Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy holidays!

Well, the weather people said yesterday that we would not be getting more snow, an hour later they changed that to a trace possible, then an hour after that they changed it to a possible 2 inches.

How much did we get you ask?

Um, try SIX inches on for size. For those of you keeping track, our grand total is about 16 inches. In SEATTLE.

Today we had no snow but were still fairly snowed in.


Because Seattle does not GET snow...EVER... and if we do, it lasts for a grand total of 5 minutes. It hits the ground and then is gone. So we do not have the capacity to REMOVE snow and any attempts are half assed at best. It's kinda like when I was a kid and my mom told me to clean my room so I took about 1.5 minutes to just shuffle stuff around to make it look like I cleaned my room but really nothing was different. The only thing that made me finally start cleaning my room was one day coming home from school on the school bus and all of my underwear was hanging on the tree in the front yard for everyone to see. (Yes, I am still scarred by that...thanks, mom!)

Well, Seattle, I want to hang YOUR underwear on a tree. YOU SUCK at shoveling snow! The only thing that comes from the feeble attempts to shovel snow is creating ice rinks for street. This is not conducive to driving at all.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be heading to Kansas City for the holidays. This is completely awesome in every single way possible except for the two ways in which it could be problematic. 1) As Seattle does not have the capacity to shovel its streets, its airport also does not really have the capacity to de-ice. We saw on the news this morning that half of all flights were cancelled and some people have been stranded at the airport for 5 days!! 2) Tomorrow in Kansas City, starting in the evening, it is predicted to be snowing/icing. I think we are taking the weather with us. To our Seattle friends- you are welcome.

We will have a wonderful holiday one way or another... and to everyone out there... happy holidays with best wishes for safe travels, warmth, and love.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It. will. not. stop. snowing.

I kid you not.

Two days later after a snow day, I think we are starting to get cabin fever.

We walked to the grocery store the other day. Yesterday we Christmas shopped for 5 hours until it started dumping again. I do not think I have seen this much snow since, um, Iowa.

It is still snowing now.

We woke up this morning thinking it was over, but nope!

Anyone who saw the Seahawks game today (or anyone who lives in the Seattle area, obviously) knows what I'm talking about.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowed IN in Seattle.

Crazy enough, the weather people were right...

Last night we got dumped on. During the middle of the night, we were surprised to hear thunder, see lightning, and hear hail. When we woke up this morning, there was about 4-6 inches of snow on the ground on top of a layer of ice.

No one is getting anywhere unless it is via sled. Literally.

We have been watching the news all morning on the people who have tried, without much success, to get somewhere. These same people, after trying, then were shown on the news walking down freeways and roads when they determined that it was not safe to drive. Seriously.

And currently, it is still continuing to dump. It is a winter wonderland. I am drinking tea, working some, watching it snow (and watching the cats try to attach the snow through the window... I don't think they get it) and occasionally getting up to see if I can see people playing Sesame Street on ice on the road outside. Huge SUVs with chains were just slipping and sliding down the rather flat road (for Seattle) outside of our house. It is beautiful... especially from in here. I love it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow in Seattle?


Over the weekend, temperatures plummeted and all we have heard about it "winter storm 2008." It's actually quite amusing.

But, in all honesty, it is a little exciting. We hardly ever see snow here and if we do, it usually doesn't stick around longer than a day. Well, guess what?! We got a blanket of 2 inches of ice/snow on Saturday evening and it is STILL HERE!

And guess what else? They are predicting another 1-5 inches tonight! So weird.

Temperatures have been FREEZING. Like 20s. I think average for this time of year is usually 40s-50s. Seattle is a pretty temperate place to live which is why we rarely see snow. But apparently this artic air mass is giving us cold air + snow. It's pretty neat. The mountains are getting dumped on.

