Thursday, October 30, 2008

on a lighter note...

wonderfall from shemmy on Vimeo.


The election next week is the greatest of my generation, and I am honored to be able to go and cast my vote. This country, though faced with some very serious shit right now, is also facing a glimmer of something we ALL can believe in: hope for change. I know these words sounds almost cliche now; they've been run through the wringer in Senator Obama's campaign. But after eight years of uncertainty, disappointment, loss, and fear... well, I'd say change is a good thing. Who wouldn't?

A recent email message I received from a Republican voter was loaded with religious banter. And while I was raised a Christian, and while my belief in a higher power is strong and true, and while I know a number of delightful, passionate, loving people who consider themselves Christians, I do not believe religion should be a basis upon which to decree the law from the utmost seat of power in this country. I believe religion and politics should remain two separate entities. Yes, the Bible has some very important messages of hope and love and faith. But show me the passage where Jesus says abortion should be illegal, and the choice should be in the hands of a man. Show me where he says that because two people love and support and cherish each other dearly, but happen to be of the same sex, they have no right to be together in matrimony. Show me the passage where Jesus supported senseless wars and turned one sword into 5,000 so his people could teach a lesson or two to the enemies with a different belief system.

The Constitution, that great American document upon which this nation was founded, specifically outlines the separation of church and state. But unfortunately, this line seems to have blurred among certain candidates, and they feel it's appropriate to shove Christian doctrine into the political spectrum of this strong, free, multi-ethnic melting pot of a country. Want to bring the Bible into the school system? Awesome. But let's also bring in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Torah, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, the scriptures of Buddha, and the Book of Mormon. Because according to these powerful founding words, all men are created equal.

So my question is: Who Would Jesus Vote For?

Did Jesus say, hoard your wealth? Did Jesus say, shun your neighbor because he couldn't afford to go to college and therefore has an underpaying job and can't afford his own health insurance?

No. Jesus said, help the less fortunate. Jesus said, love thy neighbor.

To me, God is not some omnipotent white bearded old man on a cloud throne, doling out punishment with his index finger from up on high. To me, God is the strength and the light that exists within each of us. God is the feeling of hope.

And to me, hope for this country begins with Barack Obama.

There is one person for who I am casting my vote next Tuesday, because she will have to wait 17 years until she has the opportunity to do so.

She is the one who will be paying for this senseless war. She is the one who will not know Social Security benefits. She is the one for whom health care and higher education should be a right, not a privilege.

Vote Obama 2008, and may peace prevail on Earth.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

eLLe - 18 months

Dear Luciya,

First off, let's start by wishing a very happy, special birthday to Aunty Clancy.


Did you know that you and she share half-birthdays? Interesting, no? Which would mean that -- holy schnikeys -- you're A YEAR AND A HALF OLD. How? When? Whoooooo?

That picture of you and Clance was taken on that grand and whirlwind day, the day your daddy and I got married. And while that whole spectacle is now behind us (it's been nearly a month, which just blows my mind... and a giant THANK YOU to all of you who came to help us rejoice!), we are still not slowing down a bit. No siree. 

For starters, you are 18 months old. And this is supposed to be some kind of baby golden age, a milestone, a smack-dab testament to toddlerhood... and you certainly are not disappointing us. 

Where to begin.

For starters, your language acquisition is astounding. You repeating - or trying to repeat - the things your daddy and Tutu and Grams and I say. And it seems like, out of nowhere, this talking thing is no big whoop. You're now saying things like "me" and "mo" (more) and "pees" (please) and the biggest to date is "no." "No" like you mean it. Gone is the na-na-na babble; the other day I asked if you were done with your lunch and you looked at me pointedly and said "NO." As in N-O. As in, don't even think about taking that tray away from my high chair woman; even though you know I'd grab another handful of diced carrots or a noodle as you were taking it away, I am certainly not done. No.

You've also grown like the proverbial weed in the last few weeks, and your dada and I were kicking ourselves the other day when, after it SNOWED in Boise two days after we returned from our honeymoon and we decided to treat you to a new winter wardrobe at the Carter's outlet, we got home with our bundle of size 18-month clothing and realized that the majority of it is too small. Weren't you just swimming in size 18 month a couple weeks ago? Darn it!

Speaking of the honeymoon, which was luscious and relaxing and warm and sleepy and delicious, and which gave you and your Grams a chance to bond and giggle and get to know one another (thanks again, Grams!), we have decided that we are never again going to leave you for 9 days. Too long. Too far. I felt hollow without you around. And that moment we first laid eyes on each other, when I stepped in to your room as you were waking up from your nap, was surreal for both of us. We just stared at each other for a moment, and your face fell in confusion, and I said "it's Mama!" and you lit up like the sun. I'll never forget that happy moment. You literally light up my life.

