Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's the little things.

On Valentine's Day my dad called to wish me a happy day. He sounded really down and talked about how much he was missing his mother. They were always very close and he's had a difficult time since she died 3 years ago. I listened to him reminisce for awhile. He talked about her and how she was such a great cook/baker; the same stories I've heard a million times. Her applesause cake was always one of his favorites.

I pulled out the recipe box and found the envelope I stashed there several years ago. My aunt had sent grandma's original recipe card; so yellowed and smooth with age, I could barely read the faded handwriting. Luckily, my aunt had included a post-it to clarify a few instructions.

This past weekend I made that cake from scratch, following my gma's recipe and even made her homemade caramel frosting to top it. I've never made a cake from scratch and A didn't help me; well she did chop the walnuts.

I haven't tasted that cake in over 15 years but the first bite was like a flashback; back to the days of sitting in her kitchen eating as she fussed over us and cleaned up. I was shocked and amazed at how profound the memory was. I served it to dad and told him I did my best but I'm sure it wouldn't be as good as gma's. He said it was damn close and gma would have been proud. That was the best complement I could have received.

I can't remember the last time I saw my dad smile that much.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Sucks!

I can't be more happy to say goodbye to this Monday. My car took a crap on me this morning. I went out to start it and it was not well. It did the exact same thing last winter and it was my ignition coil. Poor car was studdering along on 2 of its 4 cylinders. I have to say it is likely the same thing. I still have warranty on it for another 4000 miles so if it wants to die, do it now. I had to call work, then a tow truck and wait. The young man driving the tow truck was a friendly and interesting fellow. We had about a 30 minute drive and he told me tales of working as a repo man in Minneapolis; his physical altercations with some of the people he's repossessed from and how he's on a first name basis with many of the Minneapolis police. He probably weighs 120 pounds but he sure thinks he's a big man. I just smiled and listened. I finally dropped off my car at the mechanic, picked up a rental and then headed to work. I would rather have just went home!

Tonight I came home to A talking about the roof. We just had a new one put on this past spring and with the heavy snowfall we've developed some major ice-dams along the edges of the roof. On the west side of the house there is ice over a foot thick. We haven't had any leaking yet but the risk is high. A contacted a company and they are coming to remove the ice-dams on Wedensday at a substantial hourly rate. Damn, I think I'm going to change my profession. Too bad I have to work though, I would love to be out there watching. I guess they go up on the roof with high heat steam wands and basically cut the ice off the roof. Oh, the joys of home-ownership. Fuck this's time to head south!

I'm going to bed now and when I wake up it will be a new day, I'll have a new state of mind and less money in the bank.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jamaica Farewell

Lets call this adventures in dining. Saturday night we joined the entire wedding party for a final dinner together at the resort's Asian restaurant. Some people were leaving Sunday to return home. The bride and groom were leaving in the morning; off to Ocho Rios for their honeymoon.

At the asian buffet they were serving octopus and vegetable stir fry. Okay, it looked pretty disgusting laying there in the serving tray but not as disgusting as watching the groom's father slice up an 8 inch octopus and eat it tentacle by tentacle. He then proceeded to describe how the suction cups stuck to the tongue and roof of the mouth while you chewed. I was nearly gagging just sitting there.

A, not wanting to feel left out and fueled by alcohol, came back from the buffet with a small octopus of her own. It was nearly 2 inches long and one disgusting looking little guy.

I thought she was just going to put it in her mouth to try to freak me a bit, but no, she swallowed the damn thing. She said it did stick to your tongue but she didn't dare chew it; just swallowed it whole.

Our last night at the resort, A and I were out strolling around before dinner and ran into our friends F and JK in the lobby. JK had heard there was a casino downtown and he wanted to check it out and do a little gambling and F wanted to return to one of the shops to barter for one of those fake Coach bags. We aquired a taxi and the driver took us down to The Hip Strip again. Our driver was great and dropped us right at the door and we arranged a time to be picked up.

First stop, shopping for purses. JK is excellent at bartering and we picked up 2 for $75. That's one great deal when I would have paid that much for one fake here in MN. (I checked out the real one's at Macy's and these are pretty good fakes.) Then we spent a couple hours paying the slots. I didn't play since I really don't like to gamble. I want to have something to show for my money-like fake Coach bags and cute shoes. My job was look-out and bodyguard. I spent a long period of time having a stare-down with some Jamaican woman. She wasn't gambling; just sitting across the room watching us. It was very uncomfortable. JK and F were playing a few slots down and the waitress let them know she was available for hire for a threesome if they were interested. And just think, I claimed I didn't get to experience the culture.

