May 27, 2011

Girl Scout Survivor Weekend

That title doesn't give you any clues as to what was going to happen, does it?

The night before any Girl Scout trip, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Checking and double checking permission slips, preparing my binder of leader goodies (health forms, transportation cards, accident forms, itinerary, etc).

Do I have the directions? A camp staff contact in case something goes haywire on the way to camp? Cell phone charger, warm clothes, pen, book, warm coat. Jeez.

We depart from our meeting place at 7:15am. (This was especially great since I didn't go to bed until 12:30 the night before and then was up at 6:00am).

I had one other parent with me, so 2 cars, 8 girls and a carload full of crap. I mean gear.

We had 103 miles to travel. Giggling girls in the back seat, singing along with the radio, taking J-14 and BOP magazine quizzes. Oi.

We arrive at camp, pull up in the wrong part, get out, figure out where we are supposed to be, back in the car, only to unload and do it all over again!

We finally get the whole group together. There are 4 other troops participating in this challenge weekend as well. Girls from 11-14 years old. We all don life jackets, pull the canoes off the shelf in the boathouse, pack a sack lunch, and row across the lake. Now, I am not a huge boater. In fact, I really don't like boats at all. Living in the Pacific NW, I do get on a ferry from time to time, and those are ok. Anything much smaller and anxiety rears its ugly head.

So, I opt out of a canoe, and instead take up an oar and row a Viking boat. Not much better than a canoe, but definitely less tippy. The lessor of the two evils.

Once we arrive on the other side of the lake, on our "deserted island", we haul all the canoes out of the water, split in to groups, learn about emergency shelter building, compass usage and navigation, and of course, knot tying.

My gaggle of girls, unbeknownst to me, are starting to fray around the seams. It is now late in the afternoon, they are hungry, tired and some are suffering from PMS. (BTW, so am I. Boy how I love to camp with Auntie Flow...........). Some granola bars are shoved down their throats as they are instructed to make their own shelter for the nights, using only tarps and rope.

Then, WW3 ensues. There are 5 crates dropped off. They are full of different supplies for each group to make dinner with. You can barter, trade or share your supplies in order to have a fantastic meal. Well, that is all great in principle but really? We got stuck with the shitty crate. The "ha ha, let's see what you can do with this" crate. And boy did the girls have ideas.

The problem? 8 girls, 8 different ideas. 8 different ways to trade food, make a deal or barter what we had. Add to this mix having to cook over the fire, having the ONLY crate of food without meat in it, and overtired girls. Guess what you get? An awful dinner.

While my girls were attempting to come up with a plan, the other mom and I were laughing hysterically. We have been given a set of pup tents to sleep in. They are all nicely bundled in their stuff sacks, and as we take them out, we notice the 2 poles required to put them together are missing. So we get the camp director to swap those out for some other tents.

Well, we get one all put together. The whole time that our great tent debacle is happening, the girls have been building their shelter, arguing about what goes where, and having major disagreements about the food and preparing the food, and the other mom and I are in a fit of giggles.

I mean the deep belly laugh, eyes watering, legs crossed to avoid piddle in the skivvies, bent over at the waist cause your stomach muscles are screaming kind of laugh. We are moving on to constructing our second tent. Wouldn't you know, one of the two poles snaps in half! More hysterical laughter ensues. A roll of duct tape later and my tent finally stands on its own.

The girls come over to us and actually ask if we are drunk, we are laughing that hysterically. No sleep, lots of walking and physical labor, and lack of food apparently makes me loopy. To the point people think I am intoxicated. Good times.

Things finally would down for the night, the girls sing some songs around the campfire and we shove them off to their homemade tent, and we settle down for the night. We awake Sunday morning much more refreshed.

We break down camp, row back across the lake, haul all of our gear to the car, and drive home. I squinted the entire way because my sunglasses fell on the floor of the front passenger seat and I couldn't reach them as I was driving 67 miles per hour.

Here is what I learned:

The show Survivor, not for me. I can camp with the best of the them. I can go without a shower, I can get dirty, and I can build a shelter and a fire. What I can not do? Use a biffy (bathroom in forest for you) for more than one day, deal with ladies on the rag, and go through another dinner like that.