Tim's birthday was yesterday (Happy birthday, honey!) so he had a white, snowy birthday... not to mention the fact that this artic air is just fridgid so it's been completely clear and sunny when it's not snowing. It's a nice change for a city that doesn't really see much sun or snow this time of year. I am crossing my fingers for more of the same when we head back to Kansas City for the holidays in a week!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kauai, Day 1-October 22, 2008

We had a 9am flight from Maui to Kauai with a short stop on Oahu in Honolulu. The flight was only about an hour or so long. Neither of us had ever been to Kauai (Tim hadn't been to Maui, I had) so we were both excited to see the island.There were two things that were notably different about Kauai that we noticed right away upon our arrival: 1) Holy crap, this is what a tropical island should look like. We have never seen so much green lushness. 2) There are wild chickens all. over. I kid you not. It was the most bizarre thing ever. If you have ever been there, you know what I'm talking about. However, if it was prior to 1991, you probably don't have a clue... I guess with the hurricane in 1991, there came an abundance of wild chickens. Weird!

We stayed on the south side of the island in Poipu, which is known as the sunny side of the island (hence the reason we stayed there... there is enough rain for us in Seattle as is!) And, as a sidenote, this turned out to be an excellent decision. We went up to the Princeville side (the north shore) a couple of times during our week there and got absolutely drenched both times (more on that later).

The sign that greeted us at the airport... would definitely agree that Kauai is the garden island.

We stayed at the Hyatt Poipu resort. Here is a shot of the grounds (and basically what the whole island looks like).

The first waterfall of many that we saw on Kauai.

Eating lunch at the grill by the pool at the Hyatt resort. Not quite as good as the Fairmont's pool bar/restaurant but still delicious!

And a picture of me at the poolside restaurant.

The resort grounds were absolutely beautiful, the pool was absolutely astounding. It was basically just uniform with the grounds so you didn't really feel like you were in a pool, more like you were just swimming out in the wild. It was lined with black lava rocks, complete with caves, etc. Pretty cool. There was also a lagoon down by the ocean that was salt water if you didn't want to rough out the ocean waves.

More of the resort grounds. There were hammocks and swings all over. It was great at night just to sit outside in the warm air by the ocean.

Main building of the Hyatt... it was pretty impressive. Honestly though, if I had to choose, I would say that I liked the Fairmont on Maui better. It was nicer, more personal, and not so HUGE.

We spent that first afternoon at shipwreck beach (the beach directly down from the Hyatt). That rock in the middle of the picture jutting out into the ocean is the "trademark" of shipwreck beach. Apparently people jump off of it. We didn't. It's a lot more daunting than it looks. Plus, the ocean was really rough that day. Tim body surfed, I didn't. I went in the ocean and got toppled by waves, even though I am a strong swimmer (I've been swimming my whole life and even taught swimming lessons as a teenager!) But the currents that day were too much for me... seemed more fun to just lay on the beach!
That night we went to tidepools restaurant, a restaurant at the Hyatt. It was very good. I was getting tired of fruity drinks (imagine that!) so I had wine but Tim had a lava flow, which I have to admit was very good here. I believe we both got some sort of seafood... I think that every restaurant on the islands is just amazing because you can't really screw up seafood when it is that fresh.
Next up: Kauai day 2... JoJos and the grand canyon of the pacific.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maui Day 7

The last day on Maui was just the pool with fruity drinks. And why not?? After the wedding day before, it sounded like the perfect way to spend our last day on the island and our first day as a married couple. As we were walking from breakfast straight to the pool that day, we walked by a blonde lady with her two girls. Her voice sounded strangely familiar. I grabbed Tim and made him stalk the lady with me (nice, right?) Anyway, my suspicions were right! It was one of the gals that I work with Renee- a tax manager in our firm (also by the way, one of the sweetest people I know!) Apparently, she had left for Maui the day after the October 15th tax deadline with her family and had been at the res0rt we were at the whole week we had been there. What a small world!

That morning and afternoon we pretty much were hanging out by the pool (with Renee and her family who had the same plans!) as well as the beach. That night we went to what is known as the best restaurant on Maui- Mama's fish house. It was definitely good. Tim had Ahi tuna and I had some sort of white fish... I think ono? I can't really remember. All I know is that the seafood everywhere on the islands was nothing short of amazing.

