Friday, June 27, 2008

Domo Arigato

Here is yet another cake. I've gone cake-crazy here and I love it. This one is for my sister Jessica's birthday. It's freaking huge and VERY HEAVY. The fact that I was out of base material and used a piece of tempered glass didn't really help the weight situation but DAMN it look cool. I was going to make her something all gothy and sad but she loves sushi and it was more fun and my parent's will be happy there are no skulls or devil horns.

I was going for plate of sushi, which it seems worked out okay but next time I'm going to try a plank. I broke one of my rules and added real chopsticks but I think they lend a nice touch. Next time I'll make them out of fondant or gumpaste because I'm whack like that.

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's a searing pain, really

Hello people of the internets. So over the weekend Jeff and I participated in the Komen Breast Cancer Race For The Cure. Jeff's mom died of breast cancer shortly after we were married so his family has done it a few times now. Jeff's brother had a team and I had been on the fence all last week as to whether I was going or not because a) it required getting up early on a Saturday, which I hate doing and b) required me to exert energy outside of my normal working out. I work out only because if I don't, I cause myself to feel extreme fat ass guilt, not because I actually enjoy it. Well, sometimes I enjoy it but that time is RARE. Anyway, I decided on Friday night that I would go and do the walk, which Jeff said was a couple of miles. Okay fine. My father in law picked us up at 7:30am and off we went downtown. When we got there, I realized that there were a bajillion freaking people that did this which made the whole thing confusing so I just followed along and hoped I ended up where I was supposed to be. We made our way down to the sponsor tents where they had lots of giveaways and stuff but it was a logjam so we just hung out until they announced that we had 15 minutes left til the start. Jeff's brother led the way and we somehow ended up at the very start where the runners line up. Our plan was to wait it out until the walkers came by and then we would just blend in the crowd. Well, all I know is that as soon as the horn blew, the crowd surged and we suddenly realized we were in the middle of the runners. I looked at Jeff and upon the realization that we could NOT get out of the crowd, we started to run. Now, I am not a runner. I was the kid who had notes in gym class to get out of running. I tried to take up jogging some years ago but it lasted all of about 50 feet before I realized that it totally sucked and that was that but now we're running. And running. The crowd was pretty thick and it took a good 5-6 city blocks before we could even get over to the side to slow down and figure out what to do. Jeff's dad, who is in his 70's was still running along like it was nothing so we both decided we would try to keep going so we didn't look like total lushes. Well, long story short, we ran the 5K. That's 3.2 miles for you mathletes. When I say "ran," I mean jog/run with some fast-ass walking sprinkled in to get our breath. I did okay and I was pretty proud of myself until I got to the last mile stretch and that's when the pain set in. I felt like my hip bones were grinding into each other and my thighs were throbbing and I had a massive blister in my pinkie toe and I was sweating like a big fat man. Keep in mind we did NO STRETCHING WHATSOEVER and just started running, so my body was clearly pissed off and was going to make me pay. I was thirsty and sweaty and just wanted to be done but I was so close to the end and Jeff was like "baby, let's sprint to the finish line, okay?" and I was like "okay" and off we went at full speed. Clearly I was delirious from the heat. I finally made it to the end and almost ran smack dab into Rene Knott, who was standing there interviewing someone. Then I did the worst thing possible. I stopped. Dead stop. Don't do this. My legs felt like they had locked up and I had to go find a spot to try and stretch out but the damage was done. We ended up finishing in about 38 minutes or something so yay for us!

Cut to yesterday. I was so goddamn sore that I could barely walk. Seriously. It was difficult to take a step and forget about stairs or comfortable peeing or anything. My legs hurt from my hips to my knees (and they STILL hurt today). We were supposed to go to an adoption picnic but I just couldn't make it so we had to bag it. Part of me is so super proud that I did it that I actually suggested that we try to take up jogging the right way with the training and stuff. The other part, the sensible part, is telling that part to shut the hell up. Either way, I ran a 5K and that's pretty damn cool.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Look at that sad paw

Well, Cleo is home and so far so good. She's definitely weaker and can't go up the steps anymore but her breathing is better and she seems VERY happy to be home so that's all we can ask for right now. As you can see from the picture, she is really just concerned with catching up on her missed television programs. Typical.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Me and my Poopy

We went to visit again tonight. She's out of the O2 tank and in a regular cage and assuming she's okay, they're sending her home tomorrow night. She is still more frail than the vet let on but I'll take it. She is still breathing hard and there is still fluid but they're giving her IV lasix to try and get enough out so she can come home. Here we are:

It's a goddam miracle she's still alive but I believe in miracles so there you go.