My new diet? Courtesy of Girl Scout Survivor weekend: 1/2 orange and some pretzel sticks for lunch, 5 cucumber slices and 1/2 a hot dog for dinner, and a banana for breakfast Sunday morning. It's no wonder I lost 2 pounds at camp.

Pictures to come later. When I regain the ability to think outside of this weekend, when I move all my stuff!

May 19, 2011

Hindu Wedding

My friend Debbi and I were invited to a traditional Hindu wedding this past Saturday. We don't know the bride that well, we are more acquainted with the groom and his parents.
We loaded up the car with cameras, address and GPS, tunes and away we went! The ceremony was taking place about an hour from where we live.

We arrive at the wedding hall, and walk in to a room full of East Indians, immediately feeling out of place. We sign the registry, get a program, and find a seat. We were 2 out of 6 or 7 Caucasian people in attendance!


Here was a view of the alter before the bride and the groom arrived.

The seats are quickly filling up. We are surrounded by the most beautiful sari's I have ever seen, in every color! Oh, if I could have captured it I would have! Aqua, royal blue, pale pink, deep red, forest green, purple and champagne color exploded all around us.




The groom is escorted in first. then he is blessed by each of the females from the bride's family.






Here is Raj, waiting for his bride.



Here is Priya, escorted in by her brothers.



They placed a lei around each others necks.




Her attendants help make sure that the lei is not caught on her beautiful scarf.
One of the grooms attendants carries a satin bag of puffed rice. He places some in the hands of the bride and groom. Who then place it in to the ceremonial fire.

They lead each other around the fire, the bride leading 3 times and the groom leading 4 times.
  

After a few more rituals, these gorgeous chairs are set out for the bride and groom to sit on and have their pictures taken with their friends and family.


Finally, all the pomp and circumstance is over and the happy couple is free to relax and enjoy!


All in all, Debbi and I had a great time! There were so many differences in this wedding. Things I had no exposure to before. The entire ceremony was in Hindu. People ate, laughed, talked and got up and walked around WHILE the ceremony was taking place.

The ceremony itself was 2 hours and 15 minutes. And it is totally a family affair. All of the wedding party was family.

If you ever get the chance to go to a Hindu wedding, do it! I had so much fun!

May 17, 2011

Yah, I'm still here.

Under a mountain of stuff left to pack. It feels like every time I walk in the front door, my "stuff" is breeding. It's having reproduction parties while I am at work. Ha! I'm afraid it might swallow me whole one of these afternoons........

I have plenty of boxes. I think. I have lots of bubble wrap and brown paper to wrap precious things in. What I don't have? A lot of time. And as the 31st of May creeps closer and closer and CLOSER my anxiety level is steadily climbing.

This past weekend I spent quite a bit of time at my place Saturday and Sunday. I sold some stuff on Craigslist, hauled out a few bags of trash and recycle, and sent a college student off with some treasures for her first ever apartment, actually a few boxes full!

With the ever present rain we have had, in our dear state of Washington, over the last month, and no that is not an exaggeration, I have not been able to get some of my bigger items out of my place. PB has an uncovered trailer which would be of great use........... if it wasn't down pouring outside every freaking day.

Now, this weekend, when the weather is supposed to be DRY, I am going to be gone on a Girl Scout camping trip. Something we planned WAAAAYYYY back in February. When I didn't know I was moving yet. Nice.

That leaves me down to the wire for next week. Considering I now have exactly 14 days to get my crap out of my place, find a storage unit, sell the rest of my stuff and get it all moved over to PB's. I'm gonna need a miracle to get it all done.

Free time? Yeah, for the next 2 weeks I don't have any. Every night I will be doing something to get ready for this move. Oh joy. I super hate moving.

On another note. Since the weather is on its way to making a turn for the good, like actual sunshine, I have been dragging out my spring clothes. All those cute clothes I bought last spring/summer when I lost all that weight? Most of my tops can no longer fit over my boobs. Hello 10 pounds I have gained! But while I am glad to have my "sisters" back, I am mourning the loss of all those cute clothes..........

