Monday, December 29, 2008

What's in that tube?

Phil reminded me of an exciting event from our vacation that I forgot to mention during my recap of our time in Ticla. As dentally hygenic individuals, each night before bed we would brush our teeth before climbing into the car. However, by this time of the night, the sun had gone down and it was dark, and we either usually could not find our lantern. So one of the evenings, I divied up the toiletries and headed up to the bathrooms to shower. Mom and I went to the women's bathroom and Phil went to the men's and of course he was finished sooner than we did. Later, when we arrived back at the campsite, Phil asked me what I gave him to brush his teeth with. I told him it was the Colgate that we had gotten from our dentist as a sample. He said that no, it was not toothpaste... it was the other similarly-shaped and similarly-sized tube of Cortizone that we had bought to help soothe the itching of bug bites. Unfortunately, Phil did not find this out until it had been spread across the bristles of his toothbrush and lathered up his teeth with it! Oops!

(I told him to look on the bright side-- at least his mouth was not itchy afterward!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day Five- Tizupan

The next morning we packed up our campsite and headed south for our next destination, a beachfront town called Tizupan. We arrived and pulled up under a palapa where my parents have stayed in the past.

There was a guy named Gregory who was staying in the campsite next door and packing up his gear to continue on his trip south. He was from Boston and was traveling on just a motorcycle, hoping to end up south of the Panama Canal if he could figure out how to get his bike that far south. We chatted about his trip and our experiences and my parents recommended some other spots for him to stop during his travels.

We set up camp and had a quick lunch, then Mom, Dad & Phil all decided to head out surfing!

The beach was rocky so they walked down to the shore with their shoes and then I retrieved them and brought them back to the campsite while they surfed. The waves were not too big and perfect for Phil to learn on and Mom to practice on. Dad stayed farther away in areas where he could get slightly larger waves and would not be in the way of the other two.

They spent about an hour in the water and when they came in, their shoes were brought to them so that they would not have to endure the rocky shore on their bare feet.

After the surf session, Phil and I took a long walk on the beach. First we walked left to the end of the rocks but the walk was short and there were some fishermen catching bait in their nets and we didn't want to get in their way, so we decided to walk back past our campsite and walk all the way to the end of the beach in the other direction. During our entire trip, I was searching for heart-shaped rocks, and this walk was no exception. I even had my parents searching while they walked the beaches! We found a few good ones and also some really beautiful shells that we brought back with us- they were bright pink and they are kind of like a clam since they fold inward toward each other, and both sides of the shell are identical. The animals were already gone from the shell so we picked them up. We probably came back to Texas with 20 of them!

We returned to the campground and showered and got ready for dinner. As with every night, we watched the beautiful sunset.

We grilled game hens and had salad and toast with it, which was delicious. Afterward, I toasted marshmallows on the grill for dessert! This night was probably the most beautiful of them all- it's hard to tell from the photo but the sky was orange near the horizon but the moon and some stars were already visible, so the contrast was gorgeous!

I even pulled Mom away from doing dishes for a few minutes to enjoy the beautiful view!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day Three - Relaxation
Dad went out fishing and then surfing. When Mom had returned from her long morning exercise walk with her friend, she accompanied me and Phil as we waded across the river (the water was waist high and cold in the river!) to watch Dad surf. He had gone around the point to get better waves which seemed to be what most of the surfers were doing. As we walked over, we passed a surfer who was bleeding from the head because of a surfing injury! This was not the only time we saw this type of injury at Ticla so I am glad Phil did not decide to try surfing here.
We found a log to sit on and watched Dad surf while basking in the morning sun. After about half an hour, Phil and I decided to take a walk farther down the beach. It was rocky where we were, so we wanted to get to the sandy part of the beach so we could more safely go for a swim. Mom decided to head back to the campsite so that she could get together with some friends for yoga, so Phil and I walked to the very end of the beach together. Where the beach ends, there is a cliff and Phil climbed up to explore. I climbed up just a few feet, not all the way, but the view was beautiful from that height.

We came back to the camp after our walk and hung out in the hammock for a while and read. It was very relaxing and the weather was nice and warm.
Later, we had a snack of guacamole at the restaurant in our campground, and then walked up to town to use the internet to email and let Phil's mom know we had made it safely there. We hung out some more and later my parents grilled pork tenderloin for dinner with salad and toast. They say that they usually become the envy of the other campers at their campgrounds because they eat "real" food (as opposed to canned sardines and such) and I can understand why. Dinner was delicious!

Day Four - Day Trip
Phil woke up early and went fishing on the beach with my Dad. The evening before, they had spotted a fishing hole in the ocean and put a stick in the sand-dune to remind them the following morning where it would be. Mom and I woke up and took a walk on the beach (with mom calling out exercise moves and tips like "Suck and Smile" which translates to suck in your stomach and smile while you walk, despite what it might bring to mind otherwise) and we joined the fishermen to see how they had done. Unfortunately, they did not catch any fish so we had to go to the taco stands for dinner... (and we promise this was not sabotage on Phil's part since he doesn't eat seafood!)

We decided we wanted to see some other beaches in the area and we had heard from the other people in the campground that the beach at Maruata was great even though Mom had not been impressed with it in the past when she had been there. We decided to pack up and drove our vehicle back up to the highway to head South to some different beaches.
We first stopped in La Manzanillera. The beach there reminded me of the beaches in Cabo San Lucas. It was very pretty and the big rocks on the shore were remniscent of the ones we posed by just a few years ago. We did not stay much longer on this beach because we were anxious to get to our other destinations.

Next, we drove farther South to El Faro (which literally translates to "the lighthouse" so there are more than one El Faro beaches in Mexico). We had a nice time at this beach. We arrived and there was basically nobody there yet which was great.

We took a swim in the ocean and then Mom and I decided to lay out and do some reading on the beach while Phil and Dad went snorkeling. While they were out in the water, a bus load of people showed up at the beach and the beach got super crowded, which was to be expected since it was a Sunday. These people had obviously been to this beach before because the teenager and 20-somethings of the group quickly climbed up on the rocks in the water and as a wave would come through between the rocks, they would one at a time jump off the rocks into the water below. All of their friends and family in the water closer to the shore would cheer them on each time. It was pretty fun to watch, although I figured it had to be kind of dangerous if it was too shallow to jump into the water before the waves came through...

