Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Friday night after packing up the car, Paul and I headed up to my Mom's to give them a hand. We had dinner and immediately after, I began the marathon packing session. Paul had some work to attend to so he sat at his laptop typing away until 11PM.
Saturday after some last minute getting together we headed to Jen and Jerry's for some egg sandwiches and ice for the coolers then were on our way. We arrived around 12PM and began setting up. Around the time we were starting to settle in and make lunch, the remaining bodies arrived and set up their camp sites. After lunch it was off to the beach.
The evening ended with ribs, corn, burgers, smores, bathroom runs, bon fires, and laughs. The cousins all headed in for an early night while Paul, Bryan, Amanda and I played 31... a game I am not obsessed with ... it's the most fun playing with Amanda. Oh yes and lets not forget - Amanda slept in her own tent ALL BY HERSELF! How many of you could do that at 10?
The next morning we were up at 7 and beginning the process of washing up, making breakfast, packing lunch, and getting going. We were doing a 4 hour rafting trip on the Lehigh river.
Rafting turned out to be a fun trip for everyone. Everyone ended up in the water at one point for an "accidental swim" - even Kyle! Amanda wouldn't get out of the river unless some rapids were coming up. It was a lot of fun and we were definitely prepared with our extra buckets and water cannons. The water fights were great! Kyle did great at shooting and rowing. Amanda rocked out too - she even switched boats mid trip for some added adventure.
From rafting we took another dip at the beach, showered up, got dinner ready, roasted more marshmallows... Unfortunately Amanda came down with a fever and slept most of the last night and much of the last day. She still had a blast and is now on some Amoxacylin.
Last minutely began the dreaded hanging of the tarps. The rain began to trickle and we got the tarps up as fast as we could salvaging all our food and equipment. After a few hours my mom's tent began to leak so one tarp had to be taken down and repositioned over my Mother's tent. It all ended up working out fine. Everyone slept, everyone was dry and all was well.
The next morning we canceled boating and fishing. Amanda was still running a high fever. She still had the ambition to hit up the Jubilee for lunch so after breakfast and packing we were on our way to the Pocono's to hit up our favorite PA restaurant. She ended up sleeping through lunch but the rest of us packed in our food and headed home. Jomel took my GPS and went strait to Queens while we detoured to Carmel to help my Mom unload before continuing on home.
All in all the trip was a lot of fun. We all came home satisfied and tired. I hope this becomes a family tradition we can do for years. Now that Kyle and Amanda have had their 1st camping experience and enjoyed it tremendously, I think its something we will do again and again. And honestly, it beats staying in a stuffy smoke smelling hotel room and swimming in the hotel pool. I'd rather go camping every day.... even if one day it means getting a cabin instead of doing a tent to make my Mom more comfortable. I mean honestly - I'd be more comfortable too - but I still think the tent holds a certain appeal.
Pictures to follow!
Friday, June 26, 2009
So that we are clear
(Mom's) - source
Thursday, June 25, 2009
But I'm on standby. With Paul moving to Boston (strange not saying Michigan) in a matter of 6 weeks, we have some discussing to do... or maybe just some accepting to do.
I don't want to be in a long distance marriage. I don't want to put my career on hold during an economic crisis to move to Boston. So therefore, we've settled to be engaged long distance.
At one point we thought we'd wait till the winter of 2011/12 and have a winter wonderland wedding with snowboarding and all. But that's so far away. Why wait? Then we talked further and decided we should just do it as soon as we can. As soon as he throws that cap in the air, we can begin a married life together. That's pretty much 2 years from right about now. I suppose I can live with that.
We decided we wanted a small wedding. 50 guests or less. That we'd only invite close family and a few friends. That it would be in church (that is important to his mother I believe). And that we'd forgo the reception and instead have a nice intimate dinner and chat over drinks. We don't need a DJ. We don't need a dance floor. We don't need a banquet hall or a wedding planner. Really all we need is each other. Our family. Our friends. Some great food. And maybe some homemade, eco-friendly decorations.
The positive about an intimate occasion aside from the lessened degree of stress, is obviously the flexibility. You can have your venue almost anywhere... B&B's, Historic Buildings, Parks, Restaurants, Homes, etc... and you can incorporate and do without whatever you wish. I'm hoping to incorporate a few Filipino traditions as well as a few DIY projects.
And for that I have some ideas that I've gathered from other people's creativity (lets be honest, I'm not THAT artsy).
In some ways that's what I am, right?
#1 - Seeded Paper Invitations so after they've been received and the wedding has long past, people can place their invitations in the soil and watch their wild flowers grow.
#2 - Rather than give meaningless favors that sit on a shelf for months collecting dust and then tossed out at a later date, I thought to give each guest a gift of life, a Flower Bulb to plant in their garden (see a theme here?). I also saw somewhere that a couple decoratively placed seeds packages on a display and people were told to please take some on the way home. An opportunity to plant their own garden. How wonderful.
