Thursday, October 30, 2008
"A dentist!" Daughter said.
"An elevator!" I said.
We certainly have our phobias in this family.
But as I reflected on this further, I realized that there are no costumes for the scariest things in life.....
There is no costume for Insecurity.
There is no costume for Widow.
There is no costume for Grieving Mother.
There is no costume for Cancer.
There is no costume for Loneliness.
Yes, the scariest things are the REAL things. Vampires, ghosts, monsters - they ain't got nothin' on Real Life. I'll take a mummy any day over a suspicious lump. I'd happily face down a witch before I'd face down being alone. Heck, I'd even ride in an elevator if it meant never having to bury one of my children.
But I know that whatever fears I have to face in my life, I can get thru them because I have a God who loves me and takes care of me. That doesn't mean that bad things won't happen to me; but when I have to face the obstacles in life, God is there with me, giving me strength and courage.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10
Have a Happy Halloween, everyone, and don't let anything scare you! God's got your back.
The scary part? I actually wore this costume - a red, spandex unitard - to a PARTY! With PEOPLE there! From our CHURCH! We were a big hit, tho. Would do it again in a heartbeat - except that the costumes have mysteriously disappeared....
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Reaching out in love,
Giving the gift that's priceless:
The gift of one's self.
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10
**This is for the "Gift" prompt at One Single Impression this week - be sure to stop by there to see all the wonderful poetry!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wow! Auckland, New Zealand has been fun, but after our mandatory rest period with the other Teams, it's time to race again! This time we were off to Siem Reap, Cambodia!
Our departure time was 9:32 a.m. - finally a decent hour! But we were well behind leaders Ken & Tina, who left at 6:03 a.m. At least we got to sleep in a little bit! By the time we got to Auckland International Airport, Ken & Tina and Terence & Sarah had already gotten on a 12:20 p.m. flight. We had to get on a 4:55 p.m. flight with all the other Teams (except Ty & Aja, who were WAAAAAAY behind us). Turns out we met up with Ken & Tina and Terence & Sarah at our layover in Singapore, so we all arrived in Siem Reap at the same time (minus Ty & Aja - no telling where they were).
It was a REALLY long flight, so I took my Xanax and went to sleep. Look what D... did to me while I was sleeping! Braided my hair and drew a mustache on me with a Sharpie! I'm not amused.
Our clue at the airport told us to take a taxi to a roadside gas pumping station. We had a hard time communicating with our taxi driver, but he managed to get us there. Ya'll, Cambodia is NASTY! We don't ever want to go back there!
At the gas station we had to use a hand pump, the method most commonly used in this part of Cambodia, to fill a truck's gas tank with 25 liters of diesel fuel. Easy breezy! We had to take turns pumping, and our arms were tired, but we did it! Those stupid frat boys Andrew & Dan couldn't figure it out. We just laughed at them as we got our next clue: jump in the back of our now fully-gassed truck and have the driver take us to Siem Reap Harbor. From there we had to take a marked boat to the floating restaurant, Kho Andeth.
Several of us Teams were all in it together, and we took turns passing each other on the road in our big trucks. The same thing happened in the boats - it was definitely feeling like a race!! D... and I were worried that since we were going to a restaurant we might have to eat something gross. But thankfully, that was not the case. When we got there it was a Detour, a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons. In this Detour, Teams had to choose between Village Life or Village Work. In Village Life, Teams used their boats to pick up three items: a set of toy teeth from the dentist; a doll from the tailor; and a basketball from the floating basketball court where each Team member had to make one basket. Then they had to deliver the items to a man at the dock for their next clue. In Village Work, Teams had to take their boat to a fishing ground, wade into waist deep water, and search among numerous fishing traps for two filled with fish. Then they had to deliver the fish back to the dock and transfer the fish into baskets to receive their next clue.
There was NO WAY D... and I were getting in that nasty water. So we went with Village Life. It was really quite easy, and interesting to explore the floating village (but still - nasty). We had a lot of fun with the teeth, too! Wind-up chattering teeth are always fun.
We finished the task high and dry, and ahead of several other Teams! Woot!