At the designated time we walked out of the casino and our taxi pulled right up to take us back to the resort. We went to get a late dinner and hatch a naughty plan.

As you may remember, A gave the bride an 18inch, double-headed dildo for her bachloette back in December. The ladies named it Dirty Harry and it went bar hopping and dancing with us that night. The bride took it home and it rolled off the table and the dog chewed it up. The day we arrived in Jamaica, A and I went to our room to lay down for a nap before dinner. A couple hours later the groom showed up at our room to deliver a package. They had made beach bags for all their guests with t-shirts, flip-flops and snacks. In the bottom of our bag was Dirty Harry. It was still dirty and had a few bite marks from the dog, but there it was in all its pink silicone glory. So all week we were trying to figure out what we were going to do with it. We both swore we were not carrying that thing home in our suitcase. Last time we left Jamaica,  they opened and searched your checked bag right in front of you before they sent it to be loaded on the plane.

 At dinner we decided the best thing to do was leave Dirty Harry in Jamaica. A "borrowed" a spoon from the dinner table and we returned to our room. We took a Sharpie and decorated Dirty Harry.

"My name is Dirty Harry, Love Me Please!"
Please note the smiley on one head and the devil on the other.

We put Dirty Harry in my purse with the spoon and went for a moon-lit stroll on the beach. We spent some time walking in the surf and hanging around watching the tide come in.
We finally decided on a good spot and A pulled out the spoon and dug a little trench between two loungers while I documented our fuckery. We chose a spot right next to the area where they do aerobics every morning and in the high traffic area near the jerk chicken stand.  
We buried Dirty Harry in the sand but left about 5 inches of him sticking out. I insisted the devil face should be showing.
We were laughing hysterically at this point. It looks like a giant nightcrawler sticking out of the sand. The best part is that A and I would never even be a suspect. I know some kids will get the blame. ;)

The next morning we went down to the beach early to soak in a couple hours of sun and stake out a good spot to watch Dirty Harry. I can't believe it went unnoticed. When we got in the taxi at noon to head back to the airport it was still buried there on the beach undiscovered. Bon Voyage Dirty Harry. We hope you can find someone to give you all the love you deserve.
The End

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jamaica In Pictures Part 2: The Wedding and Boat Cruise

Originally, A and I were planning a trip to Costa Rica for this February, but when our friends announced they were getting married in Jamaica, we decided to post-pone that trip and head to the wedding instead. We were only guests so the only thing we had to do was show up. In fact, the morning of the wedding we were laying on the beach with the bride and groom and realized we didn't even know when and where the wedding was taking place.

They had a lovely and very intimate ceremony on the beach. Including the bride and groom, there were only twenty people in attendance. The bride walked down the beach to the ceremony with her mom to the music of a steel drum band.

A and I took one look at the location, looked at each other and said when the day comes we can be married this is how we both envision it. Looks like we already have our wedding planned. 

After the ceremony, we all enjoyed champange on the beach and danced to the steel drums. A tripped over a partially buried rock and thought she broke her toe. Of course there were a lot of photos to be taken.

A and I with the bride and her mother (F), who is one of our best friends.
We posed again with F under the arbor. We were laughing about the fact it looked like we were part of a harem.

We had a little time to kill before dinner so we left the beach and headed to the bar; cocktails and more pictures. A and I had a great deal of fun watching the bride's prissy aunt gasp when I reached over and took A's hand. Yes people, I only took her hand. Then it was off to dinner of steak and lobster. The food was great except the Jamaicans don't know how to cook a steak. I asked for mine well and they brought me a steak that was charred on the outside and still bleeding in the middle. No amount of alcohol could help me eat that! There wasn't a wedding dance, we just waited for the resort nightclub to open and then went dancing. In June they are planning a reception here at home for all the friends and family who couldn't attend. A and I get to do it all again.