Soon thereafter, the ice cream truck showed up! Similar to an ice cream truck in the US, except it was a jeep and it drove right onto the beach!

We all mused at first that this guy must be money laundering or something because there was no way an ice cream truck could bring enough revenue in to be able to afford a brand new Jeep in Mexico, but then as over 30 minutes passed and every single person on the beach (other than us) had purchased in ice cream cone and the line was never-ending, we realized we were very wrong and this ice cream business was quite lucrative actually!
We also entertained ourself on this beach by playing with a golden retreiver who had come with 2 people who were staying back at our camp-site in Ticla and picked a spot on the beach right next to us. The dog was so well-behaved and loved to fetch anything. Phil and Dad got roped into the stick-throwing but it was relentless after a while when the dog couldn't get enough. It was cute, though, because the dog would bring the stick right up to our chairs, and when we didn't pick it up, the dog would pick up the stick and actually lean it up vertically against the legs of our chairs so that we didn't even have to lean down to pick it up and throw it. Wasn't that thoughtful of him?

We ordered Limonadas and a plate of Camarones de Ajo for lunch and ate and drank on the beach and under the palapa, although the plate of food was kind of weird in that the shrimp needed to be peeled when they arrived at the table, shell and little bitty legs and all. I wasn't expecting this and it kind of made it less appetizing. But I ate it anyway, and my mom helped shell and de-leg the shrimpies like good mommies are supposed to do for their daughters.
Next we got back into the car and drove to Marueta. This is where we kind of got lost, although it turned out to be a wonderful thing! We drove into town and there was this big new building that was not there last year, so my parents did not have any recollection anymore of how to get to the beach. We drove down one street but there was lots of construction and rebar in the road on one side while the other side was torn up with piles of bricks. We turned around and drove down the next street over, which was a dead end. We went down a third street which led back to the first street. We had not yet seen a glimpse of the ocean! So we drove back to the closest road to the highway and turned down it, which led us to some sort of landing strip for airplanes, again not the beach. So we decided to go around the other side of the building and take a new road. We decided to follow the car driving ahead of us just to see where he led us, and it actually led us down a dirt road toward the beach! We found a camp ground and turned off to the side of it and I decided to just get out and see what the beach looked like before we left altogether and headed back to our camp. We walked up over the sand-dune and saw the most beautiful beach!

From the top of the sand-dune, the beach sloped down and rested between tall rock cliffs on either side, so the water was crystal clear and the waves were not too big. The ocean just rolled in and out so it was perfect for swimming! I stripped my cover-up off and ran into the water for a swim! It was wonderful to see a beach that was not rocky and easy to enter/exit. After my swim, I just laid directly on the sand and sunbathed. Phil and my Mom decided to go over to the rocks to the left of the beach and it turned out that there were caves that you could walk all the way through to another secluded beach just like this one! They came back and told us how cool it was so we all went to take a look for ourselves. It reminded us of two years ago on our trip to the Virgin Gorda where we were able to explore the caves.

On the right side of the beach there was another set of rock caves. The only other people on this beach were some older Canadians and we asked them if the caves led anywhere, but they had not yet entered them. We learned that they did go through and we were able to find yet another gorgeous and isolated beach! This was such a cool spot that we decided was our favorite beach of the trip and would love to return to and spend time camping there. But it did not have any good waves for surfing, so my Dad wasn't as enchanted as we were.

After enjoying Marueta we decided to drive down another dirt road and we ended up at a dead end road. We got out of our car and walked up to the beach over the hill and found that we were on the back side of the part of Marueta that my parents had been to before, where there was more of a surf spot. We ran into our neighbors from the campground who had been out surfing there. As it turns out, they drove straight through the road construction to get to this beach at the spot where we turned around due to the piles of rebar and construction materials in the road!

That evening, we had dinner at 2 taco stands in Ticla and went to sleep after a long day of beach-going and driving. Count: Taco Stands #5 & #6.
Days 5-10 to follow; stay tuned. This is where I stopped writing in my journal during the trip so the remainder of the posts are bound to be less detailed and shorter entries!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I figured my posting the photos on Facebook would tell a good enough story of our trip to Mexico but apparently that is not the case and people want a narrative. I even tried to get Phil to do this blog entry but he opted out and here I am, blogging instead of making my Christmas list on a Friday night, just days before Christmas... so here goes!

Day Zero- Trip to Valley

We woke up at 4:30am to pack the car and I had to get dressed for a meeting at 10:30am in Edinburg while trying to keep Sam & Henna's snouts & fur off of my outfit. We were on the road by 6am, right on schedule, so we felt good. We stopped for powdered donuts on the way for breakfast of champions before my meeting (if you are wondering why I was worried about dog hair on my dress when I was just going to get powdered sugar all over it, you would be smarter than I was at the time...). Phil was a trooper and hung out in the car while I went to my 2 meetings in Edinburg, but we were done with both and headed south by noon. We stopped at Whataburger for lunch (guess whose decision that was?). We arrived at my parents' condo and ate lunch and hung out for a while before getting back in the car and heading to Wal Mart in Port Isabel to try to buy an iPod dock/alarm clock and a GPS navigational system. We had a hard copy of a 2008 Guia Roji map of Mexico but Brad insisted that a GPS was the way to go. When we got to Wal Mart, however, we found out that none of the navigation systems come with Mexico maps loaded on them and we would have to pay over $100 extra to get a map of Mexico for it, so we opted out and stuck with our hard copy of the map!
That evening my mom made a turkey meal so that we wouldn't feel like we totally missed out on the Thanksviging celebration all together. We had turkey, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, brocolli, and the next day we had turkey left over for sandwiches on the trip! We headed to bed early so that we would be well-rested for the trip.

