Western New York: I Feel Home.

Western New York is a beautiful place to live; constantly I’m awed and surprised by the bounty of this land.   After being here for about three months, I’m beginning to feel settled.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to live in versatile and dynamic places – I mean, Florida and Hawaii – does it wackier than either of these tropical touristy havens?  A Floridian childhood is special in its own ways, yes.  But there was always the part of me that would jealously eye the neighborhoods in John Hugh’s movies, wishing I lived in a northern suburb somewhere – dreaming of White Christmases and houses without stucco.

Western New York is a rich, amazing place.  In the outdoor activity department, WNY’s cup runneth over for sure.  Season to season there is so much to enjoy outside.

Summertime brings swimming, boating and all kinds of water sports on the ample lakes and waterways – specifically Lake Erie – there’s fruit to pick, festivals to go to every weekend, cook outs, camping, hiking, horseback riding, and on and on.  The weather is sunny and warm most days, varying between balmy and mild, the latter giving way to gloriously cool evenings.  This far north the days are long, with dusk’s light fading out at almost 10:00pm sometimes.

As Indian summer fades into Fall, we’ll head into different picking seasons… the grapes first, then apples, pumpkins.  The length of daylight and the level of mercury will both sink.  Hunting season will open up, hiking and camping become more enjoyable with fewer bugs and the festive beauty of the autumnal color show.  Winter snow and the iced over lake will bring even more to do: snow mobiles, skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, sledding, skating – all things winter.  Thanks to the lake effect snow this region is known for, winter sports and activities are almost always a go ahead (last year was a particularly weak winter, so I’ve been told).  And then as the spring thaw happens, the whole cycle kicks over again, baby animals and wildflowers bloom as warmer days grace this land.  Gardens are planted, the trees extend soft green leaves out of their barren branches, and the desire to run outside and play is felt by all.

More than just a pretty face who’s good for a fun time, Western New York is deep – her rich and dynamic history, specific to my family, has me enthralled.

You see: I’ve always been a transplant.

Growing up in Florida was awesome, don’t get me wrong.  I could swim before I could walk, I’ve seen my fair share of crazy critters, gorgeous sandy sunrises, Mickey Mouse ears, shuttle launches, big cities and sleepy country towns.    Nice, but in ways I’ve never identified before – often hollow.   I’ve never felt like I “fit in.”  Rest assured, I know this is a broad and baseless complaint experienced far more often than people convinced that they’re popular.   But it’s true nonetheless.

Now being here, in the land of my family, where our roots go so very deep (well, American deep, haha) – it’s a very different experience.  An intangible comfort is omnipresent here; I have the confidence of my ancestors encouraging me every day, something in my DNA guides me and tells me, “YOU ARE HOME NOW.”

Being related to so many people in a proximal area is really rad.  Both immediate and extended family are here – and I can hardly go anywhere in town without there being a long-established family connection in place.  And not in a grease-the-palms kinda way, just in a friendly, “Oh! You’re Kathy’s daughter!” kinda way.  My Great Uncle is something of a living legend here too, so that always makes me proud to be known as a Gioia ’round here too.

In Florida, my last name never held currency.  No one cared, no one knew who we were (save for the small immediate circle of my Dad’s co-workers and perhaps the people who did community service with my Mom).  But familial love and long standing relationships bred into generations of families in a small town is something indescribably nice: there’s nothing like the easy acceptance and welcome I feel here.  (Okay, anonymity is nice in its own ways too – especially if you have some wild oats to sow and would like to be able to do just that without seven hundred years of shame brought on your house; my hat tips to Florida for that!).

We’ll go out to eat and there’s a story, many stories, of how one such family member was close with the original owner, and on and on.  I love that the history of this area relates to ME.   My Aunt Patty is always telling me these connections, the old stories, and I’m 100% fascinated.

More than ministrations and tales, it goes deeper, down to something instinctual and primal – something that eludes a direct understanding – that pulls me to this land.  I just can say I “feel” it.   My sense of direction here is flawless –  I grew up in a sleepy beach town with a grid system for roads and huge bodies of water to serve as glaring directionals – Yet, on twisty country roads that weave through hills, I feel like I know my way around.   Sometimes I have this (morbid and) strange vision of late relatives guiding me, walking alongside me, smiling with familiarity as I travel paths they’ve undoubtedly walked along countless times before me.

Weird?

Yeah, I know.

I’m being super weird.

I’ve been mulling over this feeling for weeks now and this is merely my feeble attempt to put the idea into something digestible.  There’s just this massive looming of emotional connection to the actual dirt and trees, the wind and weather here, that I cannot put into words (although I’m trying damn hard as I reach nearly 900 of them in an attempt to suss out an understanding of the feelings this place evokes).

Sigh.

It’s just lovely is all.  I’m happy to be here.  I feel safe, welcomed, wanted, and normal.

Oh!  I can elaborate on the feeling of normalcy, actually.  Growing up in Florida you’re living with a mixed bag of snowbird transplant families.  When I was in college there was legit stat that 30% of Floridians were born in Ohio!  It feels like everyone merely lives there but actually considers New York or Boston or stinky Ohio (sorries! my Dad went to UM, so I gotta hate a little) to be “home.”   Of course I know that there are long-standing Florida families, and that the expansion of the mid-1900s is now making way to third and fourth generations who’ve called the Gunshine State their own.   The vast majority are though, relocated folks from the great white north.

For me, I always knew we were not of that land; I felt like a visitor.   And now – only after living here – do I understand some of the quirks I was raised with that always felt so odd to me.  They’re cultural norms up here!  Little things, like ordering a strawberry shortcake and having it served on a heavy drop biscuit, the exact way my mother always made it.  I’d never in my life had a strawberry shortcake made that way by anyone other than my Mom.  In FL the norm would be angel food cake, pound cake maybe.  Taking a bite of the slightly salty and dense biscuit covered in local strawberries and whipped heavy cream – it was like childhood relived.  “Oh!” I literally exclaimed at seeing the biscuits next to the strawberries last night at Tops (supermarket) – “this is why my Mom does it this way,”  realization of this region’s influence dawning.

The list of little silly habits goes on.

And while I know it seems minute and weird, after nearly three decades of assuming I was just a sore thumb raised by a pair of quirky, wacky (albeit very loving), nut jobs – there’s something so reassuring about being normal.     Yeah, I do think I almost fit in here.  Now… If only I could rid myself of the gentle lilt that betrays me every time I open my mouth.  That and ditch the tie dye, fanny packs, legwarmers, bandannas and other fashion statements akin to wearing a neon “I’m not really from here” tee shirt….

Hahaha.  I kid, I kid.

