Friday, August 29, 2008

Crazy Laminating Woman

Veronica and I made a trip to Lakeshore today to buy some last-minute classroom supplies.

After shopping for about an hour, we made our way up to the cash register to pay for our carefully selected materials.

On our way up, I remembered I had a poster to laminate. Lakeshore lets you laminate your own purchases.

It's super convenient. 

You set the 'counter' to zero and turn it on. You slide your paper through and do all the laminating yourself. The 'counter' keeps track of how many yards of lamination that you've use. When you go up to pay for your purchases, you just let them know how many yards you used.

Easy Peasy.

Here's where the problem is:

They only have to laminating machines.

On any other day, it wouldn't be a big deal. But on Labor Day weekend (read: all teachers scrambling for last-minute supplies), Lakeshore is jam-packed with eager teachers feeling rushed and overwhelmed.

So, on one machine, there were 5 Boy and Girl's Club employees laminating AT LEAST 100 posters. No joke. And they weren't even cool posters either (trust me, I had a looooong time to analyze their posters). But who am I to judge anyway?

The other machine was occupied by one woman who was laminating EVERYTHING! She was a laminating crazy lady! 

Note cards, pocket charts, name tags, alphabet posters, dye cuts, etc. You name it ... she was laminating it.

I waited for quite some time before realizing that the Crazy Laminating Woman had a whole stack of papers/posters/name tag at her feet to laminate too.

So, while she was opening another bag of things to laminate (insert eye-rolling and 'looks' of "are you kidding me?" to Veronica), I politely said to CLW, "Do you mind if I quickly jump in while you open your bag?" (and tear apart all the dye-cut pieces).

And NO JOKE ... CLW looks at me and says (use annoying, high-pitched voice), "Well ... I'm using the counter. And if I let you in, I have to set my counter to zero. Then when you're done I have to start my counter again and then add those two numbers together when I'm done."

Ummmm ....

What I said in my head: Are you serious lady? Of course you're gonna add those two numbers together. That's like the easiest thing in the entire world to do. You have about 30 minutes of laminating left to do and I'm asking you for 30 seconds. How many times have I politely let someone in the grocery line go in front of me when I have a cart-full of groceries and they have 4 items? How many times have a alerted someone that they dropped something but didn't know it? Can't you just extent me this one favor? Can ya? Do you have to be so stubborn? Can you be a bit more flexible and extend me this one nicety?

What I said out loud to CLW: Right
CLW: (silence, just looking at me, waiting for more of a response)
Annoyed me: Um, yah, I just didn't think that was such a big deal.
CLW: (silence, turns back to rip apart more dye-cut pieces)


When V and I got into the car, I put my seat belt on, put both my hands on my steering wheel, took a deep breath, turned to V, and said, "I can't believe that woman wouldn't let me in because she had to add two numbers together."

And V said, "Yah, you'd think she could do that. She IS a teacher!"

And then I said, "This is so blog-worthy!

Looking back on it now, I realize that CLW wanted to get her stuff done. I'm sure she was feeling overwhelmed (shoot, I would if I had 45 hours of laminating to do). But I'll think about her next time I do something nice for someone. I'll say, "Why don't you go in front of me?" and I'll think, "because I don't want to be like the CLW!"

Practice Random Acts of Kindness!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Professional & Fun

Apparently I use my Photo Booth on my work computer to entertain myself.

A lot.

Here are a few examples that made me giggle today:

Eating a Subway sandwich. Turkey, if you were wondering.

I sent this picture to one of my students when he was sick, with the caption "this is how I feel when you're gone."

No explanation needed for this one.

I was entertaining my students during Snack Time
(read: super professional and fun).

My favorite part of this picture is Veronica in the background.
She's so used to my maturity level, she isn't even phased by what I'm doing.

I have no idea. Peace.

I'm wearing a hooded sweatshirt ... must be Friday!

Disclaimer: None of these pictures where taken during my contracted work hours. I'm just sure of it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Sometimes you don't realize how much you'll miss someone ...
... until they're already gone.

Sometimes you miss someone before they even leave ...
... because you know how much you'll miss them once their gone.

Today was my first day working at Cottage Lake without Veronica.

We were hired the same year and have worked together for 8 years.

We've become co-workers and friends over the years. Traveling together, movies, dinners, parties, weddings, ... you name it.

She is the best team-mate a girl could have. She will do anything for you and bend over backwards trying if she can't. She was one of my few friends that I really (read: heavily) relied on during my divorce. She has seen me at my best and worst. Literally.

Today ... I really, really missed her. 

Veronica transferred to a district closer to her home. She has a beautiful daughter that she is now closer to. Not commuting allows her to spend more time with her family.

I am happy for her. Thrilled she is able to spend time with her family.

In the same regard ... I miss you V.

Today our entire staff met and we did a fun ice-breaker game. We all lined up according to how many years we've worked at CLE. 

You weren't beside me.

Something was missing.

My partner in crime was gone.

My side felt cold.

I wanted you there.

Today, I as missing you.

* I thought you'd enjoy our Halloween picture from last year for a giggle. I was Pikachu (and yes, I was really hot ... you have NO idea how many clothes I have on underneath my costume) and V was Minnie Mouse. She was cute (of course). I was a chubby cartoon character.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Waiting For The Last Day

I had one main goal for the summer.


To clean my den.

My den is a disaster.

It looks like a war zone.

Correction: It IS a war zone.

Books. Cords. Card-making supplies. Stickers. Scissors. Photo Albums. Ipods. Printer paper. School work. Tutoring Supplies. Tax paperwork. Bible. Two Printers. Two Computers. Stamps. Coins. Envelopes. An array or gifts from students. VALENTINE'S Day gifts (read: old. very old). Notebooks. Bags. Posterboards. 

... on and on ... on and on ...

I start back at work tomorrow so guess what I spent my ENTIRE day doing?

That's right ... cleaning my den.

I'm subscribing to the "better late then never" policy.

It's not perfect ... but it's much better then yesterday!

My goal has been reached.

I've always been a procrastinator ... but perform excellent under pressure!

Mom's Book Signing

Please join my mom (author extraordinaire) and I ...

Book Signing & Dessert Sampling Event
at Susan's Sweets

WHAT: My mom will be signing her book! Health food fanatics and sweet-tooth's alike are sure to enjoy the Book Signing & Dessert Sampling Event! Author Mary Diederichs will sign her latest cookbook, Healthy Family Favorites: A Fresh Approach to Great Food ($16.95) while Susan Swanigan of Susan's Sweets will satisfy sugar cravings with her delectable desserts!

WHERE: To be held at Susan's Sweets (Bothell Country Village, 831 - 237th ST SE)

WHEN: Saturday, September 6th from Noon to 5:00 pm

"I've always loved baking, but Mary Diederichs' cookbook makes me motivated to cook and inspires me to further explore healthy living," said Susan Swanigan, who was a personal trainer before entering the baking business. 

Using timeless classics and by adapting traditional family recipes, Mary Diederichs of Kirkland, always loved creating scrumptious, yet healthy feasts for her family. Now Mary shares some of her latest secrets, such as Mashed Yams with Rosemary and Toasted Hazelnuts, Soy Ginger Salmon, and Apple Walnut Cobbler, and how she makes them fit for a healthier lifestyle.

The Book Signing & Dessert Sampling Event is at Susan's Sweets in Country Village, just off the Bothell-Everett Highway, in Bothell. Parking is Free.

My mom and I hope to see you there!

Monday, August 25, 2008


Tonight, I am silenced and reflective.

Jay and I just finished watching The Discovery Channel's Inside The Twin Towers.

We can all remember where we were when it happened. Where you were when you first heard about.

When we curl up in our warm, safe beds tonight, in our cozy, loving homes, thankful for our family, friends and loved ones ... let's remember the brave people who gave their lives for us.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Love You

I come from a family of huggers.

I also come from a family who says "I love you" to each other quite often.

I have carried that into my adult life.

If I love you ... I tell you. (disclaimer: I might love you but not tell you if you seem like the person who would think that it bizarre).

Much like you would a family member, I tell my girlfriend's I love them.

When getting off the phone. When saying hello. When saying goodbye. If something funny happens and I feel love for them.

If I feel it ... I tell you.

I tell my students sometimes too.

And it usually sounds like this:
"I'm telling you - you can't do that because I love you and care about your safety."
... or ...
"Have a great night tonight you guys. I'll see you tomorrow morning. I love you all. Not like your mom and dad loves you. But like how your teacher loves you."

In fact, at the beginning of school year on the first or second day, I spend an entire Circle Time devoted to MY rules which I promise to follow. Not the student's rules (like raise your hand to talk or two in the bathroom at one time), but MY rules.

And it goes a little something like this:

Ms. Diederichs' Plan & Promise
I believe in you.
I trust in you.
You are listened to.
You are cared for.
You are important to me.
You can be a problem solver.
We can learn and grow together.

In fact, once when I was teaching in our school's resource room, I had a wonderful student named Adelle.

One day, I took her into the teacher's workroom to make some copies. When we were done with our copying duties, we both stuck one hand on top of the copy machine glass and made the "I love you sign" in sign language.

We made two copies.

I gave her one ... the other I hung on my personal bulletin board for years. I loved how little her hands looked next to mine.

Both expressing the same message.

So ... if I tell you that I love you ... I hope not to catch you off guard.

I don't want you to get the wrong picture ... I'm not a crazy I-walk-around-saying-I-love-you-to-everyone person. I'm just saying that I think it's nice to say to the people you care close to. I think people feel it a lot but don't say it enough.

Life is too short not to.

I also come from a family of kissers. But don't worry ... I'll save that for my family. ;)


I couldn't get to sleep at all last night. I tossed and turned and tried with all my might.

I was really tired.

I needed sleep.

It was all very frustrating.

