Dear Delta, YOU ARE TERRIBLE.

Who the heck likes air travel anymore?  Well, other than Duggs because he’s weird like that and really likes riding on planes.  Who?  Why? Air travel in this day and age is awful.  It’s the worst thing any of us can experience, worse than root canals and declaring bankruptcy, because unlike most crappy situations, we know that we are powerless against air travel and that we’re going to have to go through it many times again before our days are up.  Fears of an Air Marshall tackling us and throwing us in Airport Jail and slapping our real names onto the “No Fly List” are so pervasive that the most outspoken of us are horribly afraid to even mention the most obvious of discomforts and problems.  We just shut up, keep our heads down, and fork up ubiquitous amounts of cash to get hassled like steerage on the Titanic and hope to make it to our final destination in one piece.

Well.  I’m taking a stand.  Kinda.

This past weekend I took a little saunter down to sunny (and miserably hot) Florida to go see some long-time pals and get crazy.  It was Cory Lee’s birthday and a group of us surprised him, threw him a party, and had fun because that’s what long-time pals do.  It was great, I’m glad I went, etc etc.  But… the process of getting from Buffalo, NY to Jacksonville, FL is rife with trauma.  I HATE FLYING.

cory, at his bday dinner at la nop

a blurry drunk pic of me at paco’s in jax beach. yeah, taken in the bathroom (classy, classy)

welcome to jacksonville

It’s not that I’m afraid of travel or not savvy enough to know what’s up.  I hate the process that is flying.  I hate carrying things through huge airport, I hate standing in line, I hate going through security, and I hate being crammed into small spaces with people I don’t know, I hate worrying that every overhead bin will be full and I’ll be separated from my precious items that I like to travel with.

Don’t worry, I’m actually really fun to travel with, and like everyone one you know – despite hating every single thing to do with modern air travel, I do it anyways and don’t cause a scene.  So it’s not like I’ll ruin your vacay and cause a ruckus at 10,000 feet.  I’m well traveled, and can house my way through the “expert traveler” lane like nobody’s business, and with my keen sense of direction I’m one mean emm-effer when pressed for time on a layover.  I can run far and fast, while carrying a ridiculous amount of weight in relation to my own mass, and get both myself and my always-oversized carry-ons from one gate to another with impressive grace.  I’m good at traveling.  But just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you like it.

After my weekend of travel, Delta Airlines has the audacity to email me a survey.  In the American tradition and with a temper and wit that would make my Dad proud I decided to let them have it on this survey of theirs (Viper once famously sent Delta a four-page typed letter listing every single thing they had screwed up on a huge international trip of his and Delta responded with four vouchers for business class tickets to anywhere in the world – true story). What follows is an exact copy and paste from my survey.  Enjoy.

screen shot from my stupid survey

I selected “poor” for most choices, and when asked if I’ll recommend this airline to friends or choose it for myself – I said, “not likely.”  While I was brutally honest throughout the whole thing (every answer was as close to the actual truth as I could get and reflects my real experience on this flight), the end of the survey is where I really give them a gem.  Since scrunching your eyes and reading a screen shot is lame, I’ve copy and pasted the entire last entry for y’all:

I’ve selected the choice “not likely at all,” because the truth is that I will never encourage anyone I know to give you one red cent out of happiness with your service or a life(sic; should say “like”) of your company. Sadly though, I’m sure many I know – myself included – will fork over our hard earned money to your sham of a business time and time again.

You airlines have us consumers by the balls. You treat us like cattle, you over-charge us, you’re rude and make us feel like we’re really putting you out. The counter lady in Jacksonville was the opposite of helpful and all she did was talk down to me. You’ve switched to kiosk check-ins for everyone, and that’s fine. But since when in the history of ever has a desk worker at an airline NOT been able to check in a passenger? In my vast, vast traveling experience: NEVER. Even though kiosks have existed for a long time, the people at the counter aren’t just there to waste oxygen. Except this time, in Jacksonville. She looked at me like I had seven heads when I mistakenly asked if she could check me in for my flight. In fact, she seemed like she was offended at the idea alone, and gave me a ton of gruff about, “M’am, you aren’t checked in. Why would you come to the desk to check bags without checking in to your flight? M’am??” My answer being, “umm, because EVERY SINGLE TIME IN THE HISTORY OF FLIGHT PASSENGERS CAN OPT TO CHECK IN AT THE AIRLINE’S DESK.” Why was that mistake so offensive to her? And why the heck do I, a PAYING CUSTOMER, always find myself on the crap end of the Delta Employee attitude stick?

