Saturday, June 27, 2009
I almost have enough for a $5 Amazon gift card after just a few weeks of using this for my searches and utilizing the occasional twitter or blog code. I'm all about expanding my spending horizon, especially when it looks like we might face pay cuts thanks to the California budget mess.
So, if you want to do the same thing, join up using the box above and I'll get a few more "swag bucks" for you trying it out. ;)
Friday, June 26, 2009
Until it became easier not to spend 45 minutes in front of the computer checking my feeds in the morning before work. Until it became an issue when Aaron and I would both need the computer at the same time. Until... many other factors which interrupted and made writing these posts more of an item on my "to-do" list than something I looked forward to doing.
So, for that reason, I think I'm officially calling it quits. At least for even attempting to give off the impression that I will write something for each day. There are a few precious people I still very much want to write about, so I will still be writing posts along these lines when I can, just not every day. ;)
Anyway, here are some Hawaii pictures for anyone who wants to see.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Saturday was an interesting vacation day. Almost as soon as we got to a beach, Aaron cut his hand on some broken glass. Thankfully, we were also on the same property as the Ritz Carlton and their security guard was fantastically helpful with his little first aid kit and getting it cleaned up for him.
I fought my way through the choppy bay to do some snorkeling, and when I got back in Aaron had just discovered that a friend of his from Cal Poly had passed away. He was worried about how Joe was taking it, and a few other friends since word was just starting to get out. So that cast a bit of a gray hue on the day. My heart goes out to Andrew's friends and family.
We had a reservation for a luau that night, and I'm kind of glad we did. I think it helped us get out of the sadness, which I think we needed.
Sunday morning we went and checked out Hope Chapel in Kihei. I can only describe it as being a cross between Flipside and what I imagine Water of Life to be like. Artsy and casual, yet contemporary and traditional at the same time.
After church, we went down to Makena Landing hoping to find a calm place to snorkel and to see some turtles. No such luck.
So we opted for a scenic drive down along the coast, stopped at Big Beach to watch the crazy body boarders and enjoy a picnic on the soft sand. Eventually Aaron convinced me to be brave and we played chicken with the big waves breaking way too close to shore, and I held my first ever sand crab. Yes, I made it 28.5 years without actually letting one dig down in sand in my hands. And I still let out a little yelp and dropped him when he got too close.
We proceeded to Polo beach, again with snorkeling gear in tow, only to discover more monstrous waves. This time we ventured farther out, but got our fill after being sucked under once or twice (once).
Headed back to Lahaina and got cleaned up to eat the messiest greasiest cheeseburger ever at Cheeseburger in Paradise. It was decidedly awesome. Especially the part about sitting out overlooking the waves breaking as the tide moved in and the onion rings.
Yesterday was the road to Hana. I have never seen so much beauty in my life. Aaron swam under a waterfall (at Upper Waikipu Falls).
Unfortunately, we're now boarding our flight home, so the rest of the recap will follow tomorrow or Thursday.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Hello, neglected blog.
We're in Maui, it's 9am and we're starting to get ready to go find ourselves a beach and do some snorkeling.
Yesterday was our first day. We headed out of Lahaina around 8:30am, and found ourselves stuck in traffic. Eventually, everything came to a dead stop. When we were 4 cars away from the apparent cause of the traffic, some accident involving a rockslide, I think. I'm pretty sure we sat there for a good 30 minutes. But we had a great view and didn't get too upset.
We went to Charley's for breakfast, apparently a favorite of Willie Nelson's (who was on our flight!), and according to guidebooks the best breakfast on the island. It was pretty great.
Then we stopped in at a little gift shop and Aaron got a new conch for teaching Lord of the Flies. We made our way up to check out a couple of the beaches close to Paia, and then headed to Costco for some food supply and made our way over to Safeway for a few more small grocery items. I am so glad we have a kitchen.
We walked around Lahaina and got the best shave ice evar (sic), and then we ate it and watched the tide come in as hundreds of little crabs dodged in and out of their burrows. After we picked up our snorkeling gear for the week, we came back to our room.
For dinner we opted for The Royal Ocean Terrace and got $12 off thanks to our entertainment book. The food was pretty good, too. Nothing spectacular, but good especially for the price. We were able to sit outside and watch the sunset, too.
Today I think we'll head up to Black Rock and some other snorkeling spots up that way. We're going to a Luau tonight, and then I think I'll convince Aaron to get shave ice with me again. :)
The pics are of a beach by Paia, Aaron with his empty shave ice cup and Cheeseburger in Paradise in the background, and our drinks and the view from dinner.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I can tell you that approximately 20,000 students attend Cal Poly Pomona (CPP). If I were being extremely generous, I would say there are 250 in the Theatre program at Cal Poly, either majoring or minoring.
Last year, Aaron and I, both CPP graduates with minors in theatre, planned a trip to NYC with Joe and Nathan, also CPP graduates who majored in theatre. We chose the week of July 27th to August 3rd for our visit.