Here's a recap:
  • Can't fall asleep. My stomach is killing me tonight.
  • Decide to read
  • Realize 5 pages into my book that I have NO idea what I've just read.
  • Must be too tired to read.
  • Put book down, turn off lights
  • Can't sleep, still focusing on my tummy and wondering when, wHeN, WHEN this hurt will stop
  • Turn on my IPod and play a few games of Solitaire on it
  • Eyes get heavy. YES! This is a great sign.
  • Try to find a comfortable position where my stomach hurts the least
  • Find one. On my left side.
  • Hair blows across my face.
  • It tickles
  • I itch my cheek
  • Oh no, now I have the itchies
  • Scratch my right side. It itches too
  • Now the space between my shoulder-blades itches. This is getting silly.
  • Realize that this is getting ridiculous. Am I making this up? Why isn't my body allowing it's itself to drift off to sleep?
  • It's my right side again. It itches. I scratch it.
  • As a result, my tank-top creeps up my back just enough that a breeze flutters over my lower back
  • Now my lower back is chilly
  • Pull down said tank-top, pull up the sheets.
  • Cooper gets up. What the heck could he possibly want at this ungodly hour (2:00am)
  • His ID tag and Rabies vaccination tags are rubbing together
  • Have they always been that loud?
  • Lay and wonder what I ate tonight that is upsetting my stomach so bad.
  • Also start thinking about the beginning of school. Why not? I'm not sleeping anyway.
  • A train (and I'm not kidding you on this one) blazes by the house (we're still at Jay's parent's house in Spokane) at 3:00 in the morning. I think the train conductor blares his horn a bit louder and longer then usual. Maybe he's saying 'hello' to all the people who are still awake ("Hi train conductor! I hear you!"). Maybe he has an evil plot to wake everyone in Spokane.
  • Think about all the possibilities for a while.
  • Cooper comes back into the room, jumps on the bed and lays in front of me, to be spooned.
  • I try this for a while but realize (a) I'm ridiculously hot (b) he has all the room. I have none (c) he has perfectly vacant bed on the floor. I boot him off the bed.
  • Some time after the dog-booting ... I drift off to sleep


Thoughts of Christmas in August

I was watching ESPN (don't ask) today and I had to share this with you.

It was so cute.

A boy from Louisiana was being interviewed about being at (and playing in) the world series.

And he said ...

"At first I thought it was dream. Then I got here and I thought it was Christmas."

Seriously ... could he get any cuter?

On another note ... I'm super excited for school to start. I love being with kids and I love (even more) the things they say!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Trying ... Again

I just tried to eat a 'real' meal again.

A few bites of chicken ...

A few bites of corn ...

A few bits of mashed potatoes ...

We'll see.

Wish me luck.

Prayers are not out of the question ... I'm heading outside to hang up my Tibetan prayer flags right now (read: desperate).

Bye-Bye Denial

I've been living in denial for 2 years.

I haven't been eating right or exercising nearly as much as I should (read: eating whatever the hell I want [whenever I want], and exercising hardly at all).
When I got back from Cancun two weeks ago, I decided I was done being in denial.
Last week when I got my yearly, I also had my doctor draw my blood to check my cholesterol.
Here are my results:
  • Glucose: 83 (normal is 60-100) I have no feels about this one
  • Total Cholesterol: 250 (normal is 200 or lower) this isn't good people
  • HDL (good) Cholesterol: 80 (normal is 44 and above) yippee for me!
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol: 141 (normal is 130 or lower) again, need to work on this
  • Triglyceride (fat in your blood): 143 (normal is 150 and lower) good job me!
I should say, the reason I did this is because it's not in my nature to be live in denial. I've realized that not taking care of myself is a result of some emotional scarring from my marriage/divorce.
I say it's time to move on.
Time to get back to loving myself and taking care of myself. The way I should. The way I used to. The way I deserve.
So, now that I am armed with the facts ... it's time to make a change. My mom is helping me set up a healthy meal-plan and I know I need to start exercising.
Anyone have any good tips on reducing cholesterol?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thoughts To Ponder

I know I owe everyone an update on my health.

Here's the (very) shortened version until I have time to really explain:

My culture came back negative for everything.

GREAT news.

However, now it's hard to have a game-plan since we really don't know what's wrong.

I met with a wonderul nutritionist at the Woodinville Women's Clinic and she put me on the path to cleaning out my intestines/stomach/bowels.

Bland foods, a few suppliments (that I can't remember the name of, off the top of my head - oh, one is Goldenseal), and lots of liquids.

At any rate ... the point of this post:

I have a new nightly tradition. I am in love with Yogi Tea. Each tea bag comes with a thought to ponder. Each time I open up the container, I can't wait to see what the tea bag says.

I love my thought to ponder for tonight:

"Let your manners speak for you."


Here are others I've enjoyed:

  • "Life is a flow of love; your participation is requested."
  • "Socialize with compassion and kindness."
  • "Your soul is your highest self."
  • "When ego is lost, limit is lost."
  • "Let your manners speak, your deeds prove and your delivery impress."
  • "I am beautiful, I am bountiful, I am blissful."
  • "A relaxed mind is a creative mind."
  • "Live from your heart, you will be most effective."
  • "Love what is ahead by loving what has come before."

I can't pick one favorite. I want to rip open each envelope in my box and read them all.

So, my nightly tradition has become a cup of Yogi Tea, relishing in my thought to ponder, and two Trader Joe's (Gluten Free) Ginger Snaps (I used to eat Gluten Free which is a whole other post some time but I know all the great Gluten Free foods if you're interested).

I just about flipped my lid tonight when I finally read the nutritional label and saw that a serving size is 5 cookies! I've been robbing myself of 3 cookies the last few nights!

What a shame.

Never done that before!

Ok, so try some Yogi Tea and enjoy your thought to ponder.

The world would be a really pretty place if we all drank Yogi Tea and put thier advice into action.

P.S. I got my Yogi Tea at PCC and the Ginger Snaps at Trader Joe's. Whole Foods also has awesome Gluten Free Ginger Snaps.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Frustration is an understatement.

I am so overly irritated right now.

