Saturday, April 30

Yesterday I used my day off to drive down to Newport Beach to visit with the Southern Cal side of the KAK house crew. Significant: my mom hitched a ride down there with me so she could visit my sister. Significant because we haven't been speaking with each other. And although I wasn't the one to initiate this behavior, I opted to not talk much during the 6 hour drive. I prefer her to be in the dark regarding the details of my life . Any details she either sees as an invitation to meddle in my life or an invitation to cast judgement and throw her negative vibes my way. So I just let her talk and went to great lengths to not disclose any information. The only thing I disclosed was the purchase of my new bathing suit. If she was computer saavy she may be able to figure out what's going on with me, but she's not.

I got over to Matt's house and rushed to get ready, only to end up waiting 2 hours for the cab to pick us up. It was Shawn, Jeff, Scotty, BG, Matt, Brett, TiTi and Me. We went to a club called Vegas. TiTi and I had a blast. We had a great game of "let's ditch the boys" going. We would go get a drink and then find some obscure spot to dance and see how long it took them to track us down. Fun game. I think we'll play it again tonight. It was the most fun I've had since the Cruise. Tonight will be even better because we'll have more people rolling with us. Ryan and Rich flew in this morning and some of Matt's friends will be joining us. This afternoon I think TiTi and I will go shopping or lay out. Still to be decided.

Thursday, April 28

Another waste of a good day off...
I woke up all motivated, but then I got online and spent the morning signing up for netflix instead. Matt finally got me out of the house under the pretenses of having to drop my karoake machine off to him. My church is having karoake night this Saturday. It should be alot of fun. Too bad I'll miss it. So me and Matt were singing away once I got over there and helped him set up the machine. Then I headed to Kelly's to get her lawnmower, but instead I decided it can grow some more and that I'd rather go to Whole Foods with her. So it made for a really unproductive day. I got absolutely nothing accomplished.

Last night I took Kelvyn out as a pre-birthday celebration. (Thirty-four is so old!) Kelvyn has led a sheltered life, which is amazing given that he's a California native. I took it upon myself to work on breaking him out of his bubble before he ages another year. (He swears it's a cube, and not a bubble he's living in.) We went to my favorite place in San Francisco... Mas Sake, to give Kelvyn his first proper taste of sushi and other fine Japanese niceties. Mmmm. Crunchy Rolls. Craving fulfilled. "What is this soup?" MISO! "What are these things called again?" EDEMAME! "What is this dessert?" MOCHI! "What's a sake bomb?" Give me a break! How can he have lived in Cali all his life and not know these things? I told him to admit it... He must really be from Wisconsin. Then keeping in the theme of the night, we went to the Filmore to see the Puffy AmiYumi Concert. It was a great show and really these Japanese Popstars have a big fan base which is surprisingly mostly caucasian with only a handful of asians and a handful of children with liberal parents who let them go to a 9:00 concert on a school night. Their english is so poor they are up on stage with little cheat sheet scripts to read when they talk to their audience between sets. It's very cute.

Today the kids were thrilled out of their minds that I was sporting a Puffy AmiYumi t-shirt and that I had their theme song playing off the CD when I picked them up from school. The big highlight of the day was being IM'd from Ryan in Korea. It was such a nice surprise to hear from him and be able to talk to him if even just for a few minutes. Looking forward to going away for the weekend to Newport Beach with the crazy KAK house crew. It will be quite the party weekend. However, I am coincidentally going to be missing absolutely everybody's birthdays this weekend.... Happy Birthday to Sheila Dhake, Kelvyn Johnston, Jeff Howard, and Stephanie Walker. I'm sorry I'm going to miss out on all your fun celebrations.

