Saturday, June 30, 2007

Block Party

I've been dreading today, which is never a good start for a weekend. Frank had to work this afternoon, which meant I'd be alone most of the day - and I don't like being alone. After he left I was lonely and bored so I decided I needed a project. I focused in on decorating the space above my kitchen cabinets and cleaning the house. I headed for Tuesday Morning to browse and wasnt disappointed. My sister raves about it, so it was about time I payed a visit. I kept thinking "If only I had more of a decorating budget!". I narrowed my selections down to the 2 you see in the picture. They ended up looking very nice on top of my cabinets! I was so excited about decorating when I got home that I made a list of projects.

- Repaint Living Room and Kitchen
- Buy new clock for Kitchen
- Need curtains for Living room
- Replace Blinds in 4 rooms
- Need center peices for island and kitchen table....etc...

The list could be it's own blog. Frank wants me to write it all down and prioritize it. Haha. Now he's worried that every time I'm left alone I will start these projects. It's so much fun though!

This is random. Our little town of Melissa may not have a grocery store, but we have a Snowie! Our very own stand alone snow cone stand! Just stand back and watch the value of our house rise. Anyway, we were driving past this little stand on our way home and I notice that one of the girls in the HS group at church is working in there! So of course, we have to pull over and take a picture. We left a whole dollar tip, too!! There's Ashley on the left.

As I was cleaning the house today, I notice Alex looking really cute so I snapped a picture. He's just so cute!

Of course Maggie will not be out-done so she ran in for her close-up. Maggie's bad.

We ended our day at a neighborhood block party. They grilled out the usual while everyone exchanged handshakes and backgrounds. Once we had eaten our fill, we started the games. There was an egg toss, which I lost for Frank and I - either that or I could blame him and say he wouldnt dive for it. I'll let you decide where the blame falls. In my opinion, the receiver should do all to make the team look good. It's not like I was in football. But whatever. ;) The girl below was being tossed an egg from about 30 yards. I felt this coming, so I had the camera ready. The picture speaks for itself.

Here's a shot of the egg-on-a-spoon contest. The young kids took this very seriously and the older ones were running.

Here's Frank watching all of the festivites. He wasnt in the mood to play much after losing the egg tossing contest for us.

I don't know this kids name, but he sure was cute. I asked him if I could take this picture and he said yes and then just stared at the camera. After I took this he let out the cutest squeal/giggle and ran off.

Here's me hanging out like a pro block-partier. Next time I will be holding interviews for my game partner. I don't like losing.

This is Frank at the end of the evening (in case the name tag didn't give him away). He always looks like this after 9pm. I'm not sure what's wrong.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Health Update

Thanks to everyone who called to voice their concerns and offer any needed assistance. I'm doing much better as of this evening. For those of you who don't know, I was suffering from some major abdominal pain and went to the doctor yesterday. I was informed that it was most likely apendicitis, so I was scheduled for a cat scan at Richardson Regional few hours later.

My mom met me at the hospital and Frank went home to pack an overnight bag for me. I was forced to drink 900mL of something called contrast liquid. It was supposedly berry flavored, but it tasted like crap. It took me almost 2 hours to finish all of it. I got my cat scan around 7:30pm and shortly after I got the news that I didn't have appendicitis, but had suffered from a ruptured ovarian cyst. So I was free to go home. I was very happy to not need surgery.

When I got home I took my "cocktail" of 1/2 hyrocodone and 2 benedryl to help with the pain and let me get a good night's sleep. I slept till noon today, which was wonderful! I thought I was feeling better, but within 30 minutes I was having hot-flashes, dizziness, fever, and a headache. A couple of extra strength Tylenol did the trick.

I got online to do some work from home, but I was accosted by some concerned co-workers who were adamant that I needed to get some more sleep and take this more seriously. At the urging of these co-workers I went back to the doctor to have some blood work done. I'll have the results by tomorrow. However, I am feeling almost 100% this evening. Minus a headache, I feel normal. I even ate spaghetti for dinner while watching Napolean Dynamite. Great movie.

I'm off to bed now so I will be well rested for work tomorrow.


Fine! Here's day 3...