Laying by the pool, soaking up sun.

You can only really lay in the sun for about 30 minutes before you start to feel like you are in a 500 degree oven. We jumped in the pool a lot. And yes, the POOL. We loved the ocean but that day we did not feel like getting salty.

Playing pool basketball. That was fun.

Look how far he can get up and out of the pool... must be nice to be 6'4" tall.

Outside before our reservations at Mama's. The restaurant tables look out on this beach. It was very pretty scenery.

Tim outside of Mama's... the sun is starting to set here so it is more of a silhouette picture.

Both of us before our last dinner on Maui- some lady took our picture. Beautiful!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Sorry for not continuing the Hawaii posts. They will resume shortly.

We are up in Alaska for our annual December trip (we go in December and February for a client we have). Funny that I met Tim on a trip back from Alaska and now I go up there every year during the same week in December that I was up there before I met him. And to the same place- Anchorage.

What I don't understand is this: When it is 25 degrees with a windchill of 5, snowing, I'm wearing 4 layers, 2 hats, 5 pairs of socks, and a coat- how come Alaskans keep telling me this is warm? For the record: This. is. not. warm. I know that they truly believe that it is warm because driving around today, I am not even kidding you, at least 8 out of every 10 cars had their windows down with their arms out. Like it was 80 degrees and the best weather in the world. My jaw would have been permanently affixed to the floor seeing all of these cars except for the fact that then I would have let more cold air into my body than was necessary and I probably would have frozen to death. (That sounds rational, right?)

Instead, I am huddled up with the heat at 120 degrees in my layers upon layers thinking, "Seriously, these people are nuts." I thought about trying to put my window down to see if maybe they were right and I was wrong but I was greeted with a big gustful of FRIGID air and snow in my face. And then I turned up the heater to 200 degrees because the gust of that air lowered the temperature of the car to about 10 degrees.

It is a different world up here. Don't get me wrong- it is by far one of the most beautiful, stunning, unique and pure places I have ever been. But it is most definitely also different. It takes a special person to be able to tolerate 5 hours (at best) of daylight during this time of year and to call a 5 degree windchill and blowing snow "warm" weather. That person would never in a million years be me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Maui. October 20th. Day 6. Wedding Day. The best day ever.

Tim and I didn't really ever plan on getting married. In all honesty, I didn't ever plan on meeting Tim.

I met Tim at a crossroads in my life. I was not intending to meet anyone, I did not want to meet anyone. I was ready to explore the world independently and without anyone by my side. I needed, wanted to get to know myself. Following one of these adventures of my independent life, I just happened to get stuck in Seattle on a trip back from Alaska. I did everything I could to get back to Phoenix that night but as luck (or fate) would have it, Seattle was in the midst of a huge windstorm. No amount of money or begging would have gotten me back to Phoenix that night. No one was leaving Seattle. I barely made it in (to say it was shaky would be an understatement)...

I get to my hotel in Seattle (Seattle! Ugh! I never wanted to go to Seattle! I just want to go home!...Those were the thoughts going through my head) and all of the power was out. They had to manually check me in, which, by the way, takes forever. What did anyone ever do without technology? 20 minutes in and I start to feel funny. Next thing I know, I think I am awakening from sleeping in my bed and I'm all warm and cozy but wait... my bed feels like freaking concrete and that's not a blanket, that's my coat. And who are all these people looking at me? Why are they all touching me?

I passed the hell out. And the only way I could describe how I felt like at that point: absolute shit. I have never passed out like that before in my life, or again for that matter. The paramedics there were trying to convince me to go to the hospital due to that fact and to the fact that my blood pressure/heart rate were all over the board. Not to mention how crappy I felt... I remember trying to resist going to the hospital and saying, "it's going to cost a million dollars" and then I hear, "No, probably three million." I laugh and look over my left shoulder and there is Tim, kneeling down beside me and he says, "Hi, I'm Tim, I'll be your EMT tonight."