Sunday, April 24

Impromptu Date
I was sitting on my bed amidst my messy room talking on the phone after a very long day at work... still in work clothes, no make up, hair a mess. When quite unexpectedly walks in Nate. (I was expecting Sunstar). Nate on the whim stopped by and wanted to take me out to dinner. Guys... give a girl a little notice, even if it's just 5 minutes to hide her skimpies, throw on a cute sweater and apply a layer of lip gloss. Anyways, there were some odd conversational pieces flowing across the dinner table. First off, it was brought up that I have a very motherly look, but that it's hot. Conclusion- I'm a MILF with no kids. Don't know the phrase? Look it up in Urban Dictionary. The other odd conversation was a comparison of me to warm fresh baked bread... something about being both hot and wholesome. I don't know about this guy. His analogies need some work. Gladly, I don't need to worry much about him. I have his M/O figured out. He just comes around about once every other month and then I don't here from him again until 2 months later when he's ready for another date. He'll move to NY in May 2006, so that should give us about 6 more dates. Doubt things will get very serious in that timeframe.

The Following
Friday I went out dancing with my housecleaner and her friends. Odd, I know. But she's really cool and so high energy on the dance floor, which explains why she has the energy to clean my house when I don't. Then I headed downtown to talk business with bar owners while I try to figure out who owns what. So I end up hanging out with some friends over at Temple after it closes. At 3am I leave and start to walk to my car. Now I've never been one who was scared to walk a few blocks by myself at night. But this particular night, I get no farther than 50 ft away when some guy approaches me saying "what are you doing? you can't be walking out here like this at night! I'll walk you." And although I refuse his offer and assure him that I'm fine, he just gets more persistant. And worse yet, he is getting louder and drawing the attention of all the drunk and horny bums on the block, so at this point even if I manage to get this guy to leave me alone and continue on... there is now a gripload of drunken streetfolk who have just had it pointed out to them that I'm a great target to rape or rob walking all by myself. And they were starting to get closer and close in to check out the commotion this fellow was making. At this point I can't go on alone thanks to my very loud new friend, and I don't trust him to walk me so I have to turn around and go back to Temple to get one of the guys I know to walk me (in the rain) to my car (which is like 5 blocks away). Such a hassle. I know that guy was trying to help, but he only made it worse. Thanks to George for saving me from the obnoxious overly eager boyscout and his scummy audience.

Wednesday, April 20

An Affair Worth Revisiting
Last night I took Sheila to my favorite restaurant, Nola. (Check out that their site has a recipe of the month where I get the recipes for all my favorite dishes there). Sheila kept bragging to her boyfriend that I had taken her on such a nice romantic date. "Will she call me?" Yes, she will. I missed that restaurant so much. Last year I was eating there 2 or 3 times a week. And now it's been about 9 months since I've treated myself to one of their delicacies. I practically ordered everything on the menu out of excitement over the reunion. It was so good. Anybody want to go with me next week?

Tell ET I'm waiting for the sequel
I was posting on craigslist for a roommate this afternoon. Did I mention that ALL of my roommates are moving out for one reason or another... not at all related to me. One took a live-in job, one is moving to Capitola, and one is getting a place with her sister who is moving to the area. So if you know of anybody looking for a place, send them my way. Anyways, I was posting on craigslist and at the bottom of the post is this option to "post into outer space". I guess now they are sending posts to our extra- terrestrial counterparts using deep space communication networks. So if you have a message for alien friends out there, you should be sure to check this out. It's free. Here's a news press on it.

Tuesday, April 19

This weekend I mostly worked. But Sunday I went to church, where people hardly recognized me with my tan. Matt thought I looked like a completely different ethnicity. I taught Sunday School. And then Shannan came over and we started to make her very difficult wedding favors. We cut all wrappers, wrapped all chocolates, assembled all but 30 boxes, and finished to completion 81 out of the 200 favors. The process stopped due to running out of pink and white m&m's. Then I watched both the Sampson kids and the Byrne kids while the parents went to a church leadership meeting.

