Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Fall...Wait! What?! It's July!!!

We are experiencing unseasonably mild temps right now.  We had a wonderful Fall weekend for the last weekend of July! 

Now, I am a Fall girl all the time; HOWEVER, since we are living at a beach, and we leave in just over a month, I do want my time in the sun at the water! 

For Saturday's Habitat painting, the cooler temps were ideal!  The windows were open, allowing in fresh air to whisk away any paint fumes, and we could wear jeans (which provided some protection to my knees which took a little beating crawling along the floors while painting base boards).  

On Sunday, while Chris started some packing, I baked Pumpkin Cranberry bread!  Mmmmm...perfect Fall flavor combo!!  We watched Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic, followed up with Hope Floats.  We drank coffee and had all the windows open ~~ I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that we wouldn't be able to find a pumpkin patch in which to walk around!  

But out we went and took a little trip into Valpo to walk around Ogden Gardens, before returning home to have a small bonfire!  

All in all, a productive, fulfilling and delicious weekend!

Habitat for Humanity

On Saturday, I accomplished one of my Bucket List items.

Chris and I, and our friend, Sandra, along with my friend, Lisa, volunteered at a Habitat for Humanity house.

It all began on the drive to the Dirty Girl Mud Run at the end of last month.  Lisa works for Habitat and during our long drive, it came up that helping out at one of the builds would be another fun group event.

We tried to arrange a weekend that worked for most, if not all of us, but nothing was jelling.  So, I just told Lisa what worked for me & Chris.  Initially, Sandra was going to be out of town, but her plans changed and she was able to join us after all.

Up like a regular workday, we grabbed some coffee at a gas station and headed west to Hammond, not really knowing what to expect, other than we would be indoors painting.

Between the 4 of us, Chris & I did the trim work and Lisa & Sandra had the walls of the 3 bedrooms.  Yep, Chris & I had the somewhat painstakingly detailed duties!  We used mud putty on the nails, taped the 3 windows and got to work painting the base boards and trim of all 3 bedrooms (to include 2 closets ~~ which for some reason had trim INSIDE around the door frame!!) plus the front and back of the 3 6-paneled doors.  Only our first bedroom allowed us to be a tad "sloppy" as Lisa & Sandra were coming after us to paint the walls.  But in the other 2, we had to be precise and careful.  Ingenious guy that he is, Chris searched out and found a piece of wood trim that he could use when painting the outside of the trim, so as not to run onto the wall paint.

At the end of our day, Chris & Lisa did a bit of painting in the kitchen, too, then we rinsed our brushes and rollers ... and ourselves a bit. 

The home's future owner was there, too, along with a friend of hers.  They were doing the trim work in the living room and along the hallway.

As we were leaving, she came to thank us and gave us a hug!

It was a fulfilling experience.  One that we plan to repeat in Colorado!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Full Moon Carousing

Gorgeous full moon this month, Full Buck Moon, to be precise! 

On Monday (the day of the week named in honor of the Bella Luna), we walked to the beach to bask in her beauty!  We took a stroll along the water's edge while bathed in the moonlight.

Last nite, however, the weather took a bit of a turn to much cooler temps, so we decided to do what anyone in their right mind would and we headed next door for some nekkid hot tub time!  Yep, we did!!!  There was a very delicious breeze, which made being in the 102 degree temps even more inviting.

And after a really hard workout, my muscles thank me for the relaxing heat!

Tonite, if The Guys aren't yet back from their Ireland vacay, we are headed back!

Healed....Almost Back to 100%

Luna's split came off yesterday!  WooHoo!

She isn't really using her right leg...yet, so she's a bit of a tripod.  But you should see her ~~ that little girlie can move! 

Monday morning and this morning, she hid under the bed because I think she was worried that she would be put in the dreaded carrier.  Poor thing!  After once a week for the past 4 weeks, I don't blame her!  We had to chase her down yesterday. 

So, it shouldn't be too long before she tests the waters and is putting weight on the injured foot. 

But it will be another 2 weeks, at least, until we put the ladder to the loft back in place! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Place to Call Home....Home on the Range!

