Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Brighid!

Happy Birthday! We all hope it's the best yet! We love you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trouble In Paradise. Please Pray.

I'm not sure how to begin this post, so I'll just jump right in. I have suspected that something wasn't quite right with Dad since they landed. He's had moments of spaciness...somewhat glassy eyed and behaved suspiciously at times. There have been bouts of sniffiness and an altered, almost nasally, voice. Since it's clear my siblings have ignored these puzzling symptoms, I decided to do some investigating myself.

And my findings are not pretty.

It's pot. And it's big. And I caught him in the act.

Here he is, doing pot. At my kitchen table. From my best soup pot. He says he's inhaling "Vicks Vapors". Something about severe allergies and a blocked nose. Sure, Dad. That's steam above your head. Yeah, I get it. He even tried to blame me for boiling the water too long and scalding his delicate skin. The nerve!
And to make matters worse, he has an enabler. See her in the background, taking pictures? Looks like she trying to document what must have been a pretty good batch.

Makes me sick.

So, please pray for him and his unseemly habit.

And while you're at it, please say a quick prayer for another upcoming biopsy. He received a call from his oncologist a couple of days ago with the results of his last PETscan. The glowing that was previously seen and biopsied in late June/July is still there, possibly a little bigger and perhaps a little more intense. As you know, the results of that biopsy were negative for cancer cells, so we expect the same again, but his docs want a deeper investigation to be sure. So, oncology appointment on 11/5 and surgical consult on 11/18. Please keep them both in your thoughts.

Even if they're potheads.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In Brief

We're here...we're here! A week ago today we picked Mom and Dad up from the airport in Buffalo, and we've had 7 solid days of run-and-relax since then. The kids have had activities each evening, and the weekend was filled with the errands that keep life running smoothly. So today has been the first opportunity to stay in sweat pants and post something (anything!) to the blog.

We are having a great time together. The 'rents look great and don't seem to mind what must be a giant leap from the quiet of their apartment into the chaos of my house. If meals around my kitchen table hasn't scrambled their brains yet, I don't think anything will! There is no shortage of noise and mischief around these parts and I think they, too, have come to appreciate BEDTIME!

The weather has been iffy all week, so we've not had a chance to take many pictures (and Mom doesn't want any pictures taken of her until she gets her hair cut tomorrow...and I don't want any pictures taken of me until I get liposuction, which leaves Steve and of them to follow shortly), but we did get a few of the kids carving their pumpkins yesterday.

Pumpkin carving is messy business, but as they get older they are able to do much of it on their own. Libby was determined to it ALL by herself, and Maggie was equally determined to have ME do it all by myself! And Jack was going for the speed record...carve, carve, scoop, scoop, light the candle. Done.

As you can see from this picture, the leaves are just gorgeous right now. The change of color is probably slightly passed peak, but the last of the maples look like they're on fire. Today is so sunny and crisp, and we will be sure to get out for some pictures again (and who knows...perhaps we'll have TWO posts in one week!).

Stay tuned!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh, the envy.... by Em

So, who wants to know more about our fantastic holiday in Mozambique?? Okay, okay, don't all shout at once.

In short it was FANTASTIC! I'll start from the beginning so I don't miss out anything. Uh oh, this could be a long one. Make yourself a cup of tea and settle in.

And we're off!
We arrived in Swazi full of unspent giggles, ready for a glorious two weeks. However, the giggles quickly disappeared when we found that NOT ONE of our bags made it to Swaziland. Oh joy. And there was a queue of people who were trying to locate their luggage from a week ago. A week! Bloody marvellous. Luckily I'm married to 'Mr Charming and Fantastic' (self proclaimed) and he managed to track down some poor baggage handler's number at Johannesburg International Airport who literally turned around his little baggage handler's cart and went searching for our bags. Two day's later and in the nick of time they arrived. Whew!

This was nearly the last we saw of our precious cargo. Oh, and let me introduce you to Suzie, the Isuzu. She was our holiday mascot. That's the minature car, 'nana. The blonde on the left is me, the one on the right is Lianne.

Mum and Dad were super generous and lent us the Isuzu (big Suzie - see the connection?) for our travels along with fishing rods, big plastic boxes to pack all the food in, beach blankets, first aid kits and even a frozen lamb stew! Honestly, that woman is magic. A magic piece of loveliness.

Okay, back to the trip: first stop, Tofu, which was about an 8 hour drive. We stayed on the beach front in a newly constructed A-frame reed cabana with a sea view and a generous verandah which was perfect for soaking up some sun without being battered by the sand. I've been to Tofu before and it's got quite a lot more commercial than I remember. The fish are quite pricey if you don't do some serious negotiating, but the fact is you're buying fish right out of the boat, so it doesn't get much fresher than that. And we ate like kings! Crayfish, prawns, fresh fish - delish. And, of course, we didn't have to clean any of them thanks to the wonderful services of our (first) houseboy, Marco. The days were uber-leisurely. We woke up late, poured our first G&T at lunch, swam, fished (albeit unsuccessfully) and emulated old French men by spending hours playing Boulle on the beach.

One of the lovely idiosyncracies of this place was the shower with a built-in radio so we could listen to Portuguese FM while we soaped up. Especially funny in a house made of reeds with barely any hot water!
The local beer, 2M, was a firm favourite. See Suzie on Chris' glass.