Anyways. Of course though, I’ll cough my money over to you again. I’ll tell my friends to fly Delta, and we’ll all be put through this heinous process an endless amount of times. Because, we have no choice. You’re all like this. It’s worse than a monopoly what you airlines have – you’re the pirates of the sky. It’s like trying to be a drug dealer in an area controlled by violent gangs: the choice to not give you my money and deal with the pain you inflict is just not an option. If I ever want to go anywhere at any time, I must put up with this pageant of terror that is commercial flying in modern times. You will overcharge me, hassle me, treat me poorly, chip away at my dignity and rights… and guess what I’ll do? Come back for more.

you’re welcome. jerks.

At least the weekend was super fun, right?

I didn’t take too many pics this weekend, and I’m super let down by that.  But to go with this post, here are a couple from traveling:

sunset over the tarmac in buffalo, the night i left town

i discovered the coolest product ever in the jax airport: gopicnic, these awesome meals in a box. this is a pic of me opening one up on a flight.

my snacks

I should come back and write about my trip, my pals, the fun times, you know – the good parts.  Hopefully I will soon.  It’s been busy playing catch up after being gone.  Anyways… thanks for reading!

xoxo, HHR

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Fancy Photos From the Road: Camp Curtis

More photos, I know! I’ve finally uploaded the nice pics from our good camera onto the computer and put together some posts from our trip around New York last week.

I already wrote about the lovely time we had visiting my sister and her boyfriend Jared in Pottersville, NY at their rustic and luxurious lake house on Valentine Pond, Camp Curtis (check out that post, here!)… but I owe y’all the rest of the photos from that leg of the trip.

And since my sister had so much fun messing with the camera, we took a TON of pics while we were there.  With so many animals, such pretty scenery and so much going on, how could you not just snap away all day?

So here’s a whole mess of photos from the few days we were there.  Thanks for looking!

And as always (and I really do mean this), thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Fancy Photos From the Road – Long Island, NY

As promised, here are some of the “good” photos I took while we were on Long Island last week visting Duggs’ side of the family and a lot of our friends there.  In my earlier post, I used the snap shots from my iPhone (which aren’t so shabby), but now here are some better pics that we took with our real camera.

And even though we have a fair amount of pics, I wish I had taken more!  I always do.  It seems so annoying at the time to have out the camera and to nag everyone to pose and take pics.  But then after the fact, when you have nice photos, you’re always so glad you did it.  So my new thing is not being afraid to be the annoying one – because the benefit in the end is so worth it.

Okay.  Enough rambling, here’s from the wonderful time we had on Long Island with family, friends, loved ones near and dear:

Like I said, I wish I’d taken more photos.  These hardly paint the picture of the time we had there – no image can really encapsulate how nice it is to see family when it’s been so long since you were all last together.  But some are better than none, so I appreciate y’all checkin’ out the ones we did manage to take.

And next time someone’s pestering you to smile, think of the big picture – maybe the person with the camera writes a blog and they’re trying to fully illustrate a week-long road trip with oodles of pics.  Maybe!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

Happy Mom’s Day, Catching Up, and Other Bloggy Stuffs

I know most of my posts have been about our big move.  It’s been pretty consuming.  Don’t think the ole wheels upstairs aren’t turning though!

After staying in so many different households over the past couple weeks, I’m excited to work on some posts about my happy hippie ways that have saved us money and helped to run our home in an eco-friendly way.  I’ve been passing on my tips to our gracious hosts along the way, and it made me think that I should do a post with a bunch of my household tips and tricks!  So that’s on my mind.   Of course I want to show off all the photos from the trip (from the nice camera, I haven’t posted any of those yet) and I want to show off Fredonia and what we’ve been up to here.

Oh, and the climate change has inspired me to keep track of my outfits.  Hehe… it’s not the same style that I could get away with in Hawaii.  So it’s been fun dressing in layers and changing my daily garb.  So there’s that too!

in pottersville on a dreary day- i’m wearing jeans, boots, and long sleeves. i can’t remember the last time i had all this on at the same time. it’s fun!

In good time, once I have more magical interwebs power I will post lots of fun and exciting happy hippie idears and posts (I know I always say that, but really I’ve been on the ball the past several days – Idk if it’s getting away from the moldy house or just moving in general, but man has my energy and motivation been coming back to me.  I’ve been incredible industrious since we’ve arrived in Fredonia – it’s outstanding!).

For now though, it’s great just to say hi!  I hope everyone is doing well.