Yeah, I know I’ll never be run of the mill – a happy realization and one that I’m proud to own.   Don’t worry, I’m not seeking cultural assimilation by any means.

It’s just a nice realization to be able to piece things all together, is all.  And of course, it should go without saying, Florida will always be “home” in so many, many ways.  (I’m actually terribly Florida-sick lately, missing the sand and saltwater more than ever before.  Oh yeah, and all you people who live there too – I miss y’all as well.     But that’s another post for another day.)

For now, wrapping myself in the dichotomous distant familiarity of a land long inhabited by my own blood is just new, fascinating, calming, and … nice.   My induction to Western New York has been altogether charming.

Okay, that’s enough waxing poetic for now!  You get the point, yeah?  (haha, Hawaiian joke.  See, I’m still a regional grab bag).

HAPPY FRIDAY and HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE!

xoxo, hhr 

Advertisements

How I Got My Green Groove Back

OR: Some Happy Hippie Habits I Still Have

On Sunday I posted a rather woe-is-me piece about how I’ve lost my eco-friendly “religion” as of late (I’ve been a slacker, I’ve been in a new place – and I haven’t been adhering to my usual routine of kind-to-our-plantet practice).

It’s true.  I’ve shopped at Walmart, we’re going through roll after roll of paper towels around here, I’m drinking Keurig coffee and so on… It’s embarrassing.  Happy HIPPIE Rose is my blog after all, this is a place where I post about loving the earth and being green and all that jazz.  I’m a self-proclaimed hippie and if I expect people to trust my advice or try out my tips, there’s a certain point to which I need to practice what I preach!

And really, I usually do.  I’m blaming it on our move and all the commotion of living our of a hotel, visiting family for a week, and now moving in with my cousin and acclimating to his routines and what not.  I won’t re-hash it all – go read the post for yourself if you want to revel in my failure.

(I’m also being pretty overdramatic.)

I know I’m super far from a failure right now.  As was pointed out in the comments on Sunday, it’s not a terribly huge crime I’ve committed here.  It’s life, it happens.  My intention was actually never to lament, but rather to come clean and then take it from there.  So Sunday I ‘fessed up.  Now, we’ll be moving forward.

After be-smudging my good hippie name, I did make the self-defensive claim that not everything has gone to hell in a handbasket.  There are, actually, plenty of things I’ve kept up with and am doing now that are mighty green.

Today, lemme brag on those! 

I love the earth, I am a legit hippie.  There are easy, fun, money-saving ways to run a home and live your life that are kinder to the earth than some of the typical American practices.  Especially when it comes to chores, I love to keep a tidy home in crunchy fashion – using hippie cleaning methods.

duck face all in the rubber gloves, after a crazy night of chores – i was sweating so hard from cleaning!

For one, rags – not paper towels.

rags are reusable and that’s rad

Paper towels are pricey.  And they’re wasteful.  Landfills are clogged with paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins.  If I must buy some kind of paper product (that’s a disposable version of something that totally exists in reusable form), I at least go for the recycled materials version.  Depending on what the use of the paper item was, when you’re done with it you may be able to recycle it – so keep that aspect in mind if the paper-made route is one you must go.

But really, rags love messes.  Rags are the best!  They work better than paper towel, and you just wash them.  It’s nice.  I get so annoyed at the paper towel commercials that equate rags to smearing bacteria all over your home.  UGH.  Common sense goes a real long way.  If you’ve just used a rag to wipe up some raw chicken goo, how abouts you retire that one to the dirty laundry hamper and not rub it on the counter until it’s been properly laundered.

It’s home cleaning 101.  It’s how people have been tidying up for years, centuries!  It’s not rocket science.  I’ll elaborate more on a paper towel based rant some other day, because I feel like I could go on and on about all of the anti-rag marketing and propaganda out there that’s just so bunk.

Use rags.  Wash them. Apply common sense.

You know what really helps the cleaning process?  A solution that’s antibacterial.  Like say, white distilled vinegar (WDV).  WDV is amazing.  It kills germs, it cleans up all kinds of messes, stains, spills, grease, gunk, and more.  Yeah, it smells strong at the time of use – but as it dries it is 100% odorless, colorless, and unnoticeable.

vinegar is heaven’s nectar. it does everything!

I use WDV everywhere.  Dishes, laundry, surfaces, mopping solution, the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room.  Anything that can be cleaned, I involve WDV somehow.

Remember my old Tide Challenge?

our current laundry room set-up. tide + wdv = a cheaper, better way to do every single load!

(I bought a big jug of liquid Tide, very pricey and wonderful smelling laundry detergent – and as an experiment, I diluted it with WDV for every load of laundry to see how far I could stretch a bottle).  Here’s the premise of the challenge, a midway update post, and finally – the results post.

Check those out to read all about the magical laundry powers of WDV.  Detergent, microbe killer, disinfectant, funk eliminator, fabric softener… it does it all.  And in its wake it leaves clean-smelling, lovely, soft clothes.

Speaking of reusable rags and WDV, let’s talk about mopping.

If you so much as own a Swiffer, I don’t even know if we can be friends.  Swiffers are so so so so bad.  They’re evil!  They create so much waste, and why?  For what?  It’s lazy and ridic.  You can get a mop with the exact same function as a Swiffer (the spray with the little pad on a stick that you use instead of the old school rope mop or the sponge and squeegee kind) that – get this – uses a reusable pad on the bottom.

Instead of those pre-soaked Swiffer pads that cost a fortune, are chock full of chemicals, clog up your garbage can, and eventually our whole planent with all of those dirty pads – just use a mop with a washing fluid chamber that squirts out a little stream of cleaner and houses a cloth pad on the bottom that you simply wash and reuse.

I used to have a Lipman spray mop back in Hawaii, with reusable cloth pads.  I liked it just fine. When we arrived in Western New York, I needed a new mop, though. (The Lipman worked just fine, it was packed up and it’s in the Pacific Ocean on a ship somewhere, with the rest of our belongings).

me, going nuts, with my awesome new mop

Totally coincidental to my viewership of Celebrity Apprentice (really, I didn’t realize it was the same mop from the show until just now as I was looking it up online and saw Lou Ferrigno pics), I am now the proud and ecstatic owner of the O-Ceder ProMist spray mop.

i love celeb apprentice, but did not love lou. he was actually super annoying. but, he’s repping my new mop, so i gotta give him credit for that. i love this mop!

It caught my eye because it was the cheapest one of its kind in the store.  And boy oh boy am I so glad I took this baby home!

