Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summer 2017 Bucket List in Review

Tomorrow is September 1st, already. How did that happen? Fall is right around the corner, and I know this because the Halloween decorations have already started to hit the shelves and retailers are coming out with pumpkin spice everything (I'm serious; yesterday I saw pumpkin spice almonds in the nut section of the Hellmouth. Bleh!).

I love the fall, so, this is not exactly bad news for me. But, the summer went by so fast! I feel like I blinked and I missed it, and, if my less-than-stellar performance on my bucket list is any indication, I just may have. So, let's get to that list:

1. Focus on nutrition, exercise, and mental well-being. Hold on just a sec...ha! ha! ha! ha! Ok, I'm done. Ahem. So, with the exception of the past five days, I have sucked mightily at this goal. I'm sure no one is surprised; it's been a goal on at least three other bucket lists and I have failed at it each time. I have no excuse, I suck.

2. Spend as much quality time as possible with the Cub before we deliver him to college. I did pretty well at this one. The Cub worked a full time job, played baseball, and kept up an active social life, but I still made every effort to spend time with him.

3. Throw my boys a going away luau. ROCKED IT! NAILED IT! DROPPED IT LIKE IT'S HOT! Have the blog posts (and the pictures) to prove it.

4. Re-create the black and white picture that I took of the kids with Jana's crew back in 2008. Oh, my heart, did I ever accomplish this one.

5. Lake time. Yeah...never saw a drop of water this summer. The boat being in dry-dock for the majority of the summer was a major buzz-kill; I'm still irritated by it.

6. Enjoy my 30th high school reunion. Success! I had a great time, and, while I initially said that I didn't have a part in planning it, I did end up hosting that Bloody Mary/Mimosa bar with my old friend, which, actually ended up making the reunion even more fun.

7. Do a deep cleaning of my house, including the closets and attics. Again, give me just a second, ha! ha! ha! ha! Yeah. No.

8. Decide what the hell I'm going to do as an empty-nester. This, my friends, is going to be a work in progress. Please stay tuned.

9. Porch Night, retro-style. We actually managed to accomplish this on the night that I re-created the picture of the kids. I also did it with BCPE and a couple of the other Booster Moms, as well as doing it when the moms of the Fearsome Foursome came over to help plan the luau. So, this was a win.

10. Cherries. Homemade mint chip ice cream. Fresh vegetables from the farmer's market. Well, I ate my body weight in cherries, and, I made a batch of mint chip. I never made it to the farmer's market, but, two out of three ain't bad.

11. Spend some time with The Girls. I am so sad that this particular item didn't get done. But! We have made plans to get together the third weekend in September, and, as I said at the beginning of this post, September starts tomorrow! So, the countdown to Girl Time will commence shortly.

Also commencing shortly: my 2017 Fall Bucket List. How much do you want to bet there is an item about healthy eating and exercise?

Ha! I am nothing if not predictable.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This Week's Thoughts on Biiiiigggg Brother! Yes, AGAIN

- I'm still watching this show. This is quite possibly a record for me.

- Matt's beard is threatening to take over his face. This situation is threatening his status as the prettiest scenery in the house. Trim that shit down, Matt!

- Matt: "I don't throw my girl under the bus". Hmmm, wonder how long that will last.

- Could've done without the montage of Kevin's grooming routine. Shudder

- I am soooo over Alex's cat-ear headband and ridiculously low cut sports bras. Can America vote for a fashion intervention for her? Julie Chen? Are you listening?

- I don't think I've ever been as creeped out by a human being as I am by Kevin. Again; shudder

- I am beginning to think that Josh lacks an indoor voice.

- A condom stash? Ok, who packed the rubbers?

- Kevin's dismay at the trashed house almost makes me feel sorry for him. Except, he's totally creepy, so, yeah...not so much.

-  Seriously, Matt, baby, trim that facial hair.

- What the...are Kevin's pinkie nails painted red? They are. Weird and creepy.

- And that's it for the showmances this season.

- Man, I hope they send Raven home tomorrow, there won't be anything pretty in the house if Matt is evicted.

- Bet they have a razor in the jury house. Just sayin' Matt.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

As One Nest Empties, Another Begins To Fill

Yesterday, my nephew- long known on this blog as the Rebel Without a Pause- welcomed his first child into the world.

Mind. BLOWN.