All time stopped. Tim and I have talked at great lengths about what that moment meant to each of us. I think that for both of us we just knew that somehow our lives were changing. We weren't sure exactly how or what exactly that meant but it was a moment so powerful, so intense that we knew our lives would never be the same.

Tim took me to the hospital that night. Subsequently I did have strep throat... which is really weird because it didn't even hurt! But that would explain the passing out. I flew back to Phoenix at 5am the next day... I stayed in the hospital until about 2am and then just went straight to the airport. I have never felt both so physically horrible and but so emotionally overjoyed (for what, I wasn't sure) at the same time.

Tim called a day later. I thought that Washington paramedics were just nice and he was just checking up. Except we had the conversation that to this day has still not ended. Two weeks later I flew BACK to Seattle. I surprised my friends, hell, I surprised myself. But I followed my heart and that is all I could hope for anyone. The following 6 months were filled with as many visits as we could fit in. I couldn't really talk about it at the time because my life, on the surface, was a little bit in disarray. I wasn't really sure where I was headed and I didn't want to hurt anyone unnecessarily. In May of 2007 I moved to the city I never even considered visiting, to be with the paramedic that I fell in love with, who I never expected to meet.

Life has a funny thing of doing that... when you least expect it, everything becomes clear and you just KNOW. The road might not always be easy but when it is traveled with that companion who completes you, in a way that makes you wonder how you never realized fully what you were missing, it becomes more clear, more straight, more easy to travel along.

As I once read, "The tragedies in my own life have been of a personal and largely self-created nature." For me, it took a long, long time to mend myself, my life, my soul, and everyone around me-if I was ever even capable of that. I tried anyway. In some respects, I don't know that I am entirely there yet or if I ever will be. There are people who will probably always question me, my intent, my reasonings for doing certain things. There are wounds that may never heal. There will always be a a place that hurts in my heart, unlike any pain I have ever felt, for the journey that I have been on, for the people I did not intentionally mean to hurt along the way, for the people that I did love- just not in a way that these people truly deserved to be loved. I will forever hurt for not realizing that sooner, for taking these people on the ride with me, for knowing how amazing these people were, but not understanding myself better. I still get crippled by pain when I look back sometimes. It will always hurt, it is as simple as that. I do not have any regrets, however. I may wish that in some cases I handled myself differently but overall, there are no regrets. I did the most loving thing I could by realizing that something was missing. I did the most loving thing I could by breaking free. I did the most loving thing I could by not being afraid, by not wanting the comfortable life, by knowing that I was just following my heart. I will never fault myself for that, as much as I have been faulted for it through the past few years.

As soon as I met Tim, it all made sense to me. All of the decisions that I had made up to that point, that got me to that point, that I had even doubted myself, all became clear. What I knew without hesitation before was validated just that much more because I found what everyone is looking for. When I met Tim, I found happiness. I found home. I found love in a way that I have never been able to see or feel love before in my life. I felt the rays of happiness and hope for the first time in a long time-possibly in a way that I have never been open to before. And as someone once said "..and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness you must grab onto the ankles of it and not let go until it grabs you face-first out of the dirt and realize that you deserve it. This is not selfishness but obligation." It has taken me a long time to realize that I can and will and do deserve to have happiness, especially after traveling such a tough road full of potholes, obstacles and people telling me up and down, right and left that I am making a huge mistake, I am going the wrong way. I have found that happiness and love are real feelings and it actually doesn't take work or any sort of viable effort to feel them if it is real and true. It fills you up, fulfills you, makes you experience emotions that you never thought existed. Although I had a good life before, I have never known these things to be like this. And this, this invaluable thing, is what I found in Tim. Of course, there are so, so many other qualities with him and I that just click, that just work. But this is the main, everlasting quality that will never change like values, hobbies, likes/dislikes sometimes do. And that, to me is enough.