Today while working I throughout the day worked on taking out my braids. Now my hair is huge fluffy and crimpy. I think I've killed it. I hope it goes back to normal after a shower. Tonight I was at Kelly's messing first watching her kids and then converting her back over to blogger and teaching her easy blogging while also trying to mess with her template. I just got home. And it's still not right. But you should check her out because she promises to post something tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16

I just finished watching Cold Mountain with Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. It was a great movie, but I hate injustice, and I hate war, and I hate when they make me cry. Why can't honor, love, and goodness always win. Or even just win more than not. Are the good stories out there and I just don't see it. I feel that often I am living this fairytale good guy scenario full of hope and loyalty and beauty, but it occurs to me that I may not get the fairytale ending that should accompany my life. It could be hopeless, or worthless, or tragic, or too short, or an endless wait. Oh, I pray it is none of these things. I will do my best to make good of whatever should come, and it is not in my nature to lose hope. But hope can seem like such a foolish notion. Although it's only foolish if you don't get what you're hoping for. I pray that although I may appear the fool, in the end I will not be one.

Sorry, Kelly. I was suppose to be at her house playing Karoake Revolution, but got caught up in this very long movie that I could not pull myself away from. Forgive me, Kelly. It's too late to call. See you in the morning.

Friday, April 15

2 things to pray about today:
1. Duncan is back in England having heart surgery today. It's not too major, but still. There is I think a 20% chance that it won't work and a 20% chance that his condition will return. That condition is that his heart beats irregularly fast. It's like he has a short circuit and this surgery will fry that circuit to eliminate the problem. So I'm praying that it will all go smoothly with no glitches and that it would be a lasting success with a quick recovery.
2. Ryan is on his way to Korea for a one year stint for the army. I'm wearing his dog tags today in honor of his departure. He's O positive blood type. I hear you can get in big trouble for giving those dog tags away. Hmmm. So I'm praying he has a safe trip and a blessed year ahead of him.

Wednesday, April 13

Caribbean Cruise 2005

I didn't have proper internet on the ship so here is a collaboration of post and pics from my time away. You can click here to find more pics on my flickr page.

Mon 3/28 Day 1
The ups and downs of today. Well let's start with yesterday, Easter Sunday.
Down- I couldn't go to church because my clients believe in getting to the airport a full 2 hours before departure.
Up- We couldn't get 6 seats together so I sat quite peacefully by myself without kids for the 5 hour flight.
Up- Staying at the Four Seasons in Miami.
Down- Kids on California time not going to bed until 1am. Up- Ryan being fairly peaceful and quiet this morning while everyone else slept.
Down- Bad Weather preventing us from going down to the pool.
Up- Cruise Ship Time!!!
Down- Figuring out that I don't have a cabin to myself like I thought I did therefore leaving me hostage in this room even when the kids go to sleep.
Up- Clients booking me the spa treatment of my choice for tomorrow morning.
Up- Sitting next to another nanny during the emergency drill... we hope to hang out alot together with and without kids. She has her own room. I got jipped.
BIG HUGE DOWN- my little suitcase zipper broke sometime between when I handed it over to their porter and when it arrived at my room. Now that I have unpacked and organized absolutely everything I find 3 important things missing from this bag (and I am praying hard that they are on the ship somewhere). 1. My sonicare 2. My cell phone charger... not that the phone works here but it's my only form of a clock in this room. 3. My bag full of jewelry including my grandmother's tahitian pearl necklace. My heart is breaking. I was crying in the bathroom and Jack came all concerned. It was sweet of him. He says my grandmother is probably looking down on me saying that it's no big deal. And he's probably right. It is just another earthly object, but it still saddens me because it was one of the most special earthly objects I had. I am praying that the ship crew is able to locate it in the morning.