Day One- Driving, With Stops

We woke up at 5:00am and packed up our last minute things so that we could be on the road by 6am, following my parents in their camper. We stopped at the corner store for energy (Rockstar for Phil and fountain soda for me) and ice and headed towards the border (Matamoros)! We had a little hiccup at the border because we tried to get the car permit in Phil's name since he would be driving, but since my name is on the title of the 4Runner, we had to re-do all of our paperwork and resubmit (to another person at the counter) in order to avoid having to present our marriage license which was back in San Antonio! We were probably at the border for almost an hour which was longer than my Dad had planned, so he started to get antsy and pace around the place. He told us that the first thing we needed to do when we came back to the states after our trip was to change the title into Phil's name... don't tell him but we won't be doing that. It costs $35 or something and for what? It works just fine the way it is!

We headed out from the border around 7:30am after getting our visas and car permit and by 9:00am my parents were already making a gas/bathroom stop! (I think I forgot to mention that we all went to the bathroom before leaving the house and again at the border.) They proceeded to make another stop that morning for a bathroom break, and then we stopped for lunch. With all these stops, we figured we made up for the lost time at the border!
For lunch we stopped in the mountains and had a beautiful view as we ate our turkey sandwiches.

Phil was getting over 26 miles per gallon during the drive so we were very excited to have brought his car and not carry too much heavy luggage! We continued to drive through mountainous terrain and as we got close to the end of our travels for the day we got stopped and searched at a checkpoint. The officials were so professional and nice, and it was very quick and easy, so we felt completely at ease. We made it to Lagos De Morenos by 6:00 that evening and checked into our hotel which was only 260 pesos which translates to $20 per night! It was a very small room which fit just the furniture- a bed, TV, bedside table, and small desk and chair. There was a closet and a bathroom which was all open without a door to the shower so that when we took showers, everything in the room got wet! Luckily, my Mom had warned us not to leave our toilet paper in the room while showering because it would not be usable afterward since it would be soaking wet!

We walked down the main street and had tacos from 2 taco stands for dinner and were very satisfied. We decided to start keeping a count of our taco stands visited on the trip, so here were #1 and #2 already on the first day! After dinner, we read our new books that we had picked up before leaving SA and went to bed early. We were tired after a long day of driving.

Day Two- Our First Glimpse of the Ocean!

We woke up early again so that we could be on the road by 6:30am. We hoped to avoid traffic in Guadalajara but ended up making it there just at rush hour. As we drove into town, we noticed a brown cloud of smog covering the city, so combined with the crazy traffic, we didn't get a good impression of the city. Although we are told that there are very nice parts of the city with museums and such, we just didn't visit those parts as we drove through. It was not very easy to follow another car (my parents) in the heavy traffic, and the exits and road signs are not the easiest to follow, so it was certainly an adventure. Phil saw a car next to him get rear-ended, which didn't help because it made us think how terrible that would be to have to deal with that on our trip! Luckily we made it through town and didn't even get lost. We stopped for breakfast tacos on the other side of the city at the same place my parents stop at every year (have I mentioned yet that my Dad is a big fan of routine and basically every stop we make is one that he makes every single year?).

My parents needed to stop for propane for their camper so we found a re-fill station and stopped. The tank, however, was frozen to the camper (or rusted to the camper?) and neither Phil nor my Dad could get it loose. In the midst of trying, Phil sliced his thumb open... at least we were able to figure out that the location of our first aid kit was not very handy since I couldn't find it in time to help! Luckily, my mom knew just where their first aid kit was located so she was able to get Phil a band-aid and Neosporin quickly. But anyone who has cut themselves like that knows that this type of injury is painful and can easily open back up while it's healing, so it was too bad it had to happen at the very beginning of our trip!

Around 1:00pm, we finally started seeing signs of the coast! We came across these huge fields of palm trees which were planted in perfect rows and they were so tall! Some of them were stripped of their coconuts which we could understand but some of the others had the entire tree cut down which we figured was for wood, but we did not know what coconut tree wood is used for... the trunks are so small!

And shortly thereafter we saw the ocean! We arrived at La Ticla in the early afternoon at the campground where my parents have stayed for over 25 years. (When my parents were dating they took a trip together to Mexico and came to La Ticla. They realized when they could travel on a trip like this together that they were compatible and decided to get married when they returned! They have a photo of their 30-ish year old selves at sunset on the beach in Ticla that has been framed in our house forever.) Over the past few years since my parents have been traveling together to Mexico, they have made a group of friends whom they see every year in Mexico on these vacations. So when we showed up, they basically knew everyone there and every came out to greet them! We got introduced to their friends and then set up camp under a palapa on the beach. We took a beach walk first thing- the weather was a bit cloudy but pretty warm so it was nice, definitely a change from the weather we had been experiencing in SA the week before.

We watched the beautiful sunset...

...and then walked the short 5 minute walk up to town for tacos. Count: Taco Stand #3. We sat at a table right in front of the lady preparing the tacos and Phil unfortunately had his back to the lady as she chopped the meat and he kept feeling it hit the back of his t-shirt. Finally when he got hit in the back of the head with chopped pork, he decided to move around to the side of the table... The pork tacos she served, though, were delicious and ended up being our favorite tacos in Ticla. We joked later that we could always eat the pieces on the back of Phil's shirt if we needed a taco fix!

We slept on our bed that night for the first time in the 4Runner which consisted of 2 layers of egg crate, a feather comforter, a regular comforter, and 2 sheets. It was actually very comfortable! We had rolled down all the windows to let a breeze through and put up mosquito nets on the outside with magnets. It got so cool during the night that we actually had to use a blanket, which was just perfect for sleeping.
Days 3-10 to follow... stay tuned!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

He Did It- 26.2!

Today, Phil ran 26.2 miles in the Rock 'n Roll Marathon!

The day started out at 5:00am with a shower, breakfast, and getting dressed in lots of layers. (Last night the temperature dropped down to freezing!) We pinned on his number to his bottom layer shirt, attached his D Tag (disposable tag for timing his run) to his shoe, and left the house around 6:15am.

