Fun Times With Family and Friends

In the month or so that I took a blogging break, things were downright nutty around here.  I mentioned that we had some family come in town, and now I’ll elaborate.  In yesterday’s post I talked about my weekend trip to Jax for a surprise party – so I figured with all the family and friend fun times, I could just mash up the visits together and make one big photo dump post to catch everyone up on what’s been going on.

One on hand, I totally realize this is kinda cheap and corny (to throw it all into one post).  But on the other, I’m trying my best to achieve a balance that’s tough to strike, between wanting to cover events that are fun and important to me, without boring the pants off everyone reading.  I know that the minutia of my personal life isn’t nearly as fascinating to y’all as I find it – and with respect to that, I’m trying to not drown you in lame-o posts about very ordinary things.  I do realize, however, that for people who know me in person and hang out with me, there’s a certain expectation of making it into the blog when we hang out.  Or least a nervous reluctance that you probably will end up on here at some point.

So.  With all that meta debate established, I’m cool with going ahead and mentioning a little bit about several different events and then slamming y’all with a photo dump.  Cool? Good.

First up, my cousins Justin and Nicole came up here from Florida.  I hadn’t seen them in over a year, and having them come up to New York (and Canada) for a while was awesome.  They’ve grown up so very much, and realizing just how different they’ve become in 15 months makes me sad to be as far away from them as I am.  I knew both of them in vitro, and have seen their growing up firsthand, until I moved to Hawaii.  We had a great time and made sure to squeeze in as much as we could – like going boating on the lake, doing arts and crafts, cooking out, etc. etc.  In addition to having them up here, my sister Anna and her boyfriend Jared drove over to come visit with them as well.  They live north of Albany, so it’s not too much of a hike.  Having everyone all in Fredonia was both awesome and crazy.  It was a lot of moving parts to keep track of, that’s for sure!

All in all, we had a great time – and I was super sad to see everyone go.

Like less than a week later, my Dad and Step-Mom (Anna) came up here to see us!  They took a big trip up from Florida and we were their first stop.  Neither Duggs or I had seen them since they came out to visit us in Hawaii (remember that post?), so hanging out with Viper and Anna was long, long overdue.  We had an awesome time.  Lots of hanging out, some rambling, we went shooting, hung out with other family members that live in the area, went out to eat, and who knows what else.  Oh yeah, Dad took me to a doctor’s appointment and got to meet one of my new docs up here.  We dedicated a lot of their trip to just spending quality time together, not necessarily focused on an event or an activity.  And that was good, it was just great to hang out all together.

So that covers the two big events of us hosting folks up here.

As y’all already know, last weekend I flew down to Florida to go hang out and get crazy with my old college pals.  I went to UNF in Jacksonville, FL from 2001-2005.  After graduating, I stayed in town for several years (like four?) where I worked and lived and kept partying with my college friends in some weird pattern of extended adolescence.  It was very rad, and I loved the years I spent in Jax.  The beaches are great, the community is great, I loved riding my beach cruiser everywhere and getting to surf after work.  It was just an awesome place to live, and I miss it often.  Well, I miss the friends most of all – but Jax too.  It’s a very rad town!   I didn’t get a ton of pics (partying + mob mentality + not having a flash = lame, blurry, too dark photos), but a couple of the ones that are okay I threw into the photo dump here.

As much fun as I had reuniting with my pals, and wishing one of my dearest dudes, Cory Lee, a happy birthday – man, there is NO place like home.  And at this point in time, I’m confident to say that Western New York sure does feel like home.  I’m glad to be back and I’m happy to be here.  I was just going through some pics from this summer- snap shots from runs I’ve been on, photos of the dogs being silly, and I can easily say that I love my now-life.

Thanks to everyone who hung out this summer and contributed to some super fun times!  Hawaii was amazing, but it was lonely – so seeing loved ones again is a very very nice thing.  It’s wonderful and fills my cold little heart with a whole mess of happiness.

As always, thanks for reading my blog!!  XOXO, HHR

Without further ado… THE PICS:

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Black Lung Out, Insomnia In: A Lyrical Look At My Health These Days.

