J-Mav as we're driving tonight and he reads some sign...

J-Mav: Mom, what does modify mean?

Me: Change

J-Mav: Well, why don't they just say change then? Why do we need all these extra words. That's just dumb.

Me: I don't know buddy.

J-Mav: I mean, I like learning, but geez, why does it have to be so confusing?

Monday, July 25, 2011


I just had this conversation on the phone with Keeper Boy, and it was too good not to share...

Me: Hello?

Keeper Boy: Hey Mom.

Me: Hey Bud. What's up?

KB: So how do you use this Sun-In? [He has heard us talking about how Hubby used Sun-In when he was younger to lighten his hair.]

Me: Uh... what do the instructions say? I think you just spray it in your hair when it's damp and then either go out in the sun or dry your hair with a hair dryer.

KB: Oh, OK. Thanks.

Me: No problem. Bye.

KB: Bye.

Less than two minutes later, the phone rang again...

Me: Hello?

KB: Hey mom.

Me: Hi. What's wrong?

KB: How do you use the hair dryer?

Me: What do you mean how do you use it? You turn it on.

KB: Well yeah, but which end do you use?

Me: Uh... the end that the air comes out of after you turn it on...

KB: Oh. I thought there was two different ways to use it.

Me: [Laughing and trying not to snort] Nope. Just the one. Call me back if you need anything else.

Good Lord... we've been trying to teach him how to do laundry, load/unload the dishwasher, and cook simple things. Perhaps we should've started with the basics. Like how to operate a hair dryer!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The annual wallet-draining ritual...

... that is shopping for school supplies has begun. We had to go to Target tonight to get a sleeve of tennis balls for J-Mav as his tennis camp starts tomorrow. Keeper Boy also wanted a bottle of Sun-In. Ah, the vanity begins. As a side note, in case you're in the market, Target doesn't sell Sun-In. Wal-Mart does.

Anyway, while we were at Target, I checked out what school supplies were on sale. I didn't have J-Mav's list with me, but I remembered most of it and actually did pretty well. Because I know the former and current teachers in my "fan club" get a kick out of the annual school supply list, I thought I'd keep you up-to-date on my progress.

J-Mav's 2011-12 School Supply List

Items gotten:
2 packs wide-rule loose-leaf paper - $1.50
4 black & white marble composition books - $1.60
10 large glue sticks (I actually got 18 of the smaller size) - $5.91
1 box crayons (24) - $.40
1 box washable markers (8) - $.99
1 package highlighters - $1.47
1 pair of scissors - $0 (had from last year)
2 post-it pads (3x3) - $1.00 (only bought one; had one unopened from last year)
1 package white board markers - $0 (had from last year)
5 pocket folders without brads (red, yellow, green, blue, black) - $3.48
10 red pens - $1.00
1 package pearl pink erasers - $0 (have several of these from previous years)
1 zipper pencil pouch - $0 (have from last year)
1 ruler with inches/centimeters - $0 (have from last year)
24 #2 pencils - $.94
1 clipboard, letter size - $0 (had from last year)

Yet to get:
1 large boxes tissues
2 boxes baby wipes
1 box quart ziploc bags
1 box gallon ziploc bags

Grand total spent so far (with tax): $40.81

With any luck, we'll finish off his list and come in under $50. Won't be able to do anything with Keeper Boy's list until we see who his teachers are. And even then, I'm not sure I'll do anything with it before school starts as the middle school and high school teachers seem to require things other than what's on the list, anyway.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Birthday Blog, Part II

I truly would've been fine had I received nothing for my birthday. That said, it's always fun to get "schtuff." :-) And this year was fabulous -- jewelry and chocolate and shoes, oh my! What more could a gal ask for? Oh! How about a book and money/gift cards! Yes, it was a fabulous!

Monday, July 18, 2011

40 is the new ??

So, I'm 40. FORTY! It came and went with little fanfare. I woke up Saturday feeling the same as I felt when I went to bed Friday night. Looked the same, too, as far as I could tell. So what's the big deal? Why do people fret and moan and dread turning 40?


I'm fairly certain that a large reason that it didn't bother me in the least is because it didn't appear to phase either of my parents in the least. If it did, neither of them showed it. This, too, is probably a large part of why gray/silver hair did and does not freak me out. I have a good amount of that, too.

But I digress.