There’s a microfiber pad that easily sticks to the bottom, I bought a secondary pad for a few dollars – so if one’s in the wash, I can still mop it up.   And in the RARE case that a mess deems you must mop with something disposable, they do sell paper pads that fit as well (but don’t do that, just wash the reusable ones).

I LOVE THIS MOP!

best mop ever

It’s great.  It’s so sturdy, the head pivots so nicely.  It’s incredibly easy to use, and it’s so eco-friendly.  I fill up the cleaning fluid tank with a simple mix of WDV and water.  WDV is the perfect mopping solution, you know.  It kills the germs, it cleans, the floor will sparkle and shine – withOUT the stick left behind from Lysol or whatever other chemical mopping stuff you use.  And yes, it smells wacky… but as soon as it dries there is no scent.  None!

look at the shine on that floor – nice!

machine washable. very very easy.

Okay, I think you get my point about the cleaning.  It’s so easy to do, y’all.  Being green is not hard, it’s not always expensive or scary.  I know that when you’re in the grocery store and you see the free range organic food, it costs more than the hormone-filled antibiotic-ridden regular version.  The monetary commitment to an eco-friendly life can seem daunting. But that’s only for certain types of green living.

For most of the things I do around the home, I actually save money.  

WDV is way cheaper than any fancy cleaning product you can buy.  Samesies with baking soda (another awesome cleaning agent that works miracles).  Buying something once, like a rag or a towel and then being able to re-wash it and use it for a really long time is epically cheaper than going through disposable stuffs.

You get the idea?  I hope.

Now.  I know I mentioned food.  So there’s a couple more things I’ll sling into this post.

We feed our dog fancy food.  As in, organic doggie food.  I don’t believe in making him eat that corn-filled, horse meat, food colored, toxic fake garbage that’s all fillers and no nutrients.  We were so blessed at the ole MCBH Commissary, because they carried Organix brand dog food and it only cost a dollar more than the typical on-the-shelf doggie food crap.

Specialty dog foods can be very pricey and you may have to go out of your way to get your hands on them.  I understand that’s not feasible for everyone.  But check this out… Purina has a new label of food out, and although it’s pricier than the typical bag of Beneful, it’s still very affordable.  No corn, no fillers, no super duper garbage – and it’s made by Purina (my cousin works there, as does my Uncle Bobby, we love Purina around here).

jj’s new food, yummy!

JJ loves it!  He eats it right up, and we’re able to easily find it in the dog food section of our local grocers.   It’s called “One Beyond” and the commercials are super cute too (they always advertise for it on Hulu, I’ve noticed).

And finally.  I know in Sunday’s post I lamented about drinking coffee from the Keurig.  The uber-wasteful single cup coffee dispensary that makes you a solo cup of joe, out of a single disposable plastic-y cup.  Oy, the waste.  So much garbage, so much packaging.  It’s convenient and lovely and delicious – yes.  But the hippie in me just feels like such a heel.

So, I went old school and busted out the regular coffee pot.

i can make coffee the regular way

It’s a lot less wasteful, as long as we drink all that we end up making.  Coffee itself is such a slippery slope of hippiedom anyways… from fair trade, to poor work practices and shady farming, etc.  So I won’t get into that side of the bean in this post.  I’ll just tackle my end, the making and drinking side of the story.  And yes, I’m still imbibing in the Keurig-made stuff (it’s what we have in the house), but I’m not exclusively drinking Keurig and I intend to make my way back to the good ole brewing pot.

So there you have it!

Yeah, I’m not as super duper green green green as I had it when we were in Hawaii.  I’ve slipped a bit, I’ve let some things slide.  I’ve had to make accommodations and adjustments because of moving.

It is what it is.

But I’m turning it around.  And hey!  Even on my worst days, I was still maintaining some very clutch eco-kindly habits.  Some is better than none, every little bit really does help.

So as I continue to get my green groove back, I’ll keep y’all in the loop.  The tips and tricks I learn, I’ll pass on.  Because let’s be real, I didn’t invent this stuff – not by a long shot – other hippies taught me, and thus I want to teach you.  And if you have some good tidbits, tell me!  Shoot me an email or let me know right here (happyhippierose@gmail.com).

I’m always looking to build up my repertoire of hippie living.  So go out, get some WDV and a spray mop and clean with kindness.  Happy Housekeeping, y’all!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

Image Sources for the ones that are not my own:
Lou Ferrigno with the mop
O-Cedar ProMist mop collage

Losing My Religion

“That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight … losing my religion.”  Great R.E.M. jam, right?  It’s totally how I feel today.

Friends of faith, calm down!  I’m not being literal, or rather – I’m not talking about my spiritual religion, Christianity.  My love of Jesus is as intact as ever.  It’s actually thriving I’d say: going through this huge move with so much uncertainty and loose ends, Duggs and I have been very laid back.  I’ve really been able to just hand the reigns over to God and trust that we’ll be fine, it’ll all work out in His time, and that He has my back.  He always does, so why worry now?

love this!

Of course, we’re doing all we can to work hard and set ourselves up for success – but fretting over things out of our control?  Not happening.  We’ve had faith and it’s been very comforting.

What I’m referring to is my religion of eco-friendliness.

Practicing my beliefs through the way I run a home, the purchases I make, the products I choose to surround myself with, put into the environment and my body… I’ve lost that “religion” big time.

I’ve been SO BAD.

Drive-throughs, food dye, nitrates, preservatives… you name it, I’ve been eating it this past month+. I’ve had more take out and delivery than you’d even think humanly possible.  My first week in New York I ate at Dunkin Donuts literally every single day.  (There aren’t any DDs in Hawaii, and I was dying for jelly donuts and pumpernickel bagels like woah).

be still my beating heart

It gets worse…  Much worse.

Hi. My name is Rose, and I’ve shopped at Walmart recently.

(Hi Rose).

Yeah, I need a Walmart Anonymous meeting or something to help me cope.

i’ve been here, and i’ve spent money. oy.

I’m downright ASHAMED that I’ve supported the giant corporation that I’ve been a sworn enemy of for years.  I mean, I belong to an anti-Walmart watchdog group that keeps tabs on all of the pollution-causing antics, third world sweatshop supporting practices and employee rights-squashing shenanigans that the big blue box condones (and usually tries to hide with price roll back smoke and mirrors).

what do all these products have in common? check the brand. sigh.

It still gets WORSE.

I’ve used paper towels.  Lots of them.

the devil’s mess vessel

(I’m basically in tears at this point.  Who am I? Where has the real Rose gone?).