#3 - Pre-owned or vintage wedding dresses... okay so maybe I won't do this... but it IS my 1st choice if I can find something I can afford and that I like. There is a website solely dedicated to it after all!
#4 - I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE for our venue to serve all locally grown and/or organic foods but let us see what we can find within our budget. Not to mention the location itself... how I'd love an outdoor dinner and cocktail hour... especially around sunset. It's just so romantic looking.
#5 - Tableware - would hopefully be provided but I picture drinks being served in vintage glasses (recycled from thrift stores) or mason jars.
#6 - Centerpieces, I absolutely LOVE the idea of having potted herbs at the center of each table. It would not just be eco friendly but a great take home as well... not to mention the lovely smells. If not that I'd still like to do something myself, maybe re-pot some in season plants into pretty terracotta pots to put in the center. I think it would fit the over all natural theme.
#7 - I'd like to capture all our guests pictures. I'd like to purchase some recycled paper card stock and print a little note explaining that I hope to receive each one of our guests perspectives throughout our big day. This little reminder would provide them with a Picasa account and its password specifically set up for the wedding photos. It would also allow others to share amongst themselves. It's better than providing disposable cameras since most people have a digital anyway. Less waste!
#8 - Carnations - for the recessionista bride! So Carnations are a common flower given to TMLA Birthday Girls and set up as funeral arrangements. They are considered a "cheap" flower, but why? For my bouquet, why not get a carnation - they look amazing, smell good and are well within most brides budgets. So it's an idea. Though I don't want cut flowers in my center pieces, I still would like a fairly traditional bouquet.
# 9 - Vintage linens - with my sewing skills hopefully increasing in the near future, I'd love to repurpose old linens into new - making napkins for each table setting, that the guest can even take home with them.
Anyway I'm sure the ideas will just keep on coming - I just hope that we will figure it all out. I wish it wouldn't take so long for it all to happen. I can't even really start planning yet, but at least I can start thinking about it all.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
For starters, I have this crazy desire to sew. I do have a sewing machine and I have used it, but I can't say that I am very good. I want to take a few classes and get really good. I want to try and make my own grocery bags, produce bags, totes, and maybe one day, skirts and sun dresses. Hopefully this will be something I can make the time to do. After-all doing something creative and actually making something from very little is completely satisfying.
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE to cook. And I don't mean just to cooking dinner every night, but experimenting. I love to try new foods, new textures, new recipes, new flavors. I love to just try new things for no real reason but that they look pretty, are fresh, and smell good.
I love to grow things. I have tons of plants not just at home but in my office and they are all flourishing (except that pesky parsley plant). I am so anxious to move into a home one day so that I can plant a small garden in the backyard. I've always wanted my own herb garden, tomato plants, potato plants, lettuce plants, etc... I know this green thumb will come in handy. After all growing your own produce reduces the need to shop in grocery stores... which also reduces packaging waste and transportation emissions.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
He found a fried breaded snapper fish recipe, but I immediately shut that down. We've been trying to eat healthier and I didn't want to fry the fish. Additionally, snapper is just too yummy to waste in a thick layer of oil and breading. He agreed. I came across a baked snapper recipe that called for leeks and peppers, some dried tarragon and white wine. That sounded more our speed. Of course I didn't measure and put my own spin on it. But I more or less followed the recipe's suggestions. On the side I made some hashed brown potatoes (we have a huge bag I'm trying to use up) and though this was cooked in some oil, I used it very sparingly. This meal paired with a green herb salad hit the spot. It's definitely a keeper. I may try it with a different assortment of veggies next time or even saute or roast the veggies ahead of time... they were definitely on the raw side.
Paul bought a great white one, La Crema, one of our favs and generally we do not do white wine. We sat together catching up on some of last seasons True Blood episodes over dinner and wine. We soon realized the bottle was empty and opened a bottle of red which we pretty much polished off. After the 2nd episode of True Blood, Paul washed dishes and showered while I watched Jon and Kate Plus 8.
I admit, I do not WANT to watch the show. As a matter of fact, I think they should call off the show. It's clear its ruining their family, but I can't help it. I wanted to know what was going to happen - the inevitable - a separation.
After that, I pretty much packed it in and got my wine heavy head into bed.
It was a more than perfect night but I MUST lay off the alcohol... I need to fit into that dress for Lauren's wedding. Not to mention... be that 10 Paul once knew and loved [read: was hot for].
We were supposed to meet at 12 to have some Indian food but she was running late so we grabbed Chipotle and ate in my office quickly and then ran upstairs for the screening of the 1st to Episodes of of Hung. It was pretty funny, I don't see it surviving for a long time as a series but it definitely had it's funny moments.