Howdy readers, pals, random web browsers who have stumbled here and have no clue of the incoherent weirdness with which you’re now facing head on!

So, last we chatted about my health I was going on and on about the mold issue in our home in Hawaii.  I’m happy, hell – ECSTATIC, to report that since leaving the home of the mold, I’m feeling much better.  Markedly, gloriously BETTER.  It’s amazing the difference, actually.  I think at first I was nervous to come right out and say it, out of fear that it would be short lived or something else.  But alas, it’s been a few months now and I just feel better all the time.  So, for me, the debate on the mold issue is settled: there was mos def something in that house that was crippling me, killing me softly.

Overall I feel great day to day.

I’m down on meds, at a very low level and in the process of a final taper.  Which given the past 18 months I’ve faced is quite incredible, honestly.  It feels amazing, I’m more than blessed to be writing from this vantage point right now.

I mean, clearly there’s no cure for Porphyria.  I’ll deal with that my whole life.  I’ve actually had one small flare since moving here – last month was a (ready? TMI is a-coming now…) right ovary month, and the cysts must still be there.  After a few months reprieve, last month was AWFUL.  Some of my close gal pals can attest, I was tethered to a heating pad and hunched over for several days.  It was so severe, it caught me off guard.  And of course in my domino reaction of a body – one thing can and will trigger something else.  Thus, the stress of acute pain sends me into a Porphyria-based decompensation (fancy way of saying “an attack”).  I carb/glucose loaded though and headed it off at the pass.

I’d like to thank my darling husband for his extreme attentiveness and ability to identify the early warning symptoms better than I can (honestly).  It’s what really helped us to keep things down to a little blip on the radar and not a colossal melt down.

So, the ovarian cysts.  That sucks, yes.   Not tragic though, so don’t cry for me Argentina.  It’s fine!   This month is business as usual and it seems as though Lefty-the-Other-Ovary is fully functional and normal.  To inquiring minds: fear not, I’ll seek the proper medical attention about all of this.  No more winging it, I promise.  But really, it doesn’t feel too urgent to be seen these days as  I’m basically fine.   Well.  Insomnia – that’s the only other ailment I really could mention.

The funny thing about Insomnia though, I don’t really hate it.  I’m a legit insomniac because I’m not ever tired.  I don’t drag all day, and at this point I’m consuming little-to-no caffeine.  I just don’t sleep.  It’s weird.  I always feel in the early hours of evening that I’ll be nice and sleepy come night time… and then, a flip switches and I just get that second wind.

the sunsetting over lake erie last weekend – as night comes on, i wake up.

Night time is a magical, quiet, intoxicating time.  I adore the sun and daylight, believe me.  But night is oh so nice too.

Last night I stayed up until about 5:30am today – at which time I rested for a couple hours.

Don’t scold me!  I know with the upcoming marathon this won’t do at all.  I know how paramount sleep is to proper recovery and healing, as well as overall health and injury prevention.  It’s not an every night, up all the time thing.  It just sometimes strikes me and that’s it- no sleep (’till Brooklyn).  I think it’s genetic.  I know my mother is a crazy night owl and often prone to Insomnia as well.  And my Dad, i don’t think he’s averaged more than four hours a night my entire life.  He just doesn’t sleep like the average person does.

Last night was one of those great nights to be alive.  After these hot, cloudless days – the crisp night air is an incredibly welcome change.  I actually ended up going for a nice long run around 1:30am.  It was gorgeous.  I love night running… the low moon hung huge, in a pretty golden crescent and the cool air felt awesome on my skin as I ran miles all over this sleepy rural town.  Afterwards I came home to a quite house, and I stretched and showered.   Still wide awake, a devilish idea struck and I found myself at Tim Horton’s moments later.   After a surprisingly good bagel breakfast sandwich I was able to feel sleep lapping at my body and mind.

drive thru, with my twenty pack giving me the eye

a very dark and kinda creepy, mostly terrible pic of me in the drive thru

thumbs up for getting the egg white version, thumbs down for bacon. oops!

Overall, I have no complaints!