Late night Friday then up early Saturday morning to go shopping. The bride had arranged for a taxi to take us. The driver gave us a tour of Montego Bay and taked a about their history and culture. He drove us through some of the market areas where the Jamaicans do their shopping. He dropped us off on the "The Hip Strip". There's a shopping mall near the resort but it's basically run by the resorts. Here there are lots of small shops to check out. They are all basically selling the same stuff but the prices are lower. We stocked up on the normal souvenirs and bought a lot of Blue Mountain coffee to bring home. I finally found a bottle of Ting soda. It is a grapefruit soda made in Jamaica; kind of like a Fresca but 100% better. I was so disappointed the resort didn't have any available. I was stand-by support for F as she bartered for a fake Coach purse. She walked away and they wouldn't go any lower. I offered to buy A this little gem for a souvenir from our trip, but for some reason she wan't interested. :)

The driver then took us to a craft market. Now that was the true experience! We got out of the taxi and were swarmed by Jamaican women all calling "come with me to my place". There are rickety shacks about the size of a large closet built up and down this hill with a maze of stone and concrete paths and stairs connecting it all. As you went into look at one place another lady would be waiting outside to take you to her place when you were finished. A loves to barter but I'm not very good at it. She's such a hard-ass and will walk away but I feel so guilty, like I'm ripping them off. I know they expect to barter and the first price is always high but I just prefer the more direct approach. I hate playing games. They cleaned us out on cash. :)

Back to the resort for lunch and beach time, then the whole group left again to go on an evening Booze Cruise/snorkel trip. We ended up getting on a catamaran with a group of drunk college kids from Georgia and Florida. I don't think they were legal drinking age for here in the US so their idea of drinking was to gulp as much as possible and then throw up. They just couldn't understand why the crew wouldn't let them have any alcohol until after the snorkeling. I had planned to face my fears of the ocean (I've seen Jaws too many times) but forgot to take my motion sickness medication and got seasick. I stayed onboard instead and took pictures of our group out in the water.

I could quote something very naughty that she said regarding this picture but I won't. ;)

Our good friends F and JK. Yes, he looks a lot like Elvis and actually performs as an Elvis impersonator.
The maid of honor had made this "Just Married" bikini for the bride. The groom didn't want to feel left out so he had a pair of bikini bottoms made that said "Me Too". I have to say it takes a very secure man to drop his drawers in public and strut around in women's bikini bottoms.
The cruise stopped at Margaritaville. Quite a few members of our group went down that slide.
A and most of our group took part in the $1 Margarita shots from the DJ.
Our group back on the boat happily buzzed.
The rum punch was very strong and since I was drinking on an empty stomach, I had a major buzz very fast! See I'm grinning like an idiot and look Chinese. That's the dead give away I'm drunk.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jamaica In Pictures Part 1: Our Resort and the Beach

You're going to get a lot of pictures in the next few posts. I took a ton but it's hard to pick just one or two to share.

A and I travelled to the Riu Resort in Montego Bay. It was a really nice place, all inclusive but very different than our last trip. Unless you left the resort you really didn't feel like you were out of the country, well except for the topless women on the beach. Don't get me wrong, we had a nice relaxing time but A and I like to go out and experience the culture. Our last trip we stayed in Ocho Rios and spent most of our days out in the town, eating at local restaurants and shopping in local stores. The Jamaicans were very friendly and helpful and we just made sure we were back inside the resort by dark. Montego Bay is much more urban and the resorts are built out away from everything. We were only there five days but I think many more than that and I would have been really bored. I'm not complaining though; it was warm and sunny and beautiful and we
had wonderful time together.

The view as we landed. I had been awake for 2 days with only a 2 hour nap.
A view of the beach and the resort. The day we arrived we met up with a Jamaician on the beach who went by the name of Tarzan. He offered to sell us weed and mushrooms. When we refused he offered us Jamaician husbands instead. A broke the news to him that we were not interested in "husbands".
The lobby. The best thing about check-in in Jamaica was they were pouring you drinks as they were getting the room keys ready. I was buzzed before I ever got to my room.
Another view of the pool area just after sunset.

We loved our room and the king sized bed that A nicknamed "The Playground". At night we sat out on our little balcony and watched the drunks stumble back to their rooms after the nightclub closed. I saw a couple good domestic disputes; mostly just drunk angry women yelling at their boyfriends/husbands. Every room had a bar area that is restocked everyday with beer, coke, water and alcohol. Dark rum, vodka, gin and whisky were supplied. Shots of Appleton rum certainly lowered inhibitions and increased the level of noise we made. ;) 

We spent much of our time lounging on the beach, drinking fruity frozen drinks and people watching. There were 2 swimming pools at the resort but why hang by the pool when you've got glorious beach. I figure I can sit by the pool here in Minnesota. Everyday at 10am there were aerobics on the beach. We never took part in that, hell no! The bar opened at 10am so we started cocktails/beers then lay in the sun crisping and waiting for the jerk chicken stand to open at noon. Everyday it tasted a little different; SO spicy but absolutely delicious. We sat on the beach in 90 degree temperatures with our noses running and then drinking frozen drinks and Red Stripe beer as fast as possible to kill the burn.