I know. Give me a few minutes. I will come up with something else to complain about.

May 13, 2011

Craigslist

So, as before mentioned, there were pictures taken of my "big items" to be listed on Craigslist.

Not sure how many of you are familiar with this process. I have purchased some AWESOME pieces for my home from this very place.

Oh the adventures CHB and I have been on to gather these items!

Back to me............

CHB helped me list all the items I wanted to sell. She uploaded the pictures, put in great descriptions and the price and off in to cyber space it went.

The first 30 minutes my listings were up my phone BLEW UP. No joke.

As mostly a buyer before, I had little to no experience being a seller. HOWEVER, I have come up with some do's and don't's that I think are important:

1. If you are the purchaser, call when you say you are going to call. Seriously. It's a nice courtesy.

2. If you are the seller, keep clear concise records, either email or notepad, of who you have for each item. It can get confusing REALLY fast!

3. I meet people around the corner from my house and have them follow me. That way they don't have my actual address. It's a safety thing you know? Unless you can describe your house without giving them the number.........

4. Ask for cash. Upon delivery. Seriously the shit some people try to pull! I always bring cash as a buyer.

5. When you are listing your items, if you are dead serious about your price, put FIRM on the listing. Then people know you are not going to take less.

6. If you are the buyer, come with the correct amount of cash. Do us sellers look like an ATM? Yah, I don't think so.

7. Take great pictures, and list dimensions of each item. Also, if there are any rips, stains, or tears, be honest. It will save you the trouble of having someone come to purchase your item, only to see it in person and because there is a flaw end up not taking it.

Hopefully this will help you in your future Craigslist adventures!

May 9, 2011

Moving Sucks

Seriously. It sucks balls. And while I have balls of steel? This is hard work.

CHB and Moxie spent their Mother's Day with me, packing and sorting my stuff. Their idea, not mine. Although, I was super appreciative!!

We arrived at my place, packing tape, boxes, bubble wrap and brown paper in tow.

CHB tells me "We need a game plan. 3 piles. One for stuff going to PB's house, one for stuff going to the storage unit and one for sale or donation." After a quick "yes ma'am" and designation of said piles was clear, away we went.

It went like this: CHB would hold up each item, I would decide where it went, and Moxie would take it to said pile.

Amidst the clouds of dust, the laughter and my anxiety about this process, we got a LOT of work done.

Guess what???? I.AM.A.HOARDER. Jeez Louise I have a LOT of stuff. WAY too many candles, candle holders, candle sticks, candle pretties. I also have enough knick-knacks to supply my house, PB's, Moxie's and CHB's places. In my 1000 square foot apartment. Wow.

I also junked quite a few things that were broken, or trash that had been stuffed in to corners. Lots of "I will get to this" piles that I never did anything with. The donation pile takes up the area of a queen sizer bed. Literally.

5 hours later, the girls and I are done, done, stick a fork in us done. We have gone through every cabinet, drawer and closet in my place, with the exception of the kids bedroom closet.

I turned off the lights, turned the heat down, and left my place. I bid CHB and Moxie goodbye and went to PB's. We watched a movie on tv, the kids played outside.

And then it hit me. This overwhelming feeling of losing EVERYTHING I have. This sense of loss for watching my items walk out of the door, surrendered to craigslist and other people's homes. Irrational as it would be to store all this stuff for some undetermined amount of time, it was just as irrational to mourn their loss.

I was upset. My favorite pieces, the one's I searched for, coveted and found a way to pay for, to put in my new place, are leaving. Not only do PB and I have a different decorating style, there isn't a lot of room at his place. He has an nice size home, I just have alot of crap. There are items that are duplicate that I don't need.

I am sad. I am overwhelmed and I am tired. I hate to move. It feels so disorganized and is such a daunting task. I wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all just go away.