When my dad turned 40, my mom threw a surprise party for him. (It took two attempts as my dad, who NEVER got sick when I was growing up, had a hideous cold or the flu or something and my mom had to postpone the party for a week later, when he was feeling somewhat, but not all the way, human again). I don't remember necessarily thinking that 40 was old at that time (I was 9.5 at the time); but I do remember thinking it would be FOREVER before *I* was 40. I mean, my GOD. 40!

As I finished high school and went away to school, 25 no longer became so far away. By then my parents were pushing 60 and they certainly weren't old. Heck, my grandfather was in his 80s and HE wasn't old, either.

I blew past 25 (wondering why *I* didn't get a huge insurance discount like Hubby had the year before... hrmph), and waddled my way toward 30 while pregnant with Keeper Boy. Blew past 30, popped out another kid, and nope... still not old. But that 40 was creeping up on me fast.

So now here I am on the other side... joining a lot of my friends who crossed the fence before me. What do ya know? We're all still young and [sometimes] hip (though our now teenagers and tweens would probably tell you otherwise). And I'm once again redefining old. Because now my dad is 70 and mom will join him next year. They're STILL not old (most of the time). ;-P

I'm on the fence about 80. I know people in their 80s who ARE old. And I know people in their 80s who most definitely are NOT old.

But hey... I still have another whole lifetime until I get THERE! Today, 40 is looking pretty good!

Friday, July 15, 2011


This morning I watched a large flock of geese completely stop traffic in both directions on a six-lane divided highway (eight if you include turn lanes), while it waddled across. Immediately upon arriving at the opposite curve, each goose took flight.

They couldn't have flown across the road to start with?

Thursday, July 14, 2011


As J-Mav and I are driving to his doctor appointment this afternoon, my iPod is playing in the car and a song by the Go Gos comes on...

J-Mav: Is this band all girls?

Me: Yep.

J-Mav: This is pretty good music for all girls.

Oy. I didn't realize we were raising a chauvinist.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy birthday!

Happy, happy birthday to Hubby today. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hawaii - The Aftermath

It turns out we waited more than 30 minutes for the hotel shuttle to pick us up at the airport and take us back to our truck. We were tired, starving, and cranky, so you can imagine Hubby's and my irritation when the shuttle driver casually mentioned that our vehicle had been moved while we were gone. "How?" we both snapped at the same time (because both sets of keys were in our possession in Hawaii). The driver said she was 99% sure they put it on rollers and moved it. We asked why and were told that they re-paved the area of the lot that Hubby had parked the truck in.

Now the desk clerk knew where he had parked the truck when we checked into the hotel. It was the only area with available spaces that evening when we arrived. I would think that they knew of their paving plans at that time. Paving a parking lot is not something that you randomly decide to do one day. I'm very annoyed that they didnt' inform us and tell us to park somewhere else! I meant to call today and complain, but I forgot. I have it on my list of things to do tomorrow.

We ended stopping at Subway for a quick dinner after we got our car and loaded up all of our luggage. We did hit traffic on the way home, but it was due to construction, not rush hour. We got home about 11pm and we were all in bed and asleep by 11:30.

Hubby and Keeper Boy had dry land training at 10am the next morning, so no real sleeping in for them. J-Mav slept until just after Noon. I had to go in and check on him at one point to see if he was breathing. I don't think he's ever slept 12 hours in a row, even when he was a baby!

Yesterday (Sunday), J-Mav was up at 9; Hubby and I slept until 10; and we had to wake Keeper Boy at 12:30pm. Crazy!

Today it was (begrudgingly) back to work for Hubby and I. I think we are all back on our normal, east coast time schedule.

Only three more weeks until we go to Smith Mountain Lake for a week... then it's going to a LONG time until we have another vacation...

Hawaii - July 8

Well, the end of our wonderful vacation has been crappy. We had no trouble at HNL; I think we were at the gate within a half hour of when Uncle Hooter dropped us off. Even had time to get ice cream before we boarded the flight!

The red eye flight was fine, though J-Mav is the only one who slept (and he slept for the entire flight). I knew I wouldn't sleep, and I didn't. I tried. Hubby and Keeper Boy, for whatever reason, chose to watch movies all night instead of sleeping.

While waiting for our connection in Salt Lake City, we were delayed an hour due to weather in Baltimore. We finally took off (and I was able to sleep a little; Jack once again slept for most of the flight). Once we got close to BWI, we were put in a holding pattern because of the weather. I guess it hadn't yet cleared, or they were backed up. Eventually, we had to divert to Pittsburgh to refuel.