When I was so consumed with the mold and it was taking over my body, I was sleeping SO MUCH.  Like, 16 hours a day kind of much.  Lethargic is an understatement.  Having energy and stamina now is a welcome blessing!  After the year and a half I’ve had, I’m very ready and willing to sweep the inconveniences under the rug and focus on the monumental improvement of which I feel.   And better I do feel – it’s amazing actually, liberating and nice.  It feels good to be awake, energized, and alive.

It’s been a long time coming.

FIN.

As always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr  

It’s Fab Friday, Friends!

Good Morning Blog-o-sphere! (Did you enunciate that like RW a la “Good Morning Vietnam?” That was my intention, fyi, if you need a do-over).

HOWDY!

Happy Friday!

yawn. i accidentally stretched when i first tried to take a pic.

I’m just taking a quick break from my work morning to come say hi.  By the time I hit play on this though, it’ll be just about afternoon (I had to do work, what can I say?).

Guess what. I read some REALLY good blog posts today in case you’re interested:  Tamara Out Loud has an awesome post about Jesus and gays and love, Cult Fit talked about taking a break from fitness rambles to deal with real stuff in life, like the terrible wildfires in Colorado right now, and Amanda at Fancy Oatmeal cracked me up with the Jimmy Fallon video that she posted, oh man.  Good times!  Seriously though, about those wild fires: prayers up y’all!  Check out this site to buy some shirts to help out too.

It’s been a big week.  Duggs started his new job out in the civilian world.  He’s working with my cousin and uncle for Purina – YAY DUGGS! I’m so proud of you, and happy for you.  Congrats!  I’ve had a busy week- lots of working out and work, and being busy.  My mom is coming next week, ya know, for the 4th of July and MY BIRTHDAY, I think my cousins from NC may be coming too and possibly another aunt and uncle from DC?  I think it’s going to be a very fun week next week.  But to prep for a week o’ fun, there must be a week o’ grindstone.

Not to mention all the SCOTUS stuff.  If you ever want to hear my take on why Obamacare is amazing, just shoot me a message and we can chat.  I don’t like to get too soap-boxy here, but it should be of no secret to you, dear readers and pals, that I was ecstatic when I found out that healthcare was OK’ed via majority opinion.  Whew.  Sad about Stolen Valor, but hopeful that a new law with more specific language will replace it.

It’s been a crazy week.

All in all, I’ve been feeling great and doing well.  Huge change from Hawaii life.  Getting out of the moldy house of death has totally freed me from the bondage of sickness.  I feel like a whole new woman!

good morning, err good afternoon?

Otherwise…

  • my legs are still sore from Wednesday night’s speed work and plyo
  • I’ve been on a 90’s pop bender this week, Ace of Base and Spice Girls, what?
  • I’m excited that it’s warm out and my cousin’s putting his new-to-him boat in the water TODAY!
  • we’re going to a really fun fair this weekend and I can’t wait!
  • I’m excited for 4th of July
  • I’ve been drinking less soda, less coffee, and more water than usual – go me!

So, how’s your week been?  What do you have coming up this weekend?  Anything?

Thanks for stopping by, Happy Friday! Happy Summer! Happy almost a holiday!  I hope everyone had a rad week and that y’all are doing well.

rocky jumping on me, doh!

this is an autsin power’s joke. see, that 90s music got to me.

now here’s a napolean pose to keep me more updated. see, i’m cool, i’m hip… (see what i did there again?)

aaaaaand, jj cuddles

oh rocky, sweet boy!

And well, that’s all I got. So… TTFN, Ta Ta For Now!

xoxo, hhr

I Love The Crazy 80s! (Octogenarian 80s)

A weekend ago, we celebrated my Great Uncle John, Zio Giovanni’s, 81st birthday.  Can you believe it? 81!  And this past Saturday, we had the pleasure of celebrating Nick’s Grandma, EZ Lyman’s, 85th Birthday!

Both are incredibly talented, wonderful, kind people – who’ve both been these crazy family legends that I’ve heard tales of my entire life.  These octogenarians know how to get down, that’s for sure.