I’ve drank coffee made in a Keurig.  Oh how I swore I never would.  But I did. In multiple homes on multiple occasions… and I liked it.  It’s delicious.  I even bought more K-cups to refill the ones I willfully consumed.

the set-up here at nick’s. it’s sinfully wasteful… and yet sinfully delicious.

look out landfills, mama’s thirsty!

And if we’re getting really honest – which we are, I’m confessing to quite a lot of eco-sins here – I’ve also used some chemically crazy cleaning agents.  A little bleach here, a little neon colored scented spray there.  SIGH.

oh the shame. i should have to turn in my friendship bracelets and bandanna. am i even a hippie anymore?

I mean, I have excuses – sure.  I’ve been a guest in the homes of others.  I’m trying to be polite and keep things simple.  I’m living out of suitcases (essentially), and for a while we were technically homeless.  Going with the flow, not making waves, and so on… but you know what they say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I know I’m being hard on myself.  But there’s a certain level of conscientious living that I’ve strived for and I feel like I’ve just totally ignored all of my earthly beliefs lately.

Really though, there is some adjustment period to be expected.  I didn’t pack rags with us like I had intended to (I was so ill the day the movers came to our house in Hawaii, so many of my plans for what was to get packed/shipped and what was to come with us for immediate access went totally out the window – I’m lucky to have underwear and socks with me, it was that crazy, I was that ill).

So I’ve been bad and I know it. 

Duggs and I went more than a year with only buying a single roll of paper towels for our home (for doggie pee when we were dog sitting and other such “emergencies”).  We use cloth napkins, rags, and towels.

I had actually kicked my coffee habit to the curb and was drinking tea, usually only one caffeinated tea a day – the others decaf, herbal, etc.  And even if/when we made coffee, it was with a regular pot.  Many of my (dear beloved) pals have gone Keurig, and while the idea of making one cup at a time seems convenient and nice, the waste just seems inexcusable.  All that packaging! Ugh.  (And I know there’s the “my K-cup” thingy that’s reusable, but still… who uses those? It’s way more fun and easy to just buy the regular disposable K-cups).

And Walmart? Ha! I haven’t been in a walmart in years.  Actually, Duggs and I made ONE purchase there the entire time I lived in Hawaii.  And before that, I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d been in one.

I like to practice what I preach.   I sure try to anyways.  We all slip up, yes.  I know I’m not perfect, but I try and that’s been something I define myself by, a source of pride.

As an American I know I have power in my vote, sure.  But we all have a power that seems to carry even more impact: consumer power.  Where we spend our hard earned money speaks volumes.  By not buying products I consider wasteful or harmful, by not shopping at stores whose practices I’m not down with – I vote with my money.

I’m proud of the strides I’ve made in recent years. It seems like every year since ’07, my resolution has been “to be greener,” and every year I’ve made imporvements.

Buying and eating better food to not support farming practices I don’t agree with (factory farming is downright evil) and to be kinder to my body is one that I’ve worked on for years.  The amount of waste reduction in our home has been impressive.  Using less and less “disposable” items and more reusable stuffs – it’s better for the earth and it’s better for our pocketbooks.

Do you know how pricey paper towels and paper napkins are?  That junk adds up! Back in Hawaii, I cut up one old towel and made like 15 rags.  They work better than paper towels and you just wash ’em and voila, good to go.  Cloth napkins are nice too, they’re softer on your skin and again, save money, waste less, so on.  Making our own cleaning products is WAY better for the environment and much, much cheaper.  Those fancy products add up; but white distilled vinegar?  Blessedly affordable.

oh wdv, our love affair will never ever end!

My crunchy habits do save us money, which is great.

But more than that, I’ve been able to live a lifestyle I’m proud of, one that allows me to live out my beliefs.  

So without those habits I feel like I’m being untrue to my heart.  I’ve had that R.E.M. song stuck in my head for days, and I don’t think it’s coincidence.  My eco-religion is a little lost right now.

I’m not all evil these days, though.  I’m slowly getting back into my green hippie groove.   The jostle of moving and being on the road, going from place to place was unstable.  But now that we’re here at Nick’s and settled in, I’ve been getting back into a greener routine.  I know it won’t be long before I’m up to my old hippie tricks and living at a level that’s reasonable and good.

It’s just the lapse that happened during the in-between for which I feel guilty.

I had to confess, get it off my chest.  But that’s it, I’m wiping the slate clean and moving on.  While I’m not pleased with some of the wasteful ways I’ve taken up lately, and the whole Wamart thing (*shudders*) … I’m not going to beat myself up too much.  What’s the point?

I’ve recognized the problem, and that’s always the first step.  So now, it’s about moving on and regaining my crunchy cred.  I’ll post soon (tomorrow maybe?) about the greenie ways I’m getting back and the hippie practices I’ve never lost sight of.  There are so many little, easy ways to keep an eco-friendly home, save money and be nice to ourselves and our animals (chemicals kill, yo).

And at some point I should post about all the crunchy hippie habits of mine that save money.  You’d be amazed at how my gentle ways also go so easy on the wallet.  But that’ll be a long post, and I’ll need to think of all the things I do – I don’t want to leave anything out.

For today though, the confession feels nice.  It’s off my chest – so thanks for letting me do that.

As always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr

Image Sources for the ones that aren’t mine:
Trust God image (it’s actually a teeshirt you can order, rad!)
Dunkin Donuts pic
Walmart storefront pic

JJ, the Happiest Pooch: Photo Post

Oh JJ is such a country pooch.  He’s loving it here!

bounding with the ball in his mouth, like a real dog who actually knows how to play fetch!

He’s been playing so much, and he has a friend to play with too.  Seeing him run around makes me so happy.  This has been a great move for us, yes.  But the fact that our little boy is enjoying himself so much too really makes me feel great about everything!

rocky and jj

So here’s a massive photo dump of our sweet little doggie having a blast.  I figured I was posting way too many pics as it was, so I’d at least make a separate post chock full of JJ pics.  Enjoy!

Oh, and if you notice another pooch… the chocolate lab about three times bigger than jay = his new bff, Rocky!  Rocky is Nick and Austin’s dog.  At first the two were enemies and didn’t like each other, we even had to get a muzzle for ole mean JJ because he was too snappy.  But after some sniffing and playing, they worked it out and now the two seem to be good pals, having fun running around together.  Whew!

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

P.S.

I drafted this post a couple days ago when I had some time, and I’ve since had more time to play with JJ outside.  This video is long (five minutes), but it’s of Duggs and me, playing with JJ and Rocky outside in the backyard.  It’s probably boring to everyone else, but they crack me up!!

In case the vid isn’t working, here’s the YouTube link.

I have it on Photobucket too: link, and this should embed it: http://static.photobucket.com/player.swf

Life in Fredonia, all the Fancy Photos!

