Sunday, July 31, 2011

Birthday Addendum

He's known all along that I'm a shoe fiend. He's known that for my birthday I want things that I covet but would never get for myself. He's known that shoes are always a great option, and that sometimes, a purse if I'm in need of one or know of one that I love.

And yet, he's refused. He's flat-out told me numerous times that, no, no way could he gift me stuff like purses and shoes.

Sorry, darling, I can't bring myself to do it.

And all this time I've been like, seriously?!? Because all I want are shoes!! And purses sometimes.

Why the aversion to these things, I have no clue. He's tried to explain but over here, does not compute. The best I could gather was that he felt weird about it. I'm not even sure what that means. It's not like he'd have to walk into Macy's and feel purses and shoes up and sniff them and whisper to a sales associate that he'll take the slouchy black hobo or green strappy wedge sandals.

So I'd chalked it up to one of his (um, many) quirks and left it at that. Until he asked me to send him a birthday wish list so he could get some ideas, and I thought it'd be great fun to send him a list with links to nothing but purses and shoes. heh.

But if you scroll just a few posts down, you'll see that this year I didn't really want anything except the Gucci purse I've been (shamefully, self-loathingly) coveting for years now and will never get (he knows I'll smack him with that purse if he dares spend that much money on what is essentially a pit for all my crap) and these spectacular wedge heels that were sooooo pretty but impractical and out of my price range. Even on sale, they were too much for me to spend on myself, and anyway, my size had run out.

But they were pretty, oh, so pretty. And sexy and fun and.... and.... sigh.

I just figured he'd go through my Amazon wish list or wing it, and whatever. I knew I'd love his gift no matter what and then at Christmas I could once again ask for shoes or a purse.

And then he went and did this:




Oh my lord. Oh my. OH MY.

Sooooo pretty.

He got me good.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/31/2011   | | | links to this post

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oh Look, a Birthday

Happy Birthday to me.

It's the wee hours of my 34th birthday. I've been dreading this day simply because it's the first time I feel old, or what I presume to be "old." I technically am not old, nor do I look old; in fact, despite some recent weight gain as I've figured out and set out to fix a doozy of a health issue, this is the best I feel in ages. And yet, age has been heavy on my mind.

The weight gain (not the most I've experienced, thankfully, but enough) bums me out, mainly because two years ago I was super skinny and thought I had battled high blood sugar and won, when in fact, my HBS was a symptom of something bigger (which also included a bout of hyperthyroidism), and the weight loss I experienced then was actually the result of strong meds plus a spazzing thyroid. I've been grappling with that, with how great I looked while my body was suffering - and I thought I was on the road to wellness! It's now, two years after that, that I finally understand what's been up with my body and have been taking care of it (in essence, Leaky Gut Syndrome, which whacked out my immune system, compromising my blood sugar, thyroid, joints and digestive system.), and I'm really only at the beginning of this process. The huge dietary changes have been slow-going, though it's getting easier, but at the very least, the vitamin/supplement regimen I've had to get on has really turned things around for me.

Still, I understand that age can make it harder to maintain an ideal weight, and being a year older really doesn't help my feelings. While part of me feels curvy and sensual and hot, another part of me is like, "come on, woman, you have 10 lbs of pudge to drop!" So this crap is weighing on me, plus that wretched biological clock of mine, and so, I'm feeling this 34 a little harder than I would like to.

Ay. Anyway. I'm being way too angsty on my special day. I have to work today, though I'm hoping for an easy day (that I may have totally just jinxed). Tonight, dinner with the family, and then I have a few days of Jevo-planned festivities. Max already gave me an awesome painting he did for me, and he's been wishing me a Happy Birthday for days now.

Really, if I stop being so morose for two minutes, I can see that 34 has already gotten off to a good start.


Max Birthday Love, mixed media, 2011

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Posted by Tere @ 7/28/2011   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pura Vida

I'm back from a wonderful week in Costa Rica.

Oh, yeah. I flew. Twice. And survived. This was also my first *real* international trip, ever. I know, it took 33 years. Sad life.

It was a great time. The people were nice and hospitable. It's impossible not to relax even as you're hiking or sweating your butt off (you'd think, being from Miami, that humidity would be nothing to me, but no, this was humidity on a whole other level), because the views are just so inspiring and incredible. I've never seen anything like Costa Rica.