We are now on our way back to BWI and will be landing just more than 3 hours after we were supposed to. We still need to get a shuttle back to the hotel to get the truck and then drive home. I guess the one good thing is that the traffic should be better.

The boys have been pretty good with this long day of travel. I messed up and packed Keeper Boy's meds in his checked baggage, so he's definitely had his moments--especially at the airport in SLC and while we were refueling in Pittsburgh.

It really was a wonderful vacation. It seems, at once, like we've been gone forever, and like we just left. I can't believe it might be two years (or longer) until we see Uncle Hooter, Jenrie, and the kids again. Well not "might be" but "probably will be." :-( I do hope it works out for Keeper Boy to fly out there next summer.

Hawaii - July 7

Hubby and Keeper Boy swam with turtles! How cool! Keeper Boy even took a video with Uncle Hooter's camera. Hopefully Uncle Hooter will be able to send it to us when he gets back from his work trip to Australia. (He left for three weeks the day after we did... hopefully he will be back before the baby is born... he is due on August 18!)

The show was cool. Not sure it was worth $50, but it was cool. Pretty far away--complete other side of the island. I ended up driving home because Jenrie was tired. I done good... you'd have thought I knew what I was doing! Driving H1 is kinda like driving on 66!

I did get to see Chinaman's Hat while we were driving up there. That's not quite as cool as seeing giant sea turtles, but it's something.

This morning we went to Pali Lookout. Beautiful view of that side of the island, but man was it windy! There was a warning onoine to hold the hands of small children. I can see why!

We are working on getting packed up and doing some laundry. I think we are going to go out to lunch, go see some fish at the Officer's Club at the harbor, and just lay low this afternoon. Our flight leaves at 9pm.

Saw some cool, bright yellow fish at the harbor. Took some pics, but the water seems to have distorted them because it was breezy. Just looks like yellow blobs in the water. Oh well. I did get a picture of the kids sitting on the Hickam sign (and the "planes on a stick").

Hawaii - July 6

Tried to find turtles yesterday. No luck. :-( We also went paddle boarding at Hickam Beach. Keeper Boy did awesome! So did Hubby and J-Mav. Keeper Boy and Uncle Hooter went all the way out to the airport runway... probably between a 1/4 and 1/2 mile... and back. Hubby and Uncle Hooter did the same. Jack paddled around the cove and did awesome, as well. I went around the cove and a little out of it. Did fine until I had to turn around. Than i had to get down on my knees to turn around (needed more power). But it was fun!

Last night we went to Waikiki. Very upscale; very congested. There were a few "normal" stores thrown in, and an ABC store on every block... sometimes more than one. I don't think we bought anything. We ate dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise... well, one of the chain's other Waikiki locations... Cheeseburger on the Beach Walk it was called. Yummy burgers!

Oh, yesterday we went back to Hilo Hatties so Keeper Boy could get a Hawaiian shirt. Wow is the one he picked loud!! But he's happy with his choice. I got a "bauble" there for my birthday from the independent jeweler that's within the store. A Tahitian black pearl on a white gold chain. I like it very much. :)

This morning Jenrie and I went to a giant swap meet (flea market) at Aloha Stadium. It happens every Sunday and Wednesday and she'd been wanting to go, but had never been. We found some "treasures." :-) I got a honu for the dining room wall, where we hang some sort of handmade wooden item from each place we've traveled since we went on our Caribbean cruise for our 10th anniversary. It was exactly what we had been looking for for $8 instead of $100. Not as well made, but the imperfection is endearing. :) Of course, it was also made in Indonesia instead of Hawaii, but what do you expect for $8.

Hubby, Uncle Hooter, and Keeper Boy went hiking and cliff jumping at Moanowili Falls. Uncle Hooter took a cool video of Keeper Boy jumping.

Jenrie, Gma G, and I are getting ready to go to a show at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The boys and Princess P went back to the turtle place in search of turtles.

Hawaii - July 5

Some weird things about Hawaii --
  • Everyone is required to have a Hawaii license plate, so it's extremely rare to see a plate from any other state. And if you do, you know they just arrived on the island recently.
  • On Maui, all of the rental car license plates started with L. That wasn't the case on Oahu.
  • It's apparently legal to ride in the back of a pick-up truck; it's also apparently legal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
  • It rains "often," but never for very long (at least in our experience) and not very hard.
  • Mahalo means thank you.
  • Flip flops are called slippers, or, more accurately, slippahs.
  • POG (Passion fruit-Orange-Guava) juice... we'll need to look for it at home because Hubby loves it.
  • Tattoos... I've seen more in the past week than I've ever seen before, I think.
  • Things seem to move at a much slower pace on the islands.
  • Malasadas are yummy when warm; kinda greasy and somewhat gross when cold.
  • Poi.

