Golden Days

Sergio and I are pretty bad about exploring Alaska. We would like to do a better job of it, but when faced with vacation ideas, we always default to “leave the state and go somewhere with sun and warmth…or Europe.” We never say, “Oh, hey, maybe we should use this week of time and a couple thousand dollars to go see…Juneau?” It just doesn’t seem far enough to justify the cost, you know? I mean, it’s plenty far away from here, but is the experience different enough from just staying home? Probably. I dunno.

We also have other barriers to entry such as a lack of time, being afraid of getting mauled because we don’t own a gun or bear spray or any useful Alaskan gear like a snow machine or a 4-wheeler, not wanting to drive long distances on icy roads (or drive long distances in general), or just plain preferring to keep our rears on the couch with the blankets.

We DO manage to go see some cool Alaskan stuff when we have visitors, and we’re super excited that we will be going to Seward in a couple of weeks when Sergio’s parents come back. We saw Denali with them last year. If more of you would like to come visit, it really helps to motivate us to be better tourists here at home.

Anyway, the point of this post is actually about how we are trying to do a better job of participating in the stuff happening right here around us. Fairbanks just wrapped up it’s annual Golden Days celebration. As best as I can tell, this is a celebration of the Gold Rush that brought about the existence of Fairbanks. There are several events, most of which we missed. However, due to some good timing/luck, we managed to attend the Golden Days River Regatta and a portion of the Golden Days parade.

The Regatta was one in which you could come out in anything that could float and didn’t have a motor. We were surprised to learn it was also a total water fight. It was fun.

The portion of the parade that we were able to stay for mostly included very old cars, people in period costumes, and some military units. We didn’t leave out of boredom or anything. Sergio had to help judge a barbecue competition later in the afternoon and the timing required we cut the parade short. Rosalind was given four pieces of candy before we left and she couldn’t eat any of them with her braces. Oops.

Look out! We’re on fire! We’ve been to one and a half events. Maybe only one and a quarter. Not really sure how long the parade was.

Child In The Wild

Rolo headed off to Girl Scout Camp yesterday. This is her second year, and this time she stays all week. Eliot went along for the ride. We had to waste about 15 minutes, so we stopped down by the lake and let them play on the rocks. It was in the mid-seventies and mostly sunny when we dropped her off yesterday, but her camp luck for the weather seems to have returned today. Hopefully the rest of the week will pan out to be warm because I’m at a loss to imagine what they will do for an entire six days in the rain in the Alaskan woods. On the other hand, she did point out to us that the cabins get really warm at night if the sun is out, so maybe it’s a toss up.

I guess while she is away, the adults can play. Snort. Not really. I’m totally sitting on the couch watching DVR’d Say Yes to the Dress UK episodes. Just without the normal guilt that I should be engaging with my child. We might also go to a movie that doesn’t come from Marvel or Pixar or Disney. We are the very definition of party animals.

Is dis a butterfly?

Rolo and I went through her closets, buckets, cabinets, and bags last week while rearranging her bedroom. We didn’t really get rid of that much stuff, but it allowed us to reorganize a bit. During the purge, Rolo came across one of the old phones that I had never backed up to anything. We had a good time going through our pictures and videos. I have now uploaded everything I wanted to a couple of locations.

The video I am attaching below is one that I never shared because I remember feeling slightly frustrated with it at the time. I was trying to show how quickly toddler Rosalind would run through the puzzles at the library. I do have that really obnoxious side to me, I guess, that only wants to show off the best things about my kid. Instead this turned out to be a video of her taking it slow and making some mistakes and chatting with me, and I could not be happier that it turned out that way now. Listen to her! Just listen to that little voice! It melts me.

Ugh. My voice. Gross.

 

Hey, Puter

Did you catch my Lego Batman reference in the title? I’m nothing if not sophisticated. My movie references are top notch.

The title is really a reference to having gotten my work computer back with just enough time left in the summer to feel like I now need to actually do some planning. I am totally thrilled with this development because I can’t stand posting to the blog through my phone. The editing process is such a pain doing it that way. Not to mention typing. Oh, sweet keyboard, how I adore you.