To all the mothers out there, I hope y’all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!! We spent the afternoon at my Aunt Patty’s house and had a lovely family dinner.  It was great.  I hope all the mommies out there spent time with your loved ones and were able to feel the love and appreciation that so many have for you!

aunt patty and nick, yesterday at dinner celebrating mother’s day and us being up here finally!

…I have to admit, it’s a holiday that’s a bit bittersweet for me… I can’t wait to be a mom someday and get to enjoy the celebration in a different way.  It’s certainly a day that made me wistful.

But I know things all happen for a reason, and that God’s got us covered.  So when the time is right, I know our family will grow.  And until then, I’m all about make the best of the millions of blessings we sure do have!  There’s a lot of exploring to do in our new home, so much to see and do, so many new places to check out.

Even though Mother’s Day made me a teensy bit sad, it’s a very exciting and happy time for us.  And sharing in that positive energy is so fun for me.  So keep your fingers crossed that we’re able to get some decent high speed and then I’ll be back up and running in full effect!

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

The Last Leg of Our Roadtrip, to Buffalo We Go!

Hey there readers!  It’s your favorite Northern Newbie, posting a bit to say hey!

check out my new raincoat. i’m so northern, right? i so fit in. i just know it.

I last posted about Camp Curtis and the wonderful relaxing time we had in scenic Pottersville, visiting my sister and her boyfriend Jared, where his family graciously hosted us at their lake house.

saying goodbye, our last couple minutes at camp curtis – here’s roger by the fire on a rainy day

We had a great time indeed.  After we packed up and hit the road though, it was time to bring this show on down.  The whole point of our “road trip” across New York was moving, so as much as visiting was nice – we had to get to the moving part of the exercise. So we were off!

saying bye to my beautiful sister, i miss her already!

me, taking more pics of myself while duggs is telling me to get my crap in the car so we can go, go, go! (oops).

hey there aj, lookin’ good!

about to hit the road

My husband, Duggs, is now (happily! blissfully! excitedly!) a civilian, and has just gotten out of the USMC.  After dutifully serving a contract, we decided that we wanted to give life outside of the military a go.  So we sadly left gorgeous Hawaii and have embarked on a new life.

The military flew us to Matthew’s “home of record,” New York City (since he’s from Long Island).  And rather than pay all the extra money to add on a flight to Buffalo, we decided to take the chance to go visit family and take our time.  So we rented a car (an amazing, luxurious SUV – a Buick Enclave, a vehicle I would do anything to actually own, it’s the nicest ride I’ve ever been in, seriously!  except that I’m a hippie and I’m morally opposed to such massive gas guzzlers, of course)… so we rented a car and went to visit family.  First my husband’s people, all across Long Island.  Then my sister, who happened to have just moved to Upstate NY, outside of Albany.

From here, we had one last journey – about six hours of driving west to lovely Fredonia, NY – our new home.  So we hit the highway, and made our merry way to start a new chapter of our happy hippie lives.

i love the scenery of upstate new york!

we saw a lot of this on the six hour drive

and a lot of this too. pretty, but dreary too!

the sun setting over I-90

Duggs and I really had a nice time in the car together.  Books on tape, podcasts, music and chit chat passed the time nicely.  Not to mention all the scenery and the Dunkin Donuts stops (of course).

oh cute pooch, all snuggled down and being a good boy on the ride. finally, he chilled out and learned how to snooze in the car.

duggs at the wheel, off to buffalo we go!

i’m hanging out the passenger side of my best friend’s ride

So this was the last part of our “road trip,” with the destination being our new home! I’m actually here now, and we’ve spent the last five or so days getting moved in, settled in and what not.  I know I have a lot of posts to catch up on, pics to share and all that – so this week will be my catch-up week, with posts everyday from our new home and backtracking with photo posts from the road trip and our time visiting friends and family in New York.

Mostly I can say, life is good!  Hope to see y’all around this week and I hope to get into a good groove of writing now that we’re in one spot and plan to be here for quite some time.