My sweet baby

It's a very sad time here. My poor little baby Cleo is in the veterinary hospital. She started having major breathing problems Sunday night and I was up with her from about 2:30am on. I was talking to Jeff on the phone yesterday morning about getting her to the vet when she had another "episode." Jeff rushed home and we rushed her to the vet and they had to put her in an oxygenated cage, which she has not been able to leave. They said that her heart and lungs are surrounded by fluid which is making it very difficult for her to breathe. They have been trying to expell the fluid but I don't think it's working. I am crying as I type this but it look like we are going to have to make a very difficult decision this evening. Please keep her in your good thoughts.


Jeff, Laura and I went up to see her at lunch today. It's super sad because she's in this glass cage but she looked good considering the circumstances. They've been giving her oxygen, lasix and heart meds to try and get her through this. I only lasted a few minutes in the room before I had to leave because we couldn't take her out and she kept trying to climb into my arms. The vet is supposed to call in a few hours to update us but they did tell us that they might end up keeping her anther night, which we are hopeful means that something they are doing is working and we might be able to bring her home for a while but they've also indicated that she is unable to breathe for very long outside the cage. We are really in a bad spot because we don't want her to suffer but we don't want to put her down if she still has some life left in her. WHY DO I HAVE TO DECIDE THIS? I'll post another update later. Thanks to you all for your nice words. They really mean a lot to us.
I just spoke to the vet and we have GOOD NEWS (sorta maybe). Cleo has had a really good afternoon and she is respoinding really well to her treatments today. They are going to take her out of the oxygen tank and give her a few hours out to see if she can keep her breathing regulated on her own. They are being really positive and said she's quite a little fighter and they think she can do it. This is no news to us. This the same dog that throughout her 14 years has had plant growing in her nose (seriously. she sniffed up a juniper berry and it sprouted and grew in her sinus cavity until it almost got to her brain. AMAZING but totally gross) and she also had a debilitating spinal issue that they said would require surgery that would probably paralyze her but instead we got acupunture and she was fine in a couple months, no surgery required. Both times I thought she was a goner and she managed to pull through it so I shouldn't be surprised that she's fighting this with all she's got. Sadly, this is only temporary and we know that it is going to end soon regardless of how hard she fights and how badly we want to keep her here, but at least this means tht she might be able to come home again and we can properly say goodbye. There is also another puppy here that misses her sister.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's a really BIG island.

Here we go with another rousing Hawaiian tale (and you'll be relieved to know I'm condensing it all into two posts.) This time from the Big Island, or the Island of Hawaii. Yeah, THE island of Hawaii. The others are just impostors. When I was there when I was younger, it was my least favorite stop because it was all barren looking and kinda boring and we were really only there for 2 days so I didn't get to see the cool shit. This time, I did. We had been researching stuff to do before we left and we happened to see a special on the Travel Channel about Hawaii, like they don't show them 23 hours a day or anything but whatevs, and they spoke of a magical snorkeling spot on the Big Island that promised we would see many awesome things. We confirmed its awesomeness online and made a plan to go there on our first day. The spot is right next to a place called the City of Refuge, which in ancient Polynesian times was a place to go when you broke the law so they didn't kill you, which was the punishment for ANY crime. Yeah, nice. No gray area on that one. Anyway, the snorkel spot did not disappoint. You basically climb out onto these lava flats, which are at the same level as the water, and kind of plunk yourself in. We liked this place so much that we went back the morning we left. The water goes from 10 to 100 feet within this area and while the internet promised we might see dolphins in the deep parts, the internet lied. What else is new. No matter because it was kick ass anyway. It was seriously like being inside a giant aquarium without the plastic plants. We took some shots but you know how those underwater shots look but here you go anyway:

Notice the GIANT fish with snorkel gear on flashing gang signs. They are deadly and should not be approached. Ever. The larger colorful fish at the bottom was one of three that followed us around the whole time. It was bizarre. They would stop when we stopped and if we all switched direction, they would switch as well. They swam just a foot or so away from us. I hope they weren't a fish I eat because they seemed really nice. Maybe they were there to make sure we didn't steal anything.