The view down to the lobby from the glass floor on 8 floors above

Tue 3/29
This morning started off with an Ionithermie Spa Treatment complements of my clients. Ionithermie... very strange. It feels like you pins and needles pricking you. Basically, it is a body wrap that uses "the gentle action of faradic and galvanic stimuli combined with thermal clay and biologically active natural ingredients" and results in firmer smoother skin, improvement of cellulite, circulation stimulation, and temporary inch loss on buttocks, abdominal, and thigh area. I lost 6 2/8 inches in the process. I think I should have just had the absolute face and body treatment... 105 minutes of massage including hair play... totally more my style. Maybe an opportunity will arise later in the trip.
Great news... Lost and Found had my jewelry, my sonicare, and my cell phone charger. Tonight I wore my grandmother's majorica pearls. It was a formal dinner night. I don't get all that many opportunities to wear cocktail dresses.

Wed 3/30
A Day At Sea... Today after waking up late, we all headed to lunch for breakfast. Then I put the kids in cruise camp and gave the hot new swim suit the debut it deserved at the adult pool. That lasted all of an hour before I was paged to the camp to pick up the kids. They had been sitting there on strike refusing to participate in the fun. So with kids in tow, I end up at the kids pool where I am the life of the party. I make Ryan a grip load of new friends by being the fun adult who plays shark with them and the fact that I have a hot new swim suit becomes trivial. Unexpectedly, all the kids decide they want room service so that they can go to magic night at the much dreaded kids camp. I, all of a sudden, have a night off with no plan. I was scared to do much because I figured I would be getting a page to go get my reluctant kids any second but it never came. My new ally, camp staff.... they tell my kids that they paged me and I didn't respond but they didn't page me... they just knew that my kids would get over it and just resolve themselves to have fun, which they did. God bless lying counselors. So I first attempted to get internet access in my room, but the techies came and said it wasn't going to happen. So chances are you will get this mass of updated posts all when I get back to Miami or San Jose. Then I got all dressed up and walked around the ship where I finally found Gemma. Gemma is my new friend. I happened to be sitting next to her during the fire drill the first day and it ends up she is also on the cruise as a nanny. So we've been hanging around when we can get free time simultaneously. Last night we went to the night club and Dad watched the kids. Tonight we had her kids for a bit. Then when she was done, we played some pool. The pool table is trippy. It has a movable surface that automatically adjusts to counter the motion of the ocean. While we played we chatted it up with this chap named Duncan whose from Manchester (Gemma is British too, but lives in Florida). Then we got my kids out of camp and ordered cocktails to my room. Kids in bed and we watched Little Black Book while sipping Pina Coladas.

Gemma and I at Starquest trying to find the young single crowd

Sat 4/2
The last 3 days of bliss started in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I bought majorica pearl earrings to match my grandmother's necklace. (Trips are often distinguished by their accompanying purchases). I shopped with the family in the morning and had the afternoon to myself. A big highlight was cell phone coverage. It's US territory and is covered by Sprint. I can't wait to see those roaming charges.

Me with a backdrop of the beautiful Puerto Rican Waters

My Cruise Ship... The Brilliance of the Sea

Christ Lives Here! I loved it.

Looks a bit like Bourbon Street, huh?

Me and little miss Ryan
Next stop was St. Thomas where we missed the ferry to our excursion and had to make up our day. We took a ferry over to St. John Island (not to be confused with St. John, the province in Antigua). We hung out at Trunk Bay and it was pure luxury. There is great snorkeling there, but I was too distracted helping newbies Jack and Gemma along. The sand was so soft and the water was great. I didn't really get a chance to shop. I made up for it though today in Antigua.

St Thomas Bay of Boats

St Thomas View

St John's Trunk Bay where I spent the day
Today was my "day off" from vacation, meaning that my boss said that I could take that day and go off by myself on a different excursion than them. I decided on the Sea Kayak and Snorkeling Eco Adventure, and what a good choice it was! Gemma was able to get the time off from her boss to come with me. I want to do more kayaking back home. One of the most fun parts of the day was riding on the speedboat, even though our boat broke down twice leaving us temporarily stranded at sea. It was still fun. And the snorkeling was great. And I learned a bit about the coral reef ecosystem, and about sea turtles, and other caribbean wildlife local to Antigua. Back at the ship I was able to squeeze in some mini spa treatments... nails and scalp massage. It was the best day of the trip... so far.