Yes, he and his wife are grown adults, theoretically, but, in my mind he'll always be my four-year-old sidekick, learning how to howl at the moon and begging me to read The Rainbow Fish just one more time (for the twentieth time).

Time, man. It's a sneaky bitch.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Streak Remains Unbroken Because My Kids Are Awesome

Today was the Cub's first day of classes, and, he sent me this picture to mark the occasssion.

I was impressed that he went to all the trouble of posing for a picture, let alone making a sign.Then, he confessed that his sister had actually made the sign for him; slipping it into his suitcase while my back was turned the night that we took him to her house to say goodbye.

As a surprise for me.

I have such good kids.

If they asked for ponies for Christmas, I just might be tempted to buy them each one.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

First Step in Dealing With the Empty Nest Blues

Get a new hobby.

Ok, it's not exactly a hobby, but, I have decided to do something that challenges me as often as possible. And, I started today, with a high mountain hike with Kristi, one of my favorite co-workers.

There were supposed to be three of us on the hike, but, one of my other co-workers dipped out on us before we even got started; less than a quarter of the way into the hike, I realized that she was the smartest of the three of us.

But! I did it! I managed to hike five miles, up steep inclines, and down precarious switch-backs! I climbed, Billy Goat-style, up a sheer ledge, and I did it without falling or throwing up!

Oh, I wanted to throw up. In fact, there was a pretty intense moment when I felt certain that I would throw up, but, instead, I manned up. And, I got to the top of the mountain, where the views were amazing and the air was fresh and clean.

The waterfalls on the way up were a nice scenic bonus, and, with Kristi as my hiking partner, there was never a moment when I felt judged for my obvious physical limitations.

As a side note, I am really, really out of shape. It's time to address that, especially if I am going to continue to challenge myself in any way, shape, or form that is physical.

Looks like we can expect a return of the Exercise Induced Tourettes any time now.

Consider yourself warned.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hawaii, The Full Recap

If we have learned anything in our trips to Hawaii, it's that they are going to take several long days of travel to accomplish. This trip was no different; we left Queen B's house at a little before 9:00 p.m. (following the last family dinner that we will all eat together), and drove through the night to reach the Salt Lake City airport, where we parked the car, reclined the seats, and grabbed two hours of restless sleep before boarding our first plane at 7:20.

The first flight, ironically, delivered us to Denver, where we boarded the second flight, bound for Hawaii. Please don't get me started on the fact that we couldn't find a cheap flight directly from Denver, which still would have resulted in a five hour drive, but, would have saved us the lay-over. I don't understand the economics of air travel, obviously.

Anyway, the flight from Denver to Honolulu took seven hours, at which point we arrived on the island with plenty of time to gather our luggage and rental car, check into our room, and hit Waikiki Beach for a leisurely stroll before dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, where we indulged in the namesake dessert x three.

After dinner, we headed back to the motel for a night of rest before the real festivities began the following morning. And, by festivities, I mean the minutia involved in getting the Man-Cub checked into-and moved into-his dorm room.

Our first stop was the local Bed, Bath & Beyond, where we picked up the Cub's Pack and Hold order, consisting of his bedding, towels, desk lamp, a few microwave accessories, and bathroom organization items (as an aside, this is a really great program; our day would have been a lot more stressful if we hadn't had the option to pick everything out ahead and to have it waiting when we arrived. It saved us quite a bit of time).

Once we had our items, we headed for the Hawaii Loa campus, where check-in was accomplished in less than two minutes, the Cub's official school ID was procured, and our load was transported to the dorm via golf-cart. It really was that simple.

Then, it was just a quick matter of unloading, unpacking, organizing, and visiting with the Cub's roommate, Adam, and his mother, who was there to get him settled. While we were all together, we made lists of what the boys still needed and decided who would be responsible for what, then, it was a quick trip to the nearby Target to finish off the shopping.

Dinner that night was Godon Biersch, which I mentioned in yesterday's post, and then we dropped the Cub off for his first night as a resident of the dorms.

The following day was a busy one for the Cub; he started the orientation week with a host of mandatory activities. Hugh and I weren't required to participate until the welcome reception later that evening, so we spent the day exploring. We started downtown, visiting Iolani Palace and the statue of King Kamehameha before driving to the windward side of the island (where the Man-Cub's dorm is located), enjoying a new beach before heading back to the downtown campus for the reception.