Ok, no more blog schedules for me. I obviously can't adhere to them. Here is the third and final recap of our cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. All of day three was spent on the ship heading back to LA. They had alot of activites planned on the boat, but most people opted to spend the day by the pool. Frank and I slept in a little that day, but still made it to breakfast. It was the same as the day before, which was good. We decided we were tired after breakfast, though so we went back and took a nap! After all, what are vacations for? When we woke up we put on our swimwear and headed for the pool deck to have lunch and lay out with everyone else. We arrived just in time for the belly flop contest. Some guys will do anything for attention. They were instructed to dance alone for 30 seconds and then show off their best belly-flop while squealing like a girl in mid-air. Brilliant. We headed for the buffet and I ate a good ol' American meal - hamburger and french fries. Frank went more for the food of a fishy variety. Gross. After lunch we walked around the pool area looking for two available adjoining chairs, which was not an easy task. We ended up on the top deck, where it was pretty windy, but much more quiet. Once I got my cover-ups off I realized that looked like neapolitan ice cream trying to get a tan. I was wearing a chocolate brown swim suit that was nicely accented by my pasty skin and the burn from the day before. Whatever. I'll never see these people again.

After some time in the sun we were in the mood for a snack so we went to the pizza bar. We were getting bored taking pictures of ourselve smiling so here is me doing my best "Chandler" from Friends smile. Thoughts?
Here's Frank who was also tired of smiling for the camera. We were definately at the "Kristin, please stop taking pictures!" stage of the vacation.
We headed back to our room to hang out some before dinner and take showers since we smelled like sunscreen. Our dinner time wasnt till 8:30pm, so we grabbed some coffee and hot chocolate and sat on the deck. Continuing with our "not smiling" pictures, here is what we came up with. Frank wearing my sunglasses. Not too bad, actually!
Here's me in my awesome hat trying not to laugh while I immitate Frank's previous pose. I think he won that one.

Here we are for our last dinner on the cruise. I chose to wear my new Ensenada shirt because it's cute - but certainly not because I didnt pack enough clothes. :)
Neil and Jackie showed up to dinner loudly. They had apparently been enjoying too many beverages before our meal. Neil also brought an eye-patch so he would fit in better with the pirates that night. The evening would only get more interesting.

Here are Austin and Heather again.

After a few more drinks I guess it seemed logical for Neil to pose for pictures with the bowl of pasta on his head.
Group Photo!

After dinner Frank and I went to a game show called "The Quest". Everyone was to get in groups of 5-10 to do a scavenger hunt using just the things that you brought with you. They would call out an item and someone from the team would run that item up to the front of the room and present it along with the team number to get points. So the MC calls out "I want to see a guy in your group wearing lipstick!" Here was the result from team #3. So proud.
The final "quest" was to find a guy with no shirt, wearing a bra and lipstick, and carrying a womans purse. I'm relieved that another guy in our group volunteered for this one. Our team did get second place, though! No point in playing if you cant win!
The next day was spent traveling for the most part. It took a while to get off the boat and go through customs. From there we caught a cab and rode to the airport for our 12:30 flight. The flight out of LA was about 20 minutes late, so we barely made it on to our connecting flight in Austin. Unfortunately, our luggage wasnt so lucky. However, we were very impressed to get a phone call at 5am the next morning from an airline employee telling us that he is in Melissa and needs directions to our house so he can drop off our bags! Pretty cool!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dust and Pirates - Vacation Part 2

First of all, sorry I didnt post day 2 yesterday as promised. I hope the massive amounts of pictures in this one will make up for my lack of punctuality. Here we go - Day Two.... When we woke up Saturday morning we were docked in Ensenada. We fought our urge to sleep late in order to get the most out of our vacation experience. We were up and showered around 8:30 that morning, which meant that I got to eat breakfast! On our last cruise I was still on college time and never made it out of bed before 9:30 (which was rough) - meaning I didnt leave the room till about 11:00! Poor Frank always had to go to breakfast without me. Not this time. I was the first one out of bed! Go me. The breakfast buffet was certainly something to brag about. They had everything! Eggs, bacon, sausage, pastries, cereal, fruit, french toast, pancakes, etc. We loaded up our plates and almost ate enough to merit a nap. No time for naps, though. We had a full day planned and it started with touring Ensenada!