The website stated that we had to drive down Hwy 281 to the participant drop off area, and by the time we had sat in traffic for 30 minutes and were still probably an hour away from the start line and not moving, Phil decided (along with hundreds of others) to hop out of the car right on the freeway and walk to the start line which on foot was about 1/2 mile away. He made it there in time to check in his gear (his jacket and pants) which were transported to the finish line for him. The gun went off to start the race at 7:30am, but Phil was in corral 15 so he did not start running until about 8:00.

After dropping Phil off, I went straight to a friend of mine's shop on Main Street where I parked at 7:00am and waited until Phil ran by (around 9:00).

He picked up his sunglasses and dropped off a layer of clothing (his long-sleeve running shirt) and picked up a Gatorade and kept on running. Can you spot him? With 30,000 runners I thought I might miss him, but luckily I was able to spot him (plus he knew where I would be so he was on the right side of the road).

My aunt Carol also ran by about 5-10 minutes later so I was able to cheer her on and pick up a layer of her clothing as well so she could continue on her 1/2 marathon journey. By then, she was half way done so I made sure to remind her of that!

After the two of them ran by, I left Main Street and went directly to the Alamodome to stake out my spot at the finish line! I made sure to watch Carol run across the finish line and cheer her on and then had to find the best spot to watch Phil cross the finish line. I waited for about 2 hours at the finish line to get as close as possible to the runners and finally made my way all the way up to the gate so I could basically touch the runners and give some of them hi-five on their way across the finish line. Finally, when Phil came across I cheered for him and took pictures, although come ot find out he was so focused he never even saw me!

He says around mile 20 he got really nauseous after drinking 3 of the gel packets and had to slow down and walk to avoid getting sick on the course. His last few miles ended up being slower than his first 20, but he finished at 4:31 which we are so proud of! He didn't stop and walk until he got to mile 20 which is a personal best for him.
After he crossed the finish line, we found each other and quickly found a spot to sit down so Phil could cool down and let the nausea pass.

But after about 20 minutes of resting, he switched into flip flops, hydrated and was ready to walk to the car (another 1/2 mile at least).

Will he run another marathon? Probably so, but not just yet. He might try a 1/2 marathon next so he can work on improving his time and endure a less rigorous training course, but I'm sure this isn't the end of his running career. Just time for a little break.

Now, we get to pack for our Mexico trip! We leave in 11 days!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Here's our life, in a nutshell

Usually when I post on the blog, I can either think of something witty or at least post some photos to compensate. In the past month as you've noticed and *ahem* mentioned, we haven't posted anything on this blog. Really, it's just because our daily lives don't seem to be exciting enough to blog about. But here's a recap for those of you who we don't see or talk to frequently:

There was that weekend in September where we celebrated Katherine's birthday by starting to drink at 5:30 with dinner, getting to the bar downtown by 8pm, and ending the night by midnight passed out in bed because we started too early, all with me wearing the skimpiest dress I've ever worn in public. But it was fun and we swore we were too old for this.

Then there was the weekend when we headed to Austin to Chuck-E-Cheese for Logan's birthday party. First we met up with Freddy for lunch and he showed us the greatness that is the reality TV show Tabatha's Salon Takeover. Such a guilty pleasure to watch and now we record all the episodes. We have "paid it forward" so to speak because we got Maria hooked when she came to visit!

There was also the Valero Texas Open that consumed Phil's life at the beginning of October. He is a co-chair of the Admissions & Will Call committee so he was heavily involved in the tournament preparations and actually spent most of his days there for about a full week. But really this just involved sitting in an air-conditioned RV where they had cable TV, free food and beverages, and free access to watch live golf at the tournament at any time.

The same week of VTO, my aunt and uncle came into town at the last minute on a Wednesday night which also happened to be one of the VTO events. So they joined us for that along with my other aunt, Carol, and then we all went to dinner at a new restaurant in town. It was so great to see them and we are actually headed to Port Aransas this weekend to spend more time with them before they sail away to the Bahamas for a few months on their boat.

The weekend of VTO this year also happened to be Alumni Weekend at Trinity so my friend Maria from college came to stay with us. We went out for lunch on Saturday to Beto's which became my new favorite place for Tacos Al Pastor! I also had a mojito with lunch which subsequently, combined with the massage chair and pedicure, made me very sleepy in the middle of the afternoon. Guess this is why we save our drinking for evenings.

Then there was two weekends ago when we went out with our friends Katherine & Jack to The Bonham, a gay bar downtown where one of my friends is a bartender, and he gave us a few too many free drinks and shots, making us again realize how we are getting way too old to take shots and drink this much.

So last weekend we played it low key and stayed in and watched the UT game at our house. Katherine and Jack brought their Chihuahua, Martini, over to play with Cooper which provided plenty of entertainment, rivaling the game actually.

I also got to see my friend Lena twice in the past few weeks which was so great. She was my college roommate and one of my closest friends but she moved back to Kuwait last year to be with her family. She came for just a few weeks and had to divide her time amongst all the many people who wanted to see her but I got her all to myself for a few hours one day at lunch and we had a mini-reunion with one of our college suitemates another night. I hope one day to go visit her so she doesn't always have to come here to see us!

Phil is still training for the marathon which is now less than a month away. He runs many times a week but does his long run on Sundays. He ran 22 miles last weekend on Sunday after running 5 miles the day before. I am so proud of his drive and determination to do this. Can't wait for race day!

I have been working a lot lately, either going into work early, staying late, or working weekends. Sometimes I come home from dinner and go back to the office and work into the evening. It's a good thing to be busy right now with the economy slow and people losing jobs so I am grateful to have the work and job security (knock on wood). Plus, the more I work, the more money I make so that is always a plus... and pretty good motivation!

This weekend we are headed, as previously mentioned, to Port Aransas to spend some time at the coast and with family. My parents will be joining us and we are staying at a condo that my aunt and uncle have reserved. Another aunt and uncle who live in Corpus are going to join us so it should be great. On Sunday we will drive to Houston to pick up Sam & Henna and bring them back to our house where they I am sure will be so glad to see Cooper and run around and poop in our back yard. We are happy to have them here and I am sure their owners will soon come and scoop up the back yard, right?!