Whew… it’s been a busy time here at HHR, with all my photo posts from our trip, updates, catch ups, and everything.  Hope you can stomach one more photo binge.  Can you?

Here are all the rest of our initial Fredonia pics, from our first few days and weekend here!  Just like the other posts of the fancy pics (all the photos from Long Island and then all the photos from Pottersville), I’m just going to throw all the photos in here as a blob, and anyone who wants to can go through them.

As for getting settled in and how we’re doing, I touched on all that earlier this week in our post about finally being here in Fredonia.

So things should be getting back to “normal” around here … if my blog even has a normal! It’s been fun including everyone on the trip, and I know that people have been so curious to see what our surroundings are like, to see the big difference it is to go from Hawaii to Western New York.  So it’s been fun.

But hopefully life will take on a more routine feeling and I’ll get back in the swing of things, around the house, with work, and here too!  I’m hoping that my energy levels keep soaring and before you know it I’ll be posting about running again, and who knows what!

I’m just so very glad to be where I am.  I’m feeling better in so many ways, and just being on the first page of a fresh chapter is so nice.  I’m so blessed to be with my Duggs, surrounded and supported my some amazing family and friends, and to have a whole new section of our story to set out on.  No matter how routinized daily life becomes, that aspect of where we’re at – that newness and that exciting looking-over-the-edge feeling won’t wear off for a while I don’t think, at least I hope it won’t!

Anyways.  For now, I’m quite happy to be posting from Fredonia.  And I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with us on the trip!

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

We’re Here, We made it to our New Home!

Hi everyone!

here i am, at my new “working station,” the breakfast nook of nick’s house

I know it’s been a few days since I’ve posted an update.  Things have been busy and we’ve been getting settled, of course – but the main reason I’ve been an absentee blogger is to do mostly with the Internet connection.  And the lack of a decent one here.

Turns out we’re a bit more off the beaten path than anticipated and getting a high speed set up has been a tough challenge so far.  We have a temporary solution (a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot), but it doesn’t get us very far and bigger files like photos and movies are painstakingly slow to move about, and usually end up getting dropped before completion.

posted this on instagram this past weekend – it’s a collage of our first weekend in fredonia. love it!

So, I wanted to jump in and say hi, even if I do it without all the bells and whistles of oodles of photos and all that jazz.

here’s the front view of nick’s house – it’s lovely!

We’ve been getting settled in, trying to get a feel for the area and see what all we got ourselves into.  The first couple days we were tired from all the traveling and feeling a bit overwhelmed at all we had to do.  But now that the anxiety of such a move has faded and reality is setting in, I’m just pleasantly surprised at how quickly I’ve acclimated, how comfy I already I am.

Our room is set up and we’re all unpacked.  We’re settled in and we’ve been able to visit with family in the area.  And, it’s lovely.  The weather has been perfect so far!  A pleasant change, I’m really loving it (even though my lips are all kinds of chapped).   My cousin Nick’s house is very comfortable and I really feel at home here already.  I’ve always gotten along well with Nicky, so I wasn’t worried about that.  But it’s just nice to now actually be here and to feel so at ease.

our room! i love it, it’s bright, clean, cozy and nice. it makes me happy to be all moved in.

Nick’s house is very nice.  He’s worked really hard to make all of this happen, and we’re just grateful to have such a great place to stay.  Not to mention that being with him, Austin and Rocky is just super fun!

nick’s kitchen, it’s plenty big and very nice

the breakfast nook, where i’m actually sitting right now. i love working here, it’s an awesome set up.

here’s a bigger shot of the living room (with sick duggs, aww)… i can and should take some better pics when the lighting is better and with the real camera, not the iphone.

the laundry room, aka: my dungeon! it’s only one part of the epic basement, and i already whipped into shape and got it all set up, organized, and ready to keep this family in clean clothes and linens. (i’m tellin ya, i’ve been on my a-game ever since we got here, it’s awesome).

I was sick, before we packed up in Hawaii… in the hotel in Hawaii, once we got to Long Island and then throughout our whole time in this state.  But now, just now, I’m FINALLY getting to feeling better.  And what happens?  Duggs gets my cold!  Gah.  Poor guy.  He went all this time being around me and my germs and it didn’t get him at all.  I guess it was bound to catch up to him at some point.  I hope he feels better asap.

duggs finally caught my cold, so he’s not feeling so great – on the couch with our little one

Other than Duggs having my cold, everything is just wonderful.  Moving here, so far, is feeling like the best thing ever.  I’m just loving it. It’s been a big change, no doubt.  But it feels like the world is our oyster now… we have so many choices on what to do!

I’ll tell ya the whole story…

My cousin Nick offered for us to come stay with him, in a small town – Fredonia – just outside of Buffalo, NY.  This area is interesting.  A lot of people wouldn’t see the appeal… but for me, I felt something calling me here.  My mom and her siblings grew up in Fredonia.  It’s that side of family’s “home base.”  Out Patriarch, my Great Uncle John, still lives here, as well as a mix of cousins, aunts, uncles, and other extended family.

The winter weather is intense.  Yes. I know.  I’m not sure how I’ll handle my first winter – but you never know until you try, right?

As for spring and summer, I couldn’t think of a more lovely place to live!  The festivals – there’s something going on every single weekend it seems, the weather, the hiking, camping, Lake Erie, Darian Lake (the amusement park, water park, with weekly concerts in the summer), being so close to the city (Buffalo has a lot going on ya know!) as well as the mountains, the countryside, the Finger Lakes, wine country, Canada, Niagra Falls… every which way there is so much to do.

Where we are now, at my cousin’s house, is a bit off the beaten path.  We’re surrounded by vineyards, it’s quiet and peaceful.  Just a couple minutes up the road though and it’s everything you need – grocery, gas, every fast food and chain restaurant, etc.   So for me, it’s a good way to get the best of many worlds.  A new place, a new climate, a new area to explore – the calm and quiet country life with a busy world not too far away.  Lots of family in the area, and just knowing my roots are here is neat.  Matthew’s family is nearby too, and now my sister is as well.  If we want stuff to do, we just have to look around.

And come winter, even though it’ll be cold and snowy – there’s so much to do!  Sledding, skiing, ice fishing, snow mobiling, hunting, etc.  We chose this area because all year round there’s a lot to do outdoors.  Chautauqua County is an interesting place, full of its own culture and color, and we’re excited to learn more about this place.  Besides, if you’re going to live where it gets cold, you may as well live where there’s enough snow to have fun with it, right?  (that’s what we’re telling ourselves anyways!)

So, we’re here!