We got off the boat around 9:30am. We only had about an hour and a half to explore the city before we would need to be back for a quick lunch and then head out once again for our excursion. I had one mission: Find cute t-shirts. We wanted to take one of the tour buses into town to save time, but we were told that we couldnt expect for the bus to get us back that quick. We were then informed that its a 2 mile walk to the "touristy" section that we wanted to see. We mentally debated and decided that we needed to walk off breakfast. So off we went. On our way we passed the "Black Pearl" from the movie "Pirates of the Carribean". Pretty cool. Too bad it was fenced off - we only got to see it from a distance. Apparently alot of movies that were shot with "water" scenes were filmed in Ensenada like Titanic. There is a Fox Studios somewhere in town. Random.

We continued on and eventually found the section of shops we were looking for. We found Frank a really cute shirt at the first store. But they unfortunately only had smalls and mediums. After browsing the store a little further I found that same shirt tucked away on another rack - XL! I was so excited to have found him the one he wanted. Only problem was that when got he tried it on later that evening we realized that we had bought a BOYS XL - not Adult XL. It was pretty tight on him, and I felt bad. I know he'll never wear it. We found my cute shirt at the shop next door. It freaked me out a little to pay in pesos. I'm still hoping I didnt get charged $152 for a t-shirt! We were tired of shopping at that point, so we headed back and took some pictures on the way.

Here is a picture of Amy's twin (my sister). It's a striking resemblence, don't you think??!

Here's me and Amy in Mexico. Just kidding - it's the bird again.

I just thought this looked cool. ALTO!

Once we got back to the ship we grabbed some pizza and lemonade and relaxed on the deck for about a half hour. We were tired again and second guessing our choice to go on an excursion. A nap tempts us once again, but we prevail.

We had originally wanted to ride 4-wheelers through the wine country, but by the time we made it through the line to sign up for the excursions it was already booked. The customer service man offered a close alternative. There was also an option to ride something called a "Rhino". It sounded like fun and was a little cheaper, so we signed up. Shortly after noon and we loaded a bus for a 30 minute ride to Rosalina, where we would tour the wine country on our Rhino. We were told we would be very dirty when the ride was over, but that was the understatement of the year.

We were given brief instructions on how to operate these super-powered golf carts and are then handed three key items.
1. Helmet
2. Goggles
3. Bandana

I was too proud to wear the goggles and opted for my sunglasses instead. That was a big mistake.

So here we are getting ready for a wild ride. The engines are started and whoops are being yelled by other excited drivers. We are less than a minute from beginning our tour and I decide that I will probably need some sunscreen. Yes, this is obvious to those of you who have ever met me. I'm pasty and proud (or at least pasty-tolerant). I whip out my Coppertone Spray-On SPF 15. I think the best word to describe my attempt at the sunscreen application is "spritzing". I may as well have sprayed it in the air and walked though it. However, at the time I was proud of my efforts and surprisingly confident.

We drove our Rhino for about 2 hours, and after the first half I was ready to call it quits. I had so much dust in my eyes that I had to keep them closed for long periods of time. When we took a brief stop for water, I traded my cool shades for some dorky looking goggles and assumed the role as driver. Even the goggles didn't keep dirt out of my eyes. I ended up driving with only one eye open - alternating between left and right. From what I did see of the country we drove through, it was beautiful.

We are smiling in this picture, but you'll have to take my word for it. I dont know if I would go on this tour again if given the opportunity. I would need to be much better prepared. Frank seemed to have a really good time, though. He almost had us airborne at one point! Good times.

See what I mean about "dirty" being an understatement? Man I look nasty! Frank kept telling me that we were "riding dirty". Ha ha. Those of you who listen to Top 40 will understand the reference.

Our next stop was wine tasting. I only had one sip, and didn't enjoy it so I just ate some cheese. :) Really, all I wanted was a long hot shower. You can already see the red developing on my arms. I have the worst farmers tan now (and by tan I mean deep red burn)!

Here we are looking as dusty as ever. There is just something wrong with drinking fine wine when you look like this.

Look! The winery has a rollerskate to drive, too!

Dont we clean up nicely! It was formal night on the ship, and we had a lot of scrubbing to do to get prepared. I never assumed I would be able to turn a white washcloth into a nice shade of light brown that would not rinse out. I wont even go into the Q-tips. We eventually come out looking half normal. Allow me to introduce you to our table-mates.