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

Aloha to Hawaii, I’ll Miss You So… Saying GoodBye In Photos

Aloha Beautiful Hawaii! 

aloha rainbow state!

good ole wackiness from my first ever trip to hawaii, back in 2009

Saying goodbye to paradise was harder than I thought it was going to be.  This next step of life is so exciting and wonderful, and trust me: I’m blessed, happy to be where I am physically, emotionally, and everything – this point in life is good.

honeymoon at turtle bay, an amazing time

Our life in Hawaii was extreme, we saw great times and faced challenges.  We reunited there after deployments, but it’s also the place from which we had to say good bye.  We spent sun kissed afternoons out on the water, luxurious days at Turtle Bay, fun evenings out and about… it’s where we said “I do,” and it’s where we found the apple of our eye – our sweet pooch JJ Duggan!

our wedding day

exchanging vows on kailua beach, we did our wedding our way and it was so perfect for us

me and the sweet lil’ pooch, oh i’m so glad we found him in hawaii

It’s also where I’ve battled some health issues, it’s where we suffered a great loss when we experienced our miscarriage, coping through a lonely and hard deployment that was tossed at us without much warning.  But through it all, we came out on top, our marriage was bonded tighter and stronger – so we’ll take with us the happy sunny sweet tropical memories and get ready for a clean slate as we wipe away and move past some of life’s tougher trials.

saying goodbye before a deployment

saying hello when he comes back home again! ahhh, the reunion kiss is always the best.

I’m excited to be in New York and starting this next phase of our lives.  We’re literally writing the first page of a new chapter.  Matthew is out of the Marine Corps and he’s now a civilian, we’ve left Hawaii and moved to New York.  We’re setting out on our own, together.  Duggs was already established in the USMC and living in Hawaii when I came out and joined him – this is a step we’re taking together, going through it all hand in hand.

So yes, I’m stoked to be here in New York…

But I’m going to genuinely miss Hawaii.  I just wanted to take a little post to reflect on the gorgeous aina paradise and really say Aloha.

aloha to paradise, i’ll miss the warm pacific oh so much

we had so much fun boating and out in the hawaiian sun – too much fun to be had every hawaiian day

Hawaii is the kind of place where everywhere you go, there’s an epic view and a breath-taking scene to just suck in and fill yourself with.  The lush mountains, rainbows, flowers, the amazing bright blue oceans and the warm buttery sun bathing all of us.  Hawaii really is this vibrant, happy, relaxed paradise and I am so incredibly blessed to have lived there and spent the time there I was able to.

horseback riding on the north shore, romantic and something i’ll never forget. a truly one of a kind experience.

this island is incredible, i could take a million pics and still wish i had more

When family and old friends came out to visit, we were able to have an awesome time with them in Hawaii – showing off our island home.  I made some amazing friends and connections in Hawaii, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay refreshed and renewed my faith and my love of Christ.

sky diving day in the fall of 2010 – duggs, me, anna (my sister), and brian (duggs’ all time bff)

hope chapel women’s retreat 2011 – arise and shine!

L.O.V.E. HCKB Women’s Retreat 2012

me and ashtan and her navy day ball!

haunted lagoon 2011 at the polynesian cultural center, with ashtan + me

girl’s hiking morning at makapuu lighthouse, while all of our hubbies were deployed we made the best of it!

hope chapel k-bay is where i so found my heart for God – this past christmas was so awesome, here i am in between mel and tami!

The military experience is one that we’ll always remember.  Me as a spouse and Duggs as a dutiful member of the United States Marine Corps.  His service is the whole reason we were ever in Hawaii.  Even though the USMC liked to throw wrenches in our plans all the time, I have the utmost respect for the branch and the military in general. I’m grateful for the hard and brave work those dedicated men and women do, and I’m so proud to be married to a man as nobel as a Marine.

our first usmc ball together, in 2010

I tried to pick a couple photos to sum up my amazing Hawaiian experience, the wonderful times I’ve spent in paradise.  And yeah, it was impossible.  So thus… here’s a crazy montage of pics as a way for me to say Aloha!

I’ll miss Hawaii so very much.  I hope that we’ll be able to visit again one day, and hopefully it won’t be too far in the future that we get to go back.  Until then, I’ll take my mainland life one day at a time and find new beautiful sights to oooh and aaah over, I’ll discover new favorite places and I’m sure Duggs and I will forge tons of new memories and create lots of new adventures, all with stories to tell.  But as we do, I take some little pieces of Hawaii with me always – the sea turtle tattoo I got on my first trip to the island, the wedding ring on my hand that will always make me think of Kailua’s soft sandy beach, and the thousands of memories forever etched into my heart.

Aloha Hawaii – I’ll love you always! 

pretty islands (photo credit here)

And to my readers, I thank you (as always) for reading! xoxo, hhr

Mold, Maggots, Moving, Medical Maladies and Miscellaneous Misadventures.

Man oh man! (is that enough alliteration for ya or what? wow! that’s impressive, even for me).