We found a rental in Colorado!!! 

After being surprisingly (and a bit disappointedly) turned down for a townhouse, I have found us an even better one!!!  Thank you, Mama Goddess!!!

We will be living, for at least our first year, in Longmont!

Two bedroom, two & a half bathroom townhome with a fireplace, washer & dryer and one-car garage.  It has an unobstructed southern view of the Range!!!  No one behind us!!!  And, the complex has a pool & gym! 

We will be able to run outdoors and do strength training in the fitness area!  Plus, we have our punching bag that we will hang!

I cannot tell you how relieved I am to have this part of the process complete!  We will now have a forwarding address! 

On to the remainder of our pretty long checklist, like getting a moving pod, ending dates for utilities, beginning dates for utilities, oil changes for our cars, brakes for Chris's car...packing.  I could go on, but I won't!

It's all great stuff and we couldn't be happier for this, our next adventure!

We MIGHT even move a week earlier than planned!

I'm so giddy!  Must be tonite's full moon!! 

Blessed be.

Friday, July 19, 2013

What to Eat Now: Watermelon

I would eat watermelon everyday if it was available! 

Not kidding!

I love, love, love it!

I picked up 2 seedless beauties the other day for only $2.99 each!

When I got home from the gym yesterday, Chris was cutting up half of one!  I could smell it when I walked in!

I had decided while at work that I would make a watermelon salad.

Here's what I threw together:

Watermelon, Tomato, Onion & Blueberries
With a little bit of balsamic vinaigrette.

I let it sit overnite in the fridge so all the flavors & juices would blend together.

I am just now trying it for my work lunch ~~ Holy Yum! 

The only thing that might make it over-the-top is some pungent cheese!!!  (Guess I know what we'll be picking up at the store this weekend...along with more almond milk!)

Happy Summer Eating!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

While looking for jobs in Boulder today, I came upon an assistant producer for a web-based talk show, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, which is perfect for Chris...and almost perfect for me!

The host, Waylon Lewis, is a 2nd generation Buddhist, born and raised in Boulder. 

He lives and breathes and shares mindfulness!  Ahhh!!  It speaks to my soul!

I am encouraging Chris to apply for the paid gig! 

I have also emailed them to say that I would love for Chris to apply and that if they hire him, they get me for free!  An intern/volunteer, whatever you call it!  A groupie!  A roadie! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Beach Time

We have enjoyed much time at the beach this long holiday weekend! 
The weather couldn't have been better!  Not too hot and not too humid.
We have strolled along the water's edge and walked in the water along the sand bars.
Also, super cool ~~ there is a shipwreck at Ogden Dunes!!!  Part of the ship is visible!!  When we first moved here, we thought it was part of an old pier, but Ken informed us otherwise during our first dinner at The Guys'.  Tonite, we walked amid the wreckage!!!  We touched the wood ... we were touching history!!!  Awesome!
So, we are going to do our best to get up early in the mornings to walk the beach and catch some sunrises.  And, after we get home from the gym or any other after-work activities, we are going to walk to the beach to enjoy the sunsets. 
This evening, we were down there for about 3 hours.  Just laying on our beach towels listening to the waves gently lap the shore.
We want to take advantage of being so close to the water and the sand while we have it practically at our door step!
We are sure going to miss it! 

Here is info from the Ogden Dunes Historical Society:

And here is a YouTube video taken at a time when ALOT of the ship was exposed:

4th of July ~ Ogden Dunes style

We began our last 4th of July in northwest Indiana by taking a walk to the beach to see the sandcastle contest, which was being judged by our neighbors, The Guys.  Some great entries, to include a "mixed media" where a teenage girl had the tail of a mermaid and was surrounded by an octopus.  She won first place!  There was also a little guy who made a dump truck, complete with debris like sticks & twigs, as a beach clean-up truck.  He got 2nd place!  And if I'm not mistaken, third place went to a giant Blackhawks head!  There were many sharks and sandcastles, even a beach bar with female bartender and drinks!!!
It was a gorgeous morning and a walk on the beach was the perfect way to begin our holiday!
We spent several hours in the afternoon in the Four Seasons with Chris's family.  We went straight to his parents b/c the parade was underway and blocking our access to the picnic area.  While we spent longer than we would have liked at the house, we did get the chance to chat with Chris's sister, whom we never see when she is visiting.
We were able to visit with Chris's grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins for a couple of hours, which may very well be the last time we see them before the move to Colorado.  It was so nice to see Mama, Chris's grandmother! 
Then it was time to hot foot it back to Ogden Dunes for cocktails at The Guys' place followed by fireworks at the beach.  We met our neighbors Jim & Erin while at the house and look forward to seeing their place before we leave.  Erin was very sweet as she was so sad we were leaving and she had only just met us.
So, several of the beach house people of Ogden Dunes provide fireworks!  BIG TIME!  (Like $40,000 worth!!!)  We sat on the beach with fireworks displays going off to our left and to our right!  Plus, there were some more up and down the beach!!!  Just as the sun was setting, a firedancer performed right at the water's edge, too!  We also saw several lit Chinese lanterns take flight over the water!!!  It was pretty magical!
I do believe this was our most favorite 4th of July fireworks EVER! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dirty Girl Mud Run 2013

This past Saturday, June 29th, I had the pleasure of participating in the Dirty Girl Mud Run event at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake, Illinois, with 10 fabulous ladies from many different avenues of my life.

Several months ago, I created an event on Facebook to get others to join me in this crazy adventure!!  I decided to call us "Team DRRRty GRRRls" as a tribute to our gym's circuit, Team GRRR!!

I was honored to be joined by: 3 CPHS alums: Lisa Brower, Mary Crawford and Sonja Samuelson; 3 gym mates: Robin Campbell, Roberta Rewers and Carla Zavaladriga; 1 co-worker and her mom: Jessica and Alice; a very dear friend: Sandra Marek; and Sandra's friend: Migdalia.

Sonja is a breast cancer survivor, so we were also Team Sonja!  And got pink bracelets from Sonja's last benefit (in 2012, I believe) in recognition.

What a day we had!  More than I could have imagined! 

We weren't competing, so we walked the entire 5K and enjoyed completing each obstacle as a group!!  We laughed, we joked, we had mud fights. 

We were covered, some WAY more than others (ay, Robin & Carla?!?), from head to toe in mud!  I have never been so dirty!  Nor had so much fun getting there!

Because we will have moved a couple weeks before, I won't be making my annual Pink Ribbon Society Breast Cancer Awareness Tea, so I was doing this event in its place. 

There was a team with shirts that said Dirty Hoohahs!  They were my favorite!  And another with hats and tails as beavers ~~ hence we referred to them after several of the mud obstacles as the Dirty Beavers! 

I have a tshirt, a necklace, photos and memories to commemorate and remind me of this amazing group of ladies and the most fun we could have getting our hoohahs dirty! 

"Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same." - Franz Schubert

Our Baby's Injury

On Sunday, June 23rd, after a quick grocery store run, we came home to find Luna had injured her right foot.  The poor thing was hiding in the corner of the loft.  We determined that her paw was damp from something and then Chris discovered it was VERY swollen.

When we were able to get a better look, we saw a cut on her paw, along with the swelling.  And, she couldn't/wouldn't put much pressure on it when she did walk. 

She didn't want to be on the main floor, even when we took the ladder to the loft down she just paced, so we let her walk up and down at her leisure, so long as she would rest.

We found one of our bedroom tables turned over, so we know she got her injury there.  We just don't know if her foot got stuck in the weave or if it fell on her.  Even Isis was acting differently, as if she was feeling guilty.  We suspect we had 2 little monkeys horsing around on the bed, most likely the headboard, and one little monkey got hurt!

I didn't get much rest that nite b/c I was concerned about her comings & goings, so I did spend about an hour sleeping with her.

Chris took her to the vet first thing Monday morning and an x-ray revealed her pinkie was broken.  So, she got a splint, an antibiotic shot (for the cut) and was sent home with a week's supply of pain reliever.  We were to bring her back in a week for a checkup.