Our next clue told us to travel to Angkor Wat, an ancient temple that was built for the king in the 12th century and has since become a symbol of Cambodia. Off we go!
Angkor Wat was amazing! And HUGE! The next clue was a Roadblock, and read,"Who has a better sense of direction?" It was D...'s turn. She may not be able to read a map, but she's pretty good with directions. She's certainly never gotten lost in a mall or anything!
She had to search the immense grounds of Angkor Wat for a small elusive room named Prassat Kok Troung, also known as the Chamber of Echoes. Once there, she had to stand on a specific spot and thump her chest in such a way as to make the sound echo throughout the chamber (creepy!), at which point she could pick up the next clue. It took her a little while - like I said,that place is HUGE! But with the help of a local, she finally found it, beat her chest like Tarzan, and got our next clue, printed on the back of a sculpture: travel to the Pit Stop at Bayon Temple, a 12th century Buddhist temple!
Off we went! We had no idea what place we were in because everyone was pretty spread out around the temple, but there were still Teams there when we left, so we knew we weren't last.
It took some searching, but finally we found Phil on the grounds of the Bayon Temple!
Imagine our surprise when he told us we were in SECOND PLACE!!!! WOOT! We couldn't believe it! What's even better is that we came in ahead of Ken & Tina this leg. They are really annoying us. Ty & Aja, who were so far behind from the beginning that they really didn't stand a chance, were last to arrive, and were eliminated from the race. They seem to really be in love; I hope everything works out for them.
So here we are in nasty Cambodia, waiting to see where the race will take us next. Hopefully out of here, that's for sure! Stay tuned for our continuing adventures on the Amazing Race!!!
Where We've Been:
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
For some reason the hat was a little small for my head (Big head? I don't think so.). And the boots looked like they'd fall apart if I tried to stick my feet in them, so I set them aside. There used to be a belt - a big, wide, white leather belt that laced up in the front. I don't know where that is. But I was feeling proud! I was feeling the school spirit! I was feeling 17 again! I was feeling.......a little lightheaded. Much to Daughter's relief, I took it off. Back to my jeans and school T-shirt - much more comfortable for the game!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
But we girls! We have the best time watching all the dancing and critiquing every move, every costume, every judge's comment. We cheer on our favorites and even attempt some of the dance moves every now and then if we're feeling particularly brave. It's a great Girls' Night. I'll sure miss it when the season is over.
So, do you watch? Who are your favorites?
Monday, October 20, 2008
More drama at the Pit Stop in La Paz, Bolivia - Kelly & Christy and Nick & Starr still have their knickers in a knot. Oh well. D... and I are staying out of it. It was early afternoon when we got to the Pit Stop, so we ate and slept. That's what we do. Eat and sleep. And then.....RACE!
Our departure time was 12:59 a.m. - and when we tore open our clue we squealed like little girls - fly to Auckland, New Zealand!!!!! Ya'll, PHIL is from New Zealand! This is going to be fun!
All the teams got to the airport at the same time, and we all got on the same flight to Auckland (Dude, that was a LOOOONG flight! I was popping Xanax like candy!). Once we got there our clue said to drive ourselves to Gulf Harbor and untie a Gordian knot for our next clue. It was dark - like 4:00 in the morning (WHY DO WE HAVE TO DO ALL THIS STUFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DANG NIGHT?!?) and D... isn't real big on driving anyway, so I took the wheel. Wait, someone already took the wheel! It's gone! Uh...B/S? The wheel's on the other side. Heh heh - I knew that. It was weird getting used to driving on the right side of the car - and the left side of the road! - but I got the hang of it. While we were driving D... and I discussed this Gordian knot thing. Daughter knows a lot about knots - she and Little Son took a knot-tying class on our riverboat cruise, plus she took a course at school on knots. That girl knows her knots. And I knew that there was not really a knot called the Gordian knot - that is simply a metaphor for an intricate and complex problem. We better put our thinking caps on.