I actually drafted this post back before we even left Hawaii, and just didn’t have time to polish it, upload the pics and get it online.  But for the sake of continuity and explaining a little bit of what the heck happened to me (when I fell off the face of the blogging earth), I figured I’d go ahead with it anyways.  So keep in mind this here blog wraps up our last days and weeks in the beautiful tropical paradise of Oahu, a place I’ll always love and already miss dearly.

What happened to the rest of April 2012?  We were overcome…

Mold, Maggots, Moving, Medical Maladies, and even more Misc. Misadventures!

I really really thought I could keep up with the 30 Days of Blogging Honesty Challenge. I really really did… but clearly I did not.  (My last day was day 12, that’s hardly a noble effort.  Sheesh!)  And I’m bummed, and disappointed in myself. I’ll admit, sometimes I have a hard time finishing through with projects.  And I try really hard to manually get into my brain and change my ways, try to do better- but I’m human, and I long ago abandoned my perfectionist ways and the obscene pressure I used to put on myself to do everything to the letter; I’ve learned when to walk away, or ask for help, or admit I’m not hacking it. So as far as blogging diligently these days?  Keeping up the 30 Days challenge?  I’m so not hacking it.

I did not hack it!

Perhaps it’s a case of bad timing?  Most likely a case of taking on WAY TOO much at a time when I knew I shouldn’t have.  When real life gets super duper busy and something has to go – personal blogging and other just-for-fun hobbies have to get cut before working, or eating, or cleaning do.  So with everything we had juggling, the happy hippie rosieness I add to the Interwebs had to take a backseat (sadly).

A big thanks to the gang that let me play along for the meager days I did, and to all of those who read the entries and had fun with it all.  Here‘s where I found out about it all, over at the fab Tom Baker‘s blog. Maybe next year I’ll try again, and in the very least I have a lot of new blogs that I subscribe to now.  So that’s fun!

Before I get into the super gross stuff, I had better point out – April 17th was our SECOND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

april 17, 2010 – the best day of my life

So Duggs took the day off, and so did I, and we both stepped away from the compies and the Interwebs and celebrated by spending a lovely, peaceful day together.  We had some lofty and fancy plans, and in the end just opted to relax and be together.  My Dad and Step-mom did gift us the edible arrangement (yummy!) and we got some very nice cards in the mail too.  So- for all the anny love, THANKS Y’ALL!

thanks viper and anna, it was soooo yummy!

We had a great anniversary, and we’re so very blessed to have spent two wonderful years of marriage.  Here’s to many, many, MANY more to come!!

Now,

Onto the gross:

MOLD

looks appetizing, yeah?

They really really did find mold in our house on base.  Oodles of it, gross stuff.  All kinds of colors and colonies.  At first they tried to lie about it and tell us it was dust.  But I’m no fool, no sir-ee, and I pushed and insisted to have them act as if it were mold.

What came of it?  A couple measly attempts to clean out our A/C ducts and not much else.  The sad part is that a new family will move into that very same house (they may already be in there now) and who even knows what can and will happen to them and their health.

a moldy air vent, lovely!

duggs has way better pics, way more documentation… but there are the ones i snapped the day the housing guy told me that our vents were just “dusty” and he didn’t see any mold.

Yes, they’re tearing the street of houses down sometime in 2013 and building fresh brand new ones.  But a year or so is still a long time to dwell in a poisonous death trap.  And who knows what other houses are full of what other kinds of spores and methods of slow respiratory suicide?

Ugh.

I’m really hoping that the longer I’m away from Bordelon Loop, the better I’ll feel.  I want my lungs to get rid of the gunk and the nastiness that’s embedded into my body.  I truly hope that both Duggs and I see some restored health in the near future.  What if all my face pain and ear ache troubles were mold caused from the jump?!  Getting a “cure” out of moving would be utterly epic.

MAGGOTS 

This wasn’t my first encounter with household maggots.  Sad, but true,  Exactly a year ago they plagued me and had me on the edge of my sanity.  There’s just something about maggots squirming all over my home that just horrifies me.  They’re just SO. DAMN. GROSS.

Gross = such a severe understatement.  I hate them!!

eww. eww. eww. eww. EWW!!!!

Now, we didn’t have a massive abundance of maggots crawling all over the place. It’s not like they were covering the walls and ceilings, etc.  But every day we’d find them… four, six, ten at a time and it seemed like each day there would more.  Always congregating in the same area of the house, but I was never able to find an exact source.  And talk about hard to kill. They so difficult.  You have to use bleach (which we were out of) or you have to literally squish them so hard they pop to death.

HOW EFFING NASTY IS THAT?!?!?!

