Friday, August 30, 2013

Ah! So Relaxing!

This evening mom and I headed out in the hot, hot heat.  The sun beating down, the grass turning brown.  It was oppressive and we were both dragging, trying to drink copious amounts of water.

I was treating mom to a mani/pedi so we stopped at Pink Nails.  The sun was still beating through the windows and were happily looking at magazines.  Halfway through the pedicure, we look up, it's pitch black and -blam - it starts pouring rain.  No big deal - wait - the lights are flickering .... NOOO - they go out!

We're now sitting in the dark experiencing a pitch black manicure...

It's interesting....:)

Oh - and Rach - this is for you.... My Lovely Thai on a Friday night...:)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I actually had a pretty cool birthday weekend!  I have friends and family who normally do stuff for me, but this year, everyone really went all out!  Literally ....

The Sunday evening before my bday, another friend and I co-celebrated our birthdays with YoYoMa at Ravinia with 3 other friends.

And then the night before my birthday, Friday night, I was working downtown so Kim was swell and took me for the amazing Friday night special at Wildfire (ahhh salmon stuffed with mushrooms in this amazing sauce that you want to roll around in...) and then we departed from friends there to go down to the rooftop bar, Dec, and meet another friend.

And then Saturday I got texts and phone calls all day wishing me a happy birthday.  I'm ashamed that I'm horrible at remembering other people's bdays...:(. I'm trying but half the time I don't even remember how old I am on my bday so its natural, and not personal, that I wouldn't remember other people.... Right?

In the evening my super amazing cousin Debbie had the family over to celebrate me and my other cousin Sandy who's birthday is also in August.

And then of course my darling Calvin:) helped me celebrate with a good hour walk around the dp...

A great way to be reminded that you're getting old - but seriously, I can't think of a better way of spending a birthday!

Thanks to all involved in the makings of such great celebrations!

Don't Let It Go To Your Head

Yes Alison!  You're number ONE!

At least that's what I was told yesterday:)

Monday - early flight to beautiful, busy Des Moines, IA where the people are friendly and the grass is browner than Illinois.

My LOL for the day was getting into the airport and needing something to eat before my rep picked me up.  I stopped at this little airport coffee stand and ordered a coffee and then looked at this big basket of assorted muffins.  You could tell they were all different but no where did it say what kind they were or anything.  So I asked the cashier "what kind of muffins are these?" To which she looked at me like I am so backwards by even thinking about asking, and she flatly replied "Muffins".  I don't know if they're equal opportunity muffin people there and they wouldn't think to hurt a muffins feeling by choosing blueberry over banana nut?  Or maybe she sincerely thought "muffin" was a flavor?!  Those crazy Iowans.....

And then my rep picks me up and we head to the hospital and we go to sign in but my Reptrax (ach) account won't let me sign in so the guy at the desk says that he can give me a special vendor sign in badge and proceeds to pull out a big tag with a number 1 on it and begins to make jokes about my badge being number one and me being number one and all (which I knew I was before a guy from Iowa told me that:)).

We finish our appointment and my rep brings me back to the airport where I just miss the earlier flight by like 5 minutes.  I feel pretty low, but not to worry!  I stop for something to eat and am given  a number and told to wait.  And you'll never guess what the tag says that I'm given....

I'm number One!  

Yes - I felt like the universe was reminding me that I am indeed number One!

And then I missed my flight....

No, I'm joking, I didn't miss my flight, and I know I'm not number One.. But some days, you just need to feel like you are!  And some days it takes a village in Iowa to remind you of that!:)

Friday, August 9, 2013

It Has Come To My Attention...

It has just recently come to my attention that so many lives depend on my blog, but I don't even know it.  So many people are anxiously awaiting my next post to fulfill their lives and make their days complete, but I never see their anticipation and disappointment and so I don't post.  -- This ones for you Rach.... (Ok - she's pregnant so I count two people who are desperately awaiting my next post....)

Soul Sail 2013 is over - stifling sobs
It will be at least another two years before I'm back on the cat in the Caribbean - tears roll down cheeks
I must now lift my shoulders, wipe my eyes and move on with non-fun vacation travel - deep breath in and head up

We had a few more little adventure along the way from Thursday - including a few more jellyfish stings , some fire coral abrasions and a few sunburns and extremely grotesque peeling skin.  Its fun to see who burns, who molts and who puts on so much sunscreen that you can't even tell they've been in the Caribbean (did you realize there is a 150 SPF?!!!!!! - why even come to the islands???? :))  It was definitely a different adventure this year as I've gotten to know so many new people before, and this time I basically new everyone.