We spent a LOT of time driving around on this island. I think people are surprised to see how much driving you do but nothing is near anything. We were in an area called Waikoloa, which is basically a resort area. Kona was the nearest "city" to us and it was a good 30-40 minute drive away. Our resort on this island was a crazy mega-resort, which was a big change from our laid-back place on Kauai. This place was HUGE. It had this place where you could get in the water with dolphins, for a hefty fee of course, but we were just as happy to go down and watch them play. Everything here was magnified by a jillion, even the art, which was everywhere. You can see below that the statues were even big. My sister has been collecting Buddha statues since she was a teenager and they had them in droves. I think I was subconsciously converted. Here's some pics:

The top pic is the view from pretty much anywhere on the resort. Gorgeous. The dolphins were really cute and the trainer asked us if we had any questions and I asked where I could buy one and she got al bitchy as was like "they are NOT pets" except that yeah lady, they are YOUR pets since you get in the PEN you keep them in and play with them everyday but I'll let it go since I'm on vacay. The giant staircase was where Dog the Bounty Hunter wed his magically
big-boobed wife Beth, so I spent a good deal of time singing the theme song except that the only words I knew were "Dawg, the BOUNTY hun-TER" so I sang that over and over. I'm sure that everyone was really excited that I did that every time we passed the stairs which was every day. It was such a large place that you could take a boat or get on the monorail to get to your room but they didn't run as quickly as we wanted so we ended up hoofing it a lot, which meant a 10 minute FAST walk just to get to the front desk. Damn you walking. They have like 7 restaurants and a little shopping mall there too. It was really nice but kind of overwhelming. The middle of the resort is a big ocean-fed lagoon that you can snorkel in. It was okay but it's shallow and cloudy so we didn't get to see much. Jeff ventured out into the area marked "do not enter this area" (of course) to see if there was anything to see but all he saw were a couple of turtles which were old hat at this point. It was still kick-ass though and we will try to take little Kimchi there when he gets older.

Okay, this is long enough for today. I've got one more installment to go so stay tuned because it involves FIRE.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's just a drill till you hear the sirens

There was a fire in the building I work in yesterday. It was pretty much directly above our office, one floor up. When the alarms went off, no one reacted because they apparently go off randomly but I learned in grade school that if the fire alarm goes off, it's probably a fire so GET THE HELL OUT. The people I work with do not adhere to this philosophy and it took visible smoke in the hall and the rousing of a neighbor to get them the hell out. I was halfway to the stairs while they hemmed and hawed over leaving the equipment. THERE IS A FIRE PEOPLE, WHAT PART OF EVACUATE DO YOU NOT GET? Needless to say, there was minor damage, two people were treated for smoke inhalation and I got an hour and a half break. Weird.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kauai is full of cocks

I'm talking about roosters, you sickos. Seriously. These buggers are EVERYWHERE. At first we thought it was funny to hear them cockle-doodle-doing in the morning but then you realize they don't stop doing it. Ever. They run around wild. I asked our bike guide what the deal was and his explanation was that after the big hurricane in '92, all these farms were destroyed and a lot of the animals got out and ran wild. I guess it's easier to catch a horse than a rooster so they were left to live off the land and judging by their enormous population, have a lox of chicken sex. Is this true? I have no idea. The guy told lots of tall tales but this actually seems plausible. Either way, something freaky happened. The funny part is that they look exactly like what you think they look like if you don't have the occasion to see them all the time and I had no idea how beautiful they were. Beautiful and deeply annoying. It looks fake, no?

Before moving on to Tales From the Big Island, I thought I'd throw in a few random pictures from the rest of our Kauai stay. Here's me at Wiamea Canyon. This was immediately after the catamaran trip. Notice the hat.

While we were at the canyon, Laura and I decided to re-enact a scene from Lost. In case you couldn't tell, we are pointing at something with great urgency. What this has to do with Lost I don't know.

(Speaking of Lost, I was at Trader Joe's today they have those witty little tags that show the food name and why you will like and stuff and I was looking at the sauces and on the tag for the "Island Soyaki" sauce, there was a drawing of John Locke and it said "John Locke says the island wants you to eat this sauce" so I bought it. )
Anyway, this is the trail that Jeff and Jeff hiked up while we hung at the beach. Yikes. And this was the easy part.

That's about it from Kauai. Stay tuned for Tales From the Big Island.

Cake Alert!!!!

Holy bajeezus...two cakes in two days. We're at cake alert level ORANGE here, people. This is the infamous moving cake, which is only infamous in my house but whatever. I delivered it to the lovely Moe, who is moving into her first place and judging by the tears, she liked it. My friend Sara, from, is the one who asked me to make. It's a mini-cake and serves probably 4 or maybe 2, if you eat like me. It was really fun to make because of the MINIATURE THINGS and while it's not totally perfect, neither am I so suck it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cake Alert!!!

