Soggy Postcard

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I’m in Antigua.  It’s gorgeous. Possibly the most peaceful place on the planet.

I’m here for some well-earned R&R and have most definitely found it.  Today is my last full day and as such, I decided to get up a bit early and head down for some breakfast.  French toast and coffee devoured, I decided to finish writing postcards to friends/family from the picturesque dock, feet dangling over the edge.  I had a whole picture in my head, it was going to be perfect!

Now, as a bit of back story, I was wearing normal clothes today as part of the plan was to go for a walk up to Shirley Heights and be a bit more out of the sun today since yesterday’s awesome snorkeling adventure has left me looking a bit lobster-esque.  So no swim suit, just a skirt and top.

After breakfast, I traipsed over to the dock and gingerly set myself down on the edge taking a moment to put my phone in my bag, as I could definitely see it falling through one of the cracks between the wood planks. I set my things down, my postcards, ready for writing on top. Peering into the water, gazing at the fish swimming by, I barely noticed the breeze that came and suddenly swept my postcards into the ocean!

Eyes wide in panic, I looked around me for a stick or something to bring them back to me, unfortunately, as this is the ocean and not a pool, there was no net handy. I frantically weighed my options. I knew if I tried to climb down to reach them with my foot, I would likely fall off the slick beam and into the water, I could jump in after them but I didn’t have a swimsuit on and no towel so I would have to walk back looking like a drowned cat.  I looked around.  No one was close by to help and the longer I debated, the further my cards floated away from me, and now, the school of fish I’d been watching was beginning their own investigation. I had to act!

No choice, I thought, I have to take my clothes off and jump in.  Surely a bra and underwear can pass for a swimsuit for the few minutes I will be in the water. Maybe no one will even see me, I thought.  So up I got, hat off, shirt off, skirt off, quick check to make sure my undies weren’t see through already and I was good to go.  I scampered over to the steps on the other side of the dock, which led into the water.  One foot on the first step and out crawls a crab! A rather large crab, a purple crab, nearing closer to my foot, pinchers waiting.  Quickly I stepped to the next rung but lost my footing on the slick moss that had grown over it and down I went, sliding the remaining three steps all at once and plunging into the water with the grace of an elephant. At least I’d avoided the crab.

This was when I realized I forgot to take off my sunglasses and now here they were, lopsided on my face.  I pushed them up onto my head and assessed what to do next.  Under and through or around the dock?  Under and through was the most direct route but without goggles, I had no idea what I may be swimming into.  Around was likely a safer path but the cards were no doubt still rapidly swimming away from me which would mean more time getting to them and a higher chance of being discovered bobbing around in my unmentionables.  Under and through it is.

I dove down, coming up on the other side and paddled over to my now water logged postcards and threw them back up onto the dock.  Crisis averted and the Rocky theme playing in my head.

I went back under to the steps to climb out, just as the captain of the boat tied to the dock, started towards his vessel.  Great, I thought, no worries, I can totally pull this off.  I’ll just play it cool and maybe he won’t notice that I’m not in a real swim suit.

“Good morning,” I said brightly, smiling and throwing my head back as if I was just enjoying the cool water and the sunshine as I had every other day.  “Morning,” he said.

He got onto his boat and I pulled myself up to the second step, peering over to see if perhaps he was just dropping something off and then would disappear so I could get out with grace or if he was going to be awhile.

When he pulled out a rag and bucket I decided that perhaps luck was not on my side this morning and well, if I waited much longer there would no doubt be more people to avoid.

I bobbed along for a few more seconds and then as casually as possible, I got out of the water and climbed the steps, trying very hard not to think about how transparent those undies probably were by now.

I walked calmly to my clothes, put on my skirt, put on my shirt, popped my hat on my head, gathered my things (including soggy postcards) and walked down the dock feeling rather proud of myself for pulling off this escapade with no one the wiser.  Well, minus maybe the captain.

My sodden clothes are now drying out on the backs of chairs in my room and I am peacefully writing this on my balcony in a new, blissfully dry outfit. If the postcards dry out I’ll mail them complete with the sent of ocean and salty sea air.  You’re welcome. 🙂

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Netflix for Paris

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So for those who don’t know I have a cat. Named Paris.

Paris is a great cat, very playful and pretty social.  She loves people and fish shaped catnip treats.  But more than either of those things, she loves her mouse.

This mouse was a gift from my best friend and his wife who mailed it to me from LA.  It’s a bottle brush with a little leather tail glued on and little eyes drawn on with a sharpie.  It connects to a gold glitter stick by a light gauge wire and in short is kitty crack.

By far her favorite toy and companion, this mouse goes with her just about everywhere.  I come home and it will be sitting in her food bowl as if she’s feeding it.  Open the door to the patio and she trots out, mouse in mouth.  Wake up in the morning to incessant meowing, she’s there at the foot of my bed, mouse on the floor next to her.

