Why I will never, ever enter a surf contest

Beyond the fact that I surf for sheer enjoyment, it just doesn’t seem right.

Take my friend Charlotte, for example.  She is a champion napper.  This girl can fall asleep just about anywhere and sleep soundly all the time.

I love napping, but I would never challenge Charlotte to a nap-off because a) she’d win and I have a bit of a competitive streak and b) why would I take something I use to relax, enjoy, and unwind and turn it into a contest?

I know it’s for some, and that’s totally cool, but for me — I’m with Laird Hamilton — it’s never appealed to me.  It’s more of an art form than anything.

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The General’s Bed & Breakfast – Welcoming Friends, Family, and Tropical Cyclones since 2010

In the past week, we have had quite the roster of visitors to our humble abode.   They include: an old friend from my university days, my mom, and what’s forecasted to be a Category 1 Hurricane, named Arthur.

My friend J came this past weekend for beach and merriment.  It was a fun weekend of dodging rain showers, ice cream, drinking rum, and the nightlife downtown (we were out so late….we rolled up the drive 1 minute before midnight – not sure when we got old and lame – if only the 22 year old us could see us now!).  It was good to spend some girl time with J and chat over the curveballs life has thrown us and how to deal.  I have a kindred spirit in regards to that pesky thorn in my side.

My mother, born and raised in the midwest, is about to experience her 1st hurricane.  She was coming this week for the 4th of July festivities.  In the past, the 4th of July was always a big party at our house, and she was very excited about the fact that she didn’t have to cook or clean for this one.  I’m pretty sure we’re going to be hunkered down with rum as the storm rolls into the coast.  Both of us love storms – at my cousin’s cottage on Lake Huron, we used to watch the storms roll across the lake at night on the porch.  Such an amazing show!

Actual phone conversation with my mom

Actual text conversation with my mom.

For what it’s worth, I’m still a hurricane virgin.  Chances are this won’t be anything more than a tropical storm.  The storm-loving kid in me wants a direct hit – the adult homeowner in me hopes it’ll bypass our area – the surfer in me can’t wait to hit the waves before and after the storm.

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Nice rotation, Arthur.

Summertime Book Adventures

I love reading and since I got a Kindle last year, I’ve been devouring books.  Just like last year, I’m all over the board with random topics.

  • Vixen 03 by Clive Cussler – my favorite author – as my father-in-law said it was a good read (he’s a Cussler fan as well, we’re constantly trading books).  I’m switching things up with a paperback.  The book is a little choppy with the story line, but I’m interested to see how they will intersect.  And it has a very young Dirk Pitt in it!
  • One up on Wall Street: How to Use What You Already Know to Make Money in the Market by Peter Lynch.  Something I know very little about is investing.  As a conservative risk taker when it comes to money, I’m very leery about investing simply because I don’t know how it all works.  The guy is a big name on Wall Street and the reviews about this book jived with what I’m looking for in an investment book: nothing with too much jargon or something I need millions to do – some reviews said it was a “fun read.”  I’m hoping this will be a jumping off point for the future me in terms of finances.
  • The Host by Stepenie Meyer.  She wrote the Twilight series; The General and I watched the movie last night and while I was reluctant about it, I got sucked into the storyline.  I downloaded this book while the credits were rolling.
  • The Confessions of St. Augustine.  I have heard of this book, but do not know much about it or the author.  I’m looking forward to learning more about this relic wordsmith and his relationship with God.  Bonus: It was free on Kindle.
  • The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth. I’ve ready good reviews about this series from Facebook friends and I hope it’ll be a good beach read.  I read all 3 Hunger Games book and loved them.
  • HeavenWord Daily by David Servant.  This is also free on Kindle.  For reasons unknown, even to me, every 18 July I change my daily devotional.  This year I’m going to try this one – it leads you through the entire New Testament for a year.  I like how it’s the equivalent to spiritual steak. After reading “My Utmost for his Highest,” (Oswald Chambers), I need something heavy.  I like my coffee and devotionals strong.

This should keep me busy until the winter chill rushes in.

An Update!

* We didn’t officially “cut the cord” on our cable….we just made the cord shorter.  We downgraded to the basic of the basic cable which is ~20 channels, all of them broadcast except for the home shopping and government in action channels.  We went this route because it was cheaper when bundling it with our internet.  Crazy.  It would have been more expensive to drop the TV and just have the internet – which I think is just plain nuts.  And Highway to Heaven is not among the shows.  I did get a streaming subscription to Netflix.  Dragnet, here I come!