Neil and Jackie

Austin and Heather

Everyone was very lively tonight. Austin and Heather were nice enough. Heather just graduated from HS and is dating Austin who is 21. He seemed to be very into her, but I don't think it was mutual. He was trying too hard, but it was fun to watch. I was surprised to learn that Heather was 18, not only because she looked and acted more mature, but because she was on her 3rd drink of the evening by the time I found this out.

Neil and Jackie were also getting the evening started with some beverages. Frank and I felt pretty old and out of place compared to the rest of the group, but we had fun anyway. It was never our goal to drink and party all night. We just wanted to relax and get away. As dinner progressed, Neil got more and more animated. He had noticed a group of people who were across the dining room who were dressed as pirates. He thought that was pretty cool, so he decided to tie the dinner napkin on his head and go introduce himself. It was hilarious to watch the interaction.

After dinner we went back to our room to change for the evening and go to another show. When we got there, we found our room very tidy with a towel-animal thing displayed on the bed. Too cute.

The show was alright, but not as good as the first night. The guy was doing mostly impersonations which are impressive, but not funny. I wasnt quite ready for bed after we left the show, so we headed to the pool deck to observe the festivities. We ran into Austin and Heather who quickly adopted us. We went to a lounge area where a latin band was playing live music. Heather tried to teach us all how to salsa dance. It didnt go so well for Frank and I, but the effort alone was amusing. We headed back to the pool a while later and laughed at the old people trying to dance.

Frank and I called it a night around 1am. Another long day!

I will not promise day 3 tomorrow, but I will do my best. I can promise that you will have it by Sunday! Thanks to all the faithful readers. :)


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (and boats!) - Vacation Part 1

Time flies so fast! We are already back home in Melissa where we lead a quiet, but full life. Vacation was officially over when I had to make an appearance at work this morning. Despite the brevity of our ventures, we had a wonderful time cruising through the Pacific! In fact, we had such a good time that I took notes of the events while we were gone so I could share them here. There are so many funny stories and details that must be shared and formally documented. Since there is so much to write about, I've decided to break down our vacation into four parts - one blog for each day we were gone! I apologize in advance if I am a little long-winded.

Our vacation was intended to begin at 3am Friday morning. We had a 6:45am flight to catch, and I felt that I needed to be up early to shower, get ready, and finish packing. We set two alarms on Thursday night - one by the bed and one on Frank's cell phone. Around 4:17am Frank wakes me up in a hushed panic. I've always wondered what it'd be like to be Maggie (our dog) and have the energy to fly out of bed in the morning. I'm not much of a morning person, so I figured that unless there was a fire then it would have to remain a mystery. However, I did fly out of bed Friday morning. We still have no idea how both alarms failed us. There was no time to shower, so I had to put my hair in a ponytail, and throw on some clothes while feverishly packing all of our toiletries. I don't think we made it out of the house till around 5am. We missed our flight, which is pretty obvious. But the events that led up to that moment are certainly worth blogging about.

Looking back, I can laugh at the series of events that took place before 6:45, but at the time I was anything but happy. Once we made it to the car we raced down 75 to the airport. As we were discussing what would happen if we missed our flight, we drove right past our exit to DFW. Classic. Frank remains optimistic and I'm annoyed. We park in remote North parking and take off in a half run for the shuttles. Just as we get close enough to read the signs on the shuttles, we see our bus to terminal D leaving the bus station. 5:45am. We stood watching as the other buses for terminals A, B, C, and E came and went - teasing us as they came around the corner. It would be another 15 minutes before the terminal D shuttle would return. We ride to our gate and run inside to check our bags. We make it to the automated check-in and Frank loses control of his luggage and the wheel rolls over my left foot. While I angrily attempt to doctor my foot and place blame, Frank tries several times to check us in and the system cant find our reservation. 6:15am. At this point my foot is gushing blood and I leave in search of a ladies room to rinse it off and get a paper towel to stop the bleeding. Frank makes it to the front of the line while I'm gone, and is informed that it's too late to check our bags, so we were moved to the 7:45am flight. When I return, Frank and I begin the long wait in the security line. Once we reach the front of the line, it becomes clear that the clerk only gave Frank his boarding pass, but neglected to give him mine. So we have to go BACK to the check-in line to get a boarding pass for me. I limp over to the check in line again, and I'm greated by a very cranky customer service lady. She was irritated with me, but the feeling was mutual. It's beyond me why she never mentioned the necessity of my presence to Frank. It must have been a bad day for her too - although I doubt hers ended in a cruise. We eventually made it past security and had to hop on the SkyTram to terminal C which was on the complete opposite side of the airport. We got to our gate with just enough time to scarf down some McDonalds for breakfast before joining the last boarding group on the 7:45am flight. Traveling is just not my thing. Below is a very tame picture of my foot that I took on the plane - strictly for sympathy points.