If you just threw up in your mouth a little bit and never want to even ever read my blog again, I don’t even blame you.  That idea is so nasty to me I even hate myself for just typing it out.  Now imagine that I had to live it.

maggot vid of the super yucky crawly guy!

Last year when the maggots came, I prepped this whole crazy blog post about it all, complete with lots o’ pics.  And then, I decided not to post it.  With the use of bleach and hard work, sleepless nights and Carly’s steam cleaner I was able to combat the nasty crawlers in a few days… and well, I had just started my tie dye ‘biz and I was worried no one would want to buy a shirt from the maggot house.  I mean, rightfully so.  And Duggs hates people thinking that he has me living in squalor, it’s embarrassing.

from the 2011 invasion – they came in by the front door.

okay, so looking at this (another ’11 pic) i remember that last year’s batch was actually way way worse than this year’s. the 2011 influx just scarred me so badly, i’m now a huge weenie when it comes to maggots and i’m totally fearful and icked out and just can’t hardly handle them.

last year i had bleach on hand. come 2012, my hippie green ways have so evolved, i didn’t have any available.

same species this year and last, that’s for sure though

last year, i was all no-nonsense. i needed to re-find my old 2011 badassery for this year’s dilemma. i mean, actually… i was kinda badass in my own right after the first couple days. i got over the initial fear and started going rambo on those little bastards. i’m not all shrinking violet, ya know.

look at how tough i was a year ago (and tan, jeals!!), i’m gonna be this gal again!

But we keep an immaculately clean home, that’s just the tropics for you!  It has nothing to do with our cleanliness or hygiene, or the caliber of provider my wonderful husband is… it’s just Hawaii!

MOVING! 

At time of press I’m already in the great state of New York.  But managing such a big move isn’t just a hop, skip, and jump.  So during the last half of April (especially) our lives were really up-ended as the moving date got closer and we had more to do.

my final look at our pink house on the hawaiian hill – so many mixed emotions, so much joy and some really challenging times all went down within these walls. i’m excited to move forward because that’s the direction of life. but i’ll always have a special place for the first home i shared with my husband and all the experiences we shared there.

Shipping the dog = getting his health certified, shots and records updated, making sure his crate is the right kind and all good to go.

Shipping the car = special letter from Honda since it’s a leased vehicle, getting it all cleaned and properly prepped to go, not to mention having to turn it in so we didn’t even have a whip to get ourselves around.

Shipping the goods = movers came and packed, so at least that part is taken care of.  But there’s still lots to plan and accomodate, lots of organizing to do.

there’s all of our worldly stuffs, all packed and crated up

good bye goods, see you in ny!

Prepping the house = painting, cleaning, fixing, mowing.  Just getting the mold, maggot, rat, ant, spider, infested death trap into suitable condition to turn in the keys was such a joke.  The place was such a mess! And yet they had us spit shine the whole place top to bottom as if we were turning over the taj mahal. sheesh!

duggs, the wonderful good man he is, did most of the painting

when i say “most,” i mean like 95% of the painting… i helped do the first coat in a room and a half… he did all the rest + all the final coats on his own

i don’t think duggs slept for two weeks straight with all the prep we had to do to move

Taking care of getting all my meds refilled and stocked, getting in all my last appointments and securing records.  It’s this kind of stuff that you don’t even think of!

what’s a goodbye tour of o’ahu without a trip to good ole tripler army hospital? hahaha. oh, of course.

duggs and i at the pharmacy together, a task we’ve done so many, many times together… and this one was our last

Not to mention planning work, finances, arrangements, figuring out where to go and how we’re getting each step of the way… etc. etc. etc.  There’s a lot that goes into such a move.  Especially considering that Duggs is transitioning from military to civilian.  Not only are we changing continents (kinda) and location, climate, and timezone – but our lifestyle is totally changing in so many ways too!

Duggs had epic amounts of paperwork to do, signatures to get and all kinds of running around to make sure we were all squared away.  Once the packers came and nabbed all of our stuffs, we moved to a hotel 30-40mins away from base (based on traffic) and that’s when things got even wackier!

Limited and low quality Internet, limited access to anything, me and pooch living in a tiny room.  And oh the horror… no more cable! No DVR! I can’t even continue discussing the hardships I endured.

(I’m being sarcastic.  Other than being in a nosy, weird part of town with the pool closed for repairs and the Internet super craptastic, it was perfectly fine.  The staff was lovely and I had a nice enough time.  And pooch-friendly!  Who can ask for more?!?!).

But seriously, what’s a move if nothing goes wrong and all goes smooth?

