Friday, November 30, 2012

Poem of the Month: Giving Thanks

Note: This post is picture-less because it seems I have maxed out my photo storage on Blogger and now need to pay $2.50 a month?? I have been trying different options for the past 5 days while this post sat, but now I'm just posting it and may cough up the $30 a year if my last option doesn't pan out . . .

It's been a while since I posted a poem of the month, but I definitely need to for November. Because, despite my last post, when I think about my life, I am deeply, deeply grateful. And poetry expresses the beauty of life so well. Especially when it's Mary Oliver's poetry. So here's "Messenger":

MESSENGER by Mary Oliver
 My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

I love this poem because she tells us to focus on what matters, which is "mostly standing still and learning to be astonished," something that I have a hard time doing in my busy life--standing still and not focusing on my old boots and torn coat and instead focusing on all the ingredients around me and on the perspective of "how  it is that we live forever." 

We had a good, low-key Thanksgiving with delicious food and good company. I got a great start on my Christmas shopping thanks to Black Friday, and we had fun meeting up with old Massachusetts friends/family, the Joneses.  I have much to be thankful for! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hand over the cheese

because I have a little (big?) whine:

I'm tired. My digestive system is not normal. My skin feels like it's going to rip. My hips hurt. I can't breathe well. My stomach/ribs/lungs are constantly being beat up. And I'm so tired. I'm HUGE and I have 7 more weeks to go.

While I'm on the subject, I feel it appropriate to give some guidance to the nonpregnant people out there:  it's not ever a good idea to assume that you know a woman's due date.  No need for comments such as, "So, a Thanksgiving baby, huh?" Um, no. Hopefully not even a Christmas one. Or comments like, "Wow, you're about ready to pop!" or "You've gotten so big." Not helpful.

And, while I'm on the subject, I feel it appropriate to give some guidance to the pregnant women out there:  it's a good idea to try to go to the gym, even when you're huge. Not only because the endorphins still come even if you climb the revolving staircase at a snail's pace but also because your fellow gym-goers will heap lavish praise upon you: "You look so great!" they will say constantly. "You're so awesome for working out!" All you have to do is be present for 30 min and you will leave feeling like you have just accomplished an amazing feat. Plus, all the weight you gain will miraculously melt off once you deliver, thanks to extra muscle from the gym. Right?! Right?!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Well, hello there, Grandpa

This week the role of Grandpa in the Sunday morning episode of Where the Red Fern Grows, will be played by Miss Halloween.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Did I mention we went to Hawaii?

Kauai, to be exact. After a lot of different plans for trips to various places and after a lot of trying to find someone to watch our kids, we finally found a brief window in which my mom could come down so J and I could get away before baby girl makes her grand appearance. Now it seems like months ago, so I figured I'd better blog a recap before I forget even more.

Day 1: Traveling--after renting our Jeep, we drove to the North Shore, checked into the Westin, and grabbed some fish and chips for dinner.

Day 2: Open-door helicopter tour of the island.  This was completely amazing. We learned a lot about Kauai, flew into craters and valleys, next to waterfalls. Gorgeous and amazing. Then we headed back to the hotel for pool and beach time.

Waimea Canyon

The Napoli Coast, inaccessible by car

This is along the North Shore, where our hotel was. On our last day, we snorkeled by this reef that you can see in the pic below.

The beach we shared with St. Regis, complete with pineapple-carrying servers.

Day 3:  We spent the morning on a kayak/hiking tour, up the Wailua River and through the rain forest to the Sacred Falls, which, because of the drought, we more like a Sacred Trickle. It was still pretty, though. We had a picnic lunch and swam in the cold pool beneath the falls.

We headed to the beach/pool for the afternoon and then went to the Smith Family Luau. We loved the traditions and the surroundings, we liked the food (it was good, but not fabulous), and we enjoyed the entertainment. 

 Day 4: Waimea Canyon:  Kauai's "Little Grand Canyon".  We drove all the way to the west side of the island, where it's drier, to see the Waimea Canyon. It was beautiful, of course. We hiked a little, and had a hard time getting any good pics because the fog would roll in from the mountains in a matter of minutes.

 We drove to the end of the road and further, out onto the beach. No roads go beyond this point because the Napoli Coast is so inaccessible. Joe took the opportunity to cool off.

 And I took the opportunity to savor a true Hawaiian shaved ice, which has vanilla ice cream in the center and vanilla cream over the top. Delish!

Day 5: Golfing at the Princeville course. J convinced me that he could NOT go to Kauai and NOT golf the Princeville course, which is one of the top 100 courses in the world. The scenery was gorgeous, and the course was pretty fancy schmancy, with personalized GPS systems in the carts and people bringing us pineapple. I rode along for the first 9 holes and then split to do some window shopping in Hanalei Bay. After  another delicious lunch of fish and chips, we tried out the Hanalei Bay beach for the afternoon.  

Hanalei Bay

One of the highlights of the bay--lying on my stomach after months of being confined to my side.  The freedom. I dug myself a little belly hole. Or a big belly hole, I guess.
That night we had the best dinner of the trip--at the Dolphin restaurant. I had to forego the swordfish and ahi tuna because of mercury content, but my other fish--Opa--was soooo delish, as was my smoothie and bacon and cheese-wrapped asparagus. Yum.I'm salivating just thinking about it.
Day 6: We started the day out by hiking the Kalalau Trail along the Napoli Coast. We drove to the end of the road and then set out to hike the 2 miles into a secluded beach. We could have gone 2 more miles to a waterfall, but the hike was really difficult--lots of elevation changes and rocky terrain. Despite the fact that I've been working out throughout my pregnancy, the 4-mile-roundtrip hike to the beach was plenty for a 29-week pregnant woman.

 After the hike, some smoothies, and pulled pork sandwiches, we crashed on the beach (after walking around the seals!). We managed to snorkel a bit later and then headed back to the hotel to get ready to go to the airport. On the way to the airport, we stopped by a couple of waterfalls and ate our last authentic Hawaiian food.

Our plane left at 8:30, and you'd think that with all the hiking and snorkeling, that we'd sleep well on our red eye, but the flight was miserable. MISERABLE. Neither of us could get comfortable and we landed early in LAX at 1:30am Kauai time for a freezing cold 3 1/2 hr layover. What a terrible way to end such a fun, relaxing vacation. We got home around 11am, dead on our feet, happy to have made it, glad to see our kids, and very thankful for my mom for all she did to help us have such a wonderful getaway.  As you can see, the kids didn't suffer while we were gone :)