When we arrived in LAX we rented a car the size of a rollerskate so we could keep ourselves occupied until it was time to board the Monarch of the Seas. I found the car to be quite comical. It was power NOTHING - perfect! The nice lady at Enterprise kept trying to upsell us to a nicer car, but I loved the idea of driving this thing. We headed out with a map and an appetite which landed us at an IHOP in the hood. We may have been the only English speaking people in the restaurant, but the eggs were still good. We left there and headed north to the pier in Venice - home of the famous Muscle Beach. We walked up and down the boardwalk for about an hour, and I ended up feeling depressed. There were so many homeless people and alot of others who obviously had no direction in their life. They sat on the side of the boardwalk with all of their posessions behind them in a shopping cart and they laid out their "art" in front of them for sale. We were approached by a crazy homeless guy asking to use my cell phone at one point. He told us that he had a very important business call to make. Someone was ready to loan him 500 million dollars to build a building. He followed quickly behind us, and I was ready to either fight or run since this is how I was mugged last time. I'm not sure we got our $7 worth out of our parking, but we had seen enough so we headed to Santa Monica to look around.

Around 12:30 we met my Uncle Ken at a restaurant called Tony P's for lunch. We ate on the patio that overlooked a marina with beautiful boats. It was good to see family after a stressful morning. He gave us good directions to the cruise ship and we did finally arrive at the port to offically start our vacation. It was SUCH a long day.

After we checked in and unpacked our bags, we were forced to muster with the rest of our cruising peers. It's really a very silly drill, so I turned it into a photo opportunity. At this point we had made time for a quick shower, which is good because Frank smelled. :)

After muster we headed for the top deck for a few more pictures. It was a beatiful evening and we tried to take it all in even though we were exhausted. We needed a vacation just from traveling!

As an experienced cruiser, I know that the shows on the ship are most of the time worth viewing. So we went to the opening act and were quite pleased with the entertainment. I dont remember his name, but the comedian was really funny. He came prepared with alot of jokes about cruising and how much people eat on cruises (which is SO true!). Although, the more you eat the cheaper your cruise becomes! So, in true crusing fashion we left the show and went to dinner.

We braced ourselves for more drama when we arrived for dinner. We had requested a table for 2 since we were stuck at a horrible table of 8 for our honeymoon cruise. Last time we were sat with a whole family - complete with Mom, Dad, two teenage daughters, and their grandparents. Exciting! Well, we didnt get our private table as we had asked for so we prepared for the worst again. Fortunately, another young couple showed up - both were 21. They were very quiet at first and Frank and I kept glancing at each other to see if we could find relief from the awkward silence. We resorted to talking about the menu for 5 minutes. I got tired of that so I decided to go ahead and break the ice with some friendly "get-to-know-you" topics. Their names are Neil and Jackie, and it turns out that they were just good friends. Neil's girlfriend had bought the cruise for them as a birthday present, but when she realized that she would miss Father's Day she opted to stay home. Since there are no good options when canceling a cruise vacation so late, she suggested he bring a friend instead. The evening was pretty tame, but those two ended up being worlds of entertainment by the end of the cruise. The most obvious reason is because it was the only evening that they came to dinner sober. More to come on them later. The last 2 seats remained empty on the first night. Once dinner was over, we went to bed and crashed hard. It was only 10:30pm, but when you consider the time change, we had been up for 20 hours. Not a bad end to a crazy day.

Check in tomorrow for Day Two! More pictures to come! Gracias to those of you who even made it this far to read this! :)