I tried eating a semi-normal meal last night (a few bites of fish, a few bites of steak, and some pasta salad) ... and it went right through me.


And again today, all day ... upset stomach with food going through me.

I took a nap because I was so miserable and when I woke up, I called my doctor's office but they were closed.

My culture should be back tomorrow (I'm guessing) and I hope to get some answers to my stomach problems.

This is day thirteen.


I've been patient enough.

Patient is getting really old.

This is so, so, so frustrating.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Gift of Time

Today, I was given the gift of time.

Time to think.

Time to react.

Time to choose kindness.

I hate, hAtE, HATE being late for things ... and after frantically showering, running errands and baking a pie (okay, I actually just bought a Remlinger Farms pie and baked/heated it - but it takes 70 minutes to 'bake' and I think that's just as good as baking it from scratch), I dashed out the door to make it to my parent's house in time for dinner.

I jumped in my car and headed out the door with 30 minutes to get there. 

No problem.

I was about 20 minutes from home when Jay called.

He called to tell me that he left his keys in my car and needed them to go to his football BBQ with the other coaches. I quickly said, "Ok, I'll be right there" and heard him say, "I'm sorry sweetie" as hung up the phone, not waiting for his response.

I was mad.

I was irritated.

This was going to make me late for my dinner.

Not to mention an extra 40 minutes of driving.

As I headed back home, I starting thinking about all the time I was wasting.

All the gas I was using.

Everyone would be eating without me.

I'd show up late. How disrespectful.

About half-way home ... something happened.

I thought about the remorse in Jay's voice. He felt terrible. He understood the inconvenience of having me drive all the way back home. He knew my dinner was important to me. He had seen my excitement as I left the house.

All of a sudden it dawned on me ... my reaction to this situation could really make a difference in this situation.

And I chose kindness.

I thought about all the times I had inconvenienced someone. It really does feel terrible, and no one means to do it. I remembered all the times the other person had said, "No problem" or "I understand" or "Don't worry about it" or "I know you didn't mean to."

And I decided to do the same today. 

So when I pulled up to my house, I decided that I'd treat Jay with the same kindness that I have appreciated.

He came outside. And as I rolled down my window, he said, "I'm so sorry babe. I'm so spacey today."

I said, "No big deal honey ... no one was hurt. Here are your keys, have fun at your BBQ."

Jay smiled, and his face said a thousand words. I know he was grateful for my reaction. I could see it on his face.

And he said, "You look so cute today. I like your hair curly like that." Like he was really seeing me for the first time today.

You know what ... kindness feels great.

Incredible India

I am totally obsessed with the photography in India's Incredible India ad campaign.

The Department of Tourism, Government of India has won many awards for their print media.

I've seen the ads occasionally in the Pacific Northwest magazine in the Seattle Times Sunday paper. You can also find them in higher-end travel magazines.

These are a few of my favorites.

Their beauty takes my breath away ...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

You Know You're Lazy When ...

... you eat dinner, read a magazine, shower, sit down and watch the entire Women's Olympics Marathon as they run their butts off.

You go girls!

Amazing ... I am in awe of you all.


I had this for dinner tonight.

It was amazing (and you know how picky I am about my food - especially meat). I ate one piece of chicken and gave the rest to Cooper - lucky dog. Hey ... I ate one piece of chicken ... that's actually progress for me.

Pacific Foods Organic Chicken & Penne Pasta Soup.

The vegetables were good, the chicken was white and quality, the noodles were great and the soup tasted excellent.

Two nights ago, I had Amy's No-Chicken Noodle Soup and that was good too.

But the soup I had tonight was better (for you meat eaters).


The Update (you didn't know you wanted)

You've asked for updates ...

... but this one, you may not want to read (this is your warning, and my disclaimer if you get grossed out).

If you read below, you'll see that I went way to aggressive with my dinner last night. 

I knew it, and did it anyway.

This morning, I thought I'd introduce eggs. So for breakfast, I had toast and two egg whites.


My breakfast literally just went right through me.

Allow me to express my feelings:



So my update: I'm really irritated, annoyed and I'm sick of being sick. However, my attitude is good (though not shown in this post) and I've read a lot of books. I just really want to enjoy myself is all.

This is getting really, rEaLlY, REALLY old!

Food, Like A Drug

Many of you know that I haven't been eating solid foods for a few days (because of a parasite-friend I may (or may not) have brought back from Mexico).

I'm here with an update.

For the 1st 24 hours I was to only eat/drink liquids: apple juice, jello, chicken broth, iced tea, water, etc.

For the next 24 hours, I was on the BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. 

For the next 24 hours, I was to stay away from harsh foods which are difficult for your tummy to digest (salad, dairy, peanut butter, anything with trans-fats, etc.).

Yesterday was my 1st day with 'normal' food. But I was still really hesitant:
Breakfast: 2 graham crackers, applesauce and a banana
Lunch: dry toast and some no-chicken noodle soup
Dinner: I went ALL OUT (not something I recommend to anyone).

Jay and I were over at my parent's house out on their boat last night and we all ordered Pagliacci Pizza & Salad. Okay, two bad things here: salad & cheese. Hmmm ... how was my stomach going to react?

I kinda went crazy for someone who hadn't eaten anything substantial in 4 days. I ate some salad and two pieces of pizza. You can only imagine how full I was (after eating so little).

I'll tell ya what it did to me ... it put me into a drug-like induced freakin' comma (not knowing from personal experience, but what I've seen on Intervention). 

I passed OUT!

After doing the dishes, I walked from the kitchen to the couch and passed out for 2 hours! I'm talking the kind of sleep where you have no idea what's going on around you. I woke up groggy, my legs were heavy and my equilibrium was totally off. It was very weird.

I went home, and slept with very vivid, random, dreams (ferry boats being towed by semis floating in the sky, the world being attacked by 'something' resembling the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man, me dancing in front of a bunch of people but not knowing the routine, etc).

Like I said, weird.

Needless to say, I'm back to bland foods today because my stomach hates me again. It's gurgly and irritated and I'm pretty sure, quite pissed at me. 

My culture should come back from the lab on Monday or Tuesday to see if I brought back a 'friend' from Mexico. 

We shall see.

Until then .... it's bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and all other things easy to digest!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cancun - Seen Through The Eyes Of A Disposable Camera

We finally got our disposable camera pictures developed! 

I feel so 80's!

This is my favorite picture of Tulum because check me out. I'm the girl with the [cheesy] hat on (the left-hand side of the picture). My dress is totally hiked up to the bottom of my butt. Click on the picture for a sweet close-up!

Don't judge me ... it was 95 degrees with 90% humidity. You'd do it too! Plus, I was going with the 'I'll never see these people again' theory.

Oh yes ... the cheesy hats we had to buy at Tulum because we forgot ours. What's a trip without some cheesy souvenirs?

Another very cheesy photo with a cheap disposable camera. We are at an outdoor (read: BOILING HOT) market. My hair looks exceptionally good here. :)

This is pretty much all I did. Read and lay.
That's about all. 

Disposable cameras suck people!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Poop Talk

Update Below ...

Warning: this email talks about bowel movements; particularly: mine.

I don't make it a habit to talk about bowel movements with people ... but this is getting a bit ridiculous.

I have had diarrhea for 8 days now. 

Eight days people!

I am miserable.

Whatever I eat goes right through me. I'm at the point where I'm afraid to eat.

No medicine has worked.

I lose about 2 pounds a day (which I wouldn't normally complain about, but feeling like this is no fun!).

At this point, I'm thinking I may have brought something back from Mexico with me.

I have a very high tolerance for pain (I get this from my mom) ... so if I'm complaining, I've probably had said ailment for quite some time.

For example, I complained of a stomach ache once and ended up having E. coli poisoning.

I do get stomach aches quite often, but if I'm telling you about it, I've had it for a long time and it's to the point that I can't handle the pain anymore.

So ... I'm complaining.

I have a doctor's appointment at 2:15 today and I'm really eager to hear what they have to say.

* Update: Went to the doctor. Was put on an all-liquid diet for 24 hours. Therefore, all I can think about is solid food. Pizza. Shrimp salad. Pancakes. Sushi. 

I need to return with a fecal specimen sample (sorry about that visual) to see if I have a parasite. Until then, I can introduce bland foods after my 24-hour all-liquid diet.

So all of you out there eating a "real" delicious dinner tonight ... think of me. I'm eating jello jigglers, and drinking chicken broth. Washed down with water & a cup of apple juice. With a dessert of root beer popsicles.


And may I recommend Pacific Foods (Free Range) Organic Chicken Broth for your next all-liquid diet or cooking needs! Yummy!

Thanks to everyone who has commented and/or called to see if I need anything! I am loved.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I have a HUGE problem ...

... with the McDonald's commercials being aired during the Olympics. 

You know what I'm talking about.

Olympic athletes stating how healthy the new chicken sandwiches are. 

"Get up early ... start your day with a chicken sandwich!"

I know that McDonald's donates like a gazillion dollars to the Olympics ... but give me a break!

I can guarantee you NONE of the athletes are waking up and 'fueling themselves' with a McDonald's breakfast.

Does this bother anyone else besides me?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Healthy Family Favorites - IT'S HERE!

I'm so excited to let you know that my mom's book is ready to be sold!

Her cookbook is titled HEALTHY FAMILY FAVORITES: A Fresh Approach To Eating Great Food and it's a compilation of all the recipes we grew up on ... with a healthy and personal twist. Each recipes comes with a little story about who it's from and why it's special. My mom has always cooked healthily, without sacrificing taste (trust me, I know ... her family members have been her taste-testers and guinea pigs for 32 years!).

This book has been a joy for her to write (she's already working on her 2nd one!).

If you're interesting in buying one (or more!), please let me know. Her books is $16.95 +tax for a total of $18.48. If you're interested, I'll let you know how to buy it (write a check and I'll deliver it to you [if you're local] or we can work out shipping.

At this point, you'll have to just take my word for it that it's a good book full of great, healthy, flavorful, easy-to-make recipes. I can also show you a copy of her book to see if you'll like it (you will).

Her books will be sold in local PCC stores and other places (to be announced) but if you want one now ... please let me know. 

I know you won't be disappointed.

Seriously ...

I have been home from Cancun for 8 hours. 

I have been awake for 2 hours.

I have been watching the Olympics for 11 eleven minutes.

I have cried 3 times.

These commercials sure tug at your heart-strings!

Sun Palace Resort

We had such an amazing time on our trip.

The weather was beautiful and the customer service at Sun Palace remains unparalleled in all my traveling experiences.

Jay and I had a wonderful time together. It was so nice to relax and get pampered. We've decided that when we are stressed next year (from teaching full-time and going to school at night), we will remember our time in Cancun. 

Here are a few pictures that I found on the internet which will have to make-do until we get our old fashioned disposable cameras developed.

Sun Palace Resort 
(looking North at the Hotel District)

The view from our hotel room.
A little piece of heaven.
Sun Palace Resort

Cancun - Day #8

I didn't sleep at all last night, so Jay was sweet enough to go down to the lobby and ask for a late check-out. 

I laid in bed till noon (while Jay swam in the water and found two shark teeth - the highlight of his trip, I'm sure of it), and then started the packing process.

We made it down to the lobby at 1:00 for our check-out. We ate lunch, walked around and shopped until our shuttle picked us up at 3:00 pm. We made it to the airport and checked in with ease.

On one of my many trips to the bathroom while waiting for our flight, I found an 'unattended bag' tucked behind the toilet of my stall. Weird.

Going against everything I've been taught since 9/11, I opened up the 'unattended bag' to see if I could find someones ID. No luck, though I didn't dig far because I started thinking about bombs.

I walked the bag to security. They quickly took the bag from me and thanked me for returning it to them. They informed me (in broken English) that it's not a good idea to pick up a bag that isn't mine and asked me if I've ever heard of Arsenic. Um ... yah ... and I don't want to come in contact with it. Point taken.

Our flight from Cancun to LA was the most turbulent flight I've ever taken. I have no fear of flying, but Jay does ... and sometimes his anxiety rubs off on me. When you see someone taking deep breaths, gripping their armrests and fighting back tears ... it's hard not to think 'Is there something I should be worried about?' 

I was actually legitimately scared at one point. Dropping (fast) through the sky is not fun. But we arrived safely and then had a wonderful flight into SeaTac.

Thanks to Melaine for picking us up so late and getting us home safely.

Cancun - Day # 7

I slept in this morning because I had such a rough night of sleeping. 

Our friend's Steven and Kirsten got married the day we left for our trip, so we sadly missed their wedding ... but alas ... we found out their were honeymooning in Cancun.

Hey ... nothing like crashing a honeymoon!

Steven and Kirsten came over to our hotel and we spent the day with them, reading, laying, giggling, hearing stories of their wedding, and swimming in the Caribbean. It was wonderful to catch up with them. They live in California and I never feel like I get to see them enough.

This was our last full day in Cancun, so we all got dressed up and went to a fancy restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we went to a show our hotel was putting on, and then back to the restaurant for dessert. 

Allow me to be so humble as to say I had also been running to the bathroom all day today, and yesterday. Good times.

Steven and Kirsten stayed long enough to see more sea turtles come up to lay their eggs, then we all called it a night. Well ... everyone else did ... my fun of not-sleeping was just beginning.

Cancun - Day #6

We're home!

We landed at 1:00 am last night and I finally rolled into bed around 3:00 am.

I need to update you on our last few days. I got a strong case of Montezuma's Revenge the last few days of our vacation ... so blogging was the last thing on my mind.

Day #6: The day after going to Tulum was really rough for me. I was unbelievably tired all day. Like walking from the ocean to the pool was way out of the question. All I did was lay in the shade and read. I had to force myself to eat. I totally felt blah and out-of-sorts. It was really weird. 

I meandered through the day and relished in my laziness while indulging myself in hours of reading under the umbrella at the beach. Wonderful.

After dinner, I fell asleep right away. Jay woke me up around 10:45 pm to tell me that a bunch of Sea Turtles were coming out of the water and making their way up the beach. We quickly went down to the beach to find a bunch of other guests, one biologist, and one volunteer watching the natural marvel of what was taking place.

Each year between May and September, sea turtles make their way up the beach to lay their eggs (they return to the same place each year - amazing). Here's what I learned:
  • Sea Turtles are pregnant for 2 weeks
  • It takes them about an hour to lay their eggs (an average of 100 eggs)
  • While Mama is laying her eggs, she is in a trance-like state and has no awareness of what is going on around her
  • The entire process (finding their spot, digging a hole, laying their eggs, resting burying their eggs, returning to the ocean) takes about 3-4 hours
  • Once they lay their eggs, the mama sea turtle never returns to check on them
  • Each hotel employees their own biologists. If not, the government does (they are an endangered species)
  • When the eggs are laid, they are quite soft. They calcify within 12-24 hours which is the window of time that the biologists need to re-bury them. 
  • The sex of the turtle depends on the temperature of the sand it's buried in. Lower nest temperatures produce more males; higher temperatures produce more females.
So here is what we did
  • We watched a Sea Turtle find her spot and dig her hole. I was tired just watching her.
  • Once she started laying her eggs, the biologist collected her eggs as they came out. I actually got to witness this. It was truly amazing. Brought tears to my eyes and goose-bumps to my arms. Since the turtle is in a trance, the biologist let us come up to watch, in small groups of four.
  • The biologist collected the eggs in a bag and then re-bury them in a fenced-off area where they won't be disturbed by people on the beach.
I felt so honored to be a part of this beautiful experience.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cancun - Day #5

Ok ... today was a struggle.

We took a day-trip to a Mayan ruin called Tulum. Don't get me wrong, it was BEAUTIFUL (I'm sure our disposable camera got some killer pictures). But it was REALLY long and REALLY hot.

We woke up way to early for being on vacation and met a group of people to catch a bus to the ruins. We rode the bus for 2 hours (read: lots of people, hot, sticky, etc.), and arrived at the ruins. We walked around in the 95 degree sun (with shoulders and chests that did not need any more sun), with 90% humidity for 2 hours, listening to our tour guide talk about the Mayan culture (so cool!), their history, and way of life. We learned a ton.

Let's be straight though. I was miserable. 

First of all, I hate sunscreen. A lot. I hate sticky. And I hate sweating (don't I sound like fun to be around right now?). Every time I wanted to complain, I didn't. I reminded myself that come December, I will be walking around in Africa

At one point, Jay looked at me and said, "How come you're being so quiet?" 

And I said, "Because I'm trying not to complain. And my parents taught me if I didn't have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all. Actually, I do have something to say, it's really pretty here! See ... aren't I being pleasant? Oh, and babe, you owe me ... I really 'took-one' for the team today."

You see ... Jay could not come to Cancun without seeing the ruins. And I don't blame him. They were very cool. But come on people, everyone was miserable.

After 2 hours of walking around (oh, we bought cheesy hats to shield our faces from the sun), we had a sweet reward. We swam in the Caribbean Sea with Tulum looming behind us. It was breath-taking. After a quick dip, we met back up with our bus and they drove us 1 hour to a hotel for lunch. We ate, we swam, and I took a nap in the shade. At 4:45 we loaded back onto the bus and made it back to our hotel at 6:15. 

Happy to be back at our hotel, we showered and went to dinner. Afterwards, we went to the lobby bar and joined everyone for a night of kaeroki (sp). Jay sang Milli Vanilli's "Blame It On The Rain." It was beautiful. :)

We are looking forward to a relaxing day tomorrow. Some friends of ours are honeymooning down here and they are joining us at our hotel.

Another great day in paradise.

Until tomorrow .... 

Love, Lisa & Jay

P.S. No matter how is sounds ... I did love the ruins. Can't wait to show you pictures.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cancun - Day #4

Hey all ... you know when you've been on vacation a few days and the sun catches up with you (read: you're really, rEaLlY, REALLY tired)? 

Yah ... that's us tonight. 

We're lame-o's. No night-life tonight.

The weather was beautiful today. 

I did the same: read, lay, eat, rest.

Jay did the same: lay, body-surf, run.

Tomorrow we have an all-day tour to Tulum. We have to be in the lobby at 7:40am and we return to our hotel at 6:00. Will be a long day ... but really fun.

We are truly having a blast in Cancun. This place is beautiful, and Jay are having a blast together.

Every day they have contests in the pool. Today, volunteers were to throw a tennis ball into a bucket (placed in the middle of the pool). Whoever makes the ball in the bucket wins a free week's stay.

Knowing Jay's throwing skillz, I volunteered him. And you'd never guess who won? Out of about 30 contestants, Jay was the ONLY one to make it into the bucket (which ... oddly enough was actually a Darth Vader helmut, turned upside down, but for blogging-sake I thought it easier to just say 'bucket'). 

Anyway, we found out that the actual prize was not a free week (lairs!). When, in reality, Jay won a Sun Palace (the name of our hotel) plastic visor, Sun Palace plastic water-bottle (can you say BPA?), and a Sun Palace frisbee. 


Tomorrow will be a great day too. I hope to have more energy to tell you about it. :)

We love you all ....

Love, Lisa & Jay

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cancun - Day #3

Today was another day of laying for me. ;)

I layed, read, swam, and drank. No napping today. 

Jay on the other hand was his usual energetic self. While I read, he body-surfed again. While I read, he played a game of beach volleyball. While doing so, all I could think about was how many calories he was burning ... next to how many calories I was taking-in while drinking my Strawberry Daiquiri. 

Ah ... life is good. 

We signed up for a trip to Tulum for Wednesday. 

Tonight we ate at a wonderful restaurant and were introduced to Mexican Coffee. It's a drink with Kahlua, Tequila, Coffee and garnished with a dallop of vanilla ice cream (my favorite part). I think I'm in heaven.

Can you just see the calories piling up? 

We went to a celebrity impersonation show tonight. On the posters throughout our hotel, they show Micheal Jackson, Shakira, Madonna and the Pussy Cat Dolls. I really wanted to see the Pussy Cat Dolls. I mainly wanted to see how tight their butts were. :) Jay wanted to see Sharika (I'm sure to see her butt too). Sadly, they didn't show up. But we DID see Michael Jackson and Christina Aguilara. The dancers were great (Christina's butt was a little big). I'm only saying this because in order to be an impersonator, I believe you need to be authentic. This is turning into an entire paragraph revolving around other people's rear-ends. Jeez.

Superficial Section:
  • Refer to bullet #2 of yesterday's post. Still seeing a lot of that. It clearly fasinates me. Jay finally said, "What's up with couple's in Cancun? They give hope to all mediocre-looking men." I thought that comment was funny.
  • I snuck a picture of the hairest man I've ever seen. When we get back and get our pictures developed (yes, we broke-down and bought a disposable camera), I'll post the picture ... and you'll see. 
That about sums up day #3. Tomorrow should be a lot of the same.

P.S. I'm not quite sure what's up with me being so superficial since I've been down here, but I'm just taking it for what it is. I like to call it "being observant of others."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cancun - Day #2

Today was a great day in paradise. 