Gemma making nice with our speedboat

Bird Island where we snorkeled in Antigua

Speed Boat Liz having a blast.

Sun 4/3
My frustration with the ship: a lack of clocks. I know we are on vacation and they are trying to just let the day flow for us, but I'm still on a schedule as are the kids. I can never find a clock when I need to and I've had 3 watches break on me in the last week here.
What I love about the ship: Adventure Ocean- the kid's camp on board. It took some time for the kids to warm up to the idea, but now they love it and can't wait to go the second we get on board. This means lots and lots of free time for me. And this camp is open until 1am. It is a beautiful wonderful thing to be able to have them disappear and find time to read or blog or tan or swim or mingle and act like an adult whose on vacation for just a while.
Today was St. Lucia. We went to the Aquabelle which is basically a glass bottom boat ride around the coral reefs. Then I bought a few things and laid out by the pool. Then Gemma and I went to dinner at Portifino, the nice Italian restaurant on board. It was nice to dine without the kids. But the ship was pretty quiet so we didn't do much after that.

St. Lucia City View

Gemma and I getting friendly with the maitre d' at the restaurant

Tue 4/5
Another Day at Sea... I'm starting to have alot of fun on this cruise... a bit too late seeing that I have only 2 more days. Actually, what am I wining about. I'm going to change my outlook on that. 2 days is like having a whole weekend left. I had so much fun tonight. I met a bunch of new people. It was formal night so Duncan, Gemma, and I took pictures. Then we met this guy Ryan and his brother whose name I forget [editor's note: Jason], but they were really cool. Then I met a bunch of South African guys. I hated to have to leave all the fun to go pick up the kids, but it must be done. After all, that's why I'm here. Today was just a day at sea so we all just hung out by the pool and got tan.

Duncan, Me, Gemma chilling poolside on the ship

Go ahead. Jump overboard. We'll save you.

Me with 2 very handsome studs at our formal dinner

The Gorgeous Perry Family

Me and Gemma
Yesterday we were docked in St. Maarten. The morning was just catching up on sleep and then lolling around the room. The plan as it was explained to me was that the parents would go into town and at 1:15 I'd meet them the dock with the kids and we would trade off. So it sounded to me that I would have the afternoon off so when Duncan called that morning I was eager to make plans to go explore the island with him. I don't think I've explained Duncan yet. Duncan is from Worcester, England. He's here with his parents and siblings whom both have spouses and kids. So he's alone alot so Gemma and I adopted him. He's a nice bloke. He's teaching me British slang. Did you know "pants" to them are underwear... or more precisely, guys' tighty whiteys. So if I walked up to a chap in England and said that I liked those pants on him, he would give me a strange look and wonder if I'd been spying on him getting dressed. Anyways, back to St. Maarten. I made plans with Duncan and then my boss came back to the ship a little earlier than planned and picked up the kids since they were ready. And as I send them off he says "Are you going to leave the door open?" And I realize that I'm coming with so I say no and go grab my stuff and call Duncan from the lobby to flake. Now I hate flaking on people so I am pretty guilt ridden over it. And I don't mention anything to my boss. Then we take a ferry and a taxi to Marigot (the French side of the island) and they don't even need me. As a matter of fact, it's about an hour into it that Dad says that I can wander off as long as I make it back on the boat by 4:30. And this upsets me because I've flaked on Duncan for nothing and the whole time I'm bored and not enjoying it knowing it would have been more fun with Duncan. Plus I wouldn't have gone to the expensive side of the island where all I get is and overpriced $85 tank top. I maybe would have really liked it under different circumstances and if I had a ton of money to blow. But it's not worth mentioning the whole inconvenience to my boss. I made up for time lost by spending the evening hanging out with Duncan.