And you're so funny lately! You're quite the ham. You love to cover an object with a blanket and then turn to me, palms up: where is it? You'll throw a scarf over your head and run around the room, and emulate the way I tickle you. You love to laugh, and you love for your dada and me to make you laugh. You're tickly and giggly and scrumptious. 

The past few weeks have been absolutely glorious, your mama's favorite season. The weather is crisp and clear and scented with fallen yellow leaves and pumpkin spice. We've taken advantage of the clean air and the changing colors and headed out to the parks and to the pumpkin patch. There, we took a hay ride and fed the goats and you rode on a pony and - such a big girl! - rode on the "cow train" all by yourself as the tractor looped around a dusty spot among the corn stalks. Of course, you nearly gave us a heart attack when you went to stand up in your cow-painted barrel, and I nearly ran to stop the train, but you sat back down, secure in your seat belt, and waved to us as you passed.

We are really having to watch ourselves lately, as you've become quite the little ape and have learned to imitate us around the house and in what we say. Today the song "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" was on the radio in the car and your dada belted out the first word and sure enough from the back seat we heard "dam!!!!" But you're learning good things, too, like the fact that garbage goes into the rubbish can. you can even discern what would be considered garbage and you'll pick up a miniscule crumb from the floor, toddle over to the can, lift the lid, and drop it inside. This afternoon you dropped your sippy cup and some milk spilled out on to the floor. No big deal (don't cry over it, hee hee), but the next thing we knew you had gone and retrieved the kitchen towel hanging on the stove and bent over to wipe it up! We were both amazed. You've also already shown signs of inheriting the somewhat anal-retentive organizing habits of your dada and me, and when we get you up from a nap or in the morning, you're careful to put your soft bunny, baby, and gnome rattle in the proper order in the corner of your crib.

You're still an amazing sleeper, sleeping 6:30 pm - 8:00 am daily, with a 2 hour nap. And when you're awake, you've taken to running from point A to point B... running. Vroom! Later!

The biggest, hugest, change of all, I think, is that tonight is the fourth night in a row that you've gone down WITHOUT A BOTTLE. Seriously! The doctor said she wanted you off the bottle by 18 months, and I kind of balked at that because A) whatever, and B) it was one of my favorite parts of the day, rocking you with your bottle of warm milk, but true to your adaptable and resilient nature, this transition proved to be no big deal, and each night you've gone down fine and have slept through the night! And, as an added bonus, you haven't been peeing through your nighttime diapers. That was getting old.

All in all, girl, though you actually slapped my face today and said "no" because we actually had to wait in line for the carousel ride (more on that interesting - and a bit frightening - development late), you are a totally magical and special child, and I am so darned proud of you.

I love you, Luciya!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

reception and honeymoon pictures!

Wedding pics are finally coming in... I picked up the photos from the disposable cameras on the tables at the reception and have posted them on the site link below.

We have also put up pictures from our honeymoon at the Tides Zihuatanejo: Glorious, romantic, secluded, warm.... a perfect honeymoon retreat!

Thanks so much to everyone who came to the wedding and contributed to our honeymoon registry! We had a fabulous time.

I have posted more honeymoon pics and will be posting more as they come in on this site.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

not to be confused with l.a.

Last night we decided to watch one of my favorite movies of all time, The Shawshank Redemption. Mostly because it's a really good movie, but really because now that we've been to Zihuatanejo, and that's the place they mention and eventually wind up in, we wanted to watch it again. And you know that last scene? When Morgan Freeman walks up to Tim Robbins on the beach in Zihuatanejo? And Tim Robbins is sanding the old fishing boat? That's not really Zihuatanejo. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dear Luciya

My heart misses you so badly.

It´s not so much guilt for leaving you for 9 days (which we have no plans to ever do again!) so much as a longing to be with you. I want to see the little dimples on your knuckles and make you laugh by kissing your tummy. You´re fun. I love being with you, and I cannot wait to see you in 2 short days.

I think this is the first vacation I´ve been on where I´m actually looking forward to coming home!! Not that we´ve been miserable. By any means. We have found the most blissful location ever, and we have already decided that we will return one day.

On Friday your dada and I rented a wave runner and zipped around Zihua bay for a half hour. Your dada says I was a scary fast dirver. I thought it was fun! We returned to the centro that afternoon and I bought you the cutest little outfit. I can wait to see you in it!