Sometime in May or June we went to see Nathan complete his senior project at the studio theatre at Cal Poly. While we were there, we saw Carlos and Samantha (also CPP theatre grads). We were making small talk, plans for the summer, etc... and found out they were going to NYC, as well. We asked them what dates. Oddly enough, their trip was planned for July 26th to August 2nd.
Ahem. Weird enough? Now there will be 6 people from the same miniscule department in the same big city at pretty much the same time.
Fast forward. We arrive in NYC as planned, meet up with Carlos and Samantha, as planned, and find out from Carlos that Wahima was getting in the next day. She was actually moving to NYC and had been in Belize for a few weeks spending time with family. What day did she arrive? Oh, yes, July 28th. Are you kidding me?
It gets better.
As we're standing there talking about how crazy it was that Wahima was going to be making her NY debut while we were all there, Joe casually mentioned that he thought Dave and Sio might be there, as well. He wasn't 100% sure, there was a chance they may have been on a plane home when we got there. Yes, Dave is a CPP grad. Sio, his girlfriend, was the only non-CPP person in this story.
Aaron called Dave and left him a message.
The next morning, we get up early to go get Conan tix and we decide to sightsee around Rockefeller center since we're already there. We made our way around and found ourselves in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Well, the guys found themselves inside, I was still outside snapping a bazillion pictures. Aaron came back to get me and was pretty insistent that I come inside.
Apparently, while Joe, Nathan, and Aaron were walking into the cathedral, Nathan turned around to see Dave standing there.
Have you ever been to this cathedral? I mean, it's HUGE. I am fairly certain that the likelihood of 2 people who know each other being in the entryway at almost the exact same time is pretty slim. Not to mention the fact that there are so many other people who we could have run into, but for it to be Dave? Someone we all knew?
Let me insert here that there was also a large group of people who Aaron and I know from Flipside who were in NYC at the same time. We did not once see or cross paths with them.
Everyone except for Wa met up at a dive bar that night (Monday) to hang out and celebrate the oddity. I think Wa might have come if she felt she could have navigated the public transit well enough. She was pretty far out in the Bronx at the time, so no one really wanted her to risk life and limb to come have a beer. I did get to spend some time with her later in the week, which was great because A., I love her, and B., I needed some time away from those nerd-boys (whom I also love, but who were really geeking out together quite a bit over things I know little or nothing about, ie comic books and video games).
It was a great week. I really do think it was pretty magical how everything worked out. It definitely made it a memorable vacation. That and I absolutely fell head over heels in love with that city and was really wishing I could move out there even if only for a year.
So, that's my "coincidence" story for the day.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I might be crazy, but sometimes I swear the universe points me in the right direction through song.
For instance, when Aaron and I first started dating, we would talk a lot about the Beatles. Not so much because either of us loved them so much, but we would introduce one another to different songs that we did really enjoy. It got to the point where every time we would part for the day, the Beatles would be on the radio in the car. Sometimes, 3 songs in a row - on different stations.
So tonight Aaron was being silly and started humming a little piece of The Safety Dance before we could figure out where to go for dinner. We had no idea where to go, nothing sounded good, but we knew it was getting late and we didn't want to cook. I had to make a quick stop to pick up some coupons from a friend, and we ended up going to this hole in the wall called Corky's that I had never been to.
What song do you think would be playing in the little ma & pop open 24 hours diner with a cartoon looking grandma in the logo? What's that you say, The Safety Dance?
It made us laugh. It pretty much started right as we walked in the door, to eat dinner, at 9pm. What are the chances? Of all the songs that Aaron could pull from the air to hum and make up silly words to while we were being wishy washy about dinner, of all the songs that could play in a restaurant, of all the places we could have gone instead.
Apparently we WERE in the right place at the right time.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I started out fresh out of high school on a mission to go to a Christian college, because my family wasn't particularly religious and I had become a born-again Christian between junior high and high school. I wanted to learn more about the Bible and to learn about science and history and literature through the perspective of a Christian education.
So, off I went, accidentally, to probably the most, or one of the most, conservative Christian colleges I have ever heard of. I had a Cal Grant (read: free money for school), and my parents were footing a good chunk of the bill. But, with the hefty pricetag that The Master's College carried, I was unable to live on campus or even afford an apartment. I lived in a travel trailer on a ranch. Twice a day I had to feed 5 horses and muck stalls. Plus I had to pay my utilities and for gas and car insurance, so I also got a job at Arby's.
Between the living conditions on the ranch and the bubble-like atmosphere of the school, I just couldn't hang.
I came home and decided to go to community college for a while so I could figure out what to do next. Meanwhile, I lost my grant because of inconsistent enrollment in school.
I sort of tried to get a paralegal certificate for a while, because law always interested me, and I just wanted something that paid well and let me have weekends off... but not really.
So I got a pretty decent job at Dave and Buster's, found it more interesting to party on the weekends for a while, then came back to the Lord and got an office job. Then I realized that I really did want to do that whole "school" thing.