So that is a recap of the last month and a half of our lives. We'll try to remember to take more photos to capture the events in our lives so our friends and family, avid readers of our blog, do not feel neglected anymore. With the election coming up, the marathon, and our trip to Mexico all in November, we should have enough going on to blog about!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Are we officialy OLD?

So this weekend we were making dinner and as I pulled out a salad dressing bottle I happened to notice that some of the other dressings were almost empty, so I pulled the Thousand Island out and noticed it had expired in 2005. What?! That was 3 years ago! I'm thinking, "this is weird, let's check the balsalmic", only to find that it expired earlier this year. On to the ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, whole-grain mustard, and on and on we go- ALL EXPIRED. Now let it humbly be known that both Phil and I on multiple occasions have made fun of people with expired condiments in their fridges as old, and that only old people keep expired condiments past their expiration date! Yet who pulled approximately 25 expired containers out of their refrigerator door this weekend? WE DID!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Four More Years!

I've had my wonderful Acura 3.2 CL sports car for 4 years now, and it has been such a joy to drive. This summer it was starting to show some signs of age so we spent this weekend giving it a little TLC to get it back in tip-top shape. Saturday morning we took it in to get the A/C re-charged (no more getting out of the car and my back being so sweaty that the back of my shirt is soaked). Then to be extra sure, we got my windows tinted! I knew they figured out I was from the valley when they offered me the metallic finish... but we ended up deciding on the middle darkness and middle price-point yet still keeping with a 3M product with a lifetime warranty. Then on Sunday we changed my air filter and (Dad, stop reading here so you don't have a heart attack) I put the new registration sticker on my windshield that had been expired for over a year! Now I am legal and hopefully should stay cool and maybe even get some better gas mileage! Phil says I have to keep my car until it has at least 150k - 200k miles on it, so here's to another 4 years together, Acura--- cheers!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just a quick post to pay homage to and honor one of the most delicious desserts I've ever consumed. On Carol's birthday this weekend she had a group of people over for dinner. We had chalupas for dinner which were yummy of course, and some home-made margaritas on the rocks which also held their own, but the real star of the show in my opinion was the s'mores cheesecake! With a graham cracker crust, chocolate cheesecake filling, and toasted marshmallow top, each bite was nothing less than heavenly. It also needs to be mentioned that Carol made it from scratch! (We definitely discussed how the cooking genes must have skipped a generation... but luckily I have all these great cooks around me who can take care of me with delicious creations like this amazing dessert.) We took leftovers home and there is an amazing slice in the refrigerator right now calling my name. At least I have something to look forward to this evening - a night on the couch in front of the women's gymnastics finals with my slice of deliciousness. I can't wait.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Is there such thing as Olympics Fever?

For the next two weeks, we plan to be watching the Olympics, and not doing much else. Well, there is our 8-5 work schedules, running (for Phil), eating (me), celebrating Carol's birthday, and dinner next weekend with Jennelle & Greg, but that's all we will commit to.

The opening ceremonies last night were awesome. The "Birds Nest" stadium is a beautiful piece of architecture and the Chinese display of entertainment was fantastic.

I don't really consider myself an extremely patriotic person, but when an American is participating in virtually any event, you just have to cheer for them... whether you know the rules of the game, or have ever heard of that person before or not. Luckily, Team USA tends to be pretty strong in the events we like, so that helps.

Favorite events of ours include gymnastics, swimming, beach volleyball, water polo, track & field, basketball... luckily this only happens every 4 years because it's almost* enough athleticism to make me want to get off the couch, put down the ice cream, and exercise.

*Note the use of the word "almost".

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Chicken Fight!

On Saturday after lounging at the pool and drinking a few of Randy's pineapple-sugar-rum concoctions, Felicity and I decided it would be a great idea to get on our husbands' shoulders for a good-natured chicken fight!

We made it up on their shoulders and were so proud of ourselves.

The next thing you know, my competitive side came out...

...and Felicity's competitive side was under water!
A winner was declared (I think it still counts if it's self-declared).

We decided to do a triple decker next, but Drew just didn't enjoy it as much as we had hoped.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thanks to many of you for your concern about my parents' wellbeing during Hurricane Dolly. Thought I'd send a quick update so everyone has the latest.

My parents decided to evacuate to Mission, TX last week on Tuesday and stayed there as Dolly came ashore. They took my dad's boat, both of their cars, and their camper so that they could avoid any major damage to their valuable possessions. They got to Mission early enough to be able to enjoy the first day there, even spending some time by the pool at their hotel! On Wednesday, they stayed close to the TV to stay in touch with the latest with the storm, and when they were able to return to the island on Thursday after the storm, they returned to a sweltering hot island without power (this translates most importantly to air conditioning in July) although luckily they did have running water. Their condo, luckily, did not sustain any damage, although the rest of the island did not fare as well. All of the docks along the bay had been washed away by the storm, many of the power poles had been snapped in half, and many of the condos, restaurants, and homes had lost roofs and flooded. For some photos of the storm damage, click here.

We heard that the county parks were closed to the public and that since the surf was so dangerous, the police were arresting people who tried to go surfing!

My parents also experienced in the upper valley a desperate lack of gasoline, since most of the gas stations either didn't have power, or were sold out of gas. Basically, they were stuck in the valley for a day or two without any options of leaving! Finally, they were able to get gas and headed to Corpus to stay with family over the weekend in a more comfortable and air conditioned environment.

Finally this afternoon around 4:00pm, the power was restored to their condo so they have returned home. The docks at my dad's marina have almost already been completely re-built, so he may be able to start working again next week. They have cable, internet, and of course air conditioning. The county parks at the beaches have also been re-opened and my parents can make surf-checks, so all is well with their world, even though there is still quite a bit of construction and re-building to be done for many of the other residents on the island.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Run, Philip, Run!

Philip has decided to run his first marathon! He is registered to run the San Antonio Marathon on November 16th. This year, the theme is a Rock 'n' Roll marathon, which means that there will be live music every mile. Hopefully that will help him get through the 26 MILE run more easily.

He has already started training, and has a routine that he is settling into. This morning was his long run, which translated to 12.65 miles. The run took over 2 hours and he only walked 4 minutes of it; the rest was running!! He has been using his Polar heart rate monitor watch and it has a component that clips to his shoe to measure his stride and distance. This tool should really help him track his training between now and November.