I have so many things I want to post about! Where to start? None of them are particularly important, but they are all worthy of the blog-as-a-scrapbook-of-my-life thing I have going on.

I’ll just start with my birthday. Yes, I know that I already posted a bit about my birthday. This one is less about me and more about Sergio. I’ve mentioned before that Sergio is way better at gestures than me. First of all, when he and Rolo decided I should have a cake and asked for ideas because I had already gotten my fav strawberry cake while in Arkansas, I gave coconut as one of the suggestions. All the recipes for coconut cake that I know are to buy a Pepperidge Farm frozen one, or to make a sort of poke cake that involves boxed cake mix and sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut and Cool Whip (both delicious options, by the way). Sergio, however, created this. From scratch!

It was delicious. He even bought us a really pretty bundt pan because we didn’t have one. Bonus gift.

Speaking of gifts, he went overboard. I bought myself some perfume earlier in the summer and called that my birthday in the same way that Sergio bought himself some cologne and called it Father’s Day. Sergio did not buy into that (like I totally did because I suck) and presented me with three books and a spa day. Not a spa treatment. A DAY! So I’ll be collecting any and all gift ideas that any of you might have for the next two months until his birthday. Thanks in advance.

I went for the majority of my spa day yesterday. That’s right. I had to break it into two sessions because I ran out of time to continue spending at the spa. That’s spoiled (I do feel I need to clarify that I didn’t close down the spa or anything. I just had an appointment that I couldn’t miss at lunch). I enjoyed it immensely, of course, but as all three massages that I’ve ever had in my life have now shown me, I have tension in my shoulder/neck area. Or at least that’s what I’m always told. I’m not sure this is true. On the one hand, I am a ball of anxiety at any given time. On the other hand, I am on summer vacation and tend to be pretty chill when not in a social setting. So I came up with some possible options for what is really happening when they abuse my trapezius muscle.

Option one: I am deceptively muscular. When not actively working out, I am pretty nondescript and have a little layer of fluff that disguises that I have minimal muscle tone under there somewhere, and it surprises all massage therapists to find muscle where they expected to find none.

Option two: I am built wrong. I just have knots where other humans don’t for no reason other than I am built wrong. Or maybe I absorbed a twin in the womb and one day we’ll find a tumor up there that turns out to be the absorbed twin? Something like that.

Option three: I actually hold stress there? Seems unlikely.

Option four: Massage therapist always start with shoulders and despite knowing that I will eventually relax, the first response to being laid out on a table, mostly nude, at the mercy of a stranger, is fight or flight. Flight is pretty much out of the question when you take into account the mostly nude part, so it’s all fight. Especially when they haven’t yet found the right amount of pressure (literally attacking you with their freaky strong massage therapist muscles) and so I tense up. Fight, if you will, relaxing for the first five minutes or so which turns the whole shoulder thing into a torture show until I can convince myself to calm down and then miraculously they have worked out the tension in my shoulders. So…I think option four is probably the real explanation.

After that first five minutes, it was pure relaxation. My husband is neat. I’ll probably let him continue to hang around. Just kidding, it’s definitely more of a question of whether he’ll put up with me any longer if I don’t figure out how to step up my own game a little. Or a lot.

Birfday

It’s my birthday. One of those kind of landmarky numbers that’s making me have some crisis sort of feelings. *Whisper voice: thirty-five. Choke. Gasp.

I was young once.

How taut was my neck skin? So taut.

But seriously, everyone has been super sweet to me over the last week and today. Thirty-five is not looking so gloomy when I have so many people willing to make me my favorite cakes (strawberry last week and coconut today. I have divisive cake opinions) and contact me to wish me happy birthday. I guess I can manage getting older with this sort of support.

Here We Are Again

These views can only mean one thing – Rolo and I made it back to Alaska yesterday. If you can’t tell, that is looking at Eliot belly up and butt first. His favorite way to lay with me is spooned up against my stomach with his butt toward my face. This is not my favorite way to hang out with him, but since I just got home after five weeks, I humored him. 