In was never a question of whether or not we would be together. We booked our trip to Hawaii late last spring and then a couple months later decided, why not just get married? It is just how it has always worked with us... from the beginning of us, to me moving to Seattle- it just made sense. We decided that we did not want anyone at our wedding, maybe just a reception after we returned but really, even that was not a big deal. We felt, still feel, that moment of a wedding is so intimate and personal. I am not sure what the point is in having 50 or more people watch as you walk hand in hand into a lifetime of marriage, in which you only have each other. I did not want a big wedding, I did not want the meaning lost. I learned my lessons in this the hard way. To us marriage is a daily commitment to your partner and to enter into that relationship of marriage, to make sure that we looked at each other in that moment and knew just how committed to this thing that we both are, we just needed the two of us. It was the best thing we ever could have done. I will never regret our decision on this in my life. I have never been happier than I was on that day and if anyone would have been there, it would have taken away from the intimacy of the moment. It was a moment not unlike the moment that we met... powerful, intense, real, full of love, and enough to sustain each of us in this walk together.

On the day of our actual wedding, we got up rather leisurely, ate breakfast, went and got my dress at the bridal shop in town that it was shipped to, got a couples lava rock massage, went and ate lunch (turkey wrap for me, spicy fish wrap for Tim). Then Tim got dressed, he ran out and waited while I had a couple hours of hair and makeup, then we met, took a limo to the beach and commenced with the whole afternoon and evening. That night we had a private dinner for two on the beach... it was about 4 or so courses and we had our own personal chef who made each course, served us, and in between let us kiss under the tiki torches, talk about our beautiful day, listen to the ocean, and sip wine. It seriously couldn't have been a more perfect day.

And pictures.. They are, for the most part, in chronological order from the ceremony to sunset pictures. They really need no explanation.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

To everyone out there... I hope that today your lives are filled with happiness, laughter, love, and what this day is all about- Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Maui Day 5- Road to hana

On the 5th day, Tim and I got up rather early to do the road to Hana. For those of you that have never been to Maui, the road to Hana is basically a day trip that takes you along a very curvy, narrow, scenic road on the north shore (the lush shore) of Maui to the town of Hana. The town of Hana is really nothing special, it's more about the drive TO Hana.

We started off around 8am with the top down. Lucky for us, we had just missed the rain. It is evident that there is a lot of rain up there since it is ridiculously green and lush... probably how you would imagine a tropical place to be.

Beautiful tropical greenery.
One of our first stops was a botanical garden off of the main road. The rock at the very bottom of this picture is where the opening scene for Jurassic Park was filmed. We only know that because we were told that about twenty. times. Apparently it is this parks' big selling point... Even though you can get no closer to this rock than we were taking this picture.

At the garden again. Tim and his asian statue. As far as I know, there is nothing significant about this statue other than a funny photo.

Beautiful tropical forest and flowers at the gardens. It was at these gardens that our Sebring decided to break. What? A Sebring that breaks? NO! It couldn't be. I was not exaggerating when I thought the first day we got the car that it was a POS and not just because I don't like them in the first place. So we get out at the garden and get out our Nikon out of the trunk. It is a big camera, not the small little pocket digital cameras (and it is also the reason the above pictures look so awesome). Next thing we know, we can't SHUT the trunk. What. in. the. hell. We spent literally a half an hour trying to figure out the stupid thing. It won't shut and because the trunk won't shut we also can't put the top up. Because we can't shut the trunk or put the top up this means several things: 1) The car is a piece of shit (already noted) 2) We cannot get out and hike along the road to Hana like we had planned because we can't secure our camera, my purse or anything else we might not want to be stolen because the top is wide open and the trunk is wide open 3) Along the road to Hana we get yelled at multiple times, "Hey did you know your trunk is open... YEP. NOTED. 4) Later in the day when it starts to rain and gets colder as we are coming around the backside of the road to Hana, we are not having a fun experience. It was COLD. And wet. So my theory of why Sebrings are POS' was fully supported on that day.

One of the million waterfalls we saw along the way.

Look- another waterfall!

Probably the prettiest scenery we saw that day... Nihau road leading down to the coast. The road is a little residential road that is about 2 miles long but it is SO worth it. This was just breathtaking.

