Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You're going where?

People questioned me about flying across the country to have a drink with a few people. Specifically, Canadian customs agents questioned me. I left for Vancouver on a relatively uneventful Thursday morning, I planned my flight so that I could drop my kids at school and have time to get to the airport. Bonus for me was that there was NO traffic and I was way ahead of schedule, no line at security, I got a great seat with in flight entertainment. The perfect day of travel! UNTIL......I got to Canada.

I got off of the plane and instead of going straight to baggage claim, I hit the washroom and proceeded to freshen up my hair, face & breath - knowing that Hunk was waiting for me at the exit and we hadn't seen each other for quite some time, I was banking on getting some tongue. This all resulted in me being the last person to claim my bag in a virtually empty baggage claim area. I was the last person to approach the customs checkout and for whatever reason, I was diverted the opposite direction from all other passengers. I followed directions to a large waiting area full of officers and quite a few male passengers just sitting around, awaiting questioning. So, I sat. When it was finally my turn, I was pulled to a more private area where an officer proceeded to ask me why I was coming to Canada. My mistake, I said I was getting together with friends I met on the internet. **SOUND THE ALARMS** I was drilled on what a blog is, what's my blog, who are the other bloggers, how many are meeting, where are we meeting, what will we eat? drink? do? What do I have to show that supports this claim? Uhhhhm. I had nothing, well, I had a stack of TequilaCon hats in my bag that I did not claim on the customs form - I chose not to bring that up for the sake of creating more of a problem. I thought of my iPhone, while I had no service in this area I did have a few "Dave" related widgets. So, I showed him. He was not convinced just because I had a link button, so I showed him ASK DAVE....***MORE ALARMS***. I tried to explain that I was meeting this super fun dude who creates cartoons & apps, and I'm really just a housewife that needed to get away. Use this app, just ask it if I'm a threat to Canada, clicking on Geeky Dave "do I have any dangerous items with me?" - to which he replied "The data indicates Y-E-S". "Am I in anyway here for malicious reason?".... "Aye Captain!" says Pirate Dave. This is not going well - let's switch to Nirvana Dave who is notoriously positive. "Am I a nice person, just on vacation?"......"This is doubtful". Greaaat. I spent a solid half hour in behind the scenes customs, turned the government onto Blogography and finally managed to convince them that I had no ill intentions with my flat irons and chapstick.

Hunk met me on the other side, not surprisingly a bit worried by my delay in exiting the plane. He was all snazzed out in his suit and he met me with flowers....and you might've thought we hadn't seen each other in a month by the way we were groping in the airport.


It's hard to explain to the people in my world why I would go to Vancouver to meet some internet people. Nobody gets it, they never will. Fortunately for me I wasn't just going across the country for TC2010, Hunk was there for work and the absence was definately taxing. We knew that he was going to be travelling across Canada for quite a few days leading up to TC2010 so this was a great chance for us to plan a "getaway".


While Hunk did have to work on Friday, it gave me a day to explore Vancouver on my own and decide on the best spots for us to make the most of "our" time together on Saturday and Sunday. Plus, I'm a rather independent type of girl and I absolutely LOVE to be by myself and be free to just check stuff out without holding anyone back or dragging someone to a place they aren't really interested in.


Saturday, we had some issues understanding exactly where public transportation would take us (we didn't buy a transit map!) and we ended up getting dropped on the opposite side of the Lions Gate Bridge. We thought we would just walk back across the bridge to get to Stanley Park, which was really fun, but OMG, it was raining and that is a long assed bridge. So we got wet, and cold, but it was a really nice view. Then we walked all the way around the seawall to get to the totem poles in Stanley Park and holy crap my legs were about to snap off. I can say that I ate without guilt that day because I literally walked my ass off. Funny thing is that we then ate a really small lunch. We went to a place called SALT where they only serve salt cured meat and artisan cheeses. Hunk is a total cheese head, so we thought this would be fun. It was in a REALLY bad area - there were a lot of colorful things happening around us as we walked down the side alley that Salt was in. Blood Alley was aptly named, partially because it is a known rough area. We survived, but I am confident that there was more illegal activity that happened in that alley than I have seen in my lifetime. We got a plate with a combination of 2 cheeses, 1 meat and 3 condiments. I thought it was a bit pricey because it was really only an appetizer, but it was unique and the selections were really good so I'm not complaining. I'm also kinda frugal, so there's that.