St. Maarten Beach

Leaving St. Maarten during sunset

Wed 4/6
Today I was in Labadee, Hispanolia. At least, that's what it says on the itinerary. What they are not telling you is that it's in Haiti. But it's a private beach for only Royal Caribbean's use and it gives the appearance of being very safe and secure. There was an aqua park there that we spent the morning at. Then the kids went into Adventure Ocean and I went and got my hair braided. Now I'm starting to really look the part of my African American heritage... the braids mixed with the dark tan. Tonight I got to stay out until midnight. I had so much fun with Ryan, Duncan and Gemma. We were like the 4 muskateers. And this night Duncan really stepped up to be my hero.

View from my chair... beautiful waters, haitian mountainside, waterpark, cruise ship in the distance

1 1/2 hours with 6 girls actively braiding... I have alot of hair

The Gang... Me, Ryan, Duncan and Gemma

Duncan considers this a Page 3 picture... ask a brit.

Ryan and I- He leaves on Friday for a 1 year army stint in Korea.

Laying on the Glass Floor. We're so risky. *sarcasm*

Thu 4/7
Today was the last real day on the cruise. I grabbed lunch with Duncan and then hung out at the pool with the kids. Then I joined in on a game of water volleyball which my team won. Then I went and climbed the rock climbing wall, which was harder than it looked. Then after dinner I packed and then partied with the boys. Gemma had to work so she missed out.

Water Volleyball Champs- Oisin, (no name), Me, Neil, Aaron

Me and my boys- Ryan and Duncan

All the Party Boys with their favorite bartenders.

Fri 4/8
It's all over and I have post cruise blues. I thought I'd see people this morning, but they send everyone to different sections to wait until departure and I didn't get to do some proper goodbyes. So I decided sometime in the Virgin Islands that I was not coming home. I changed my flight. I'm going to Sarasota for a few days to hang out with Gemma. I escorted my family to the airport and bid them farewell. I met up with Duncan and got my rental car and went to lunch. I dropped him back off at the airport and then started my 3 hour drive to Sarasota. I had to pull over and sleep though because I was no good to drive after such a late night. I got to Gemma's and we went out to this club with her cousin, Adam [fresh from England and such a cutie]. That night ended with me being more drunk than ever before... still not much, but the most yet. I think it had to do with a shot of vodka.

Sun 4/10
Yesterday was a completely kick back day. We were so exhausted from the trip that we decided just to relax. We were going to go out, but we opted for renting movies and eating ice cream. Today we hit the beach. Sarasota is home to Siesta Keys Beach, ranked one of the top 3 beaches in the world. The sand is pure fine powder. It's really nice. The water was still a little cool, not as warm yet as the tropics. And it did a nice finishing touch to the tan I had been working on. To lay on the beach finally with no kids... no sand castles or piggy back swims... just relaxation. It was great. Her folks BBQ'd and then we crashed. I think we are still catching up.

Tue 4/12
Finally home in my own house. It's good to be home, but I miss the ship and my friends. The kids miss the ship too. At work, they kept talking about going back and what they missed. Yesterday I met up with Gemma, John (her boss), and the kids she watched and we went out for lunch. John is a really sweet guy who unfortunately is suffering from MS and is doing his best to lead a normal life. I got to know him pretty well on the cruise. Gemma and I had such a wonderful time that we decided that we have to do another cruise next year. So we spent the kid's nap time planning this out. In May 2006 we are going back to the Caribbean for either 6 or 7 nights. We are going to invite all of our friends and have them invite their friends and Duncan and Ryan will come and bring all their friends and we'll have a huge network of young people going. It will be so much fun. And in the meanwhile I am considering a small 4 night cruise maybe in November for my birthday. So keep May 2006 open and start saving your money so you can come with. Details to follow. (oh, and some place in there I drove across the treacherous Alligator Alley in the dark and moteled it in Miami for a night to catch my early morning flight home)

Saturday, April 9

Have you missed me?? I've been cruising around the Caribbean. A big post with lots of pics will be coming as soon as I get back to town. I decided to spend some time in Florida before coming home, so that's where I'm at. I missed you all too.