Tonight is girls night with some of the TMLA girls. Its been a long time coming getting our schedules and medical ailments to coincide enough to finally get together. Dawn, Alison, Kim and I will be meeting at the 5 Burros Cafe in Forest Hills for some Mexican grub and margaritas. I am sure laughs will be had by all. I definitely need to detox but that won't be happening tonight. Maybe the diets will start tomorrow. And my drinking hiatus might need to start happening as well.
So basically I got to have a lunch date with my sister... a show... and tonight a dinner date with my girls. I definitely can't complain. I'm blessed - and I'm happy... I don't say that as often as I should. Oh did I mention - Paul is going to see his mom tonight ... I don't have to go obviously but its a nice treat for the both of us. He does value his mommy and me time.
So this busy week ahead as started off with a bang.
Monday, June 22, 2009
The next day I spent shopping with my grandma (dress shopping for the wedding ... Lauren's not mine) and then exchanged my too small bridesmaid dress.
After a shower and some refreshing, I was back on my way to her house to meet my 2 cousins and Uncle to have a father's day dinner in my Grandpa's honor ... at the SAME restaurant Lori and I were at the night before.
And we out did ourselves - ordering 3 platters for 2 of 3 different varieties and 2 appetizers. We again ordered a mud pie and were stuffed to oblivion.
Sensing my grandma's loneliness regarding this particular father's day, I decided to sleep over. The next day we had breakfast with Lauren and Bryan... went to Church, went to the cometary, again went dress shopping and had a nice BBQ at my other Uncle's house. Fun was had by all.
Yea my other Uncle didn't come to any events and didn't bother to speak to my Grandma because he is immature... jealous... self centered - but we moved on. Yeah My mom didn't call, answer calls, show up, or even act as if the day was important to her - but we moved on. And I'm grateful to the family I have who can move forward... positive... loving... loved
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tonight is a Lilia and Lori date night.
In DR we had told some locals we were lesbians. It was almost to protect ourselves more than anything else. We were two women traveling alone and hoping to avoid any unnecessary and uncomfortable situations with men whenever possible. One local trying to sell para sailing decided he thought we were the greatest women on the beach and despite that it was flattering, we needed something to deter his attention. It backfired. We told him we were lesbians. This instead intrigued him. We told him that we go around trying to promote "legalize love". We even went further to tell him that we were legalizing love one island at a time. Obviously equal rights is no joke and I stand behind love between all people 100% (so I hope no one is offended that we used this to our own "advantages").
Anyway, I find it funny that tonight's date night will again be just the two of us, and yet at another island. No it's not an exotic island... and no it's not even far away, but like we said then... one island at a time.
I'm excited for our laughs, conversation, people watching, but most of all, I've very excited about the food!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Knowing that I’m making efforts to turn green (especially once we are able to buy a house) this is very near and dear to me.
Colorado water law declares that the state of Colorado claims the right to all moisture in the atmosphere that falls within its borders and that “said moisture is declared to be the property of the people of this state, dedicated to their use pursuant” to the Colorado constitution. Basically to this constitution water must be appropriated according to the priority of appropriation. Because of this, in much of that state, it is ILLEGAL to divert water (including collecting them in rain catchers & water barrels for residential use).
A new law was passed during this year (2009) which now allows limited collection and use of precipitation for landowners but only if the meet
- The property is residential, and
- The landowner uses a well or is legally entitled to a well for water supply, and
- The well is permitted for domestic uses, and
- There is no water supply available in the area from a municipality or water district, and
- The rainwater collected is only from the roof, and
- The water is used only for those uses allowed by the well permit
What this means is that very few residential properties even qualify for water storage as you must meet
Additionally this law has been set in order to protect water rights purchased 100’s of years ago – whether those owners be farmers, ranchers, developers or water agencies. (Doesn’t that seem a little ridiculous?)
If you are legally allowed to collect rain water you are only allowed to use it for domestic use such as drinking and washing. You are not allowed to use it to water plants, gardens, or outdoor landscape.
I don’t 100% understand the law because rain harvesting do not catch and absurdly large amount of water in the 1st place. Rain barrels are generally the size of a large barrel garbage can. Additionally most households who collect rain utilize it to feed the gardens and yards, ultimately feeding it back to the earth.
Rain harvesting helps reduce erosion and helps plants grow better. Additionally when watering your garden, it allows you the option of using natural waters rather than municipal chlorinated waters.
In the end, I don’t understand how this can be a bad things. I get that in parts of
They now come in many different designs - some that are clearly rain catchers and others which can be disguised in your yard. This is one of the many earth friendly products I was hoping to purchase for my home in the future.
There are also many other items I'd like to incorporate in my home.
(I am currently avoiding installing our hand me down AC as it is not energy star certified)
My larger suitcase and garment bag are both Signature, but I never got the carry one size - after all, I had my Kipling.