These tastey little cocktails they called "Miami Vice". It was a combination of strawberry daiquiri, pina colada, and blue curacao plus a healthy dose of both dark and light rum.

Everyday we watched "GroundsKeeper Willie" as he trimmed the shrubs with a machete and went about his other daily duties. Somedays he would bring a load of young coconuts and use that same machete to cut them open for anyone interested.

That fresh coconut milk was the one thing A had been dreaming about for months.
After we finished the milk the machete came out again to slice the coconuts in half to get to the soft meat inside. I never imagined that Cuban cigars,coconut and beer could be a good combination but A made it work for her.
The mother of the groom and I showing some leg on the beach.
A looks like she's up to no good. I have to admit she had just been very bad but you will have to wait until a later post for the details.
I love these giant palms. I wish I could get them to grow in our garden.

Every evening after dinner we went to watch a show or would go walking on the beach. The best part of this vacation was the fact that A and I have overcome so many of our inhibitions about being affectionate in public. We were always holding hands or hugging and there were even a few kisses involved. Hey, that's big steps for us. :) 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Perfect Valentine's Day Gift

Last Sunday A and I woke up groggy from my Christmas party Saturday night. We lay there in bed for awhile and A asked if there was something I wanted/wanted to do for Valentine's day. I told her all I wanted was a peaceful weekend at home; no appointments or schedules. That was my ideal Valentine's Day gift and that is what I got. 

Saturday and Sunday I slept in until the dogs woke me around 8:30am then lazed around the house in my PJs until I felt like getting in the shower. This morning A made us homemade blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup and we chased breakfast with Turkish coffee. We did venture out to do some shopping, go to the gym and to take a few photos of the freezing fog we've had the last few mornings. Everything is covered with it and when the wind blows it falls and you feel like you are standing in the middle of a snowglobe.

We got the dogs out for a run too. They have had such cabin fever; its been just too cold for them to spend much time outside. A took the old man down the street for a walk but he seemed a little confused by the landscape.
Orville in his play-stance inviting someone to play.
Tim joins Orv for a lap through the maze in the yard.
So it's back to work tomorrow and although it has been really busy I'm happy to report the bleach-blonde prissy bitch gave her notice and has been gone for over a week already. That makes work incredibly more tolerable; I would actually call it peaceful and pleasant. Now I must add a disclaimer and say I have nothing against blondes, bleached or otherwise but this one would argue she was "natural" when her roots were flashing at you.  It was getting pretty hard for me to restrain myself and stay professional. She was just one of the most truly unpleasant people I have ever known and just not a good person. I could not find one redeeming quality. The final straw was when she asked me if I knew someone she could call to "get rid" of her dog because she was tired of it. I have to admit, I had an almost uncontrollable desire to revert to my redneck, hillbilly roots. I could feel it bubbling just beneath the surface but somehow I held it back, never acknowleged her question and walked away. When she walked out the door for the last time, we looked at each other and sighed with relief. I would rather work harder than deal with someone like that. Here's to a peaceful and pleasant Monday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Holy Shit, It's Been A week Already!!

Yes, A and I have been home for a week already. We landed in Minneapolis Monday night, after circling for nearly an hour in a snowstorm, and neither one of us has stopped for a minute since that plane hit the ground. It was a long drive home from the airport because of the snowy, icy roads but what a wonderful reception we received at home from our crew of misfits. The dogs did great with the petsitter and she immediately offered to petsit again in the future if we needed. What a relief!

My life this past week has been nothing but excess; too much food, alcohol, work and sex (is there such a thing). The one thing I have been severely lacking is sleep. I went to bed at 1:30am Tuesday and was back up and at work at 7:45am. I spent most of the day in a total haze. The rest of the week was a crazy work schedule, CPR refresher and then we had our office Christmas party Saturday night. I know, it's Feburary, but it was the first chance we could fit it into everyone's schedules. We partied, drank and danced until I could barely stand up. We then had to be up early this morning to do a home visit for rescue.

We had an amazing time in Jamaica and I will be posting photos and details as soon as I can wrap my mind around all the happenings this past week. I will admit, I took nearly a thousand pictures in Jamaica. I deleted some on the flight home but uploaded over 850 that I still need to go through. A large number of those pictures were of our friend's wedding. Last night at my office party another 250 were taken. Let's just say I'm overwhelmed right now and after sitting in front of a computer screen too long, it feels like my eyes are crossing. Until next post....