On Saturday we went to a sleepy little fishing village about 45 minutes away called Barra de Potosi. There we sat along the beach and drank a few cold beers before meeting a young man who took us on his little motor boat on a tour of the swampy green lagoon. It was very jungly - hot and still and sticky and green, with little fishermen in their little boats catching all kinds of fish with their nets. We had lunch afterwards at one of the waterfront (literally - water.front.) restuarants and I ordered garlic shrimp, and there they were, heads and eyes and shells and legs and poop and all. I couldn´t do it, darling. I tried. I had a few. And were you there I probably would have had more, because I plan to encourage you to at least try everything once.

On Sunday your dada and I treated ourselves to a couples´massage that was just heavenly. we were scrubbed down with coconut scented sea salts and massaged for an hour after that. That night we had a delicious fresh seafood meal overlooking the pacific from the high balocny of a restaurant called Kau Kan. ¡Muy rico!

The massage was so good we decided we deserved another one today. Unlike your dada, who practially snores throughout the whole thing, I have a hard time turning my mind off, and so during the massages I tried to think on the happist times of my life. What kept coming to me was when I was pregnant with you, and we would go walking alomst every day in the pine forests of Olinda. Those we such safe and happy times. Oh my goodness, I cannot wait to squeeze you!!

Today we are going to go back in to town, after we finish a few piña coladas on the beach. It´s a beautiful day. The nightly thunderstorms leave the mornings steamy and refreshingly warm, and today the skies are the bluest they´ve been.

We leave tomorrow for LA, and then fly to Boise on Wednesday. Our plane lands during your nap, and Im hoping that when Tutu drops us off at the house I will be there when you wake up. I´m going to tiptoe in and I keep trying to imagine your reaction. Will you be confused? Happy? Angry with me? Looking for your Grams? Or will everything be just like normal, and you´ll squawk and hug me and run off to play.

I can´t wait to find out.

See you soon, mi amor.....

I love you Luciya!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Yesterday we decided to explore the sweet little town of Zihuatanejo. We had our cab drop us off at the artisan´s market, and I think I made it about 37 minutes before I was begging John to sit down for a icy cold beer. This humidity thing is so intense! Your shirt is sticking to your body within seconds of stepping outside, and the air is thick and heavy. It carries with it, though the scent of dried palapa palms and gardenias. And it´s really not a bad excuse to have a frosty Negra Modelo con limon.

We stopped for a beer at a bar called Bandidos, where we were the only customers there and where we got to know our sweet little English-speaking server named David. He recommended some places to go shopping (which we did - hooray for silver!), and told us that his friend had a small fishing boat (or panga) that we could go out on the next day (today) for a rate far less than what the hotel would have booked for us. So we said yes, bring it on!!

We wandered around the town for another hour or so and had lunch at the tamale place, which was awesome. By this time my hair was doing the Monica thing (from ¨Friends¨- remember when they went to the Caribbean?) and there was a permantent pool of sweat on my upper lip so we can back to the hotel around 4:30, intent on chilling by the pool for a while. We woke up in our bed about 2 hours later after a delicious nap! Then we ventured all the way over t0 the tequila bar and met out new BFF Pablo, the bartender, and had some of the best margaritas I´ve ever had. While we were playing cards and eating a dinner of fresh ceviche and shirmp quesadillas, we heard that the turtles were porbably going to be coming up on the beach soon to lay their eggs. Turns out they come up during the rainy season (July - Spetmeber) and lay their eggs in the same spot every year. The hotel employees then gather the eggs (usually around 100 per turtle) and place them in a guarded hole in the sand until they are ready to be released, thus enhancing their chance of survival (though still only about 10 in 100 will make it once hatched).

We were so stoked and told the employees patrolling the beach to please notify us if they saw a turtle. Sure enough, at about 10 pm they called us from the bar and we and about 4 other vacationers hurried behind the man to see the tired turtle making her way back into the surf, slowly but surely. The men found where she had dug a hole about 2 feet deep and laid all her eggs. They asked me if I{d like to help retrieve them!! What an unfogettable experience, kneeling in the sand and gently schooping still-warm turtle eggs from their lair and into a bucket. They look exactly like ping pong balls, but they give to the touch. I was nervous but the men assured me the shells were very tough. Most of the others there took a turn scooping out the eggs. All in all, there we 91 eggs that this sweet old turtle (they can live to be over 100) had laid in the sand. The employees took the eggs to the guarded nest where they will hatch in about 45 days and then be released into the sea.

About an hour later we were informed that another turtle had made her way up the beach and indeed not only one but two turtle had come up, side by side, and were slowly digging their holes very close to the resort wall. They used their back flippers to flick the sand away left and right, and they seemed so tired, straining their wrinkly necks and pausing often. I gave them good energy. I feel ya, sisters. Can you imagine how light they feel after dropping off 100 eggs?! They´re practically skipping back into the water, feeling 50 pounds lighter!