I found myself a little more willing to kick back this time and stay on the boat and read rather than snorkel every chance I got.  I did have the paddle boards too so I LOVED doing that as opposed to snorkeling.  I think I felt like it was a little more relaxing than last time as I didn't push myself to always be active and doing something.  I made it through two books, got some sleep, got tons of sun and had some time to reflect and think about life - blah blah blah ;)  I did though come back with a stronger desire to do something different.  I don't know where or when, but I'd love a change at some point.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I'd love for my job to still be involved in that change, but at some point, a change I desire :)  We'll see - it might end up being 20 years from now, but at least it would happen, right?

Ok - best verbal memory....
On Sunday night we anchored at Cooper Island which is this really small island with only a little resort on it and a restaurant.  We had been told we could eat out one night if we wanted to Cooper Island was it - but we had to go ashore and make a reservation because it was so small.  So, 5 of us loaded up on the dinghy and buzzed to shore and then walked around a tiny bit (because theres only a tiny bit to walk around on).  There resturant and bar are RIGHT on the beach - gorgeous - and we had to walk through there to get to the little shop.  Jane (friend and captain :)) saw the people who own the charter company at the bar with a guy and so she stopped and was talking to them while we walked on.  I was a short distance away and she called me back to meet the guy who was with them since he was from Gurnee.  While we're chatting, there are these three sun-soaked, scruffy men a short distance away looking and talking to each other and then they finally start walking towards where we're talking to the charter people.  The wife from the chart couple sees them coming and says "I think they want to talk to us" so Jane and I turn away and the rest of our group follows us as we walk back down to the dinghy.  Turns out, the sun soaked scruffies end up following us all down to the dinghy, but we don't notice until we get there and one of the men grabs the dinghy rope and starts helping us in while saying -- ready - this is the best....
With a very Frenchie accent "Ladies - Oui ahre not mae-rried......."
I love that!   I laughed so hard..... But here's the best part....
These three sun soaked Frenchies are standing there imploring us to believe them and theres one guy who comes walking down the dock towards his dinghy and he says
With a very American accent "Don't believe them - they're French....."

Isn't that the best ever!  I will always remember that accent and the way he said "Ladies - we are not married"..... like first of all, that was their high selling point and, second of all, like we would believe them....

But - for those of you who are looking for a new pick up line and want to try something new.... I'd love to hear that in an American accent.  Just go walking up to some ladies and say "hey ladies - I'm not married"..... I wonder if that line works in France or if the French think that because they're French that line will work on Americans.  I'm very intrigued now and would love some research done if anyone cares to help me.....

Lets see - other good memories....

Oh - my friend and bunkmate Cathy and I had just crawled into bed and a minute later Cathy started falling asleep and started laughing, but I didn't know she was asleep so I woke her up when I asked "what are you laughing at?"  and then she started laughing and said she was actually laughing in her sleep which made me start laughing and then she started laughing harder and then I started laughing so hard that I started doing that snort thing.....  Well - I guess maybe you had to be there- but you have to believe me that it really was funny.   Well - I guess maybe we were really hot and tired so maybe it really wasn't that funny but you have to believe me that at that time it was funny because I only snort when something is really funny -- or stupid -- or I'm just tired.  Ok - I take it all back - I think we were just really tired....

Oh - Jane made us fresh conch fritter one night!  Conch fritters are my weakness and I've actually never had homemade ones so it was a really cool treat to see her have to bust it open and pull out the conch and cut it up.  Did you know a conch's eyes when you take him out of his shell, look like they're crossed.  Conch's kind of look retarded when they're out of their shell - but in the beautiful.... and once they're out and cooked - they're delicious.  Retarded, but soooo delicious!  Thats the best food! :)

