Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Welcome to the Avenues

Having lived in our quaint apartment for over 2 years (the longest in one place for either of us), 
we have decided it is time to move on from the perfect adventure 
that was SoTro

We will miss...
...our frequent walks and runs to Liberty Park...
...our evening "quick, healthy" dinners at Whole Foods...
...our super unique neighbors who were always there when we needed them...
...our one of a kind "Ryan Banbury" who has gotten us through many awkward meltdowns in the rain, made us the best Friendsgiving turkey ever, taught us that fat cats are the best, helped us get out of our possessed, locked car situation, chatted with us during our many Tundra potty breaks in the wee hours of the night, and basically just been the coolest neighbor you could ask for....
...seeing Tundra's FAT head sticking waaay too far out of our 3rd story window...
...our near by friends like The Tea Grotto, Koko's Kitchen, The Park Cafe, Ex Wife's Place, Trolley Square, 9th and 9th, Mosquitoes (Mezquite Mexican Grill), Smith's Marketplace, Coffee Break, Manny's, and last but certainly not least TRAX...
...the beloved and tinted giant window in our front room...
...all the mice... of course... NOT...
...watching all the neighborhood kids flock like geese to Tundra....
...our cute, little pass-through window...
...the disaster alley way in which Tundra would struggle trying to decide which items to give up on, because you simply cannot eat them all...
and so many more...

SoTro will always be the place where we became a family

Enough with the sappiness...
We are now living in this fairy-tale cottage!

Der and I searched for weeks, 
looking for the right place. 
We are a little picky and we certainly have a strict budget. 
But.... just like the time we found SoTro... 
right as we were about out of time and at our whits end
We found this adorable Avenues home. 
We have always dreamt about living in The Avenues
and the place was nearly PERFECT!

Back yard and porch for the Tun!
Driveway to a garage... too bad you can barely fit your car down that! ha! :) 
Huge dinging room and HARD WOOD FLOORS!!! YAY! 
Huge kitchen with open cupboards for all our pretty dishes ;)
Washer and Dryer! Wonder what that will feel like!?
I am putting pretty lights all over the porch for fun bbq's! 
Big basement for guests and office time. 

So far, I have only come up with two downfalls....
The first: NO CLOSET SPACE! Ugh! Tiny closet and no coat closet. It's bad. I am in the process of trying to remedy this downfall... but no luck so far. Bags of clothes on the floor. 
The Second: I guess this is more of just a difference between apartments and houses and being a little out of downtown. BUGS! I have seen more ( and weirder) bugs in 2 days than 2 years in our apartment. 


Luckily, I am now living with 2 Derek's who can relocate all of my arch enemies.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happiness to my father is...

...the ocean.

So he sends me beautiful pics whenever he takes a trip down there. 

And Cessy's of course!

Our fave taco shop back in the day.
Dad still goes here all the time and sends me pics to make m jealous. Jerk :)

Where it all started....
my thrift shopping obsession, that is.
The DAV is like the DI or Salvation Army of Oceanside
We used to go here all the time. 
I miss it. 

Of course, he found a Pearl Jam t-shirt

A lot of his beach trips include a car show. 
Probably, his second favorite thing on the planet. 
Classic cars.

This bug looks so much like Hope when I first got her.
Minus the rack on top.

* Maybe later I will add to this post.. since he is always sending me more beach pics. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Her knight in shining armor

My grams is the best person I know. 
She is the most loyal, selfless, honest, forgiving, accepting, unique, enthusiastic and perfectly goofy  
human you will ever find. 
Every adjective I just used describes her entirely and not even enough at the same time. 
If that even makes sense to anyone but me. 

She is a better mother to me than most people are lucky enough to have.
And that is coming from a daughter with a wonderful mother of her own. 
I guess I am one lucky girl, to have two amazing moms. 

I have no particular reason to be writing such a sappy post. 
It's not mothers day.
No one has died, or moved away. 
No Birthday or anniversary. 
Just a random inspiration to write the extraordinary truth about a woman who is sorely unappreciated. 

She is the one who deserves to be most appreciated. 
She is the one who dropped me off and picked me up from school, every single day. 
The one who taught me how to read. 
The one who sang loudly, every morning in the car, making it impossible to be angry.
The one who taught me that The Simpson's are bad. ;)
The one who forced me to eat my fruits and vegetables. 
The one who introduced me to Dr. Suess. 
The one who instilled my love for the Golden Oldies. 
The one who put up with my longstanding, competitive obsession with "I Spy" books. 
The one who made sure I knew every Disney movie by heart. 
The one who enjoyed McDonald's soft serve with me nearly everyday. 
The one who took me through Burger King drive through for french toast sticks every time we were late for class because she knew how much I hated walking in late. 
The one who told me to take pictures... all of the time.
The first one to send a Birthday, Anniversary, Congratulations, Christmas, Let's go to the Beach, Happy Thanksgiving...etc... card.
The one who gives the best bear hug any time, any place. 
The one who practiced all of my spelling B's with me.
The one who gives Tundra the tennis balls straight off the legs of her walker. 
The one who reminds me that laughter can heal all. 
And the one who taught me the importance of family. 

I would not be the person that I am today
without the influence of my Grams. 

Only picture I could find right now...
Grams helping me get ready for the Medieval Fair at Dartmouth Middle School

My dad is the one person who treats her the way she deserves. 
Every time he gets a few days off in a row,
he heads out to Victorville and spends it with grams. 
He calls her to check in and chat every single day. 
He comes out for every holiday. 
He takes her out to dinner and rents sappy chick flicks.
 And recently he took her on a trip. 

