Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Travelin' Jones

Eric and I have been doing lots of traveling lately. After our Maui trip (more on that in a bit) we headed out to Miami for five days. Eric had a conference to go to and I tagged along. Miami was very bright. Quite a gaudy city, actually. I heard a quote that I think is very appropriate: "Miami is where Neon goes to die". This seems to be most true in the Art Deco district in South Beach. We spent three of our four nights there exploring South Beach. We didn't join the kids at the multitude of crazy clubs, but we did spend our evenings strolling up and down Lincoln Road, which is a wonderful promenade with lots of shops, fabulous restaurants and even more fabulous people watching. Pooches were everywhere and welcome in the outdoor dining areas. Made us miss Rosie :-) After one night out, I decided that I don't fit too well into the Miami lifestyle for three reasons: 1. I haven't had plastic surgery (although I do have silicone implants in my eyes!), 2. I don't wear heels every day, and 3. my clothes cover more than just my tits and ass. I spent an afternoon at Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne. It was a beautiful beach with awesome swimming. I kept my eyes out for sharks - yikes! Downtown Miami is basically one big skyscraper with more and more additions being built on every month. The city just approved another 93 storey building with two more impending approvals. It's really unbelievable. Not a place I'd move to any time soon, but apparently there are many people who think otherwise!

On to my Maui review:

The places we stayed were awesome. We ate breakfast and lunch in using the full kitchens in the places we rented. We were shocked at the prices for food at the grocery store - $7.99/half gallon for Organic milk, same for OJ. Amazing! We spent every morning exploring some part of the island and spent the afternoons on the beach. The most incredible part of our trip was when we went kayaking with humpback whales! We joined a small tour group and spent an entire morning cruising around the waters off of the southern side of Maui in kayaks. Eric and I shared a kayak and actually did very well. We no longer call them "divorce boats" :-) The whales swam right near our boats. I knew they were huge, but until you're next to one, you don't realize how big they actually are. We didn't bring our camera on the kayaks, but there are some shots on Flickr taken by folks who've done similar trips click here to see.

I'll upload a few pictures from the rest of our trip:

We drove 1.5 hours to the top of Mt. Haleakala at 4:00am to watch the sunrise. It was awesome and well worth the early morning.

This is the NeNe bird. There are only 250 left in Hawaii. We saw three of them!

The Iao Needle in the middle of West Maui.

Some beach near Ka'anapali in West Maui.

The blowhole created by a hole in the roof of a sea cave. The waves splash in and poof up through the hole.

A field of cairns in West Maui.

A pretty bay, also in West Maui.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Aloha! We're off to Hawaii!!

Eric and I are leaving on Thursday (Valentine's Day!) for Maui! I'm super excited because 1. I've never been, 2. we're using frequent flyer miles so our tickets were only $10, and 3. I don't believe that turquoise water really exists, so I'm ready to be proven wrong. We chose Maui because we're going in the winter and that island is supposed to have the driest, warmest winter weather. Then, we chose to stay in Kihei for the same reason. We rented a little cottage on It looks perfect for us - check it out. The owner has been really great to deal with and he cut me a deal, eliminating the cleaning fee in exchange for my proofreading services (I pointed out that no cleaning fee was listed on the site). That saved us $100! Then, we're heading to the northern part of the island to stay one night at Mama's Fish House and Inn, a famous place in a funky little town called Pa'ia. We'll post next week with pictures!

Our friends, Donna and Jon will stay and share Rosie duty with our duplexmates, Lara and William. Thanks guys!

I hope we see sunsets like this!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on Maria Ignacio Ranch

It's been raining here a lot. We had a nice break from it all week, but it started again last night. I love it! Last weekend was quite an adventure. Saturday night, we got a billion inches of rain and the mud took over. Check out these shots.

A very wet Rosie.

A mini rock slide.

This is the creek we cross every day to get in and out of the ranch. As you might guess, we did not leave the ranch that day. That mud is not supposed to be there.

What We're Reading

I've always loved going to the library. When I was little, we used to go every week. After carrying my tall stack of books home, I'd look through them, wanting to read them all at the same time. I'd excitedly choose one, and spend the rest of the day reading. I was a true book nerd. I think I still am. What makes me think this? The other day, I said out loud at work, "I have so many books I want to read right now. I wish I could read six at a time." It's a good thing I'm very comfortable with my nerdiness. As an adult, I still go to the library. Eric and I are probably two of their most frequent patrons. We use it for discovering new music, watching movies we'd never pay to rent and BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS. I know of someone who doesn't borrow books from the library because of all the germs that they carry. What do I have to say to that? Stop licking your books and wash you hands when you're done (if you're really that concerned).

Here's our current reading list:

Eric: Currently reading "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. He's only read a few pages so far, but he likes it and it kind of reminds him of Harry Potter. It's about a young boy who's sort of an outcast but the difference is that he doesn't care and he enjoys being different because he's very confident in what he wants and what he knows he's good at. It's very long and he has quite a ways to go, so perhaps we'll update his review of the book when he's read more of it. He's reading it because it's supposed to be a classic and someone at work suggested it.

Hannah: Currently reading "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. It's a delightful book told in first person by a 17 year old girl who decides to write down her life in a journal. The heroine, Cassandra lives in a ruined castle with her gloomy older sister, depressed father, beautiful and kind stepmother, and sweet younger brother. Also living with the family is Stephen, a young man whose parents died. They are very poor, but find ways to live a happy life anyway. They meet the neighbors who have just moved in. Simon and Neil are two young men who have just inherited the property on which the castle sits. They live in a large house a ways down the road. The story reminds me of Pride and Prejudice. It's been a lovely read so far. I stayed up till 3:30am this morning reading it. It's the perfect book for me - no violence, no death (so far anyway) and no sneaking around. I found out about it on NPR in a piece with librarian Nancy Pearl about books that are under the radar, but way too good to miss. Here's a link to that list:

Rosie: Just finished "Marley and Me" by John Grogan. She can't believe how misbehaved that dog was. She got a little teary eyed at the end when he died (and was reminded of her own mortality, but she didn't dwell on that for too long). She's glad she's not a lab. She didn't care for Grogan's writing style, but enjoyed the story anyway.