I am so proud of him for doing this, since I am certainly not running right alongside him. I have no desire to mark this off my list of things to do before I die, so my plan is to make signs and hold them up during the marathon to show my support. I have been trying to think of some good running puns that also correspond to Rock 'n' Roll, so if you have any good suggestions for poster slogans, let me know!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Farewell, Awesome Blossom

Yesterday afternoon, Phil emailed me at work and offered to take me out to dinner that evening (after he got home from happy hour with his co-workers). He stated we could go to Chris Madrid's (abbreviated as CM's in his email), Chili's (with appetizer), or Mon's for Thai food. I told him that the appetizer really won me over and beginning at 3:30pm yesterday, my mouth started watering for an Awesome Blossom and the Molten Cake from Chili's. (I decided instead of having an appetizer and entree, I would just forego the entree and have appetizer and dessert!) So we finally arrived at Chili's last night around 6:30pm and of course there was a 30 minute wait. We decided not to wait and that we would go to Chris Madrid's instead. We drove across town to CM's, and the line there was wrapped all the way across the area where you order and around the entire dining room, so we didn't stay and eat there either. We ended up at Taco Cabana and both of us ate for $9.33, which we decided meant that we could go out to eat Saturday night too!

So all day we have been planning to eat at Chili's. We decide to go early so we won't have to wait to be seated and get there before 5:30pm. We sit down, flip open the menu, and...... no Awesome Blossom. What? This cannot be happening. The waitress walks up, "What can I get you to drink?" and we order our beverages. "Any appetizers?" she asks, to which I respond with a question of my own, "do you have the Awesome Blossom?"... here comes the devastating news. "We don't serve the Awesome Blossom anymore." This was the most disappointing news I've heard all day! What was I going to do without this 2,710 calorie fried appetizer I'd been craving for over 24 hours (203g fat for those of you who keep track of this sort of thing)? There was nothing I could do.... it is gone forever. So we decided to boycott appetizers altogether as a silent protest. And in the end, I forewent the dessert as well, for the principle of it all.

So here's to you, Awesome Blossom; you will be missed. You were indeed awesome, when dipped in ketchup.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Apparently the thing to do this summer is to hang out at Lake Livingston and partake in waterports like being pulled behind a boat on a tube. Question is, who do you think was going faster? I think we have the Bergers beat by a long shot- check out the wake in our pics vs. the (lack of) wake in theirs... but we're not competitive!

Here you can see the battle wounds on my elbows, caused by the intense tube riding earlier in the day. (Looks like Greg's only battle wound was a little sunburn... clearly that's not the same thing.)
The weekend at the lake was lots of fun and then........ the boat broke. On the Fourth of July after a fun morning on the boat, we came upon a big rain storm and all ran for cover inside the house. We waited out the storm and after the rain stopped, some of the guys decided to go out on the boat and do some wakeboarding/kneeboarding. They were gone for about 2 hours so we thought they were having tons of fun. Come to find out, the boat broke down 20 minutes into the fun, and the rest of the time was spent with 2 guys in the boat paddling with a paddle on one side and a water ski on the other side, and Phil on the front of the boat swimming/steering the boat. They pulled/paddled all the way out of the cove they were in and finally after about an hour of that, a jet ski graciously stopped and offered to tow them back to the lake house. Needless to say, we didn't expect to see them paddling back towards the house! After they got back, they continued to show their masculinity by taking apart the propellor to try to fix it, even though none of them knew what they were looking at or looking for. We even brought in the professional (Brad) and tried to draw from his Naval experience, but that wasn't fruitful either. So we had to find other ways to keep ourselves busy, like a long walk the following morning around the neighborhood, and swimming in the lake at the dock.
Another fun way to remain entertained, come to find out, is to take care of a newborn. We had fun figuring out how to keep him from crying while riding in the jogging stroller (we determined that one must simulate bumps even when bumps are not present), watching him sleep, and giving him a bath. Everyone stood around on Friday evening watching Felicity and I give Ethan a bath in the kichen sink; apparently we put on a pretty captivating show. Or maybe that is just Ethan- he likes to keep it interesting by shooting out a fun little stream when you least expect it! Luckily, his mom's reflexes are getting to be really good. ;)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Reason #43 why I do not bake

Note: There are only 20 cupcakes shown, and for those of you who are still allowed to bake, you know that a batch of cupcakes is 24. You would be correct if you deduce that the other 4 cupcakes were in such a sad state that they weren't even allowed to be in this sad, mangled photo. These are the beauties of the bunch, and as you can see, they are far from beautiful.

Okay fine, here are the others (the 24th didn't make it) . I didn't want to subject you to this, but I know you would be thinking the other 4 were probably beautiful and I was being modest. You can clearly see that is NOT the case. Notice how some of them didn't even remain in their paper cupcake holder home? I should have known better than to volunteer to bring a baked good to a party. Obviously these could not make their debut in public for people I'd never met before to see.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This evening, Cooper went on a blind date! I took him over to Katherine's apartment and he and her little Chihuahua, Martini, had a great time playing. At first, Cooper was playing it cool and dis-interested in her, but I think that was mostly related to him smelling the pizza we had ordered for dinner, and wanting to have a piece. But after dinner they really had a fun time chasing each other around the apartment. He was so glad to run on carpet again, since it offers so much more traction than our hard wood floors.

But it's not all fun and games for Cooper lately. This weekend we noticed that his front right paw was swolen and he continuously licked it all day Saturday. We began to get concerned because it got more and more red as he licked it. Overnight, it went down in size and color since he was not licking it but on Sunday he proceeded with the licking and it got worse again. On Monday evening I took him to PetSmart to get his nails clipped and have a vet take a look. There were not any doctors available so the next morning I called our vet and made an appointment for that afternoon. The vet was not able to diagnose the exact problem but gave us an ointment and a pill to give him which should help it heal in the next week or so. Because of all the licking, I was really hoping that we would not have to put one of those cone collars on him because I've always thought those were so cruel and just looking at them makes me sad. But as it turns out, that was exactly what the doctor ordered. So here is a photo of our little guy, sad as can be, with the cone around his neck. Of course, we had to buy him a toy to help ease the pain, and Phil fed him some potato chips.