When I first got this mouse she would chase it all over the living room and execute impressive chest height flips trying to catch it.  Now we’ve had the mouse for about 6 months or so and she has to be really bored to do any sort of jumping or vigorous chasing. What she does like to do now though is crouch and encourage my swinging it around the room.  This, of course, makes me think she’s going to chase it and therefore I continue to swing it around and wiggle it behind couch legs, my shoes etc etc… Meanwhile, back on her kitty couch (which was formerly my laundry basket) she’s just hanging out watching me, occasionally batting a paw in the general direction of the mouse no doubt to keep me going.  I think I have become her Netflix.

Trial amazing race and how an apartment became my alcatraz


I went to San Francisco  this past weekend.  I flew in on Thursday and now it’s Saturday and I’m flying back.

This has been one of the most eventful weekends in another city I think I have ever had.

Rather than stay at a hotel, a good friend let me use his apartment as he was out of town.  He lives in a beautiful area, convenient to everything and so of course I took him up on that. He left the keys with his girlfriend who left them with her doorman and I was to pick them up when I got in.  Too easy.

Keys in hands I waved farewell to my uber driver insisting that the walk wold be fine.  It’s only 10 minutes, I thought, it’s a beautiful day, I thought, I love to walk around cities and I have very little baggage, I thought.  Not once did I think, gee, San Francisco is incredibly hilly and that 10 minute stroll may include some Beyonce butt building levels of elevation climb, perhaps I should just uber it to the apartment with my bags.

Challenge accepted.  Arriving triumphant and perspiring at his address, I set my bags down, Got the keys out and proceeded to put them in the lock.  None fit.  I could get the tip of a large brass key in and what looked like a mailbox key rattled away ineffectually but nothing would open the door.  I was stumped.

Maybe I have the wrong entry, I thought.  Oh yes, these building look attached..ish… I’ll try that entry on the corner.

Success! I got in the front door and climbed the stairs to his apartment.  Keys out again I wiggled the lock, pushed and pulled the somewhat old door and nothing worked.

Brilliant.

Either this is the wrong building or the wrong apartment.  Given it was about 2am where my friend was, texting and calling him wasn’t really an option.  The original entry I had tried did feel a bit further back, perhaps this building links to another that is where his unit is.  I followed the back staircase down as far as I could and ended up in a semi basement corridor with narrow halls and several dead ends.  About the time I heard a bit of squeaking and scratching I decided there most definitely wasn’t a connection. But I had gotten in the front door. Surely this must be the right building. Right? No way the front door budding key would work if I was in the wrong place.   So I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat (I don’t actually have a hat) and tried to figure out another way to figure out what apartment number it was.

The Mailboxes! In the front lobby a rack of Mailboxes were propped against the wall.  I had his keys so I thought, I’ll just put the key in each box until one opens and then I’ll know which apartment is his! Proud of my creative problem solving skills I thrust the key in the first box with verve. Nope, nope, nope, nope, shit…. now the mailbox key was stuck in a box.  I wiggled and wiggled and it still wouldn’t come out.  It wouldn’t turn either, so didn’t even help solve my apartment number delima. Tugging on it I could see that I was closer to pulling the rack of boxes off the wall than getting the key out.   Finally I slid the key off the ring and positioned the other keys, stacked, and leveraged it out.

Now wary of my grand plan, I debated continuing but decided I had no choice.  I wokred with a but less verve and prayed that no one would come along to see me trying all the locks…

None of them opened.  I texted his girlfriend for help and after a few texts back and forth we determined I was definitely at the wrong building. I went back to the first entry and tried my keys again.  Nope, they definitely weren’t working.  Scrolling through the call box list to the side I did confirm I was at the right place and I decided the only answer would be to start ringing neighbors for some help.

A lovely chap let me in and confirmed that it was a tricky lock and my big brass key was the right one.

I rushed in, put my stuff on the table and ubered over for lunch, wondering what I was going to do if it didn’t work again.

I met a very old friend for lunch and told her about my amazing race style key challenege.  She took me to a hardware store and dropped me off after our meal so I could get the key filed.

Chatting to the guys at the hardware store I decided to just cut a new fresh key, hopefully this one will work better.  I also bought a can of oil lubricant and a tube of powdered graphite.  I was armed and ready for battle with this lock.

Heading out of the store I began looking for my phone to map back to the house.  No phone. Left in my friends car I went back in and called myself hoping she would pick up as I didn’t have another way to contact her.  She’d found it and generously drove back to drop it off to me.