She mentioned that one thing she wanted to do before her time,
was go on a road trip up the California coast. 
So that is what they did. 


Her entire life, she has been waiting for her knight in shining armor to come rescue her.
At least for now she has my father.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

UNBELIZABLE - Dangriga chapter

In keeping with the Derek and Kristen traveling tradition,
here is our before "Central America Adventure" shot...

Oh wait... 
that's just me and my Mickey D's!

This years trip was a little different than the rest. 
Derek had a GIANT adventure of his own
this entire June. 
He started in New York on a day and a half layover, 
then continued on to Scotland with the guys from school, 
followed by Leeds, England for a week long conference,
where he then flew to Boston and spent a day with Carl, 
before he headed off to Belize to play with his Shrimp Farm towers.
Quite the adventure, huh? 

Well, it doesn't end there.....

This is where I come in!
I flew in to meet Carl and Der in the Atlanta Airport on our way to Belize!! 
Props to Der for his excellent travel planning skills. 

The 3 of us landed in Belize City
and caught a plane to Dangriga where the infamous shrimp farm resides. 
Oh, and I forgot to mention.....  It was a super TINY plane!! 



That is the pilot right behind us.
I kept trying to be the person to sit in the co-pilot seat... but someone always beat me to it. 

Next stop... Dangriga!
Tim and Jackie picked us up from the "airport" 
we got lunch and some Belikin's (the official beer of Belize) 
at The Pelican (the only place in town resembling a resort)
We stopped at the market to get some groceries 
and then headed to the beach mansion.
Pelican Beach Resort

Here it is....
the Paradise Shrimp Farm
and the Beach Mansion

Best Carl face of the trip
The remnants of  good times

This beaut! The main reason this amazing trip became a reality!

Carl and I decided to check out the grounds a little
while Der and Tim worked on the beach house tower.

Carl VS coconut. Very entertaining.
There she is... the Beach Mansion
Wow... I am so photogenic
Just checkin' out the goods
One tower down, two to go!

The Mahogany Tower

Not quite as straight as the Beach Tower

This tower was surrounded by baby Mahogany trees.
So cool. 

Sometimes the birds get a little crazy....

Scary, GIANT ants!
and...  teenie, adorable frogs
Frog on boob
Here is the big Mansion! We didn't get a chance to hang out there this time
Sometimes when Derek and Tim come down
and there is no one at the main mansion
they get to hang out there
and enjoy it's many amenities
and beverages

Shrimp farm grounds

After all the work was done
we got to play a little. 

We walked along the shore as far as we could...

Bet you can't find him...
We played with these crabs a lot... they are pretty aggressive. It's funny


We eventually hit a dead end and had to head back

Then we just hung out on the patio 
 enjoying the sound of waves crashing
and the palm trees in the wind

This was an accident... but then I decided it looked pretty cool

The next morning we woke up with the sun...

 Sunrises in Dangriga are amazing 
and we had the perfect balcony to watch from

Breakfast in Dangriga was interesting...

Homemade tortillas with beans, eggs and basically bologna.
Strangely yummy, once or even twice... but this is what we had for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner...
Homemade Horchata basically made up for the redundant meals though!! Delish!

Last tower to check on...

So... apparently I was way too distracted by this strange, orange, mystery of a vine plant
to actually get a photo of the 3rd tower... 

But hey!... at least we get to learn about one of the raddest plants we discovered in Belize!
I am pretty sure the technical name is Cassytha
but we call it the... 
a nick name, mostly developed because of it's aphrodisiac tendencies,
on animals and humans.
Coincidentally, this vine is both an aphrodisiac as well as a parasite.
It wraps itself around a plant host 
and sucks nutrients from it. 

Extremely fascinating plant!

Although... Der's tower was also fascinating... (insert wink emoticon, followed by blank stare emoticon) 

Side affect of boredom... embarrassing selfies....

Cool flower... apparently also more interesting than the tower...
Sorry I'm not sorry Der

Meanwhile... back at the Beach House...

...we decided to cut into our extremely large MANGO...

Random... cute toilet paper...

Oh, and it stormed and flooded the house that night...
Kind of scary, but mostly fun and exciting.

On our last day, 
we decided to make Derek a very happy traveler 
and end the Dangriga trip with 
a tour of the
In case you don't know, Marie Sharp's is (according to Derek) 
the BEST hot sauce in the WORLD!

It was really neat to see the inner workings of a factory
but sadly, Marie was not there and they were only doing the carrot base that day. 
We didn't get to see anything with the actual peppers. 
Bummed Der out a little... 

only a little ...

But we did get to sample all kinds of stuff!!! 
Der and I, alone, nearly cleaned out the place!! :) 

and... turns out she does JAMS too!! Yay!!
We bought the coconut, guava, and the mango.
Although we were sad to leave this beautiful town, 
we were also super excited to get on with the rest of the trip!

Dangriga was really gorgeous and super unique
but it was also fairly desolate and full of big, scary bugs!

Goodbye Shrimp farm....

Getting over to San Pedro was a bit of challenge.
We were stuck at the tiny airport for quite sometime 
waiting for better weather conditions

But finally,
 we made it back onto two separate tiny planes 
and over to San Pedro!...

Where we would pick up our 4th partner in crime

and get on with our Central America Journey!