* I still haven’t found my keys.

* Theodore and I are still seeing each other (aka Mr. Roosevelt).  It usually doesn’t take me so long to go through a book; its long and heavy and I wish I could talk to someone who was around when he was President – like one of my ancestors – to see what they thought of it all.  He sounds great!  But it’s also his point of view.  And I’m not much into politics.  I’m ready for it to be over.

* Summer is here!!!!  I spent all weekend at the beach and otherwise being warm.  Amazing.  I have waited so long fort his.

* I celebrated 10 years in my career over fondue with The General. 10 down, 35 more to go!

* The General and I ordered a stuffed-crust pizza from Pizza Hut.  The General had never had one, I hadn’t had one since the 90’s.  It was so worth it the calorie bomb.  I also made those “peel and bake” chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.  Those little buggers are evil at 80 calories/cookie (especially when you eat nearly a dozen).  I did all of this on the same night.  Luckily, they came with this little AED device….

And that about sums it up.

Chopping the coaxial

Now that I have returned to regularly scheduled updates, I’ll have to tell you about our latest adventure: we cut the cord on cable.

It’s not that I hate Time Warner Cable – I understand they’re in the business to make money and us Americans will pay out the nose for TV.  Our cable bill, mind you we have decently fast internet and basic non-digital cable (read: no box), was $112 per month and all of sudden it jumped to $140.

Why the jump?  Our contract expired.  Nice way to let us know.

We could re-up and start paying the old price, but the more we started talking about it, the more we considered canceling our cable altogether.  We watch only a handful channels on it – more when there’s a good football game on.  The past year or so more and more stations have been cut from our lineup because they belong to the digital cable tier, which would cost us upwards of $160 per month.  That’s not happening; just like we didn’t get a rebate on fewer channels.

So The General went out to Best Buy and bought a fancy antennae that now graces the table in our living room.  We tried it out and we get a decent amount of channels.  We were pleased.  This will mark the first time in my adult life that I did not have cable.  I grew up with 5 channels that came in clearly (my parents refused to get cable and still don’t have it), so this is not completely new territory for me.  We are, however, keeping our internet, but getting a slow speed.

While I will miss some stations, I find myself getting slightly excited about watching Perry Mason and Highway to Heaven again and perhaps some late night talk shows.   But really, I think I will find myself reading more and watching German TV.  The $ we save will go towards another epic adventure.

And…..action!

Wilmywood (as Wilmington is sometimes called) has struck again.

It’s always a good time when they film a pilot for a TV series….in your backyard.  The huge lights they used shined into our bedroom, it was lit like a stage.  At first I was really excited about it – so excited that I made The General accompany me through the woods to get a closer look at their rig.  We sat and watch for a couple of takes and then headed back home to bed.

And that’s when it started.  The screaming.  Apparently the script called for the crowd to go wild because I spent the entire night waking up every so often to the roar of people.  It was a near sleepless night, to say the least. But all in the name of film!

This was the source of my sleeping problems.

This was the source of my sleeping problems.

 

Teddy & Me

One of the things I am fascinated by are people.  I love reading autobiographies, something I haven’t done in awhile, and so without much thought I decided to read one of someone who I know so very little about: Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States.  He was President from  1901-1909.  His penned his autobiography in 1913.  He goes on and on about things (it’s nearly 400 pages), but in some cases, I can see a bit of my own writing style in his chapters – and we even have a few things in common.

It’s an interesting read.  Also on the docket are the newest Clive Cussler novel and other eclectic reads I find on Amazon.

Winter Blues

I think, finally, this long cold winter has caught up with me.  I am so ready for those hot days off summer it’s not even funny.  Even the few warm days we’ve had are glazed with cool winter breezes.  I am desperate for some beach time and relaxing the in hammock without wearing layers of sweatshirts.  And a good session of surfing.

I am also ready for the next thing in life.

The water is 50F/10C/283K.  This is unacceptable for not only me, but me in a wetsuit.

The water is 50F/10C/283K. This is unacceptable for not only me, but me in a wetsuit.

2014 with a view

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That cat! If only he could hang curtain rods while he was up there….

2014 came quicker than I thought – time has appeared to speed up in the past several weeks.  Much like smarter-than-the-average-tabby-cat who climbs ladders, I have this sinking feeling that 2014 will be a year of change, challenge, and perhaps (Lord willing) an extraction of the thorn in my side.