In other Chihuahua news, Cooper's new friend Martini got a new polka dot dress while we were at PetSmart today that is ADORABLE!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This evening I found my new favorite website. Seriously, people are hilarious.

I found this link while browsing another great website:


Monday, June 09, 2008

Tag- You're it!

Yesterday we were tagged. And because this serves as an easy blog post, and I feel obligated since I was tagged after all, I'm participating.

Rules: Answer the following questions about yourself. At the end of the post you pass on the questions to 6 other people. Write them a comment telling them that they've been tagged and ask them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know that you've accepted the challenge and refer to your post. Here it goes:

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?

Ten years ago, I was 15 years old and it was summer. I couldn't drive yet and couldn't have a job. Most of my days were spent hanging out with Dana; summer band hadn't started yet (go ahead, laugh- get it out of your system). I had started "liking" Philip and we had become friends at school. Since I didn't have a car yet, I had lots of things I wanted to do but really no means to do them. I remember one day that summer I even convinced Phil to drive to Dairy Queen and drive all the way to my house and bring it to me; we didn't start dating until months later in October. I guess I should have known from that moment when the Blizzard was placed into my 15-year old hand what a sweetie he was and that it was TLA (true love always, for those who aren't fluent in the linguistics of a 15-year old).

2. Five items on today's "to do" list:

Dead-head the roses (done)
Water the flowers (done)
Take Cooper to get his nails clipped (done)
Call the vet about the bump on Cooper's paw (tomorrow morning, first thing)
Return dress to Banana Republic to get $109 refund (this week, for sure)

3. What snacks do you enjoy?

Food is the way to my heart. Yes, usually that is the old antic known for how to make a man fall in love with you, but it's also the way to make me love you. Phil knows to cheer me up is to get delicious food in my belly. So, the list will be long but I will do my best. Also, I am changing it to FOOD I enjoy rather than just snacks. I don't want to discriminate against non-snack foods as they bring me plenty of joy.

Home-made baked goods such as cupcakes, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, black cherry cobbler with chocolate chip ice cream on top; Multi-grain tortilla chips & guacamole; Geneva cookies; Chris Madrids' cheeseburger & fries; Which Wich's muffaletta; salt & vinegar chips; S'mores; S'mores flavored Chewy bars; Neopolitan ice cream (current flavor of choice but this changes periodically); Cherry Cordial ice cream (absolute favorite flavor but only available at Kroger which we don't have in SA); Hershey's Cookies N Cream candy bars; Corn Pops & Lucky Charms; artichokes......... the list could go on and on but I'll move on for your sake.

4. What would you do if you were a billionaire?

I would move to a beautiful house on the beach somewhere tropical but also have a jet that could take me to other more populated places (like a good mall) whenever my little heart desires. I would enjoy all my days with Phil & Cooper, and I would pay for my family and close friends to visit a few times a year at least, for those who don't move there with us. I would donate some of my millions to causes I support, and finally I would be the best gift giver, the one I've always wanted to be but haven't been!

Oh, and most importantly I would fly the taco stand lady from Belize to my new home on the beach and build her and her family a house on my property so she could make me those delicious tacos anytime I wanted. Served with Coke from a bottle, of course.

5. Where would you live?

Oops apparently I was supposed to save the tropical thing for this question. But it is part of my happy billionare life. And, I would travel often to other beautiful places in the world and do all the fun things on vacation since I can afford them!

According to the rules, I'm supposed to make six other people be "it" now. Here goes. Jennelle & Greg have already been tagged but they are one of our most bloggers of friends so they're getting tagged again. I am also tagging Jane, Felicity & Karthik, Brad & Stacy, and Amity & Randy. I know the last two haven't updated their blogs in over a year but what better time to start? Also, I know Brad has a great blog entry to post showing the photos of our house getting TP'ed. So now he has two.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Schlitter-boy we had a great Saturday!

On Saturday we spent the day at Schlitterbahn with Katherine and Jack. We got our tickets at HEB on the way to New Braunfels and got to the park just as they opened at 10am. We rode all the best rides, including the new Dragon's Revenge ride (although it was not as cool as the commercials made it seem). We ended our visit with a drink at the swim-up hot tub bar, and then Jack had his funnel cake, and headed home around 4pm. We were completely beat. I think the one thing we will all remember from this day was the guy with the Speedo on in the Master Blaster line. He kind of looked like Jack Black but we don't think he was wearing the Speedo as a joke like you would expect from JB. Completely ridiculous, gross, and inappropriate. Poor children, and poor guy standing behind him in line for 2 hours.

After the water park, we decided so celebrate a successful day of bathing suit wearing by stuffing our faces with all things fried at Willie's for dinner. Phil and I had chicken strips and french fries (we got the kids size and neither of us could finish it... makes you really wonder) and a side of fried jalapenos and fried pickles. That's right, no bathing suits for us today, at least not in public. Phil also tried Pacifico beer for the first time and really liked it. He said it reminded him of Belikin, the beer we had in Belize. He still has that one Belikin in the fridge and he decided now is the time to open it since it's been over a year and he may not even remember correctly what a true Belekin tastes like. I think he's hoping as soon as he opens it we will be transported back to Belize and the delicious taco stands that come with it. Or maybe that's my hope. Let's crack it open!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tony Barker?

It's that time again in San Antonio, when everyone wears Spurs attire on game days since we're in the Western conference finals. Cooper has been begging for weeks so we finally broke down and he used his allowance to buy a jersey for him. Here he is modeling and showing his Spurs pride:

Doesn't he look handsome in his officially licensed NBA jersey?

And here he is at half-time after sinking a huge 3-pointer right at the buzzer. You'd be tired too.