It looks like now I can complete my set - but - I cant find it.
Anyway - it was like closing a chapter in my traveling life... lets see where my next suitcase takes me :) Maybe Croatia, maybe Italy, maybe Costa Rica, or who knows maybe just a trip up the West Coast. I'd be greateful for all and any that I'm lucky enough to go to.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I went to the periodontist yesterday who shot me up with extra doses of anesthesia and began pulling, tugging, angling, and pushing until my crown and then later my tooth were removed. My molar was HUGE. Despite having had a piece broken off years ago, it still seemed massive. Now that area of my bone and gum must heal for 3-4 months until there is enough tissue for an implant.
This has been one horrible dental experience but I'm happy the worst is done - though, I hear implants are very painful. Not to mention all this will be very costly.
Now I'm missing #'s 1,15,16,17 & 32 - hopefully I'll keep the rest for many years to come
I had enough and I let Paul have it. I hate people who are cheap on vacation but worse yet I hate ones who don't even print or check the itinerary before you leave. Rather than confirming all the information of our trip, he played video games and sat on the computer reading ESPN and personal emails. It's just irresponsible and lazy. Rather than touring the area for the 2 1/2 hours after we landed, I was hobbling around in the heat and rain trying to find which company we were renting a car with. What we got ... oh again, you get what you pay for... we ended up with a super old brown Ford Taurus. Oh yes it ran perfectly well... for an old car. Check out the chewed up steering wheel on the right.
But all was well after getting the car. We drove into Old San Juan - Viejo San Juan and got to see the Fort, Castle and all the old buildings, apartments, and cobble stone streets. It was beautiful. I got to enter and tour around Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristõbal which were full of history and culture. We saw dungeons, look outs, cannons, and beautiful views.
Calle del Sol (there is also a Calle del Luna)
The beautiful colors and balconies lining Calle del Sol
Later that night it was time to pick up Andy. Being that most places were closed and we didn't know much about the area we ended up back in Viejo San Juan for dinner where we learned they were having a festival. The streets were closed and littered with thousands of people old and young, tourist and local. It was a pretty unusual experience. After getting our fill, we were on our way at 12:30 AM to head west towards Mayaguez.
In Mayaguez we were greeted by Paul's Uncle Junior who led Paul and I to the apartment behind the house. This is where we stayed the weekend. It was nice, cozy, private and appreciated.
Saturday we woke up, had breakfast and separated from the bunch. Paul, Andy and I headed out with our GPS in tow towards La Parguera, but on the way, we stopped to grab some beer. So after about one hour of driving and a boat rental later this is what you see!
Paul driving the boat
A happy passenger in the shade with my beer
One of the many canals we navigated through
More beautiful canals
Paul and Andy up in the trees
Picture Gollum but instead of the ring its beer
Yeah, I don't know
What happens when you let a fat man climb into a wet boat
3 Monkeys climbing in a tree
Getting ready to go out - this was just too funny not to post
The Rios Men
A semi group picture!
A view from the grill Paul was manning of the mango tree and picnic spot
I love coconut!
On the back of a tractor pulled trailer for a tour of the property
Andy came too!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Now I'm setting my trip planning energy into a Romantic camping trip for 2. Oh how excited I am. I've been pestering Paul to do a date-like camping get away with me for quite some time. I've thrown around ideas and places and he can't seem to make up his mind or give it any attention. This is okay by me - I don't mind doing the leg work - as long as it happens!
I've mentioned going back to our secluded site at Kittatinny - right on the Delaware river. Maybe some Kayaking during the day and some romantic fire pit roasting, eating, and smooching at night. What better way for two nature loving people to show their love not just to mother earth but each other?
I've also thrown the idea of doing Fire Island. I've gone before as a child and loved it - however there are some down sides. They are rules rules rules and more rules. Many of the rules aren't bad - they are actually good - its all about preserving nature and its natural vegetation - can't argue with that. Basically all the sites are sandy - and well, I'm cool with that. It's on the island but not on the beach. They are semi secluded - there are no trees but many beachy shrubs (still watch out for poison ivy). The part that disappoints me is that they don't allow camp fires - not even in a fire ring. They provide a BBQ grill at each camp site and you can only use charcoal. Which is fine for cooking but how about snuggling up near the camp fire and making smores (Paul doesn't like them anyway). The advantages of being at Fire Island are that you spend all day at the beach and there are tons of trails to explore! Not to mention the boats, docks, and ocean breeze.
So we shall see where we end up. In two weeks we will head out to Jim Thorpe, PA to camp out at Maunch Chunck Lake. Maybe we will want to revisit there?
Either way - I am sure we will have a great time together.
quick easy lunches
long meaningful conversations
many hugs and kisses
clean deep breaths
green green green
and romantic nights