I strongly considered moving up to Orland to be with my birth mother and family and go to Chico State. But that was just too far of a move for me. I gave some thought to moving out to LB and going to Cal State Long Beach and living with my cousin out there.
Finally I just dug my heels in and finished up my GE's at Riverside Community College. When it was time to transfer, I was living with a couple friends in Ontario. One of them went to Cal Poly, a school I had never considered for a second. She invited me to see Much Ado About Nothing, which ended up serving a couple of purposes.
Number one, I had no idea that the theatre department was any good at all at Cal Poly. I was pleasantly surprised.
Number two, I saw, for the first time in my life, the young man playing Claudio, whose first name is Aaron and whose last name happens to be the same as mine now.
He graduated the same quarter I began at CPP, and oddly enough about 8 months later we ended up dating at the behest of a couple of friends. Primarily Elizabeth, who is not the grim reaper of matchmaking, after all.
And a few of my favorite people in the whole world I know because of my time at CPP. Ashley, Becca (by proxy), Eliz, Justin, Wa, ACT, Sally, Dave (and now Sio), Joe, Nate, Liz L, Allison... all people I would have been missing out on were it not for my foot shuffling in regards to my education. :)
Maybe that's not all so much coincidence as "everything happens for a reason", and maybe those are kind of the same thing.
Monday, June 1, 2009
My birth mother hid me under baggy clothes while she was 14, and gave birth to me when she was 15. Growing up, I knew very little about her. I had only a think packet of information from the County of San Bernardino with a bio written about her by a social worker. And I knew that my biological father had "had some trouble with the law."
As soon as I turned 18, I started searching for my birth mother. The only information I had was the same info I had possessed my whole life. Her first name and her birthdate. That and some miscellaneous odds and ends, such as she liked to sew and enjoyed rock concerts.
I started with the internet. I found all kinds of great resources for adoptees and families to make contact with each other. There are databases where you can list your information and when people search and there's a match, you can contact one another. I couldn't find her info on any of the sites I searched, so I left my pertinent info on a database and pressed harder on the county to get more info. This was all in November / December of 1998.
The county was a nightmare. They had actually lost my file in a move, so if there was anything more to know, it wasn't able to be discovered by me. The only way I was allowed to get my unaltered birth certificate would be if my mother and my father both signed the same stupid piece of paper agreeing to release the info, which would require them to travel, in person, to a government office and get through the beauracracy to sign said documents.
I pretty much gave up hope. Not completely, I just didn't know what else to do short of begging Oprah to help me find her.
Then one day in July of 1999, I got an email. Some random stranger had been perusing the adoption database where I registered and noticed that there was a match. She believed she had found my mother's info, and she had!
Side note, I really wish I still had that person's info or that email address, because I would love to send her a thank-you card. I'm sure I thanked her via email, but now after 10 years of knowing this part of my family I want to send another! :)
So, that day, July 11th, 1999, I called information to see if there was anyone by the last name in the area. Sure enough, there was ONE listing. I gathered all my nerve and called. The woman who answered the phone said that Charlotte (my mother) was her daughter in-law, and that she lived up in Northern California. She didn't want to give me her number (understandably), so I gave her mine and she said she would pass it on.
As it turns out, Donna, the woman who answered the phone, had no idea about me. Hehehe. Surprise! To top it off, it was her and her husband, Art's, anniversary that day.
My mother and I started emailing and calling and getting to know one another. In August of that year, her and her husband, Tim, and my 4 (half - like it matters) brothers and sisters came down to Southern California for a visit and I got to meet TONS of other family members, go to Sea World with everyone, and introduce them to my family.
What's really odd to me is how fire & ice my "two moms" are. Charlotte loves to sew (and quilt, too), her favorite color is red, and she loves to read. My mom loves to sew (and quilt now, too), her favorite color is red, and she loves to read. Charlotte is a Democrat, my mom is a Republican. Charlotte hates seafood, my mom loves seafood. And the more I get to know her, the more amazed I am at the ways that I am like her, and then the ways I am like my mom from my upbringing.
I know everyone romanticizes adoption to a degree, as if the birth mother gets to handpick who raises her baby. In some cases, yes, and that might explain the numerous similarities in interests between the two of them. But with a county adoption like mine, my mom and dad were basically on a waiting list and I was the one that came along when it was their turn.
It's been a really cool journey so far. I can't tell you how amazing it was to have my mom, who was at first very jealous and insecure about the whole ordeal, invite Charlotte & Tim and the kids over for Christmas dinner a couple years ago. Or to see my mom crying and telling Charlotte that she was so glad that she had me and that they got to raise me. At least I'm pretty sure that was the gist of what she said.
I hope enough of that qualifies as the "coincidence" theme for the week. I wish that Charlotte & Tim & the gang lived closer, because it is so hard to spend good quality time together with such distance between us, but I love them all so much. And except for that whole living closer thing, I wouldn't have my weird little family any other way. I love my mom, and my dad, and my mom, and Tim, and Sara, and Tommy, and April, and Brian. :)