We didn't know what place we were in, but we knew we had gotten out at least in the middle of the pack. There were only a couple of Race cars parked at the marina when we got there, so we figured we were doing pretty good. No need to run or anything. We quickly spotted our knot lying on one of the docks:
And we quickly recognized it as a monkey's fist knot! Easy peasy! We unraveled it and found our next clue..........along with a Fast Forward! This was the first of only two Fast Forwards hidden on the race. The first Team that finds it and completes it could skip all tasks and proceed directly to the Pit Stop. In it, Teams had to go directly to the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, the Auckland Skytower. Then, using the tower's maintenance ladders, they had to climb from the sky deck to the top and pick up a Travelocity Roaming Gnome. We knew Rat-Faced-Cheater-Ken & Tina were already ahead of us and we knew they would go for it. And uh, climb a ladder to the top of the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere? I don't think so. Would you want to shinny up the outside of this?
So we read the next clue - "Drive yourselves to the summit of Mount Eden". Okie dokie artichokie!
The sun was barely peeking over the horizon, but Mount Eden wasn't too hard to find. And this is where we found the Roadblock, a task that only one person can perform. The clue read, "Who has an eye for detail?" I decided to do this one.
I had to choose an image of a traditional tattoo seen on Maori warriors. Then, walking among the Maori, who were acting really strange, chanting and dancing and sticking out their tongues, I had to find the warrior with the tattoo that matched the one I had in my hand. If the match was wrong, the warrior would take my image and I would have to start again, so I had to be very careful (said in my best Steve Irwin accent). It was still pretty dark, and these dudes were kinda weird.
Our next clue told us to drive to Downtown Auckland and find the City Life Hotel - our next clue would be on the rooftop. Off we went!
Finally the sun was up, and we found the hotel. It was tall. And ya'll know I'm terrified of elevators. SO, because D... is the Best. Friend. Evah. we walked up the stairs to the rooftop. We lost a little time doing it that way, but it's OK. It was good exercise and I didn't have to risk death from stark fear.
Up on the rooftop (click click click) we found a set of binoculars, and a clue that told us to use them to to scan the area around the hotel to find a Travelocity Roaming Gnome doing New Zealand "wish list" activities. Whatever those are. Once we spotted a gnome, we had to go find it and retrieve it, along with our next clue. Super D.... spotted one of the gnomes right away - he was on a park bench beside a bicycle. We figured out how to get to him, and just as we headed back down the stairs, it started raining. Lovely. BUT, we found our gnome, and the clue - drive to the nearby town of Te Puke and find the local landmark Kiwi 360.
There sure is a lot of driving in this leg of the race. As we drove to Te Puke we saw a gorgeous rainbow, and we knew we were going to be OK! And we laughed about the town's name being "Puke". Yes, we are grown-ups, why do you ask?
Kiwi 360 was.....well.....interesting. They're all about the kiwifruit there. And they take it seriously. There's a GIANT kiwi statue, and D.... said, "Dude, that's a big kiwi." So I said, "That's what SHE said." And we giggled. No one else thought it was funny. Huh.
The next clue was a Detour, a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons. In this Detour, Teams had to choose between Matter of Time and Matter of Skill. In Matter of Time, Teams had to drive to a kiwi orchard where, using their bare feet, they needed to crush enough kiwi fruit to make twelve quarts of juice. When they reached the goal, each team member had to drink a glass of the juice to receive their next clue. In Matter of Skill, Teams had to drive to Blokart Heaven, choose two kits and properly assemble a pair of blokarts. Then Teams had to sail the blokarts around the track three times to earn their next clue.Hmmm......those blokart things sound faster - they are wind-powered go-karts - but D... has a thing about go-karts, and we figured it would take us forever to put the dang thing together, anyway. So we decided to stomp kiwis.
Yeah, it was kinda like that. Only a smaller vat. And the kiwis weren't exactly soft like grapes. And there were rocks on the bottom that were kinda rough on the tootsies. And D... and I didn't get into a fight and throw kiwi mush at each other. That would've been pretty funny, tho. No, we stuck to the task at hand, and squished out all our kiwi juice.
Even drinking that juice wasn't so bad. I didn't even throw up! And our next clue told us to drive to the Pit Stop at Summerhill, a New Zealand sheep farm. With kiwi juice mustaches, we were off!We still didn't' know what place we were in, but we knew that some other Teams were having troubles. Toni & Dallas started out at the kiwi stomp, but decided to switch over to the blokarts, so that took up time. So did Nick & Starr. And we hadn't seen Ty & Aja or Brooke & Marisa all day, so who knew where they were. We figured we were OK.