Probably the best day was when we went to Anagada.  I've not been there before, but I'd 100% go back!  Except for the sick cows and donkeys running around the island (they don't belong to anyone but theres just not enough grass or anything so they all are sad looking with their little rubs and butt bones sticking out - I wanted to start a fund to feed them all - so sad).  Anagada is famous for their Caribbean lobster which they grill.  I would have loved to try them just to try them, but apparently they're not that great so no one else wanted to.  They don't have claws so you just eat the body.  Where we got in, there was a trap at the water and a long line of grills lined up - poor things were just sitting there waiting for dinner - not their dinner... :(  We got in and then we had to dinghy to shore and then take a taxi to the other side of the island (the island is only 8 miles long) and to this little beach resort bar thing.  It was absolutely beautiful at the beach there!  Most of us just walked way down, some snorkeled.  And then we had drinky-poos :)!  So wonderful!  They have this thing going on at the bar where people find driftwood and then burn messages into the wood and it gets put up on the bar.  We did one of them for SoulSail.  It took me forever to get the burn started and I ended up just writing SoulSail 2013 and then added our secret message in burn marks :) "Argh".  It was so sad to go back.  But we did get to go over to this other little restaurant and we bought a key lime pie.  It was a little different with this marmalade top thing - but it was desert!!!

We also went to Bitter End which was another little resort area that I'd never been to before.  We did a hike on the island and then we took a swim in the resort pool as Jane is friends with the resort manager. It was a beautiful little resort - expensive little resort, but beautiful.  Beautiful views too.

And the last place of note is my fave - The Baths -- been there quite a bit and still love it.  This is actually one place I love to snorkel because the water is so clear and there is so much going on under the water.  Love it - its so beautiful there.  We had to get there early because it usually gets crowded - we were there by like 7 and we were the very first ones there.  When we started walking through, there was no one else there.  We went all the way down to the end of the trail and then there was this huge rock that Jane got us all to jump off of.  I don't even know how high it was - but it was definitely high enough to make everyone take long pauses at the top before pushing off and going straight down - but we all did it!

The day we got back and Cathy, Brittany and I went to take the ferry back to St Thomas, we had the fortune to be able to be downtown Tortola on their Emancipation Day so there was a big parade -- well, there was supposed to be one.  But, you'll find in the Caribbean that they go by Island time, which means, its whatever the heck time they feel like starting.  So, in fact, we were in town and the parade was supposed to start at like 10, but we were waiting and we went to this restaurant and there was this chalkboard up and they had bets going as to when the parade would start.  Someone said that the winner got $150 last year....

And then we headed back on the ferry to St Thomas and back to the Marriott Resort and a tasty dinner and an air conditioned room and a comfy bed.  Its great to go sailing, and its great to come back to land too -- but I still wish I was on the boat.... :(

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Phew! Thursdays Over!

It started off such a great morning!  Sunrise, a great breeze so a wonderful sleep last night. Catching rainbows over the back stern!

We sailed over to the wreck of the Rogue (argh!) and snorkeled around it.  It was a mail carrier from 1867 that crashed off Salt Island but its shallow enough you can snorkel it and see the whole engine and all this other wreckage.  We did see some jellyfish though so decided to make a quick snorkel.  

Then we jumped in the dinghy and headed over to the beach of Salt Island to walk around.  We collected salt for a while (Janes daughter is getting married and wanted to hand salt out at the wedding).  I also has filled then in on how we mud bathed in the Dead Sea so we all ended up slathered in mud.  

While we gathered, Gaye and Lauren went over to do some snorkeling.  No sooner had they gone in then Gaye saw loads of jellyfish and told Lauren to get out.  However, Gaye ended up with jellyfish stings all over her body.  And as this happened we all walked over to get the mud off and within a few minutes Kate ended up with jellyfish stings all over.

So our plans changed as we sailed back to Virgin Gourda yacht club to buy vinegar which we doused Gaye and Kate with.

We then decided to sail over to Bitter End to do some land activities as the jellyfish have been creating havoc.  We went to go hiking on a trail and Cathy took a spill backwards, scuffing herself up badly.

We're now back on the boat enjoying hamburgers....

Exhausting day!

Somebody Has To Do It!

Soul Sail 2013 was going to happen and they needed sailors so somebody had to do it!  Somebody had to come aboard and help sail the boat and lounge around on hammocks and snorkel and paddle board - that's why I joined!:)

Tuesday morning we motored out and then threw up the sails and a mere 3 hours later we were anchored outside of Sandy Spit island, putting on snorkels and jumping into the water.  

A great day - no rain except about 2 minutes in the morning and then 3 minutes at night once we were in bed.  We anchored out by Sandy Spit and only 3 other boats kept us company (including our neighbors who went naked as soon as 7pm hit - all big, hairy 5 of them!  And that's including the woman..