Keeper Boy and Princess P are best buddies. They seem to have a mutual admiration society going on. Gma G said she doesn't know what she would've done when we were in Maui if Keeper Boy hadn't been here. Anyway, Jenrie and I both had the same idea and we've been talking about sending him out here for a period of time next summer to help Jenrie out since she'll have Spidey and two kids under the age of 3. We'll have to see how it would work out with band camp if he decides to stick with band in high school. OMG... at this time NEXT year, I'll have a high school freshman!! But what a cool experience it would be for Keeper Boy! I hope we can work it out. And more importantly, I hope Princess P still likes him next summer! Jenrie said having another set of hands would allow them to do more things, so he might even get to travel to another island or two.

Hawaii - July 4

What an amazing fireworks display tonight on Hickam! I've noticed in transcribing my journal that I used the word "amazing" A LOT... guess that's the marker of a good vacation? The display went for a solid 30 minutes. The concert before was good, too--The Plain White Tees and another band. Two other bands, actually. Princess P did NOT like the fireworks... looking at them or hearing them. Hubby finally took her from Jenrie and nestled her in his arms like we used to do with Keeper Boy at Caps games when he was really young to shield him from the horn when a goal was scored. She went to sleep.

We went to "the turtle place" this afternoon (well, late morning) and there were no turtles. :-(

We got some cute pictures of the kids in their Old Navy flag t-shirts before we went to the concert/fireworks. Overall, a very nice July 4th! It gets darker earlier here, so the fireworks started at 8:30. That was nice for the kids as we were home by 9:30.

Only three days left. :-( Not sure what's on the agenda for tomorrow, but we're going to Waikiki tomorrow night.

Hawaii - July 3

The North Shore was nice, but I didn't think it was fabulous. Maybe it's very popular because it's not as crowded as other parts of the island. Although I bet it's more crowded when the surf is higher. It was pretty, but I didn't think it was fabulous. Shark's Cove was nice, but very rocky, so no real swimming.
I couldn't really snorkel because I couldn't see where to put my hands without my contacts in and I didn't want to put my hands down on a sea urchin and get stung. Hubby and Uncle Hooter went snorkeling out into the open water outside the cove, and Keeper Boy and J-Mav had a great time snorkeling within the cove. They LOVED snorkeling. I got fried from standing in the shallow water with Princess P and the younger boys, but it doesn't hurt.

We ate lunch at Macky's shrimp truck. Good shrimp! I originally wrote here that it probably wasn't worth $40 for three plates; however, I later reconsidered that as we spent that (or more) on almost any meal we ate out because of the cost of things on the islands. Something else we can say we did while we were here! We saw the famous shave ice place in the North Shore, too... Matsimoto's or something like that. Didn't stop though.

We also went to the Dole Plantation and saw how pineapples grow (who knew that they grow on bushes in the ground... we all thought they grew on trees!). We also had some of the famous Dole whip (pineapple ice cream). YUMMY! We have since discovered that the new yogurt place in our subdivision has pineapple yogurt (and coconut yogurt) that tastes EXTREMELY similar to what we had at the Dole Plantation. This could be bad... In addition, we saw a gecko hanging out on a beautiful red plant and got to see some Rainbow Eucylypus Trees up close and personal.

We ate at home last night after watching the sun set at Sharks Cove. Got some great pictures, I think. (I did.)

Today we went to three look-outs. The first one--Lenai Lookout--was amazing!! We climbed around on rocks and took some cool pictures.

The second one was Blow Hole Lookout. The tide was too low for the hole to be blowing, but we saw the beach where the famous scene in From Here to Eternity was filmed. It was very pretty.

Then we went to a lighthouse lookout.

Tonight we had our photos taken on the beach at Paradise Cove (where we had been a few nights ago for the luau). Hopefully there are some good ones. The sunset was beautiful! A friend of Jenna's who is also an unemployed nurse and does photography on the side did the photos. She left the next day for a three-week vacation on the mainland, so we won't see the photos until sometime in August.

Hawaii - July 2

The luau at Paradise Cove was great! There were activities to do before
the luau--outrigger canoeing, Polynesian tattooing, spear throwing, crown making, a tree-climbing exhibition, and the king/queen/unveiling of the pig ceremony. The food was good--though I have no need to try poi again. :-)

It was a late night, but the kids did great! I'm tired this morning, though. Today we are going to the North Shore.