Of course Ken & Tina finished first - AGAIN. They're getting on our nerves. Whiny Terence & Sarah were second. They're getting on our nerves, too. But WE were third!! As we ran up to the mat, Phil was standing there with another man, who said, "Hi! I'm Phil's dad!" How cute is that?!?
It was great meeting him, and great to be in third place! Marisa & Brooke ended up coming in last (waaaay behind us!) so they were eliminated from the Race. We were sad to see them go - sweet, sweet girls.
Now there are only 7 Teams left! Who will be eliminated next??? Stay tuned to see where our adventure takes us next!
Where We've Been:
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The smaller one is an old Bromo-Seltzer bottle, but I'm not sure what the other one is. It looks like it could have had a note in it and been thrown out to sea by someone in search of rescue....or love. What stories this bottle could tell!
Is that not DARLING? Almost too cute to eat! But not quite. I mean, it IS chocolate mousse. Get it? Moose? Mousse? I love it! Those Disney folks are so clever! They just crack me up!
Why do my kids always say I embarrass them? And WHERE are my eyelashes?
(Why, yes, that IS the same shirt I'm wearing in that other Sincerely 'Fro Me to You post - thank you for noticing! The pictures must've been taken the same day! I guess I was just feeling extra silly that day. Or maybe that's just how I am.)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Apparently there's a lot of hostility going on between some of the other Teams, namely Nick and Starr and Christy and Kelly. Not sure what's up with that. Why can't everyone just get along?!? We're only out to beat each other to a $1 million prize!
At 1:14 a.m. we were off again - this time to La Paz, Bolivia! This capital city of Bolivia is 12,000 feet above sea level. D... and I live pretty much AT sea level in Houston, so we were feeling that altitude pretty quickly. Our clue at the airport told us to take a taxi to the statue of Simón Bolívar, and scan the morning newspaper's classified ads for our next clue. When we got to the statue, which is, like, in the middle of town, some lady was handing out blankets and D... and I were all like, "Wha???" Turns out that we had to spend the night right there on the hard concrete to wait for the next morning's paper delivery!
Finally, early the next morning (why do we have to do everything early in the morning?), a big truck came and dropped off the newspapers and it was a mad dash of Teams to grab one and start reading. D... and I spotted the clue pretty quickly - it told us to travel to the Narvaez Hat Shop near Plaza Murillo and buy a traditional Cholita hat. Pretty cute, huh?
Along with the hat, we received our next clue - a Detour, which is a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons. In this Detour, Teams had to choose between Musical March or Bumpy Ride. In Musical March, Teams had to make their way on foot to two plazas several blocks apart where they needed to collect musicians and form a band. Then they had to make their way to Plaza Abaroa and exchange the band members for their next clue. In Bumpy Ride, Teams made their way on foot to Mercado de las Brujas where they had to ride a locally crafted bicycle in a harrowing, bone rattling trip down cobblestone streets to Plaza Abaroa. For both sides of the Detour, Teams received the warning that a U-turn would be coming up ahead at the end of the task. Teams could use the power of a U-turn to slow down another Team by forcing them to backtrack and perform the other side of the Detour in addition to the one that they had already completed.
This was a tough decision. We were feeling the altitude, and walking to three different plazas could be exhausting. BUT, riding a wooden bicycle down cobblestone streets? D... and I have both birthed two babies, and our bladders.......well, let's just say they're not what they used to be, and we didn't pack Depends, so we chose Musical March.
Turns out it really wasn't so bad! D... and I love marching bands, so we just led those musician dudes along the street, dancing and singing and acting silly the whole way. I only threw up once (damn altitude!). And I did NOT throw up in the hat. So we're still good with that. D... even held my hair. She's the best friend EVAH! Andrew and Dan chose Marching Band, too, but their band dudes were reeeeealy slow. Probably because Andrew and Dan are not nearly as hawt as D... and I are. I mean, we're so hawt we make fire stop, drop and roll. Our band dudes were having fun following us thru the streets of La Paz! And we passed Andrew and Dan right up!