I’ll get around to a summer post soon. There is a slight chance that I’ll get my computer back in the near future which will make this endeavor much simpler. In the meantime, I am still taking today to rest up and reaclimate to Alaska time and lots of daylight. 


This not very flattering picture is titled The Very First Plane Is Running 45 Minutes Late Due To A Malfunctioning Seatbelt And I’m Stuck On The Tarmac Cursing American Airlines Silently In My Head Because I Only Had A One Hour Layover And Now My Whole Flying Day Will Be Jacked And I’m Trying Very Hard To Keep It Together For My Child Who Is Taking This Photo To Keep Herself Occupied. 

I very rarely find cause to compliment American, but I will give them at least the credit that when they finally got us in the air, they had us parked at the gate in Dallas only 40 minutes later. I made the next flight mostly due to lucky gate placement, and we got home on time after all. I spent the whole day in a constant stress ball though and conked out at 8 pm Alaska time after having stuffed some Chinese takeout in my face while sitting on my couch in my sweats. I’m sure this was exactly the sparkling company Sergio was expecting upon my return. 

Sidenote: The gray sky you see in the top picture is not due to either dusk or clouds. It’s a thick haze of smoke blown in from fires hundreds of miles away. 

Summer Challenges

It would be misleading if I let you believe that spending over a month traveling with your child doesn’t result in some negative behaviors developing. As she sleeps in different beds, eats on a new schedule daily, participates in almost constant activity, and goes to bed at whatever time works out – her behavior deteriorates accordingly. Not to mention that now that she is older, she also misses home, her dad, and her dog more often and more passionately than she has in the past. So what I’m saying is that she is usually playing my very last nerve these days. 

I’ve started taking her picture when she manages to pull herself together enough to be normal and sweet. Here are those moments. 

What? You see similarities in these pictures? I don’t get what you mean. 

Tulum

We are back in the U.S! I don’t know why I put an exclamation mark there. It’s not like I was dying to leave a beach house in Mexico. 

But here we are! Sorry for the silence while we were gone. I had internet access, but the downside to picking the coldest room in the house was that the internet didn’t reach it. The living space had internet, but going out there tended to distract me with scenery and ocean breezes and hammocks. Sorry. But not really. 

Our trip was marked with adventures planned and unplanned! We went swimming in cenotes, many of which we shared with multiple hundreds of bats. We ziplined, and rock-climbed, rapelled, snorkeled, and kayaked! 

We were also briefly pulled over by police while driving. Yikes. 

We also relaxed a lot. We had four hammocks and multiple lounge chairs. We had a back porch and two terraces. Our beach spot was private and we had a small pool. I napped at least twice. I read books. 


Finally, we took in some history. First we drove out to Chichen Itza and toured the ruins there. We eventually ran by the Tulum ruins as well, but most of us overheated quickly and we had to cut that trip a little short. 


Oh, and of course we ate all the food. We actually ate at home every other night. The house came with a caretaking couple and Gabriela fed us homemade meals of empanadas, fajitas, and chile rellenos. 

We also had several great meals out, but I didn’t really take note of where. I think we had Mateo’s and Oscar and Lalo’s. 

We also had really good stuff at a couple of restaurants we chose only because they were positioned to catch a nice cross breeze. At least once we all kept our feet in our seats because two iguanas came around hoping for lunch. Iguanas were everywhere, but these two guys actually came right over to us to the point of comical discomfort. We actually had four daily iguana friends at our house. Albert, Icky, and Spikey? I think that’s what we called them. The fourth had no name. 

We also saw multiple bird species, snakes, bats, some sort of red raccoon thing, and a rodent with a rabbit butt and capybara head. I could probably look this stuff up. There were also thousands of yellow and brown butterflies. 

It was a very nice time. I’ll try to throw up some links tomorrow. Oh, did I mention the shells? I’ve never seen such a beach for shells.