Later that evening we readied ourselves for TequilaCon. I was excited to see Dave again, but I was stoked that was finally going to meet some people that I thought I would never get to meet due to our continental divide. It was funny that some people were really different than I thought they would be and then some were exactly as I imagined them, or even more awesome than I already knew they were. I can say that Jenny is now on a pedestal - she is one of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met. I didn't know much about her from her blog posts since many of them have been photo booth essays, but I kinda figured she would be entertaining at the very least. I would've taken her home with me if I could because she is just good people. And Shari, whom I thought had dropped off the face of the earth after TC 2008 - she's alive and well and she is freakin' awesome. There were just so many nice people to meet, it was just fun and I'm so glad I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to be able to attend. Dave, Jenny, Dustin, Brandon and Vahid (who I might've drooled over a little bit) are all so cool to put this gathering together. There should be more people like them in the world. And they were all so extremely thoughtful, like SHARK EXTREME, just because I brought a few hats and I am forever honored to know them.
Some of the fabulous people I met......Angie & Brandon, Kerri Anne, Sarah, Sizzle & Mr. Darcy, Laura & Abby, Flo, Hillary, Angella.....there were more, but my photographic evidence wasn't very thorough and my memory was floating in tequila.


Sunday was my hike day, there were so many places I wanted to go, but I had to pick one so we chose Lynn Canyon for the suspension bridge, waterfalls and hiking trails. It was just gorgeous, I've wanted to be outside in the PNW for many, many moons and there was no way I was leaving this area without getting into the woods. It was so lush and the trees...the trees are just different than the south. I could spend all day just studying the evergreens and the moss - it was just perfect. My city boy loved the bridge and waterfall and I must admit I did pee myself a little on the suspension bridge. Holy crap those things are scary.




My trip home was less eventful, no customs problems. I also had NOTHING to watch!! I had started a few downloads in iTunes that didn't get to finish before I left home. On my trip up I watched all the completely downloaded movies and figured I'd hook up to wireless and finish the partial downloads for my trip home. Guess what!? You can't do that in Canada! There's also no hulu in Canada. Holy Crap!!!! I was really disappointed because man, that is a LONG way and the trip back had NO in-flight entertainment. FAIL!!

We got off the plane just in time to go straight to the softball field to my daughter's game, which I'm SO glad I didn't miss because she ROCKED the ballfield. I missed my kids, but I can't lie that I am happy to get away from them when these opportunities arise. I love them with all my heart, but I have to put just as much into my marriage because in the end, the kids will leave. I am proud that Hunk and I still have things that are "just ours" and that we can come home and slay the parenting deal just as well. So many of my friends put their children first and in the end, their marriages have suffered or failed. While we don't have a perfect marriage I have no doubt that we will be together forever, and while we have wonderful children and we give them as much of ourselves as we can, they do not define "us" and we will still be "us" after they are grown. This trip was a great opportunity to practice the balance of our commitments to each other and to our children and it was worth every penny spent, all the stressing travel drama, every shot of tequila and every stolen moment. And THAT is why I traveled across the country.

My hair was seriously cute when I left the hotel, screw you, rain!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Break Camping, sort of

We survived the camping trip, though every single thing we took is now completely YELLOW from the blanketing of pollen that we received. You can not even imagine how much pollen was in the area we were. We were enjoying a nice overlook of a waterfall and the wind blew just a bit - a massive cloud of yellow came lumbering over the falls and continued down stream. The air was completely cloudly. Driving home the air looked smog filled and I was using the wipers to remove yellow dust from the windshield. It was bad.


We definately bought our fair share of Claritin on this trip! We did have fun, and one of the highlights was that we did not use our tent on this trip. Less to take, less to set up. And no, we did not sleep under the stars - you must remember I am married to a city boy. We rented a YURT. This was our second time using a yurt - it is like a round tent with canvas sides, but it has hardwood floors and electricity. Yeah, not REALLY camping....but we still have to do all the outdoor cooking and walk to the bathroom, so it's modified camping!
This is a yurt.

The yurt also looks really cool on the inside because it is a round lattice frame and has big cedar futons inside - it also has a sunroof on the top that you can pop up. We left ours closed to try to keep the pollen out!

While on our trip we visited an animal rescue where they have a unique animal family of fully grown Lion, Tiger & Bear - they all grew up together and live in the same habitat. They play together like overgrown kittens. SO FUNNY! They had lots of animals, including retired circus tigers, leopards, wolves, primates, pigs, deer, bison, zebra.....like a zoo, but at someone's house. They had a lot of property and it was just beautiful. Very nice!

We also visited Ocumulgee National Monument - indian mounds which was really cool. I like hiking, walking and being outside, but I prefer to do those things in the SHADE. Walking to the big mound was not my idea of fun, but once we got on top it was worth it. And to think that these mounds were built by hand/basket is mind boggling. There was also a mound where they held tribal meetings and it is mostly a completely original clay floor. Very creepy to go inside if you are claustrophobic, but I didn't want to miss it. I waited until it was empty and made Hunk guard the passage so I wouldn't get trapped and freak out. It was very cool. I took a picture in the museum of the re-creation of the interior because I was too busy trying to keep my cool while inside the real thing.

a long trek to the mound - no shade!

entrance into the mound, looks tall - it's NOT

a VERY LOW, NARROW path...eeeeeeek

And thus ends our Spring Break camping. I've decided we won't camp again at this time of year due to the pollen. I would've thought I remembered that we were coated in yellow at our camping trip last year, but I didn't. I think I have finally etched it in my brain.