This trip has been more than a year in the making. My sister and BIL were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary and really wanted to do a vow renewal ceremony in Costa Rica. We have some interesting ties to that country. For one, it's where they honeymooned and have returned a couple of times. My parents have also vacationed here. And in the early 80's, my father's family lived there for a few years after they fled Cuba. In this way the country is a part of us, and especially given the honeymoon factor, it was the right place to do a huge family trip.

For this was one huge group. Huge, as in, close to 50 people. We were a combination of family and my sister/BIL's closest friends. Like I said, plans began a year ago, so everyone had time to figure out if they could make it work with their schedules and budgets. My sister did an extraordinary job of coordinating this trip, from transportation to hotels to activity options. Really, she has a level of organization that is admirable and intense and exactly the kind I need for myself.

It was hard for me to be crazy excited about this trip, mainly because I never feel excited about anything until the moment it's happening. There've been too many times in my life where I've gotten ridiculously excited about something only to have it all go wrong. At the same time, I'm usually so anxious about stuff that pure excitement is hard. Between these two things, I don't feel, or allow myself to feel, too much before something is actually happening.

So with this trip, the planning and worrying about possible disasters kept me busy enough until the week before the trip. Don't get me wrong: I was very much looking forward to this, but I didn't give in to it until the plane landed and it seemed o.k. to loosen up.

We hit three parts of the country: Arenal (our hotel was at the base of the Arenal volcano, which yes, is active), Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. Each area was gorgeous in its own way, though I still can't tell what moved me more: the vivid green and peacefulness of the mountains and valleys in Monteverde, or the tropical lushness and sultriness of Manuel Antonio. Arenal, with the clouds coming and going over the giant volcano, was mysterious and ominous.

We spent our time in a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. We luxuriated in the warm/hot thermal springs, ate (and drank!) to our hearts' content, hiked in a small forest as the sun set to catch glimpses of nocturnal animals, zip lined through a cloud forest, white-water rafted, snorkeled, played in the pool for hours on end and swam in the cool Pacific Ocean.

Of the activities, I'll say this: zip lining can kiss my ass. I hated it. Talk about effing terrifying! I'm such a wuss, I know, but seriously, there was nothing appealing about it to me. I did it for a couple of reasons: 1) to not be such a wuss and live a little; 2) because I knew it would be a good example for my son; 3) because no way was I going to stay behind while my itty bitty baby boy did this. I had to be near him and make sure he was o.k.; 4) to do it, period. It's a bucket list-type item, even if it wasn't on my list in particular. So, I did it, crossed it off the list, and that's that. I have no need or desire to do it ever again.


Not only am I flying across 1,000 feet, I'm also responsible for my niece's life!

That said, the views were amazing. Amazing. There were 13 lines, and the last one is half a mile long, the highest one of all, strung up way high over the trees. You're basically flying hundreds of feet above all the trees, nothing but a huge, wide open space all around. Terrifying. Amazing. I have no other words. Jevo and I did that last line together, which made it extra special (as I told him, "at least we'll die together."), and Max absolutely loved loved loved it. He was so excited about this and just did so great.


Bring on the zip lines!

Actually, Max was wonderful on this trip, except for the parts where he was so exhausted that he was a total pain in the butt. To be expected, I suppose, and he did nothing terrible or out of the ordinary. He proved himself once again to be quite an adventurer, open to everything we did, more or less listening or at least sticking with the bigger kids, and basically was just way too adorable in his excitement and wonder.

He was actually bummed at the stuff he missed out on, like white-water rafting (not old enough), though he loved our catamaran adventure: snorkeling and going down the big slide from the top of the huge cat and right into the ocean. His delight at the bright fish as the swam right in front of him was just too sweet.


We be snorkelin'.

Overall, an awesome vacation. Considering what a large group we were, it was very neat to have zero complications or issues come up (miraculous, actually). It was awesomer still that Jevo and I managed our own downtime, because, come on, how could we have done a place as wondrous and stunning as Costa Rica and not had some alone time? As usual, traveling with him was great, yet another chance for us to grow closer. I wasn't sure how we'd do a whole week in a foreign country with Max (and my relatives). But we were fine - a relief and a joy.

I've been home a few days and am already wishing I was back.