Much has changed around the barracks here….I have decided to redo my sitting room by adding large red curtains, plants, and better lighting.  One night when The General and I were sitting on the couch, I told him I felt our living room needed to be changed, so we started moving furniture randomly at 9:30pm…..and we found a much cozier medium and added a few upgrades: a candelabra surrounded by other candles in our fireplace in lieu of the gas logs we have yet to purchase gas for, cutting our entertainment center stand in half to create a lower profile, and adding better bulbs to our seldom-used overhead light (it used to make the room look….jaundiced).  We’re also tackling the non-dinning room aka The General’s art studio; it’s the only room downstairs with original almond paint.  The General has decided to paint a wall mural on one side too.  I am very excited about that!

I’m not sure what’s causing this nesting frenzy, but it has been fun and only slightly expensive.  Our whole downstairs has a warmer feel to it.  I like it a lot.

Upcoming adventures include a hen party in honor of my sister’s upcoming nuptials in Wisconsin (because that’s the place to go in the middle of winter, apparently), a Caribbean vacation for aforementioned wedding, and a trip to some random place with my friend Alice (locale yet to be determined).

We have continued attending the church I had mentioned some time back.  It’s been really good.  You can totally feel the Holy Spirit in the air.  I need to get involved.  They have a ministry that has spiked my interest in a realm I have very little training.  It’s a matter of me picking up the phone and making it happen.  I don’t know why I’m dragging my feet – fear of the unknown, I suppose, and how my last volunteer gig just reiterated my outcastness.

2014 is off to a great start.  Now I am just waiting for the warm seas and weather.  I need a day in the sun on a board in the waves.

This Christmas Morning

This Christmas morning is going to be an anomaly for me….one I told myself I would never repeat.

I will be alone.

The beautiful thing about working in the healthcare industry is that there are no holidays.  Sure, you get days off, but weekends, holidays, points of time most people hold sacred – they have no meaning to us.  We have lives to save and people to treat.  My current employer is not open on Christmas this year.  My husband, however, has a gig.  In fact, this is a normal week for him.  I kept toying with the idea to pick up hours at my former employer – they would be open Christmas Day – but I never picked up the phone to inquire.  So much has changed there, I’d have to relearn my job.  Despite the stress of that place, I feel terrible that I’m not taking someone’s spot, who could spend that time with family and friends – I remember working double shifts to help coworkers.  My family is thousands of miles away, as is The General’s.

This happened once before, when I was still in Illinois.  I kinda sorta freaked out about it.  Granted, I can do anything by myself – fly half way across the world, go out to dinner, attend a show/party/gathering.  But for some reason, Christmas is always hard.  To offset the lonely Christmas I had (single and working), I went all out and bought a tree with ornaments and transformed my apartment into a Christmas wonderland.  I found it quite therapeutic.  Christmas Eve, my college roommate showed up with her husband, gifts, and a hot ‘n ready pizza.  It was one of the best Christmas memories I have.  They drove a half hour out of their way to make sure I had a merry Christmas.  That will always stay with me.

This year, however, all is not lost.  The General and I are getting together with Pat and Chris (old family friends) for dinner, gifts, and games on Christmas Evening.  It’s just that the morning is going to be rough for me.  Different, perhaps is a better word.  I really have no desire to sit alone in this big empty house with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.  I have decided to go to the beach, and if I get up early enough, I can watch the sunrise over the ocean.  I’ve found there’s very few things in this world that a walk on the beach doesn’t make better/put in perspective.

It’s time to make some new Christmas traditions.

Some like it hot. I’m one of them.

In an effort to finally reach my goal of toning and strengthening every skeletal muscle in my body, I have embraced yoga.  Now, it’s not the new-age chanting lifestyle; it’s mastering poses.  I use this book which is amazing – it’s in English, not Sanskirt, and it focuses on yoga as an exercise, not a religion.  It’s perfect. I even downloaded an interval app on my phone to set reps…..so I hold the pose for 20 seconds and do the postures for 10-15 minutes.  I have some serious arm muscle going on and the ever-so-slight ab definition.  I have also made strides on poses I couldn’t do at first — some of them I have mastered, others I am well on my way to conquering!