Monday, May 26, 2008

We spent the long holiday weekend visiting my parents and vacationing on South Padre Island. We left Thursday morning and headed to Edinburg so that I could go to a client meeting for work (this allowed me to count Thursday as a day at work and still make our drive to the valley for the weekend- pretty good deal, isn't it?). I did learn that it was not the best idea to wear a black top if I was planning on having our blonde puppy lay in my lap for the 4-hour drive, nor was it worth my while to painstakingly iron my skirt which would only become a wrinkled mess by the time I arrived at the meeting. Luckily Debbie had a lint roller in her car so that helped with the little white Chihuahua hairs. After the meeting, we made the last 1.5 hour-drive and arrived at SPI; my parents had a spaghetti dinner waiting for us which was very nice.

On Friday, Phil and my dad played golf early while my mom and I did what girls do best - shopped. The four of us took one vehicle to Brownsville to save gas money, so Mom and I dropped the guys off at River Bend and headed to the shops. Brownsville has really built up since we lived there- they have a brand new shopping area which spans both sides of the freeway, with shops like Kohl's, Petsmart, Mervyn's, Sam's, Academy, TJ Maxx, and a second, and much nicer, Target. They even got their first Taco Cabana! The stores were even clean (which for Brownsville is unusual!), but that might have been due to the fact that we were shopping before the busy weekend while kids were still in school. Either way, we had a nice time, and were not ready to pick up the guys when they called at noon for us to pick them up. Alas, we cut our shopping trip short and picked them up (although not soon enough if the guys were to tell the story- you should have heard Phil's response when I told him we had just stopped at a garage sale on the way- it wasn't joy in his voice that I heard!). We spent the rest of the day basking in the sun poolside, and had some delicious Reuben sandwiches for dinner.

Saturday was another day of relaxation by the pool and on the beach. We met Dad at the dock at noon after his fishing charter and Mom cleaned his boat so that we could all go out to lunch afterward! This has been the deal ever since I was a young "Boat Girl"-- although back then I used to get $5 in addition to free lunch for washing his boat. These days, getting fish guts on my hands just isn't worth the $5 to me. But hey, I can't knock the job where I earned enough money to buy my first pair of rollerblades, and many many many rides on the Bungee Trampoline.

Saturday evening we attended the wedding of our high school friend, Molly, to her fiancee Jerry. They actually live in San Antonio since Molly just finished up law school at STMU so we hope to be able to have them over for dinner soon. Although come to think of it, we know they got lots of cool wedding presents (like that food processor we got them) and probably want to try them out, so maybe they should cook for us! Haha, okay maybe I am just trying to get out of one of my least favorite tasks, cooking. I guess we could just barbeque for them, since then Phil would be the one to cook.

Their wedding was really wonderful. The setting was very whimsical- outdoors on the resaca of The Inn of Chachalaca Bend. They had lanterns strung from the trees, and the ceremony was on the dock at the water's edge. They had really cute touches like polaroid cameras for the guest book and really personalized programs with history and personal notes about the guests, family, wedding party, and bride and groom. The groom's cake was even 3D and shaped like an airplane since Jerry will be a pilot "when he grows up". Debbie who made the cakes is the same person who made my Barbie cake as a child, so I knew she would do a great job (this was before they sold them at HEB! At the time it was a huge deal and I was so so so excited about it).

My parents and Phil and I got dressed up in "elegant garden party" attire and we really enjoyed ourselves. We got to see some of our high school friends that we haven't seen in almost 10 years (yes, our 10 year reunions are quickly approaching!) so that was really fun. Freddy was there as well and he is fun to see as always; he was running late getting to the valley as he had driven from Austin that afternoon, stopping in Laguna Vista to change into his suit for the wedding. The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 6:00 and luckily for Freddy the ceremony did not actually start until almost 6:45. He showed up just as the ceremony was starting... actually, he walked down the aisle to be seated after all the wedding party had walked to their spots at the altar to the tune of the stringed quartet, and just before Molly was to make her entrance on her father's arm. Actually, everyone was already standing to see the bride for the first time, and here came Freddy running down the aisle, trying to be inconspicuous but of course not able to since everyone was looking that direction! Anyway, Molly was very excited to see him so she didn't mind one bit (lucky for him)!

My parents left the wedding around 10:00 but Phil and I stayed until almost midnight, since Freddy had offered to drive us back to the island afterward. While driving down Padre Blvd. on the island, Freddy and Philip decided on a whim to stop at Recoil which is the bungee tower where he worked all through college. While Phil caught up with his old co-workers, Freddy and I decided to ride the Reverse Bungee. It was so much fun, even though I had ridden before. I didn't remember it doing so many turns and lasting so long, so that was a great surprise. And actually, we watched the next few people ride, and theirs didn't seem to flip as much as ours. But I think our screaming as we were propelled up into the sky was good for business, because the line got pretty long shortly thereafter. Then, Phil decided to bungee jump! He has jumped hundreds of times before, but it has been almost 5 years since he worked there when he used to jump so frequently. I think they tested him by having him hook up his own harness just to see if he remembered how. Hopefully they double checked his work!

I tried to get some photos but I clearly have some work to do in learning how to take good night-time photos, especially at a distance where the flash doesn't work. If anyone has tips (other than buying a new camera), please share.

On Sunday, we spent the day again taking long walks on the beach (one with and one without Cooper- he would start sprinting as soon as he hit the sand and tire out so quickly that we would have to pick him up about half way through and carry him, so during our second walk that afternoon, we left him at the condo with my parents where he could rest). We got plenty of sun, but neither of us came back sunburnt! I think we are learning how to do this whole tanning thing. We decided to head back to SA after dinner yesterday evening so that Phil could work on a big presentation he has to make on tomorrow at work. He was thinking about it all weekend so we wanted to be sure he had time to tweak and prepare it before Tuesday. We left the island around 8:00pm and had no idea that the traffic would be as bad as it was! We sat in traffic all the way down Padre Blvd. and then all the way across the causeway! Luckily, we had a delicious treat to help soothe our frustrations. Cooper even had a few bites, but it turned out when the ice cream got drippy and I accidentally dropped a pretty large spoonfull down his back, he wasn't too thrilled. He didn't even let me try to lick it off. And since it was Blue Bell, I might have tried. This brand of ice cream alone may keep me in Texas for all my life. YUM!