It’ll still be a little while before all the details are taken care of and we have our whole lives set in stone and mapped out.  Our car and all of our household goods are in transit, we’re not sure how long we’ll live with Nick, etc.  But for now, for our first week here – things couldn’t be any better.

Thanks for following along with the journey and for all the nice and supportive comments and emails I’ve gotten.  It means so much!

Later this week I’ll put up a HUGE photo post – with all the nice and fancy pics we’ve taken here with the good camera.  It’ll be nice and you’ll be able to get an even better idea of what I’m talking about in regards to the area and all that.

At least now you have an idea of where I am and what our new life is starting to look like.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

 

Lots of Dogs and Even More Love in the Relaxing, Peaceful Lake House at Camp Curtis – Pottersville, NY

This stop on our New York state road trip has been a real treat!

leaving the city and heading upstate!

holding sweet jay in the car ride on sunday

My little sister and her boyfriend Jared just relocated from Florida on up to NY as well.  Crazy, right?  That we both, my sister and I, moved from the warm and sunny states to woods of New York.  She left Florida the same day I left Hawaii in fact!  We’re such sisters, always on the same wavelength.

we’re kinda birds of a feather as it is, ya know!

Luckily for us, the timing just fell in to place for a nice two-night visit along our eat to west route.  So after seeing the McKay and Duggan side of the fam and our eastern-NY pals, we headed toward Albany.

Pottersville, where Valentine Pond is, is about 45 minutes (maybe even an hour) outside/north of Albany.  I haven’t seen my sister in over year, not since I was in Florida last March.  So this reunion was long overdue!

a crappy pic, but you get the idea – me and my seester!!

And what a place for a reunion to occur.

the background of camp curtis, the pretty valentine pond

Camp Curtis is the rustic and luxurious country home of the Curtis family; Jared, Anna’s boyfriend is a Curtis.  His Dad and Uncle both have houses on the property and the backdrop is the clean, serene upstate beauty all around us.  Valentine Pond (which is more like a small lake), the woods, and the clean air make this family camp a wonderful retreat.

The Curtis clan is great!  Warm, wacky, inviting and very hospitable, they welcomed us right in and we’ve spent a few days here eating with them, sharing music (guitars, basses, and banjos galore!)… we’ve been trading stories and hanging out.

all around the dinner table in uncle paul and aunt margaret’s house next door

uncle paul marches to the beat of his own drum! with his wife, aunt margaret on the left. great people, it was lovely to have met them!

camp feat our first night here, grilled pork chops, venison, fresh trout pasta, spinach, brussel sprouts, bread and more… this was just all i could fit on my plate!

Not to mention that amongst all of us “kids” there are enough Apple products to open our own Genius Bar.

another view of the pond

The only thing possibly outnumbering our fancy electronics is the pets!  The Curtis Family are pet-lovers for sure!  Our little JJ has had the best time ever.  He hasn’t even been scared!  He just got right in with the other pooches and he’s been playing, cuddling, running around.  He’s even been walking on the hardwood floors.  (Trust me, I’m just as shocked as you are).

anna holding stewart

josie, cousin evan’s sweet pup

aunt margaret’s pooch, parker! love the sweetie pie – looks like a bear, loves like a lamb

zoey the pretty kitty cat, my sister’s cat

bell is the shy and sweet pretty princess

anna’s dog, puppy, is a sweet old man.

stewart again, he’s just so wacky and cute!

of course, our jayjers!

how to make friends around here!

It’s just one more reason why Duggs and I need to expand our fur family when the time is right.  Jayjers just does better with more doggies around!  So Anna and Jared have their blended fur fam, and then the Uncle and Cousins up here for the weekend had a couple pooches with them too.  It was way too fun being on the pond, feeling the cool clean air, and just seeing oodles of wagging tails and running paws.

Spending a few days here has really allowed me to re-charge my batteries.  I’m still sick, don’t worry.  But mentally – I feel a peace that’s been long overdue.  I think part is just being around my sister.  Going so long being so far away from her just tugs at my heart.  Matthew’s family is amazing and wonderful, and being with them was long overdue too – they make me feel like one of the fam for sure.  But nothing beats being with your own sis, right?

the pond at dusk, so peaceful. i love it here!

I’m so happy to know mine will only be a six hour drive away from here on out!  Woohoo!

The pics in this post are all my iPhone snap shots.  At some point I’ll have to make a real nice photo post of pics from our good camera from the trip.  We’ve had a lot of fun taking some nice shots, and I can’t wait to get them uploaded and have a look.  We have some awesome shots of the boys and Anna all jamming out together, all of the animals going nuts, it’s just been an awesome time – I love when a bunch of redneck music-geeks get together for some hang out time.  For now the quickies will do and they at least give you an idea of what camp life has been like.

 

We’re moving on from here to Buffalo (Fredonia, NY) – FINALLY!  YAY!

We’ll get to our last stop on the road trip and get to see my cousins, aunts, uncles and so on.  We’ll be living with my cousin Nick and his son Austin – so finally getting there and starting to get acquainted with our new home will be awesome.   The rambling phase will come to an end and we can finally feel able to settle down.  Homeless, no more!

HNL to JFK, Road Trip, Reunions, and So On…

We don’t live in Hawaii anymore.  It’s so crazy to realize that, but in another way – it feels like it’s been forever since I was in Hawaii.  I know it’s hardly been a week since we left, but the sounds of luau music and the taste of pineapple with li hing feel like super distant memories.  It’s weird how time can mess with you like that!

We finally left Hawaii on the evening of May 1st.  Getting all of our luggage, the pooch and ourselves to the airport was comedic at best.

the shuttle from the hotel to the airport. yeah, we literally filled the whole thing

arriving at the honolulu airport – so much stuff, yikes!

It took so long to do all the checking in and inspections that we were literally the last ones to run aboard the plane just moments before take-off.  American Airlines was actually great, they only charged us $175 for JJ – and if you’ve been following all of the controversy and price changes for animals accompaniment fare, you know this is a screaming good deal!

checking the pooch into american airlines

I was so sad to say bye to JJ.  I was so worried about my pooch being on the plane, all by himself.  He’s meek and scared of everything as it is.  I knew the poor little guy was just going to be terrified the whole time.  I slept with a blanket for a week out, so it would really smell like me.  We had his favorite pals, Hippo and Bonky in there with him, along with a new doggie bed a couple pillows he likes.

saying good bye to the pooch before we boarded the plane in hawaii

Then it was go time!

self-port in the plane lavatory, hahah. i’m shameless.

duggs and me, on the plane – good bye hawaii and hello new adventure!