I don't think PB has any idea how hard this is for me. I know there are a few changes he has had to make, but overall? I am the one purging, donating, selling or storing MY belongings. Not him. I am the one who feels like I have little say in anything right now. Although I know, if the shoe was on the other foot he would feel the same way.

But it isn't. And it hurts. And it's not fair. Irrational? Why yes. That's my new name. And I am owning it.

May 5, 2011

Compliments

Confession?

I have a hard time with these. I have no idea why. Seriously.

When I receive one? So hard.

I am not gracious about it, and I often wonder if that makes the other person regret giving it.

Perfect example? At work, my boss will say something stellar about me, either to a customer or a fellow employee. I turn it right around to how wonderful I think she is.

Classic deflection. Yes, I am aware. I get all flustered, with this overwhelming rush of embarrassment and can actually feel my face turning bright red. Now I don't embarrass easily, but in this category? Winning!

I mostly feel that the compliment is something that I didn't need to be recognized for. It's just me doing my job, that I get PAID to do. SO what if I am good at it? Isn't that why I was hired in the first place?

Or when PB compliments the way I look, or that he likes my hair/eyes/smile. Well, my physical features are what I was born with. I don't wear a lot of makeup, or spend hours in the bathroom every day primping and priming. 

I did some thinking about how I compliment others, and how often I do that. Shocking revelation! 

I don't compliment other people very often. There are a few here and there, oh I like your shirt, that's a great necklace, your shoes are cute, and that variety. 

But I don't really extend too many to my friends, my children, or my man.  

Do they all think I don't appreciate them, don't love them or don't care because I don't say anything? And why is that barrier in place anyway? Its not like the actual words would be hard to say. How hard is it to tell your children they did something well, or that I am proud of them just for who they are? It's not difficult to tell my man I appreciate what he does for me, or to express to my friends how much their support means to me. Not hard, you say? I know........... so why do I struggle so much?

Here's the other thing: I often wonder if people who are overly complimentary are just fishing for compliments about themselves. So, if I am that way, will people think they have to compliment me back? Cause that is not what I want the end result to be.

So, any tips, suggestions or overall help you can offer on how to be more gracious I would gladly take. Somethings gotta give.

May 4, 2011

Thank you!


Look what arrived in my comments???? A sweet award from Elizabeth Mueller. Check out her blog at http://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com/

OMG Yes I did! I can't believe I made it........ it was definitely harder than I thought but I am super glad I did it!

May 2, 2011

~Z~

Z

is for Zumba

Love, love, love it! A friend of mine just turned me on to it about 2 months ago. According to http://www.zumba.com/ 
 Zumba classes "feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats. Before participants know it, they're getting fit and their energy levels are soaring! There's no other fitness class like a Zumba® Fitness-Party. It's easy to do, effective and totally exhilarating!"

What that translates to for me? A great workout, I get to mix my love for dance with an aerobic workout and I don't feel like an idiot that I am still learning the steps!

I go 3-4 times a week and in the last 2 months I can already see a difference in my body! I am more toned, and while I have only lost 3 pounds, I can see my clothes fitting differently.

It makes me feel energized, and I don't feel the need to go with a partner. It is so much fun that it feels more like a party than a workout! I laugh at myself all the time when I cant get the steps........

Most places offer the first class for free. So, there is no excuse to go and try it! They even have water Zumba, if you have a bad back or knees!

~Y~

Y

is for Yummy

There are several things I would categorize as Yummy.

PB's cooking. Pretty much anything the man makes turns to a culinary delight. Yum!

S'mores
Because eating one of these means I am sitting in front of the campfire with my peeps, enjoying one of the best, gooey, delectable creations........

Kenneth Cole Black

Oh, this smells sooooo Yummy! I am not a fan of men drowning themselves in cologne, like a Jersey Shore Guido. But to smell it lightly as you snuggle up against your main squeeze is oh so good!

 Tim McGraw. Do I really need to say more? Tim, when Faith is done with you, you can come crying to me honey.......
Snuggle Orange Blossom fabric softener. My all time favorite was the Peach Blossom. Guess what? They no longer make it! Just my luck. So I found a good smelling substitute.

What is your definition of Yummy?