It was at the reception that we first met Ken and Cindy, the couple from Denver who were also dropping their kiddo off. We chatted for an hour or so while the kids were off in groups, doing whatever it was that they were supposed to be doing. We made plans to meet the following night for dinner and then called it a night.

Wednesday morning, we were up early to attend the convocation ceremony at a theater in downtown Honolulu. It was a grand event, and, one that we wouldn't have wanted to miss. Then, we made the decision to skip the day's orientation sessions, because we had already done everything on the agenda when we visited in June.

Instead, we spent the day driving the North Shore, stopping for pie at Ted's and exploring the Waimea Valley Falls Park area, which, was awesome. It was there that we got to see an ancient Hawaiian dwelling as well as examples of Hawaiian flora that was truly breathtaking. It was an interesting stop and I'm glad we didn't miss it.

On the drive back to Honolulu, we saw a seal, sunning herself on the beach (I know she was a she because she was being watched over by a seal preservation volunteer, who was more than happy to give me some of the details about monk seals and their endangered species designation).

We watched the seal until she made her way back into the water and then we hit the road, again.

Dinner that night was with Cindy, Ken, and their daughter, Madi, who was a doll and with whom the Cub connected, immediately (they made plans to head for the North Shore to jump from the cliffs that we visited back in June). We visited until well past sunset, at which point Hugh and I excused ourselves due to our early flight.

Then, we hugged the Cub one last time before sending him back to his dorm. That was the hardest part of the trip, obviously. And, it continues to be hard, today. But, as I said in previous posts, I truly believe the Cub is exactly where he is meant to be, right now. He fits into the island vibe like he was born to it, and, it hasn't taken him long to make friends, including, apparently, one who is willing to indulge him in his favorite past time: back tickles.

Photo courtesy of the Man-Cub: Proof of Life, Day Two

I would be sad about being so easily replaced, but, let's be honest; I'm happy if he's happy. And, Hawaii makes my son very happy.

I just wish it wasn't so freaking far away.

Our trip back took sixteen hours, including a short layover in San Fransisco and the five hour drive from Salt Lake City. I guess it wouldn't be paradise is it was easy to get to.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Favorites: Bits and Pieces of Hawaii Edition

We got back from Hawaii at 1:00 this morning, after which I crashed for many, many hours, finally waking at 11:30, which, is unheard of for me. In my defense, it was only 7:30 in Hawaii, and, my sleep pattern must still be there, along with my son.

Sooo, now I am adjusting to a new sleep pattern and an empty nest. This shouldn't be uncomfortable at all.

But, on to today's favorites!

1. The Man-Cub's college campuses and his dorm room are definitely going to be favorites-for the Man-Cub, at least.

He really likes his roommate, Adam, who is from Minnesota, and who had his Jeep shipped over. They have a lot in common (including the fact that they both love the freedom that having Adam's Jeep on the island will bring them); Adam is a dive master and he is excited to certify the Cub so that they can go diving together. In exchange, the Cub is going to teach Adam how to surf.

Yeah, no need to worry about the two of them doing anything crazy. No need at all.

Anhoodle, they really lucked out with a room that sits on the corner of the building, meaning that they have a private bathroom, despite us having paid for a room with a bathroom shared between four people.

The boys did get a bonus roommate the first night...but we don't think he's cut out for the college life.

2. Our new favorite restaurant on the island is Gordon Biersch, a German brew pub (yes, a German brewery on a Hawaiian island) that is located right on the downtown campus. We ate there a couple of times-once just the three of us, and once with the family from Denver that my high school classmate connected us with (they rapidly became favorites as well; it was amazing how much we all had in common). The food was great both nights, and, the sunset view from the patio is to die for.

3.  Exploring the Cub's new home has rapidly become a favorite past time for myself and Hugh. We utilized our rental car to the maximum this trip, and, I'll write an actual post about that, but, it's safe to say that having the freedom to cruise the island was a favorite (which goes a long way in explaining the Cub's excitement at his roommate having a car).

We saw some amazing scenery, dipped our toes in the ocean on two new beaches, explored a botanical garden, hiked to a waterfall, and saw some gorgeous flowers and wildlife, including a seal!

4. I can't lie, I'm already missing my boy, but, knowing that the Cub is happy, fitting in, and excited about his future is the most favorite thing of all, this trip.

This is one of his first Proof of Life selfies (remember, I require Proof of Life, twice a day)...

...he's already killin' it in Hawaii.