So yes… around recently, we’ve been kickin’ it crazy 80s style.  Let me re-cap the two most recent birthday parties I’ve attended:

EZ Lyman, Happy 85th Birthday!

EZ has always been a tomboy-with-class idol of mine.

happy birthday to ethelyn

She’s Uncle Bobby’s Mom and you can so tell: Ethelyn is long-known for going hunting and fishing with the boys, keeping up with their outdoor antics and being able to hold her own.  The flip side is that she’s a wonderfully warm and sweet woman, known all over the region (and probably farther than that) for her incredible landscape and nature paintings.  She’s won awards and prizes for her ability to capture the charm of Western New York scenery – whitetail deer, sugar houses, snow covered trees, glens and dales and that sort of thing.  Everyone I know in my family (except for myself *pouts*) has some of EZ’s paintings displayed in their homes.

I’ll have to do a whole post about EZ’s artwork, it’s just wonderful.  Even as I was Google-ing her the other day, I found some awesome old newspapers with photos of her artwork, or articles listing the prizes she’s won.  Maybe I can even sneak over to her “studio” and get some action shots of her painting.

So Happy 85th Birthday, EZ!  It’s so nice to be up here and able to get to know you better.

EZ’s spice cake with fishy candles

fish candles

spice cake with birthday cake ice cream, delicious

I was a derelict on Saturday, and spent far more time eating pasta (along with Uncle Bobby’s incredible venison meatballs- perfectly seasoned, they tasted just like Italian sausage, and not gamey at all), and laughing as we were shooting the breeze and telling crazy stories, than taking photos.  So I don’t have too many from this past Saturday’s birthday afternoon.

yeah, we were hittin’ the hard stuff

duggs, all full after a big ole pasta dinner

some old photos were busted out, including this gem: uncle bobby, holding chad and nick, his sons and my cousins – and then me, in the pink. oh precious!

Uncle John, Happy 81st Birthday!!

My Great Uncle John celebrated his 81st Birthday at his home, a rustic log cabin (his dream cabin) out in the country… kinda near Cherry Creek, but mostly near some dairy farms and Amish folk.  He requested a birthday bonfire, so that is exactly how we celebrated. (Hence why I’ve been eating microwave s’mores lately, we brought home the leftovers).

you gotta love this man, jean overalls and everything!

happy eighty-one to you

Now, my Uncle John is a very special man.  He’s our family patriarch, and really has been my entire life.  Dynamic, witty, sassy, outstanding and incredible – there is no one on this earth like my Uncle John.  A former Marine who fought in Korea, the first ever Brut model, a Broadway star, a television actor, world-traveler, biker leather daddy, Italian-speaking, chef extraordinaire – he’s amazing.

Really amazing – and just always himself, be that cheesy, or silly, or a little bit country.

my great uncle john, blowing out his 81st birthday cake

He used to teach drama for years and years, and although recently retired from that – he’s still acting.  In fact, he has a play coming up this fall that we’re excited to see.  He’s brilliant on stage, always stealing the show.

Ahh my Uncle John.  I just smile when I type his name.  I’ve always held such a special place in my heart for him.  He’s the brother of my late Grandma Rose, whom I was named for – and who I’ve never actually met (she passed away before I was born).  I’d have to dedicate an entire blog (not just a post, an entire blog itself) into chronically properly the life and times of the one and only UJ.

So for now, I’ll just post a ton of photos I took at his 81st birthday bonfire:

gathering the fire wood

making the fire

UJ’s property, out in the quiet near cherry creek. Austin, Aunt Patty, Matthew (Duggs) + Nick

now that’s a fire

After building the fire, making s’mores, and hanging out in the cool air by the warm burning wood for hours… we decided to let it die down so we could head inside for cake and birthday gifts + cards.

side view of UJ’s cabin, his “hideaway”

uncle john’s sweet pooch

oh sweet girl – UJ was dog sitting this sweet one

oh jeez we’re silly

take two? austin, great uncle john, me and nicky

nice family pic (third time’s a charm)

austin, doing his best UJ impression

austin and UJ

playing with the doggies, go figure

It was getting late, and we were all getting loopy… so we decided to call it a night and let UJ enjoy some birthday peace.  All in all, it was a fun evening and I’m glad I could actually be up here to celebrate one of my Great Uncle’s birthdays with him (I don’t think I’ve celebrated an actual birthday with him since his 75th?).