So I made a birthday cake for my friend Gwen. I went with something really graphic and stark because I have an unnatural obsession with black and white things. I'm really happy with the outcome despite some hiccups along the way.

Tonight I'm working on a cake for a friend who has a friend who just moved into her first place. That sounded complicated. Anyway, my friend Sara asked me to do it but she needed it when I was still going to be in Hawaii so instead of scrapping it, I'm doing it for free and forcing it upon her. Whoopee!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Captain Jackass is more like it

So, where was I? Oh yeah, Kauai. So the day after the bike trip, we decided to take a catamaran tour of the Napali Coast. The tour was 7 hours long and included a snorkeling stop somewhere called the Forbidden Island, which sounded creepy cool. Once again, we were roused out of bed at 4am so we could get to the pier by 6am. Jesus, I don't even get up that early for work. Anyway, we made it there and joined the group of 20 or so people that were also waiting. We got checked-in and met our crew member Ian, who gave us the lowdown on the trip, what to expect, what to bring, etc. and then we all made our way down to the boat. I haven't been on a ton of boats in my life but there have been a few, even on the ocean in Florida where we saw a freaking SHARK snatch a sea turtle about 10 feet from the boat, and I generally have no issues with sea-sickness or anything, which is kind of odd since I am very prone to car-sickness but whatever. Brother however, is not me. He has been sick on every boat he's been on, which begs the question why does he continue to go on boats, but that's not for me to decide, right. We get on the catamaran, which was really nice and had a big area up front to stand and lots of bench seats in back. There was also a nice big cabin area with a bar and a few airplane-style bathrooms. They got us settled in and soon enough we were pulling away from shore.
Our crew was three guys, including Ian, and all of them were super nice and VERY professional, unlike our crappy guides on the bike tour. Once we got out to sea, they set up a lovely breakfast spread for us as we made our way up the coast. Laura and I spent a large part of the morning at the front of the boat scanning the water for things. I don't know what we were looking for exactly but we figured that SOMETHING cool would show itself. We were clipping along and then the captain cut the engine and we saw why. About 30 yards ahead of us was a huge pod of spinner dolphins! They are called spinners because they bolt out of the water and do a little spin in the air before crashing back down. They were SO FREAKING COOL and swam along with us for 5 minutes or so. We were feeling pretty jolly and soon we hit the Napali Coast. This place is amazingly beautiful and yet very imposing to come up on. See:

Wow. It is totally like looking at Lost in person. There is no road access so you either have to fly in (no effing way, dude) or boat in, which is how the hippies that live "off the grid" there get in. Seriously, there is enough fresh water and fruit to live off of, but where do you poop? I need TP, people. Anyway, this is where ancient Polynesians lived and you can still see remnants of them here and there. Or at least that's what they told us and I'm believing them. (They had a big long spiel about the land and crap but I was too busy gawking to pay attention so I got nothing else) Allow me a moment to interject something here. As anyone who knows me knows,I have pretty unruly hair. It's not crazy/cool/wild or anthing, it's more part curl, part frizz and part thinness and it's arch nemesis is moisture and once they clash, I'm left with a frizzy mess. I had prepared for this and tried to keep things under control with braids and hats or whatever and today was no different. I put in my standard pigtail braids and hoped that the top part would behave since for some reason I refused to wear my hat. It was so nice out and being on the water with the breeze and stuff gave me the false sense that I was like Elizabeth Taylor on some yacht with the wind blowing her hair into a messy yet sexy style while her cute outfit didn't get all wet from sea-spray unlike mine. This false sense came to a halt when we approached a sea cave and Jeff sidled up to take a picture. He approached me and had a look. He was all "just so you know, your hair's getting poufy." God love a husband who will point this out, along with food in my teeth and boogers in my nose. We call those "bats in the cave," as in "Hon, you have a bat in the cave." We are clever, I know. Anyway, to prove his point, he snapped a picture and showed me the damage:

Nice. What the hell? Why can't I have goddamn hair that will not resort to 80's style frizz-pouf every time I step outside? WHY UNIVERSE, WHY? Anyway, right after this picture was taken, the captain decided to maneuver the catamaran into one of the sea caves, which was really cool except that Laura and I were standing directly under the waterfall and got drenched. This is not good news for my hair. Bravely, I chose not to jump overboard but to try and not focus on the hair so much and just enjoy myself. After we tooled around the coast, the captain prepared us for the hour and a half ride across the channel to the Forbidden Island. It was only 13 miles but it was going to take 1.5 hrs of riding wicked choppy waves. We all started out sitting on the benches at the back of the boat but soon it had dwindled down to me, Laura and about 6 other people. The boys had retreated to the dry cabin. For the whole trip, we sat there barely able to hold on, getting pelted with stinging seawater, laughing our asses off. Jeff said they just watched us wondering why the hell we didn't just get up an move because, as he said, it looked like someone was throwing 5 gallon buckets of water at us every minute or so. It was excruciating with the salt in the eyes and the COLD spray and the boat slamming around but we refused to budge. We are fools.
We finally made it to the Forbidden Island, which wasn't really creepy-cool, but rather a privately owned island that houses a faction of Polynesians that still live in their ancient ways. Kinda like Polynesian Amish people. We did thrown down anchor next to a big rock off shore and we all jumped in to snorkel. It was cold and there really wasn't much to see so most people only spent 10 minutes or so out and I was seriously considering getting out myself until I felt Jeff punching me in the arm. It's hard to see anything not below you with the mask on and he's punching and tugging my arm and pointing ahead and all I think is SHARK! but instead I look up and see a GIGANTIC Hawaiian monk seal about 6-7 feet in front of me just floating there. It probably weighed about 600lbs and I wasn't sure if I should crap my pants from fear or awe. I managed to hold the crapping and we just watched it. It looked right at us and then swam all the way down (about 40-50ft maybe) and curled up like a dog on a rock flat. He stayed down there for a few minutes before he bolted up like a rocket, so close that we had to quickly maneuver out of his way, and swam off into the darkness. Holy crap. That was one of the coolest things I have ever seen in person and yet I had never been more scared in my life. That thing could have taken my arm off in one chomp.
We climbed back on board and found they had prepared an awesome lunch for us. We hung there eating and then the captain came over the PA and prepped us for the ride home. "Exciting," he called it, so we needed to hold on. Like seriously, you had to hang on every second. Brother had made it this far hopped up on Dramamine but it was wearing thin and this was not going to be good. We had changed into dry clothes by now and went in the cabin to ride it out. The boat SLAMMED down on every wave and the sea swells were HUGE and it felt like it was going to bust open and fling us into the sea. I thought it was super fun but within about 15 minutes, a man was standing at the rear of the boat puking over the side. Great. We were already feeding Bother ice chips at this point and this was not going to help matters. The man let loose a few more times and took a seat where he sat with his eyes closed. I felt so bad for him because he had another hour to go. Ian and the other crew guy handled it like pros, hosing down the ick and bringing ice and stuff to anyone who was feeling "special." Pretty soon Brother was ready to go and went to stand by the rail. A different guy suddenly came up next to him, asked him if he was going to puke and when Brother said not this second, the man said "well I am" and let loose. Brother turned to us and had a half-grin so we figured his time had thankfully passed. Next up was the man's wife, who took her turn where he had been. The first guy let another batch go right after that. I asked the crew guy if this was more puking than normal and he said it changes daily. He said it doesn't gross him out anymore because it's the same food and the same puke every time. That cracked me up.
We made it back to shore (thankfully) and went to get our stuff. We all had to exit the boat single-file and the crew and the captain were at different points to help steady you and say goodbye. When I got to the captain, I went to shake his hand and and say thanks but he had stopped and was staring at me weirdly. Instead of the standard "thanks for coming" that everyone else got, I got this:
"That's some interesting hair you have there, ma'am."
SERIOUSLY DUDE?! I ran past the others and went back to the car where I promptly put on my baseball hat and insisted on referring to him as Captain Crunch from then on.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer School

As I am reminded whenever we get any kind of progress made, this blog was supposed to be about our adoption story, but as info comes in at a snails pace around here, you are the joyous recipient of my useless ramblings to fill the space. Today, however, I have for you a proper adoption blog post. **cue confetti**

Last Saturday we went to a adoptive parenting class. It's something required by the laws of adoption but I'm really glad they do it. The actual info in there is kept confidential but I can give you a general overview of what happened. That is one of the reasons that much of the adoption stuff we've done so far hasn't really been mentioned here. There's a lot that we don't know if we can discuss and leave it to me to get in trouble with my big mouth so we've tried to zip-it a little. We'll be able to talk more freely once we have an assignment.