4% battery remaining I prayed it would make it until I got back to the house, which it did.  I tried the new key, no luck, still sticky.  I shook the can of oil and sprayed it into the keyhole.  Black gunk shot out over my hands. I slid the mailbox key in and out to work the graphite around and after a few minutes I tried again with the new key…old key…banging my head against the door.  (The later also didn’t work but made me feel better. )

Someone had to come eventually.  I sat on the stoop and not even 10 minutes later out came a contractor with a great accent whom I begged to show me how to unlock the door.

I handed him my key, telling him about the neighbor confirming this was the right one. (Albeit he was viewing it from a few stories above me). Hot contractor laughed and looked at me.  “It’s the wrong key love.  You don’t have a key in this bunch that’ll open this here door. ” Awesome.

He let me in (despite being sweaty with grubby hands) and I went inside thinking I would have to move to a hotel or be locked in the apartment until my flight. Surely there must be another key in the apartment or another exit to the building.  The light at the end of this tiny tunnel got brighter when I found a garage. Maybe he has a remote inside! Raiding his kitchen drawer I found one. Hooray! Success! Freedom!

There have been few times in my life where I have been prouder of my perseverance and in-flapability.  The rest of the trip has been great. I got in and out via the garage no problem and had no other issues.  Until I locked myself on the roof this morning.

Turns out the key to the roof door is the same as the key to the street.  Why I didn’t think of this I don’t know.  But 2 hours later a good Samaritan heard me yelling hello from the roof and we got her buzzed in via a call to my friend’s cell phone.  She climbed 5 fligyts of stairs fespite being late for an event herself.  I was also a bit late. I had about 10 minutes before I had to get to the airport or miss my flight.  Which is now delayed.

Here are some photos of my rooftop alcatraz this morning.  The view was incredible, the sun warm, the wind cold.  Happily I was equipped with fresh rainwater on a table and an extra pastry I’d gotten with breakfast. I could have made it a few more hours before I would have had to test the rickety fire escape.  Thank goodness for great friends, and the incredibly fine upstanding, citizens  of San Francisco.   I’m probably staying in a hotel in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemons and Underwear

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Remember that time that you went to yoga and laid out your freshly washed towel on your mat only to have your purple underwear roll out too, and not just out but off your mat and perilously close to your neighbors mat?  Nope, me neither… definitely don’t remember that like it was literally yesterday… hah, would never happen hey… except for that one time.. when it did.

Life has thrown me a few lemons recently.. or maybe we should say a tree, a lemon tree.  Orchard perhaps? Either way it’s led me back to yoga which is a good thing and I’m enjoying it.  That being said, it also led to the aforementioned story taking place. Yep, purple underwear.  Right out there in the open.  What’s worse perhaps is that in the studio there’s kinda no where to put it after that.  Like you have your water bottle, your yoga block and well there’s just nothing else but floor space between you and your neighbor.  Those six inches apart seem pretty close when you have a ball of underwear sitting there.  Then class starts and you can’t sneak out to put it with your shoes or anything.

So I faked it, they didn’t completely look like underwear.  I mean it’s not like they laid out all flat.  The lacy edges may not have helped my argument for ‘oh this? this is just a sweat towel,’ but what can you do.  I’m pretty sure everyone but my nearest neighbor bought it.  Of course they did.  And if not, it’s a funny story they can go tell their friends.

And the moral of this story? Always check for underwear before putting your towel in your bag.  Static cling has a vicious sense of humor.

My kitchen is a scratch-it


So we own a house now.  Yes, very exciting.  No, unfortunately due to the fact that the internet already knows more about me than I do, I’m not going to share where. But it’s pretty exciting.  Overwhelming and Exciting…

We have discovered several things as new home owners:

1. Buying a house = a really expensive hobby that will suck up your entire weekend with chores that you get excited about doing (weird)

2. We own trees and bushes and things that we have no idea how to take care of.

3. It’s hard to find each other when there are multiple rooms.

4. Our new Friday night crew are the guys on the late shift at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

5. There are keypads and wires and cables that we had no idea existed.  Seriously, our pool has an app.  The garage motor we’re thinking of putting in has one too.  No joke.

I could go on, and probably will but really I started writing this to tell you about how we got lucky.

When the seller moved out his movers stuck tape on the floor to protect it from the objects going in and out.  When they took off said tape, they unknowingly alerted us to a built in scratch-it ticket that is our kitchen floor – meaning when they took off the tape they took off a layer of finish as well.  Or so we thought.

Turned out we liked the color of the tile that was revealed better than what was originally installed and thus we began investigating options to remove this throughout the kitchen.  This is the part where I tell you that Scrubbing Bubbles makes my whole life.  Hitchhiker’s got it wrong, scrubbing bubbles is the answer.

After cleaning our bathrooms I decided to spot test the bubbles on the floor and to my surprise we discovered that that lovely finish wasn’t really finish at all but grime!  Ew!