Happy Birthday to both EZ and UJ, it’s been a blast celebrating with you Crazy 80s – but more so, it’s been a pleasure knowing you and spending time with you, always.

As always – thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

happy hippie birthday to me!

On July third I celebrated my twenty-eighth birthday.  It was one of my very best birthdays to date!

happy bday to me!

Last weekend as a whole was just great.  

Church Stuff:  Friday night and Sunday morning I was blessed by being able to share a testimony at Church, live!   I’d never gotten up and done anything like this before in my life: publicly talking about my faith on a microphone, sharing my personal life and beliefs with others like that, talking about our family finances.  But the story that prompted me to give the testimony was too good not to share.  A real God Story.

My hubs came with me on Sunday, and like a real champ he went to both services with me.  He also recorded me.  You can check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja_xf6w_VK4

Or you can go to my church’s archive page and check it out there: http://www.hopechapel.com/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=1000053339  on this one, i’m about 35 mins into the 3-Jul-2011, 8am service.   If you feel like watching sermons, watch the Sunday 10am service.  It was an epic epic sermon.

screen shot of my testimony

making faces and flossing my iphone = totally standard.

Getting up and telling my lil’ story was just an honor.  I feel like it was a special birthday present from God.  And it’s a super rad story!!

Leisure Times With My Duggs: My hubby and I also got some nice beach time this weekend.  Being Active Duty military, he had a “96” to celebrate the holiday:  a 96-hour period off work to enjoy the long holiday weekend.  Having him home and getting to spend some laid back time with him was just perfect and awesome, we needed some time like that.  We cooked together. relaxed, worked out, went to the beach, etc etc etc.  Luxurious!

i heart peace and the beach and sunshiny happy days

ole boring stinky duggs reads and gets burnt

I dyed my hair black!  WOO!  My natural hair color is like dirty blond, I think.  For the past year I’ve refrained from putting any color in my hair to see what it would do.  It’s gotten soooo light, it’s been fun.  But I dig contrast.  I love having either dark dark hair or white blonde platinum hair.  Which is weird, because I don’t do a lot of makeup and really look done up.   But I like fun hair.

So anyways, I went back to black.  I had a box of dye that was collecting dust, so I just used it!

dying my hair on the back porch

Oh the food!!!!!!

I’m probably addicted to food.  As soon as I’m eating, I start worrying and wondering what my next meal will be.  I think about food all the time.  So for my birthday, all I asked for was some snuggling on the couch with my boo and some really good food.  And, because I’m spoiled rotten, I got both!

We ate at Koa Pancake House on my birthday morning!!  I love that place.  We had banana pancakes, pork vinha d’alhos, eggs, fried rice.  Oh yum.  It was just Duggs and I, and it was a cute date.  I love breakfast dates.

my birthday breakfast

crazy duggs, eating some eggs n stuff

This is the first birthday of mine that I’ve ever spent with Duggs.  That made it so special and wonderful.  My heart is just all full and bursting, ya know?  It was so nice to have a happy birthday with him!  I’m all mushy and sappy for my Duggs.  What a great guy, I really am the luckiest gal in the universe.

He made me pineapple upside-down cake from scratch with fresh pineapple.  Then some lovely friends came over, and we had a DIY Sushi party!  Duggs made an amazing spread of hors d’ouvres to snack on, fried panko shrimp, and he cut and prepped a kajillion things to go into sushi rolls.

my birthday cakes that duggs made me

nom nom nom... i heart the homemade sushi

chef duggs!

Duggs took some cute pics of me opening my presents, but I don’t have them.  And I was just flooded with emails, FB posts, calls, cards, texts, etc.  I just felt so much love from so many people!  So to everyone who was friendly and gave me some b-day love: thank you so much!  Y’all made me feel so happy and special.

All in all, it was just a lovely weekend and one of my happiest birthdays to date.  That husband of mine sure did good this year!