Once back home, Chris took the ladder to the loft down as Luna is completely grounded for the 4 weeks (yes, 4 loooooong weeks) of the splint! 

The following Sunday, we again return home and find that she has messed with the splint to the point where it isn't even walkable and have to hold her down to cut it off!

Rather than taking her to the vet after work for her checkup, as I had planned, I had to take her first thing Monday morning for a new splint!  Sheesh!

This one was put on and secured higher up on her leg/shoulder.  I guess to try to avoid her getting it off again.  She isn't walking with it nearly as well.  Pretty much using her other 3 legs to get her where she needs to go.  But she is mostly laying around.  I think my baby is a bit depressed.  (Sad face here.....)

I believe this morning she was eyeing the loft and crying a bit to say she wanted up there, but we aren't giving in.  While she may manage getting up the ladder, I don't see how she could come down and we don't need any more broken bones, or other injuries!

(These 2 cats have cost us too many thousands of dollars in the past few months, what with Isis's iodine treatment followed by a urinary tract infection and now this!!!)

I wish I could bring Luna to work with me.  Even if she was just going to lay in the chair or on the floor, I would love to have her here with me, so I can love up on her and help her thru this difficult time. 

She was always bouncing around, anxiously awaiting each of our arrival's home, playing with her bell in the middle of the nite (when we have forgotten to put it on the shelf)...and I cannot wait to have my sleep interrupted for that sound and not the sound of the splint as she drags it across the ceramic tile.

I can't wait to again see my Lula Bean's face, waiting for me at the top of the stairs when I get home from my day.  Or bringing "String" or "Bell" (her 2 favorite toys) to one of us to play with her!!!

One of Life's Milestones

Last year I turned 40.  During my annual gynecological exam in August, my nurse practitioner reminded me that it was time for my first mammogram!  I received the order at the end of my appointment. 

I am still holding on to that order (well, I should be...I need to locate it)!!

I need to clarify one thing here, it's not just that I have been nervous ~my boobs are gonna be squished, for goodness sake~ but there was also a snafu with our insurance and my usual health care providers (I am dealing with billing issues for appointments in December last year and January this year).  But with our move getting closer and quitting our jobs right around the corner, I need to use my insurance benefit now. 

That said, I called for an appointment yesterday.  I am scheduled for next Wednesday (July 10th) at 11AM.

I am still nervous!  Which seems rather silly considering I have SIX tattoos!  I know pain!  I choose pain! 

On my drive to work this morning, mammogram on my mind, I remembered that for my mom's 40th birthday, we gifted her her first (& as it would turn out, thus far, her only) mammogram.  Where did the time go???  That was 1996!!  How could I be due...and now late...for this 40th milestone???

Can I admit I sorta wish my mom was here & not all the way in Florida, so she could talk me thru it, hold my hand, give me pain relievers after???? 

But, like so many milestones I have met and the rest that lay ahead for me, I will do this one by myself, without her. 

{She hasn't been a fan of any of my tattoos, either!  Not that she has any room to talk b/c she has 2 herself!}

Monday, July 1, 2013

Our last hurrahs in the Conch Republic!

Oh, yes, it's ladies nite!!  Oh, what a nite!!

Thursday was the BIG day!  We had reservations at Aqua Nightclub for the 7PM drag show!  

But before we get to our fantastically scandalous evening, let's touch on our day, shall we?  My mom wanted to see the Flagler Museum, so we made our way north, back to the bight/wharf.  We were pleased to find we could go right in and watch the videos about Henry Flagler and his rail line (check out this very important part of Key West...well, really, Florida...history if you are unfamiliar).  

On our slow stroll back to the condo, we stopped for some fries and a drink at this kooky little place called Bo's.

We enjoyed a lazy afternoon at "home" by cooking hot dogs on the grill and me heading to the pool while Mom & Chris napped!!

Then, it was time to get ready for the big show!!!