Anyhoo, the class is a two-parter, the second session taking place this weekend. It's basically a group of adoptive parents in various stages of the process sitting around discussing the unique situations surrounding an international adoption like attachment stuff, life stages and having a family with mixed ethnicity. Overall I was really glad we had to go because we both got a lot out of it and quite frankly, any sort of adoption activity is a good thing. It really recharged our excitement and we're planning a trip later this summer up to IKEA to get some kid furniture. We've been so leery as to not jinx anything but I'm feeling really good about it and it's starting to really set in that it's happening. We also sat down and started researching baby stuff like strollers and bedding and crap and that is WAY fun, too. That stuff's gonna get me in trouble. Jeepers.

No Mahalo

I would like to first point out that I am typing this post from my bright, shiny new laptop, which was a graduation present from my ever wonderful husband. I am seriously a lucky girl with that one. Second, since recapping a 10-day vacation i one blog post would bore both of us and cause me instant carpel-tunnel syndrome, I am going to bore you over several posts, most of them recapping a couple days at a time with photos. I know, I know, just what you wanted to read about, a vacation you weren't on and pictures of scenery you didn't see. HUZZAH! Onward my darlings....

So we flew into Lihue, Kauai from St. Louis, which including our plane change in LA, took about 23 years. My sister, bless her little heart, had spent that last few weeks painstakingly loading movies, TV shows and more music than anyone needs onto her beloved iPod. Our intent was to have my Jeff use his mini-DVD player, Brother would use his iPod and she and I would share hers. I also brought my knitting and a book in case I felt like shunning technology. Well, about one hour into it, my sister plugged the iPod into the little charger thingy on the seat and POOF, it was dead. She spent the next 20 minutes trying to control the rage inside her because she had refused to bring anything else to occupy her time and apparently we are not wired to just sit. Anyhoo, she pounded on it, shook it, yelled at it and everything else in the hopes it would somehow come back to life but alas, it was not to be. She, along with the rest of us, were left with only the airline brand of entertainment, which on this flight consisted of the pile of dog crap known as "27 Dresses." Now my sister does NOT like it when things do not go according to her master plan so she got off the plane after 96 hours of flying STILL moaning about the iPod. We told her we would go right away and get a new one but she wasn't having any of it. She wanted it to work dammit and spent the whole rest of the night trying to fix it. We finally made it to the hotel around 9pm, got some food and passed out. When we woke up, this was the view from our room:

We had made a plan to go to this "secret beach" located at the far end of the main island road, which Laura and Jeff had gone to last year but apparently was only secret to us because it was freaking packed and this time there were some changes, namely the removal of the bathrooms. We had not anticipated this and were left to change in our rental car, with the NON-TINTED windows up, sweating our asses off. There we were in the backseat suffocating like dogs trying to squeeze into our bathing suits, which by the way DO NOT go on easily when you are sweating profusely. At one point, I had no pants on and only my swim top and she was the reverse and suddenly we had to dive for the floor because a group of people came walking by. I'm sure they didn't notice the bare asses or the car shaking or the howls of laughter from our retard selves. We finally emerged, sweaty and discombobulated with our swimsuits on inside out and made our way to the beach. Jeff and Brother decided to go be mountain men and go on a hike, which on paper was only 4 miles but in reality was 4 miles STRAIGHT UP through the jungle. I think they made it about 1 mile before they turned around. Laura and I spent the whole time bobbing around the water enjoying ourselves while they were huffin and puffin. Boys. If you look REEEALLY closely in the bottom right corner of this picture, you can see us. I think it's us. Let's just say it's us:

We finally left and spent the next few hours driving around. I tell you, that island is SO beautiful. I mean, just look at it:

There were all these awesome little beach towns along the way and my secret inner surfer girl came out. Not that I actually surfed, I would break my damn neck, but I wanted to. During this time, we were introduced to our newest friend, THE VOG, which is the foggy-like crap that hovers over all the islands because of the active volcano eruption. That kinda sucked but whatever. After we drove around, we ended up at the place we probably spent the most time at while on the island:

I am totally not kidding. We went there every single day. Funny that the sign is red and not blue. I wonder why. You can buy ANYTHING in Hawaiian Wal-Mart. We even saw a wild boar in the parking lot one day. Yeah, wild boars run around sometimes. In the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Weird. Anyway, on to day two. Day two was planned by the boys and quite frankly, Laura and I were only going out of a sense of duty. You see, they decided they wanted to go on a sunrise downhill bike tour, which probably sounds like fun to some people but apparently not us. The only part about it that appealed to me was the word "downhill." I have a bike at home and I've been known to ride through the neighborhood or even at the park, but I wasn't so sure about biking down the side of a mountain. First off, we had to get up at 4:30am because it was a 45 minute drive to the bike place and another 1+ drive to the actual mountain. Lovely. Second, it was going to be cold and that didn't sound so fun to me. Well, we went and it started okay. We were tired, sure, but we sucked it up and piled into the van with a nice family from Chicago. Our "guides" were Hawaiian Guy and Hippy Girl, both of whom seemed nice. Right as we were leaving another girl showed up to come along and train to be a bike guide. I'll call her Smartass Girl because that name is appropriate. She spent the whole ride talking to Hippy Girl, who was driving the van. They were trying to be funny and sarcastic and edgy and told us snickery lies about the island but instead came off as a chunk of whiny ass rot. Bear in mind it's still VERY EARLY, people, I was already cranky and was in no mood for their shenanigans. Well, the bike tour came with a "continental breakfast," which we were very much looking forward to at this point, but which turned out to be a pit-stop to pick up a paper bag of muffins and cups of coffee with a community creamer, no less. Before you accuse me of being whiny, which I am, keep in mind that we're crammed in a van with more people than seatbelts which was also covered in a layer of the red dirt that covers the island while a hippy holding a coffee in one hand and a banana in the other DRIVES, NO SWERVES US UP A FREAKING MOUNTAIN while also having a conversation with smartass about getting mugged in Thailand. It wasn't exactly a great environment in which to cream your coffee. Anyway, we made it up the long windy road to the lookout at Wiamea Canyon, where we assumed would start the ride. Here we are looking all eager:

That's Waimea Canyon in the background. According to the brochure, we would be biking along with that view, down the rim of the canyon. Nice, eh? It would have been had that actually been what we saw biking, instead, we were surprised to see that we were going to bike down the same long, windy road we HAD JUST COME UP and which is located not on the canyon rim but instead winds up the side through trees and crap. Awesome. We should have lots of surprises in store. Oh wait, no we won't because we SAW THE SAME FREAKING ROAD THE WAY UP. This made me extra cranky. Oh yeah, and did you notice the sun is up in those pictures? Yeah, that's because WE NEVER SAW THE SUNRISE. Our big moment on the canyon rim watching the sun ride is only true if you live in the brochure. In all fairness, our daredevil guide Hawaiian Dude encouraged us to go as fast as possible on the last hill, so that part was fun especially since we didn't die.

Stay tuned for more of this epic Hawaiian saga.

Lost Finale Recap

Okay, this Lost recap has been on my mind since I watched it Friday night but with jet-lag, work and parent class, I haven't been able to sit down and type this mutha out. There is so much to get to so I've decided to break it down unto what we know versus what we don't know and what my crackpot theories are on this whole mess. I could recap the two hours like normal but if you are reading this, you probably watched it and if not you don't care anyway and my time is precious. Overall I thought the finale was SUPERB, albeit a bit overreaching in some parts. They tried to cram a lot of stuff in (deaths! rescues! alliances!) in one episode and the whole Sawyer falling from the chopper and swimming to freaking shore like "what's the big deal?" was kind of hard to believe. Oh wait. I find something on Lost hard to believe? I am clearly loco. Ahem....

What we know

- The biggest thing we know is that John Locke is not only the mystery dead person in the coffin, but that at some point he leaves the island and goes by Jeremy Bentham or else has a twin named Jeremy Bentham and he contacted several of the Losties and caused some major problems.

- We know that they need to get back to the island for some reason and they need to go as a group, including dead John Locke.

- We know that there is time travel on the island because of some kind of natural phenomenon.

- We know that Ben is off the island and banished and ends up in Tunisia in a Dharma parka that he put on right before he turned the big wheel.

- It didn't seem as though they moved the island but rather they made the island disappear or something.

-We know that Jin and Michael were in the freighter explosion and believed to be dead.

- We know that they've all been visited by dead people, some of whom are adamant they DO NOT go back ( ie. Claire, who for the record I still don't think is really dead)

- We know that Desmond finally reunites with Penny but we also know that as per the previous episode with Ben and Widmore, she isn't safe and may be used as retribution for Alex's death.

- We know that John Locke contacted Walt and in turn he visits Hurley, who in turn is busted out of the nuthouse by Sayid.

- We know that the Oceanic 6 return to happy lives but that the happiness is short lived.

- We know that Sawyer and Juliette are still on the island and were there when it vanished or moved or whatever the hell happened. I can now assume that whatever task Kate did for him before is what he whispered to her before he took the plunge, not something he contacted her from the island to do.

- We know that Richard and the gang are somewhat blind followers to Ben and will now follow John Locke and tell him their secrets.