-Duggs got in a fender-bender, won’t get into the details here – but as it all worked out, we REALLY lucked out on all the technicalities of that one, although for a day or so it was a huge source of stress.  Thank God no one was hurt!

-The shipping company didn’t take the car the first time we went to go ship it – some mess about having wheel locks on and not having the key available to take them off (the key got packed when the movers packed up the house, oopsies!).   So figuring that out made us sweat a bit.  A lot a bit.

adios honda! see ya in new jersey, sooner hopefully than later!

ahh, the thrills and good times we had here.

-The prescriptions for my final day of med pick ups were all messed up, and thankfully we were able to sort it out, but the day we left we spent three hours un-doing that whole mess.    Driving around to the pharmacy and the doctor’s, cabs and all kinds of stuff.  Oy! Mess!

-We had so much packing to do, we were cramming it all into our bags right up until the last minute possible…

jj standing guard over all the crazy mess that we had to pack up. yikes! (we unpacked it all, so that we could re-do the most efficient packing job possible).

When Duggs went to give JJ a quick bath, and the hotel room’s bathroom door malfunctioned, and locked JJ in the bathroom!  Thankfully the tub wasn’t plugged (although the water was running, and it was such an awful waste).  We had maintenance come as quickly as they could and try to break open the door, but since something was broken with the knob and lock, it took them like 15 minutes to bust him out.  Poor guy was so scared – and poor us, so stressed having all this go on while our flight count-down was ticking right in our face.  We didn’t have time to burn!

the crazy bathroom door that self-locked and trapped poor jayjers in there all alone

if you look to the left you can see the pooch in there. i layed on the floor and he put his nose under the crack and sniffed me, gave me little smooches. he gets so scared so easily, i had to go wait with him and stand a vigil.

the maintenance guy who came to free our pooch!

I’m sure more went wrong, it felt like at the time that everything was going out of control.  But then we made it… we made it to the gate, we boarded the plane (the last ones on), JJ made it too, we all got to NY safe and sound and in one piece and well, that’s all we could even ask for.

Moving can be such a colossal pain in the bum, but starting a new chapter of life is such an amazing experience.  It’s so cool to get to start something fresh with Duggs and set out into together and see what will come and figure our way together.

Medical Maladies

Sickness. Yes, I have been violently ill.  AGAIN.  This time it was a stomach bug.  Luckily for me, it hit me the hardest right on moving day and I was rendered useless while trying to pack our house and get everything together to move from Hawaii to New York.  Perfect timing, right? I was vomming and so sick to my stomach I could hardly move.  THANK GOD it has let up the past few days and I’m cautiously optimistic about referring to myself as “feeling better.”  (I wrote this part from the hotel in Hawaii, on one of the last days of April – at the time of press I can tell you that my stomach bug totally cleared up and I’m feeling much better on that front, but of course since traveling to NY I’ve picked up new germs, a new cold, and I’ve had a dreadful sore throat and head aches!  It’s just been back to back to back illness for me, it’s been awful!  I’ve had a “cold” or a “bug” almost nonstop the past two month.  What’s up with that?!?!)

my dear sweet neighbor made me this super delicious soup earlier in the month when i had a dreadful respiratory infection. how kind of her! thank you amber, i’ll miss having such a sweetheart neighbor!!

Back in April when I had the tummy bug, oh man there were some awful awful days though… like, I don’t remember feeling that ill during chemo, honestly. HUGE thank you to everyone who checked in and sent love + prayers + well wishes.  Many, many thanks!

my first attempt at “food” after a couple fierce days of stomach bug

Besides my health, life has just been nutty!

Misc. Misadventures! 

Work is nuts.  Life is nuts.  Leaving Hawaii and the USMC and our lives as we knew it and starting totally anew is nuts…

But it’s nutty in a hectic way as well as a great, wonderful way.  I’ve taken lots of pics during our trip so far and I’m excited to share with y’all the wonderful time we’ve had so far.  I’ve been the recipient of so many well wishes and love, and it’s been such a delight to have a loud and great cheering section, encouraging us along every step of the way.  On some of our bonkiest, most stressful days – getting an uplifting and happy message just meant so much.

The zany crazy days of April are behind us now, and embracing this new life has been an activity sought with zeal.