Mom, I wore sunscreen the entire day ... reapplying liberally many times throughout the day. Still managed to get a little to much sun on my chest. 

Understatement: Jay ... is a lobster. I have no idea how. He wore sunscreen all day. 

Jay cracks me up. He is such a kid. He layed in the sun for a bit, but mainly swam, body-surfed and even jogged the beach. I on the other hand did the following (in no particular order): ate, layed, swam, read, napped. Yep ... that's about it. Read: NO physical activity. Oh wait ... that's a lie. Here is our conversation going down to the beach this morning:

Lisa: You know, once when my family and I stayed in Puerta Vallarta, the elevator was broken, so we had to walk up-and-down 6 flights of stairs every time we went to our room. But when I left, my butt was sore and I think a bit tighter.

Jay: Cool, do you want to take the stairs down to the beach?

Lisa: Yah, we're on the eighth floor ... that would be a great workout.

Conversation this afternoon on our way back up to our room from the beach:

Lisa: If you think I'm walking up the stairs right now ... your frinkin' crazy!

Jay: (giggling) Ok, we'll take the elevator. (Smart man).

Needless to say ... my only physical activity today has been walking down eight flights of stairs.

Superficial Section:
  • I saw the hairiest man I've ever seen in my entire life today.
  • The couples here are very interesting. The chicks are way better-looking than the dudes they're with (we would be one example of this). Joking. No I'm not. Yes I am. :)
  • The people who work for the resort are really nice. When you thank them, they say, "It is my pleasure." I just love that. I think I'm going to start saying that once I get back to the states.
  • There are a lot of couples from the south. Woman hardly speak at all. We sat near a table of two couples (from the south) at dinner tonight. I was facinated by them. The women couldn't get a word-in to save their lives. At one point, Jay told me to stop looking at them, and look at him. Oops. 
Oh, this was an actual conversation we had at dinner tonight. Thought you'd appreciate it:

Lisa: (giggles)
Jay: What's so funny?
Lisa: I think in my blog tonight, I'm going to include a section of my post called SUPERFICIAL SECTION, because I've been having some really shallow thoughts today.
Jay: Good idea, are you going to include that we say the hairiest dude ever today?
Lisa: Babe ... don't doubt me ... of course I am.

We had the most amazing dessert drink tonight. It was regular coffee with some Tequila and a ball of vanilla bean ice cream on top. HEAVEN.

That just about wraps up day number two. We're entertaining the idea of going into town tomorrow to buy a camera. Jay bought a disposable camera today, but insists on having a real one when we see the ruins.

Again ... no spellcheck to excuse any errors

Much love to you all ... from Cancun ... Lisa & Jay

P.S. I know there is something I'm forgetting from day #1 because I thought of it last night but now, of course, I can't think of it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hello Cancun!

We've made it to Cancun!

We've been up since 2:45 am (thanks again to Joe for taking us to the airport at such a terrible time). Our flights were smooth, minus some flying anxiety - but I won't name names (not me). The take-offs are hard for Jay (oops, just named names) but he was a trooper and we made it to paradise.

We're staying at the most beautiful all-inclusive resort. Here's the thing with all-inclusive resorts ... you have to eat and drink A LOT in order to make up for the cost. So ... not wanting to waste any money (of course), we've been eating and drinking since we arrived! 

Our room overlooks the Caribbean. The water is turquoise, warm and perfect. Our room is on the top floor and overlooks the beautiful pool and ocean. Not too shabby, I say!

Tonight while we were eating dinner, we noticed a bunch of people crowded together, down at the beach. We quickly finished our dinners and ran down (with our drinks) to see what everyone was doing. They had a large container of baby sea turtles (that hatched yesterday)! It was so cool. We each took one in our hands, named it (mine was Calvin, Jay's was Slyvester) and released them back to the ocean. Jay and I felt bad about participating in this event, but were equally drawn to it at the same time. The baby sea turtle's chances of living are very slim due to its predators and we couldn't help but think we were interfering with the natural cycle of life.

With that said, it was a very cool experience; one we will never forget, but also probably won't do again.

We're sitting in the lobby bar right now (making up for the cost of the trip - mixed drink anyone?) and we're waiting for the "Welcome Show." I'm sure I'm 'that dork' in the corner with her laptop. I don't care man ... I'm blogging to my friends! All the newlyweds are looking at me (you know ... cuz newlyweds totally look at other people on their trip?!?) probably wondering why I'm on my computer sitting in the middle of paradise.

Here's our first comedy of errors ... the camera we brought has a dead battery. Jay tried charging it all night but apparently it doesn't hold a charge anymore. So ... in order to get a picture, the camera actually needs to be plugged into an outlet. Practical? I think NOT! Funny? You betcha!

We'll be camera-hunting tomorrow.

Hmmm .... apparently blogger won't let me upload a picture (no worries, don't have one anyway!) or use spellcheck ... so sorry for any errors.

We're looking forward to a really relaxing week together. Updates tomorrow (but probably no pictures) ... 

Love, Lisa & Jay

P.S. I know we sound like total alcoholics ... but if you know us, you know this is out of character ... which also makes it really fun!
P.P.S. Jay loves the (complimentary) slippers they provide in our room. He wants to bring a set back for everyone. I'll talk him out of it by the time our week is over. You're welcome.