Next stop, Vilancoulos. The road was great fun - driving was just like playing a Nintendo game where you had to dart left and right across the screen just to survive and reach the next level. In this case, if you didn't do some serious dodging you'd be swallowed whole by the potholes on the 'road'. Once we finally got there we were absolutely blown away by our accommodation, which far surpassed our expectations. Lap. Of. Luxury. Huge 4 bedroom-4 bathroom house with a massive kitchen and sprawling verandah overlooking the turquois ocean. With a plunge pool. Ridiculous.

AND to add to the ridiculousness we had a dedicated houseboy, Bernado, who absolutely loved trying to do everything under the sun for us. He'd greet us upon our return from ANYWHERE (even popping out for lunch) with chilled facecloths on a tray adorned with flowers. Oh yes, you read that right. Flowers. And scented facecloths. He was brilliant - with a smile that shone from the inside out. In fact, he was helped out by another houseboy, Gildo. Yup, two people who wanted to make us happy. Oh, how I miss them.

Meet Bernado and Gildo. The kings of all houseboys. And look how sweetly they hold hands.

Off the coast of Vilancoulos are 4 islands, most of which are untouched. Paradise. We did a spot of island hopping where we braaied our prawns on the beach, snorkelled a bit and had long walks on the beach. Chris and Li managed to squeeze in a few dives too. Honestly, four days of heaven.

Last stop, Bilene. Only about a million miles from Vilancoulos, but moving in the general direction of Swaziland, so technically heading back home. Bilene is a small town/village on a lagoon about 3 hours from Maputo. The 'sea' is therefore pretty flat and the beach is white sand, so it's gorgeous but lacks the drama that comes with the ocean. We stayed in a Cape Cod style house right on the beach, but the weather turned here and one day was too windy to get onto the beach followed by another day that was overcast and yucky for most of it, only clearing up later. So here's where we played one boardgame after another culminating in an 'Olympics' which was made up of Bat and Ball, Boulle, Connect 4, Speed Scrabble, Hats (throw cards into a hat about 5 metres away), 30 Seconds and Pictionary. Only problem is that Chris and I were teamed up against Mark and Li-Li and Chris is training for the Cape Odyssey (a 5 day race where you run a full marathon each day), so he's super fit. He also thinks he can handle his alcohol. We lost the first 3 games and had to drink as forfeits. In short, Chris was a mess after 4 beers. Lightweight.
And with that it was back to Swaziland, a quick pop in with Mum and Dad and the flight back to Cape Town. I can't believe it's all over. Or that it was a month ago. Sorry about the late post.
Anyone want to come and visit us now?

Friday, October 17, 2008

3rd Race at The Honeymoon Is Over Downs

OMG...this is so funny! I've watched it at least 5 times and laughed til I cried each time! Not for the uptight...plenty-o-foul language.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wilson and Other Stuff by Bird

I’ve been meaning to blog for a long time now. However our lives have been consumed (more than usual) by work, specifically because of the elections. And the closer we get, the more desperate our customers get. Everything is backordered, creating a panic amongst the campaigners and vendors who have just 3 weeks left to get their point across on a button. Our sales to both sides are fast and furious. And I don’t need to look at an electoral map to see what the battleground states are. Between Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Florida we’re keeping plenty busy! When it comes to making money, we are bi-partisan. I will note however, the “Red State” people (McCain-ers for non-us) are a hell of a lot nastier to deal with than the Blue Staters. They are just plain mean and rude. Manners people!!
Sometimes I want to ask them what Baby Jesus would think if he could hear them now….
We’re so busy we finally came to our senses and hired a young man to work part time. He’s supposed to be learning how to ship product by now, but we’re running out of stock faster than we can count it, so he spends his days over a counting scale while I spend my days in the shipping room. To give you an idea of a typical delivery we get from the factory – here’s one we got this Friday. 58 boxes, 2500 pounds of steel - note the box inspector….

Speaking of Wilson. This weekend we took him on a field trip to Dallas Heritage Park, just south of downtown. It’s this beautiful 13 acre park in the middle of the hood that features “old timey” life with houses, banks, general stores, settlement that depict life from the 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Kind of like a super mini Colonial Williamsburg. We packed all the essentials (water, dog treats, portable water bowl, poop bags, extra leash) and made the great trek. Wilson couldn’t have had more fun. He saw his first chicken, first cow, first sheep and first donkeys. He was most impressed with the chickens and I had to fish more than one giant rooster feather out of the back of his throat, much to his disgust. The donkeys, they just scared the crap out of him. They were very curious about him, he much the same at first. Until they came nose to nose, then Wilson didn’t think it was so cute. One snort from the donkey that blew his ears back, covered his face with donkey snot and he was tail down, whining and trying to melt into my chest. I just can’t picture this dog hunting badgers….. A good time was had by all, despite the donkey assault.
Chickens! I smell Chickens! I see Chickens! What the hell is a Chicken?!?

How you doin?!

Seconds before the Donkey Snot Assault.

Once the elections are through we are off for a 3 day retreat from the real world. We’ve rented a house out in East Texas, in the middle of a pine forest right on Lake of the Pines. All we need to bring is food. 3 days with no phones, no computers and no cable TV. Just long walks with Wilson, fishing off the dock, reading, eating, sleeping and recovering. Here’s a pic of the cottage we’re staying at:

That ends my blog for now. Happy Halloween!

PS - 17 days til my birthday, 22 days til elections, 73 days til Christmas and 99 days til Bush is out of office - Hallelujah!!