Talked to mom and dad last night. I was worried about Grandpa since I got a message from [my cousin] last night that he'd been hospitalized. Doesn't appear to be life threatening. His face is apparently really, really swollen. They don't seem to know what's wrong with him though. :-( Turns out it was shingles. He seems to be fine and in no pain, and was apparently only in the hospital for a few days. I suppose anything can be serious and/or life-threatening when you're just a few days shy of your 97th birthday! Turns out this was the trip of unexpected medical news. When I turned my Blackberry on in Salt Lake City on the way TO Hawaii I learned that my dad has Diabetes. Neither Hubby nor I ever remember being told that that was even a possibility or that he was having issues. Now that we are home and somewhat back on a "normal" schedule, I need to call and get more scoop on THAT.

Hawaii - July 1

July! Vacation is half over. :-( Last night we ate at a cool little restaurant on base after driving over to the Marine base to play mini golf and ride the bumper boats. Everyone had a great time. The boys (all five of them) got soaked on the bumper boats after we all played golf.

This morning, Uncle Hooter, Hubby, Keeper Boy, J-Mav, Spidey, and I went on a hike to Menoa Falls. It was beautiful! Very muddy. But an easy hike as hikes go. Cool stuff to look at all the way up. It was about a mile up.

Tonight is the luau!

Hawaii - June 30

Happy birthday to J-Mav! I can't believe he is 8--and how cool to have his birthday in Hawaii!! So far, we haven't done much (went to Hilo Hatties), but tonight we are are going out to eat and this afternoon we are playing mini golf. J-Mav's request.

Yesterday we went to Pearl Harbor. What an amazing and awe-inspiring day. We got there around 10am and weren't going to be able to get out to the Arizona Memorial until 1:15pm, but then someone turned in their tickets for 10:45am, so the ranger gave them to us. Good thing I looked at them as we were walking away from the ticket counter because there were only five tickets and there were six of us. (Uncle Hooter was at work and Jenrie stayed home with Princess P.) I went back and asked if Spidey needed a ticket, and the guy just slyly took a blank one from the depths of his desk and wrote 10:45am in the blank spot. And poof! We had enough tickets for all of us.

We walked, rather quickly, through one part of the two-part museum, but then had to go get in line to board the boat out to the Arizona. We never did get back to the museum. I wish we had. What we saw was very interesting.
It's amazing how much oil is still coming up from the Arizona. On one side of the memorial, you could see the "oil rainbow" in the water; on the other side, you could actually see blobs of oil in the water... almost 70 years later!
We saw Gma G's uncle's name on the memorial wall. And the thing that amazed Hubby and I the most was the marble "box" set in front of the memorial wall. The ones with names engraved and dates much later than that day of infamy. Dates like 1986... 1991... 2010. These are apparently guys who wanted to be buried with their shipmates. Even all of those years later. I can only imagine the survivor's guilt these men must've lived with for their entire lives. That box was really more haunting than the wall with all of the names.
Then we went and toured the U.S.S. Bowfin submarine. It was put into service after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and earned the nickname "Avenger." None of us could imagine being under water in it for weeks at a time.

We saw something other things, too. A suicide sub, some torpedoes, a rescue capsule. Then Uncle Hooter picked us up and drove Hubby, Keeper Boy, J-Mav and I over to the U.S.S. Missouri Battleship and took Gma G and Spidey home. We walked around the ship for several hours. It was very cool. No way I could find my way around it without the tour arrows! We got a kick out of the two copies of the surrender document that are encased on the surrender deck of the ship. On the Japanese copy, the Canadian representative signed on the wrong line so there is a lot of crossing out and writing in. Just looks weird on such an official document. We also got to see the U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial, though we had to catch a shuttle back over to Pearl Harbor so we could check out the gift shop, so we didn't have too long to walk around and read all the names.
A very cool day.

We were supposed to have pictures last night, but we postponed it to Sunday.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hawaii - June 27

We are at the summit of Haleakola--a dormant volcano. 10,023 feet. So cool. I have slight altitude sickness--dizzy, headache, sometimes hard to catch my breath. But it's all good. I hope we got some phenomenal pictures! Uncle Hooter drove up; Hubby drove down. Our rental car did really well. :-)

The pictures we took don't come close to doing Haleakola justice. It's amazingly beautiful and we were just fascinated by it.