- We know that Miles has either more knowledge on what's REALLY going on than he let on or he has acquired some mind powers. We also know that the redhead lady has been on the island before. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

What we don't know

- The biggest thing is WHY do they need to go back and what is it that John Locke does to a) leave his precious island and b) piss off the losties and seemingly ruin their lives.

- Where in the holy hell did that dang island go? WHERE???

- What is the big icy turney wheel thing that made the sky go white and the island go poof.

- Is Claire dead? (see my above commentary)

- What happens to spiral Jack out of control?

- Why is John Locke now Jeremy Bentham? (I did some googling and here's the deal with Jeremy or at least what my pea brain could gather. He was a 17th or 18th century philosopher who was an opposing faction to the teaching of that other philosopher, John Locke. Jeremy believed in the theory of utilitarianism, which in a nutshell means that the ends justifies the means for the greater good of society. He also believed in a paradigm that a society that only includes people with true happiness is a much better and stronger society than one with those who are less than perfectly happy. They also believe that a person who lives a meaningful, yet not totally happy existence would be better off having not lived at all. In addition, they refuse to believe that happiness is measured by the individual and want an across the board measurement, which is impossible. These are pretty harsh beliefs IMO. I will comment more on this in the theory portion of this installment)

- What's the deal with Walt? Why is he suddenly there?

- Who is watching Hurley? Is it someone working for Widmore or Oceanic or Ben or Dharma?

- Why won't Kate go back and Jack will?

- Why is Sun now teaming up with Widmore? Who is the other person she blames for Jin's death? Is it Jack or Ben or Widmore himself and she's just playin' him?

- Are Ben and John brothers?

- Is Christian Shepard really Jacob and if not, who in the GODDAMN hell is he?

- Is anyone who dies on the island REALLY ever dead?

My Official Crackpot Theories and Thoughts

- After reading the bit about Bentham, I definitely think that happiness and the measure of one's happiness will play a major role in this. Perhaps that only those who can achieve true happiness can learn about the powers of the island as to not destroy the natural balance of that society. Maybe Ben realized that if people achieved this level, they would blindly follow him and he took control. They truly believe that the sanctity of the island is far more important than those who reside there, which I also believe is why they are all being brought back. Jack said something terrible happened by their leaving so that would make sense in the belief that his own or their own happiness is not as important as making sure the island stays as it needs to be. Good grief, does this make any sense?

- I am inclined at this point to think that the original Dharma project had the time-travel stuff in addition to the other "silly experiments," but that someone, maybe Ben or Jacob, decided that it needed to stop.

- I think that if and when they go back, they cannot leave again, although this would contradict the fact that redhead lady did just that. Or so we think. I also think that the only way Ben himself can go back is with the losties as a group. Why? Is it his penance and if so, what for really? He was the one who's sole focus was preserving the island so why would it or Jacob or whoever is in charge be pissed at him?

Oh lord. That's all I can sputter out at this point. I'm sure there is more stuff that I forgot to mention but since he was an agonizing 6 month wait until it comes back, I've got plenty of time to theorize.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day One

Well hi there. Long time no blog, or as my last post said BOG. Whatever. I had planned on posting about the trip and about the Lost finale but I was so jet lagged over the weekend that I wasn't forming sentences and didn't want to subject any of you to that. On second thought, it might have made more sense the crap I usually post. Anyhoo, I'm off tomorrow and will present a cavalcade of posts. Today was the start of my internship and my first official day as a graphic designer. I wasn't too nervous since I knew the people there but it was still weird since I'm the new person and they're all familiar and have jokes and stuff. It's a pretty loosy-goosy environment, which is nice since my last experience in the big corporate machine did not include the word "fun." In this job, after our meeting, we played Jeopardy for 15 minutes with my boss acting as Alex Trebeck. I did find out that I am going to have to learn a lot of new web-based programs if I want to make something of myself in this business, which I'm not too keen on. I know web stuff is "the future" but I just don't really like it. They are pretty set on shoving it all down my throat anyway. Oh well. Not to seem so nonchalant about it since I'm very fortunate to have this experience, but while we were out of town, I kept thinking abuot how normally I would be dreading going back to work and that this time I didn't really have anything to dread since it's all new. I kept thinking about what job I would want to have that would make me NOT sad to leave a place like Hawaii and to my surprise (not really), I kept coming back to cakes. Jesus, me and these cakes. I can't get it out of my skin, you know? I'm doing some mini-cakes this week to get back in the swing so maybe that's all I need to do to get it out of my system. We'll see.