We had a little table reserved in our name and got to ordering our first round of drinks!  When the show began, we were raring to go and so were the queens!  Jessica Deveraux, Elle Taylor & Inga gave THE best drag show I have seen!  They were spot on in their performances and they came right out into the audience to dance, engage and make us all feel part of the nite!! 

Mom was having the time of her life!  She was giving me singles for tipping, laughing constantly and ordering several rounds of drinks!  Almost before we knew it, the show was done.

Fortunately, we were allowed to return for the 9PM show free of charge!!  Hell to the yeah, we were coming back!

In between shows, we headed to 801 Bourbon Bar for a drink.  (Bet you thought I was going to say The Bull, right??!!)

The 2nd show was just as spectacular as the first and completely different!  Ah-Maz-Ing!

Not sure how much money we went thru in singles...for some reason both my mom & I thought we had used all of ours up, but found more in our purses later!  It was as if our purses were growing dollar bills!!!  HA!

We are in love with all 3 queens!  My camera battery died during Elle's first performance of the first show, so we barely got any photos and zero of Inga!  But we were then completely engaged and present for both shows, rather than behind the camera lens! 

I received a friend request from Inga after we returned (I had posted what a good time we had on Aqua's FB page, so she commented there and sent the request!!!)  I then friended both Jessica and Elle.  I tagged Elle in a couple of the photos of her I shared and she even used one as her profile pic!  I just love her hair and will, most likely, take the pic of her the next time I get a haircut! 

Friday was Mom's day to fly back home.  We walked to Croissants de France for breakfast...many of my family members kept raving about the place.  The breakfast wasn't all that, in my opinion (I would rather have gone back to Blue Heaven for the Rooster Special), BUT the croissants we bought to eat later were the treat! 

It was sad to send my mom away in her taxi, but we had such a great visit that it was easier than the other times we have parted (usually when I am flying back home).  Chris & I were both so pleased that Mom really had a tremendous time and that she had the opportunity to relax away from all of her everyday cares in a place she has talked about visiting for many years!!!

Eventually, we headed back to Duval and walked around, ending up at The Bull for some more margaritas and people watching from one of the tables at the "window".   (I took one of the coasters which I have at my desk as a constant reminder of the laid back & fun times!)   We spent some down time at the condo with our plan to return to the 801 Bourbon Bar for their free 5PM cabaret-syle drag show.  We could have come back for a later show and then stuck around (for free) to the next, we were informed that each show gets a bit crazier (or should I say raunchier!!!) and that by the 11PM show, the queens may be nekkid!  But we knew we would be pretty worn out by late evening and planned to get up VERY early Saturday morning to watch the sun rise. 

After the show, we headed north to catch our last sunset.  We caught Catman's show again, too!!! 

Five (or was it 5:30) AM came pretty quickly!  But we got up & dressed, headed to the beach at the Southernmost Beach Cafe to sit in the sand and at the water to watch the sunrise (we knew we wouldn't see a great one b/c we weren't on the eastern part of the island, but we were making due).  It was pitch dark as we passed the Southernmost Point Mile Marker and headed to the beach. 

Can you believe the beach was locked?!? 

Well, we walked back to the Southernmost Point and climbed over the ledge to stand on the rocks jutting out and from there we watched the nite give way to dawn.

Then we headed back to the beach!!!  We walked along the water and then the pier.  While sitting at the end of the pier, Chris spotted a stingray!  We could also see a "mass" that could have been a school of fish or, perhaps, a small pod of dolphins, but it never came close enough for us to be sure.  

We walked around some more that morning.  I tried an iced Cuban coffee (made with coffee ice cubes ~ genius!) from this little coffe place near the bight, The Cuban Coffee Queen, I think.  We went to Croissants de France for a couple more rasberry coconut croissants (this time buying the day-olds for only $1) and coffee!  We also bought a turkey & swiss and ham & swiss croissants to eat during our layover in Tampa.  

We met a great guy, Allen, during our Key West - Tampa leg.  He & his partner live in Dayton, Ohio, where Allen is a hairstylist!!!  They seem like great guys and people we would enjoy living near and hanging out with!!!

It was a very full week, yet we were glad to return home to our girlies!     

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