We made a quick stop in LAX (and hey! Cali friends, don’t worry, we hardly had more than a few minutes to sit at the gate and then we were off again – if I ever have enough time to hang out during a layover I make sure to let folks know, and this was NOT one of those time).  Then on to JFK in New York City it was!  Jayjers seems to have done well enough, because when we picked him up in the NY airport he was his happy, excited, adorable self!

i look so tired after flying all night – but i’m super happy to be reunited with my sweet boy!

rounding up all of our crap in the jfk baggage claim

We landed in the mid-afternoon of May 2nd.  Between the flight lengths and the time change it really takes about a full day to go from Hawaii to the East Coast.  Then the nest adventure was rounding up the luggage (all zillion pieces of it… seven checked, 3 carry ons and a pooch, to be exact) and get the rental car checked out and on the road.

The first stop was Miss Alices, or Mom’s – my Mother-in-Law’s place in Long Beach, Long Island.

miss alice, outside of her home in long beach, long island, ny.

We stayed at Miss Alice’s house for three nights!  We were able to catch up with her, Matthew got to see BOTH of his brothers and we just all had an awesome time.  We got to relax, shoot the breeze, and it was just lovely all around.  MIss Alice treated us to some amazing home-cooked meals and we just lived it up, relaxing and taking it all in!

stephen, matthew’s brother holds jj

Matthew and I did some shopping (we made some awesome use out of some leftover gift cards from Christmas).

duggs driving me to the mall for some shopping!

yo, i’m at the mall. so what about it?

oh hay duggs, how does it feel to be back home?

It’s been a little colder here than we expected – but the change of pace has felt AMAZING. I love it!  We packed for a slightly warmer season, so while at the mall we did grab a couple more sweaters.  And Miss Alice gifted me some layering stuff and sweaters too.  Surprisingly, I’ve done well with the climate change and haven’t felt “cold” at all.  I’ve just really liked it!   One thing I have had to get used to – having to wear real clothes.  In Hawaii, I dressed sooooo casually, flip flops (slippahs) and sundresses all the time!  Not to mention I work from home, so I hardly get all dolled up.  In the NYC-area, it’s a different story.  You can’t go running errands looking like a slouch.  So I’ve had a fun time wearing “real” clothes.  It feels good!

A few of Matthew’s pals hosted a really sweet gathering for us and we were able to catch up with a lot of friends.  It was so rad!

duggs and me, from the night we hung out with everyone

We had a great night hanging out with everyone.  I was too busy gabbing (go figure!) to take many pics… ugh.  I promise that once we go through the real camera and upload pics, I’ll include whatever ones we have from that night.  It was a blast seeing Christian and Lauren, their little baby Griffin, Lauren’s parents were such a delight!  And then so many friends came over to say hi!  We got to see Brian and Rachel, Nick and Liz, my friend Marissa met up with us too, Christian’s brother Shawn, and then we were there – it was such a cool night!  (I really really hope I didn’t forget anyone).

To everyone who came and hung out – thank you so much!  It was so rad to see everyone.

miss alice, during the road trip out to the east end of the island

the view driving near nanny and grandparent’s house out in amagansett, long island

me and the sweet pooch on the road, loving it!

Before we went to the actual house, we stopped by the beach in Amagansett and I was able to lay eyes on the Atlantic Ocean once again.  After living in and around the Pacific the past couple years, and getting used to its warm waters and bright blue electric colors – it was nice to see my tried and true gray Atlantic.  Something about the murky and cold water just feels comforting to me, out of familiarity, out of the hours and hours I’ve spent in it and on it… as gorgeous as the Pacific is, the Atlantic will always be home to me!

the ocean!

the house in amagansett – it’s a beautiful beach home that duggs and his fam have all gathered at for years.

We spent a night with Matthew’s grandparents, his mom, his brother Johnny and his Uncle Joe all out at the beach house in Amagansett.  Uncle Joe had his lovely doggie Kola with him, and seeing Jay and Kola interact was fun and cute.  The time out at the beach house was very relaxing.  It’s so quiet out there, it was really nice.

I woke up the morning we were to head out that way with a dreadful sore throat.  I was so worried about getting everyone sick, but it’s been way too long since we’ve seen everyone.  So long as they were okay with me and my germs, I was more than happy to suck it up and make the trip anyways!

Here’s where I’m a heel: the vast majority of the picks we took were on the good camera and I haven’t even started to upload and sort through those.  The only ones I have are my random iPhone snap shots.  So I’ll have to go back and post much better pics from this trip when I have some real time to do a nice job.  On my phone, I hardly got any family pics – just some weird snaps here and there.

 

johnny is the biker of the fam, he looks like jax from sons of anarchy!

duggs and i got to sleep lucy and dezi style in twin beds, hehe! it was so nice and quiet there, we were able to get some great sleep.

check out this old school image of super duper hottie hubby back in the day!

Grandpa cooked us a lovely meal of salmon and rice, Nanny served a light and a delicious   key lime pie.  The whole family was able to catch up, chit chat and relax.  I know Matthew was just so happy to get to see his family – for him it had been about two years since he’d seen anyone!

The single night spent out there came and went too soon, and before I knew it we were on the road again… time to head back to Long Beach and drop off Miss Alice (my mother-in-law) and then pack up and head out to Pottersville.

Next up: a blog about our time at Camp Curtis on Valentine Pond, in Pottersville, NY.   Our road trip will continue and we’ll keep going and visiting more fam and friends.

the road trip route: JFK to long island, going all across the whole island and then back to the city, up toward and past albany and then on to buffalo! pretty sweet way to criss cross the state, huh?

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

30 Days of Blogging Honesty – Day 11

Day 11 — When I’ve had a really bad day the first thing (not person) I reach for is…

the couch. 

Howdy y’all, happy Saturday! I’m writing to you from sleepy eyes with tired hands.  This past week was another whirlwind doozy.  The move is getting closer and closer, and things have just been really hectic as our time in Hawaii is coming to an end, work is super busy, and yes – I’m still sick.  I’m on the mend though, and I’d rather be ill here and now than moving sick.

We have the comfiest soft couch; I just love our living room.  It’s such a soothing place to be, that’s for sure.

save some room for me, will ya?!?

I love to veg out when I’m stressed.

TV, snacks, comfy blankets, lots of pillows … and just zone out.  Having the pooch and Duggs with me is pretty great too.  Maybe if I can get a backrub or a foot massage out of it, that’s just incredible icing on the relaxation cake.

oh yeah, that's the good stuff right there

A good second place option is the bathtub.  I LOVE taking a nice, long, hot bath after a stressful day.  I love bringing a compy into the bathroom and watching streaming TV or movies, or listening to music or a podcast.