The northern Maui coast from the end of Nihau road.

Beautiful ocean water.

Waves! We couldn't get in the water but it was so pretty to watch.

More of the Maui coast... we took a lot of pictures here.

Me! With an unbelievable background behind me.

After the Nihau road drive, we stopped at a roadside stand for the BEST brownies (like quadruple chocolate), banana bread, carrot bread (did not know that THIS fantastic creation existed...), and banana chocolate bread. Ummm, aside from the obvious YUMMM, carb overload much? After our little snack, we made it to the lava tubes... It was some sort of a state park but we just explored the lava tubes. The main reason for this was that at the end of our short little lava tube hike, I, in my infinite grace decided to trip on a rock and sprain my ankle. This was not fun. Why, you ask? BECAUSE THE NEXT DAY WAS OUR WEDDING. So my ankle proceeds to swell up to unimaginable proportions and I continue to not be able to walk... and I'm thinking, tomorrow in a wedding dress on the beach is going to be fun. You may remember me mentioning climbing on lava rocks in my wedding dress. Well, I think that the hot lava rock massage I had the morning of the wedding helped my ankle tremendously. Or maybe I was just too happy to notice it. Either way, the day was not ruined but our little hikes at this state park were cut short (by my ankle and the damn sebring). We did get to watch a few locals jump into the stagnant water in these tubes, however. It was quite amusing.

Beautiful greenery. Let's count how many times I say the world beautiful in these Hawaii recap posts...

Calvin?? Is that you Calvin?! Nope, our cat Calvin was safe at home back in Washington but I swear this little guy looked exactly like Calvin (except that Calvin has many more threads of white hairs that we like to pick off of him. He does not like this, for the record). This kitten was just hanging out in the parking lot and was so cute and friendly. Too bad one of my ankles is hidden... you could see the comparison of swollen vs. not.

Gorgeous road we drove down to get to yet another beach on our journey.

The beach. Just past the town of Hana. Notice how there are no pictures of the town of Hana? It really isn't that remarkable. But this beach, on the other hand, was.

Going into the water. It was so warm and the waves were perfect. If only I had thought about the fact that we still couldn't put the convertible top up, it was later in the day and we still had a long drive home, I might have reconsidered going into the water. It was worth it then... not so much when I was freezing an hour later!

Looking out at the crazy sea formation rock (behind me).

Trying to dry off some although by the time I got out the sun was MIA.

Playing on a cool looking tree before we continued on our journey around the backside of Haleakala (the big volcano that is in the middle of the north and south side of Maui... the road to Hana is on the north of this- the lush side, the road back is on the south side- the dry side).

Another shot of the outstanding Maui coastline.

The Maui coast is amazing but check out the road we were on! Pretty much one lane and not paved. Now imagine it in a POS sebring with a trunk that keeps popping up and down... fun times!

Yep, the back half of Maui is MUCH dryer. It's kinda like Seattle vs Phoenix. Both very beautiful in their own respects.

And as we got closer to our home base, the road got smoother and it got greener. It also started to pour. NO fun with the convertible top that won't shut. Soon after this we arrived back at the airport to trade cars. We got a white one the second time around. Funny, they didn't even question us. They must have to swap those cars a lot. Big surprise, I know.

After we traded cars, we revisited the black sand beach that is down by our hotel to watch the sunset. It was so nice just to sit out there, essentially on our own private little beach.

Well, maybe not so private. We had a run in with this little guy who was trying to make his home for the night. We watched him dig the hole and shovel out sand. It was pretty neat. I was a little grossed out at first by these crabs but eventually I came around and was ok sharing the sand with him.

Sitting on the sand enjoying the sunset. And yes, that is a fleece I am wearing. In Hawaii. What can I say? I was FREEZING. After the sunset, we headed back to the hotel for drinks and dinner. Where? At Ko again. Remember I mentioned we went there twice? Well this night was round two. Partly because I wasn't really walking that great, partly because it was close and partly because it was so awesome the first day. It was amazing again and the perfect way to wrap up a day full of adventures.