I mean, come on!!

Some other shots

Arenal Volcano:



Hiking in Manuel Antonio:


Monteverde (I know!):


Jevo showing M the crocodiles:


Monkey on the zip line:


Us:

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Posted by Tere @ 7/27/2011   | | | links to this post

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summerness

This was supposed to be the Summer of Tere Catching Up. It is, instead, turning out to be the Summer of Tere Almost-But-Not-Quite Catching Up, Kinda Sorta.

I've been pretty good about tackling the eternal mess that is my house, and I've been reading voraciously. I've got my bills and correspondence in order and no major issues to tackle (though I still have to tell y'all about the health odyssey I've been on). So I should be good, right?

Almost. I haven't been able to write here as much as I've wanted to, and my current draft pile is about a dozen posts deep (not counting the 70 others that have built up over the years), of which maybe four will see the light of day. I've been "too busy/exhausted to write" for like two years now, but this is a different kind of busy. I've got this long to-do list of things that must get done this summer and the looming deadline has me going going going at a time when I want to be relaxing relaxing relaxing (which includes writing).

I'm running against some big things: Max starts Kindergarten and a new school, and there's been prep work for that. And I don't just mean buying stuff and talking to him about "big boy school"; I've been running my home like a mix of camp and school, which means I drill him in math, spelling or reading every day. It's not about being Kindergarten-ready for me (because judging by the work we're doing with workbooks I have a feeling this kid is past the kindergarten level already), it's about keeping him in school mode and keeping that brain of his focused on these important things. Otherwise, our homelife is currently like a structured camp, where we do a lot of playing and staying up "late" but fill the time with activities. We've been in the pool so much this summer I'm about to start peeing chlorine.

There's also my own schooling. When Max starts Kinder, I go back to grad school, which will surely kick my ass. I love love love my field of study but this degree becomes ever more useless the closer I get to it. I had this awesome Plan B as layoff loomed two years ago, with me getting a graduate degree in a field I'm passionate (but not professionally knowledgeable) about and changing careers into something exciting and complex and I would kick ass and live happily ever after, and all was good until I got this great job (in my current field, not the new, totally unrelated one) that I love and have no intention of leaving. I'm getting that degree come hell or high water, though, and so it's just extra work for me (not just time and commitment-wise, but also, like, brain-wise, because this is a totally new area of study for me, and I have to work harder than all the other students who either have their BS in the field or work in it).

There are more things, changes afoot in my relationship (all good and magical) with Jevo, changes to the house. Etc. and all that.

All this to say, I'm being all kinds of active and non-lazy and my health is on track toward awesomeness, and yet, I fall short here. Which sucks because I love the stuff I've been working on and want to see it done and out here. But see, that's the thing about loving the stuff so much: it makes me ridiculously obsessive about the words I use, the phrases, paragraph structure. I don't just want to spew stuff out, people, I want to be lyrical about it.

So I'm just gonna keep riding this strangely productive wave I've got going because it feels really neat and is giving me results, and meanwhile, this is turning out to be a really cool summer and it's all good here, and I'm just gonna shut up now before I jinx myself and ruin everything.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/15/2011   | | | links to this post

Friday, July 08, 2011

Oh Birthday, My Birthday

It’s that very special time of the year: time for me to get myself some birthday presents!

There’s nothing specific I truly want (though you should see the obnoxious wish list I gave Jevo!), except for the ostentatious purse and these awesome shoes that are still not cheap enough for me to actually get (and just great, my size is sold out!). So, I'm left to wander the vast Internet, all lonely and confused.

Actually, for once I've not really been looking forward to my birthday. I don't know why, as there's no actual reason for me to feel this way. The best I can come up with is that I'm (finally?) feeling old, which is utterly ridiculous, but true. I think I'm beginning to age, and my biological clock is kicking my ass, and I haven't had time to play racquetball so I feel fat and gross, and.... wwwaaaahhhhhhhh.

I can't even muster the enthusiasm to shop, people! Or to covet pretty things! Is this what happens when you're truly getting old, you stop caring? You feel indifferent to whether or not you get a gift or if anyone remembers? You could care less if the day even comes?

I sound so gloomy about it, yet I know it'll be a lovely day and I'll be happy. What gives?

Sigh.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/08/2011   | | | links to this post