Yeah, I’m really good at just vegging out.  I love simple distraction to help my brain unwind.

Today was short and sweet, huh?!?

as always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

I’m participating in a fun blogging event.  Tom Baker and Cherlyn Cochrane created the “30 Days of Blogging Honesty” challenge – chock full of 30 writing prompts + one dare at the end!  To read all the rules and prompts, click this link.

Check out the other bloggers playing along:

Participants
Cherlyn Cochrane
Jenn MikoLJMelanieLast Civilized WomanPrincesa MusangPrimadonna Zel,CarolineKoiAurathenaTerriblethinkerSleep and SalamiMarliz3ePrysmatiqueDLonelyStarAnonymousBurnNicoleSylvia GarzaMariana,NenskeiMyNakedBokkieBluefiadiarriesVeehCirraBannatreasuresSajeevHappyhippieroseTheFerkelTom Baker*Sofia*Everything Love & Lust,*TemptingSweets99, Sites with an * contain NSFW material. If erotic or sexual material is offensive to you, please do not visit these three blogs.

Analog Life Has Been Busy!

I KNOW I’ve been a bloggin’ derelict.  I sure do know that.

Things have been wacky round these parts, though.  (Wackier than usual, given that I am just kinda naturally wack).

please forgive me for not posting in a week by seeing pics of my cute pooch

Here are my excuses for abandoning y’all:

  • I have not been feeling well
  • Working out has slacked, too, not just blogging.
  • Work has been busy – and I love it!
  • Creative writing has been taking precedent over blogging.  Book over blog, yo.
  • Matthew and I have had some awesome good quality time, which is way more fun than being behind the compy.
  • When I have been feeling up to it, we’ve been out and about – not even near the compy.
BOMBSHELL: 
We found out we’re moving soon-ish.  Like, next month-ish.  So that’s had things going crazy too.  So much to get ready, work out, plan for. It’s a crazy nightmare of super stress, actually.  But, we’re excited to start our next adventure… and we’re super sad to leave Hawaii.  It’s a lot of emotion. 

On My Health and Fitness

So, I haven’t been feeling so hot.  Which stinks.  I’ve written recently about my quest to run, and to run longer distances than usual, and to train for like a half-marathon – and one of the things I’ve confessed is the ebb and flow of my workout consistencies.

I have good weeks and bad weeks.  It’s how I’ve rolled for the past year-to-eighteen months.  It just goes like that, and I’ve been trying to break that pattern.

January was great!  But in February, not so hot.  I’ve only gotten in a couple runs a week, and my last run was already like five days ago (and I’m not lacing up my sneaks at this moment, sadly).

I just haven’t been feeling well.

here i am right now. feeling okay (better than yesterday, thank goodness)... but still pretty blah.

Nothing major, just my same ole, same ole.  I’ve tweaked up the meds a bit lately, and have seen some good come of that.  So, hopefully this period of rest is just my body taking care of itself.  Part of my hippie nature is all that “listen to your body” stuff, so I do.

Mine has been telling me to rest.

I tell ya what though: the last run I went on, I killed it!  I didn’t even think I’d make it more than a couple minutes, and it ended up being my FASTEST four-miler ever.  (Well, in recent times kinda ever).   My chest was hurting and I felt just sluggish and heavy in the beginning – during those first two minutes, I was convinced that I was going to do a five minute jog for the day.  But, as I warmed up I just shook it out and felt positively wonderful.

Oh man, even recounting such a fab run has me itching to get out and run.  Tomorrow morning, perhaps!

So, the running has slacked.  I’m bummed, but I’m also okay with it.  I’ve been taking care of the bigger picture.  I know I need to workout and push myself… but with a body like mine, I’ve just learned that when it’s telling me to stay put, it means it.  And well, with how physically ill I’ve been – running just hasn’t been an option.  GI woes (including vomiting lately, which is the pits!!!), tummy pains, back/shoulder muscle pain, overall weakness, and of course my nerve drama.

Valentine’s was super fun.

Duggs treated me to a really fun night out, it was lovely. We grabbed some grub, and we went to Dave and Buster’s to play games.

out to dinner at buca di beppo

the menu had a little blurb on v-day that was cute!

I know what you’re thinking.  The plan sounded kinda ehhh to me too.  Then, we actually got into D&B, and started playing, and it was so so so fun!

If you’ve never been to a D&B, it’s essentially a TGIFriday’s-esque restaurant with a giant arcade attached.  They have all kinds of games, video games, and those driving car games where the little car you sit in tilts and shakes.

Then there are all those games you can play for tickets.  Duggs’ romantical plan was to win me prizes.  And he did!

duggs, holding a prize and all of our tickets

here's a crappy pic of this elvis game i couldn't get enough of.

We had a blast.  I whooped up on some trivia, annihilating anyone that tried to play with us! Duggs killed me in basketball and skeeball, and he won a prize out of one of those stuffed animal claw machines on the first try (and then he gave the prize to an adorable little girl and it was so durn sweet).

me, in the NASCAR racing game. (which i beat duggs on, btw).

duggs is the man at the skeeball

duggs, the claw machine, and the prize he won on the very first try!

Work has been great.  I’ve had some projects going on, I hope the great people I work for are still enjoying my writing.  I think that this month I’ve done some of my very best work yet.  So that’s exciting.  I still have tons to learn, lots of goals for myself.  My boss is great, and I really enjoy working with/for her.  She’s a lot of fun, and she’s just been a great teacher and mentor.  She knows so much about the industry and she’s a good one to be learning under.

So life is good. 

As always, it’s a mixed bag of challenges and awesomeness.  Duggs and I are in this super sappy happy mushy phase, like more than usual (if you can even imagine).  My home life and personal life are so sweet.  And while work is busy, it’s fantastic.  The major stressors of right now are my health and this upcoming move.

It’s hard to embrace the notion of saying good-bye to Hawaii.  It’s impossible in some ways.  I’m going to miss this place so much, I’ve grown far more attached than I thought I could or would.

On the other hand, moving is exciting.  It’s a fresh start, a new world to go check out. I’m excited for the weather… and best of all- FAMILY!  We’re going to live close to family!!!  I cannot wait to see everyone.

True story: after writing about that awesome run I had last week, and how blah my physical fitness has been as of late I totally just did a little mini-workout in between drafting and finalizing this post.  I just had to do some moving and shaking, get some stretching in there.  Not grand, but better than nothing.

Wish me a better week, and that I get to feeling better soon.  I want January back!

I gotta get going… I promise to have some good and fun posts up this week.  Love to you all!  Thanks for reading. 

xoxo, hhr