When soaked with Scrubbing Bubbles for about 20 minutes it gets sticky and can be relatively easily scrubbed off with a scouring pad!  Oh the excitement!  I’m pretty positive that the silvery glue-y stuff they put on those scratch-its is identical to whats on the floor.  If I had a giant coin I may have tried to use that but instead it was me, Cinderella-style on my knees scrubbing away whistling while I worked.

Then my husband gave me an awesome mop which has changed my life.  It has a scrub brush attached and now, 4 entire bottles of scrubbing bubbles later – we have won the kitchen scratch-it lotto and have a virtually new, clean floor!

I realize this may not be so exciting to some, in fact I’m sure some of you are wondering, “why would she bother writing about this,”  but really it’s the small victories that make a house of chores rewarding.  I’m feeling lucky enough i may even go buy a real scratch-it.  Except I just bought a house…

Memory


I read an article awhile back which said that when you remember something you’re not actually remembering the event itself but remembering the last time you remembered it. Thus your stories and memories change over time with tiny details adjusting to fit holes in your last memory.

For some reason this concept really struck me and has stuck with me since. And in a way I think this is quite sad, or it’s the events that we remember which we hold dear, not necessarily our memories of them, right? To me it made my memories of these things seem less real in a way, less tangible and further away.

Perhaps some of this has to do with leaving Tokyo and some of the changes that have been taking place in our lives recently. I knew leaving Tokyo that the city would stop feeling like mine, like I belonged to it and it to me – this is how it has been for every place I have moved from. I knew also that what would make the transition easier was my memories of the things we’ve done there and friends we’ve made etc.. But now, knowing that my memory of these things is simply a memory of a memory they feel further away and harder to reach. I keep wondering how long I’ll remember them as they were before my mind taints them with time and details are further lost. This is true for people as well. Of course for almost all events the people are what add depth and character, they’re the life of the still behind them in any background and likely are really what we reach for when we remember a time.

On the flip side it does make me cherish experiences and try to focus onto them in the moment even more. Drinking in details, smiling for pictures, and trying to stay conscious in the experience so that when it’s over perhaps you remember more or for longer. But maybe the lesson is simply the age-old – live in the now sentiment – don’t rely on memories for entertainment, but busy yourself making plenty instead.

It started with a fly

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It started with a fly.  I went to bed, minding my own business only to discover a fly in the bedroom.  Eagerness regarding the sunshine day outside led me to open the doors and windows wide letting the breeze blow in; and a fly.  So for a few minutes I chased the fly around my room before he headed into the bathroom where I promptly locked him in so I could go to sleep.

Tucked in, I closed my eyes, sure that I could hear buzzing.  “This must just be in my head, like when you see an ant on you and then you feel like there are ants all over you everywhere but they’re not, it’s all in your head.  The fly is in the bathroom.”.

Dozing off I awoke again with a start, no, that was a definite buzzing, right by my head.  Covers thrown off, legs swinging out of bed, I turned on the light and scratched my arm.  A mosquito, not only disrupting my sleep but taking liberties with my forearm.  This was war.

Opening the closet I chose my weapon, my green flip flop would surely do the job credibly.  And so I marched around my house in search of the intruder and found him perched on the ceiling.  Climbing the chair, I approached.  Slowly but surely moving towards my unsuspecting friend then BAM!  I whacked the wall, watching as moments before collision he escaped!

I think mosquitos have evolved to have a 6th sense of approaching flip flops.  They’ve also donned invisibility cloaks as after several more minutes of searching I can’t find him anywhere and have settled down with a cup to tea to wait.  He can’t hide forever.  And in the meantime, maybe I’ll fall asleep.

Flatter than a Pancake

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There was a super-moon.  Not sure if you heard about it or not but there was one, apparently they happen a few times a year.  What is a super-moon you ask?  Well, let me tell you – in short its a bigger, brighter, shiny-er moon than normal.  Read a real explanation about them here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/10jul_supermoons/

Anyway, so there was this moon and I like astronomy stuff and so I was excited about this moon and was going to head out with my good camera and get some photos of the brighter shiny-er moon and so I did a bit of research.

Of course it’s always easier to do astrological observations from higher areas not necessarily because they’re closer to the sky but because it usually helps with dimming the light pollution from the cities and thus you can see better.  SO, I Google: “Where is the highest point in Houston.”. And sure enough, the little people inside my computer gave me all the info I needed and as it turns out the highest place in Houston is 310feet…….That’s it.  310 FEET in elevation.  That’s a mound. A mound!  I couldn’t even qualify it as a hill really, it’s practically a pile, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t do much regarding the light pollution issue minus that it’s an hour outside the city which may take care of that on its own.

Nothing against it, to be sure, I’m sure it’s a very nice mound/hill/pile but really 310ft being the high point made me crave the mountains of Colorado and I just couldn’t quite be bothered.  So instead I just had a look off my balcony and well; it was cloudy.