I’ll wrap up this April Hawaiian catch up by saying this…

Spending our last Hawaiian day in a busy blur, we had so much going on.  I took a minute to chronicle (because of course, I love chronicling as much as I can) and here’s what I pecked out right before we had to pack up the compy:

What can go wrong, will go wrong. Murphy’s Law, right?  It’s so all over this move.  But as it does, Duggs and i just keep repeating our marriage’s mantra: we can get through anything together.  And really, we can. Done: car is shipped. Meds have been (finally) picked up after an uber crazy pharmacy-Tripler ordeal of running around. Rental car is donezo and out of our hands.  House is packed up.  Snacks and sudoku have been purchased.  Movies have been downloaded to mobile devices.  All we have to-do now is finish packing up this hotel room and we’re outta here.  It feels like a lot to do, but after all we’ve been through in the past few weeks – painting, sickness, the maggots, the mold, paperwork hiccups, so much running around, pooch getting a boo boo on his arm – we’ve been through it all together, as we can anything.

And as we get through it, we come out with smiles and funny stories to tell.  So long as I have that Duggs to hold my hand, I’m not intimidated by all this wackiness and manic messiness that’s been our lives as of late.

So now, I’m off to shove some clothes into my suitcases and make that flight!

after saying such sweet sappiness, i had to post a couple pics of me and my duggs being mushy… so here are some that i’ve never posted online, they happen to be from st. patty’s

oh i love this man with all my heart!

The way it all worked out we’ve been able to go on a New York state road trip and spend some much-needed time with family and friends.  Our tour de loved ones has thus far been amazing, and we still haven’t even made it to the Buffalo-area yet – where there’s so much family left to reunite with!

a strange mid-sentence snapshot of me and the duggs being lunatics in the rental whip, riding around new york! stand by for more of our moving antics to come…

As always, thanks for reading!  I’m glad to have made this big ole long post and hopefully it’s been a way to catch everyone up and give somewhat of an explanation for my weeks of no-showing.

We’re still on the road and in the midst of the moving process – so I’m not sure when I’ll be in a place to start posting regularly again.  But I sure do hope its soon.  I love working on HHR and I so do love each and every reader who takes the time to follow my ramblings and see what’s been going on and what we’ve been up to.

When I sign off each post with “thanks for reading,” please know that I truly mean it.  So thanks for standing by and thanks for your patience with all the shuffling we’ve been experiencing lately.

And really: thanks for reading!! 

xoxo, hhr

Whew. What An Amazing Weekend – Women Of Hope Retreat 2012

I spent this past weekend on the North Shore with 140 of God’s LOVEliest women at my church’s 2012 women’s retreat!

the women of hope

I’m fired up, filled to overflowing, loved, happy, encouraged, humbled, grateful, and … exhausted!  Hence, this post isn’t the actual rundown post.  No, this weekend was so full of post-able pieces of wisdom, insights, joy, fun, photos, and good ideas it’s going to take me a hot minute to compile it all together.  I think I’ll actually make a few posts.

I was so honored to be on the ministry team, working at the event.  I was in charge of the tie dye event and I came up with/led some ice breakers.  I want to post about the group bonding games we did in hopes that others could take the ideas and use them for their own events (Annmarie and I co-led the ice breakers and we are oh so clever, we invented our own games for the ladies to play!!).

The ministry was amazing.  We had devotionals, testimonies, teachings, praise and worship, prayer, prayer and more prayer.  Eight women were baptized in the ocean! EIGHT! Countless women had their faith renewed, re-ignited; sins were purged, the enemy was attacked, others were forgiven.

ocean baptism - amen!

The theme of retreat was LOVE.  We are Lovely, Overcoming, Victorious, and Eternal.

I learned so much, I just feel so pumped up.  I’ve been falling off in my obedience and commitment to God, and this weekend really gave me a chance to dig in and reconnect.  I was able to lay a lot of my own junk down and serve my God, happily.

So, there is MUCH to share, much to say and much to show.  Just give me a few days to collect my thoughts (and notes – I used like seven different notebooks, so everything is all scattered and out of order)… and a series of posts will ensue!

camp mokule'ia is amazing.

If you have any requests of stuff you’d like me to talk about, lemme know.

Oh, and the location!  The location was epic.  Camp Mokule’ia is peaceful and amazing.  The new direction of the facility is to live and run the operations of the camp in a way that is most kind to the land it’s on.  Sustainable living is totally promoted with a new gray water system, aquaponics, composting, gardening, and beefed up recycling.  A hippie like me couldn’t be more excited, especially because Camp management bases all of their green-inspired efforts in Scripture!  I’ll be interviewing the owner of the Camp and giving a full explanation of all their new eco-friendly installations, what the impact has been like, the theological inspiration for the efforts, and how camped have been responding.  So rad, right!?!?

I’m excited to get cracking.  Love to all of my sisters – thank you for a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr