Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MLS Cup 2012~!

It's been a little over a week since hubby and I got back from MLS Cup 2012... but I thought I'd give you all a trip report. Most of you know hubby is a soccer nut, years ago he actually played soccer (goalie) in a team for his hometown and his dad coached for many years-while his brother still plays in Guatemala. Every year since we have been going to Guatemala we've picked up a few EA Sports video games for his son and nephews to play on their Xbox and PS2 systems. Knowing hubby will be taking a trip again sometime next year, and that he will be thinking about gifts-I was checking out the upcoming 2013 video games on the internet and happened to see a sweepstakes offering a chance to go to MLS Cup 2012. I didn't think I'd actually win, but I entered-hey, someone has to win, right? The particular sweepstakes was a contest, asking people to pick the cover they liked the best for the upcoming FIFA 2013 soccer video game. As a consumer, I voted for the one I liked the best-the one that would appeal to me should I be shopping in a store and looking to make a purchase. I was at work one day, nonchalantly checking my email when I saw an email congratulating me on winning this particular sweepstakes. Thinking I'd won a secondary prize (though I wasn't sure they were offering one) I opened up and read and re-read the congratulations message. Wow... hotel, airfare, and a trip to MLS Cup 2012~! Now THAT was exciting! Of course, now I needed to call hubby. And wouldn't you know the ONE time I needed to have him answer the phone he didn't answer right off???!!! Finally he called me back and listened to me as I told him excitedly in Spanish what I had won and asking him if he wanted to come with me. He got quiet, and didn't say anything. (I don't think he believed me) Finally, he said yes! Of course he wanted to go! So I contacted the person who had sent me the message and let her know that we were definitely going! Now comes the fun part-the MLS Cup final location was to be determined. In the past, they had always known the location, but this year it was being done differently-and wherever we were headed it was a surprise and we'd find out a week or so before leaving. So I put my vacation time in quickly and waited... (and watched the games!) Finally, it was set in stone...we were going to Los Angeles! Wow... the West Coast. We were flying out Friday, heading to the game Saturday and coming home on Sunday. A very long travel time for a very quick trip. But you only live once... so we went for it! We arrived in LA and were tired. We'd been invited to the welcome reception that evening at Greystone Manor, but after jet lag, hubby working the night before, and me not having time to pack the swanky clothes I wanted to wear to an event of that type, we decided to chill in the lobby and order Mexican takeout delivered to the room :) Leave it to me to find takeout anywhere I go lol. We got into LA at 5 pm but after getting a ride to the hotel it was close to 6:30, so I picked up my credentials, checked in, and went to shower and relax in the room. The hotel was full of MLS people, and check in went super smoothly, thank goodness. We were able to get some wonderful pics of LA and the skyline, and we had a great city view. We headed to bed early, excited for the game the next day. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet in the hotel before heading onto the bus that took us to the stadium. We got there a bit early so I could do some shopping-getting t-shirts for my daughter and taking more photos. Around 11, the stadium opened and they let us in right off, due to our credentials. We headed to the pre-game hospitality tent sponsored by El Jimador Tequila. Oh my gosh, there was food everywhere... and can anyone say free booze? Hubby was in his glory, and I have to admit I had a couple very well made margaritas myself. There were a few freebies as well, MLS Cup 2012 scarves and plush soccer balls with MLS Cup 2012 that we were able to get in the hospitality tent. The time came that we needed to get to our seats. I asked security where I would be sitting. They looked at my credentials and pointed to 6 black recliners set up on the sidelines... um... I didn't know what to say, but hubby just looked at me and his mouth dropped. The food, delicious. The drinks, thirst quenching. The seats? Priceless. Our view of the game was spectacular... we got lots of great photos and I was thrilled to see the actor Gerard Butler thisclose so that I could reach out and touch him if I wanted to. Lol. We also saw David Beckham play his last game with LA Galaxy, which in itself, was a moment in soccer history, and we were glad to be part of it. After the game, we hung around a bit to get player photos before heading back to the hospitality tent for MORE food and MORE drinks. This time, I had to order the Galaxy Blue, the signature drink they were promoting. Finally, it was back to the hotel-a quick trip to the lobby to purchase t-shirts for my grandsons and goodies for my mom from the gift shop, and on to bed! The hotel staff, Sara at the front desk, and Greg the concierge were wonderful. While I never met the woman (Nan) who had emailed me and made the travel arrangements for the sweepstakes during our trip to LA, I am so grateful for the trip and the opportunity they gave us to attend the game. It was a great trip-Yes, people do win these things-and BIG thanks to EA Sports, MLS Soccer and all those involved in making our trip such a great experience, we felt like true VIP's! I am posting a few photos of the trip for you to check out...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Deja's 11th Birthday!

Wow... it seems like almost yesterday I had my daughter. And to think, she turned 11 on December 7th... that young girl is now becoming a young woman. Of course, she will ALWAYS be my baby lol. But from what I have heard, a tween and teen daughter can be a handful...raging hormones, the arrival of "Aunt Flo" and the discovery of BOYS. She's already turning into a budding Fashionista-and has informed me of what is totally cool...and what isn't. Gone are the days I could pick out her little cute outfits, she now is into fashion. That means shopping. She's even been able to incorporate a little of her grandmother's clothing and mine (think 60's and 80's folks) into her wardrobe with some newer pieces to create whole new "cool" outfits that her friends in school compliment her on. I just knew that her birthday outfit needed to be special. For that, she chose black ribbed leggings (Kohls)and a women's medium beige top with beige sequins. (JCP) She also found the coolest (she says) pair of high top side zippered leopard sneakers at JCP which she HAD to have. Apparently, all went well-because 2 other budding Fashionistas promptly oohed and aahed over her outfit and stated they too were heading to buy those exact sneakers this weekend. Now, the latest fashion accessory seems to be boots. Since she isn't into high heels yet-the black Bearpaws she received made her happy. And of course, even though she's growing up-Draculaura and Frankie Stein are totally ghoul! So, thought I would share a few pics of my daughter's birthday with my readers. Pretty soon she will probably be writing her own fashion blog and getting more hits/better stats than dear old mom! Enjoy the rest of the weekend, the Holidays will soon be here before we know it!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Well, it's officially over. And so is Black Friday. Did any of you venture out for bargains? Believe me, I was tempted but ended up shopping online since it was so darn cold! We headed to our friend's house about 45 minutes away for a small Thanksgiving gathering. I made banana split cakes as dessert, our friends from Brazil Joao & Regina brought the turkey they had prepared, and Josiana (also from Brazil) and her husband Manuel (from El Salvador) provided the side dishes of rice, salad, etc... along with the place to gather! It was lots of fun and we had a great time, good food and conversation. Hoping your holiday was good too! The next day, Black Friday, I stayed home all day and cleaned house lol. In between doing laundry and dishes and all the other "fun" stuff (NOT!) I checked out online sites for good deals and found a few that I took advantage of. There was no way I was standing outside Walmart for hours and not getting what I came there for, especially since I hate cold! Now maybe if I lived someplace warm, I might be tempted, but these old bones can't take the cold very well. Now that it's almost December, the rush to Christmas is on. While I've gotten a few things, there are some things I just can't get. If money were no object, sure, I'd go for it. But even though my family will get a few things from me, I'd much rather give than receive-so I'm buying for the kids only this year as they really aren't at the age where they understand so well about what Christmas is all about. (well, my grandsons at least, my almost 11 yr old understands quite well, and isn't really asking for much because she has seen so many people without the basic necessities on our trips to Guatemala.) I'd much rather spend quality time with family and friends, eat a good meal, and watch the kids open any gifts they might get. So I am leaving you with a few images of our recent Thanksgiving Day meal & get together. Enjoy the upcoming week, I am off to California next weekend for MLS Cup and I can't wait!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The leaves have fallen from the trees, there is a chill in the air. Yes, it is almost Thanksgiving here in Maine. Work has been busy, but I enjoy being busy-and thankful of course that I still have a job since the employment situation here in the US still isn't wonderful. I haven't taken photos in what seems like forever... shh... don't tell hubby but I misplaced the camera! Guess I'd better find it before we head to Los Angeles for MLS Cup on the 30th! He will definitely be wanting photos of the game and the trip! I've got a few things planned for Thanksgiving, but won't be celebrating it at home-we will be heading to a friend's house for turkey Brazilian style (stuffed with bacon and all kinds of meats, and I love BACON lol) and we will hang out with friends from Brazil, El Salvador, and of course Guatemala :) I do feel guilty though about leaving my mom alone, but she hates turkey and usually makes herself something at home since she doesn't want to go anywhere. Then comes the fun of Black Friday and planning out the evening... Geez, is it only me thinking this or does Black Friday come earlier every year?!! I do have a couple of things I want to get, so if I am lucky enough to get them, great, if not...oh well... on to the next. Life is too short to be fighting over the last Wii at Walmart :) Thought I'd leave you all with a photo of hubby with his three granddaughters in Guatemala... they are getting so big and growing so quickly, just like my 2 grandsons here in Maine. "Our" daughter is almost 11 herself, and she loves being an Aunt to 5 little ones! Wishing all my readers, friends, and of course the curious that stop by from time to time a wonderful Thanksgiving! Make it special, smile, and make lots of good memories!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I'm missing Summer... really. Now while I don't hate Fall, (it actually is beautiful here in Northern New England with the trees changing colors) I just don't like the cooler temperatures. Cooler temperatures means snow and freezing rain. Long gone are my days of sliding, making snow forts, having snowball fights and making snow angels. While my kids and grandkids might love it, the thing I worry about is slip sliding on the stairs or on the road when driving. Winter here in Maine is so damn long. Last year we had a huge snowstorm for Halloween... I'd never seen it that early before. :( And don't want to again, lol. Cooler temperatures also means turning the heat on. I don't know about your neck of the woods, but heating oil is expensive! I sure wish I lived someplace that didn't get cold-and stay cold-all day and all night for 5-6 months out of the year. I can see turning on the heat occasionally, but geez, when you spend several thousand a year just to stay warm it really sucks. (between portable electric heaters and oil that is!) In hubby's hometown, as in most homes in Guatemala-there are no heating systems. Nights can dip down to the 30's and even 20's in some areas-I've been told December is the coldest month there, and even though I walked around in their "winter" months (which I think are called that due to the humidity and torrential rains) they do have cooler, dryer months as well. Since hubby's hometown is on top of a mountain (with spectacular views I might add) it gets cooler there at night than it does in the city. Houses are built of block, or even adobe or other materials (such as tin or aluminum) and with open windows and rustic construction, multiple blankets are a necessity. I will say that by mid-morning to late afternoon it gets quite warm again, thank goodness! I know that when the temps got down to the mid 50's there I was surprised to see people wearing winter parkas and omigosh when it was warm and in the low to mid 70's people were wearing long sleeves and jackets and I was sweating for them lol... I shudder to think how they would react to 30 below zero :( brrrr! So I am dreading winter, and wishing I could head South for the winter-but unfortunately it is the busy time of year for me at work. Hubby is generally busy too, and our daughter is at school, so we stay here and suffer in the cold. Let's hope that this winter is a mild one, and goes by quickly! Leaving you with a couple of photos of houses in and around hubby's hometown... (seeing this makes me realize just how lucky we are!)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Scenes from Guatemala...

A couple of photos from the city center... and one of the beautiful scenery that I saw on a daily basis. I gotta admit, it is a beautiful country (although there is a lot of litter on the sides of the roads etc...) the views are amazing, and while I am scared to death of heights I do keep my eyes open and enjoy the view ;) I loved seeing the volcanoes on a daily basis... the fact that they weren't erupting when I was there was of course a big plus. Fuego has been erupting as of late, and I am sure it is an awesome sight-but volcanic ash in my lungs is not something I want to experience right now. (when we went a few years ago, they had a hurricane and volcanic eruption at the same time, it was horrible, we arrived a month or so later and there were still garbage bags of ash being collected in the city, and little kids were playing in the ash not realizing just how dangerous it can be!) Of course, there are things I miss, and things I don't. My mom says it is a third world country, but I can tell you that they have just about every thing imaginable in the city that you can think of. Nothing third world about that. Yes, there is poverty. But even here in the good old USA life has changed from how I knew it growing up. :( sad but oh so true! Have a great upcoming week ahead! Me? I am off to work early Monday morning. Enjoy the photos!

Friday, September 14, 2012


mmm... while in Guatemala this past summer I had lots of fun finding cheap restaurants to eat at... a restaurant up the street from us had meat dobladas (shredded meat, cabbage, veggies) at 5 for 25 quetzales- which is a little over $3 our money. As you can see, they were pretty good sized and I got full on 2 so definitely cheap eats at least once or twice a week to save on the budget. I also had the pleasure of attending a few weddings. The bride and groom wanted to save some money, so they had family make the food for the reception. It was really good, and with a couple hundred people there everyone left full and happy ;) The chicken, while not hot, was delicious and the side salads were yummy too... and who can forget the tortillas? I will admit, something I ate (most likely from a street vendor) made me super sick the first week and I had to stay near a bathroom lol. The positive... I lost a few pounds in the process. But even neater is that I knew what I needed to combat my, ahem, illness... and I didn't have to go to the doctor's for antibiotics. I just told my mother in law, she called the pharmacy (which by the way, delivered to the house-24 hour delivery!) and within a half hour said product came via motorcycle messenger and I was on the way to feeling much better. Granted it cost me about $40 our money for the pills, which is expensive over there- but they were 500mg and the ones I have to go to the doctor for (co-pay anyone?) and then get 250mg prescribed are a little under a hundred or so (another co-pay lol) so I got double the strength over there, and no doctor visit (unless I wanted one, which I didn't!) Sucks when you are allergic to penicillin and sulfa, but at least I got my Z-pack and was feeling better within a day or two. Will this stop me from eating at the food vendors? Probably not. I am usually pretty picky and won't eat from a place teeming with flies or totally unsanitary. But the street food is so damn good lol. Anyway, just wanted to share a couple of yummy meals I had with you all-I am craving those dobladas tonight but know that I won't be able to get them anytime soon. :( Have a great weekend everyone!

Sneakers anyone...? As in Converse/Chuck Taylor?

Ok, it may be that Back to School is over for you-but anyone with kids knows that even though the school shopping may be done-there is always something else that they need! My daughter is like that, she gets a few things before school starts and then all through the school year she is wanting something that she saw on a friend, or the latest fad, and the list goes on... One thing she has been asking for is a pair of Converse sneakers... she was mighty upset with me when her relatives in Guatemala got some cool Chuck Taylors and she didn't. Lucky for me, Kids Foot Locker has them in all the latest shades and she's informed me she wants a pair to match with each outfit. I'll see what I can do... but in the meantime Mocha Dad just started a giveaway today for 3 winners who will get a $50 gift card to Kids Footlocker so they can try out those cool Converse Chuck Taylors for themselves. Ends Sept. 23rd so be sure to get an entry in! And who knows? We just might win too! Good Luck!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Win a $20 GC to JewelIQ

hurry though, it ends tomorrow! enter here:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I've been a bad, bad blogger!

Well, yes, I KNOW I've been gone awhile... and yes, there is really no excuse for it. LOL. But I am here, just took a much needed break after lots of stuff going on here at home. I did manage a 1 month long trip to Guatemala this year. We attended weddings and parties and all the fun things, but obviously were missing my father in law who passed away June 8th-about a month before we arrived. Last week my daughter started 5th grade... wow, how time flies. It's hard to believe she is only 10 (well, almost 11 now) and I kind of wish I could keep her at this age forever, before she grows up and runs away lol. I've got lots of photos to put up, but that will have to wait for another day as the housework is beckoning. I will, however, share a photo of my daughter last week on her first day of school outside her Grandma's house. Enjoy the weekend everyone! Fall is almost upon us and with that comes cooler weather. (though I am dreading the snow and ice that comes later)

Thursday, May 3, 2012


This past weekend we had to scrape up some money to head to Rhode Island to visit my husband's sister. The trip was originally planned to be a birthday celebration for his sister and her husband, who have their birthdays 2 days apart-however, once we got there her husband informed us she was in the hospital in Providence. We hurried to the hospital and found her still in the Emergency Room, her husband stayed behind to greet guests for the party, but his heart really wasn't in it as he was so worried about her. Two of their adult sons were with her, the other two stayed behind to help their father and their aunts greet the guests. It was a BBQ, so although it was chilly for this time of year, it was at least easy to cook, and they kept the party outside. Apparently my sister in law had been bleeding from the nose for the past 4 years, and it was always around this time of year, so assumed it was seasonal type allergies or sensitivity to the heat/cold climate changes. Last year she'd gone to the ER to have her nose cauterized, and it seemed to help. This past Thursday, a week ago today, she had the same thing done-but it only made the bleeding worse. After a rough Friday night, she headed back to the ER at RI Hospital Saturday morning to have the cotton packing taken out but she was still bleeding, swollen on one side of her face, and very weak from all the overnight bleeding. Today, she remains in the hospital-and is getting stronger and feeling better. Before we left on Monday, I'd asked the doctors what was up. Apparently, they feel as though she had shut down her pituitary glad, and it could have been as long as 19 years ago when her last son was born in Guatemala and she abruptly stopped having periods after a very difficult birth in which she almost died. Her hormones were non-existent in some cases, so now she is working with endocrinologists to find the right combination of synthetically made hormones to work for her. In the meantime, while we enjoyed the party as best as we could-we did get to eat a few of the local food items as well. One place we ate at that is super affordable was Don Nacho's Taco Stand. He originally started years ago, selling tacos (and beer!) from his house on Sunday mornings, but within the last couple of years had saved up enough money to get his taco cart and got a great location on a busy street. He is open 7 days a week, 10 am to 12 midnight. The nachos pictured above cost $6 and the tacos are $1.20 each, both have carne asada (BBQ steak) and are done in the traditional Mexican fashion, with cilantro, onion and limes on the side that you can squeeze the juice over the meat... so yummy! The nachos also had lettuce, and crema Mexicana (like sour cream) and a few slices of avocado too. We drove by his stand several times during our stay and he was busy day and night, and after tasting his tacos (after years of not having them!) I can see why! All in all, it was a pretty good trip. I stayed away from the flea markets and other places I love to shop as money is tight right now since I'm laid off-and we were lucky enough to be able to stay at my sister-in-laws-now we are just waiting for my sister in law to be able to come home and of course, feel better. Do you have any yummy restaurants in your area? (We have a couple, but I also like to visit new ones when I am away from home.) I'm not a person who is into "luxury" type restaurants, I feel totally uncomfortable in them and prefer the food from the street vendor rather than the four star restaurant-I think it'd be the same even if money wasn't an issue lol.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Budding Artist...

Another proud mama moment! My 10 year old daughter proudly showing off the Easter basket first prize she won in a local community newspaper's drawing contest. The theme of course was Easter, and she had to come up with a drawing showing something to do with Easter. She made a very colorful drawing of the Easter Bunny high up in the air in a hot air balloon dropping Easter baskets and colored Easter eggs with parachutes attached... very original for sure! She really loves art and was thrilled to have won. My drawing absolutely sucks, so I know she must get it from my mom, who is actually very talented in the art department. Congrats Deja on your first prize art contest win!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter (if you celebrate it that is...if not, then have a Happy Sunday :)

Here we didn't do much, dummy me slipped on an empty trash bag on the next to last step coming down the stairs early this morning and I landed hard on my right leg... ouch!

I'm sore, and swollen, but thankfully just bruised and nothing serious. At least nothing that a little rest, ice, and elevation won't help. I'll probably use some hot rice packs too, and some anti-inflammatory meds I have on hand for these type of things.

So the Easter dinner has taken a raincheck, until next weekend lol. I don't think many people were upset, since it is just me and my daughter and hubby to begin with. (they were satisfied with the breakfast pizza we got after sleeping in this morning).

Next weekend I hope to see the grandkids and maybe have a little egg hunt with them since they spent today with their mom and other grandparents. Enjoy the rest of the day and have a wonderful week ahead!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My new room...

After my crazy week, we decided to take advantage of the fact that my waterbed didn't need to be emptied to move upstairs to a bigger and brighter room. After the contractors left, I had 5 nice new windows and some paneling-I am NOT a wallpaper person and can't stand the peeling wallpaper I have in some spots in the house, so while pretty as it looks I prefer painted sheet rock with designs or paneling. The paneling in the hallway is so dark and dreary, I opted for a more natural wood color.

Right now the only thing up in the room is my bed-hubby took it all apart and re-assembled it in the room and filled up the new mattress. Now I have the creative juices flowing... what color curtains, what type decor? I am partial to blue since it is so calming, but we still need to paint the ceiling (hopefully this weekend, if not the first nice weekend where we can open the windows to let the fumes go out lol)so obviously I don't want to do too much re-decorating until the ceiling is painted.

I am loving the bright sunshine and the cool breezes coming in from the tree in front of the window this summer. I even have a cat perch ready for the hallway window where my cats will be able to check out the birds and do some sunbathing too. When we bought the house, we knew it was a fixer upper, and had to do things little by little as best as we could. So far with a new hot water boiler and chimney, and now new upstairs windows and paneling we are well on our way to getting things taken care of. Living in an older house in the Northeast makes for a cold winter, so weatherization is also on our list of priorities.

Our house is a classic saltbox style, and the back part of my room slopes downwards, as there is no attic. My daughter is busy settling into the room across from us, putting things where she wants them. She was scared to sleep upstairs in her own room for the longest time, and now with us just across the hall she has decided it is time to enjoy having her own room rather than coming running to crash in my bed while daddy is working every night.

Now that Spring is almost here, well, date wise it is-but with 80 degree temps last week and 20 degrees this week with SNOW it hardly feels that way-I am ready to start decorating and getting spring cleaning done. My layoff comes in a few short weeks and I am ready to get organized around the house after a busy season.

Any ideas on how I should decorate the room? Hubby is thinking something other than basic white paint for the ceiling and windowsills-any thoughts on a color scheme to make my room stand out? How about some ideas on decorating on a budget?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Week From HE--

Well, today is the first time I've checked the blog in a bit... You know the saying everything happens in threes? I am just waiting for the third event to happen, considering this week has been absolutely crazy!

First, hubby was coming home from work one morning while driving my car (his had recently died, so we were temporarily down to 1 vehicle for a bit) and out of the patchy fog he saw a face coming straight for him... and then a body-a very BIG one.

I was still asleep when he called, and let the answering machine pick up. When I heard him say car and DEER one right after the other I knew the results would not be good. I picked up, and that was when he told me he was headed home and sure enough, a big doe came bounding out of the fog and hit the car. If it had been a few seconds earlier, she would have ended up in his lap and he would have or could have been seriously injured. As it was, she went through the back driver's side window shattering it, and up over the roof is my guesstimate. While there wasn't any blood in the vehicle, there was a lot of fur.

Because it was so foggy, hubby and the police officer called to the scene couldn't locate the deer, so no deer meat :( They did find blood and lots more fur and the officer seemed to think that the deer had been badly hurt and he was going to check back as soon as the fog lifted to see if he could put it out of its misery. My guess is that the coyotes found it before he did.

So my car is at the shop, almost ready to be fixed after a few days with a rental vehicle. One that I am too scared to drive. (it is too big for me lol) I had around $2000 damage to my car, and it was fixable-and hubby was safe, that is all that really mattered. Hubby was a bit traumatized though, since this is his 3rd deer incident since I moved back to Maine. (one was a fender bender, the other completely totaled his Isuzu Rodeo) The next night, as he was coming home from work in the rental, on the highway this time (no back roads for him even it is shorter!) he saw a whole herd of deer on the side of the road and figured there was no escaping the deer this time of year.

Then, as I was peacefully minding my own business this past Saturday afternoon watching TV hubby came in the bedroom and asked me what all that water was on the floor. Since I had my back to the area in question, I turned around to see that my waterbed mattress was leaking :( We had one of the waterbed mattresses with baffles in it to make it almost completely motionless-but in times like this one is desperate. Hubby spent most of the day draining the mattress, then sucking out more water with a wet-dry vac and finally cutting a hole in the damn thing and chucking it out the window to drain-but not before I had a good 2 inches of water on the floor in the bedroom. It was very heavy to lift the mattress even with all that water out of it, I bet it weighed at least 800 lbs still.

On Sunday we made the hour and a half long trip to South Portland to get a mattress... they only had full motion mattresses in stock so it was going to be interesting. Finally we arrived back home exhausted and began the tedious project of setting up our bed upstairs (downstairs had too much water and since my son moved out we had a spare room) and filling the bed. It was now late Sunday night and I gave up and fell asleep on the floor... The next morning, this past Monday, I woke to aches and pains from having slept on the floor for 2 nights in a row. Back when I was younger it wouldn't have bothered me but for a peri-menopausal 46 year old I was NOT a happy camper. I went to work and managed to clear my desk of what I needed to do before leaving early to get some much needed sleep after hubby informed me that he had filled the bed while I was at work.

I napped most of the afternoon, trying to stave off an impending migraine while trying to stay on my bed and not roll off due to the new wave motion. My 10 yr old thinks it is the bomb and happily told her grandmother today that she loved the new bed because if you are sleeping and someone gets on it everyone else bounces up and down.

So now I am waiting for the 3rd thing to happen, and hoping it is not too serious. Call me superstitious but I believe in the power of threes... One day, I will be able to look back at all of this and laugh-I know it. Just not today...

So that has been my week folks... how was yours?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fun at Chuck E Cheese...

My daughter and her cousin Diego having fun at Chuck E Cheese... (my daughter putting on her unhappy face with me for taking ANOTHER photo!) Hmmm... wait a few years and I will bet she will want to take too many photos to put up on Facebook, and all her own social media sites lol.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fantastic Follower Appreciation Giveaway!

Wow! I've been a GFC follower of Sparkling Reviews for awhile now, and was totally blown away by the awesome giveaways she is having TODAY ONLY on her blog.

You are going to have to check it out, and you have to be in it to win it! Hurry though, because it all ends tonight...

Here is the list so far:

64GB iPad 2

2. $500 Best Buy Gift Card

3. Kobo Vox

4. a Disney Cruise for 4! * transportation not included, must get to Port Canaveral FL

5. Unamore Leopard Print KitchenAid mixer

6. $1000.00 Coach Gift Card

7. MacBook Pro!

8. Apple Prize pack (you gotta see this one!)

and she also has a couple of other regular giveaways going on too-

you can enter to win a $500 Amazon Gift Card here ends in 6 days :)

and a $20 Applebee's Gift card here which ends tomorrow!

Good luck, and please check it out-I'm still in shock at all the awesome prizes she is giving away!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Guate Bound Again!

Well, I've booked my flights and am bound for another month long visit to family and friends in Guatemala this summer!

It truly is a beautiful country, from the highlands to the countryside and then down to the coast. Even the city, always bustling with people and super busy isn't terrible. Yes, there are some dangerous areas in the city-places I wouldn't even think of going to. But we have those same areas here in many of our larger cities in the US.

I do have a couple of pet peeves... the air quality in the city is terrible-the minute I get outside the airport I can feel the heaviness in the air and the smog is terrible. The new government has done some things to combat that lately-by prohibiting older model cars to enter the country. We've sent a couple of late model trucks down there in the last couple of weeks-in a rush to get them in before the law becomes final. However, the vehicles that we sent are ones that are working here, registered, inspected and in good condition. I disagree with the law that all vehicles after a certain model year cannot enter-if it is junk, yes-but if it is still working here and passed our inspection, it should be okay to send it there if it is still in good working order. What I didn't know was that they take out the catalytic converters in most of the vehicles since they can overheat, especially on huge hills (of which there are many, it is a very mountainous country!) so of course, that is where the emissions problems come in.

The second pet peeve? Trash everywhere! I had to yell at my smaller nieces and nephews as they would come into the room where we were staying eating say, a bag of Doritos-and when finished instead of walking a couple steps to put it in the trash they would just drop it on the floor. Apparently this is pretty common, since I see lots of trash everywhere I go throughout the country. It's quite sad, because it could be so much nicer if people didn't dispose of everything everywhere. And it's not like there aren't trash men that come around and collect the trash, in my sister in law's colonia they come twice a week.

As far as danger goes, as the white skinned, blonde, blue eyed gringa I definitely stand out. Especially when traveling with a family that is all Guatemalan-heck, even my daughter passes as one! But I have had more curious looks than anything else, and the year before last a very nice lady in the market saw me sitting alone in the car while the rest of the family went to La Terminal to buy some veggies and she came over to chat with me... everyone wonders what on Earth I am doing with these people and seems surprised that I married a Guatemalan and was actually there with family.

When in El Centro (the busy part of the city where crime can happen) I am vigilant about my surroundings. I don't wear flashy jewelry, take a purse or call any attention to myself. I usually put my money in my bra, like the Guatemalan women do. I don't carry a cell phone, hubby does-but if I did it would go in my bra along with my cash and be on vibrate-I just wouldn't answer it until I got to a safer place since cell phones are constantly being robbed over there. Part of that is because the companies will hook up any cell phone, or you can buy a prepaid card to use in any cell phone-stolen or not. There's been talk of a new law being proposed that if a cell phone is reported lost or stolen it won't work-period. Hopefully that will eventually happen, because no one wants to buy a cell phone that doesn't work.

I do worry about the gangs (maras) that they have there, but yet again, we have some very large street gangs in cities big and small here in the US that practice the same things they do there. It does help that we always go out with my brother in law, who is packing at all times (legally) one of the first things my husband wants to do is get his weapons permit and a legal weapon over there. (with more to be kept in the house in case of home invasion) While home invasion sounds scary, we've had several here in Maine this past year, and a few have been in very small cities or towns. Of course, they all have one thing in common, theft and drugs. The scariest thing to me in Guatemala is kidnapping-not something you see so much here. Down there they have it quite alot, and for that reason I try not to let people know my daughter is my daughter. I have her walk with her grandmother, or father. That way, it reduces the risk to her of people thinking she is the daughter of some "rich American woman" lol.

So I am very excited for another trip to Central America this year-even better because we will be attending 2 weddings! I can't wait to see the customs and how they celebrate weddings there. I am a little concerned about this trip because my health hasn't been good lately (which is why I haven't been posting so much) but I really am hoping that it is just something as simple as perimenopause kicking my butt! Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Where's Ayla?

Somewhere, somebody knows. And right now, they're not telling. Yes, I live in THAT town-the one where Ayla Bell Reynolds went missing in Mid-December and is still missing as of today.

Whenever a small child is missing it makes National news, and this hasn't been an exception. Traces of her gone missing are all over town: from the Missing posters put up in various businesses to the candlelight vigils, from the news trucks to the searches along (and in) the river close to where I live and work.

Facebook pages and news comments on our local newspaper are full of speculation, rumors, and heck, maybe even a few comments with some truth as well. The thing is... nobody really knows what happened to her. Except the person or persons that took her out of that home, and right now even with a $30,000.00 reward put up by local businesses and concerned individuals even the lure of a fast buck isn't loosening any lips.

Is she alive? Perhaps sold for drugs or to someone who wanted a baby but couldn't afford the outrageous adoption fees? Is she dead? A victim of parental abuse or an accident after a night gone horribly wrong? Was she hidden by the father because he had heard the mother was going to file for primary custody the day she disappeared?

I've seen comments defending both the mother, and others defending the father online. So, the mother used drugs and was in rehab cleaning up so that she could get her child back-after she was placed in the father's home supposedly temporarily by DHHS. Or was it an agreement between the parents that he'd care for her until she got out of rehab? And what WERE they doing the night she disappeared? People have said the parents didn't even have a relationship-that Ayla was the result of a one night stand and that her father didn't even know he was a father until months later.

To me, it seems like they were two young adults that hooked up a few times after partying. It happens all the time, check out the Facebook pages of some young adults you know-partying and hooking up are common things nowadays. I see way too many young adults pushing around baby carriages and wonder why on Earth they'd have young children if they were unwilling or just not ready to care for them. Yes, there are some that have done well-but others that maybe needed a little time to grow up, enjoy life (and party some more if that's what they do best) without the pitter patter of little feet running around. But those are my opinions, and your own may differ.

Recent comments in the last week or two indicate blood, Ayla's blood, was found in the basement of the home where she was living. No specific amounts of blood have been mentioned, only that it was apparently more than a small cut would have provided according to comments made by those that have been told that by our police investigators. That, of course makes it sound like the child met with foul play that terrible evening back in December. Investigators have gone as far to say that they have no evidence she was abducted by an unknown person from the home-as the father and those present in the home have claimed-and that those that were in the home that night know more than they are saying.

The natives are getting restless... we want to know what has happened to Ayla. Of course, we all hope that she is found alive, but as time goes on the prospect of that is indeed quite grim. A few nights ago, that restlessness reared its ugly face when someone busted out the windows at the father's home-the home little Ayla disappeared from.

It's terribly sad when such a young child goes missing... worse when there is a fear that he/she has met with foul play. I don't leave my doors unlocked at night anymore-Waterville is not the small town it used to be, it's changed. I don't live in the best area of town, most consider it to be the worst area to be honest-but I am lucky to have been surrounded by a good group of neighbors who watch out for each other. However that is not to say that there haven't been instances in our own neighborhood where things have gotten a bit crazy.

In addition to alcohol and marijuana, there are other harder drugs out there now-drugs like bath salts which are more prevalent here in Maine and are making people batshit crazy. Users are finding whatever they can and creating new drugs made of common household stuff to get their high. I don't know about you, but it is a pain in the ass to go to the drugstore to get some cold meds and have to take a little card up to the pharmacy area, whip out my drivers license and have them write out all my info and have me sign a paper before I can get what are supposed to be over the counter cold medicines. And gosh, if I get sick after picking up that pack or two for hubby I am shit out of luck for the month because they might think I am using it in my basement to cook up some evil potion of crack cocaine. For someone who likes to use coupons and stock up on those meds when I can get them on sale, with a coupon, cheap-and be told I can only get one, well that sucks.

But back to Ayla... daily I see her little face on the news, on the posters, in my dreams-and she haunts me. I pray that she is fine, but my gut has that sinking feeling knowing that something unfortunate (whether by accident or on purpose) has happened to her. I, like everyone else I have spoken to about this, hope for someone to talk soon. The news, whether good or bad-will give us and the family closure. Wherever she may be... it's time to bring Ayla home.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's almost my birthday!

Lordy, Lordy-look who's 40... (gosh I wish!) haha, I will be 46 on January 15th. I can remember back when I celebrated turning 30 with a heavy heart, looking for new wrinkles in the mirror. Then 40 came along and it was even worse. I'd become middle aged. Hubby teased me terribly (he's 4 1/2 years younger than me) but his day soon came!

Now that I am over 45, and headed toward the big 50 I am even more bummed. I know I shouldn't be, but I've always had this fear of being old. Knowing me, I am probably going to spend the day looking at old photo albums dreaming of days long gone. Older and wiser? Maybe... but I just wish someone would discover the Fountain of Youth and give me a drink!

My bones creak a little more in the morning, and I get tired easily. I'm overweight and pre-menopausal lol... dealing with the wonderful symptoms of my body getting ready for big changes that lie ahead. They say you are only as old as you feel, and there are times I feel mighty old. It scares me to see friends and family also aging along with me-but time stops for no one.

So come January 15th I will celebrate my birthday as I should, with family and friends, a cake and thinking how grateful I am for having one more year that I am celebrating here with everyone. And even though my laugh lines are a little more pronounced now and I have a few sags and bags in spots that were once perky and pouty-I'll celebrate my special day with a smile!