The same man (who was quickly becoming my friend - we all love that I{m rambling away in Spanish over here) let me know that a batch of baby turtles had hatched and would be released tonight. Ummm, have you ever held a just-hatched baby turtle while standing on a warm beach at night? I highly recommend it. These things were so effing cute!! I gave mine a little blessing that she may live a long a successful life. They will be letting this batch go tonight, I{ll be sure to let you know how it goes!!

So anyway.... we woke up early this morning. 6 am. Whoo, that´s early. Still dark. Our new friend David was waiting for us in the lobby and he took us by cab to the pier to wait for his friend. We bought 18 beers at the little market and John got a bolillo with chorizo and eggs. We were so excited, even though we had quite the thunderstorm last night and I was a leeeetle bit worried about the conditions of the water.

Man, I have never been so queasy. Even the one time I got seasick, when I was 8 months pregnant on a catamaran on Maui, I ralphed and quickly got it overwith. Not today, my friends. I am still relling a little from the rough seas and the tiny boat, the smell of gasoline and of the raw fish used for bait. Even David got very ¨mareado¨(seasick), and we spent the majority of the morning dozing on and off in the swells. I couldn´t even put down water, let alone beer or food.

We eventually (well, after 5 hours and no catches) told the captain that we´d like to just turn around and go back in (this was supposed to be an all-day excursion, with the fish we caught prepared fresh for us on the Isalnd of Ixtapa). No, thanks. We haven´t caught anything and I{m turning green over here. John perked up eventually, but for a while there he was Queasy Queaserton, the mayor of Queasyville, and I was his faithful sidekick Queasles the stomach-turning clown. Thankfully, neither of us puked, and it was nice to walk on dry land again.

So now, we´re just relaxing poolside with our water and books. We managed to get down some sandwiched for lunch and it´s time to do nothing but CHILLAX.

Not too hard to do.



Today I am (pick one):

A. Sticky Vicky

B. Sweaty Betty

C. Clammy Pammy

D. Frizzy Izzy

E. All of the above

(Answer: E)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

two tickets to paradise

Yay yay yay!!

We¨re married! And we had the most fabulous wedding ever. The weather was amazing, the yard looked beautiful, and about 70 friends and family were there to share the love.

John and I arrived in Zihuatanejo, Mexico yesterday afternoon and let me say, it doesn¨t suck. We got off the plane and were struck by humid air so thick we started sweating immediately. But the rains of September bring an incredible lushness to this place and it felt like we were landing in the Land of the Lost. I managed not to go crazy with anticipation as we waited for the ONE customs agent to look at our passports and then the other (single) agent to make sure we weren´t smuggling any livestock into the country. We finally got out cab to the resort, and I immediately jumped in to practicing my Spanish with him. I have been loving the opportunity to ramble in Spanish again!! It just seems to come back to me when I am in this marvelous country. Our driver shared some ideas of where to visit while in town, including a restaurant with 130 types of tamales. Don´t think we won´t be going there!!

When we got to the hotel (The Tides) we were instantly struck by the beauty of the architecture and the layout. What an amazing place! Stone paths weave around through the various bungalows. There are 3 pools (one of which is an infinity pool overlooking the gentle Pacific), 2 restaurants and 3 bars (one of which is a tequila bar, which is literally just steps from our room).

Oh my goodness, our room is delightful! The king size bed is up a flight of wooden stairs on a balcony with a stained glass window. The bed has romantic mosquito netting draped around it and a mirror about the headboard (natch). There was a welcome message on the pillow written in flower petals.

We went to the pool behind our room to sit at the swim up bar a drink a couple pina coladas. We met another honeymooning couple (I think we comprise about 85% of the guest population here) from Boston and chatted for a while. Then we freshed up for dinner and went to one of the on site restaurants, La Marea, where we were seated at a little beach side table and were serenaded by the crashing waves and a guy who played the guitar in the sand while simultaneaouly playing some Peruvian flutes around his neck and thumping a drum on the ground with his beaded foot. He came up to our table and asked for any requests. Since he had done a Simon and Garfunkle tune earlier (Ï´d rather be a hammer than a nail...¨I love Simon and Garfunkle!) I requested another song by the duo (I was on the spot, okay!). So, we were serenaded by ¨The Sound of Silence.¨In a way, I guess it´s appropriate.

Our dinner was amazing an culminated in a fiery coffee drink that took about 5 minutes for the waiter to prepare tableside. Yummy!

We then went for a romantic walk on the dark beach, and we were amazed at how warm the sand and water were!! It was like bath water. Absoultely lovely.

This morning wwe awoke to coffee laid out on our patio table and then ventured to the restaurant for breakfast, where we sat overlooking the calm waters of the bay.

Today we´re off to explore the town. What am I doing sitting in the business center?!

Hope you´re all well.......