There's a plant called Silver Sword that only grows at the summit of Haleakola. It really does look silver in the sun, too! Very cool to see something that you can find in only one place in the entire world!

We had a good breakfast at Charly's this morning. It is supposedly owned by Willie Nelson--won in a poker match.

We stayed at the Pai'a Inn last night. It was great! I would totally stay there again if I came back to Maui! We stayed in a two-bedroom suite that was beautiful. It was like its own little cottage.

The town of Pai'a is cute. It was rolled up pretty early, so we didn't get to shop, but we window-shopped and we ate a place called the Pai'a Fish Market (a recommendation from the cousin of a friend from the rink). I had Mahi and it was awesome! I think everyone really liked what they ordered there. Hubby and Uncle Hooter had some local beer from the Maui Brewing Co.


I'm falling behind...

Once we came off Haleakola, we went back to Paia and had lunch at Flat Bread Pizza. It was really good--another spot-on recommendation. We walked around the town and then we drove to our hotel in Lahaina. We are staying at the Aston Maui Ka'anapali. Very nice. I think it's a timeshare/hotel place. The guys are off snorkeling around Black Rock while Jenrie and I hang at the beach. Then we are going to explore Lahaina.

To backtrack: Our flight to Maui on Sunday was SHORT! We were barely up in the air and we started our descent. We got our rental car (and Josh left his iPhone on the rental car counter... but got it back when the next shuttle driver brought it to the car pick up lot). The guy at the counter seemed to take a liking to us. He offered us a reduced upgrade to a Ford Escape, so we took that. And we added Hubby as a driver so he and Uncle Hooter could share driving duties. The Escape was a cute, mid-size SUV. After Uncle Hooter retrieved his phone, we took off for Makawao, where our zipline adventure awaited us (Hubby and I). Pi'iholo Ranch. We did the 9=line canopy tour and it was awesome! Makes what we did in Alaska seem like nothing. Hubby and I had a blast! And we did take the camera, so hopefully we got some great pictures. (We got some good ones... don't know about great...) Some of the lines were REALLY long! And we were literally in the tree canopy. Lots of Eucolyptus trees. There was one particular variety that was very spongy. Uncle Hooter and Jenrie strolled around Makawao and drove around while we zipped and then came back for us (right one time, too!).

We ate lunch at The Stopwatch in Makawao, a recommendation from the guy at the rental car counter--good burgers--and then headed down to Pai'a. I think that catches up from the last two days.

Geez, I didn't even write about the road to Hana in my journal. Guess it really was underwhelming! We did about half of the road. We stopped at several places, but didn't do much hiking. We got annoyed with the locals who apparently don't know what "yield to oncoming traffic means" because they NEVER did. We went into the Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden, where they neglect to tell you until you get to a gatekeeper that you have to pay to get in. We were told we could get a deal for x amount of money for the four of us. It was like $50. We said no thanks; he lowered it $10; we said no thanks again and turned around and left (as did everyone else we saw go in there). We later found out that the price he lowered it to when we said no thanks is the advertised rate. What a schmuck. But when we got to Ke'anae Village, it was worth it. Beautiful rocks and an old church that is the only thing that survived in the original version of the village after a tsunami in 1946. We took a bunch of pictures here and then headed back the way we came to go check in to The Pai'a Inn.


Last night we went to Whaler's Village, which is shops and restaurants. Uncle Hooter and Jenrie had run into friends from their neighborhood while we were at the top of Haleakola, and they were staying right near us in Lahaina, so they had dinner with them at the Hula Grill and Hubby and I walked around. We weren't really hungry after eating such a late lunch. Lots of cute shops, but mostly window shopping. We did get an ornament made from Koa and a Hawaiian teddy bear for our soon-to-be-new-nephew.

Later still...

On the plane back to Oahu. :-( Had a great afternoon in Lahaina. Ate at Pacifico's, but our friend's cousin wasn't working. Oh well, still good food, even if it was a few blocks outside the town center.

I forgot to mention that on the day we arrived in Maui, after the zip, we went in an open house. It was a beautiful house--"only" $1.6 million. We though maybe if we all pooled all of our money and opened an avocado stand... nah. It was nice though. Two acres. Three bedrooms, all of which opened up onto a courtyard with a beautiful pool. High-end finishes. And it had an orchard. Reminded me of some of the homes in the Caribbean on House Hunters International.

I think Gma G and the kids will be happy to see us. Apparently they are bored...