We decided not to U-Turn anyone - no need for that kind of nastiness. At least not this early in the Race. So we got our next clue: travel by taxi eight miles to Los Titanes del Ring. We had no idea what place we were in, but we grabbed a taxi and we were off!
The next clue was a Road Block, a task that only one person can perform. The clue read, "Who's ready to pick a fight?" I decided to do this one, since D... did the last one. I was a little scared, tho. A fight? I'm kind-of a little woman. I hope I don't get my ass kicked.
Turns out I had to hand the hat we bought to a woman known as a fighting cholita (good thing I didn't throw up in it) and put on a colorful wrestling costume (H.A.W.T!). In a private ring outside of the arena, my cholita taught me a wrestling routine made up of six moves (I always knew wrestling was fake!). When I felt ready to perform the routine, which didn't take me long because as a dancer I'm all about learning choreography, I returned to the main arena with my cholita for the performance. If I messed up, I would have to train again and fight until I got it right, so I made sure to do everything just right. D... cheered me on from the sidelines (or was she laughing at me?) and it really was a lot of fun. I got it right the first time!
I noticed outside that Mark was having to get oxygen - he didn't look very good. This altitude is killer.
The cholita, who was nice but kinda scary, handed me the next clue: take a taxi to the next Pit Stop at el Mirador del Monticulo, a hillside park overlooking the city! Woot! We knew we were behind Rat-Faced Cheater Ken and his wife Tina, but we also knew we had passed up several Teams who were having trouble at the Road Block, so we figured we were in good shape.
And we were!!!! Second place!!! Mark and Bill arrived 8th, but they had to take a 30-minute penalty because they took a taxi to the Detour when the clue said they had to walk. Mental game, guys! So Kelly and Christy got in ahead of them, and Mark and Bill were eliminated. We're gonna miss those geeks. They were good guys.
So here we are in La Paz, Bolivia, wondering what adventures await us in the next leg of the race. Stay tuned!Where We've Been:
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Your Blogging Type is Kind and Harmonious
You're an approachable blogger who tends to have many online friends.
People new to your blogging circle know they can count on you for support.
You tend to mediate fighting and drama. You set a cooperative tone.
You have a great eye for design - and your blog tends to be the best looking on the block!
Tango got his first haircut at the Doggie Beauty Shop this week! He really needed it. Here he is before:
Friday, October 10, 2008
Gabriel went to the Lord and said, 'I have to talk to you. We have some Texans up here who are causing problems... They're swinging on the Pearly Gates, my horn is missing, and they are wearing T-shirts instead of their robes; there's barbecue sauce and Picante sauce all over everything, especially their T-shirts; their dogs are riding in the chariots and chasing the sheep; they are wearing baseball caps and cowboy hats instead of their halos. They refuse to keep the stairway to Heaven clean, and their boots are marking and scuffing up the halls of Wisdom. There are watermelon seeds and tortilla chip crumbs all over the place. Some of them are walking around with just one wing; and they insist on bringing their horses with them.'
The Lord said, 'Texans are Texans, Gabriel. Heaven is home to all of my children. If you want to know about real problems, call the Devil.'
So Gabriel calls the Devil who answers the phone and says, 'Hello---hold on a minute.' When he returns to the phone the Devil says, 'O.K., I'm back. What can I do for you? ‘Gabriel replied, 'I just want to know what kind of problems you are having down there with the Texans.' The Devil said, 'Hold on again. I need to check on something.'
After about 5 minutes the Devil returned to the phone and said. 'I'm back. Now what was the question?' Gabriel said, 'What kind of problems are you having down there with the Texans?' The Devil said, 'Man, I don't believe this...hold on.'
This time the Devil was gone 15 minutes and when he returns he says, 'I'm sorry Gabriel, I can't talk right now. Those Texans have put out the fire and are trying to install air conditioning.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Because I love the beach and have my whole house decorated with beach things, I hung my typesetter tray on the wall, and filled the compartments with different seashells and pieces of coral and other pretties I have found on the beach. I still have a few empty compartments so I can add to my collection!