The motto for my life is the same as Monty Python’s: “And now for something completely different.”  I decided to take a class in Bikram Yoga.  This is also known as “hot yoga.”  It’s done in a room that’s kept at 105°F (41°C).  It felt like heaven to me, especially after this cold snap.  It was very challenging as well as calming.  I sat our for a few poses — some where too advanced for me.  Oh, and you sweat buckets.  Seriously. I was drenched!  This is not the exercise for the unhydrated; I drank extra water every moment I could at work to prep for it.  I lost a lot more water than I thought I would…..I actually stopped sweating toward the end of class, which is not good.  One has to be careful of hyperthermia and hyponatremia.

I wasn’t in any pain after class, it was more of muscle fatigue.  I hurt 2 days later as the lactic acid settled and that was it.  While I do not have the energy or the drive to make this a several times a week habit as one lady I met there – but I will go back for a class here and there.  What I loved about this class were the people.  Some of them were very experienced, as seen by their rock-hard bodies and expert moves, but there were a lot of newbies and people in the middle like me.  The woman who befriended me was, medically speaking, severely obese — she was on a weight loss challenge for herself and she fell in love with hot yoga.  She did some of the poses better than I did!  Major kudos to her for getting out there and owning it! Old, young, out of shape, more in shape than I will ever be in this lifetime – it was a cross section of society in there.  Amazing.

Here’s to new experiences!

 

The Awakening

A couple months ago I randomly showed up to an expo with various businesses.  I stumbled upon a church’s booth, a denomination that I associated with in high school and college (I currently attended and consider myself “non-denom”).  They were giving away free coffee mugs and cookies, so I grabbed one.   I also saw they had a newsletter so I picked that up too.    I was just curious.  This denomination has a tendency to be….weird.  I wondered what they were about.

As I read through the newsletter, it was full of stuff going on at the church.  They have several very active ministries in the community and there was constantly activity with a vibrant fellowship (I saw that at the booth).  I read the Pastor’s letter and I was drawn in: in a few weeks they were going to have several services dedicated to sanctifying the church, to grow stronger in the Lord and thus be a shining beacon to the surrounding community.  Rock on, I thought.

Through my quiet time, I felt a pull from the Lord to go to these services.  It was pretty strong.  I kept checking their website, trying to see when the services were listed – mainly for the time – and it never was.  I had every intention of calling the church office, but I ended up dreaming it instead.  I dreamt I went to this church and it was really odd, the pastor in my dream was very elusive and strange and I asked him point blank what time the services started and he said 7pm.  It wasn’t that much of a stretch — most evening church services start at 7pm.  I never did call the office.  I was just going to show up at 7pm.  And that was that.

I explained to The General the best I could on why I wanted to attend these 3 nights at a random church where I knew no one and wasn’t sure what their worship style was.  I went alone, as The General is much more sensitive to religious experiences — he grew up Catholic like me — and I wanted to scope it out before I brought him into the fold.  He doesn’t mesh well with church services out of his comfort zone.

I arrived and sat towards the back.  I was greeted by several people and the pastor came up and introduced himself to me.  I miss that.  I go to a rather large church here and one-on-one time with the pastor is nearly impossible.  The church was a carbon copy physically of the church I attended in college as well as high school, down to the color of the pews.  It was comforting.  As the service started, it was pretty much what I expected it to be.  There was a lot of hand raising and expressive worship — and everyone hugs each other.  I’m a midwesterner at heart with my personal bubble, so this was a bit awkward for me.  The sermon was a guest speaker, so I didn’t hear the pastor speak, but he closed the services in prayer and his prayers were so elegant, deep, and powerful; truly a man of God.  I could feel the Holy Spirit in that church — it was really a strong presence.

After the last service, the Pastor asked me my name and my family status.  I told him I would be back.  I got home that night and The General and I talked about it.  I wanted to go the following Sunday to the morning service and think about joining this church.  I again was going to go alone, because The General had to work Sunday morning.  After talking to him about it, I decided not to.  Despite my being drawn to this church, I cannot go and make decisions like this without him present.  While this church may be perfect for me, I am not in this alone, I have The General to consider.  He did agree to attend with me one Sunday after a bit of coaxing.  Sometimes my independent streak gets the best of me.  That’s one thing I love about our marriage: I can still maintain my independence.  But on other hand, as we discussed, I can’t let my independence trump what is best for us.

So I’m not sure where this journey is headed, or what’s next, but I’m really excited on what the Lord is going to do.